Saturday, 25 July 2009

Wibble Wobble Gwibber

It happens to us all in the end. "No there is no point in being on FaceBook, Twitter is pointless", you know the drill. You are certain you do not need these things in your life but you sign up just "to be in touch with so and so". Before you know it you have about 20 accounts and no idea which one to check when, and little inclination to do so as time is so in short supply. Gah!

I have recently discovered Gwibber. A simple little desktop application which does all that checking for you and shoves all the interesting titbits in one box. Gwibber reads all your incoming updates and shoves them into a single personal timeline, even colour coding the entries so you can tell them apart. Want to reply to something just hit the reply icon and it sends the reply to the right place without you even needing to know which service they are from. What more could a minimalist want I ask you? Struggling with your feeds, give it a go.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Bookmark Knots

I have bookmark knots in my life. I have a laptop, a new netbook, oh another laptop, a media server on my TV. Err, plus my bookmarks are different on every single one of them. In fact I have given up cause I could never find the right one and deleted them from all but my day-to-day machine.

Gaining a new netbook has brought a new urgency to solving this problem. I want to be able to take my netbook away to conferences and yet I need that to be a workable environment. Bookmarks are key to my finding anything it seems, so I need to get those synchronised on both these boxes. As I am already owned by Google I started out evaluating the google task bar. It looks ok I guess but it adds a taskbar which on a netbook is like stealing half the screen, it also does not have sidebar support. On my netbook I have taken to removing all the taskbars and using the bookmarks side bar instead to gain some space, so whatever I found really needed to support those.

Enter GMarks. This Firefox extension basically replicates the Bookmarks menu and sidebar but synchronised with google bookmarks. It even seems to support a toolbar though I have yet to find out how one gets that to display. So far so good. I will let you know how I get on with it.

Playing with my Dell Mini 10v

I have been talking about getting myself a netbook so I do not have to lug my main laptop about when we visit family, or travelling to conferences. I have said I was going to order a Dell Mini 9 a few times. By the time I got round to ordering it the Dell Mini 10v had basically replaced it, sigh. Anyhow I really did order one. My 10v arrived a couple of days ago, and its prettier than I imagined. Say hello to Penfold.

So what is it like? Its very light and just that little bit bigger and more usable than the 9 I had seen. The keyboard is a decent size and the only keys which are not normal are the function keys which it seems I really do not use that much. A significant improvement over the 9's layout.

As a keen Ubuntu convert obviously I ordered the Ubuntu version which thankfully is still cheaper than the M$ loaded version, at least in the UK.
It had a Dell pre-install of Ubuntu based on Hardy. Although it seemed perfectly usable I wanted to see how well Karmic worked on this baby. A quick backup of the SSD and I was installing from a USB stick. Overall completely painless.

The only odd feature of this machine is the touchpad. The left and right clicks are activated by pushing down the corners of the touchpad. This has an odd effect as the buttons are in the active area of the touchpad and clicking tended to cause the mouse to jump, I will not even attempt to describe the gymnastics required to do a long drag.

I was resigned to getting a little travel mouse when using this thing but thought I would do a little googling first. This turned up a reference to an updates synaptics X driver from Alberto Milone. I have installed the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics package (only) from the PPA below:
That change seems to have sorted things out. The power of open source at work. Awsome.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Karmic Kapers

I've been putting it off long enought, its time to upgrade to Karmic fully rather than woosing about running just the kernel. So today I bit the bullet and let update-manager move me up to Karmic. So far ... well I am able to post this so things aren't all bad. In fact so far things are pretty good. As I have an all Intel box here I have Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) goodness. Rather unexpectedly I have full compositing of opengl apps!?! What does that mean, well it means that I can move an glxgears window around without it making a mess, and even 'tilt' my compiz cube desktop and see those applications running on the surfaces of it. Most impressive.

On the negative side I have had a couple of odd moments. When quitting some full screen 3D games I have ended up with my main desktop resolution changed, in one case to 640x480 which was a challenge to sort out. Also my sensors config was dropped on the floor. Most oddly I had to remove my twitter and accounts from gwibber and readd them before they would do anything other than error on me.

Its probabally a bit early to recommend you come and join me in the wild-lands, but at least some of the wild animals out here are friendly!