phayz's blog

…it's time for a new phayz of life

Monthly Archives: March 2011

I think I’m in love…with a GTK theme

Yes, I have to admit it – I love the Murrine-Unity-Carbonite GTK theme. I am often searching for the “perfect” theme but am usually disappointed. I can’t recall where I first saw the Murrine-Unity set of themes (Carbonite being the grey version) but it was probably the Gnome Look site. What can I say but it’s everything I ever wanted in a theme and more: it’s not glossy, menus look good, buttons look good, the GNOME panel looks good, in fact everything looks good to my eyes. I have also tested it under Xfce and it looks good there too! I sometimes get excited (yes, I agree that I should get out and see more of the world) by a theme under GNOME and then find out that it doesn’t look quite as good under Xfce. Sign. 😦

For the moment I am very happy with this theme and I hope we’re together for a long time. That doesn’t mean I can’t look at other themes, just not while I’m using Murrine-Unity. 🙂

I hope you like what you see.

Screenshot of Murrine Unity Carbonite GTK theme

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Guayadeque – a nice desktop-neutral media player

I have been searching for an audio player which can take the place of Rhythmbox, because I switch between the GNOME and Xfce desktop environments. My main problem has been that I don’t know what I am looking for, only what I don’t want. 😦 I have tried all of the GUI audio media players available in the Frugalware repositories. After a long search I am currently using Guayadeque – http://guayadeque.org. It’s quite light on dependencies but is very full featured, including support for:

  • Cross-fade
  • Lyrics
  • Downloading album artwork
  • Audio
  • Podcasts
  • Recording

Screenshot of Guayadeque audio player

I may not use an audio player like most people because I usually listen to just one album at a time. Guayadeque suits me but I can’t explain just why I like it. Just as different text editors suit different people, the same applies to audio media players. I am beginning to understand just why there are so many media players available on Linux: not everyone’s the same. The only thing I now need to do is find an application which allows me to rip tracks from a CD into my preferred format. I’m thinking that a console-based application would be best. When I find one I like I’ll report back here.

For the moment, keep on rocking!

My current favourite Chrom(e|ium) extensions

 

Here are the Chrom(e|ium) extensions and apps which I am currently using and the purpose for which I have them installed. This list may not be of use to anyone else but at least if I lose all my extensions I know where to get a list of those I did have installed. 🙂

I’m trying to keep the list of extensions to a minimum because I know they use memory all the time they’re running.

 

Extensions

Scribefire – blog entry writing, which allows for writing entries offline. Since I usually think of stuff I want to blog about while offline, this was an important feature.

App Launcher – provides an icon in the top bar from which I can choose an installed application.

Adblock PLus for Google Chrome – blocks ads. 🙂 I’m still not sure if this is worth having installed but I’ll wait and see.

Diigo Bookmark etc… – to bookmark pages of interest. I am experimenting with this extension as a way of bookmarking and storing web pages which I want to read later.

Google Tasks – provides a full-window view of tasks in Google Tasks.

Quickrr World Clock – displays the current time in whatever locations around the world you choose. I use this when chatting in IRC and want to know the local time elsewhere.

RSS Subscription Extension – I use this to subscribe quickly and easly to RSS feeds.

 

Apps

imo – This is basically a link to the imo chat web site which provides a web interface to multiple instant messaging networks.

Quick Note – allows you to store text and images both locally and synchronise with your personal Diigo “library”. I am testing this as a way of making notes about stuff that I need to have access to offline.

 

HOWTO: Download Blip.tv content for offline viewing

I was recently reading a post from the official Disqus blog and they mentioned that they had given a talk at Pycon 2011, with the video being available at Blip.tv. I hadn’t viewed anything at Blip.tv before and found that the videos are, of course, shown using Flash. I wanted to be able to view them offline and, since I use Chromium as my prefered browser, went looking for an extension would allow me to download them. I couldn’t find anything but I did find a bookmarklet which launched a Javascript application which showed the link to the video content, allowing you to download it offline.

I tried the bookmarklet and it worked as advertised but it linked to a web site which displayed ads. I thought “Hey, if all it’s doing is finding the link, why can’t I do that myself?” So went back to Blip.tv, viewed the source and looked for the link(s) to the video file and entered the link alone in the address bar. This started dispaying the video and only the video in Chromium and I could then right-click on the video and use the “Download” link to save the video file locally.

If anyone has suggestions as to how this might be done better I’m happy to receive comments. I’m just happy that I can download the videos.

Stable is…ummm…stable

I like Frugalware for the fact that you choose between 6-monthly releases with only security updates, or a rolling release. Having the latest packages available is fantastic if you want to get the latest features. I have an anti-Midas touch though, and although I have used ‘current’ in the past, I need to stay with ‘stable’. Every time I switch from stable to current, something goes wrong and my laptop doesn’t boot reliably or soemthing which worked before now doesn’t work. In those cases I can sometimes work out what went wrong and fix it, or otherwise I reinstall stable.

I don’t know for how long I’ll be able to resist switching to current but I’m hoping it’s a long time. Stable is…ummm…stable. I have only two hardware issues at the moment: wireless doesn’t work and nor does my laptop’s in-built web cam. I need to get wireless working but I haven’t yet put much effort towards this. Otherwise I’m happy because I’m not updating packages daily and so can rely on being productive.

Yay!