Firefox Extensions

Extensions are nothing new, but lately it seems like they’ve been becoming a lot more useful. These are a couple I’ve found that you might find useful as well.

Bookmarks Sync – Simply uploads your bookmarks to your website when you quit Firefox and downloads them when you start. I use it to keep my work/home comptuers synced.
Bookmarks Backup – With all this syncing going on, I want to make sure I have a backup of my bookmarks in case something goes horribly wrong. This is the tool for the job.
Highlight Search – Click a word, right click and select “highlight word” and poof, all the instances of that word are now yellow and red! Works like a charm.
Linky Combined with makes a great team.


Macromedia Usergroup Meeting

Tonight was the Worldwide Macromedia Usergroup meeting. This was only the second Macromedia Usergrop meeting I’ve been to. My local group meets in Williamsburg, Virginia at The College of William and Mary. Overall it was pretty good. The format for our meeting was first, a presentation by a semi-local Flash Developer – David Vogeleer – I came in a little late on it but what I saw was very good.

The next half of the meeting was a demonstration by several members of Macromedia’s development team. The presentation was done online with Macromedia Breeze. I think Breeze was the most interesting part of the presentation even though none of it was actually on Breeze. Some of the cool things it can do are:
-Realtime Polls
-Screen sharing (the entire desktop)
-Great quality live audio
-Powerpoint type presentations
-Shared Flash animations

Those were just the features I saw tonight. Very impressive.

As far a the actual content of the presentation, it seemed to be more of a marketing pitch than anything. They showcased the features of Central 1.5 and some of the new ColdFusion features. I could be wrong but I think Central is never going to take off and I don’t use ColdFusion (though it seems pretty cool). In addition, they showed features of the new version of Contribute and they mentioned some new featues of Flex–again, products I don’t use.

Afterwards David showed off some of the Making Things stuff he’s been working on. Pretty cool.


Linux Desktop – Not looking so bad…

linuxdesktop.pngOne of the reasons I have always shied away from Linux is that the desktop has always felt unpolished to me. No matter what theme I used or what font settings I used, it just didn’t feel finished.

This time around, I’ve found that much seems to have changed — at least using the Gnome desktop environment. Fonts aren’t bad at all. They aren’t near perfect yet, but not bad. I imported all my fonts from windows (oddly enough the one I found to work the best is Microsoft Sans). I then created a hybrid theme from a Linux port of Milk 2.0 and theme called Orbital. I used the Milk 2.0 port for the window border and Orbital for the controls.

I then found a nice, similar theme for Mozilla Firefox (not pictured) called Smoke. With all that in place, fonts are looking decent (not great) and my theme is looking really nice. I also found a nice desktop calendar called gdeskcal.

Wow. Linux isn’t looking bad. On top of that, there are other features I really like — multiple desktops (see bottom right), Ksnapshot (a great screenshot program), cool image previews in Nautilus (Gnome’s “finder” or “file explorer”). And with my custom wall paper featuring the logo of a site I need to revive, I’m feeling pretty good about things. Sodi Podi is the pictured illustration program that is under development for Linux. It really isn’t bad. I mocked up that small gdeskcal design in a couple minutes without too much struggle. It was a pleasant departure from the Gimp–a Photoshop clone (sorry but it is) that I just cannot get used to.

So… am I switching to Linux from OS X and Win XP. Nah… I’ve used it every day for the past few days whenever I can, but the fact still remains that it can’t run Photoshop or Illustrator CS or Flash MX 2004 and I can’t work without those programs. It still fun to play with Linux (and even get some work done) on the desktop.


Bloglines, Ximian, Modest Mouse and Apple

Bloglines is down. That means instead of reading blogs, I’m writing one. A few interesting things I”ve been thinking about and coming across.

Ximian is releasing their Outlook Exchange connector for Evolution as open source. Hopefully it gets ported to OSX soon. At work I use Microsoft Entourage to check my Exchange email but for some reason it won’t allow me to send mail. For that I have to log into remote desktop and do it through Windows 2000. It’s a pain.

Modest Mouse is coming on Letterman in a couple hours. Jenny is waiting up to see them. She’s a fan since they were small time in Seattle… I’ve been a fan of Modest Mouse since 1999. It’s kind of cool to see them getting big. If you’re interested in them, check out this video. Their website is always interesting as well.

Rumors of new Apple Macintosh G5’s are hot.. I, however am looking at the great deals on refurbished Dual 2ghz’s. $2,399 is pretty tempting.


LPhoto, LSongs on Mepis

lphotoLast night I was able to install Lphoto (from Linspire on Mepis. It wasn’t the easiest process (I had to install a number of Python addons) but I have to say it was worth it.

In case you’re up to it, here are basic instructions on Debian:
apt-get install python2.3-dev python2.3-qt3 python2.3-id3lib python2.3-pyxine (I think the last one is only needed for Lsongs)

Download it:

Extract it to a directory somewhere.

Open the directory from the command line, become root and type:

type lsongs or lphoto and if you’re lucky, it should run. Straightforward enough.

The application is pretty much an exact clone of iPhoto, but it’s a decent clone. As you can see from the screenshot, the interface is pretty much the same. Suprisingly, it’s a lot faster than iPhoto is. Actually, it runs at nearly the same speed as iPhoto on my 1.6ghz G5, but I’m running Lphoto on a PII 450. Hopefully in the future Linspire will try to come up with some original features for it, but in the meantime, kudos for releasing it as open source software.

I also installed lSongs. It is, again, a clone of iTunes, but a pretty good one.

Along the same lines, I’ve really enjoyed Linux on the desktop this time around. I’ve been using Gnome as my desktop manager (I couldn’t get fonts to look even half way decent on KDE). I’ll probably write more about this in the near future, but things are looking up for Linux. Less GUI crashes, better office software (kOffice seems underestimated to me), easier to use overall.


PearPC – OSX on Linux

This is something I never thought I’d see: OS X Running under Linux.

Sebastian Biallas has created the beginnings of what could prove to become a very, very popular and interesting project.