mint fluxbox 11 – kind of

So as there seems to be no official upcoming mint fluxbox 11 I decided to see if I could somehow reproduce the experience.

So why if mint fluxbox 9 is so cool (and it is) would I want to change to mint 11? Well, the main two motivations were:
1. I wanted to install the kernel 2.6.38-8 as this includes finally the driver for my built-in SD card on my acer netbook and I did not want to mess around doing this myself.
2. I was getting sick of not finding the latest version of so many packages in the standard mint/ubuntu repositories which meant adding loads of launchpad ppas – so many that I had lost track of which ones I still needed.

To begin with I thought that I would simply take the newly released mint 11 and stick with gnome but with only an atom processor in my netbook and having been used to fluxbox’s speed from mint fluxbox 9 I just could not stand how long everything took. Don’t get me wrong it is a LOVELY release. Smoothly done but it is almost as slow as windows on my netbook.

So I looked in the repository and there I found the latest and greatest fluxbox 1.3. Installed it and made a few tweaks (see below) and it just seems to work.

Note: this will probably not work quite so smoothly for newcomers to fluxbox but if you were already on mf9 and kept your home directory and don’t mind manually updating your menus then this should work.

After fluxbox is installed logout and then login again – at the login screen at the bottom choose fluxbox instead of gnome and bam you are running fluxbox.

So the new tweaks I had to make to get fluxbox working were:
1. install tint2, leafpad, xfce bits and pieces, volumeicon, gsimplecal, galculator, conky and whatever else you like and was not installed in the gnome installation
2. optional cos I like things fast AND pretty: I changed the font in the menu:
edited: /usr/share/fluxbox/styles/zimek_green/theme.cfg
menu.frame.font: DejaVu Sans-11:Book
menu.title.font: DejaVu Sans-12:ExtraLight
3. I had a small problem as all of my windows when maximised would cover up my tint2 menu – so looked in the tint2 FAQ and had to use a setting to stop maximising over the menu – I added the following to .tint2rc:
panel_layer = top
strut_policy = follow_size
I have no idea how this worked before in mf9 as I was using the same .tint2rc but I guess something Kendal did somewhere else made this work automatically. 😉
4. cleaned up my fluxbox startup and as some mint specific scripts are missing added the following early in the script:
xrandr –screen 0 -s 1024×600
fbsetbg -f /usr/share/backgrounds/linuxmint-katya/curve.jpg
note: you need to swap in your resolution and fave background

The only thing I have yet to get working is to get the menu quit to work. So my workaround right now is to click on run and type in “sudo shutdown -r now”.

So, now I have fluxbox running in mint11 with the option to jump into gnome if I feel like it – yes I just left gnome setup as per default – on this netbook I don’t have disk space issue and sometimes there are some tools in gnome which I want to go back to so might login. Also, if I manage to screw up my fluxbox settings in the future I can always use gnome as a failsafe login.
I know there is a lot of duplicate stuff now installed but like I said an extra GB of hard disk usage does not overly concern me. If this concerns you then go ahead and deinstall all of the stuff from gnome you don’t need.

Happy hacking.

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andEs Corner: Replacing delicious in firefox

So my latest mini project at home is to try and replace the delicious.com social bookmarking & tagging  service with something more local since firefox also introduced local tagging. This is not just interesting for replacing delicious but also interesting if you want to move away from folders and towards the much better method of finding: tagging. I, at least, think it is easier to find something based on many keywords or tags than trying to remember the one folder I stored something. But maybe I am just getting senile.

In order to do this I need to replace the parts of delicious that I was actually using:
1. sync bookmarks between my 3 major PCs
2. search based also on tags
3. bookmark in a neat way, such that I can also tag all in one window and with one click
If you are using delicious to share bookmarks with other people then I think you need to stay with it; for this delicious is perfect but I don’t use this. The only other requirement I have is to import the thousands of pages I have tagged in delicious over the last three years or so.

After much messing around I managed to do most of this with the help of only a few firefox addons:
1. firefox sync plugin (based on the mozilla weave project) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10868/
I have activated here via the sync preferences only bookmarks and passwords. The history, preferences and tabs do not fit to how I work with firefox and my PCs and so I am currently not using this.
The only problem I had with this was when I tried to export/import bookmarks from delicious. Here I ended up with a HUGE amount of untagged bookmarks in my main bookmarks menu. It took a LOT of messing around to get rid of this mess. As there is no way of importing the tags I am currently living with searching delicious for my old bookmarks and now all new stuff is being added locally.

2. Toolbar Buttons https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2377/
There should be an easier way of doing this but I simply wanted one icon on my toolbar for bookmarking the side I am on with one click (and not right mouse key which is not so easy on my eeepc. So I added I think 60 buttons which come in this set and picked out the one for bookmark this page.

3. handy tag plugin https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7498/
When I press the bookmark button (or even bookmark this page from the menu) firefox does not automatically present you with a field for adding tags. Well, with this addon it not only offers this field but also offers 4 handy little buttons where you can search for proposals to tag with (one of the nice things about delicious if other people have bookmarked this page). It uses four sources: your own tags, delicious, the webpage’s keywords and KGen. This is not essential but a useful addon for this purpose as quite often I can’t think of what tag to give.
I tried lots of other addons, some of which looked handy but in the end the newest firefox actually provided most of the functionality I needed in just as comfortable a method – of course you may need some other functionality to me – which is to me the beauty of firefox addons: users get to choose the features they want thus avoiding application bloat. It does seem that firefox is concentrating in adding more tagging functionality so before you look for an addon check what your latest version can do by itself.

Now I can easily bookmark and tag and then search using default firefox functionality based on tags even better than delicious as the awesome bar seems to manage to find quite quickly URLs or tags containing the text you entered and even shows you in the result list whether the match refers to the tag or the URL.

The one thing that does not currently work (and no googled solutions worked anymore) is the import of delicious bookmarks including the tags. This is not a delicious issue (they export in html form, keeping all of the tags) but firefox will only import .json files with tags – html file import loses the tags.
I am currently using firefox 3.6.8 which right now is the up2date released version – so I hope in some future version this will work. I will provide an update on this when / if I resolve it.

andEs Corner: My favourite linux apps

Hope this might be interesting to somebody else – if not it will simply help me remember what I am using on my linux boxes ;-).

Mostly this is focused on my eeepc but is also more and more valid for my desktop as I see my favourite apps converging.
On my eeepc I am currently running Linux Mint Fluxbox edition V8. So I am also on the look-out for non-KDE and non-gnome applications. My desktop is still using gnome but I am considering a move to LXDE to make things faster.
This list is something that keeps evolving as the opensource world keeps coming up with an even better app to do the job – where I often thought I was totally happy with the solution I had. Also, sometimes a newer version comes along from an app I tried and gave up on (e.g. evolution where version 2.28 got rid of some of the problems I had had with 2.26 and beat thunderbird to become my PIM of choice – especially after performance problems with thunderbird’s lightning – esp. in TB 3.x). But on top of this there is a handy set of “mini apps” that use the evolution database but with a very simplified view and focus on doing one part of the PIM story well, and to fit the concept the apps have simple obvious names: contacts, tasks and dates. I use only really contacts as a VERY quick address book. Dates still seems to have a problem with timezone settings and I don’t use the todo functionality of a PIM as I am using Zim for this.

Note taking / personal wiki: zim. I also use this to track my todos. Chosen as it is available also on windows and because it just works. I also use it for the draft version of my blog.

Journal/diary: for just clearing my head of thoughts and a little bit of a diary I am using Rednotebook. Maybe I will start using this more than zim in the future but as I just found this I am still working out how and when to fit this into my life.

Flegita replaced xsane for scanning. Much more compact if not quite as powerful (only scans into .png files but if I need to I can use imagemagick to convert to jpg).

GCStar the application I have used to meticulously catalogue my downloaded film collection. It is definitely worth doing this as I see my online catalogue growing slowly towards the 1TB limit of my NAS I cannot think now of living without this. So start as soon as you can – catching up later (as I found out) is a PAIN. GCstar works perfectly for my needs (basically I can add comments & genre (as I see fit – not tied into pre-defined genres) and of course mark as seen or not – these are my biggest requirements but you should also check yours. Of course there is a download from imdb.com (and others) for initial reviews.

Photo viewer: here I keep going round and round in circles and cannot make my mind up what I want. Whilst picasa is the outright clear winner on my desktop I have just moved back to gthumb on my eeepc after trying shotwell (took up too much cache with no way to stop caching & and had no zoom), solang (too unstable in V0.3) and also picasa (too big for my eeepc). I still have picasa installed on my desktop as I also use the upload to web feature there. I still have gpicview installed for really quick viewing and zoom.

Graphical editing: the simple solution is mtpaint – much better for my eeepc than gimp and has the functions I most regularly need and 10% of the footprint. I still have gimp installed on my desktop for more complex graphical design. Also uninstalled gnupaint which was no longer needed.

Music player: exaile. Is getting better and better although the crossfading seems not to work yet – or not consistent. I still prefer to all but amarok but on my eeepc I don’t want the kde libs installed.

Conky is a cool little tool for monitoring my pc – I use it for diskspace, CPU & RAM usage, network traffic and also battery. It put’s it output onto the desktop and is AMAZINGLY configurable.

Keepassx is still my password & PIN manager.
Guake is my terminal of preference.

Ok, office remains open office. I have gnumeric installed but only cos of ssindex which is needed for beagle to find stuff on my linux PCs. On top of this planner for my project planning and Dia for flowchart & visio type stuff.

Dictionary I am using starDict and have installed English, English to German and indonesian dictionaries that I need for work. Would like some more dictionaries (e.g. Indonesian and German to English) but otherwise love it.

Search: well beagle is not perfect but the only one to really find everything without needing an index as big as the data I am indexing (the only problem with recoll). I am not totally happy with beagle here but I still need to mess around a bit more to make it work as intended.

Programming editing: ok, programming is a bit of an exageration but editing html is done with bluefish. Simple and lightweight.

Filezilla for FTPing, galculator for calculator (10% of the size of GCalcTool but containing all the functionality that I ever use), mousepad text editor (although I usually use vi), nautilus file manager (with dropbox plugin), gsopcast for my online footie, idesk for my desktop, gsimplecal for my pulldown calendar (just replaced orage), VolumeIcon for volume control, xfce-power-manager, unetbootin to make bootable usb drives, skype, syncevolution for PIM sync, rsync as basis for my own backup scripts, wicd network manager and just about to install vpnc for vpn access to my work network, Firefox for browsing (see my previous blog about this), pidgin IM although I did take a quick look at empathy but there was too much gnome included in it.

And finally, my current project is remote access / control of my desktop and currently got vinagre for vnc access but not yet happy and so trying qtnx/freenx. I want to do this currently simply to control exaile running on my desktop from the patio where the wireless speakers usually are during the summer.

As I said at the beginning, I expect this list to keep changing as the open source world is changing SO fast. I would also love to know what you are using so that maybe I can find some new apps.

andEs Corner: Battle Of The Browsers

In the beginning there was mosaic. But this soon vanished into the history books as netscape appeared on the scene. Then as Bill Gates realised that the internet was important (seems amazing now to look back and realise that initially Microsoft ignored the world of www for years) through the early 90s there was the first war, between netscape and internet explorer. As with Star Wars it seems that despite the evil empire having defeated the blokes at netscape, the rebels did not give up but reformed under the banner of open source and in the safety of the mozilla foundation.
During the noughties, the Foundation reborn, with the Firefox browser, managed to take over about 30% of the universe from the Evil Empire.
But then suddenly what looked like a simple FA Cup Final turned into the whole of the champions league qualifications as another evil empire, Apple, launched their own ship named Safari (mostly on the iPhone), Opera always hiding at the outermost reaches of the galaxy seemed to mature with V10 and then the 3rd evil empire, google, joined in with the shiny Chrome.

Over the past year I have tried out most of them as my firefox 3.0 became unstable and sooooo slow but:
1. As I am running on a mostly linux, partly windows setup, no mac or iphone I could not test Safari.
2. As I am slightly aware of security issues and want a standards compliant browser I would not test IE.

So for me the battle is between Opera, Firefox and Chrome… Let the battle begin…
OPERA (V10)
+
The speed dial function is FANTASTIC!
The whole installation is simple as it just comes with MOST of the things you need like flash and java support.
For me this is the BEST out-of-the-box solution.

Not supported on all web pages. Notably google wave which seems a bit of a mean tactic  of the 3rd Evil Empire. But it can immitate other browsers with a simple mouseclick.
A little bit tricky to add delicious icon – infact this is the biggest minus in that it is not very configurable. But if you don’t tweek a lot then it is fine. I do tweek a lot. Always and everywhere!

There are also a lot of features that I never got round to using, like sync of bookmarks (cos I use delicious for this) which other people are raving about.
CHROME (V4.0)
Well this is the hardest to review as it is changing literally by the week. For example there are now extensions which was a minus point about 2 weeks ago.
+
Fast.
Very sleek and simple and minimalistic user interface.
Stable. Due to each tab not being able to effect the others it is much easier to stop or kill a rogue tab.
Also seems to come with most functionality just working.

There is still the supposed fear that google will get ALL of the info about you on the internet. I have no idea how much data is passed back to google.
There is not much of a chance to configure things like how much disk space it should use. Chrome is currently chewing up over 100MB of my disk and growing and I can’t do anything about it (on a 4GB eeepc 100MB is a lot!!).
For this reason I started looking at what the Foundation was doing now almost a year after I left them.

FIREFOX (V3.5 / V3.6.2)

+
The extensions. For everything you could possibly want there seems to be an extension available. i.e. having tasted the speed dialing in opera I found an addon for firefox which did just that. I also managed with strata theme to look pretty similar to chrome.
Brilliant adherence to standards.
Works pretty much everywhere.
Available for all OSes and now with firefox mobile even for your phone.
Has THE best support forums for all OS versions.

The extensions. The downside is that many extensions make FF either unstable or ridiculously slow. And finding out which one(s) is not easy.
Slow.
Unstable.
UPDATE: I just went round in circles and after being REALLY restrictive with my addons (on my eeepc I have  “classic compact options”, “compact menu 2”, “delicious bookmarks”,  “speed dial”, “stop or reload button”, “download manager tweak”, “handy tab” and the stratini theme) ff is now stable + fast.
With this setup I seem to have the best of all worlds.
And of course to look after my SSD I have set via about:config the following:
browser.cache.disk.enable; false
browser.cache.memory.enable;true
Also removed the search field (cos I have defined g to be google, w to be wikipedia and d to be delicious). Incase you didn’t know: you can add ANY search field to be used in firefox by doing the following:
1. Right click inside the search box.
2. Choose “Add a Keyword for this Search.”
3. Pick a name and shortcut key for it (e.g. “d” for delicious). The shortcut key can then be used to search in address field. So that “g liverpool arsenal online” will search in google for “liverpool arsenal online”).

Summary
I can say now there is no clear winner and it all depends on what you want to do. But firefox for me just replaced chrome to become my default browser again. It looks like in the releases between 3.0 and 3.5, firefox has come a long way and also it makes sense (at least on my eeepc) to be restrictive with addons. Especially those which analyse the content of pages: surprisingly addons like adblocker which are supposed to improve performance tended actually to slow the whole thing down.

So I guess my recommendation today (late 2009, early 2010) is:
1. out of the box winner: opera
2. tweekers dream: firefox
3. speed alone: chrome
4. best supported (i.e. least problems when viewing web pages): firefox
BUT I expect chrome to challenge both over 2010  so expect to see the 3rd Evil Empire seriously attack the old Evil Empire as soon-to-launch chromeOS (where chrome browser is an integral part) looks to be heading to become THE cloudOS (well maybe still behind jolicloud but with more money… looks like another blog is forming in my mind … The battle to be the perfect cloudOS …).

But I also think it will be interesting to see what else the browser evolves into if you look at Opera’s Unite / integrated web server and also things like Mozilla Weave.

andEs Corner: Facebook is fatally flawed

The more I keep thinking about Mark’s crazy outburst in January (see: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3848950 ) the more I think he is totally wrong. And if this man is driving the fb strategy then once a true contender comes along people will flock away.
The point is that Mark seems to think that the following is fine for most people:
– a smelly ugly totally horrible man (only did this to remove any possible sexual thoughts – not insisting that all fb app developers /advertisers are like this) comes to your front door and says: show me all of your fotos, names of closest friends and tell me each day what you did and what your deepest most intimate thoughts are. In addition to this give me a call and let me know which events you are planning to attend where and with whom. Ah, and I wouldn’t mind finding out which kind of things you are passionate about or which hobbies you have. In return for this I will provide you with a crappy game / dodgy horriscope or vaguely entertaining poll. And then let me know 20 of your friends who I could also con.

Hmm, would you fall for this?

The problem is that this is what happens when you install any application on facebook. And probably what each advertiser can see.
So, is facebook intentionally evil. No, but they obviously need to make money.

I would personally prefer an advert free / private version that I pay €5 / month for.

Yes, unfortunately I do think facebook is worth paying for if they can guarantee my privacy. It would then be nice to get 24×7 support line for when things go very wrong(like with friends and my wife’s accounts which were totally offline for 48hrs). And it would be nice to get a better foto uploader (more like picasa’s / less like something from 1999).

If these things could be guaranteed then I would use fb much more openly, much more often and it would become much more useful.
At the moment I don’t see this happening. And at the moment I see people getting around this by faking data, not uploading fotos of their kids, not really saying what is important to them… Which kind of defeats the point. For everyone. Including advertisers who can no longer be sure that this “important social data” is actually anywhere near the truth.

Which means there is a hole in the market. FB is in the optimal position to fill this. But will Mark get passed those $ signs blinding his vision?

Facebook has some great features: knowing what your friends are doing, seeing this and also one real plus point is that their messaging system is NOT email. Which means when you get a message there then it really is from a friend. Not spam, not a regular newsletter email, not work, but from the people that matter. All of this is totally pointless if I cannot trust facebook with my information.

Don’t say I didn’t warn u Mark.

andEs Corner: EasyPeasy On A Cloud

So I have now been with easypeasy (netbook focused independent derivative of Ubuntu Linux) since 1.0 and since I started using it am a total convert. Now up to EP1.5 and it does keep getting better.
It is the best distro for eeepc 701 4G. And probably all netbooks. Of course there are things that can be done even better. But anyway I wanted to briefly let you know how I have now ended up living with easypeasy on a cloud. I have tweeked all over the place, adding, removing, testing and I think finally (well for today at least) here is where I am now.
There will be some technical stuff in here (although it is not a complete “how to”) hopefully showing how I did it… Mostly I will discuss the easypeasy implementation but maybe occasionally there will be scraps of info about opensuse and windows (my other boxes).

My IT Zoo
So again (for those who have read other blogs you can skip this paragraph) a bit about my rather mixed setup: at work I have a windows XP box (yuk) with outlook 2003 (yukkier), at home desktop is opensuse 11.1 and evolution (although even here I have considered easypeasy cos I have got so used to the netbook remixer launcher!). And then there is my eeepc (also using evolution as my PIM) and a couple of mobile phones (nokia for work and SE for play). And a very old laptop almost never used with windows XP on it. And I try to keep everything up2date… Automagically.

Connecting
On my eeepc I use WiCD instead of the normal gnome network manager. Add the repository and install WiCD (gnome-network-manager will then be deinstalled automatically to avoid conflicts) and then it just works:
deb http://apt.wicd.net jaunty extras
wget -q http://apt.wicd.net/wicd.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add –
sudo gpg –keyserver http://deb.opera.com –recv-keys F9A2F76A9D1A0061

PIM Data
So first of all my PIM data is synchronised using the fantastic scheduleworld.com. This seems to have plugins for everything thanks a lot to some really good opensource work from funambol, genesis and syncevolution. Had some problems getting it working on opensuse (weird cos of the Novel – evolution connection) but eventually got all syncing and the biggest problem I had was getting a couple of events doubled. NOTHING deleted and ALL data synced. And I have over 1000 contacts and a busy calendar schedule THANKS to work. I suppose in today’s crazy world I SHOULD be happy about this.

Install syncevolution and follow the general howtos you can find on syncevolution.com & scheduleworld.com which depends on the setup you have. Here’s the package link you will need:
deb http://downloads.syncevolution.org/apt stable main

Here is the repository info for Genesis (which is basically a nice and SIMPLE front end to the rather difficult to understand config files from syncevolution):
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/frederik-elwert/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/frederik-elwert/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys A5BEC8B5

Email
This is surprisingly the least cloud-ed of all of my data. The only part here is gmail which houses my personal email. My work email stays in outlook where it belongs. Every so often I manually upload my outlook contacts into gmail. I have played with various plugins both in outlook (but this seemed to effect the performance of outlook too much) and earlier with Thunderbird. I gave up with Thunderbird when V2.0 somehow almost ground to a halt – i.e. the performance just got so bad – especially on my eeepc but also not much better on my suse box. If I was running the mozilla projects now I would be focussing #1 on performance for the next versions.

IM
Very simple: using pidgin with my gtalk and yahoo messenger accounts. And skype.

Surfing
Well I spent years with firefox but have recently switched to opera V10 as it is just much more stable and FASTER. Whilst on the firefox path I also tried the prism apps (gmail, googlereader, facebook, twitter, …) but they had some annoying drawbacks such as not taking my firefox download settings but also not being able to save images and in the end on my eeepc I had to pick either the Firefox way or Opera (I only have 4GB of SSD). Also had a look at jolicloud but as this is also seems to be based on firefox/prism it suffers from the same problems. Now a jolicloud based on opera would be good or mozilla speeding up firefox…

One changes I made to the default (interesting for all SSD owners) is I added the line:
Cache Directory4=/tmp
in userprefs section of $HOME/.opera/operaprefs.ini. This forces opera to use /tmp for MOST of its cache files. In the vanilla easypeasy form /tmp is mapped to RAM and so is also cleaned up at reboot. In addition to stop the other major cache topic is goto Options-Advanced-History and unclick “remember content on visited pages”. This not only saves SSD usage but also quite a bit of diskspace but this of course has the disadvantages that regularly visited pages will not be cached by opera thus slowing it all a bit – for me this is preferable.

The Opera repository info:
deb http://deb.opera.com/opera/ sid non-free
gpg –keyserver http://deb.opera.com –recv-keys F9A2F76A9D1A0061

Bookmarks
For bookmarks I am using of course delicious which with opera is a little more complex than it was with firefox but (un)fortunately opera is just so much faster and stable.
If you are using firefox you automatically have delicious as a search engine and just need to get the delicious add-on for the easy tagging icon – this is one HUGE advantage of firefox over opera – i.e. the ease of adding extensions. But then also it is one that I have found is a disadvantage as it tends to push you to bloat the already bloated firefox with rarely used add-ons.
Now using Opera as a browser and wanting to add a search pulldown for delicious requires you to add manually following into a new search type (Tools-Preferences-Search-Add):
http://delicious.com/search?p=%s&chk=&context=search%7C&fr=del_icio_us&lc=

You can ger the bookmarklets at http://delicious.com/help/bookmarklets and then make sure the personal toolbar is visible and then drag the widgets up to the toolbar.

Storage
For my “cloud storage” I am using Dropbox which just works wonderful with nautilus (both on suse & easypeasy) and XP explorer. I am still ok with the free 2GB limit. Using cloud storage on a netbook has various advantages:
– obviously you can easily sync with other devices
– you get your data backed up
– if you use it ruthlessly (like I do) there is little else to be backed up when you decide to update your OS (i.e. there a few config files that I have carefully trimmed that I save but then only once and never again)
What I do recommend (especially based on the sidekick fiasco recently) is of course “somewhere” in your device zoo to backup regularly the complete dropbox directory. I imagine the horror otherwise of one day when dropbox has its first major problem of it syncing zero with all devices.

Dropbox:
either directly via https://www.getdropbox.com/downloading?os=lnx
or better is to add the repositories:
deb http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://linux.getdropbox.com/ubuntu jaunty main
gpg –keyserver pgp.mit.edu –recv-keys 3565780E

Office
If I want to share my docs (often) I am using Zoho & openoffice (OO) and MSOffice plugins and as I ruthlessly save everything to my dropbox it also means the docs are also on dropbox and so all of my other devices. Kind of double clouded but sometimes I like to send people the zoho link e.g. when I want to collaborate with them on a document OR the other extreme I want to give them read only access and then if I want to give them the doc I put it in my drobox public foldder and send then the dropbox link.
As I need to use both OO and MSOffice I keep things simple using microsoft formats. But if I need to, zoho can handle both native formats.
Goto the zoho website to get the plugin for MSOffice and for openoffice goto the openoffice addons page and look for the gdocs_1.6.0.oxt extension (works for both zoho and googledocs).

Social Networking
There are a whole set of tools that can give you a kind of dashboard view of your social networks although mostly twitter and facebook are the only ones well supported. Well I played with lots, settled for a while with gwibber but am now currently using tweetdeck which is an Adobe Air application and lovely so far. The only downside although is it does seem a little CPU intensive but I will learn a bit more.
To do this:
Ensure you have downloaded the latest version of Adobe AIR from
http://get.adobe.com/air
Download the latest Tweetdeck AIR file from:
http://tweetdeck.com/go/download/tweetdeck
I found the easiest way was to save the tweetdeck app, open Adobe Air Installer, locate the tweetdeck…bin file and install like that. Other direct ways from tweetdeck.com didn’t work for me but this could also be an opera problem…
So far I have not yet found a ubuntu or easypeasy repository for this…

andEs Corner: The world’s best pub – every night a hen night

Down the pub every night. With all of the friends you ever knew no matter where they live. This is real in 2009. So did google or apple come up with a new teleportation service? No of course not! I am talking about facebook.
Facebook seems to have taken over the role of the pub. Also, I have started to witness more and more that people talk about their recent facebook adventures in a similar manner to how small talk used to rotate (at least in pre-having-kids years) to your latest nights out at some club or pub.
“Hey I connected with …” similar to “you will never guess who was down the pub last night…”
“I loved the comment you made on …” similar to “love your shoes”
“Did you see the ridiculous comment …made about …” similar to “did u see the shoes she was wearing”
As this whole phenomena is based around communication it is to be expected that women SEEM to be more at it then men.So it is a pretty unique pub (and one that I was always trying to find) as its the only one where women outnumber men. Kind of like a permanent online hen-night (*). Without the ridiculously (usually) tacky clothes.
The whole concept also fits neatly with the EU laws on smoking – or at least the Austrian version of it – with the pub having seperate areas for smokers and non-smokers – i.e. those who want to smoke can do so in the comfort of their own homes without disturbing the non-smokers. And it’s always happy-hour at your own fridge. So it’s not a bad pub.
The games available also seem to be more varied than the darts board, pool table and slot machine.

But there is a downside – not necessarily for the sponge down the pub … but for the others physically local to one of the facebook sponges attending the online nightly hen-nights.

What chance do personal communications at home have when the alternative is what is like a WHOLE room full of friends all talking at the same time about totally different topics, i.e. all of your facebook sponge friends. i.e. try to have a conversation in your own living room with (mostly) the female parts of the family all tied up in some chat/wall-ing/game/… activity on fb.

I suspect a whole generation of kids will grow up being neglected not due to their parents having nights out at the pub but nights in tied to the computer.

So will there soon be facebook self help groups?
“Hi I’m Alan and I am a facebook addict…”

But its not all bad. There are things you find out about friends that you would not have found out otherwise – not even if you got ridiculously drunk. Like which of the seven dwarfs you are most like.
And there is no hangover the next morning.

Note: this is the first in a new series I am doing with a photographer friend of mine from Jakarta, Athalia, to show how globalisation can have some positive sides when done bottom-up instead of top-down. Over the next few weeks I will use her fotos to try and inspire the flavour of my blog.

Living Large Jakarta - photos by Athalia

Living Large Jakarta - photos by Athalia

This weeks foto shows to me perfectly how communication used to happen in days before facebook.

(*) for non-english native speakers: a hen night is the female equivalent of a stag night, i.e. the last wild night out with mates of the same sex before getting married. It seems to have been successfully exported from England over the last 15 years to at least mainland Europe, in much the same manner as our other great export, football hooliganism. For a man out on the town without his better-half, a hen night which has-not-pulled can be potentially as frightening as bumping into an unsuccessful stag night resorting to the last option for a “fun night out”,  i.e. up-for-a-fight.