Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gnome users are revolting IV

Here's one Gnome user who is definitely revolting:
Reactions across the Internet were virtually identical with one fine division; users who were using Gnome 3 in a production environment or had use cases that required them to maintain a productive work-flow were completely hampered by the experience while the much smaller class of adventurous casual users thought that it was pretty and offered enough bling for them to impress their friends with.
I have to say I don't recognise myself from the description. Is this claim based on some sort of scientific survey, or just pulled from the author's behind? Certainly there are a lot of anti-Gnome 3 reviews on the internet, but there are some good ones too.

Here are a couple of examples.

Two reasons Why Jim Nelson Likes GNOME 3 Shell:
Stability – Considering this is an initial release, I’ve found the Shell to be remarkably stable. I’ve had no freezes or crashes. While that seems like a low bar to overcome, this is essentially an 0.1 release. Not much 0.1 code can make the claim that it’s stable. Most 0.1 code is just happy it compiles.

Productivity – I should list this first, but I decided to save the best for last. My productivity has jumped since I switched to GNOME 3 Shell. This might be a highly subjective evaluation. I suspect I’m not alone.
No, you're not. Jack Wallen likes it too. Here are a couple of examples of the 10 things he's grown to love about GNOME 3:
1: Minimalism I have always been a minimalist. No icons, no widgets, no nothing. I want a clean desktop, and GNOME 3 offers about as clean a desktop as you can get without running E16. The only object on the desktop is the panel — until you reveal the launcher. But just because GNOME 3 takes a minimalist approach doesn’t mean it’s not easy to use. In fact, once you get used to it, it’s one of the easiest to use desktops you will come across.

7: Compositing The compositing of GNOME 3 is elegant and far from overstated. Instead of going the Compiz route, GNOME 3 opts for subtle use of transparency and a few simple, clean effects that highlight how a compositor can actually improve the efficiency of a desktop. Transitioning between windows or in and out of the Dash is about as graceful a transition as can be had on a computer desktop. Best of all, the compositor on GNOME 3 does not, in any way, take a hit on the performance of the machine. GNOME 3 compositing is so much in the background, you will hardly notice it doing its thing.
Gnome 2 is a Windows 95 paradigm. It's inefficient and redundant. Put a quick launch icon on the panel and it will launch the application, but it won't let you switch to it or tell you what that application is doing. No you can't minimise windows in Gnome 3, because it doesn't have a crowded and unreadable bottom panel. No, Gnome 3 isn't perfect, but it's already getting better.

I'm sure there must be more people like me who love the elegant efficiency of Gnome 3. Let's make out voices heard!

Gnome users are revolting III

Hate Gnome 3? Looking for an alternative?

Jack Wallen has a suggestion.

Which is clearly an elegant improvement over the ugly and dated Gnome 3 paradigm.

Er... Or maybe Jack Wallen is taking the piss?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mozilla Extended Support Release

I've previously blogged on how the new fast development cycle from Firefox was making corporate deployment difficult.
Mozilla is now making a concession  to corporate users with an Extended Support Release with security updates for 42 weeks instead of six weeks with the fast release cycle. Datamation has the story.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gnome 3 built-in screencast

Gnome 3 has built-in screencast recording. Just press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-R (you'll need to be a bit of a digital gymnast). How cool is that? No. 9 of Ten Gnome 3 features that won me over. Find the screencast in /home as a .webm file (reddit).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gnome 3.2

I've been using Gnome 3 for a couple of weeks now, and enjoying it a lot. There are a few things about it that I was thinking could be improved, but today I discovered from the As far as I know blog that the Gnome team is already ahead of me.

Gnome 3.2 is going to get:
  • A matching GDM welcome screen.
  • Integrated chat- no need to launch Empathy.
  • More natural workspace switcher behaviour.
  • Device hot plugging work nicely with the shell.
  • More obvious  waiting messages.
The last one, for me, is the most annoying. Leave the computer for a few minutes and the only way to see if an email has arrived in the meantime is push the cursor into the bottom right of the screen to bring up the message tray.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Edit and convert GTK-RecordMyDesktop output

Just a link I found useful while experimenting with RecordMyDesktop. Output is in the Ogg format, which Avidemux can't edit. TuxArena Blog has a tip on how to convert the output file to a format Avidemux can handle, and at the same time reduce the size of the file before uploading to a video-sharing website of your choice.

Can't stop GTK-RecordMyDesktop in Gnome 3

RecordMyDesktop is a program for recording screencasts. I was trying it out today when I encountered some unexpected results. I started recording, but couldn't find a way to stop. The program was in the Gnome 3 notification area at the bottom of the screen, but clicking it resulted only in the top Gnome panel disappearing. Fortunately I found a solution on Google before my HD filled up. There seems to be an incompatibility issue, which can be avoided by unticking a couple of (non-essential) options as described in the link.

Here's the screencast of the unstable behaviour. All-in-all a success, despite the hitch. A screencast review of Gnome 3 is a upcoming project.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Connecting to

Recently I've noticed WordPress blogs taking a long time to load, or stalling before loading completely, while Firefox displays the message Connecting to The delay is minutes rather than seconds, so this is a serious inconvenience.

The problem seems to be with the Gravatar service, which supplies an avatar to comments added to a blog post.

WordPress Comments Slow Down Page Speed.
Gravatars Can Slow-Down Your WordPress Blog.

Update: Adding an AdBlock filter for Gravatar fixes this. Simply right click on any Gravatar avatar and  select AdBlock Plus: Block image.

Update 2: Not quite. Add a custom filter for http://** to block all of Gravatar's servers.

s* is also causing delays.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Empathy at startup in Gnome 3

To run Empathy (the chat program in Gnome 3) at startup, it seems to be necessary to run gnome-session-properties in a terminal and manually add Empathy. (Found on Ask Ubuntu.)
Update: It seems the aim is to integrate chat into Gnome without the need for Empathy running.
From 3.2, GNOME 3 will have fully integrated chat and messaging. This means that the system will be able to automatically log you into chat and messaging services without you needing to launch a separate application, and you will be able to take calls, reply to chat and room invitations as well as file transfers from the shell itself. Much of this has already been implemented, including a decent chunk of backend work. 
 As far as I know.

Integrating Pidgin and Gnome 3

Pidgin has always been my favourite chat program, and I've stuck with it even after Gnome switched to Empathy, partly out of habit, but also because it has the ability to block messages from people I don't know, and the ability to show email messages from web email applications and quickly go to the email page.
I've moved to Fedora 15 because I want to use Gnome 3, and I'm giving Empathy another go. I'm using Gmail to check my old and little-used web email accounts like Hotmail, and unless I get start getting annoying spam with Empathy, I might stick with it.
Empathy uses Gnome 3's new bottom-of-the-screen notification system. Apparently Pidgin doesn't, but there's a Gnome 3 extension that allows Pidgin to integrate. Hubfolio has a guide. I may be checking it out if the spammers find me.

Opera in Fedora

It may not be open source, but I like Opera, and like to install it on Linux. I'm using Fedora 15 at the moment, and Opera is a manual install, and must also be updated manually when updates become available, but it's not hard to do. If Not True Then False has a guide.

Highlight text in Firefox

Sometimes when reading a long text in Firefox there'll be a sentence or two you want to come back to and think about again, or paste somewhere else, in blog like this for example. But if you're like me, you've probably scrolled back up the page and spent several minutes looking for the passage again, trying to remember the words and spot them in the expanse of text.
A highlighter is the answer of course. There used to be a Firefox extension that did this, but it stopped being updated a long time ago and isn't usable with recent versions of Firefox. There are more sophisticated extensions available that include a permanent highlight function (like Wired-Marker), but I'm not doing research so their functions are largely superfluous.
I was having a look at extensions again yesterday and was happy to find a basic Firefox text highlighter that works with recent versions of Firefox. It's called TextMarker!

Update: Blogger users may not appreciate the way this extension adds a load of HTML every time you paste something into the comment field.