Friday, September 28, 2012

Download BBC iPlayer content on Linux

My wife informed me last night that I'd missed the start of a new series of a program I like on the BBC. I checked the BBC iPlayer site and found that the episodes I'd missed were still available. I didn't have time to view it right then, so I was intrigued to see a download link which offered an install option for the BBC iPlayer Desktop, which claims to let me download content and watch it later on, but upon clicking it nothing happened.

Apparently there is or was a Linux version of the BBC iPlayer. While Googling it I came across Get_iPlayer, a Linux command line program that downloads content from the BBC web site, but without the 30 viewability limit that iPlayer apparently imposes.

There's a useful tutorial at

The Get_iPlayer website says:
The BBC may at some point choose to effectively protect their streams with DRM or some ‘effective technological measure’ in which case get_iplayer will no longer be a useful tool for those streams.
So it may not work forever.

There are of course some legal and moral issues in downloading BBC content in a fashion that the corporation never intended which now follow:
Too boring, read it on the web site.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Change Autoremove Status of Package

Sometimes in Debian you install something, find you don't really want it, uninstall it and then find stuff you do want is marked for autoremove. Here's a good tutorial on how to change the autoremove status in Debian using apt-mark.

Update: the command, if the YouTube video ever disappears, is:

# apt-mark unmarkauto

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A look at Gnome 3.6 beta

Gnome 3.6 beta has been out for a while, but not available for testing without compiling the software, so I was pleased to see that a live image is available- basically running on an alpha release of Fedora 18.

I was familiar with what was coming from a post at As far as I know. There are descriptions of changes with screenshots there, so I'll just add a few personal comments.

The new message tray is a big improvement. The jiggling small icons which are so hard to click on have become fixed, large icons. The new triggering mechanism seems a bit coarse, but an improvement is planned.

The centralised search bar in Activities Overview, now minus application icons, really emphasises the way to use Gnome 3: not by searching through a screen of icons (which, after all is really a Windows 3 paradigm), but by entering the first letter or letters of the application you want to launch. I'm finding this a much easier way to launch applications than by searching though menu items.

The new Nautilus looks very good. Gnome is about minimalism and I like minimalism. There's been a lot of negative comment on the new file manager because of lost features. When I first heard about the dual pane feature of Nautilus being dropped, I was at first concerned, because I use it a lot. However, I listened to the justification given and it seemed reasonable: a new "move to" feature largely removes the necessity for a dual pane, and if you do want to compare files in two locations, side by side view is easy in Gnome 3.

Gnome 3.6 really looks like being something approaching what Gnome 3 should be. As a Debian user, I'm sad that it's Gnome 3.4 that's going into the next stable release. Debian Stable Gnome users will be missing improvements in Gnome 3.6 that see the desktop get into its stride after some initial stumbling steps.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Remove the Firefox title bar

Gnome 3 applications will eventually lose the title bar in full screen mode. Firefox is working on the change, but until then, free up valuable screen real estate with the HTitle Firefox extension.

Remove the Opera title bar

The title bar in Gnome 3 is redundant: a waste of valuable space on modern wide screen monitors.

Gnome 3 applications will eventually lose it: the Gnome browser Epiphany already has.

Opera users can get rid of it by right clicking on the tab bar and unchecking "Show border", as described on My Opera.