Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lush-Cardapio-Ice Desktop

Here's a grab of my current desktop, showing the Ubuntu Lush theme, the new Cardapio menu applet, and the use of Ice web-apps:

The drop-down menu at the top-left is Cardapio, and everything is in there; it's like a KDE or Mint Menu; then there are dedicated Ice-made web-apps for Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo mail, this blog, and my 4shared page. At the top right pidgin is inside the envelope and there's also a green button (not shown in the grab) that says that I'm available (online) through Mxit. For me, this is all very Mac OS 7-9, my favourite desktop era. This is all Ubuntu/Peppermint though, not Mac.

Lush is available through synaptic (in a collection of gnome-2 themes); Ice is available by adding the following ppa and then checking Ice in synaptic:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kendalltweaver/peppermint

Cardapio also needs the ppa added:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cardapio-team/unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cardapio

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mxit is great on linux

Mxit, as many of you know, is the messenger of choice for thousands of Southern Africa's teens; and boasts millions of subscribers world-wide. Here in Swaziland it's used by every teen who has an internet-usable phone. Mxit distracts students during class at school and keeps them awake at night, long after the time they should have been asleep. We adults use it too. Of course: a single sms using Swaziland MTN costs 80 cents, but you can text to many friends using Mxit for three hours for just 60 cents.

There is no reason not to use Mxit.

But Mxit works on a laptop or desktop too-- at least it does using Linux and Pidgin. I use Pidgin (for Mxit) on Mint, Peppermint, Jolicloud, and even TinyCoreLinux, and it works seamlessly and without ever crashing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tiny Core Linux!

Well, this is fun. I'm posting this using Tiny Core Linux: an OS that works 'out-of-the-box', has a GUI, and is only 10MB in size! Downloading and installing apps is a breeze... now, if Prism or Ice was available as an extension, so I didn't have to even fire up Chromium...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gnome Global Menu Panic!

Up until very recently I always added the gnome global-menu ppa to any new install of a system and added the applet to my top desktop panel. I loved having the extra menus available at the top of the page (probably because I was a Mac user for 15 years). But a few days ago I noticed that something was hogging my ram and making my computer move like it was sliding through molasses. I discovered that global-menu was the culprit. Somehow or other it was throwing the CPU into a panic attack and just kept recycling, using up to 98% of the processing. I disabled it and then removed it. :(

But I gather that something similar is set to arrive in Maverick... (Ubuntu 10.10). :)?

Radiance (Ubuntu) theme

Here's a screenshot of one of my laptops with the Radiance theme installed. I think it looks way cool. (I'm actually running Linux Mint Isadora, but of course Mint is built upon Ubuntu.) If you like it too, it's available through synaptic: just search for radiance...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why Jolicloud is the new Holy Grail

The biggest reason why I'm keen on Jolicloud 1.0 is because its interface mimics those insanely great Apple iPhone, iPad, and other mobile interfaces. As I've remarked before, the future of the Internet/Web/Mail and the rest is how well desktop environments integrate with mobile environments (this is, for example, why google's WAVE didn't catch on). Jolicloud is built upon Ubuntu so there wasn't much danger of it not working-- but the interface has given it the edge over its competition.

Way back in 1984, when the first Macintosh computer was unveiled to an unsuspecting world, I became an instant fan. Apple's approach has been, indeed, insanely great. But it isn't the hardware or the apps that have brought about the revolution: it was the Human Interface Guidelines that did it. In other words, Apple realised that the user experience is at least as important as the quality of the hardware and software involved. Most users aren't geeks or nerds and don't want to be: they'll happily settle for less speed, power, or whatever, as long as it looks good. The equation is: If it works and it looks good, then it is good.

[At the moment I'm running Jolicloud 1.0 on my Samsung NC10, OSX (of course) and Ubuntu Lucid on my MacBook, and Mint Isadora, Peppermint, and Peppermint Ice on my run-of-the-mill laptop.]

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