Tag: Ubuntu

Flocked

Last night someone  on Twitter asked if there was a blogging software similar to Windows Live Writer in Ubuntu.  I didn’t know so I did some research.  The result of my findings was Flock. Flock is not a blog software only like Live Writer, instead it is a web browser based on Mozilla Firefox but with built in social media capability.  You could feasably get similar usability by adding large quantities of plugins to Firefox but Flock is sleek and smooth and all the media just works.  It is also available in ALL flavors from Windows to Mac to Linux.  If you, like me, find yourself juggling multiple open web browsers/tabs trying to keep track of writing projects, web pages in use, AND various social media sites, then you might want to look into it.

It has taken me most of the day to catch onto how it all works (though, if you are inclined, there are several video walkthru’s at the ready when you first open the browser.)  There are various settings you can adpat to your own needs plus it uses all the plugins for Firefox you feel you might need.

Pros:

  • The uploader for media works beautifully!  One of my biggest complaints about Flickr is that the apps are often hard to use and messy.  This one gives you a preview of everythign you are uploading, has all the info you might want to add, and is quick and easy to use and upload.  You can use the uploader for multiple media sites–Flickr, Youtube, and Photobucket just being a few.
  • The blog editor.  The blog editor is simple and concise.  If you blog on several sies you can enter your info for each site (which it saves), make your post, then choose which to upload it to.  It also saves drafts and has all the basic functionality you expect in a blog editor.  (I am posting this from Flock.)
  • All people things in one place.  I LOVE that you can see all your different chat mediums in one spot.  Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, etc all post to the same spot AND you can toggle between individual sites without opening them up if you like.  This really simplifies things for m (I have been avoiding posting due to issues with the image uploader in Flickr for Linux AND the uploader in the new version of WordPress iving me trouble.)
  • Feed reader.  The feed reader is built in and very well done.  You can view ALL the sites, put them in folders, see excerpts of each and how many posts in each folder.  It marks them as read as you open them but keeps them all so you can go back and see them if you missed somethign or didn’t have time.
  • I like that I can have this open with all my social media and work in a separate browser (Firefox.)  This way I am no longer confused about having multiple browsers and tabs open and trying to remember which is where and what is what.
  • It has a clipoard which is integrated into the browser AND the blogging software meaning I can grab links that I want to use later and save them easily (it also lets you email links easily.)

Cons:

  • It is a bit more clutter than I prefer.  It is beautifully themed and elegant but all the little buttons that alert you to different updates are a bit much.
  • I love that it saves my favorite sites but wish it would show me whr eit is making that my favorite and allow me to delete the ones that really aren’t.  It doesn’t.
  • It has a nice little pop-down media browser for photos and videos that I could totally do without. 
  •  I wish there were a weather widget–I keep opening Igoogle anyway to check the weather then stay since that is where my comfortable stuff all is.
  • I have to keep Igoogle in case I am on a different computer since Flock doesn’t store your settings online.
  • As far as I can see you have to manually go to twitter or facebook to actually post a comment.  I miss being able to do it from Igoogle–though granted Betwitered is down part of the time.
  • There are a few other nitpicks and some of the items may just be me not being used to the software or not having found out how to use everything. 
Blogged with the Flock Browser

A Note on Ubuntu vs. Windows

I have a duel boots system (this means I have both windows XP and Ubuntu installed on different parts of my hard drive and a spot in the middle that both can access.)  Today out of sheer necessity I had to run Windows after a week of not (I don’t have the printer set up yet and I needed to use Paintshop Pro to edit my header since it was originally made in Paint Shop Pro.)

I had been wondering why I seemed to spend less time working on my computer recently.  I have the same amount of things to do, the same amount of work, yet somehow I am spending much more time doing other things.  I couldn’t figure it out.

Today I saw it.  I loaded Windows XP–which took a while.  I waited 5 minutes for my anti-virus software to update and run, I waited a few more minutes for all the other little programs that feel they need their shot (and I have this machine stripped down to the essentials).  I waited for Thunderbird and Firefox to boot up and I had to wait for Paintshop Pro.  Then I spent a whole lot of time waiting for Adobe to open so I could view and print a PDF.  All those programs wasted 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back.  I run the same sorts of software on Ubuntu and yet it only takes me a minute to get them all up and running–and they can do it at the same time.  No wonder I have so much more free time!

Ubuntu (circa 2008) vs. Linux Red Hat (circa 2001)

So here I am once again working on a Linux box. When I have spent a little more time using it and get over all the initial ooing and ahing I will give you a run down of Ubuntu vs. Windows XP service pack 2.  So far everything is so incredibly wonderful and super great as in “Oooo–look how fast my mail gets sent!”  and “Ahhh–I just opened 30 tabs in Firefox and my system didn’t barf” and I want to have time to find some flaws so I can give you a real comparison.

It has been 7 years since I first installed Red Hat Linux on my new OS free computer.  That computer ran Red Hat Linux for a year until we could finally afford XP so I could run all my kids’ games. (I should note here that that old computer is once again running Linux–that is the poor old machine that I put Edubuntu on for the kids. Talk about ironic.) Six years ago I quit using Linux in disgust.  Mind you I loved the OS–LOVED IT.  It didn’t crash and when something worked it really worked.  The problem was the lack of standard user information and of quality GUI interface (the stuff was designed by geeks with no artist in sight–it was pretty crappy).  Back then everything was installed via the terminal (similar to installing from DOS) and the only people using it were supergeeks who couldn’t possibly explain things in terms that a stay-at-home mom who could fix Windows machines and code in HTML could comprehend.  I spent hours hanging out on Slashdot and internet forums trying to glean information that actually was helpful and not too dumbed down or too over my head.  Fear of the Blue Screen of Death kept me hacking away trying to figure it all out.

Nowadays things are different in Linux-land.  Ubuntu is an easy to use OS with plenty of auto-installing programs in the database plus a huge wall of forums full of all sorts of useful information and simple walk-thrus.   Instead of spending my time searching the internet for the .roms I need for the specific install and trying to decipher cryptic terminal codes I do a quick Google search for the walk-thru I need, copy and paste the details and wa-la it works.

It also helps that most open source projects are available both on Linux and Windows.  Despite my install of Windows XP I never went back to Microsoft for most of my programs.  Outlook Express and Internt Explorer were never used–even when it meant that Flash and Shockwave didn’t quite work (they do now).  Thunderbird, Opera, Firefox, Winamp, OpenOffice, as well as many wonderful programs found at tinyaps.org graced my computer.  When I did buy something  (like Paintshop Pro) it was never Microsoft and seldom the big expensive companies.  Not only was it a way of encouraging the little guy but it also was a way for me to test out programs that others may need so I knew what to recommend when I was helping others with their computers. Since my husband is a programmer we are very anti-piracy.  Instead of recommending that somebody go out and buy an expensive memory hog software from Microsoft or Adobe I would encourage them to try Opensource or small company software that took less space, cost less money, and was less likely to let viruses and malware run rampant in their computer (which is usually why they called me in the first place.)

Back then I could not recommend Linux (or at least that flavor of Linux though at the time it was the most user friendly) to my mom, mother-in-law or anyone else who didn’t have a higher than standard comprehension of computers.  It took all my background and ability to research to make it do what I wanted to do.  With Ubuntu I feel I can finally recommend Linux to most users.  Nowadays you can find software for practically anything you need your computer for–and you can auto-install and it just works.  The plethora of educational resources available on it are an added plus.

Cleaning House

Due to random circumstances beyond my control (and which re definitely a God thing) I am off to install Ubuntu which means doing all kinds of scary things like repartitioning my hard drive.–which always makes me nervous.  I may well lose my Windows XP installation.  At this point I am willing to do so if it means I will be able to check my email etc without crashing.  Yeah, have been having some issues with my poor little computer.

So, if you don’t see me around you know where I am–in the scary world of partitioning and installing and learning a  slew of new programs interspersed with  working outside in the few spring like days we are suddenly having.  (I want a garden this year and God has been laying it on my heart to give it a shot again–this time with raised gardens to battle our crazy clay/fill mix.)  Praise the Lord the kids are happily making a mess out in the yard with varying shops that they have started up.

So, I am off.  Pray for me, I will need it.:)