Thursday, 10 May 2007

One of the things that's been bugging me a little since moving to Ubuntu is which email client to use. On Windows my mail client was TheBat! from Ritlabs, it serves me very well and everything is set up just as I want it, so to move from was a wrench. It struck me on Tuesday that I could try and use Wine to run TheBat! (TB). So I installed Wine using:

sudo apt-get install wine

Before setting up TB under Wine I did a Backup from TB under Windows. Then using Wine File browser I launched TB from one of my NTFS partitions. On running TB I restored the backup I'd just made under windows, again directly from an NTFS partition. This process was super quick, normally restoring a backup under Windows takes a few minutes, this was done in under a minute, fantastic for a 450Mb file! TB then ran with my mail archive and settings restored perfectly. However all of the icons on the toolbars and the tree window where black. After a bit of rooting around on Wine's website I found that an already reported bug was causing the problem. The solution was to update from .33 to .36 which I did using the instructions I found here, which solved the problem instantly.

So now I'm basically running TheBat! with all my mail under Ubuntu. Kudos to the Wine team, for a first time user it was a great experience.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Neat tip from Johnny

Here's a cool tip from Johnny Chadda who solves a minor irritation with Ubuntu. At home I'm connecting to a wireless network using WPA, however each time after login a prompt appears for the root password to connect to the network. Johnny's tip solves the problem neatly, here's the link.

SoundConvertor & Realplayer

Time for a few more reflections on life with Ubuntu so far.

Realplayer - bef0re my re-installation a few days ago Realplayer was working fine on the BBC's website. Now after my reinstall of Ubuntu, despite using Automatix to install realplayer I get the following error:I'm sure that it's surmountable and I will try the troubleshooting tips on, however I would rather that it 'just worked' like it did on the previous occasion. I've uninstall and reinstalled it a few times to no effect.

Ogg Vorbis - I've been using SoundConverter to do convert some audio files from mp3 to ogg. I really like SoundConverter and it seems to do a great job of converting the files. After a but of reflection and testing I tried various different bitrates for the conversion and finally settled on the Low setting (around 96kbps). The mp3's are mainly lectures and so there is very little discernable difference in the audio quality from a bitrate of 320 to 96! However the difference in file size is considerable, hence why I've opted for the smaller size.

More updates tomorrow...

Monday, 7 May 2007

Sessions Redux

Installing the newly renamed Pidgin fired my interest again regarding my sessions issue from day 6. A bit of rooting around on Ubuntu forums lead to me finding that the solution to the problem was to issue the following code:

sudo chown  ~/.config/autostart

which seems to have solved the problem, however it seems that this is only a workaround since there is still an outstanding Launchpad bug. Anyway the issue is solved for the moment.

In the interregnum since my last posting I've been playing around with SoundConverter which I've used to convert some of my mp3's to Ogg Vorbis. SoundConverter will basically read pretty much any format of audio file and convert to FLAC, mp3, wav and Ogg. It works very well, however it seems to be much slower than ripping a CD in the first place. Why this would be I don't know, anyway a very useful tool!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Day 7 - Reinstall and a great surprise

Today I had to reinstall Ubuntu. First off some explanation. Last night I was looking for a Onenote replacement and found Basket which looks great. After installing it I rebooted and Ubuntu failed to come back up. The splash screen showed but then the screen went blank with the waiting cursor showing. After some fiddling about using dkpg-reconfigure xserver-xorg I didn't get anywhere. So I reinstalled, it took about 12 minutes (very quick!) and I was pleasantly surprised when I rebooted...

As you'll know from my first post I have /home on a separate partition. When I logged back in I noticed that all of my layout preferences have been restored as well as configuration for Firefox and Evolution. So I was able to get up and running with virtually no effort. It's great that all of the program configuration is stored in /home rather than the Windows registry - it makes the process of reinstall much less painful when compared to Windows. I'm still not sure why GDM or xserver went wonky but no harm done.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Day 6 - Do sessions work under Feisty?

After a little while using Feisty and with the hibernation problems I've blogged about recently I decided that it would be useful to set up certain programs to autostart. After a bit of rooting around I found the System -> Preference -> Sessions dialog. Its not the most obvious name for a Newbie to find. I was expecting something like "Start up" or "Auto load/start" rather than Sessions.

Once I found it, everything appeared straightforward to use. Using the Startup Programs tab I added a Gaim. It took me a few reboots to realise that you had to use the Session options tab to save your changes! That aspect is far from user friendly. Why isn't there a Save button on the main dialog? It makes little sense to me to have to go to a totally separate tab in order to save!

Anyway after apparently saving the change and closing the dialog, when the Sessions dialog is reopened the change hasn't been saved, despite no apparent error message. This is irritating, from a Newbie's perspective the feature is difficult to find, operates slightly oddly and appears to be broken. Maybe I've missed something obvious, but it does appear to be broken. For the next few days I've not got time to investigate this, but from my point of view this feature certainly needs some work to make it friendsl.

Day 5 - Windows

Today, I've had to revert to WinXP for a while since I've not quite got Windows running under VirtualBox yet. My main reflection after using Windows for an hour or so is that it just seems slow and sluggish compared to Ubuntu. I do have quite a few apps installed and I last reinstalled it around 6 months ago, but even so the difference is quite marked. Whether Ubuntu will slow down in a similar way after a few month use we'll have to see.