29 November 2006

Two stand.

Two people.

It doesn't matter who they are, or where, or when. Just that there are two and that they stand, side by side, holding hands.

Each holding onto the other's hand, as if it were some sort of shield against the horrors they are experiencing.

There is indeed something that links us all together, a togetherness in the face of adversity. Alone things are hard, but together they are never quite so terrible.
Sometimes we can't survive something without that other person, standing there with us.

Audio players under Linux

23 November 2006

Being the hardcore opensourcey dude that I am, my music is all in Ogg Vorbis.

No, seriously, I wasn't being sarcastic.
It actually offends me when I mention this to other linux geeks and they find it amusing. I don't quite see why it's funny that I don't use MP3, surely it's a good thing that I use an open format?

Anyway, there's plenty of players available these days, but very few appeal. I currently own an iriver H320, much like my non open-sourcey friend, Hannah. I have no idea how she finds hers, I must ask some time, however, I have considerable issues with mine;

  • It's bulky
  • It's about as un-chic as it is possible to be
  • The interface is an absolute bitch to use

Now the looks may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but I find it difficult to carry the banner for open source when the devices that I am restricted to look like 1970s NASA rejects.

However, recently, iriver announced their 4GB "clix" - linky

This appeared on Digg and it was discussed how it doesn't seem to support linux OotB, or at least, it's a major pain in the arse (i.e. firmware changes, hardware tweaks).

There's an increasing trend towards not treating DAPs like UMS (Universal Media Storage, I think) and instead demanding they use crap like WMP. I had that problem with a HP120 (I think that's what it's called), a 20GB HP DAP, not an iriver. I took the shiny piece of junk back and got a refund.

I really wish an enterprising company would produce a low-cost, open-source DAP that supports Ogg Vorbis, is nicely fashionable and about the size of an iPod Nano. I'm fed up of lugging my H320 around in its protective case (it may seem silly, but that case has saved it so many times during my travels around the globe).

That isn't to say I want to be rid of my iRiver, just that it isn't so good for my daily commute. It's great for longer journeys as I can store lots of data on it, but during the week I'd like something small that I can tuck in a discrete pocket.

Digg this.

Currently, Kino is my favourite video editor. I adore its simplicity and functionality.

What I don't like, however, is its awful website, .
It's unfriendly, outdated and doesn't show off Kino at all.

Work continues on Kino, but not on the site it seems, with the " Kino User Guide" last being update in 2004 and before then 2002. Are we due for an update in 2006 too?

The front page of the site strikes me as not only cluttered, but badly thought out.

Why do we care more about outdated stories from users than the latest news posts?

The first link I see is "archive", described as "old stuff". Why don't they just call the whole site that? Why do I need a special link to the archive when there's already so much old stuff on there?

I don't know whether the site holds any good developer-centric content as I'm no developer and so wouldn't know a good developer site if one poked me in the eye, however, from a user's point of view, I'm immediately turned off by the site. Despite the project being very much alive, it feels like wandering into the web-equivalent of an old house. Someone once lived here, but they're long gone. Kinda like the Diva site! (Although the Diva site is good, other than its abandoned-ness, woo, new word!)

As I mentioned earlier, the User Guide section is in serious need of an update, it feels untouched since 2004 and a program like this has so much potential, surely a nice userguide isn't that much to ask for?

If I have the time, I plan on writing more about Kino, as it's a program I think deserves more coverage than it's currently getting.

Before then though, I have more to say about the site..
Why is it so text-heavy (and not even very good text!) with so few pics? Why the hell is the screenshot section so spacey?

Mmmm, pretty gaps..

Even then, the newest screenshot is from Kino 0.8.0. Nice. Except that the newest version of Kino is 0.9.3.

Furthermore, now that services such as YouTube and GoogleVideo (amongst others) are so pervasive, why can't we have some embedded videos of work done with Kino? (Hell, there's even a functional version of Flash 9 available!)

My final point to make is one that is particularly close to my heart..

That's the proper size for it. Compare that with the one on the Kino site..

Digg this.

Choosing music

16 November 2006

Why is it that my music collection seems so much better when I listen to it blind to the current track?

When I'm given the control to change the song at will I seem to become a lot easier to please and furthermore, the "next" button seems to bring up the same stuff that I don't want to listen to time and time again (I tend to have my music app set to shuffle). It's not that I don't like the music, it's just that it's not the kind of music I feel like listening to at that moment in time.

My music collection spans some five thousand tracks (possibly more, I've not checked in a while) and yet I struggle to find something suitable to listen to. Why is that?

What happened to Diva?

13 November 2006

Diva seemed to hold such promise when Michael Dominic was interviewed about it on LUGRadio, way back in April, but since then the site seems to have sat empty and unused for months with no fresh progress made.

Oh, Diva, where art thou?!

Ubuntu's colour scheme..

08 November 2006

I read a little bitchy blog post earlier, posted on

It made various points about Ubuntu, negative points.
I don't oppose criticism of Ubuntu, especially when it's stuff that's important (Such as "Why the hell is wireless such a pain in the arse?!"), however, this was (aside from a couple of points), pretty much biased opinionated crap.

Allow me to elaborate, or, I suppose, you could go have some coffee instead and make more productive use of your life than reading this jumbled collection of thoughts and opinions.

When I think about it, it's not just opinions that are the problem, not at all, it's more when someone attempts to pass off their own opinion as fact without actually providing much backup to it at all, or in fact when their opinions are entirely wrong.

An example of an opinion being wrong is the point the poster made about installers..

The install process needs to have an “Easy Install” option that assumes you have Windows installed and want to keep it then does the following:partitions some space, creates a swap, configures your X server, ethernet, sound, video and other hardware settings (over the internet if needed) then makes a nice microwave style “ping” sound when it isready to be used.

The Dapper installer (and Edgy too) DOES have an easy installer! It asks you for a username and pass, along with some region info to get the keyboard layout right and can do all the partitioning for you!
I think the installer should be made even easier, true, but it is considerably easier to use than the Windows installer, I can tell you! (Speaking from experience, having to have to reinstall Windows on all sorts of different machines in the past)

Now, to return to my point of stupid opinions..

Ubuntu is brown.

Yes, and?

Just because Windows is blue and OSX is silvery, both by default, doesn't mean Ubuntu has to be like them. Why should it be? Ubuntu is Ubuntu, not OSX or Windows!
Also, in my experience, many people find the warm shades of brown to be quite earthy and welcoming. It seems the poster is still a bit immature though, as they seem to immediately associate it with the colour of shit.

Grow up, lad.

But wait, there's more!

Ubuntu has stupid, cutsie-pootsie animal names that piss me off.

That piss YOU off. That's nice for you. If it bothers you that much, refer to Ubuntu by its version numbers. Don't like Dapper Drake? Call it Ubuntu 6.06!

How about making sure every name has some technical sounding initials (ME, XP, OS X etc etc). Ubuntu X5 sounds a hell of a lot better than Edgy sodding Eft.

Perhaps you don't know, dude, but a great many computer users find technology a bit intimidating. They don't WANT it to sound really technical, they want it to feel a bit more human and a bit less faceless-corporation-y (How's THAT for making up adjectives!).

He continues on for several more points with utter tripe such as "this is the way Windows users do it. Do it their way!" An example:

The way EVERYONE installs software outside of the Debian mini-verse is like this: go to website or insert CD, download software, double click on software icon, click all of the “Yes or Okay” dialog boxes. Done.

No, the way most people do it is, find a bit of software, download what they THINK is the right file, find it's a compressed archive and get a bit confused. Perhaps they then figure out how to extract it (or ask a nearby geek for help). If they manage to then open it up, they just click "Okay" until the installer goes away. Then begins the hunt for the new program.. hidden somewhere on the desktop or in the folds of the start menu.

How does Ubuntu do it?


Really tough, I know.

The author takes some time to say that Ubuntu is ugly and unsexy too. I call BS. Have you looked at Windows XP lately? Like actually looked? Now compare that to Dapper or Edgy. If you still think Ubuntu is ugly, go see an optician.

He makes the odd valid point, such as we need more gaming support, but even then he seems to totally misunderstand how open source development works.. (Dude, you don't just "assign" people to a project - "Here, you, make the textures for this game" unless they actually want to be a part of that project. They're donating their time, but it's not unconditional, you know.)