26 July 2010

My Weekend Project

I have considered a number of different things to post over the summer, but really I have just used the summer as a break from the usual, which has meant paltry blogging. Not that I am anything more than a casual blogger, but the summer has still been rather void of posts.

First I want to post to the four videos I have made so far this summer. The Carl Sagan video (btw I am reading one of his books now) got me on a short Atheism video kick in which I made four videos ( Answering Questions for Atheists, My Questions for Theists, My Questions for Atheists from an Atheist, My Answers to My Atheist Questions ). I actually made more videos I did not release, including Questions of People Who Oppose Abortion (though that has nothing to do with Atheism), but unless begged they will probably remain soley on my harddrive.

Anyway, I want to make this post basically about one thing I did this weekend.


When I was in middle and high school I had a usual desktop computer. One of those computers that got upgraded every year and such. Of course when I got to college I got a laptop. The desktop just proceeded to get old, and though Windows XP is the operating system that won't to die (probably Microsoft's masterpiece. This is a topic for another time but I think Microsoft is in decline and Apple is on the rise.) it was still clunky on the desktop. It just needed a refresher.

So I put Ubuntu on it (9 something back then) about a year ago. Ubuntu is a relatively nice, easier-to-use version of Linux. The old computer runs much better (and it has definitely prolonged its usability!). I like Mac OS X Snow Leopard (and my next computer almost certainly will be a Mac) but I still have a Windows 7 computer due to circumstance. Though I do have to say my current laptop is probably one of my favorite  computers I have ever owned (not necessarily due to Microsoft, but rather the power of the computer's hardware and software like Google Chrome), but my opinions of Microsoft have been declining especially as I see Apple continue to innovate.

I did not take an initial screenshot, so here is one from Wikipedia of Ubuntu 10.04

Anyway, since I was not doing much with my desktop I decided that I wanted to try and make it look more like OS X (I don't go as crazy as many users do, but I do try and focus on some of my preferred features). I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04 just to knock out anything I had done messing around on it before, and then got to work.

Desktop after first round of work
The first thing to do was to replace the bottom taskbar with a dock (which is one of my favorite GUI features of OS X, and I actually have RocketDock installed on my laptop). I used Avant Windows Navigator to do this.

After setting this up, I realized that since this was not my main computer, I should focus on the cloud more. Instead of using Open Office (a free alternative to Microsoft Office), I should just use Google Docs, and that sort of thing. Not everything is on the cloud, of course, but I did make a change of a few things.

Changed to somewhat of a cloud focus
I also went through the trouble of finding Picasa and Google Earth for Ubuntu. I also choose the Snow Leopard picture because for some reason it just looks fantastic on the desktop screen.

After that I worked on getting some UI interaction stuff set up with Compiz. Using it I set up another thing I really like on OS X, which is Expose (aka when I hit F3 it shows all of the open windows in a grid-like layout).

Anyway, I am sure this is not very interesting for people, so I won't really go into much of the details. Of course it does not have all of the functionality or features of OS X, but I wanted to at least do something about the total lack of content. Also, a feature of Compiz I like is that the windows wiggle as you move and resize them, which is rather fun.

I do have one question - does anybody know what the closest thing to iTunes is that will work on Ubuntu 10.04? I tried installing iTunes on Wine, but it is not very usable. I am a huge fan of iTunes, so any tips would help. I did not like Songbird because I did not think it was organized enough and none of the add-ons really helped.
And yes, this post was made on the Linux desktop.

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