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Ubuntu 10.04: Lucid Lynx

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Now that the latest an greatest of current versions of Ubuntu is finally into its beta stage i thought i should give it a try. I heard and read a lot about it.So let’s see what’s true and what isn’t.

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 12.57.36 24. Mar

As you can see the desktop is still familiar but the new “Computer” and “Trash” icon already look a lot more welcoming and are hopefully only a small taste of what’s to come until April 2010.

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 1.13.51 24. Mar

Many of the Menu-Icons are refreshed as well. What I like especially is the Wine-Icon.

Other than that the first impression doesn’t try to fool you into thinking that everything’s changed. It just seems like a worthy polish of what’s been there already.

 

Numerous services keep crashing on me all the time (and telling me so through an error-message) but I never realize what’s broken. Everything just works like I’d expect it to. The only thing that annoyed me was that the standard search provider of Firefox was now changed to Yahoo which I immediately had to change back to my own preference. Pidgin is once again the IM-client of choice for Canonical, which I welcome. I’ve been told that as of 10.04 the GIMP is no longer part of the standard Ubuntu installation, but since I only did an upgrade I cannot confirm that. If it’s true and there is no replacement for it I could understand that since not everybody needs a powerful photo manipulation software. As far as I know the GIMP binaries are pretty huge which doesn’t go well with an Ubuntu Installation-CD where size is still a factor.

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 12.59.14 24. Mar Ubuntu 10.04 also has this nice Social Networking touch integrated into the Taskbar (or whatever the bar on top is called) now.

 

Networks like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr (although not all of them fully functional yet) can be integrated into this new Broadcasting app seen below that allows you to access all of your social networks at once and see what’s happening.

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 1.00.58 24. Mar 
Of course there haven’t been any huge promises for 10.04 concerning the look-and-feel so I’m rather pleased with what I’m seeing there, assuming that the improvements don’t stop there. But there have been promises about functionality like faster booting and I didn’t see any improvement there yet. Let’s hope for the best that Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx will become a worthy re-release of one of the best Linux distributions out there.

My Mac OS X Dock reviewed

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So after a weekend break and a stressful start into a new one I could finally think of a topic for another blog-entry. So here’s a list of Programs that reside in the Dock of my MacBook and some more i regularly depend on:

  • Finder – Who would’ve thought.
  • Firefox – It’s my browser of choice and a good one at that. I know my way around Internet Explorer/Safari and they both do not meet my expectations and the only other one worth mentioning in my eyes is Opera which i have also tried numerous times but it just doesn’t offer the same allaround solution.
  • Mail – With the ability to work with multiple Mail Accounts (IMAP of my university and Gmail in this case) intuitively it already provides everything I’m used to from Windows. Smart Folders, RSS functionality and Notes are just very useful additions to that.
  • iCal – After trying unsuccessfully to sync my Outlook-World (which is synced with my Mobile Phone) with the Apple-side of the pond i decided to just sync my Phone redundantly over Bluetooth with iSync as well until Nokia Ovi for Mac comes along. So I’m not satisfied by its syncability but very much by its usability.
  • iTunes – Another very guessable Application I use. The only alternative i tried so far is Songbird and although i liked it i didn’t see any reason to not stick with iTunes since I don’t listen to music on my MacBook too much anyway.
  • SimplifyMedia – So this is where my list might become interesting for some. For those who don’t know it. SimplifyMedia provides me with the ability to stream music from any of my computers that also have SimflifyMedia running on it. It integrates into iTunes (or Winamp for Windows) very neatly. Very recommendable application.
  • Picasa – Although it hasn’t been out for Macs for long yet I sure made up for lost time already. It’s the best Picture Manager I know of and none works better when you have your Collections in a network-folder.
  • Adium – Without a doubt the most advanced Instant Messaging client out there for Mac OS X. It’s got it all. It’s that simple.
  • Cyberduck – When it comes to foreign file-protocols like FTP, WebDAV and so on, I’ve always been satisfied with the way the Finder itself handles them but I still hold this app dear for its ease of use, should I ever need it.
  • Activity Monitor – Since I often want to know what’s happening inside my computer i could not live without some Application of this kind. Although it cannot even begin to keep up with Process Explorer for Windows it still features everything I need.

Other Applications I regularly use:

  • VMware Fusion – This Application sure has made it easier for me to use Windows on my MacBook from time to time. It’s so much simpler to be able to have Mac OS X and Windows running side by side when the performance penalty is almost not present at all.
  • InsomniaX – Sitting in the MenuBar this Application makes sure my MacBook doesn’t go to sleep when I close the lid of my MacBook. I don’t like that standard behavior.

Maybe some of you can profit from this blog-entry. The others might as well just wait for another one. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

cheers

Windows vs. Mac OS X: Aspects reviewed

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Tiny Spoiler: no Macintosh/Apple praising found in this post.

So to make my blog interesting to a bigger audience I decided to publish both in german (because I think one should never forget where they came from, especially if you’re partially surrounded by all those programmers who write great programs in bad english and think that’s OK) and english of course.

The language i choose will most likely be based on the subjects i cover. Whether they are of interest for everyone or rather just the people from my language area (which is Austria and not Germany for all those who didn’t know).
What i want to talk about are the following experiences i had with the operating systems Windows from Microsoft and Mac OS X from Apple in specific scenarios.

My School (University of Applied Sciences Hagenberg) offers me the possibility to access my personal files on their server from everywhere where i have internet – through a WebDAV protocol. Which is great by the way.
Anyways, here are two short overviews of how the previously mentioned operating systems handle all the fuzz:
Mac OS X 10.5.6: When I connect it asks me for my credentials and everything seems to be working smoothly. But after moving some files back and forth you realize that OSX tends to for example say it overwrites a folder but in fact it just uses a different set of characters to name the folders and files so then you might have 2 Folders with almost the same Name existing side by side (i.e. Übung01 and Ubung01), but OSX will still only show you the one you just copied over. Furthermore what seems really cool is that no matter how bad your WiFi connection might be at the moment, OSX seems to be browsing through the folder structure smoothly at any time. Which is until you find out that OSX just buffers the contents of the folders you’ve already been to and what you see can very likely just be an outdated view of the actual data, someone else might have edited.
Windows XP: So Windows has the possibility to access FTP/WebDAV/… from within the Explorer as well which I didn’t find out until recently. Just like OSX it asks me for my credentials at first login which i then choose to save for further logins. First of all, with Windows you can access the server over its own file protocol (called Samba in the UNIX world) if you’re in its local network (so in this case when I’m at school). The hierarchically highest link you would be able to access is \\fshome\students and then you have to go through all the subfolders until you eventually find your own files. But the problem is that you may not dare to access \\fshome for example. Because if you do you’re on your way to eternal damnation. You don’t have the rights to access it but contrary to other Samba servers you wont get the opportunity to correct your mistake through a simple altert-window. You’ll just find out that this explorer.exe is lost forever. (Apparently this doesn’t happen on all Windows machines but my point stands.) On the upside of things, Windows doesn’t seem as smooth as OSX while browsing through the folder structure, which assures me that whatever Windows shows me is up-to-date content
So why can’t I work with my files on every type of computer the same way? Using anything else than Explorer/Finder is not an option because I want it to work with the same File Browser I use for everything else on said operating system.
So maybe I’ve just been a Windows user for a too long period of time and just don’t know my way around UNIX systems and if anyone would try to point that out i will not hesitate to agree with them but what do you think: Would you rather have an operating system that claims to work in every scenario but doesn’t, or an operating system which obviously doesn’t work in every scenario but seems to be doing the job well if you know how to work with it?
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