KDE and GNOME

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I was recently reading Irfan's Happy birthday KDE! post and it got me thinking a lot about my own reasons for using KDE instead of GNOME. Since I have this blog and I decided to capture my thoughts here.

I have been using KDE since the 3.2 release with Keramik as my theme of choice. I recently tried GNOME again through Ubuntu 6.06 (dapper) and initially found it to be set up very well. One of the reasons is that I like how the menu entries are listed much better in GNOME than KDE. This stems more from a philosophy difference in how the menu entries (.desktop files) are created. GNOME apps tend to be like Synaptic where the name is actually listed as Synaptic Package Manager. As a result of this GNOME just lists the Name field in its default menus. KDE tends to break up the name between the Name and Generic Name fields.

Explore Space with Celestia

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Celestia is a fun app for anyone interested in astronomy. When you first load it you will be brought to a view of the Earth from Space. This view is a real-time simulation and you can change your point of view by dragging your mouse around. The initial time you see might be in the past (it was 2002 for me), but one of the buttons on the toolbar can bring you up to the current time.

Right clicking on a visible object in space will bring up details about it along with some options for different actions you can take. I choose the Moon and selected the Goto option. In short order I was on my way with the Moon rapidly filling up my screen. After right-clicking on the Moon again I noticed a menu called Satellites which listed Apollo 11. You can actually sync your orbit with the Apollo 11 space craft and see what it can see. How cool is that! Now I was curious. What does Celestia list as orbiting the earth?

Improved Site Search

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The are two search areas on Linux App Finder. One is located on the top right hand corner of every page and uses Google to search the site. The other appears only on the category and most viewed pages. It is located just above the list of apps on each page.

Until recently the latter search could only match a single word or phrase. I'm pleased to announce that the capabilities have been extended to use boolean searching.

By default any space is treated as an OR. You can also explicitly call out AND, OR, and NOT as options. If a phrase is what you are looking for then placing quotes around it will keep the words as a single search item.

Discovering Perl Audio Converter

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A while back I was looking for an easy way to manage my music collection. I wanted to keep high quality copies of my CD's so I figured a lossless codec like FLAC would be a good choice. The only problem was that not every device or computer supports FLAC. My solution was to keep the high quality FLAC recordings for my Linux systems, but convert to MP3 for everything else. It was in searching for an easy way to do this that I found Perl Audio Converter.

Perl Audio Converter is a great tool for converting audio files from one format to another. Need an obscure type? No problem. It supports MP2, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Shorten, Monkey Audio, FAAC (AAC/M4A/MP4), Musepack (MPC), Wavpack (WV), OptimFrog (OFR/OFS), TTA, LPAC, Kexis (KXS), AIFF, AC3, Lossless Audio (LA), BONK, AU, SND, RAW, VOC, SMP, RealAudio (RA/RAM), WAV, and WMA. You can even use it to rip directly from a CD.

Online Storage with JungleDisk

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Most of us know we should backup our files, but even when we do it's usually not a fully thought out process and consists of dumping files to a CD/DVD or another hard drive in our homes. That's fine for most recovery situations, but what happens if you have a fire, flood, or your backup media also fails (this has happenned to me before).

Enter online storage. Amazon's S3™ service is an inexpensive way to store data online and JungleDisk makes it easy. At its heart JungleDisk is a WebDAV server that enables easy access to Amazon's servers. The beauty of it is that you can access the files easily through your existing file manager. No more clucky web interfaces or inability to use a favorite backup program.