Wednesday 19 March 2008

Ubuntu upwards

I could bang on about getting a wireless card with a Broadcom 4318 chipset in an Acer Aspire going under Ubuntu, but frankly it's a well covered subject already to which I can lend little insight (hint - you need this [Ubuntu forum login required] and this, and I had to modify /etc/network/interfaces to add a gateway route to, my router, when eth1 is brought up). Besides, if I'm really honest, it was largely luck rather than judgment that did the trick.

It's been a week or so now since I booted Windows - or am I legally obliged to call it Windoze now? - and I'm not sure I miss it. If I have to score points, the consistent use of oversize fonts by Linux applications irks a little bit, it makes me feel like I'm missing out on screen real estate. Like I said before, I like things dinky. But at least most of them let you change that, just a shame the defaults are a bit clunky. Anyway, I've gone for MgOpen Modata 8 as a system wide font, which compensates slightly and I'm pretty happy with how it looks. The subpixel rendering is nice, Cleartype has never looked good on my laptop screen. Combine with "Glider" controls theme and the Whiteglass pointer scheme (still not sure why my "insert text" pointer has to be so damn thick - just give me 1 pixel wide dammit!), and all in all it's looking pretty sexy, sexier than Windows ever did anyway.

Talking of fonts, one application that doesn't play ball is Amarok, but I suspect that's because it's a KDE app doing it's best to keep up in a GNOME environment. Regardless of that small quirk, Amarok is really quite nifty as a music library organiser and iPod syncer. On Windows, iTunes was just horrible - slow, freeze-prone, sometimes hard to fathom. Oh, and "Gapless Playback Analyser"? Stop that. No really, stop it. Just when you think iTunes is finally getting it together, the bloody Gapless Playback Analyser kicks in and suddenly every mouse click takes 20 seconds. I suspect it works great if you've got 200 files on your local disk, but with 8000 songs on a NAS, it's no fun. On the other hand, you could use Windows Media Player - but if you want to sync your iPod, you'll have to shell out for dopisp, and even then it doesn't support podcasts. I'm sure there's probably other software out there, but I never found it. Well, now I've found Amarok, and it does a good job. No fuss, things just make sense, and it doesn't bork my ipod, which is a bonus. Plus it kindly went away and grabbed a whole ton of album covers, which is nice.

Let's finish with some music - I have Plenty

[Edit: That Amarok font problem - sorted by installing kcontrol, which basically works for all KDE apps. Amarok now looks as sexy as everything else. Consider me pleased]

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