Ubuntu

Tricking out Rhythmbox... or "How to share even more trivial minutia of your life with the world"

I have written before about some cool things you can do with Rhythmbox Music Player in linux, and it's no secret that I love to find ways to make my desktop experience merge with my server/online presence. So I was particularly happy when I found a great third party plugin for Rhythmbox that can post the now playing info to just about anywhere you want it to.

Ever wanted to trick out a forum signature, or a profile on a website you frequent? Or are you (like me) just looking for neat ways to make your personal website a bit more snazzy? In walks the rhythmtoweb plugin and this "need" is filled. Fret not, it's pretty straightforward to set up.

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How to clean up your Music library mess...aka: I just joined "Play Ogg"!

What do you do when your entire music library is infested with wma files, incorrectly tagged and renamed, sorted all wrong and just one big mess? You admit it was your own fault for not sticking to one single standard for naming and organizing, for letting Windows Media Player try to do the work for you, and not trying first to understand formats and codecs and licenses. Then you get rid of your wma files (DELETED) and re-rip, re-download, re-tag and re-encode until your entire library is ogg, uniformly named, sorted and tagged correctly.

This is the 17000 file mess I am cleaning up right now, and I decided I should join the PlayOgg movement for some inner support. Henceforth, I will be displaying this

or similar on my site. Ogg is a great multimedia format that is simply the one solution that will work for everything I need as a format, and as a piece of nicely licensed and supported free and open source goodness. It's widespread implementation would be just an awesome thing. The only reason I have not moved on this yet, is the knowledge that doing so would force me to do so much tedious work on my music library...well, I'm over it (Trying hard not to slam wma to compare it to ogg) and I am now taking the correct steps. Read below the break for some useful tips to get the job done.

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Twitter tricks with Ubuntu...How to serve your own personal Twitpic and Twitterfeed using Jaunty

A little while back I had a mind to set up a Twitpic account, so that I could post photos from my Centro directly to the microblogging service of kings, Identi.ca. But for some reason, either my mobile provider, or mobile platform didn't want to play well with Twitpic, so I set out to find a different solution, thinking how nice it would be to self host this solution.

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I have no name!

About a week ago I had a sort of system crash on my Intrepid server. After performing some rote maintenance, and deploying a vanity Drupal site for my daughter I was getting the "permission denied" error from Apache on all of my domains and sub-domains. To top this off, no users I host mail for on that machine (my daughter, a bot, and myself) were capable of receiving any mail. Great.

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XMPP notices: a workaround for Drupal 5 (and how to install Openfire 3.6.3 in Ubuntu 8.10)

Since I got my self-hosted Ubuntu lamp server up and running some while back, I have made it my personal mission to find out exactly what she can do. "Why in the world would you want to run a home server?" is the question I sought to answer for myself, and sought to do so in such a way that any novice could benefit from what nifty things I did find. In this, I tinker with new (new to me) technologies, and see if any inherent level of novelty outweighs any technical level of brain hurt.

The first thing I installed was Drupal, which you can do with apt or synaptic, and it has become the bedrock and center of everything I do on this server. I love to find new ways to interact with my site, new ways to get the site to perform and interact with users, and generally any neat trick I can come up with that has functionality. Every time I discover a new technology, I see if there is a way to integrate it into my Drupal setup, integration is a wonderful thing.

  • I can publish to Drupal from my Ubuntu desktop using drivel.
  • I can further integrate my Ubuntu desktop with Drupal using Evolution and the excellent calendar module.
  • My Tweets and/or Dents go to my Drupal installation via a custom block I got from Twitter
    • And my Drupal installation can talk to my identi.ca account when I post new content via a small rewrite of the twitter module for drupal.
  • I aggregate interesting news feeds I discover from my Tiny Tiny RSS installation with the core module "aggregator".
  • I integrate my Gallery2 online picture gallery with drupal using a great module for the job, and I can publish pictures into that Gallery from my Ubuntu desktop using the excellent F-Spot photo manager
    • I can take a picture, plug in my camera to my Ubuntu desktop, and that picture goes right into my Drupal, via Gallery, via F-spot...one click!

Get the picture? I am a geek for integrations between Drupal and my Ubuntu desktop, and between separate services I run on my Ubuntu server and Drupal. I am, in my way, attempting to make a nice transparent portal from my Ubuntu desktop to the internet via Drupal, and vise-versa.

So, in this ongoing effort to self-host and experiment with different technologies I recently decided to install and run with the Openfire Jabber/XMPP server, and see if I could get Drupal and Jabber to play nice together, showing up on my Ubuntu desktop via Pidgin.

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Open Source and Copyleft in a Copyright, Closed Source World.

What does online community mean to you?

Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu community organizer, is working on a new project The Art of Community. This new project revolves around the creation of, and discussion of a book, which Jono is releasing under that same title, and licensing with a Creative Commons Liscence. The main marketing strategy seems to be a "get the word out" campaign, utilizing the already thriving Ubuntu community, and other online networks. Creating a community around projects in order to attract a fan-base, especially a project about community, is a particularly novel concept, and just seems to make sense. Mr. Bacon has a history of standing up to make a buzz about free software, and copy-left, his recently released Severed Fifth album is a great example of this. His implementation of "Street Teams", composed of music enthusiasts, and supporters of the work in general, is a great example of how community can replace traditional marketing. Here we have a relatively high profile individual, capable of attracting a certain level of attention, releasing work created with open source software under a Creative Commons license, and hopefully inspiring other people to do the same.

It's not just that getting the word out about F/OSS is difficult in a closed source economy, but combating the negative attention from stories like this one is an ongoing uphill battle. In light of this, to show people that it is possible, easy, and rewarding to embark on the path of open source publishing is a great thing in my world. People would benefit to grasp the energizing fact that the open source world is a very ENABLING reality, it creates opportunity to function simply by the virtue of its own existence.

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Awesome Music server = Your existing Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop + Ampache + Rhythmbox, Oh My!

One of the problems we were running into in our home was the distribution of media files, specifically music. My desktop has a nice 300+ Gigs of hdd space on it, so it's fairly easy for me to host all of the music on separate partitions (pretty useful when the smaller systems in the house need to update, or fresh install), but the transferring of files over the lan got tiresome, and my wife likes quite a bit of my music collection, and is really out of room on her laptop. Likewise, my daughter's desktop is in serious need of hdd space, and she has a growing musical "habit". Also, I want my music in places other than the room my desktop is in, other than the apartment my computer is in, and I don't have an mp3 player large enough for all of my files.

The solution was to find a way to host all of the files on my desktop, and to allow access to them in a nice streaming sort of way. I didn't want to just open up lan access to my partitions, I only share out one small folder for samba, and like to keep it that way. So I went out and found me some Ampache! And it was good...Ampache is a PHP based music server that uses a MySql database to store its information. It allows users to browse online music collections, build playlists, stream content to a desktop music player, or even download the tracks. There is quite a bit of flexibility with Ampache, it's theme-able, providing a nice user interface, has album art support and all the bells and whistles you could want. You can add users through the web interface and set access levels, so security is a no-brainer. There's a working demo here to get a feel for how it plays.

I simply installed the "AMP" portion of the LAMP stack on top of my existing Ubuntu desktop installation (this is easily done using the tasksel command from the terminal), installed and told Ampache to catalog all of the files in my music partition, and ran it from there. Then the hits kept on coming, I found a nice plugin for Rhythmbox that connects to the Ampache backend and loads your Ampache catalog right in your music browser! Happy, if you like Rhythmbox. Also, in Amarok2 there is built in support for subscribing to Ampache servers. Neat.

So, after enabling the plugin on all of the client computers, all they have to do is fire up Rhythmbox, and they all have seamless access to my entire music collection. They get thier music fix, I look like a wizard!

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Hello Planet Ubuntu Users!

Well, hello there wonderful world of Ubuntu Weblogs! I'm happy to announce that I have taken another step forward in my journey as a growing part of the Ubuntu community! This is my first post to the planet, and thank you gouki for opening the door for me, so allow me the pleasure to introduce myself:

My name is Josh Panter, and you can see some bit of my handiwork at the Ubuntu Forums and on freenode (usually in #ubuntu-us-mi), both under the moniker of alienseer23. I'm on launchpad as josh.p, and am a happy member of the US-MI (Michigan) Loco team. I recently got way too excited to sign the code of conduct and become an "Ubunturo", and I find myself as happy as a clam to promote, advocate and spread the Ubuntu Love as often as I can. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to fit in to my time the organization of a computer recycling/donation program featuring the Ubuntu OS, which I will post more on at a later date.

I have a passion for documentation when the spirit takes me, I enjoy to run my own server and soaking up all the knowledge I can fixing my system after I destroy it, am training a 12 year old future Ubuntu activist, and I am happy to say that I am completely taken back by the amazing community that IS Ubuntu, and the truely great people I keep meeting that makes it up (that's all you people!). In that, I have quite a bit of respect for the Canonically appointed community-guy Jono, and am really looking forward to his forthcoming book: The Art of Community.

Well, that's just a quick bit about me, and I look forward to even more Ubuntu-activision, activism, action-eering and all around general goodness.

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Quake 3 mods gone rogue! - "Smoking Guns" Stand Alone v1.0! (torrent here)

One of my favorite Open source games to play on my Ubuntu box is World of Padman, it's a FPS (first person shooter) that began it's life as a little Quake3 mod, and about a year prior to this post took to the wing as it's own stand alone game. It's easy to install, easy to learn, fun to play, and there's always a host of running servers and new maps and mods. You're a little blue cracked out smurf-like critter shooting your bubble-gum machine-gun, water cannon, and water-balloon bombs (among others) at your opponents. What else could you ask for?

Well, trusting the good judgment of my favorite game development team, I'm going to echo the announcement to the world about yet another Open Source Quake3 mod gone all rogue and stand-alone: Smoking Guns!. It's a wild west ho-down of mayhem and madness that comes directly endorsed by the Pad World crew. Check out this snappy preview (available on my site) :

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Microblog-purple (Identi.ca/Twitter-Pidgin Integration)

So I had a difficult time trying to understand "Why Twitter", even after I began using it. I like integration. Why have yet another method to stay connected, when we have blogging, social network sites, instant message networks up the wazoo, irc, etc and etc...?

So, I integrated twitter into my Drupal site using the aptly named module Twitter so that every time I post something new, it tweets out. Well this is a nice excuse as to "why use it", but isn't that just another way to do what is basically rss?

I continued on my Twitter adventure by installing a few basic desktop twitter clients, Twitux and gtwitter, but didn't like the idea of running yet another little app to stay abreast of my news, friends and family. Seems like Pidgin does this fine already..OH WAIT!

So what is the point? In my neurotic need to simplify and centralize everything I went out looking and found me some Microblog-purple , aka: mbpurple. This is a great little plugin for Pidgin that integrates Twitter (and beta support for identi.ca and so forth) with my favorite multi-protocol instant-messaging/chat client! Yay! Another reason to play with Twitter. And seeing Twitter in action in the same context of instant messaging and chat protocols suddenly brought Twitter into the whole "sense making" world for me.

It's a simple plugin, you get a new buddy-list category called "Twitter" with a new buddy called "Twitter" who's incoming messages are any tweets that hit your account prepended with the name of the tweeter, and all of your tweets from other clients. You post to Twitter by sending a message through Pidgin. It even has a 140 character counter for you so that you don't post over the limit. Simple!

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