Managing your Photos and Camera with Lubuntu

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: , 0 comments
First, install the lightweight photo manager called gThumb. You can install it by pasting the following code into your terminal.
sudo apt-get install gthumb
Second, you will need to connect your camera to the computer. There are a few ways to do this, depending on your camera.

  1. The easiest is to insert the SD card into your computer SD port (if it has one).
  2. The alternate way is to connect your entire camera to the computer via a USB cable.

You should see a pop-up that appears after you complete the connection above. Chose the gThumb option.
Follow the import steps/options given by gThumb. Be sure your folder destination is your home/USERNAME/Pictures directory. That keeps your directories clean and simple.

If you did not see a popup when you connected your camera, the alternative way is to open gThumb and chose the import option (File -> Import From -> Removable Device)
You will again have import options.
Finally, there are other options instead of gThumb that you may like. Here are four more standard options. I like gThumb because it fits Lubuntu's philosophy: (1) Lightweight and (2) Minimalist.

Enjoy your photos!
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Ubuntu WebApps: Where does that leave Lubuntu?

Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: , , 0 comments
By now, I'm sure you've heard of Ubuntu's new WebApps. If not, here's a movie that fills you in.


In my opinion, WebApps is a brilliant first step to integrate the web and the desktop in a seamless fashion. However, this integration is specifically designed for the Unity desktop environment. In other words, Lubuntu users can't use it.

So what are our options?

First, I suggest creating bookmark apps. With a few steps, you can create your own Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and other bookmark launchers. Now, pulling up your favorite social networking site is a click away.
Secondly, you may wish to look into applications like Nuvola. Nuvola integrates web-based music services into the desktop.
You can chose from Amazon, 8tracks, Google, Groveshark, Hype Machine, Pandora, and Rdio.
Although each service is simply a wrapper of the website, Nuvola does offer a notification tray icon, notification pop-ups, and dock integration.

So, it's not a perfect solution by any means, but it starts the process.

Finally, should you hold your breath for Lubuntu to adopt WebApps in the future? Considering Ubuntu One integration has been on the to-do list for awhile, I would start looking elsewhere.

Enjoy your new and minimal web/desktop integration!
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Lubuntu 12.10: Alpha 3 Release

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: 0 comments
The new Lubuntu 12.10 Alpha 3 has been released. Lubuntu had a 100% pass rate. Well done, team. The official word:
The A3 is pretty much as the final will be, there is still some art work to come in and some further minor 'tweaks'. If you install the A3, then just keeping it updated will take you all the way to final release without a fresh install. The usual cavaet, it is not a final release and could get broken during the remainder of the development cycle.

So what is it like? How is different?

As mentioned above, the artwork updates will probably hit in Beta 1. So much of what you see will look the same.
The default desktop looks similar. The menu button looks a bit brighter and cleaner.
There is a new notification system in Lubuntu 12.10. It is the xfce4-notifyd that we discussed in an earlier post. This is a solid change for the distro.
There had been some talk of changing the xfce4-power-manager, but that remains. There was also mention of adding the new LxScreenshot, but because of lacking packaging and translation support, scrot was left as the default.
There was also discussion of adding the new LxFind to 12.10. However, because of the same issues surrounding LxScreenshot, the team decided to include Catfish, a new default application to Lubuntu.
It's a solid release, but I am looking forward to the artwork updates. From the few snippets I've seen, the art team is really adding a high level of polish.
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Lubuntu Login Screen: Changing the LightDM Background

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: , 0 comments
When Ubuntu changed to the LightDM display manager, the desktop background was configured to change based on the user's configurations. However, this never made it into Lubuntu 12.04. So if you want a seamless look between your desktop and your login screen, or if you have some atrocious image you want all users to view before logging in, read on...

The first thing is to locate your background image and place it in the root directory. (Obviously, if it's in your home folder, this is inaccessible once you log out.) I suggest you place it where the other root background images are located.
/usr/share/lubuntu/wallpapers
Open this location with root access (Tools -> Open Current Folder as Root)
Paste in your new login background image or drag-and-drop.
In the same root-access window, open the LightDM configurations:
/etc/lightdm
Open the file named lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf
Finally, change the background option. Because the image should be in the same directory, simply change the file name.
Logout and enjoy the new eye-candy.
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Notification Pop-ups in Lubuntu

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: , 0 comments
One of the things I loathe most about Lubuntu 12.04 is the dreaded notification system. Primarily, I don't like that I must clear old notifications from the panel before other notifications come through.
I also don't like how big the notifications are.
Below, I'll give you a method to remove the Lubuntu default notify system, but I will also end with a worthy alternative.

Remove Default Lubuntu Notifications
To remove the notifications simply remove the culprit: the notification-daemon. Open the terminal and paste the following code.
sudo apt-get remove notification-daemon
It may prompt you with something scary about removing the lubuntu-desktop. That didn't happen to me, but you shouldn't worry because it's part of a meta package. Your desktop will be fine. I promise!

Add a New Notification System
XFCE uses an excellent, minimal notify system. It's called xfce4-notifyd. The popups are a bit smaller, have a smokier look to them, and don't prompt you to clear the old notifications. What more can you ask for?
Oh, and did I mention it's configurable? Yeah, you can chose where they appear, what they look like, and how long they stay on the screen.
Want it? Make sure you've removed the notification-daemon first. Then paste into the terminal:
sudo apt-get install xfce4-notifyd
To open the configuration manager:
xfce4-notifyd-config
Restart. Enjoy.
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Best Lubuntu Apps

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: , 0 comments
Before I get started, those who are new to Lubuntu need to know that there is virtually no application that can be installed on Ubuntu that is not also not available for Lubuntu. The exception to that are small apps that integrate into a specific desktop environment. So, of course you are not going to be able to install a Unity lens because the default Lubuntu DE does not use Unity.

That being said, there are a few characteristics that rule out certain software. Lubuntu software should be both (a) lightweight and (b) minimalist.

So, here we go...

Dock - Docky
There are a few docks available for install with Lubuntu. Docky has been my favorite for a few years now. Lightweight. Stable. What more can you ask for?
Install Docky:
sudo apt-get install docky

Quick Launcher - Synapse
Super fast, integrated with Zeitgeist, and aesthetically pleasing.
Install Synapse:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:synapse-core/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse

Text Editor/IDE - Geany
This is not the most comprehensive IDE out there. However, it has quite a few plugin options, it has "enough" features, and it is incredibly light-weight.
Install Geany:
sudo apt-get install geany

Email/RSS Reader - Web-based
Evolution? Thunderbird? Liferea? Meh... There's not much out there at the moment.

The new Geary project looks promising. Lightread is also a hopeful project. But it's too early for both of them.


Browser - Google Chrome/Firefox
I go back and forth between my love for these two browsers. I simply can't decide which is better.

But if you're wondering why Chrome and not Chromium? Chrome has flash integration, regular updates, and an ntegrated pdf reader.
Install Firefox:
sudo apt-get install firefox

Install Google Chrome by downloading it from Google.


Music Player - Pithos and DeaDBeeF
I am in love with both of these applications. I think DeaDBeeF is a real improvement over Audacious. And Pithos is essential for anyone who love Pandora.

Install Pithos:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kevin-mehall/pithos-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pithos

Install DeaDBeeF:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexey-smirnov/deadbeef
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install deadbeef


Office Suite - LibreOffice
I'm pretty sure that LibreOffice is a cardinal sin to put on a Lubuntu list. I really love AbiWord. But I need more features. LibreOffice provides the whole package.
Install LibreOffice:
sudo apt-get install libreoffice


Photo Manager - GThumb
No frills photo manager. You can't ask for more.
Install GThumb:
sudo apt-get install gthumb


Video - MPlayer
I like VLC, but I haven't had a need to download it lately. MPlayer gobbles up everything I throw at it. It's the default video player on Lubuntu, and I think it's worthy of that status.



Are there any I missed? Did I get any wrong? Leave me a note in the comments!
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Moving Close, Maximize, and Minimize Buttons in Lubuntu

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2012 | Posted by Aaron Hampshire | Labels: , , 0 comments
Those who come to Lubuntu from Mac OSX may like their window buttons on the left side of the title bar rather than the default settings (right).
To accomplish this, you need to open the lubuntu configuration file and edit one line. In the terminal, copy-paste in the following line:
leafpad ~/.config/openbox/lubuntu-rc.xml
The file will open in the text editor. At this point, search for the following line of code (it will be about 45-50 lines from the top):
<titleLayout>NLIMC</titleLayout>
The order in which you list the N, L, I, M, and C in the line above dictates the order your buttons appear.
To get the order of the first picture above, I used the settings:
<titleLayout>CMILN</titleLayout>
As listed in the comments of the file, here are the available characters. Each can occur at most once:
N: window icon
L: window label (AKA title).
I: iconify
M: maximize
C: close
S: shade (roll up/down)
D: omnipresent (on all desktops).
Logout. Login. Enjoy your new button positions.
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