Edit Mp3 tags in Ubuntu with cowbell

14 07 2007

I posted here on what I liked for editing Mp3 tags in Windows. Unfortunately these apps don’t work in Ubuntu so I went looking for an alternative. While searching I wasn’t surprised to find several threads where people have been looking for the same type of thing. I ran across a few programs but none of them worked very well, IMHO, until I ran across a reference to cowbell someplace.

From the cowbell site

Do you ever pull your hair out trying to hand-edit all your tags with some arcane editor? Tell your inner OCD to take a hike because Cowbell is coming to town.

Cowbell is an elegant music organizer intended to make keeping your collection tidy both fun and easy.

Most of the editing I do is to podcasts so the album feature of Cowbell doesn’t fit in here. I need to edit each Mp3 individually which is easily done by simply dragging the file into cowbell and removing it when I’m done. Of course this could all be handled rather nicely if Podcast authors would simply tag their files in some consistent manner, but I guess this is where I need to tell my inner OCD to take a hike.

You need cowbell

Cowbell screenshot

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Zonbu/Zonbox wants to be your $99 computer

26 05 2007

Zonbu has put together the Zonbox. A $99 desktop computer with a very small form factor. In addition to the price appeal the Zonbox sports a linux OS and “comes with every program most people ever need”. The other major point of comparison with the traditional desktop computer is the Zonbox does not include, or need, a hard drive. The system runs off 4GB flash based local storage. This translates into no moving parts and what may be a pretty rugged box as a result. Finally the system also touts an efficient low power design which means safer for the environment and lighter on your wallet.

I really like what they are doing here. I especially appreciate the opportunity at another viable choice in the market. The low end PC, the over priced Apple and now the entry level Linux box, nice. In addition to the $99 cost of the hardware the system relies on a subscription service which gives you access to additional storage online in a few different plans ranging from 25GB to 100GB, or $12.99 – $19.95 per month for a 2 year plan. If you do the math the cost after the couple of years is about what you would pay for a middle of the road PC today.While the cost is nice I don’t see the cost as being the driver for buying such a box. A few drivers include support/replacement, software upgrades and no viruses (currently). The Zonbox also supports several peripherals.

Replacement information from the Zonbu site:

Free replacement Zonbox
In the unlikely event that your Zonbox fails within three years of purchase, let us know and we’ll send you a replacement Zonbox that very day (*). Just plug in your replacement Zonbox and immediately access your valuable data stored on the Zonbu service, with all of your preferences and settings intact. Once you’re back up and running, send us your old Zonbox. What could be easier?

That is really all I’ve got. I threw this post together pretty quick and will likely follow it up later with more thoughts around expansion and limitations. Pretty exciting though. Oh, check their demo here.

What do you think?

Easy Print to PDF in Ubuntu

26 05 2007

I’m rarely connected to a printer with my laptop and had not dug into printing to PDF since moving to Ubuntu. I came across the following link to a tutorial for just such an operation and am happy to report that it works entirely as advertised. When you print to PDF you’ll find a PDF folder in your Home folder. The PDF folder will contain your printed page. Thanks ArsGeek and NewLinuxUser for the info.

ArsGeek – Free your inner geek » 5 steps to create a PDF printer (print to PDF) in Ubuntu

Ever wanted to print a document of just about any sort to a virtual printer that would then turn it into a PDF? It’s pretty easy to do in Ubuntu. In fact you’ll need just 5 steps and about as many minutes of your time to set this up.

Open Source Projects To Watch

26 05 2007

Here is a list of 15 Open Source projects to watch. My recent adoption of Ubuntu Kubuntu has further fueled my interest in Open Source alternatives. I wish I was more secure in my knowledge of application development so I could contribute to the community. My goal will be to get to the point of contribution.

I have not tried any of the projects listed but will be looking into many of them and likely posting some feedback here.

Open Source Projects: 15 To Watch

Finally plunged into Ubuntu – Feisty

21 05 2007

I had been thinking about giving Ubuntu a real try lately. I have had it installed on a PC that sets on my desk in the office but it was too easy for me to just push my chair away when a challenge presented itself and get back to comfortable old Windows. I never spent more than a collective hour a week tinkering with it.

While messing around with my laptop last week, a Thinkpad T42p, it dawned on me that most of what I do on my laptop is done in a browser and this machine may be the best Ubuntu candidate. So I did it. I moved all my data to an external drive, booted to the Live Feisty CD and blew XP out in place of Ubunutu, which became Kubuntu in only a few days.

It’s important to note that I have lived in Windows for all my computing life, since before 3.1. I have never done much at all with Unix or Linux aside from some casual shoulder surfing and the same is true of the macintosh.

I’ve been running Ubuntu now for a week and have not suffered much.

What I was impressed with:

  • Hardware support – I have not had to seek out one driver. Wireless networking just worked at home and in the office. Wired networking took right off too. Video and sound were also optimal out of the box. My Mp3 player was immediately recognized as was my Cruzer titanium flash drive. I was also able to configure network printing with no effort (printing to a Lexmark T640 with the T614 driver).
  • Installed software – The installed software is more than enough to get you going. The Rhythmbox Music player is one of the best I’ve seen. On my to-do list is looking for some lists of required Ubuntu software. I really have no clue. I did install kubuntu because it was mentioned in many of the articles I read. I’m not entirely sure what it does for you. I know it is KDE vs. Gnome and it has its own apps bundled that are equally as nice (Konsole).
  • Management – overall the management of the OS has been very intuitive. Each time I would look for something online invariably my search would lead me right back to a setting in the OS, and not a setting that has to be tweaked via the terminal but an honest to goodness GUI with options and everything. I know there is much that can and should be done via the command line but the fact that you aren’t forced there for every little thing is nice. While I was researching the OS all the mention of having to adjust settings via the terminal was not something I was looking forward to. It’s not that I’m afraid of using a command line, I use them all day long in the AS400 and Windows, I was not into having to learn a new set of commands and syntax just to run an alternate OS. Thankfully I haven’t had to beat away at too much from the command line. Learning more about it is another to-do item.

Here’s what I have working:

  • Email – Evolution – We are an Exchange shop and evolution was the only real solution which allowed me to be connected to the Exchange environment for calendaring, contacts, etc. I’ve only been satisfied with Evolution in the office. Evolution will not connect from anyplace outside the LAN. This is a bummer as Webmail looks like crap when viewed in anything but IE. I’ll likely resort to VPN and a remote Desktop to my office PC when I need to do any extensive Outlook stuff outside the office. Oh, I failed to mention that Evolution uses the webmail interface to Exchange.
  • VPN – A VPN into the office was essential for after hours emergencies, etc. It was very easy to get setup using this info.
  • TN5250 – AS400 access – This took a little bit for me to get working. I’m sure this had to do with my lack of knowledge around the console/terminal in Ubuntu, and not the app itself. Once configured it works pretty well. I have some tweaking to do in the keyboard mapping but nothing too serious. The documentation here is 100% required reading.

All in all I have been very pleased. My biggest shortcoming, and possibly greatest benefit, is my lack of knowledge. I really don’t have any idea what software works better than another. I simply did not have much in the way of expectations aside from eventually dumping Microsoft. As I mentioned my world has been Windows and thus far I do not feel crippled using Linux at all.

Its a neat feeling to be digging into an OS again, for the first time.

Following are some links that helped get me acquainted.

Connecting to Windows from Ubuntu « Linux for human beings?

High-speed cellular wireless modems (e.g. EVDO, HSPDA) in Ubuntu GNU/Linux 6.10 | Samat Jain’s personal home page\

How To: Configure custom keyboard shortcuts on Ubuntu – Lifehacker

HOW TO: Ubuntu Linux for Novices – PaulStamatiou.com

HowTo: Dual Monitors (Xinerama/TwinView/MergedFB) – Ubuntu Forums

Installing Beryl On An Ubuntu Feisty Fawn Desktop With An ATI Radeon Graphic Card | HowtoForge – Linux Howtos and Tutorials

keepass installation – Ubuntu Forums

No Kidding IBM iSeries Access (as400) Client on Edgy [Archive] – Ubuntu Forums

NoMachine NX – Linux Terminal Server, Thin Client Access and Management Software

nVidia TwinView – Ubuntu Forums

Ubuntu:Feisty/Networking –