Macbuntu, Part 2

After spending a little time working in Inkscape, I realized how terrible I am with vector graphics, lol, but I did manage to create a slightly more accurate Docky theme that incoorporates the wavy design and dark tool tips and menus.

You’ll also find that the menu is not working correctly in the top Gnome Panel and that I’ve now created a pretty accurate OSX/Macbuntu skin for Opera!

You may also notice that the background image has changed. The latest OS X default wallpaper appears to be included with the setup, but is not used for some reason. I guess its a matter of opinion, but I prefer the setup to be as default as possible to the latest OS X design.

Hopefully I can contribute a few things to this project such as an improved Docky theme for Macbuntu, Opera Macbuntu skin, updated icons for those that are missing

I’ve re-arranged the Dock icons into a semi-accurate order, but some applications are in need of replacement icons.

Shotwell, for instance, could make use of the iPhoto icon and be added by default, making it appear that much more authentic.

Another awesome feature thats not included, but makes this transformations much more accurate is the plugin for an implementation of Stacks!

Unfortunately, the applications stack isn’t near as clean and even has duplicates of some applications, but it is a very good start and the stack plugin itself works fantastically!

I’m hoping that I will be able to get all of my tweaks and hacks so far worked into Macbuntu to automate what I’ve done, but since I’m still tweaking and fine tuning a lot of aspects, I haven’t had time to contact the developer(s).

That being said, I’m going to refrain from posting how-to’s and files for the changes I’ve made for now, but if you’re interested in the Opera skin I’m working on just let me know and I’ll send you what I’ve got so far. 😉

Macbuntu: The Mac OS X Transformation Pack for Ubuntu

Since I recently slipped over into the dark side and bought a MacBook, I’ve been spending a whole lot more time in OS X than I ever have before.

I wouldn’t consider myself a Mac fanatic (yet), but its difficult to not fall in love with the great amount of attention to detail.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look into macifying Ubuntu again (as I’ve looked into in the past and had decent results) only this time I came across Macbuntu. Macbuntu is an all-in-one package to transform your Ubuntu desktop (fresh dual screen account pictured below) from this:

Before

To something that resembles the infamous Mac OS X a little more closely, like this:

After

For an Mac purist, this transformation pack would be no where near acceptable with small differences and quirks here and there. The good news, however, is that the transformation pack appears to be maintained and updated regularly so it may not be much longer before your Linux box is indistinguishable from an original Mac…at least on the inside. 😉

The Macbuntu installation is extremely easy. If you’re interested in installing this, but afraid of messing anything up, keep in mind that there is an uninstall option that is extremely painless and it restores all of your original settings!

Install

  1. Download the transformation package from SourceForge or GNOME-Look.org if you prefer (but they are both hosted from SourceForge) and save it to your Desktop.
  2. Extract the package to your Desktop. You can do this by right clicking and selecting “Extract Here” from the menu.
  3. Open a terminal and type “cd Desktop/Macbuntu-10.10/” (without the quotes) and press enter.
  4. Now type “./install.sh” (without quotes) and press enter.
  5. Follow the directions and answer a few questions and it does all of the rest! …and you’re done!

Uninstall

  1. If you’ve deleted the original files that your extracted before, re-download them and extract them using the same steps as before.
  2. Open a terminal and type “cd Desktop/Macbuntu-10.10/” (without the quotes) and press enter.
  3. Now type “./uninstall.sh” (without quotes) and press enter.
  4. Follow any directions or quick questions and before you know it, things will be back to the way they were before!

While I was impressed with the degree of success after I installed this transformation pack, I quickly uninstalled it. Part of this was due to pure testing, but the other part was simply because I want to spend more time tweaking it to perfection later and don’t have the time right now.

Amazingly, I was able to take a stock Ubuntu 10.10 desktop and morph it into a decent OS X lookalike and back again all in a matter of 15 minutes, and that includes a short amount of time spent looking around. 😀

My Notes & Ramblings (probably boring)

One thing I’d really like to do is to create a Mac OS X skin for Opera to be included with this package since the one for Opera for Mac isn’t compatible with other platforms (afaik). I’d also like to figure out how to get the full menu bar removed and placed into the top panel properly, where it was only partially added in the screenshots.

A lot of the dock details are accurate, but then again a lot of them are just flat wrong. Empathy needs an icon replacement to Adium or iChat. The dock itself is angled slightly higher and the gloss detail is completely different (lacking the wavy design). The separator is also incorrect and needs to be updated.

One thing that I think would go far with adding a genuine feel is to organize the Dock icons properly as the default dock icons are in a specific order already and the order from this install seems to be somewhat random in some cases.

Stacks would be great, however, I recall hearing not long ago that this or a similar feature is on the way already possible, just not included yet (maybe I’ll send them an email soon 😀 ).

A white drop-shadow for text and icons in the top panel would be great for perfection. It also wouldn’t hurt to add the default slight transparency to the top panel so the background and shine through a little.

The actual theme being used appears to be very outdated, with buttons using old icons such as the back and forward buttons in Nautilus. The breadcrumbs are also very outdated visually and need to be updated. The author(s) of the transformation pack probably have nothing to do with the development of the theme that’s packaged with it, but this is the most important element and is in dire need of some TLC.

Conclusion

Macbuntu is a great and quick solution, but its not pixel perfect or even close to pixel perfect. If you’ve got any suggestions or know of better options such as themes or tweaks, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

MacBook Pro

In with the new, out with the old. I got my new MacBook Pro 13″ around noon today, but had to wait until noon to start playing around on it.

Here are my phones blurring pictures of the old HP dv4000 (left) and the new MacBook Pro (right).

Notice the HP isn’t running. Thats because it no longer even boots thanks to some internal hardware problems.

This time around I decided that I wanted a smaller, more portable laptop. Since I’ve had plenty of Windows computers and have been running Ubuntu Linux for a few years, I decided it was about time for me to get a Mac.

So far I’ve gotten the basics installed and setup thanks to suggestions from my brother and friends.

  • Opera
  • Adium
  • Skype
  • Last.fm Scrobbler
  • Tweetie
  • Dropbox
  • Coda
  • QuickSynergy
  • Xcode

I’m still testing out Xcode to see how I like it, but my first impression of the 3gb download wasn’t too positive. If it works well then great, but I was hoping to find a good medium between size and features.

I’ve also tweaked my MacBook’s name so it appears a little more customized on the network (using this guide). Now it appears as “kyBook Pro.” 😀

Have some suggested apps or tips for me, or something better than what I’ve listed above? I’d love to hear what you like to install on your Mac!

Gmail Priority Inbox

I just noticed the Priority Inbox feature being announced at the top of my Inbox in red today and decided to give this fascinating new feature a test drive. Surely you’ve heard the news, but if now, this should fill you in.

I was really hoping to give this feature a thorough test right away after hearing of it a couple of days ago, but unfortunately I keep my Inbox far to clean and have to wait until tomorrow morning to test it out for real.

As you can see, I didn’t have enough mail to truly test the new feature out. I usually go through around 100 message throughout the course of the day, but at this point I’d already filtered through them all. 🙁

I’m excited to try this out, as about 80% of the emails that I receive are skim-able and not all that dire. I like the idea of Gmail learning to sort these as you correct it from the beginning and am curious to see how well it works, but also a little concerned on privacy (thanks to my brother for the link!).

I’ve developed a sort of skill for parsing through the emails in my chaotic inbox every morning and am wondering if the new Priority Inbox will actually feel more chaotic, but I’m willing to give it a try for a while. Compare the Priority Inbox above to the regular Inbox below.

One of the best features of this new feature for me is that it doesn’t replace the regular Inbox. As you can see in the screenshots, you’re still able to select either view you prefer easily from the list on the left.

Now I’m curious. Have any of you used this feature yet? And if so, do you find it useful?

My New Mario Themed Wallpaper

I came across this wallpaper last week, but its been so easy getting used to it that I’d almost forgotten to mention it!

I tweaked it ever so slightly to “span” across my dual screen displays smoothly, so if you’re looking for another dual screen wallpaper then you’ve found it!

If you liked this wallpaper, make sure you leave a message for the author, schmoek. I’m also always interested in using a new wallpaper, so if you have any suggestions then please send them my way!

Making Calls From Gmail

If you’ve somehow managed to miss this one in the news then you must be hiding in one deep dark hole. 😛

Here are some pictures for your entertainment. If you’d like to use this, you need to install the Google Voice plugin first and then restart you web browser.

Keep in mind that you need the plugin to do this (and obviously a microphone) and that you’ll be calling friends or family using a number provided to you by Google Voice (so they may not recognize it at first).

The best thing going for Google’s new calling feature (if you ask me) is that its completely free for me to call any phone in the USA. While this pricing may not be permanent, it should at least last through the course of this year (my source for that is linked somewhere up above 😛 ).

Netflix Now For iPhone & iPod touch!

Being an iPod touch owner myself, I’ve been highly anticipating the release of this app all summer (thanks to the early rumors and annoucements).

I checked the app store last night just before going to bed for this app and there was no sign of it in sight, so I had decided to write a post along the lines of “Where is the promised (summer) Netflix iPhone/iPod touch App?”. Little did I know that I would wake up to the release headlines (that was much better)!

Without further ado, I bring you a brief gallery of what you can expect to find in this little app..

That’s a rundown of the Sign-in page, Home, Genre, Search, Instant Queue and player screens!

In case you missed these details, hiding the keyboard in the Search screen expands the movie covers into view where there was previously too little room to show them.

In the player screen with controls, you should note the progress bar at the top with a “zoom” button to the right which zooms in just enough to fill the wasted space above and below the video (not pictured zoomed). There is also the play/pause button at the bottom which is accompanied by the 30 second backtrack button and the volume bar.

This design is nearly (if not exactly) identical to the Netflix app design for the iPad which has been released to the public for some time now.

If you’re a Netflix member and own an iPhone or iPod touch then I highly recommend you head straight to the App Store and download this free app for yourself! Enjoy!

My Maths Are > Last.fm’s Maths

Being the Last.fm scrobble freak that I am, I used my web based stats page to check my scrobble count and started clicking through my friends’ stats.

I eventually came across one that caught my attention.

He’s been a member since 2007 and has scrobbled 1 song..and he is a paying subscriber. I thought to myself, what a waste of money! …so I clicked on his Last.fm page. 😛

You’ll have to open these images to see the details, but basically what you’ll see is that my math skills are apparently either ridiculously awesome or Last.fm’s are very poor.

Play counts are based on the total number of tracks scrobbled divided by the length of the membership in days. This seems obvious enough doesn’t it? Well, my calculations show that 1 song in 1180 days is somewhere around 0.000847 plays per day…which is far from the 12,920 plays per day that Last.fm seems to think.

Am I wrong in thinking that this is just really poor programming to make such inaccurate calculations?

In case you’re wondering, the “589 more plays needed” tidbit means that if he had (by the end of the day) 590 plays in total that his average daily play count would be 0.5…which Last.fm rounds up to 1 per day. 😉

Even considering the account had been reset, should they not be able to correctly calculate track plays? Maybe their servers are just having a few hiccups, but either way I thought it was funny enough for a post.

Also, if you don’t understand the joke in the title then you’re really missing out on an old clip about Maths! You should take a quick moment to have your daily laugh.

Demonstration of HTML5 WebM Live Streaming!

If you haven’t seen the new <video> feature that allows people to easily embed video into web pages without the need for third party plugins such as flash then you’re behind the times! Keep up!

If you’re not using a capable browser while viewing this post then you won’t see much (read: nothing special). The web is slowly evolving and minimizing the "drug like addiction" to Adobe’s infamously unstable Flash player which is used for various popular web content including YouTube videos and time wasting Flash games.

One super cool example of WebM, which is the video technology behind HTML5 video, comes from SkyNews and should appear below if you’re using a browser worth your time using. I recommend Opera! 😉

WebM is a video container which allows for a very simple method of embedding video on a web page that will eventually be adopted by all major web browsers. The video above displays an example of live streaming WebM video and goes to show that the new video tag is very powerful and useful!

I’ve been looking forward to HTML5 video for some time now and am happy to see such neat and useful demonstrations pop-up across the Internet to set such great examples!

The next major step that I’m waiting for is for Google to officially replace flash videos on YouTube and Google Videos with new HTML5 WebM videos. Popular video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo have recently shown off demos of the new video format, but neither have made the leap from flash content to relying on the browser. Depending on how long it takes for other web browsers to adopt and perfect support for this feature, it could be a long wait.

Features such as fullscreen mode have yet to make it into Opera’s web browser, but will certainly be added in a not too distant release. Hopefully sooner than later.

Thanks to a friend in IRC for bringing this to my attention (windsong@irc.opera.com).

WTF Should I Watch?

Just for laughs I threw together this quick page that gives you a new movie or show suggestion in a humorous way each time you load the page.

Screenshot of the WTFSIW page in action..

The idea for this type of site is not my own and was inspired by site like What The F*** Should I Make For Dinner, F***ing Movie Reviews, The F***ing Weather and others.

The page works off of three very short files and the code is minimal, so if anyone’s wanting to make something similar just let me know if you’re curious about my implementation of this.

Hopefully you find this both useful as well as funny! Comments, retweets and other shares are always appreciated!

Ubuntu One Music Store..Get a Link!

I just saw this change marked in my updates recently for Rhythmbox in Ubuntu 10.10 and thought I would share whats new so far!

The new "Get a link" button in action.

The new “Get a link for the current song to the Ubuntu One Music Store” button is now present and functional in Rhythmbox for Ubuntu 10.10.

When you click on the “Get a link” button, you are prompted with a dialog that scans the online music store for a match and displays the result for you. The address to the song or album is automatically copied into the clipboard and is ready to paste!

Here's you link and you're ready to paste!

This feature can be used to send a link of a favorite song to your friends, where they can purchase the track right away if they choose to. If you want to go even one step further, you can even tweet the link to your friends and followers!

Tweet your current song to your friends and followers!

As you can see, this new Tweet feature is built upon the tightly integrated Gwibber application. Though I haven’t tried this yet, it should be possible to post to other services such as Facebook if you have them enabled in Gwibber.

It appears that the whole “Social from the start” idea that was first started with Ubuntu 10.04 is now moving to another level and becoming commonly integrated with deeper parts of the operating system.

Tweet software from Ubuntu Software Center.

Above is an example of Twitter integration in the Ubuntu Software Center that allows you to easily suggest software to your friends.