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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

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!

But ours go to eleven…Opera 11

Opera 11 has been making a lot of buzz across the Internet today now that an alpha version has been released.

New in Opera 11 is support for the very much requested extensions! While there is currently a very limited selection of extensions available, I suspect this will quickly change. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you’re using Opera 11 already and you’re also using Ubuntu 10.10 with the Ambiance or Radiance themes, do forget to update you skin with my Ambiance and Radiance skins for Opera.

For those who are curious, you can find brief changelogs in the comments with the latest one being here.

If you’re not using Opera 11 yet and would like to, go get it!

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.” ๐Ÿ˜€

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!

Solaris International/Deep Blue Radio Show Podcast

A few years ago, while I was up late working and listening to what was then known as Virgin Radio at the time (and now as Absolute Radio), I happened to catch an episode of the “Deep Blue Radio Show.” Since then, it appears to have been renamed to “Solaris International.”

If you’re unfamiliar with this show, its simply a two hour mix of electronica and trance tunes by Solaris International with Solarstone. You can listen to their previous airings straight from their website, but I’ve finally come across their podcast in iTunes and found that it works perfectly in Linux as well with Rhythmbox!

Their site doesn’t seem to be as intuitive as it could be, which is why it took me so long to stumble across their podcast link. If you’re interested in subscribing, the link is posted immediately below. Copy and past it into your media player. If you’re unsure how, take a look at this excellent guide from GoingLinux.com.

Podcast Link to copy and paste:
๏ปฟ๏ปฟhttp://www.solarstone.co.uk/listenAgain/deepblueradishow-podcast.xml

At the moment, there are over 220 previous podcast episodes available to download, so if you’ve got the time then they’ve got the tunes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m usually not a fan of podcasts, but I have a select few that I frequent. This will easily become my favorite.

If you’re not a fan of electronica or trance music then you can kindly disregard this post or use this as a reminder to search for podcasts featuring music you yourself may enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

If you have podcast recommendations, I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Get Your Last.fm Wallpaper From Wallpaperfm

If you have an active Last.fm account and like to switch up your wallpaper from time to time then you’ll love Wallpaperfm!

Example from my Last.fm account in Collage mode.

This python script, by Koant, has been around since at least 2008, but I’ve only recently stumbled across it. It’s easy to start using and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux users!

I’ll help you get started in Linux since that’s what I’ve set it up on. If you need more help or want more configuration options you should look to the information that Koant has posted on his website.

Install

  1. cd
  2. mkdir wallpaperfm
  3. cd wallpaperfm
  4. wget http://ledazibao.free.fr/wallpaperfm/wallpaperfm.py
  5. chmod a+x wallpaperfm.py

Create Your Wallpaper

  1. ./wallpaperfm.py -u YOURLASTFMUSERNAME

That’s the most basic set of options you can use to create your wallpaper (which you will find after running the script in the “wallpaperfm” folder that was created).

There are three options for the type of wallpaper created:

1. Tile

Albums are packed in side by side.

2. Glass

A few albums are highlighted on a glassy surface.

3. Collage

Albums are meshed together in a dreamy design.

To specify one of these modes, simply run the wallpaper script with the mode flag set to your choice.

  • ./wallpaperfm.py -u YOURLASTFMUSERNAME -m collage

There are plenty of other settings you can specify such as size, canvas size, filename, profile period, final opacity, cache, excluded albums, local copy, etc.

Suggestions and Ideas

User Interface and Packaging

I’m sure that this script could be simplified further for Linux users (and more specifically, Debian/Ubuntu users) if a user interface were created. It actually seems like a rather simple task since the parameters for the script are well bounded.

Adding this interface to an installer package would also be a very simple task and would most likely get more attention to such a neat tool!

Cron Jobs, Regularly Updating Your Wallpaper

Another thing, if your music preferences are constantly changing like mine, you may be interested in updating your wallpaper in regular intervals. To do this you can setup a Cron job that runs in the background.

While this may sound difficult and confusing, its really not at all and this helps explain a lot. I can even walk you through the steps.

  1. sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule
  2. Open the application (in Ubuntu) through the Applications menu -> System Tools -> Scheduled tasks.
  3. Click the New button and select the Recurrent task type.
  4. Give the task a description.
  5. Enter the command that runs your script. If you followed the steps above then it should be something similar to:

    /home/YOURUBUNTUNAME/wallpaperfm/wallpaperfm.py -u YOURLASTFMUSERNAME -m collage -fย /home/YOURUBUNTUNAME/wallpaperfm/wallpaper

  6. Set the Time & Date option to hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly.
  7. Click the “Add” button to add it to your list of Scheduled Tasks and you’re done!

Have any other suggestions or tips? Leave ’em in the comments!

Paint Your Mouse Movements with IOGraph!

I recently stumbled upon this neat little application that lets you track your mouse movements in a visual way and save the image that is created!

My IOGraph in a Dual Screen (2.5 hours).

As you can see, most of my activity is in my second monitor (right) where my web browser rests, between the tabs and content towards the top. My coding habits and text editor occupy the first monitor (left) and show noticeably less mouse movement and more periods of pausing to work with the keyboard or read.

This application is Java based and runs in Windows, Mac and Linux! I’ll give you a quick run down on how to use this application in Ubuntu..

  1. Make sure that you have Java 6 Runtime installed on your computer. If you don’t, open the Ubuntu Software Center and search for Java. You should find “OpenJDK Java 6 Runtime” near the top of the results. Install that before continuing.
  2. Download IOGraph for Linux and save it where ever you like (I saved mine to the desktop).
  3. Before you can open the Java application (a .Jar file), you will need to set proper executable permissions for it. To do this, simply right click on the file and select Properties. In the Permissions tab, check to enable the option labeled “Allow executing file as program” and click close.

    Allow executing file as program
  4. Now to run the application, right click on the file again and select “Opera with OpenJDK Java 6 Runtime”.

    Open with OpenJDK Java 6 Runtime

Now that you’ve got the application running, you can minimize it and let it track your every move! If you’re having trouble, you may be able to find more help with .Jar files here.

The circles represent points where the mouse was left motionless for a period of time. The larger the circle, the longer it was left motionless.

Enjoy making art while you work and please share your results!

My Guide to Jailbreak the iPod Touch

I recently made a quick list of steps that I followed a while back to jailbreak my iPod Touch as I usually do to keep as a reminder guide in case I have to go back and do it again. You can use this on your iPod Touch and/or iPhone, however, the iPhone is a little more risky as you could potentially brick your device if you don’t create a proper restore point or backup prior to jailbreaking it.

I thought I would post it here so others can find it and use it as I most likely will again in the future. So…below is my “quick and simple” guide (copy/pasted from my bbPress forum post) as well as a few things you can do with your device after you’ve jailbroken it.

Index:
I… Preparation
II.. Jailbreak
III.ย Securing your jailbroken device
IV. Installing apps and customization
V.. iPod/iPhone with Ubuntu
VI. Previews of my iPod

Notes: It is no longer required to Jailbreak your iPod/iPhone in order to use it with Ubuntu. If you only wish to use your device in Ubuntu, simply follow the link in Step #10 and ignore the steps to Jailbreak your device.

Preparation
1. Update your iPod via iTunes to the latest firmware available.
2. Backup your iPod to allow future system restores (in case of an error).

Jailbreak – (more detailed guide)
3. Download “Blackra1n” http://www.blackra1n.com/
4. Open “Blackra1n” and click “make it ra1n”
5. Wait until you are prompted with a message similar to the following:
“Your jailbreak is done once the phone reboots.
If this was the simplest jailbreak ever, …”
6. Now simply wait for your device to reboot on its own. It can take a minute or two to reboot. (If you ever reboot or turn off your device in the future, you will simply need to connect it to a computer and click “make it ra1n” to reboot it after its been jailbroken. Also, iTunes must be installed for “Blackra1n” to work correctly.)

Installing apps and customization
7. Download the “Cydia” application from the new “Blackra1n” app that should now be on your device.
8. Download the following apps from Cydia (some require a reboot so don’t go too far from a computer…as noted above).
—1. Categories – This enables you to create folders on your springboard and better organize your icons.
—2. WinterBoard – This allows you to install (seperate) themes to further change the appearance of your springboard, unlock screen, icons and panels.
—3. MIM (Make It Mine) – This allows you to change the carrier name (iPod, iPhone or whatever it may be) to something more personalized. Mine is “kyPod”. You can also change the banner (where the time is usually displayed) to anything you’d like as well. I left my banner default (time).
—4. Install themes, navigate to the Winterboard app to find and activate them.

Securing your jailbroken device
As with any hack, there are risks. One of those risks is that your device can become infested with a few nasty viruses that have recently made news headlines. To avoid this, simply follow the steps to change your devices default SSH password. Steps are also provided in your Cydia application towards the bottom of the home screen labeled “Change Root Password”.

9. ย Open the Cydia app. Scroll down to find the guide labeledย “Change Root Password”. Scroll down to Step #4 in the Cydia guide labeled “Change the mobile Password”. If you connect to your device via a terminal window (Mac or Linux will work or you can download the “Terminal” application via Cydia and use it) you can connect via SSH using the “su root” as the root user and “alpine” as the default password. You want to change “alpine” to something different so the typical virus won’t have your default password. After logging in via root, type “passwd”. You will now need to enter your new password twice (it will not appear as you type it as a security measure). After you’ve entered your new password, exit the terminal…you’re done! You may also change your mobile password if you wish by starting the password change with “passwd mobile”. This may or may not be beneficial to you.

iPod/iPhone with Ubuntu
10. Following the directions that I discuss and point to at the following location:
https://www.kyleabaker.com/2010/01/17/ubuntu-ipod-touchiphone/
It is no longer required to Jailbreak your iPod/iPhone in order to use it with Ubuntu. If you only wish to use your device in Ubuntu, simply follow the above link and ignore the steps to Jailbreak your device.

Previews of my iPod

Ubuntu + iPod Touch/iPhone

Updated Information at End of Article

After spending a great deal of time researching Ubuntu and iPod Touch/iPhone sync issues, I’ve finally found a solution that isn’t a dreadful experience.

There is currently a project in the alpha/beta stages that, when completed, will provide sync support for the iPod Touch and iPhones that are using Firmware 3.

If you’re not using Firmware 3 on your iPod Touch or iPhone, then I’m not sure how much this guide will apply to you. You can try looking here for more information.

If you are using Firmware 3 (my iPod Touch is running OS 3.1.2), then I’d suggest you following the guide provided byย A. Tres Finocchiaro (aka FatButtLarry) over on his blog.

Following his guide, which is comprised of two lines of terminal commands to copy-n-paste, I was able to have my iPod Touch sync’ing in no time!

While the transfer speed seems to be a bit slow, it is indeed working well! Cover art is transfered flawlessly, everything seems to be in order!

Remember that this project isn’t complete and you are likely to encounter bugs. My experience thus far has been positive, your mileage may vary. Good luck. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Update (2010-02-24):
If you are using or plan to upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04, you will not need to manually install any of the software mentioned above. Ubuntu 10.04 brings support for the iPhone and iPod Touch by default. You should not have any problems with your device and Rhythmbox!

Screen Capture Tip: Use Jing!

I’ve been using this little screen capture tool for several weeks now with very positive results! Jing is available to Mac and Windows in both a Free form as well as a Pro (pay for) form.

jing1

Using Jing, you are able to quickly capture a screenshot of a specific window or a pesky little software bug in action, upload it to an online source and paste the link all within a matter of seconds!

If you can’t capture what you’re looking for in a simple image, you might like the option to capture a video of what you are doing on your desktop and share a link to that instead!

jing_header

To use Jing, you simply select it from the top of your screen (where it waits by default) and click capture. You’re then given a selection tool that allows you to pick to screen space that you want to capture….nothing more, nothing less. After selection the area that you want to capture, you simply specify if it’s for an image or for a video.

If you click image, you will have your capture almost immediately ย and can pick where to store it! If you select video, you will have 3 seconds to prepare your cursor or anything else you need to do. After the count down, video recording begins. Simply click the stop button when you’re finished and pick a source to upload to!

One feature that I’ve only just started using is the FTP option to upload my captures to kyleabaker.com! Thus far, I’ve used Jing to capture tons of bugs that would have otherwise been nearly impossible to capture.

Aside from the slightly noticeable resource usage and slight hang when it’s first activated, Jing is an excellent tool that I would suggest to anyone who needs to capture a visual from your computer screen!

Install Boxee in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty x86_64

After coming across details regarding Boxee and the extended number of sources that it can pull videos from, I just had to give it a test drive.

First of all, Boxee is a media player that is being developed for multiple platform use. It’s not restricted to videos and is able to stream music from Pandora as well as Last.fm.

One of the first things that I noticed upon registering for Boxee (which is free) was that it is currently only available for Mac and Ubuntu. A Windows version is in development, however, it’s not currently possible to get an install of the alpha/beta Windows builds.

To further disappoint me just a bit, I found that the installers for Ubuntu were for 32-bit machines only. fortunately there is that geeky thing you can do called “force-architecture” or “force-all”. ๐Ÿ˜›

boxee

After using my online best friend (Google) I was able to come across several guides for installing Boxee on Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit. Some of them were correct and some of them weren’t. Some of them were scattered and unorganized and…well…none of them were pathetically easy to follow.

That’s why you’re here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you want to install Boxee on Ubuntu 32-bit, just follow the installation instructions provided after registering. If you’re installing in Ubuntu 64-bit (Jaunty Jackalope I might add) then please continue.

Installation

  1. Install “getlibs-all” by downloading it from here and double clicking to install or by copy/pasting the following terminal commands. (More details about getlibs here).
    wget http://frozenfox.freehostia.com/cappy/getlibs-all.deb
    sudo dpkg -i getlibs-all.deb
  2. wget http://apt.boxee.tv/dists/jaunty/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
  3. zcat Packages.gz | grep Filename
  4. Make sure that the bold part in the following command matches the file name from the above command (ignoring the jaunty and intrepid folder differences).
    wget http://apt.boxee.tv/dists/intrepid/test/binary-i386/boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
  5. sudo dpkg -i –force-all boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
    sudo dpkg -i –force-architecture boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
  6. The following command may take some time to complete, however, be patient and wait for getlibs to prompt you whether or not to install additional libraries to make Boxee work on your machine. Be sure to answer yes or y. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    getlibs /opt/boxee/Boxee
  7. sudo apt-get install lib32nss-mdns

After being patient and completing these (honestly) few steps, you should be able to launch Boxee from the application menu and start enjoying some Internet videos!

For further reading or more detailed/technical instructions please see the source thread of this process.

Also, for the record, Netflix Watch Instantly does not work in Boxee for Ubuntu as far as I can tell (due to the lack of DRM support).

I hope I’ve been able to help in some way. Best of luck with Boxee!