Archive for May, 2004

Lsongs and Lphoto, insulting the intelligence of Linux users everywhere.


After a recent discussion on gooey about the marketing tactics of Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows Inc., I decided to give the company and it’s claims a shot. The folks at Lindows released two Open-Source applications geared towards desktop Linux users; Lsongs, a digital media jukebox, and Lphoto, a digital photo album organizer, photo re toucher and importer.

First of all, in order to get it out of the way, I want to debunk Mr. Robertson’s claims right now, regarding the supposed unavailability of these type of applications for desktop Linux. Not only are there plenty software suites to go around, they all work rather well. Want a jukebox? There’s Amarok, Juk, Rhythmbox and Muine. In the photo department there’s Digikam, GPhoto and FLphoto. Coupled with the likes of The GIMP, the Linux digital darkroom has quite the wide arms.

Honestly – with a hand on my heart and scout’s honor – Apple’s iphoto and Lifescape’s Picasa are great applications; Picasa might be one of the things I actually miss from working on the Windows platform, and unfortunately there is not a Linux application yet which will reach Picasa’s stature.

Lphoto, though, is, first off, an obvious duplicate of iPhoto’s interface and streamline. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per-se, but it would have been nice to see some innovation. Lphoto didn’t recognize my digital camera, which I found odd, since up until now I have had no problem with an old Olympus D-450z, with any application on Linux. Lphoto needed me to “import” photographs into my “library”. Since I’m used to Picasa, or Digikam, I figured Lphoto would create thumbnails of the existing photographs and diplay them for me in the program view window. Not with Lphoto. Lphoto took the liberty of taking all 300mb of photographs on my computer, moving them under a newly self-created folder in /home/ called “My Documents”, all without any indication except for my hard drive grinding. I, of course, wasn’t expecting, or looking for, a folder named ‘My Documents”, and when I scoured my home folder for Lphoto’s output files, I was looking for a folder called “.lphoto”. The “My Documents” caught my eye, I looked at it oddly, and by chance, found duplicates of all my photographs, organized in sub-folders by month and date. Try to find something like that, eh? Some of us, myself included, would rather have our photos organized by label or keywords. But Lphoto has no configuration options for this sort of thing. In fact, Lphoto has no configuration options at all.

As far as it’s “filters and features”, like red-eye removal, email sending and “set as wallpaper”, nothing actually worked. Lphoto is still in early development, so hopefully most of these quirks will eventually be sorted out. Lphoto is not a bad idea, but it’s been done before on the Linux platform, and it’s been done better. If there would be a merge between Lphoto and Digikam, we might see some interesting sparks flying. But as a stand-alone application at the moment, Lphoto takes up space.

Lsongs isn’t of different breed, unfortunately. In fact, tried to pull the exact same trick as Lphoto did, by taking my entire music folder, all 7gb of it, and trying to duplicate it to /home/liron/My Documents/lsongs music”. Again, without any notification. By the time I realized what was going on, my entire /home/ partition was full. Lsongs will not allow you to configure the location of your music library, or to dictate the way it should be organized.

None of this is necessarily a bad thing – some of us may like having our software making decisions for us, or denying us of configuration options in order to “keep it simple, stupid”. This is very unlike Linux software, though, and is usually behavior you’ll come across in applications written for Windows. Since Lindows Inc. are targeting Windows users, and their Operating system, Linspire, is tailored to fit newcomers to Linux from the Windows platform, it is expectable to find applications like Lphoto and Lsongs being released from their “labs”. But as far as being the “Ultimate Solution”, as they indeed claim, both applications don’t quite live up to the competition, of which there is no shortage.

Do imaginary airplanes have a business-class?


I honestly need to get out of the country.
I’ve felt this way for years, but it’s been this past year where I’ve been feeling such an extreme distaste for my current location. It’s not just the political aspect; having the trouble of living in a country in which I disagree so much with it’s government and military, but mostly the emotional aspect. There’s nothing for me here, and try as I might, I cannot find a single reason to stay in Israel for the long term.

Those of you who are close to me have already heard the story of the “Packing Dreams”; re-occuring dreams which kicked off as soon as I got back from my visit to the United States last year and have been persisting up until recently. In those dreams, I’d always be packing bags or suitcases, most often in a situation where I’d be pressed for time. It might have been a plane to catch or a sinking ship, I’d always find myself in a situation where I’d have to make a selection between what was coming with, and what was being left behind. Up until today I was under the assumption that the dreams were an indication that I was running away – taking what I could of my life, leaving behind the things that I couldn’t deal with, and making a run for it. At the moment I realize I was wrong in that assumption – I wasn’t running away, It was an indication that I was in need of moving on.

Unfortunately now is a bad time, since as humans living in a commercial world, our abilities are only limited by our resources (and, well, the law, but that’s another story). But if I had my way, my plan would be similar to this:

I’d fly first to Germany to visit Ami, Markus and Raphi. After a few weeks of that, I’d meet Sharon in London for about a week of theater-hopping. I’d cross the atlantic to zonk on Dina’s bed (at her home in NY), play with her Star-Wars figurines and raid her video collection. Dave can come too, if he leaves the claw in Brooklyn (private joke). I’d visit Adam in Montana, Roy in Chicago , Andy in Boston and Alon in Florida, I’d spend a week with my uncle in Colorado Springs before finally unpacking my life in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. And if I’d have everything planned properly, I’d be in Minnesota just in time for snow.

I’m still saving my pennies.

5th day without coffee!


Do you remember being a child, and playing with squirt guns on the lawn on a hot summer’s day, or making a slingshot out of stray twigs and flinging small rocks at empty coke cans set up in formation?

You do? Great, ’cause I don’t.
When I was a little girl back in the good ‘ol US of A, we weren’t allowed to play with toy weapons, so it’s a time like this, 14 years after moving to the other side of the globe, where I wish for nothing more than a STEEL-MEGASTEALTH UBER SLINGSHOT to knock down the damned morning birds.

I’ve been spending the night watching Monty Python’s “Flying Circus” episodes, and working on setting up a working RSS feed for my site, which seems to be working properly now, after a few modifications to my weblog archive settings (blogger works in mysterious ways). The feed is actually being filtered through Feedburner, which uses the blogger-generated ATOM feed and translates it to RSS. The ATOM feed is still acting up – I sent an email to blogger support and I hope to have it working in the near future. At the moment it’s only syndicating 50% of my posts, and I haven’t the darndest clue why.

I’m getting myself reading for a busy June – in the beginning of the month I’m going to be accompanying Tal to a lecture on photo editing with The GIMP up in Haifa, Israel’s North-most major city. Tel Aviv won’t be lacking, though, There’s a Linux convention hosted by Novell on the 7th and the Tel Aviv Linux User Group (Telux) is hosting a lecture on Mandrakelinux on the 30th of this month. I also have an upcoming “reserve soldiers” convention on the 6th, seems like the Israeli military isn’t sick of me yet – no worries, there’ll be plenty of free food.

I guess I should also say hi to the folks at GooeyLinux, who are now parsing my blog feed through their Planet. Hi guys!

EDIT: Hah! I was almost right!

Andy Kaufman Lives! #2


Boy, do I feel like a Hippo plopped down in my stomach and took a nap. Anat took me to Hayakuza for a late-night all-you-can-eat Sushi fest, as a belated birthday gift. I CAN NO LONGER MOVE. The Sushi was mediocre, nothing to write home about, but man, I had a ton of it, So now I’m sitting in front of the screen, gulping down insane amounts of water, hoping my IBS doesn’t decide to act up.

I’m still closely watching the “Andy Kaufman Returns” topic. Quite frankly, I’m not convinced. I’m also under the assumption that it’s not a random internet prankster pulling the trick, though, I’m under the impression that Bob Zmuda is behind it. Snopes.com has an interesting report on the subject. Either way, it’s going to be one hell of a ride, and I’ll be interested to see what turns out to be the real deal.

Andy Kaufman Lives!


Or, at least, some fat guy in a Tony Clifton suit (More photos). It seems to me it’s a nice little hoax, but judging by the amount of traffic this guy has been getting, he hasn’t managed to lead too many people on. Hey, it was going to happen sometime, right? I wonder if it sparks a trend – pretty soon we’ll be seeing weblogs written by folks claiming to be Elvis, JFK, Jim Morrison, or Wil Wheaton! (Oh, oops, scratch that last one).

HEY KAUFMAN! Where have you been for the past 20 years? We have Compact Discs now! They’re like records, but… smaller! And isn’t the WWW pretty spiffy?

*yawn*

Clang


I would like to take something extremely heavy and of much value, and completely obliterate it by dropping it from a 12-story building RIGHT NOW. Make that a double, Garcon.

Birthday resolutions for the big Two-Two:


1. Gain Weight
2. Sneak into University Classes
3. Read more Philosophy literature
4. Gain Weight
5. Reduce Caffeine
6. Reduce Nicotine
7. Increase Resume experience
8. Get money, spend a few weeks in London
9. Draw at least once a week
10. Gain Weight

Drizzlation


The folks living in the apartment directly above us managed to bust a water pipe in their kitchen floor, which means that we spent the entire day yesterday running around in our kitchen, with buckets to catch the leaks from the ceiling. There’s a mean looking water spot about a meter and a half long, which was dripping at contant intervals; me and my father gave each other trivia questions regarding the amount of time it would take the drops to fill the bucket, giving the timing of the constant interval (kind of like the “how many jelly beans in the jar” trivia, or, as Wierd Al put it; “The number of molecules in Leonard Nemoy’s butt”).

I’ve been playing around with the PalmV some more, so far I’ve got it syncing with the calendar, contact list (yes!) and my memos. Now, every time I add a memo to the Palm and make a hotsync, post-it notes pop up on my desktop – sweet :o ) The main issue at the moment is that every time I find myself having to hard-boot the palm (this has already happened twice, since I tend to be qute adventerous at the risk of breaking things), it won’t sync with any of the conduits until I (get this) create a fresh calender, an address book with new contacts, or new notes, all on my computer (not the palm). It won’t sync with any of the existing entries in Kontact. I find myself having to start up a new calender and import the old one into it, create a new contact list and import the old addresses, or copy-paste old notes into new ones. This is not normal behavior.

Acually, the real reason why I had to hard-boot the palm was because I was missing an application such as this which would instruct the handheld to preform a digitizer calibration every time you preform a soft boot. What happened was, that when something crashed and I needed to soft-boot, the calibration was so OFF, that I couldn’t point the stylus to anything but the center of the screen, rendering me uncapable of reaching the calibrator! This seems to be an issue with PalmOS v3.x, apparently.

5:40am – time to wake up and smell the day.

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