The latest version of Ubuntu, 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”) is working very well. I’ve had a few minor annoyances but I’m slowly figuring out what I have to live with and what I can fix. One of the odd and completely superficial problems was that my old wallpaper in 9.10 (“Karmic Koala”) had become my new login wallpaper. Another was that Google Chrome appears to crash, and even though it is a beta version, it crashes far more than the beta version on Windows. Lastly, I have been trying to figure out a good way to manage my social activity and it looks like Gwibber may be the tool to use.
Visuals and Other Fixes with Ubuntu Tweak
The wallpaper issue was obviously an annoyance but nothing critical. At the same time, I now had about 4 versions of the Ubuntu kernel listed in my Grub menu (the boot menu that lists all operating systems on the computer), as well as my Windows XP install. As often happens, Lifehacker.com had a post on how to fix the Grub menu (easy; uninstall previous versions of the kernel / headers) which led me to thinking about making other boot process changes. That post eventually led me to this forum thread that discussed more customization of Grub. I now have:
- used GRUB_DEFAULT=”xxxx” to make Windows XP my default starting OS. Why? Because I occasionally use LogMeIn to access my laptop remotely, and my kids use Windows at school. If I can make sure it’s easy to get into Windows, I can ask anyone to reboot my PC. I can always choose Ubuntu myself;
- customized my Grub start menu so that it doesn’t spit back a VGA error and has a nice wallpaper!
But that still didn’t fix my login wallpaper issue. That’s when I found a post about Ubuntu Tweak.
It has exactly the fix for the login wallpaper; you click on the current wallpaper in the Ubuntu Tweak application, select a new file, and you’re done! It has a couple of other useful functions too, but it opens up a bunch of extras that you might not be aware of. One that I had spent a lot of time on earlier was the Compiz Config Settings Manager. You can enable it within Ubuntu Tweak and then access the Manager on your System menu.
Social Media: Getting Your Ubuntu Twitter Fix
I have not been using Twitter long. I have been curious about it for some time but it was not until I was able to use both the Chromed Bird Google Chrome extension and the LinkedIn Twitter application that I could see Twitter activity while at work. Tonight there were some updates for Ubuntu 10.04 so I dutifully installed them and when I was clicking on one of my application menus, I saw that a new application called Gwibber had been installed. It is an “open source microblogging client” and I also found a new Broadcast Preferences option on my System menu. So now I can have this client running in the background, popping up updates (like an e-mail program) and also managing the stream or contributing to it. This would be a far more useful program if I had more accounts (I’m not on F***book or any of the other services Gwibber currently supports) because it would provide me an aggregate view of a variety of streams. It’s nice enough, though, to be able to have it open and not always have to keep my Web browser open.
I only have two things that I would still like to fix. The first is that I cannot network my network attached storage device within Ubuntu; I can see it and browse and use it, but I cannot get it to appear as a permanent mount. Since I have all of my networked music on it, I cannot point any of the Ubuntu-based music players at it, because they will not look at the network, but only at the file system.
The other issue relates to my using an external monitor with my laptop. When I boot up, I get an extended display setting. Not a problem, but it usually means that my top panel (start task bar) is on the top of my laptop, not on my larger monitor. If I close my laptop – which in Windows causes the display to default and resize to the larger monitor – I typically see no change.
I have to toggle through my external monitor settings (Fn 8: first time, laptop + monitor, 800×600; second time, laptop+monitor, top panel on laptop; third time, laptop+monitor, nothing on monitor except wallpaper; fourth time, laptop only; fifth time, monitor only) to get the panel on the top of my external monitor. I would love to have a smarter monitor application, which would allow for cloned desktops of different resolutions and/or to have the sense to know that when the laptop is booted up, and lid is closed, to send the signal to the external device.