I’m very psyched to take this for a spin. It’s Debian Testing Xfce with bling. And Debian Xfce really needs bling.
I live in a two OS world.
At work, I live mostly in Windows 7, with some brief excursions into XP.
At home, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I live in Xubuntu.
Keeping the two worlds in sync isn’t that big an issue, though. In fact, I’d say it’s hardly an issue at all.
The glue that holds my worlds together is actually Google Calendar. I’m not a huge Google Calendar fan because of some of its reliability issues. Calendars will sometimes go down for minutes at a time. It’s not a horrible, but since I use Google Calendar as my to do list, it does occasionally compromise productivity.
Digression 1: I have so many concerns about the reliability and uptime of Google Calendar, I set it to send a daily summary email of my calendar, so if the live calendar isn’t available, at least I have an earlier version from which to work.
Digression 2: I’ve been looking for a replacement web calendar on and off for about a year or so. I’ve yet to find something as good that will also let me seamlessly import all of my Google calendars (the .ics file is quite large, which I think causes some import issues).
I find that just by putting stuff I need to do on my calendar and then checking my calendar, I can move pretty easily between Xubuntu and Windows without missing a beat. And anything I can’t do on a particular OS gets accomplished the next time I’m on the one I need, since it’s on my calendar and since I check my calendar religiously.
I’ve discussed this before, but the AbiWord/Gnumeric to Microsoft Office conversion/translation hookup is imperfect, but workable. One OS concession I usually make is to send out files from Xubuntu as PDFs wherever possible, just so I know files look like I want them to across OSs. Also, PDF is now an open standard, which is pretty cool.
Obviously, with the cloud and whatnot, a lot of work gets done in the browser. I pretty much set up every browser the same way, so I never have to shift mental gears, no matter where I’m working. For me, that means Chrome for Windows and Chromium for Xubuntu. I always install AdBlock, Chromed Bird (for Twitter), and the Web Developer Toolbar, which to be frank, just isn’t as good as the Firefox version.
I put in browser bookmarks for pinboard and CiteULike and change the default search to DuckDuckGo. This pretty much gives me a flawless illusion of always working on the same computer, no matter what the OS is.
It seems pretty much every article about working across computers mentions Dropbox. I too am a Dropbox user and I use it to work across multiple computers but in a fairly limited way. I don’t have the Dropbox client on my home computer as a way to maintain a psychological boundary between work and home. I work with files using the web interface, which is pretty nice, but not so nice that I feel compelled to work more than I need to at home.
And that’s really all that it takes for me to work across computers and operating systems. It’s really just a matter of finding a workflow that works and replicating it across computers. The less I need to think about where I’m working, the less likely it is that something will go wrong.
This is what my netbook looks like right now. I’m running Xubuntu, along with Chromium, Wakoopa, Dropbox, and Gwibber. I decided to go with Xubuntu because I wasn’t having a lot of luck with Ubuntu and it’s Unity interface on here.
Another satisfied Xubuntu customer!
(More) Amy’s Ramblings: Short Xubuntu Review
I was going to download this and give it a spin, but by the time I figured out SUSE Studio (and I’m not entirely sure I did), I had sort of lost my momentum.
I’m very curious to see Xfce 4.8, though.
This has nothing to do with Xfce, but it’s an interesting plea to GNOME developers.
I’m hoping the Unity people are working to create a flexible interface that lets interested users create a custom desktop experience.
But to be honest, back when I had Ubuntu Netbook Remix (now Ubuntu Netbook Edition), with the proto-Unity desktop, I used GNOME Do to do everything, taking the desktop display out of the equation.
A good application launcher can solve a sick amount of usability issues.
I know the trend in operating systems seems to be getting us away from folders, but I’m very much a folder kind of user.
My whole life with computers has been about putting material in the proper folder or directory, and it’s a habit I cling to. I know things like Spotlight for Mac or Synapse or GNOME Do for Linux, or even the shockingly effective and quick built-in global search Windows 7 has under its start menu are all designed to connect users to their files, regardless of where the actual file lives in the folder hierarchy, but for the times you can’t find what you need, usually because of a poor naming convention, folders still come in handy.
They’re also handy for projects, letting you mess with all of the files you need at once, without having to summon them one by one.
Despite the above emphasis on the importance of folders and directories, I’ve never given much thought to my file manager. As long as it showed me directories and hierarchies, I was pretty happy. Nautilus was always fine for me in GNOME and Thunar has been fine for me in Xubuntu.
But file managers can be used for more than navigation. One thing I’m finding very useful is that items you drag to Thunar’s sidebar (the conceptual equivalent of favoriting or bookmarking a directory) show up in the Xfce Places menu, giving you quick and direct access to a non-standard directory. Behold:
I realize this isn’t new functionality and it’s not unique to Xfce, but it’s a huge timesaver for me. Rather than navigating to frequently used files that aren’t held toward the top of directories, I can just pop into them via Places or Thunar.
Given how more and more software interfaces are handling the placement of users’ files for them, I’m especially grateful to anything that lets me easily get to the directories I need (another great example of this can be found in the cross-platform Filezilla client. You can bookmark frequently used directory paths, which is a timesaver in the maze-like Joomla CMS file system).
If you find yourself regularly navigating deep into directories, you should consider letting your OS do some of the work for you. It gives you the convenience of a file finder without your needing to surrender control of your directories.
I’m probably not the best person to ask since I just drag stuff from folders on my computer to folders on my MP3 player.
Exaile is the default Xubuntu media player and I actually like it a lot. It’s light but simple. I can’t get it to burn CDs, but that’s not too horrible.
In the past, I’ve used the underrated Goggles for music management.
Both of those are fairly basic tools, though. If you want something with the sweeping grandeur of iTunes (but stable and responsive, unlike iTunes), the big guns are Rhythmbox, Banshee, and Amarok.
I’ve used all three at one time or another and I couldn’t tell you the difference between any of them. Luckily, Linux Journal did a nice roundup a few months ago.
Play with some and see how they work for you. And let me know which one you end up sticking with.
Why I love linux and my N900! Let me see u do this with your smartphone!
This is so cool. My N810 cannot do this!
Very, very interesting! A rolling Xfce release. There seems to be a lot of bloat, though. Still, I’m curious to check this out in a virtual box. I’m especially curious to see if there’s any difference between this and running Debian Testing with Xfce.
“The new tablets are not Windows. Whoah! Didn’t see that coming, did you? According to Forrester’s survey of more than 3,800 people, the N0. 1 operating system people want on a tablet is Windows.”
Yikes! I guess these are the same people who want to buy their cars with flat tires? 🙂