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Atraci: New YouTube-Based Music Player

Thursday 17th of July 2014 06:35:00 PM
Atraci is a new open source music player which uses YouTube as a source. The app supports creating playlists and comes with some basic features like repeat, shuffle and so on.


The application, available for Linux, Windows and Mac, uses an interface somewhat similar to Popcorn Time (built using Node.js) and, according to its homepage, it allows you to listen to more than 60 million songs, "100% Free. No Ads. No Sign up. And Legal".

A playlist in Atraci
Here's how it works: when searching, Atraci uses iTunes, Last.fm and SoundCloud to display song results which include the album cover, the song title and artist. For playback, the application uses YouTube to "stream the highest quality videos", at least that's what the application GitHub page says but from my test, I can tell you that the app doesn't seem to be able to play 1080p videos, most probably because YouTube uses DASH for all 1080p videos.
Atraci supports playing videos however, because it was created to be used as a music player, it lacks some features when it comes to videos: you can't select the video quality and you can't play full-screen videos (but you can maximize the player window):

Atraci features:
  • play more than 60 million tracks / videos
  • top tracks, featured artist sections
  • supports playlists with shuffle and repeat options
  • track search autocomplete
  • 2 views which support sorting by track or artist
  • history of recently played tracks

The application is about one month old, so there are many things which can be improved or added. Its roadmap page links to a list of open bugs which includes some interesting feature requests like a recommendation system, lyrics support, an option to get the current playing song url, proxy support, last.fm/libre.fm scrobbling support and more - hopefully at least some of these will be added in future releases.

Install Atraci in Ubuntu / Linux Mint
Ubuntu (and derivatives) / Linux Mint users can install Atraci by using the WebUpd8 Atraci PPA. To add the PPA and install the application, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/atraci
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install atraci
Note: the application uses Node.js and Launchpad doesn't supports building such packages, so the PPA package downloads and installs the latest Atraci binary from GitHub.
For other Linux distributions (for Ubuntu as well, if you don't want to use the PPA above), Windows or Mac OS X, download Atraci from GitHub.
To run it on Linux, extract the downloaded archive, make the "Atraci" file executable (in Nautilus / Nemo: right click the file, select "Properties" and on the "Permissions" tab, enable "Allow executing file as program") and double click it.
Report any bugs related to the packaging in the comments below or, if you encounter bugs related to the application, report them @ GitHub.
For a somewhat similar application, but for the command line, see: New Command Line YouTube Player And Downloader With Local Playlists Support: mps-youtube

Thanks to Daniel for the tip!

Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander End Of Life: July 17, 2014

Thursday 17th of July 2014 09:40:00 AM

Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) reached end of life today. That means that if you use Ubuntu 13.10, you should upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support). That's because after July 17, 2014, "Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 13.10".
It's also important to mention that PPA maintainers will no longer be able to upload packages for Ubuntu 13.10 soon.
Ubuntu 13.10 was the second release which had a 9 month support cycle, after Ubuntu 13.04. Previously, non-LTS releases were supported for 18 months, that's why, for example, Ubuntu 13.04 reached end of life before Ubuntu 12.10.
As a reminder, the only supported Ubuntu releases are now: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (supported until April 2019), Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (supported until April 2017) and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS for servers (supported until April 2015; Ubuntu 10.04 for desktop reached end of life on May 9, 2013). For more information, see the Ubuntu Releases wiki page.

Pushbullet Indicator Gets Android Notification Mirroring Support, Other Changes

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 12:51:00 PM
Pushbullet Indicator was updated recently with support for the latest Pushbullet API changes, which include OAuth support and notification mirroring from Android to your computer.

For those not familiar with Pushbullet, this is a service that lets you easily send files, links, notes, lists, etc. from your iOS or Android device to your desktop or the other way around. It can be used via Chrome / Firefox extensions and for Windows there's also a desktop app. Because there was no native Linux app, Lorenzo from Atareao.es created an Ubuntu AppIndicator (and a Nautilus extension as a companion for the AppIndicator) to easily use Pushbullet in Ubuntu.

Changes in the latest Pushbullet Indicator 0.4.0:
  • OAuth support: you no longer have to login to the Pushbullet website, copy the APi key and introduce it into the app, etc. You simply log in when prompted by the AppIndicator and that's it;
  • notification mirroring: receive notifications from your Android (doesn't support iOS!) device on your desktop for phone calls, messages, notifications from third-party apps, etc;
  • you can now send pushes (files, links, notes, etc.) from your mobile device to the desktop, feature which wasn't available in the previous Pushbullet Indicator release. Furthermore, you can send pushes between any connected device (so even from one desktop to another). To see the pushes sent to the desktop, you need to select "Show last push" from the Pushbullet AppIndicator menu.

Note that I couldn't test the new Android notification mirroring feature because my old Android device (Samsung Galaxy S II) broke, so the notification screenshot below is via atareao.es.

Here are a few screenshots with some of the changes mentioned above:




For more information about Pushbullet Indicator, see our initial article: Pushbullet Indicator: Send Files, Links And Notes To Your Android or iOS Device From Your Ubuntu Desktop


Install Pushbullet Indicator in Ubuntu 14.04 or Linux Mint 17 CInnamon
According to Lorenzo, the app developer, Pushbullet Indicator should work properly not only with Unity, but also with the KDE, LXDE and Xfce Ubuntu flavors. Also, I tested it with both Linux Mint 17 MATE and Cinnamon and I can tell you that it works with Cinnamon but unfortunately it doesn't work with MATE.
Pushbullet Indicator is available in the Atareao PPA for Ubuntu 14.04 and derivatives or Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon. Add the PPA and install the indicator using the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pushbullet-indicator

To also install the Pushbullet Nautilus extension (you can use it to send files directly from Nautilus to your mobile device), use the command below:sudo apt-get install nautilus-pushbullet
Important notes:
  • Pushbullet Indicator and the Pushbullet Nautilus extension must be authenticated separately;
  • after adding a new device, you may need to restart the indicator (select "Quit" and then start it again from the menu / Dash) and Nautilus (to restart Nautilus, type "nautilus -q" in a terminal).

via atareao.es

How To Install KDE Plasma 5 In Kubuntu 14.10 Or 14.04

Wednesday 16th of July 2014 10:11:00 AM
KDE released Plasma 5 yesterday, which is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5 and it introduces an updated artwork concept with cleaner visuals and improved readability, called Breeze, along with improved high DPI support and a converged shell, as well as a fully hardware accelerated graphics stack. A lot more information about the latest Plasma 5 can be found HERE.
Below you can watch a quick Plasma 5 visual feature guide video:


(direct video link)
Kubuntu users who want to try the new Plasma 5 have 3 choices:
  • use the Project Neon 5 ISOs in a virtual machine / boot off an USB stick;
  • Ubuntu 14.04 only: use the Project Neon KDE Frameworks 5 PPA (the PPA description advises to use the kf5-snapshot-weekly PPA but that didn't work well in my test) - this PPA contains bleeding edge KDE Frameworks 5 / Plasma 5 builds which doesn't overwrite your current KDE installation (so it doesn't affect your system) as it's installed under /opt/project-neon5/;
  • Ubuntu 14.10 only: use the Kubuntu Next PPA which provides KDE Frameworks 5 / Plasma 5 - using this PPA will upgrade your current KDE installation.

There is a 4th option of course: to compile it from source, but that's a tedious task and I'm sure many of you won't take it into considerations.
Using the ISO to try Plasma 5 doesn't require any instructions so below you'll find instructions on installing Plasma 5 via PPA in Ubuntu 14.10 (using the Project Neon KDE Frameworks 5 PPA) and 14.04 (using the Kubuntu Next PPA).
Before proceeding, please note that both PPAs are pretty unstable and most probably you'll encounter bugs. In my test, I encountered various visual glitches and slowness using the Project Neon PPA while using the Kubuntu Next PPA I only encountered a few minor issues like the menu font being too large (and I couldn't change it from the settings) or some missing icons. But that's just after a quick test. So use these PPAs at your own risk! It's also important to note that even though this article includes instructions for how to revert the changes, things can go wrong when following those instructions so you'll have to know how to recover from such situations.
That said, let's proceed.

Install KDE Plasma 5 in Kubuntu 14.04

To install Plasma 5 in Kubuntu 14.04 using the Project Neon KDE Frameworks 5 PPA (installing it won't overwrite your current installation however, this PPA is highly unstable), use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:neon/kf5
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install project-neon5-session project-neon5-utils project-neon5-konsole project-neon5-breeze project-neon5-plasma-workspace-wallpapersOnce installed, it's probably a good idea to restart the system to avoid any issues. And, to log in to the newly installed Plasma 5, select "Plasma" from the login screen session menu:


Install KDE Plasma 5 in Kubuntu 14.10

To install Plasma 5 in Kubuntu 14.10 by using the Kubuntu Next PPA (using this PPA, your current KDE packages will be upgraded!), use the following commands:sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/next
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-plasma5-desktop plasma-workspace-wallpapersOnce installed, restart the system (or else you may run into issues). You may not be able to restart the system from the menu and if that happens, run "sudo reboot" in a terminal or tty (CTRL + ALT + F1).



How to revert the changes
If you want to revert the changes made by following the instructions above, here's what you need to do.
For Kubuntu 14.04 (Project Neon KDE Frameworks 5 PPA), use the following commands to remove all the packages installed from the Project Neon 5 PPA:sudo apt-get purge project-neon5-*
sudo apt-get autoremove
For Kubuntu 14.10 (Kubuntu Next PPA), use the following commands to remove the KDE Plasma 5 desktop and purge the Kubuntu Next PPA (this will downgrade all the packages installed from this PPA to the version available in the official Ubuntu repositories and then disable the PPA):sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo apt-get remove kubuntu-plasma5-desktop
sudo ppa-purge ppa:kubuntu-ppa/next
PPAs via community.kde.org

Dropbox UI Rewritten In Qt For Latest Experimental Linux & Windows Builds

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 11:37:00 AM
The Dropbox Windows and Linux user interface is currently in the process of being rewritten in Qt and an experimental build (2.11.0) with this and other changes is already available for testing.

According to the forum notes, the reason behind the UI rewrite is to "fix a large number of issues/glitches you have reported over the years, improve performance, support high DPI on Windows, a new setup wizard on Linux, and more". It's also important to add that the new "UI is still rough around the edges so expect to see some things looking not quite right" for now. 
Here are a couple of screenshots with the latest Dropbox Qt UI running in Ubuntu 14.04:


I tested the latest Dropbox experimental build on Ubuntu 14.04 (64bit) and it worked properly for me, but the memory usage was pretty high initially: about 200-210 MiB (it decreased to about 70 MiB of RAM after about 30 minutes - Dropbox was idle the whole time). Furthermore, some users on the Dropbox forums mention an increase in memory usage on Windows too. However, this is an experimental build and bugs are to be expected.
Besides the UI rewrite, the new (still experimental) Dropbox 2.11 series also brings:
  • file identifiers, which enable Dropbox to detect when files have been moved and renamed. In the future, file identifiers will be used to improve features such as Previous versions. For now, this change should be invisible;
  • Windows long path support: Dropbox on Windows now supports paths longer than 260 characters however, many applications such as Windows Explorer and Microsoft Word do not;
  • new Linux headless setup flow;
  • faster uploads for small files;
  • updated splash screens;
  • new Finder icon overlays.


How to test the latest experimental Dropbox with Qt UI in Linux
If you want to test the latest Dropbox experimental build (not recommended - if you want to revert this change, your Dropbox account will be re-linked and that make take a long time, depending on your Internet connection and the size of your Dropbox), you can update your current Dropbox installation on Linux by using the following commands in a terminal:
- 32bit:
sudo apt-get install wget
dropbox stop
cd && wget https://d1ilhw0800yew8.cloudfront.net/client/dropbox-lnx.x86-2.11.0.tar.gz
tar -xvf dropbox-lnx.x86-2.11.0.tar.gz
dropbox start
rm dropbox-lnx.x86-2.11.0.tar.gz
- 64bit:
sudo apt-get install wget
dropbox stop
cd && wget https://d1ilhw0800yew8.cloudfront.net/client/dropbox-lnx.x86_64-2.11.0.tar.gz
tar -xvf dropbox-lnx.x86_64-2.11.0.tar.gz
dropbox start
rm dropbox-lnx.x86_64-2.11.0.tar.gz
If later on you want to revert these changes and go back to the stable, non-Qt Dropbox version, use the following commands:dropbox stop
rm -r .dropbox-dist/
dropbox start
Or grab the latest experimental Dropbox builds from HERE (available for Linux, Windows and Mac).
via Dropbox Forums & Linux und Ich

Variety Wallpaper Changer 0.4.19 Adds Support For Panoramio, Fixes Flickr And Wallpapers.net Sources, More

Tuesday 15th of July 2014 09:58:00 AM
Variety, a cool wallpaper changer that works with most desktop environments (KDE, LXDE, Xfce, Unity, GNOME Shell, Cinnamon or Pantheon), reached version 0.4.19 today, bringing support for Panoramio as image source, support for the Enlightenment desktop environment, fixes for Flickr and Wallpapers.net and more.

For those not familiar with Variety, this is a wallpaper changer that automatically downloads wallpapers from sources such as Wallbase, Flickr, Wallpapers.net, Desktoppr, custom RSS feeds, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day as well as World Sunlight Map: a live Earth wallpaper which changes throughout the day. Using it, you can get a new, beautiful wallpaper automatically at the interval you set in the application preferences.
The application can even apply fancy filters to the images: grayscale, heavy blur, oil painting, charcoal painting, pointilism or pixellate as well as display quotes or the time on top of the wallpaper.
Changes in Variety 0.4.19:
  • added support for Panoramio: this allows fetching images from a certain map area;
  • added support the Enlightenment desktop environment (E17, E18, E19)
  • reorganized indicator menu;
  • easier Facebook sharing: you no longer have to enter your login credentials in an embedded Webkit browser to share wallpapers on Facebok - instead, the login now happens in your default browser;
  • new Wallpaper Selector AppIndicator menu entry: this displays random images from your enabled image sources in Variety's thumbnail bar
  • unicode support;
  • fixed Flickr and Wallpapers.net wallpaper sources;
  • fixed AppIndicator icon size under Xfce and GNOME Fallback;
  • Other bug fixes (Cinnamon-related fixes, etc.).

Here are a few screenshots with these changes:

Variety Ubuntu AppIndicator
Panoramio - to use it, open the Variety Preferences and on the General tab click Add and select Panoramio
Wallpaper Selector
Variety AppIndicator icon fixed for GNOME Flashback
Variety AppIndicator icon fixed for Xfce

Install Variety Wallpaper Changer in Ubuntu or Linux Mint
Ubuntu / Linux Mint (and derivatives) users can install the latest Variety by using its official PPA. To add the PPA and install the application, copy / paste the following commands in a terminal:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peterlevi/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install varietyIf you don't want to add the PPA or you want to install Variety on Debian, grab the deb from HERE.

Important notes: according to its installation page, Variety requires the AppIndicator plugin for Xfce and the AppIndicator Support extension for GNOME Shell. For KDE, you need to follow the instructions from HERE.
For other Linux distributions, see the official Variety installation instructions.
Report any bugs you may find @ Launchpad.

Raspberry Pi Model B+ Launched With 4 USB Ports, MicroSD Support, More

Monday 14th of July 2014 06:28:00 PM
The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced "Raspberry Pi Model B+" today, an upgrade to the original Model B, which is available at the same price ($35).

For those not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, this is a credit-card-sized computer which runs Linux, created with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. A wide variety of Linux distributions are available for Raspberry Pi, such as Raspbian (Debian Wheezy), Pidora (Fedora remix), Openelec and RaspBMC (XBMC Media Center) and Arch Linux.
Raspberry Pi Model B+ uses the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B and it can run the same Linux distributions, but some parts were improved:
  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B;
  • More USB. Raspberry Pi Model B+ now has have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour;
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version;
  • Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones, power consumption was reduced by between 0.5W and 1W.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply;
  • Neater form factor. The USB connectors were aligned with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes.

The announcement also mentions that the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be "keeping Model B in production for as long as there’s demand for it".
The new Rasbetty Pi Model B+ is available from this morning and you can buy it from Farnell/element14/Newark, RS/Allied Components and others.
Below you can watch the  Raspberry Pi Model B+ introduction video:


Meet the Raspberry Pi Model B+ from Raspberry Pi Foundation on Vimeo.
via raspberrypi.org

Xubuntu: How To Put Maximized Windows Buttons And Title On The Panel

Monday 14th of July 2014 05:34:00 PM
`Windowck` is a set of Xfce plugins which allows you to place the maximized window title and window buttons on the panel, somewhat similar to Unity. This is useful for increasing the vertical screen space: the window titlebar and buttons are removed for maximized windows and they are displayed on the Xfce panel instead.

Windowck Plugins features:
  • show the title and buttons of the maximized window on the panel (there is an option to control active windows even if they aren't maximized);
  • allow window actions on buttons and title clicks (activate, (un)maximize, close);
  • allow window action menu on left button click;
  • title formatting options;
  • xfwm4/unity theming support for buttons;
  • the window title / buttons can be placed anywhere on the panel (unlike under Unity for example), the button order can be changed, etc.
Here are a couple of screenshots with the plugin options:




Install Windowck Plugins in Xubuntu
Xubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 only: to install Windowck Plugins, simply download the deb from HERE, then install it using Ubuntu Software Center, Gdebi or from the command line.
Xubuntu 13.10, 12.04: For older Xubuntu versions, you'll have to build it from source (important: you need Xfce 4.10 or newer, which isn't in the official repositories for Ubuntu 12.04 so you'll need to use a PPA for it, or else it won't work!):
1. Install the required dependencies:
sudo apt-get install autotools-dev pkg-config intltool dh-autoreconf libgtk2.0-dev xfce4-dev-tools xfce4-panel-dev libxfce4util-dev libxfconf-0-dev libxfce4ui-1-dev libwnck-dev wget
2. Download and extract xfce4-windowck-plugin:
cd
wget https://github.com/cedl38/xfce4-windowck-plugin/archive/v0.3.0.tar.gz
tar -xvf v0.3.0.tar.gz
3. Compile xfce4-windowck-plugin:
cd ~/xfce4-windowck-plugin-0.3.0
./autogen.sh --prefix=/usr
make
sudo make install

Once you install Windowck Plugins, right click the Xfce panel, select Panel > Add New Items and add:
  • "Window Header - Buttons" to put the maximized window buttons on the panel
  • "Window Header - Title" to put the maximized window title on the panel

Arch Linux users can install Windowck Plugins via AUR.
To grab the source code, report bugs, etc., see the Windowck Plugins GitHub page.

Remove maximized window borders
Since the window titlebar and/or buttons are now displayed on the top Xfce panel, you'll probably want to remove the window titlebar for maximized windows. You can do this using Maximus. To install it in Xubuntu, use the following command:sudo apt-get install maximus
By default, Maximus maximizes all new windows but you can disable this behavior by running the following command:gconftool-2 --set /apps/maximus/no_maximize --type=bool true
And finally, log out and log back in. That's it!

Update: instead of Maximus, you can use xfwm4-titleless, which should work better on Xfce, but you'll have to compile it from source (thanks to Rober for the tip!). Arch Linux users can grab it via AUR.

Mailnag Email Notifier Sees New Major Release, Is No Longer Just For GNOME Shell

Monday 14th of July 2014 02:02:00 PM
Mailnag, an email notifier that was initially developed for GNOME Shell only, was updated to version 1.0 recently, getting numerous changes such as a plugin system for easy extensibility and also, the application is now desktop-independent.

The latest Mailnag 1.0 is no longer just for GNOME Shell. The new version comes with a set of desktop-independent plugins for displaying notifications / sounds on mail arrival. But that's not all. Because regular desktop notifications are only visible for a few seconds (well, in some desktop environments anyway), the application ships with plugins for GNOME Shell (3.10 and 3.12 only) and Unity for tighter desktop integration.
The GNOME Shell plugin includes an indicator in the top panel which displays a counter badge and a popup menu, notifies about new emails via the messaging tray and it integrats with the lock screen:



The Mailnag Unity plugin integrates the application with Ubuntu's messaging menu, allowing you to open the mail reader, for a new mail check and displays the latest new emails (and of course, you also get new mail notifications - that's supported on all desktop environments):


Those are not the only changes in the latest Mailnag 1.0 though. Here's the complete list of changes:
  • Mailnag is desktop-independent now (was GNOME3-only);
  • Added plugin system to allow easy extensibility;
  • Cut down the core daemon functionality to mail checking only and moved everything else to plugins;
  • Added GNOME 3/Ubuntu Unity extension/plugin for a tighter desktop integration;
  • Added account assistants for popular email providers like Gmail;
  • Added DBUS service (for remote control/integration in other apps);
  • Redesigned and simplified config UI;
  • dded propper logging (log messages are sent to stdout and the system log now);
  • Heavy code cleanup & refactoring;
  • Reduced disk write access, other performance improvements;
  • Fixes for various major and minor bugs;
  • New icon by Reda Lazri;


Install Mailnag 1.0 in Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10
The latest Mailnag 1.0 is already available in the official Debian unstable and Ubuntu 14.10 repositories, but without the new GNOME Shell and Unity plugins. For those, you'll need to use the PPA below.
Mailnag is available in a PPA for Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 only. To add the PPA and install it, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pulb/mailnag
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mailnag
Then, to install the Mailnag Unity plugin, use the command below:
sudo apt-get install mailnag-unity-plugin
Or, to install the GNOME Shell Mailnag extension (it supports GNOME Shell 3.10 and 3.12), copy/paste the following command in a terminal:sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-mailnag
GNOME Shell only: once installed, open GNOME Tweak Tool and enable the Mailnag extension.
And finally, open the Mailnag Configuration from the Dash / Activities Overview / menu and set up your mail account(s), enable the plugins you want to use, etc.
For how to install Mailnag in other Linux distributions, report bugs, etc., see its GitHub page.

(Linux) Deepin 2014 - See What`s New [Video, Screenshots]

Thursday 10th of July 2014 05:35:00 PM
Deepin 2014 (based on Ubuntu 14.04) was released recently and comes with a huge list of changes and improvements, including a new Control Center, an updated dock and application launcher, new default icon theme, new default applications and more. Let's take a look at what's new!

Deepin, previously known as "Linux Deepin", is a Chinese Linux distribution (a multi-language ISO is available) based on Ubuntu, that ships with its own desktop environment based on Compiz and some unique applications, which integrate with the overall Linux Deepin look and feel.
Until version 12.12, Deepin used a highly customized GNOME Shell as the default desktop environment / shell and then it switched to its own desktop environment: Deepin Desktop Environment, which uses Compiz (with some patches) under the hood.

Deepin 2014 video
As usual, let's start with a quick video showcasing the new features / changes in Deepin 2014:


(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel!)

Deepin 2014
While it retains the main features available in the previous releases: a full-screen application launcher, a dock at the bottom and so on, the Deepin 2014 desktop environment has received a major update.
Deepin 2014 ships with Deepin Desktop Environment 2.0 and the most important change is probably the new Control Center.

The new Control Center pops up to the right of the screen and other than the new design which you can see below, it includes major improvements to the display, network and personalization modules as well as a much more stable sound module. For instance, the network module has received support for broadband and VPN connections, hidden network connections and static IPs.




The Deepin dock / taskbar has also received a lot of attention with the 2014 release: the application uses new effects and it was split in two parts: the original dock which shows a list of running applications (with live window previews) and allows you to pin apps to it, and the tray which includes the network, audio, USB device, clock / calendar and power trays as well as the program tray which is where you'll find the apps that use a tray icon / Ubuntu AppIndicator:


The dock continues to offer options to auto-hide it, show the desktop when clicked and so on:


The application launcher was updated with a new design and it now uses a button in the top left corner which allows the users to switch between the favorite apps view and the app categories:

Also, users can now uninstall applications by dragging them from the launcher and dropping them onto the trash icon:


Yet another updated feature is the hot corners settings: by right clicking the desktop and selecting "Corner navigation", you can configure various actions for each desktop corner: open the app launcher or Control Center, show the desktop or all windows, etc.:


The Login / Lock Screen Manager (a greeter on top of LightDM which uses HTML5) was updated to use a beautiful sky animation (which you can see in the video above) and also, the lock screen now displays music controls:

It's also important to note that the Deepin 2014 ISO offers 10 languages and 67 languages are in the works but unfortunately they weren't ready for this release.


Default applications
Deepin 2014 continues to use its own custom apps as the default music player, screenshot, video player, software store and so on and unfortunately I can't tell you what's new in these apps because I couldn't find any information about that. What I can tell you is that Deepin 2014 ships with 2 new default applications especially created for it: Deepin Translator which makes use of Google Voice and Deepin Boot Maker - you can see both apps in the screenshots below:


It's also important to note that Deepin 2014 users can now install applications using Deepin Store without entering a password.

Also, DMedia, the default video player, is now called DMovie and the release notes mention that this is an important upgrade but there are no details as to what features / improvements were added:


And finally, even though the games are in English, Deepin Game Center continues to use Chinese game descriptions:

Here are some screenshots with the other Deepin applications:





Besides the applications that were built especially for it, Deepin 2014 ships with Nautilus as the default file manager as well as the following applications: Google Chrome, LibreOffice, Pidgin, HexChat, Remmina, Skype, Thunderbird, Gedit, Brasero, Evince, GDebi Package Installer, GParted, GNOME System Monitor, GNOME Font Viewer and Calculator.

Mini review
I must confess I really enjoy the overall Deepin 2014 desktop experience: I love the new Control Center, the dock / taskbar does everything I need and the application launcher is easy to use, yet featureful - for instance, you can right click an application from the app launcher to add it to the dock or to the desktop and even add it to startup, and you can drag and drop an app icon from the app launcher to trash to uninstall it.
I'm also pretty pleased with how the Deepin applications looks (though I'm sure some of you won't agree but you can always replace them) and features.
However, I'm not exactly satisfied with its performance.
Note: I didn't install Deepin 2014 on my computer - I've created a startup disk and booted Deepin 2014 on a desktop with AMD graphics (it doesn't boot on my Nvidia Optimus laptop unless I edit Grub to use "nomodeset" and then the resolution is pretty crappy).
According to the official release announcement, Deepin Desktop Environment 2.0 was optimized to use less system resources but in my test the desktop still feels kind of heavy. However, the developers are planning to write a new window manager to replace Compiz for future Deepin releases and with this, they hope to solve all performance issues.
Also, while I like the fact that Deepin tries to use its own applications for music and video playback, software store and so on, I have to note that I'm not exactly pleased with two of them: Deepin Store and Deepin Music.
For instance, Deepin Store is a bit sluggish (but then again, so is Ubuntu Software Center). Also, I was pretty disappointed by Deepin Music, which worked ok while using it to play various Internet radio stations, but it kept freezing after adding only about 300 MP3s. But of course, there many music players out there which can be used to replace Deepin Music, so that's not such a big issue.
Overall, the desktop is very easy to use with a unified design (well, if you don't count the non-Deepin apps which obviously have a different look and that can't be fixed) and besides the issues I've mentioned above, everything worked as expected in the 4-5 hours I spent testing it.
Have you tried Deepin 2014? What's your opinion about it?

Download Deepin 2014

Xfdashboard: GNOME Shell Like Dashboard For Xfce

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 12:13:00 PM
Xfdashboard is a GNOME Shell like dashboard for Xfce: it displays an overview of the currently open applications, allowing the user to switch between them, an application launcher / finder as well as a workspace selector.

Xfdashboard features:
  • windows view: shows all windows of the current workspace (with live previews) - you can use this to switch between applications / windows or close them;
  • applications view: it's like a menu, showing all installed applications with categories, etc. - using this view, you can launch applications or add them to your favorites (which will add a shortcut in the quicklaunch / left panel);
  • favorites: you can add application shortcuts to your favorites - the shortcuts will be displayed in the left panel, just like in GNOME Shell. To remove an application from the favorites, drag and drop it onto the application icon (first icon from the top) - the icon should turn into a delete icon while dragging one of the favorites;
  • search view: when you start typing, a search view is displayed, useful to quickly find and launch an application;
  • workspace selector: shows each workspace with live window previews in their stacked order. Note that the live previews might not work if you're using a window manager that doesn't allow this, such as Xfwm4 (in that case, only non-minimized windows of the current active workspace will be updated and the application icon will be displayed for the other windows). You can switch between workspaces by using the mouse wheel (in which case Xfdashboard won't be closed) or by simply clicking on a workspace (in which case, Xfdashboard will be closed);
  • theming support.

Here are a few more Xfdashboard screenshots:




While Xfdashboard was created for use under Xfce, it can be used in any desktop environment however, it has a couple of Xfce dependencies: xfconf and garcon.
The application is great for those who want the GNOME Shell Activities functionality (or at least most of it) under a light desktop environment such as Xfce, but there are two things which need to be improved: in my test, Xfdashboard was a bit slow when searching for applications and also, its design needs some improvements in my opinion. The latter might be solved by using a theme since Xfdashboard supports theming, but I couldn't find any themes for it. I see that the app is under heavy development so hopefully these will be solved soon.


For how to use Xfdashboard, see THIS guide. You may also want to check out the Xfdashboard Xfconf settings, which are documented HERE.
Note: to quit / close Xfdashboard, either select a window or start an application or simply press ESC (if you've entered some text in the search box, ESC will clear the search so in that case, you need to press ESC twice to close Xfdashboard).

Xfdashboard video
Below you can watch an Xfdashboard demo video (also includes some hints on how to use Xfdashboard - make sure the video annotations are enabled) I've recorded in Ubuntu 14.04 - Xfce session:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to the WebUpd8 YouTube channel!)

How to install and set up Xfdashboard in Xubuntu 14.10, 14.04 or 13.10 / Linux Mint Xfce 17 or 16
Xfdashboard can be installed in Xubuntu 14.10, 14.04 and 13.10 (as well as Linux Mint Xfce 17 or 16) by using the Xubuntu Extras PPA. To add the PPA and install Xfdashboard, copy/paste the following commands in a terminal:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xubuntu-dev/extras
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xfdashboard
Arch Linux users can install Xfdashboard via AUR: stable | git.
For other Linux distributions, grab the source code from the Xfdashboard GitHub page.
Once you've installed Xfdashboard, you need to set up a way to launch it:
A. The easiest way is to search for Xfdashboard in the Xfce menu and drag and drop it to the panel - you can then simply click its icon to launch Xfdashboard. 
B. Some of you will probably prefer to launch it by using a keyboard shortcut so below you'll find instructions for how to set up a keyboard shortcut in Xfce to launch Xfdashboard:
1. Open the Xfce Settings, select Keyboard and click on the Application Shortcuts tab:

2. Click "Add" and in the window that pops up, enter "xfdashboard" as the command, then click OK:

3. Next, you'll be prompted to press a keyboard shortcut which will be used to show Xfdashboard:

Here, enter the keys you want to use and you're done (important: make sure that the key combination you've set isn't already in use!).
C. Of course, using a keyboard shortcut or a launcher aren't the only ways of activating Xfdashboard. For instance, you can get a complete GNOME Shell "feel" by opening Xfdashboard using hot corners: you can assign commands to screen edges / corners under Xfce by using Brightside.

Make VLC Automatically Save / Restore Playback Position With Srpos Plugin

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014 05:43:00 PM
VLC is a great media player but it lacks a minor, yet pretty important feature, some would say: an option to resume playback from where you left off.
However, VLC supports plugins and there is one called Srpos (available for Linux and Windows) which does just that: it allows VLC to automatically save the playback position when you close the player and to automatically start playing from the same position when you replay the file.
To avoid confusion, let me clarify this: Srpos automatically saves / restores the last played position, unlike some other extensions out there such as Remember Position, which requires you to click a button to save/restore the last played position.

Install Srpos VLC plugin in Ubuntu
Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 (as well as Linux Mint 17 and derivatives) users can install the Srpos VLC plugin by using Sam Rog's PPA. To add the PPA and install the plugin, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:samrog131/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc-srpos-pluginIf you don't want to add the PPA, you can download the Srpos VLC plugin deb from HERE.
Unfortunately the latest Srpos plugin doesn't seem to work with VLC versions older than 2.1 (it didn't build successfully for me with VLC 2.0.8), despite the fact that its homepage says it should work with 2.0 and 2.1, that's why there aren't any packages for older Ubuntu versions (Ubuntu versions older than 14.04 have vlc 2.0.x). However, if you're using an old Ubuntu version but have installed VLC 2.1.x from some PPA, follow the instructions from HERE to build Srpos.
For other Linux distributions and Windows, see the VLC srpos plugin homepage for installation instructions.

How to enable the Srpos VLC Plugin
Once you install Srpos, open VLC (close it if it was started when you installed the plugin) and from its menu select Tools > Preferences, then in the bottom left corner under "Show settings" select "All", scroll down to "Interface" on the left, click "Control interfaces" and enable "Save/restore position of last player files". Here's a screenshot with these steps:

Once you've enabled this option, restart VLC. That's it!

Screencasting App `Simple Screen Recorder` 0.3.0 Adds Profile Support, New OpenGL Recording System And Lots More

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014 12:40:00 PM
Simple Screen Recorder (SSR), a Qt desktop recorder for Linux, was updated to version 0.3.0 today, bringing profile support, a new, more flexible OpenGL recording system, native support for mono microphones and other interesting changes.
The tool comes with basically all the features you need in a screencast app: record the entire screen (with multi-monitor support), record a fixed rectangle, follow the cursor, record OpenGL applications (which can be used to record games), record audio input (PulseAudio, JACK and ALSA), options to scale the video, to record (or not) the cursor, to pause/resume the recording and so on. It even has experimental live streaming support.
Simple Screen Recorder can record your screen using any container (MP4, MKV, OGG, WebM and so on) and audio/video codec (H.264, VP8, Theora for videos and Vorbis, mp3, AAC, etc. for audio) supported by libav, with configurable bit rate, etc.
For more information on Simple Screen Recorder, check out our initial article about it: SimpleScreenRecorder: Powerful Screen Recording Software For Linux

Changes in the latest Simple Screen Recorder 0.3.0:
  • added profile support;
  • new, more flexible OpenGL recording system (glinject-next branch merged);
  • more robust sound notifications;
  • show progress dialog while flushing the encoders;
  • improved hotkey support using XInput2;
  • improved synchronizer;
  • native support for mono microphones (plughw no longer needed);
  • added source detection for ALSA;
  • partially rewritten output backend;
  • improved mouse following algorithm;
  • new icon;
  • bugfixes.

Here are a few screenshots with the latest Simple Screen Recorder 0.3.0:





Below you can watch a quick Simple Screen Recorder demo video recorded using... the tool itself (the video is old, but it should be enough to get an idea on what the app can do and to checkout the quality of the screencasts recorded using this tool):

(direct video link)
For more screencasts created using Simple Screen Recorder, check out the latest videos from the WebUpd8 YouTube channel - I've been using Simple Screen Recorder to record the WebUpd8 screencasts for about a year now.

Install Simple Screen Recorder in Ubuntu / Linux Mint
Ubuntu / Linux Mint (and derivatives) users can install Simple Screen Recorder by using its official PPA. To add the PPA and install the application, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder
For H.264 support, you'll need to install some extra packages:
sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra-* libavformat-extra-*Ubuntu 64bit: if you want to record 32bit games, make sure you also install simplescreenrecorder-lib:i386:sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder-lib:i386
For other Linux distributions, see the instructions available on the Simple Screen Recorder homepage.

If you encounter bugs, report them @ GitHub.

Ambiance And Radiance Colors Theme Pack Gets 3 New Colors, Full Cinnamon Support

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014 09:18:00 AM
Ambiance & Radiance Colors, a theme pack that provides Ambiance and Radiance in various colors, was updated today with 3 new colors: Aqua, Teal and Manila, to match the latest Humanity Colors icons. 
The new release also includes full Nemo / Cinnamon support (with a Cinnamon theme) and other changes.

With this update, the theme pack is now available in 12 color variations (the theme already included the following colors: blue, brown, graphite, green, orange - different from the default orange -, pink, purple, red and yellow), all available as both light (Radiance) and dark (Ambiance).
The theme pack supports Unity, MATE, Xfce and Cinnamon. Since the default/stock Ambiance and Radiance don't support client side window decorations, the Ambiance and Radiance Colors pack doesn't support it either, so GNOME Shell is currently not properly supported.
Besides the 3 new colors, the latest Ambiance & Radiance Colors 14.04.5 includes other changes such as:
  • improved window buttons color (it's now brighter / less dull) - white window buttons are also still available if you don't want to use colored window buttons (set the theme to Ambiance-COLOR-pro or Radiance-COLOR-pro to get white window buttons);
  • full support for Nemo file manager and the Cinnamon desktop (including a Cinnamon theme);
  • new menubar gradient for GTK3 apps. No longer a upside down one like it is in the stock Ambiance / Radiance themes;
  • Nautilus and Nemo now use a dark sidebar;
  • Xfce Virtual Desktop Pager is now more visible and uses prelight color for selected desktop (as opposed to grey);
  • fixes for some GTK2-based terminal apps - they now use a nice black/grey background;
  • fixes for dark MintMenu on MATE;
  • 2 new (optional) window border themes are available for MATE and Xfce with classic big window borders for easier resizing: 4px wide as apposed to 1px, as it was before. This is for use on MATE and Xfce without Compiz if you have issues with the window border resize area being too small (an issue that was introduced with all new "borderless" themes such as Ambiance and Radiance in Ubuntu 14.04);
  • other under-the-hood fixes and enhancements.

Note that in my test, MintMenu under MATE still has an issue: the favorites text is blurry. 
It's also important to mention that the Nautilus toolbar doesn't look like the original Ambiance/Radiance theme because of a limitation in its code (probably some Nautilus / Unity patch or something like that) - the Nautilus toolbar code is identical in both the stock Ambiance/Radiance themes and in Ambiance & Radiance Colors (so in theory, they should look the same, but that's not the case as you can see below):

Here are a few more screenshots with some of the changes mentioned above:



Ambiance Aqua - Cinnamon
Ambiance Aqua - MATE
Ambiance Teal Xfce
Ambiance Teal - Unity
Radiance Manila - Unity

As a reminder, for matching icons, see the Humanity Colors icon theme pack.

Install Ambiance & Radiance colors in Ubuntu 14.04 or Linux Mint 17
Ambiance and Radiance Colors can be installed in Ubuntu 14.04 or Linux Mint 17 (and derivatives: Xubuntu 14.04, etc.) by using the RAVEfinity PPA. Add the PPA and install the themes using the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ravefinity-project/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ambiance-colors radiance-colorsFor other Linux distributions or if you don't want to add the PPA, you can get the themes from HERE.
To change the theme in Unity, you can use a tool such as Ubuntu Tweak or Unity Tweak Tool

Note-Taking / PDF Annotation Tool `Xournal` 0.4.8 Released With New Export To PDF Code, Other Changes

Tuesday 1st of July 2014 10:23:00 AM
Xournal was updated to version 0.4.8 today, bringing new Export to PDF code, a horizontal view mode along with other changes.

For those not familiar with Xournal, this is a GTK+ application for note-taking, sketching, keeping a journal using a stylus on Tablet PCs and other platforms.
The application comes with various tools such as: pen, eraser, highlighter, text tool and shape recognizer. Additionally, strokes and blocks of text can be selected, moved and copied using a rectangular selection tool. Besides taking notes or sketching, these tools can be used to annotate PDF files (it uses the Poppler library to render PDF documents) which can be saved either in native Xournal file format or exported to PDF.
Xournal 0.4.8, released today, includes some new features / changes such as:
  • new Export to PDF code using Cairo (+ config option to prefer old code in the options menu > Legacy PDF Export) which should fix various issues;
  • optional auto-save of documents and recovery from auto-saves;
  • a horizontal view mode (pages are shown next to each other horizontally);
  • add "new pages duplicate background" option;
  • various bug-fixes and configuration options for touchscreen devices;
  • smoother icons for eraser and shapes buttons.


Install Xournal 0.4.8 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint
Xournal is available in the official Ubuntu repositories, but it's not the latest 0.4.8 version (Ubuntu 14.04 and 13.10 have Xournal 0.4.7 and Ubuntu 12.04 has Xournal 0.4.6). If you don't care for the features in the latest 0.4.8 release, simply install the package from the Ubuntu repositories by searching for Xournal in the Ubuntu Software Center.
The latest Xournal 0.4.8 can be installed in Ubuntu or Linux Mint (and derivatives) by using the main WebUpd8 PPA. Add the PPA and install Xournal by using the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xournalIf you don't want to add the PPA, you can grab the Xournal deb from HERE.

Note: the Ubuntu / Debian Xournal maintainer accidentally (?) used "4.7" as the version number for Xournal 0.4.7 from the Ubuntu 14.04 and 13.10 repositories so to receive the update from the WebUpd8 PPA, I had to use "4.8" as the version instead of 0.4.8.
For other Linux distributions, grab Xournal from SourceForge.

My Weather Indicator Released With Numerous Bug Fixes

Monday 30th of June 2014 06:01:00 PM
My Weather Indicator, an Ubuntu AppIndicator for displaying the current weather on the panel, was updated to version 0.6.8 today, receiving numerous bug fixes as well as a few other changes.

My Weather Indicator and one of its optional desktop widgets
If you're not familiar with My Weather Indicator, here's a quick list of its main features:
  • displays current temperature, humidity, wind, sunrise, sunset, etc. in the indicator menu;
  • supports the following weather services APIs: Open Weather Map, Yahoo!, Wunderground and World Weather Online (the last two require an API which you can obtain by registering on the corresponding website);
  • weather forecast;
  • multiple locations support;
  • optional notifications support;
  • supports imperial and metric units;
  • if you need more than just an AppIndicator, My Weather Indicator can also display (optional) various weather widgets on your desktop (the current version comes with 8 different widgets).

With the latest My Weather Indicator 0.6.8, the desktop widgets are easier to move and pin behavior is now correct  - in case you weren't aware of this, there's a pin in the top left corner on the widgets, displayed on mouse over, which you can click to allow the widget to be moved or to lock/pin it:

Also, you can now select if you want the desktop widgets to be displayed on the current desktop or all desktops.

Another change available in the latest My Weather Indicator is that the preferences and forecast windows are smaller, useful for small screens:


In addition to these changes, My Weather Indicator 0.6.8 also comes with quite a few bug fixes:
  • weather applet crashes frequently in 14.04;
  • crash w/ coredump on first run in some cases;
  • my-weather-indicator blocks suspend / standby on Ubuntu 14.04 in some cases;
  • crash with OpenWeatherMap;
  • Forecast not fitting on 1024X600 screen;
  • characters outside of the widget;
  • weather applet crashed on login if there is no connection;
  • get_dew_point raises unhandled ValueError with negative humidity;
  • widgets close when reducing all windows;
  • font characters in widget showing as squares in some cases;
  • added support for Vietnamese font;
  • local time incorrect when 24 hr format used as system time;
  • Evolution crashes with yahoo service;
  • Yahoo weather service always showing forecast conditions the same as current;
  • Shows all day sunrise as all day sunset;
  • wrong time in Dawn/Sunrise/Sunset/Dusk (i.e. "20:60");
  • weather doesn't update in some cases;
  • second weather location displays wrong time by -2Hrs;
  • no forecast data for the next 4 days from Yahoo;
  • current weather symbol for the secondary location is wrong;
  • evolution only on Second Location and not working properly;
  • occasional HTTP 503 errors causes applet to stop updating;
  • time not synchronized from widget to PC;
  • weather applet doesn't start in some cases;
  • second location missing from panel after reboot;
  • incorrect icons: daytime ones displayed at night;
  • day/night time weather icon problem for the second location;
  • auto location not working at all;
  • My-weather-indicator crashes on Ubuntu 13.10 in some cases;
  • crash on startup after changing weather source;
  • wrong Sunrise and Sunset time;
  • more.


Install My Weather Indicator in Ubuntu 14.04 or 13.10
To install My Weather Indicator in Ubuntu, you'll need to add the Atareao PPA. Simply copy/paste the following commands to add the PPA and install My Weather Indicator in Ubuntu and derivatives ((the latest My Weather Indicator 0.6.8 is only available for Ubuntu 14.04 and 13.10 but there is an older My Weather Indicator version for Ubuntu 12.04):sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install my-weather-indicator python3-requests
Once installed, launch My Weather Indicator from the menu / Dash. Note that the app (indicator) doesn't start automatically on login by default - to set it to start automatically, open its preferences and on the "General options" tab, check the Autostart checkbox.

If you want to download the source code, see THIS page.

Report any bugs you may find @ Launchpad.

Find more AppIndicators.

via atareao.es

Xfce App Launcher `Whisker Menu` Sees New Release

Monday 30th of June 2014 03:19:00 PM
Whisker Menu is an application menu / launcher for Xfce that features a search function so you can easily find the application you want to launch. The menu supports browsing apps by category, you can add applications to favorites and more.

The tool is used as the default Xubuntu application menu starting with the latest 14.04 release and in Linux Mint Xfce starting with version 15 (Olivia).
Whisker Menu was updated to version 1.4.0 recently, getting some interesting changes:
  • added option to switch position of categories and launchers;
  • added waiting for grabs;
  • allow modifier as shortcut;
  • added padding to username;
  • added single panel row option;
  • added about entry to context menu;
  • the applications are now loaded immediately;
  • recognize keypad enter as return for searching;
  • the menu window type hint is now set to DIALOG;
  • translation updates.


Install / upgrade to the latest Whisker Menu in Xubuntu or Linux Mint
The Whisker Menu PPA was updated to the latest 1.4.0 version recently and you can use to both upgrade to the latest version obviously, as well as to install the tool in (X)Ubuntu versions for which Whisker Menu isn't available in the official repositories (supported versions: Ubuntu 14.04, 13.10 and 12.04 and the corresponding Linux Mint versions).
Note: I've only tested the latest Whisker Menu 1.4.0 in Xubuntu 14.04.
To add the Whisker Menu PPA and install / update the application, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gottcode/gcppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin
If you've already had an older Whisker Menu version installed, you'll also need to restart the Xfce panel (or log out and log back in) to get the latest version:xfce4-panel --restart
If this is a new Whisker Menu installation, add the menu to the panel by right clicking the panel and selecting: Panel > Add New Items, then select "Whisker Menu" and click "Add".
If you're not using Ubuntu / Linux Mint, grab Whisker Menu from HERE.

Arch Linux: install Whisker Menu via AUR.

via lffl.org

Lubuntu 14.04: Missing Network Manager Icon Bug Finally Fixed [Quick Update]

Monday 30th of June 2014 01:48:00 PM
Quick update for Lubuntu 14.04 users: the bug that caused the Network Manager icon not to show up on the panel by default was finally fixed today. 

Lubuntu 14.04 shipped with a pretty annoying (and a deal-breaker for many new users I'd say) bug: the Network Manager icon wasn't displayed on the panel by default. There was a pretty simple work-around, but for some reason it didn't work for all the users. Well, this bug was finally fixed today so the Network Manager icon should now show up for everyone.
The bug was caused by lxsession, which failed to start applications from system directories.  

To get the fix, simply open the Software Updater and install all the available updates. Then use the following command to check your lxsession version:apt-cache policy lxsession
The command above should display something like this:
lxsession:
Installed: 0.4.9.2+git20140410-0ubuntu1.1
Candidate: 0.4.9.2+git20140410-0ubuntu1.1
Version table:
*** 0.4.9.2+git20140410-0ubuntu1.1 0
400 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-proposed/universe i386 Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
0.4.9.2+git20140410-0ubuntu1 0
500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty/universe i386 PackagesNotice that the version has "1.1" at the end. If yours doesn't, then the latest lxsession wasn't synchronized yet with the mirror you're using so you can either wait until your mirror is updated or temporarily switch to the main server (Software & Updates > Ubuntu Software tab: under "Download from" select "Main server").
Once you've updated to the latest lxsession version, log out and log back in and the Network Manager icon should show up on the panel.

Convert Audio / Video Files With Selene Media Encoder

Friday 27th of June 2014 03:12:00 PM
Selene is a GTK3/Vala media converter tool developed by Tony George (who's also behind Conky Manager), which "aims to provide a simple GUI for converting files to popular formats along with powerful command-line options for automated/unattended encoding".

Besides supporting most popular audio/video formats, Selene supports 2 types of presets: JSON presets (which determine the audio/video format, codecs, bitrate, quality and so on) as well as Bash script presets which can be used for converting files using any command line utility, useful for integrating tools that aren't directly supported by Selene, as well as for automated / unattended encoding.
It's also important to note that Selene can also crop / resize / resample videos or embed subtitles.

The application is under constant development, with the latest version (2.4) being released about 10 days ago with SOX Audio Processing support, an option to check for missing encoders (see screenshot below) and bug fixes.
Selene - encoders status
Selene Presets - filter options

Selene Media Encoder features:
  • Encode videos to MKV/MP4/OGV/WEBM formats;
  • Encode music to MP3/AAC/OGG/OPUS/FLAC/WAV formats;
  • Option to pause/resume encoding;
  • Option to run in background and shutdown PC after encoding;
  • Option for SOX Audio Processing;
  • Customizable presets;
  • Preview file before converting;
  • Bash scripts can be written to control the encoding process;
  • Command line interface for unattended/automated encoding (run "selene --help" for a list of available commands);
  • Support for copying audio tags (Artist, Album, etc) to the the output file;
  • Option to check for missing encoders.


Install Selene Media Encoder in Ubuntu or Linux Mint
Ubuntu / Linux Mint (and derivatives) users can install the latest Selene Media Encoder by using its official PPA. Add the PPA and install Selene using the following commands:sudo apt-add-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install seleneIf you don't want to add the PPA or you're using Debian, etc., grab the Selene Media Encoder deb from HERE.
For encoding AAC/MP4 format, Selene needs NeroAAC encoder which you can install by using the following commands:cd /tmp
wget http://ftp6.nero.com/tools/NeroAACCodec-1.5.1.zip
unzip -j NeroAACCodec-1.5.1.zip linux/neroAacEnc
sudo install -m 0755 neroAacEnc /usr/bin
sudo apt-get install gpac
Arch Linux users can install Selene via AUR.
Other Linux distributions: grab the Selene source code via Launchpad (BZR).
For more information, usage, how to use bash scripts for encoding and more, see Selene's homepage.

Xnoise Media Player Development Stopped

Friday 27th of June 2014 12:56:00 PM

Xnoise is a GTK+ media player built with big music collections in mind. Its development started back in 2008 and unfortunately, it looks like 2014 is its final year because, according to Shuerhaaken, the Xnoise developer, the player "lost development contributors" and he doesn't have enough time to continue the project:
"I started doing xnoise in 2008 and I spent quite some time developing it and that was fun for me! With the nice and then newly created vala language, it was a great adventure to gain more experience by adding new features, speeding things up and discussing design issues.

Problem is, I lost development contributors and I wasn't able to interest others to join the development of xnoise. With me now having less time, I decided to let this project die. Anybody can fork xnoise and proceed, but I'm out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thanks to all helpers, contributors and translators!

Best Regards"
On the other hand, Libtaginfo, a library for reading media metadata (tags), which was used by Xnoise and developed by the same Shuerhaaken, will not be abandoned.
Xnoise is free, open source software so even though its developer won't be maintaining it any more, it doesn't mean it's dead yet: if there are Xnoise users out there who can continue its development, contact Shuerhaaken on the Xnoise mailing list and see if you can take over the project.
Thanks to Gijs for the tip!