Friday, September 20, 2013

The best podcast app for Android: AntennaPod

It's about time! I've been looking for a decent Android podcast app for a while. The only ones I've seen up to this point are either:
  • Free but really lousy
  • Decent but cost $7
But my search is finally over.

Say hello to AntennaPod. It has all you'd need and want in a podcast app, plus it has a nice, clean interface, no ads, and it's free. There really isn't much more to say. Check it out, and if you like it, send the developer a buck or two.

Here's what the interface looks like so you can see for yourself:


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Try out Xubuntu/Xfce from a normal Ubuntu installation

I've blogged before about Xubuntu/Xfce, but what if you've already got regular Ubuntu installed and want to try out Xubuntu without reinstalling? Thankfully, it's actually pretty easy, and you can have it up and running in a matter of minutes:

  1. Install Xfce and the settings to make it look like Xubuntu (if you prefer it to look more like vanilla Xfce instead of Xubuntu, leave out xubuntu-default-settings):
    sudo apt-get install indicator-application-gtk2 indicator-sound-gtk2 xfce4 xfce4-datetime-plugin xfce4-indicator-plugin xfce4-terminal xubuntu-default-settings

  2. Log out

  3. Click the icon to the right of your username and select Xubuntu Session (you can also choose Xfce session if you want vanilla Xfce)

  4. Type your password and log in
That's it! Now, you can customize Xfce to your liking. These are all optional of course, but they're some of the customizations I prefer:

  1. Disable dock auto-hiding
    1. Click on the Xfce icon (it looks like a mouse head) in the upper-left side of the screen

    2. Go to Settings --> Settings Manager --> Panel

    3. In the dropbox a the top of the window, change to the dock panel (probably Panel 2)

    4. Uncheck Automatically show and hide the panel

  2. Remove any empty icons in the dock by right clicking on them --> Remove

  3. Hide default desktop icons
    1. Xfce menu --> Settings --> Settings Manager --> Panel --> Icons

    2. Under Default Icons, uncheck any icons you wish to hide

  4. Remove the duplicate login screen entry
    1. If you prefer the Xubuntu look and feel and want to get rid of the Xfce Session entry, run this command:
      sudo mv /usr/share/xsessions/xfce.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/xfce.desktop.bak

    2. If you prefer the vanilla Xfce look and feel and want to get rid of the Xubuntu Session entry, run this command:
      sudo mv /usr/share/xsessions/xubuntu.desktop /usr/share/xsessions/xubuntu.desktop.bak

  5. Change the default file manager and terminal
    1. Xfce menu --> Settings --> Settings Manager --> Preferred Applications --> Utilities

    2. File Manger --> Nautilus

    3. Terminal Emulator --> GNOME Terminal
If, for some reason you accidentally chose Xfce Session (or Xubuntu Session) and it messed up your layout for the other, you can run this command to completely wipe your Xubuntu/Xfce settings and restore it to the default layout:

rm -rf ~/.cache/xfce4 ~/.config/xfce4

Just remember you will lose any customization you may have made to Xubuntu/Xfce.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

MP3s ripped from CDs in Ubuntu have incorrect track length

If you rip a CD in Ubuntu 12.04+ using the default program provided for this (Rhythmbox), the track lengths will be incorrect. This is because by default, Ubuntu will rip your mp3s using VBR, but it doesn't add the VBR headers.

Rather than go into the details, here's the easiest way to fix it:
  1. Install vbrfix by running this command in a terminal:
    sudo apt-get install vbrfix

  2. Now CD to the folder where the mp3s are that you need to fix:
    cd /path/to/mp3s

  3. Run this command to add the VBR headers to the mp3s:
    find . -type f -iname '*.mp3' -exec vbrfix {} {} \;

  4. Vbrfix seems to leave behind a couple of temporary files, so clean them up:
    rm vbrfix.log vbrfix.tmp
Another option would be to change the default preset to make it CBR. You can read more about doing that here: How do you edit the “Preferred Format” settings in Rhythmbox? Something like this ought to do the trick (change the bit rate as desired):
You can read the details of the problem at this bug report:
Rhythmbox does not add VBR headers when ripping CDs to MP3