Making Slack useable on x64 Linux?

 

Slack

Its been a while since I reinstalled my work laptop; one thing I haven’t reinstalled properly is the Slack app.

The amount of times I use to start it up and go and make a tea because it would make my ubuntu install act like Windows 95. Most of the time I would come back to find my laptop completely frozen.

I tried removing the amount of slack workspaces I had attached to the app but it made little difference. So I decided to hell with the slack app, which seems to be a wrapper for Chrome, with each slack instance being another instance of chrome!

This time I’m using Slack in Firefox and limiting how many I have open at a time. I noticed if you login into the different slacks, the cookie will hold them open for you without using the resources. This can be done from the main page using the Workspace options.

Slack home

I also noticed the enterprise slack version also has a front page which can be used to reach the other slacks.

Recently I decided to give Flatpak Slack a try. Interestingly I found you can launch the Slack app from the slack pages mentioned above.

It sounds like a lot of hassle but it works and mean my ubuntu system is fully useable.

Hopefully this will be useful for other Linux Slack users?

I bought a Chromebook

The other day my work Dell XPS 13 which has been running Ubuntu 16.04.1 asked me to upgrade. This message has been coming up for a while but I decided it was time for a upgrade, 18.04 was running well on my server and well it was time.

However the upgrade broke and I was left with Ubuntu 18.04 with Busybox. I had backups but as it was a BBC R&D build of Ubuntu, I needed to go to work for them to reinstall it. All of this was just before I went away to Mydata 2018 in Helsinki. On top of that my ubuntu server also had a problem.

Double wammy!

It was clear I could reinstall Ubuntu quickly but I would need to do a bunch of configuration and that takes time. I have a task to create a live CD with a bunch of configurations just for me, incase similar happens again.

I’d been looking at Chromebooks since I bought one for my parents ages ago and seen how ChromeOS has matured. I’m not the only one. It was the ability to run Android and Linux apps which pushed to get one.

Google Makes it Easier to Run Linux Apps on Chromebooks

So I bought the Asus chromebook flip c302, and I’m quite impressed with it. The size is good and the performance is good. As a backup laptop its ideal. It also kinda a solution to my lack of a decent tablet now my Nexus 7 is pretty much dead. I was tempted with the Google Pixelbook but it seemed too close to what the Dell XPS 13 is for.

I did consider getting a second hand XPS and sticking ChromeOS on it myself actually.

Maybe it really time to drop twitter…

Dead twitter

I use to use Corebird on my laptop for twitter access. Today this was broken and with a quick search found a page explaining all.

As many of you may know, Twitter decided to remove the UserStream API, which many third-party clients use, including Corebird. It’s a vital part of the user experience and is used for real-time timeline updates, DM retrieval, mentions, etc.

The replacement is the Accounts Activity API. I have not looked much into its details since the technical difficulties are enough to make it virtually impossible for me to port Corebird to it, but what I know is that real-time tweet updates aren’t supported and the prices are well beyond what I could possibly pay (“$2,899 per month for 250 users”).

Now, there would be a few ways out, of course. Porting to the Accounts Activity API is off the table, but other protocols exist. Since Corebird has never been anything else than a Twitter client, there is no abstraction for the Twitter API however, so porting to another protocol will be a lot of work again. Since I’m not a student anymore, I can’t promise to do any of that work. The master branch is additionally in a very WIP state with the ongoing GTK4 port and a bunch of other features.

The API removal will take place mid-August, so Corebird will mostly stop working at that point. I do not know of any real alternative that is not twitter.com of course.

If this explanation was too convulted, http://apps-of-a-feather.com/ has one as well.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me over they years and all the patrons on here especially for all the support.

Seriously… I’m so very very close to dropping twitter, as although I benefited greatly from it in the past. They seriously have over stepped the mark and my alternative Mastodon is growing massively. I already stopped cross posting to Facebook after their decision to drop automated posting.

Tiny tiny RSS experience a week later?

I have had quite a bit of feedback from my post about moving away from Feedly to a self hosted solution called Tiny Tiny RSS.

Some interesting questions have emerged from people and to be fair it certainly deserves a follow up.

I made my instance of¬†TT-RSS available on the public netw,¬†because I didn’t see the point of installing my VPN software on my eink reader.¬†I also installed the official TT-RSS app which is a 7 day trail before you buy the full version for 4 pounds.¬†I haven’t bought the full version yet because the¬†app doesn’t seem to work well¬†when offline? It would be great if the app understood if the device¬†was offline and automaticilly disabled the update feeds option. It currently doesn’t seem to do this well… I much prefer Greader for this, but ttrss app isn’t far behind.

Simon commented he paid for Feedly because of the IFTTT options, but it seems weird to pay for this  because you can easily turn most of TT-RSS into a another feed and IFTTT has a RSS option which you can use to trigger most things. This reminds me of my work along while back about pipelines.

Because of this, I have been thinking about feeding Greader with the RSS from my TTRSS install. The only real disadvantage is nothing would be synced to the server? This is also something I’ve been thinking about with a linux desktop reader like thunderbird because I can’t seem to install a TTRSS reader which works.

I tried a few but each has had problems.

Feed the Moneky looked very promising but when I finally get the appimage loaded, it shows nothing? Feedreader looked great and after finally getting flatpak working, I’m faced with the error that I need to install the api-feedreader plugin in my TTRSS server. How I do this when I’m using docker is a question I have no answer for, except it seems I need to use another docker container?

So generally its going well but hitting a few points which need straighing out. It would be so useful to compile supported applications into a wiki page.

Oh I found this useful when understanding about appimages, snap, flatpak, etc.

Love Linux but sometimes…

DELL XPS13&XPS15_29

Sometimes I come across simple things which just need someone to think about it from a user point of view.

One such example is adjusting the sensitivity on my XPS 13 trackpad.¬†The XPS 13 has a widescreen trackpad which is good (although I do miss the Thinkpad pointer) but the right hand tends to hover around the edge, as there isn’t much room to rest¬†my hand due to the keyboard and trackpad. The solution is to¬†adjust the sensentivity of the trackpad, so I get less hover mistakes trigger from my thumb. Simple!

On my ubuntu setup, the trackpad driver is called synaptics and it can be configured anyway you like. Except to do so, you need to mess with the terminal and maybe even log out and in for the changes to stick.

If I was doing one #lazyweb request, it would be to automaticlly create a gui/wrapper for terminal operations like changing your mouse settings.

How to run two Whisper systems Signal clients on Linux side by side

Running two signal clients on Ubuntu
Running two signal clients on Ubuntu without the stress, made one d.ark and other light themed to remind me which one is which

I’m very sure I’m not the only one with 2 mobile phones (heck I really have 3 actual active SIM cards in 3 phones but thats another story).

I have chosen not to use WhatsApp as their EULA doesn’t fit well with me, so instead I always suggest Whisper Systems Signal client. I have many reasons including a linux web client but I have been wondering why one client couldn’t support multiple accounts? Especially since you can easily and securely verify the phone to the desktop client, using a generated token.

I’ve been wondering if I could run two signal apps or run them under different system users… then it dawned on me, its using Google Chrome’s app framework, maybe I could use Open Source Chrome aka Chromium to do the same? Surprisingly without having to setup another user account for the Chrome store, I was able to download Signal again and make Chromium launch it.

Now I have 2 completely separate signal apps which are linked to different phones but using the same Ubuntu desktop environment.

I know it might seem obvious but there seems to be a few people asking for multiple users using a single signal desktop app. I also saw if it could be installed in Firefox, but it looks more tricky that just hitting install from an app store. Sure my tip will work for MacOSX and likely Windows too?

Little tip for friends and followers which I thought was worth sharing… Now get yourself on Signal

Using Amazon Glacier on Ubuntu

2015-04-27 10.55.13

Looking at my little home server, I noticed a Spideroak warning telling me I am up to maximum on online storage. I assume the reason for this is the 1391 pictures I took over the course of the 2 weeks in Tokyo.

Rather than just pay for the next band up, I thought I’d give Amazon Glacier a chance. because frankly I don’t need to view the pictures all the time. I uploaded the best ones to my Japan photoset on Flickr already.

Can I say one thing!

Amazon Glacier is certainly not ready for the general public!

Yes I’m using Ubuntu and yes I was seeking to do it with a GUI but boy oh boy… Amazon webservices is very very developer focused.

In the end after about 4 hours, I finally settled on using Simple Amazon Glacier Uploader, which uses Java 1.6+. It was that or try and use Wine to emulate a Windows app called FastGlacier. Don’t get me wrong there are many clients but not many for Mac and even less for Linux.

The thing which I think most people will miss is the fact you need to setup a user just for the uploading. Once you do that you need to setup a bucket and then give that user permissions to control that bucket. This is done in the policy control, without this you will get lots of errors which don’t make a lot of sense.

I’m still waiting to verify my test upload worked but I believe its correct now. If so, then the next few days would be the time I could really do with Hyperoptic fibre broadband. My picture count is currently at 91.9 gigs over 68794 files…

If this happens do this to my laptop…

I have already talked about IFTTT to death and how I liken it to some ideas and work I had around pipelining.

All the new movement in this area has been in the online space but I found this little app for Linux which operates in a similar fashion to the very old conduit (Conduit) but its focused around system events rather than webservices.

Cuttlefish is a tool which can execute various actions when specific events are triggered. For example, you can change the proxy mode depending on the currently connected wireless network, unlock your computer when a specific Bluetooth or USB device is connected or disconnected and so on.

I can easily see how webservices can be written into the application, although there is no roadmap yet.

Unity comes into focus

ubuntu login screen with alternative environment

On Friday I tried using Ubuntu’s Unity interface, which some people rightly pointed out I really didn’t like.

When I first saw Unity and tried to use it, I didn’t like it but over the last few months I’ve seen more of what Unity has to offer. The HUD, Lens/Scopes, Ubuntu on Android and now Web App Integration.

I’m not totally switched over yet, however…

One of the first things I did was hide the dash and menu because I don’t like it eating up my desktop space. I still hate the fact the menu for each application is at the very top right but I’ve started using one application full screen every workspace. It kind of works but still drives me nuts.

I have changed Unity so its workstations are stacked on top of each other just like Gnome Shell, however I miss having a dual screen setup with one which stays static. Having dual screen and workspaces seems a little too much? Sure I would get use to it after a while.

The Dash or overlay is a bit messy compared to Gnome 3’s and I frankly find the way you navigate around a bit poo. But that was before I learned about Super + S and Super + W. I haven’t got the hang of the Hud yet but we’ll see how things go. I also find the gnome extensions very useful which seem to be missing under Unity.

I do still find Unity very noisy, I much prefer the Gnome Shell look, so if there was a skin which looked like Gnome Shell and acted like it, I’d deploy it in a heartbeat.

No matter what, I find the Ubuntu Unity Web API really interesting and I’ll be looking forward to seeing if Gnome Shell adopts some of Unity’s features or Unity chills out in the future.

RescueTime for Linux (beta)

I got Rescuetime installed and working on Ubuntu! Thanks to Joe’s comment on my blog post about Rescuetime meet Arya

After years of broken promises, missed deadlines, and disappointed RescueTime Linux users, we are finally preparing to launch the officially supported Linux version of RescueTime.

Up to now, the only option for Linux users was the open sourced version of the RescueTime Linux Uploader hosted here: https://launchpad.net/rescuetime-linux-uploader. While this have worked out for many users, we have always wanted to have a version of RescueTime for Linux that mirrored the functionality of our Windows and OS X versions.

If you want to take part in helping us test out RescueTime for Linux, read on!

I take it all back Rescuetime! And thanks a lot Joe for alerting me to the beta, thought you guys gave up on Linux

Even worked for the latest Ubuntu with Gnome shell…You can also download a Deb file for i86 or x64, making it so much simpler than the bzr file previously. Finally make sure you file any bugs and give feedback as it is a beta…

Rescue time meet Arya

Arya

Rescuetime are meant to be working on a Linux version of their plugin but while we wait others are eating into their area.

We’ve already seen how Zeitgiest and Project Hamster could work together really nice. But this time theres another contender with some interesting ambitions…

Arya…

Arya is a simple Gnome 3 Shell extension that adds up how much time you spend using each of your applications. It’s not very fully featured yet, but in the future it will hopefully be a useful extension.

Things to come

  • Pretty graphs to show app usage over time
  • Activity level monitoring to suggest when you should take a break

Sounds like something else I’ve heard before… right? Rescuetime…?

If I was rescuetime I would get my hooks into Ayra now and either support Rescuetime inside of Ayra or use the source code to create your own plugin…

I know its only Gnome3 but maybe like Unity App-indicators it can work across different linux shells?

Will I move to Ubuntu TV?

Ubuntu TV was launched at CES yesterday and frankly I wasn’t that surprised by the move (rumors for a while) but to see it actually live with Unity was actually quite impressive. There is no doubt Ubuntu really has thought about the design of it all much more than even I’d expect. And for all manufacturers its totally free as beer/as software, which will tempt some… Although I do worry about a patent showdown in the near future.

Unity remember came originally from the Netbook Remix, so it actually works well from the start. Specially if you look at some of the Lens being built for Ubuntu.

Although I do praise the idea of Ubuntu TV, I’ll be sticking with XBMC simply because its a much better interface, cleverly crafted and has the development momentum. Bring on Eden… Worth noting I installed Ubuntu TV on a PC at work for a quick demo.

Gnome Extensions vs Unity Lens

Fedora 16 & Gnome3

For sometime I’ve been trying to get Gnome¬†Extensions¬†(still alpha) going but for some reason most of the good ones failed to install. However when I head home (after Christmas in Bristol) I¬†give it a try, and it¬†suddenly all¬†works.

Its a bit of a hassle to get it working without Firefox but now I got quite a few installed.

Including…

  • Activities Button Text¬†– changed the text to say cubicgarden now
  • Music Integration¬†– useful to know whats playing and change the seek
  • Coverflow Alt-Tab¬†– Back to the Compiz style switching
  • Calculator¬†– Great for quick calculations
  • Journal¬†– Seems to bring up¬†relevant stuff in the overlay mode
  • Jump Lists¬†– You can search for categories not just apps
  • Notes Search Provider for Gnote/Tomboy – Search notes (more on this in the next post)
  • Recent Items¬†– Rearranges the search by recent items
  • App Search – Searches for available apps not just installed apps
  • Status only icon¬†– Removes your name from the top right

Generally I’ve installed many of them but turned off the ones I don’t really like.

Although I really like Gnome3 Extensions, I’m really liking the look of the Unity Lens¬†extensions (for example, Youtube, Piratebay, TomboyNotes Lens) I’m seeing going by in my Google reader via sites like OMGUbuntu and Webup8.

I’m not totally sure how hard it is to create the Gnome Extensions but I gather its mainly Python with a¬†smidgeon¬†of JS and CSS? It would be great to see even more extensions including some of the Unity Lens ones. Certainly could make use of some of the internet connected ones…

Generally I like what the Gnome team is doing, installing a Unity Lens is much more trouble than a Gnome Extension, now all we need is many more of them and a better way to search and sort them.

Which Desktop Environment?

Aplicaciones

OMG!Ubuntu is running a poll on what desktop environment linux users are using

The results are actually quite surprising on two counts…

  1. Gnome 3 is actually quite high with over 28% of the vote (over 4000 users). Even though you have to install it separately in Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10.
  2. Gnome legacy is¬†surprisingly¬†low (lower than XCFE and KDE) for all the fuss about moving forward…
I know its not anything¬†scientific¬†but its a good sign… not quite sure what it says about Unity?

Revolutionising your desktop one step at a time

Desktop Agosto 2011

Recently I’ve had the joy of taking the tram into work everyday. I keep meaning to buy a monthly pass but having to get a photocard done at the GMPTE (greater manchester transport, like TFL is to London) but forget. Anyway some people may have noticed I’m tweeting a lot of links and passages from my Kindle. This only works due to the wifi hotspot on my rooted HTC desire, because of course the Trams don’t have wifi but have the advantage of being above ground and crossing Manchester City centre.

One of the posts I read via Linux Magazine was about the design choices going into the next generation desktops.

The post talks about the outrage by different communities involved with the next generation of desktops.

This is something I feel very strongly about because of my¬†disdain¬†of Ubuntu’s unity desktop. I understand some of the reasons which make it¬†opinionated¬†software¬†but it doesn’t mean I have to like it ūüôā So I switched to using the very much beta Gnome3 desktop which is a breath of fresh air but also has problems (even on my new thinkpad x220).

At work I tend to switch between the two because I’m driving a 24″ full HD display along side my laptop screen, so keep logging in and out for reasons I’ll explain another day.

In the post, it talks about how Gnome3, Ubuntu Unity and KDE4 have had problems because they all have made some difficult changes. But to be honest this is consistent with Microsoft Windows 8’s move into Metro¬†and OSX’s move into a more iOS type platform. All are tricky and full of people upset and confused.

To be honest they could all learn from the points of the post…

  • Don’t change too much too quickly
  • Build user testing into each stage of the development
  • Whenever possible, leave legacy features in place
  • Don’t impose work-flows from above
  • Beware of designer fads
  • Don’t view function and aesthetics as separate
  • If a design is too noticeable, then maybe it’s too clever to use
  • Talk to your readers as you work
There all valid and good points. I’m sure most of the linux desktops are doing most of these. Interesting point however is the tension between
opinionated¬†software and the last point talking to the users of your work. Being too proud or too precious will ultimately put you in a worst position overall in my book, but I’m sure others would totally disagree…?