Rainlendar on Ubuntu: everything fine except…

I’ve been using rainlendar for quite a while now. I really love it, I can easily manage all my schedule and remember staff that I would forget..

There is just a little problem in using Rainlendar with Ubuntu. Probably you would like your Rainlendar calender to start at the startup. In order to do this you probably did the following:

System->Options->Sessions->Add (Name: rainlendar, Command:rainlendar2, Comment: whatever you want)

this action is supposed to make Rainlendar start at the startup. It’s actually the right way, and it actually starts in the majority of cases. But in a non-trascurable number of cases, it doesn’t start properly. This mean that Rainlendar could not start at all or that it maybe starts but it’s interface is splitted over the whole desktop (there is typically a small number in the upper left corner of your Desktop).

This happens if Rainlendar starts before some important elements of the GNOME toolbar has been initialized.

An easy and powerful way to resolv this issue is quite obvious: delay the startup of Rainlendar.

Creating the script
As you maybe already know the Terminal is really, really powerful. For an advanced user it’s basilar to have a terminal to use, because it gives you the full (well, almost :D) control on your machine. As this tool is really useful, it also provides a nice function which can be used in our case: sleep. As the name states, this function make the script sleep (wait) for X seconds before going on executing the script content). So these are the steps to take:

  1. Open a terminal
  2. Move to the directory where you want to create the script (maybe you home directory it you just want to modify the behavior for your user, otherwise you can put it in /home). To move between your directories, the command to use is cd. For example: cd ~/Desktop will lead you to your user’s desktop as the tilde (~) stays for home directory;
  3. If you are in your home directory you don’t need any particular permission to move. If you on the other hand are in the /home directory you need to get the rights of administrator. In order to do this you can try sudo su. After this command you will be asked for your password. If you are among the sudoers (administrators) you should immediatly gain the administrator rights. If you are not among them, well… you can only act in your home directory;
  4. Create the script. Now type nano startRainlendar.sh. Nano is a small but very powerful command-line writing tool. This command will open the newly created startRainlendar.sh file;
  5. Now fill in this file! As we discovered before we need to use the sleep command. So these are the rows you have to insert:#!/bin/sh
    sleep 10
  6. Now save the file. To do this type CTRL+O and then ENTER;
  7. We now have the file we need. Making this file start at the startup should solve our problem. But there is just another issue: we must make our file executable! To do this the command to use is chmod. I’ll probably tell you what I know about this command in another post some day. So far you just need to execute this command chmod 700
  8. The last thing to do is to make this script start at the startup. You should already have a rainlender2 entry in your startup list. To modify this (or to add a new one) go on System->Preferences->Session. Find the rainlendar2 entry and change the “Command” to /home/startRainlendar.sh or /home/USER/YOURDIR/startRainlendar.sh depending on where you decided to create your startup script. If you don’t have a rainlendar2 entry, click on the “Add” button and simply create a new entry (the important field is “Command”, the other two fields are just your your usage.

This should solve the issue. Hope this helps.

Now let’s go on with studies.

Rainlendar on Ubuntu: everything fine except…

Ubuntu: Top programs for normal users

I am sitting here in the library studying and I just took a pause. Today I want to describe some programs which I use everyday and which are really good.This programs are about browsing, calendar, music listening, istant messanging, calls, office and dictionary. So, let’s start.

  • Firefox 3: Well, I think many of you use Firefox, as it comes pre installed on Ubuntu. This new Firefox 3 has really improved from the former version. I expecially like the new address bar which seems to be kind of “intelligent”, trying to recognize where you want to go while you type the address; Together with Firefox I use GMAIL notifier, a small add-on which keeps constantly controlled my e-mail address. You can find it here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/173;
  • Rainlendar2: This program is a really nice desktop calendar. As I tend to forget a lot of stuff it’s really useful for me to have this small application on the right side of my desktop. I use it really much: exams, things to do, birthdays, everything. Rainlendar2 comes with 2 skins. I don’t like the default one, but the second one is… really nice! Rainlander2 has plenty of useful feauters. There are two version avaiable: the free one and the pro one, which costs some dollars. You can read more about this program on it’s official website: http://www.rainlendar.net. I suggest you to have a loot to the FAQ section, really useful expecially for Linux users. The installation for Ubuntu users is really simple: you only have to download the *.DEB package, click on it, insert your admin password (sudo password) and install it. There is a version for Windows;
  • BMPX: I love it’s simply, light and complete interface. This player lets you play your own music from your hard disk (library), listen to internat radios (shouthcast, icecast), listen to lastfm (if you don’t know what it is I suggest you do discover it: http://www.last.fm), Podcasts, CDs and finally Jamendo, a really intresting music database on internet (http://www.jamendo.com). It is still in a quite early stage of the developement and it sometimes crashes (it happens to me when I listen for hours to lastfm) but I’m sure that if a lot of people will download and use this software the community will fix the bugs and provide new intresting and useful features. To get this software: http://bmpx.backtrace.info/site/BMPx_Homepage;
  • Pidgin: this IM (Istant Messaging) comes preinstalled (If I’m not wrong) with Ubuntu. If it doesn’t you can install it via terminal typing sudo apt-get install pidgin. I love it because it easily lets me to use different accounts (Messenger, GMAIL, ICQ) at the same time. It’s interface is really simple, so that this software is nothing for you if you love spectacular effects and complex interfaces. It still doesn’t support audio/video call and this is really a pity. But for the rest is really nice. It functions without problems even behind proxy: it can use the system’s (GNOME’s) settings (System->Settings->Proxy). Website: http://www.pidgin.im;
  • Skype: not much to say about this software. I use it quite a lot, both for calling other computer and normal phones to good rates (expecially cheap if you have to call fix mobile numbers around the globe). As for Rainlenard2, you can install Skype downloading the *.DEB package from the official website. With this newer versions, Skype starts a good support of webcams. http://www.skype.com;
  • OpenOffice: it’s simply a wonderfull application, containing a really powerful set of tools to handle many kind of documents (databases, written documents, excel files, presentation and much more). You simply have to try it out, as it comes preinstalled with Ubuntu. If you were used to Microsoft Office it will take you a while to understand how OpenOffice really works (there are some differences, of course) but after that you will love it. On the net there is a lot of material and tutorials teaching you everything you need. If you want, try to go on Youtube and type “OpenOffice” to get some tutorials! Website: http://www.openoffice.org;
  • Stardict: a really powerful dictionary on your desktop. It can both function with local and remote databases. I make it start automatically when the computer stars and if I don’t know a word I just have to select it and click the WIN button (you can set this behavior in the options window). Stardict opens a small window telling me what the word means (of course, I installed some dictionaries on my computer). To check out more about this software visit: http://stardict.sourceforge.net/. There is even a version for Windows.

That’s it, if you liked my description the best thing to do is to go and get the software and to try it out yourself!These are just opinions and you maybe like other software better than these ones! 🙂

Now, back to my studies.

Ubuntu: Top programs for normal users