I took a trip out to see the folks at the Indiana LoCo team to talk about 11.04. That means ROAD TRIP! (Note how we avoid Ohio):
One thing I totally suck at is remembering to sync my phone with new music before I go on a trip. For the last 6 months or so though I don’t really have to, since we have Ubuntu One Music Streaming.
The basic idea is that since I keep all my music in the cloud anyway I can just stream it back to myself, so when I buy a new album it’s just there, so I don’t have to remember to sync my phone or whatever.
But on a 3.5 hour trip with varying network conditions? Surely this won’t work. I’ll have to switch to more conventional ways to rock out for sure. Let’s find out.
The first step to any road trip is preparation:
I have Bluetooth audio support in my car, so the first thing I did was pair my phone, this was pretty straightforward. Then I fired up the application, queued up Alice in Chains’ Jar of Flies and hit the road. At this point in my trip I was on 3G.
One of the nice things that the application automatically does is cache songs for you. That way the next time you want to listen to it you don’t have to hit the network. I told the music app to store 10GB of cached songs. So basically instead of my usual “Sync 10gb of songs to my phone” smartlist I just use these settings. When a song is cached the application shows a little yellow asterisk:
So as I’m listening to the songs the U1 app is caching the next songs for me. While the Alice was cranking I went ahead and queued up more albums. Since the app integrates with last.fm you can see what songs I listened to on the way there and on the way back. And since they’re my songs it’s at a nice high bitrate.
The queuing works well, the only interruption was when I was north of Fort Wayne, where I spent a while on a “G” network, which is apparently even worse than edge. I had finally caught up to the queue. This is also where I discovered the “unlimited” setting for caching songs. On longer trips where you know you’ll be far from 3g you probably want to turn this on instead of the default 3 songs.
You’ll need power. You have the bluetooth and data radios on, and if you’re using the map, GPS.
The phone gets quite warm. It was uncomfortable sitting on my lap, for a longer trip I am mulling a bracket for the dash.
All of a sudden I want to replace my car radio with a tablet that runs this.
The app has an offline mode, if you’re totally without network it just functions as a music player playing the songs you have cached.
Well, we’re a week away from 11.04 so I decided that I would collate the information about Unity on the web and put it into one nice page for everyone to find. Got some more tips you’d like to add? Add them in the to the answer!
One of the (great) trends that browsers are doing these days is “getting out of the way”. That is, less “chrome” more space for content. I was curious to how we’ve been improving in this area, so I asked Jason to do some math, and here’s what we came up with.
So, given a desktop that you log in, how many pixels do we consume and how much do we leave for apps? Well, by default here’s how GNOME 2.x, 3.0, and Unity consume your pixels. These are the amount of pixels (broken down by resolution) that these three desktops use:
I measured Unity twice here. By default if there’s nothing in the way, we show you the launcher, if you move a window there or maximize, we get out of the way (the green bar). So, GNOME 2.x takes up a given amount of space no matter what. Unity takes more but gets out of your way once you start using it to about the same level as GNOME 3.0. Notice how both GNOME 3.0 and Unity are already giving the pixels back where they belong, to applications. :)
Next we have how much space we take up when working, for me I maximize my applications. We maximized the window in GNOME 3.0 by dragging it to the top bar to measure it but didn’t take into account the window decorations and stuff. Still, much better across the board. I only measured Unity once because the launcher in this state goes away.
But wait a minute, doesn’t the application menu belong to the application? Let’s measure how much UI Unity consumes if we give the menu back to the application. So when you maximize an app the only UI Unity uses up is the home button, the window controls, and the indicators. There could still be dead space there in the menu, but that really depends on the length of the menu and per application, and I’m not going to go measure half the archive.
Caveats and Conclusions
a) GNOME 2.x is fat… :)
b) When you use them GNOME 3.0 and Unity are trending towards giving real estate back to applications. (I think this is good)
c) Unity does give the most space back, but remember that’s really all I’m measuring, this doesn’t imply that it’s better (or worse), and it also doesn’t take into account how we actually interact with the desktops, it’s just a raw measurement of pixels. Sorry guys, no flamebait here.
d) We didn’t measure how much space ayatana-scrollbars save you. This would be nice to know.
e) We didn’t take into account overlay-ish things like the dash or the overlay thing that GNOME Shell does. It could very well be that those UI interactions mean that you don’t have to care about those pixels (or care more), but that’s for an expert to figure out, my goal was just to figure out “Is it just me or are desktops following browser chrome trends?”
f) We didn’t take into account full screening applications.
Here’s the spreadsheet if you want to mess with it, or add your favorite desktop. (I didn’t measure KDE)
Went to see Rush this weekend….. I had pretty good seats (and I should hope so the way ticket prices are these days):
As a bonus I was on Geddy’s side, so I got to see all his basses lined up. See if you can find the distinctive Orange amps. All of his basses were Fender J’s.
As you can expect, the performance was pretty immaculate. Alex’s guitar cut out during one song for a few seconds but other than that they sound great. They ended up playing 3 instrumental songs; Leave That Thing Alone, YYZ, and they encored with La Villa Strangiato.
The 2 new songs sound great, though they could have probably left Presto off the set list and no one would have noticed. Also, the B-side of Moving Pictures is way better than I remember. The I Love You, Man video at the end was pretty funny too.
Here’s the code. I need a volunteer to grab the packaging from the Ask Ubuntu branch and package this up and PPA it. Find me if you want to do this (no time to do this yet, but maybe one of you can help us out)
Though maybe I should assign the one I ssh to the most under the first Exec and save some space. Of course, if this was a dynamic quicklist that just autopopulated the list based on what avahi says is around that would be slick.
My wife got me a pretty unique birthday present this year. Instead of a normal gift she sponsored the restoration of a whale rib.
This weekend the donors participated in the unveiling of Basilosaurus isisreconstruction at the University of Michigan’s Paleontology Museum. We are talking about a massive animal here, 45 feet long, it didn’t really fit in the range of my camera.
I talked briefly with Dr. Phillip Gingerich and learned some interesting things about B. isis. First of all, it took a month to dig out, and 2 years to get it exported out of Egypt. Another year to do casting and molding, and they have another year to go of studying it before it can finally be returned to Egypt.
There are over 1,000 specimens of ancient whales in Wadi Al-Hitan, but to find one that is so complete is unique, he considers the area more magnificent than the pyramids, and hopes that in the future that someone will build a museum so the whales can be observed in their own natural habitat (which is now a desert, heh).
The bones themselves weigh over a ton, so it’d be impossible to mount the real bones in such a manner. It is quite impressive to see a whale the length of a bus hanging above your head though.
Dr. Gingerich considers basilosaurus unique. It was the first whale we found with those little feet in the back (hard to see in the picture of the skeleton), and more curiously, a complete evolutionary dead end. A torpedo-looking eel-like whale with a monster head with teeth is unlike anything we have today. What happened? This was likely a top predator of it’s day, why did it go extinct? How did other whales make it but not this kind? Those are all interesting questions.
Anyway I am glad I had a small part of preserving this kind of thing so kids can ask these sorts of questions when they see it at the museum.
Since I was in the neighborhood I took an opportunity to pose with a ginormous sauropod leg (that’s the hip behind me)
I’ve already talked about how I multitask with Unity. Today I’m going to talk about how I use the Dash.
(Unfortunately the flicker is way more annoying in this video than before. Jason tells me it’s my nvidia driver, I’ll need to hunt down a non-nvidia machine to rerecord this video, but it gives you a general idea)
Glitches are from the recording, it’s smooth on my actual desktop, also, when I say something in the video and it doesn’t happen it’s because I am fat fingering it, unfortunately we haven’t found a solution for that yet.
This is a guest session version of how I work to give you an idea of the things you can do (my normal session is a cluttered mess so I tried to go for more of an out of the box experience). Feel free to share your tips in the comments!