Tag Archives: Linux

As if Social Media wasn't confusing enough…

…have you seen all the social media management tools out there? Sheesh. If you have more than one social media account, you can use one of these “buckets” to keep them all on the same page — or screen, if you prefer that term. These are just the ones I’ve used.

  1. TweetDeck — I used this one before I ditched my Windows and went Linux. You have to download and install it on your computer. It also requires Flash, which you also have to download and install, and I haven’t figured out how to do that on my version of Linux yet, or if I even want to. So, for me, TweetDeck is out. But it was handy, while I had it, to be able to see my Twitter and FaceBook pages side by side and send one update to both at the same time.
  2. HootSuite — This one is all online. You just sign in to your dashboard like you do with your FB page, or your blog, or Twitter. Supposedly you can have a bunch of “streams” going at once. I have yet to figure out how to get FB and Twitter open in the same tab. At present I can see one or the other, and I can do that in Firefox. HootSuite lets me post one update to FB and Twitter at the same time, like TweetDeck did, and it has its own URL shortener, and you can also schedule an update to be posted at another time. I tried it yesterday and the update didn’t show up, so I don’t know what I did wrong. That’s what I get for not reading the “how-to” before I try something new. My standard operating procedure doesn’t always work, but hey, sometimes it saves me a lot of time reading instructions when it’s just as easy to figure out how something works by actually using it.
  3. Gwibber — This is my Linux-specific version of TweetDeck. I think it’s kind of new. It seems to have “issues.” Some days it works, other days it won’t even open. No rhyme or reason, it just won’t awaken. When I can get it to open and work properly, it shows my Twitter and FB streams merged into one timeline, which I kind of like. It’s kind of like mixing your peas into your gravy and mashed potatoes. You can still clearly see the peas, but the other stuff makes them stick on the fork better. But some people object to that much proximity among things on their dinner plates, and so may not like what Gwibber does. But you can choose to just see one stream at a time on Gwibber. It’s the “home” feature that blends them.

There are others. I don’t even know what their names are. And there are apps for various smart phones, iPad, netbooks, and who knows what all else. Of course, I only use Twitter and FaceBook, but with these things you can add your WordPress blog, Flikr, MySpace, Tumblr, Linkedin, and a whole slew of other social sharing networks. Whatever floats your boat.

I often feel like I’m being left in the techno dust by the younger generations. I know that using all this stuff to its maximum potential is the way of the future way-of-the-future wayofthefuture (obscure movie reference), and I really wish I could get a better grasp on it. It appeals to my creative nature. Even though I always maintain that I really still see my computer as a typewriter on steroids, it’s way more than just a writing tool. It’s a whole Alexandrian library, a Post Office, and a news desk (and at times a massive time waster). I would much rather have all these options and be able to use only a fraction of them at some minimal level, than not have them at all, and miss out on some of the things I’ve discovered in the past several years.

Alien Planet

It didn’t look that different from my previous home. I could breathe the air. The sky was blue, the grass green (except where it was starting to turn a dry, crispy brown), the temperature hot. I could find my way around okay. Places I visited looked much the same. And like it or not, I was here to stay. Might as well start moving in the furniture.

I thought I would start with my music. It was no trouble to download all the albums into the shiny new audio player. None of the titles looked mangled — “Let It Be” downloaded as “Let It Be,” etc. Excellent. I wasn’t sure whether I got the volume controls set up correctly, but figured all I had to do was press “Play” and find out if any sound came out. Woops. Got a pop-up. “You do not have a decoder installed to handle this file. You might need to install the necessary plugins.” Gah. Like suddenly finding myself on the wrong street where I don’t understand much of the language. How the hell do I find out where to get the decoder and the necessary plugins???? (And could it be a decoder ring? Because that would be very cool.)

Okay, this is not the opening of a science fiction story. But it could be. Here’s what happened. I’ve been a non-fan of Windows since Windows was invented. I’ve used it plenty, always on computers “at work” that were hooked to great big servers and had a lot of RAM and everything else necessary to hurl that top-heavy operating system around with a fair amount of speed. At home I had Commodore computers, then Amiga, then Mac. They all had their own issues, but they didn’t need to have frakking Windows installed for me to do what I wanted to do on a computer. Then I got this laptop. I got it used, and it had Windows XP Pro installed on it already. I was planning to take an online course that required use of a Windows computer. Ugh. My frustration reached new heights. Opening a program required the patience of a saint — of which I am not one. It got to the point where I would click to launch Firefox, and then go fix my coffee, or start a load of laundry — and then maybe my browser would be open when I came back.

After about a year and a half of this nonsense, I was about to crack under the strain. I ended up not taking the course, and just kept using this laptop because it was a little newer and a bit faster than my old iBook laptop, but not that much. It seemed like I spent half my time at my computer waiting for it to decide to do something. Going back to using the iBook wouldn’t solve anything, because it is too old to update to the newer Mac OS. Then I remembered Linux.

My second ex-husband was a virtual bigamist the whole time I was with him. His primary relationship was with his computer. But I probably learned more about computers just living in the same air-space as him than I would have taking classes from anyone else. Of course I didn’t learn it in any sort of logical sequence. But Linux. He talked about Linux. An operating system (was my understanding, at any rate) that didn’t belong to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs and would never put money in the pocket of either. I could live with that.

I did some reading on line about Linux, and found out that a lot of applications can be hung on the Linux “kernel” that make it easier to use for the less technically inclined. Great, I thought. Sign me up. I asked a local web design guru, Cody Marx Bailey, for some recommendations, and he said, “first, back up all your files.” And he meant somewhere off my computer. I already have a lot of stuff backed up on flash drives, but I got a two GB storage locker “in the cloud” at a site called Dropbox. Two GB is free, so I figured that should be enough for most of my stuff, especially if I zipped some of the folders. My music folder was another matter. All the music files were piled together with iTunes files and iPod files and whatnot, and rather than try to separate them, I just loaded the whole mess onto another flash drive. It was over seven gigabytes. It would have overloaded my Dropbox like Mr. Creosote.

Long story short, Cody also recommended I look at the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, and after a bit of mucking about, I downloaded a “low over-head” version called Xubuntu and burned it onto a CD. To make sure it was going to work properly, I ran it from the CD the first time and had a look at the desktop and some of the apps that came with it. I had just recently started using Thunderbird to handle all my email accounts, so I was happy to see that Thunderbird was part of the package. And it’s fast. Think Porsche 911 vs. ’64 Volkswagen bus.

However. Apparently the Exaile music player doesn’t line up with iTunes without some kind of additional gadget, which I don’t have or know where to find at the moment. But. I can put one of my music CDs in the drive and it will play just fine.

I am not worried. I like my new home. I may forget in what box I packed my favorite knick-knacks, but soon I’ll have them all around me once again. And Windows can bite me.