Adventures In Computing

December 5, 2008

iPod Classic And GTKpod Revisited

Filed under: 64bit, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:48 pm

Rhythymbox is great for importing and exporting music to the iPod.  The only situation I encountered with using Rhythymbox as an iPod management tool is that it has a few problems with album art.  To get album art to the ‘pod we must play a song from the album.  The problem that I have is that if Rhythymbox is play music it somehow screws up alot of the album art, what I mean is, the album art I am trying to import on the iPod is wrongly associated to other albums.  I have had this problem in Ubuntu 7.10, 8.04 and the newest 8.10.

I have been trying gtkpod and gtkpod-acc to see if it now works and when I turn it on everything is fine but the second I click on the iPod directory, to manage it, The gtkpod GUI freezes and my CPU goes to 100% usage and after a little while it starts overheating.  Last night I let this go on for about 15 minutes and I killed the process fearing damage to my laptop.

I have told you a few posts back that I have the 64bit version of Ubuntu 8.10 on “kramer” my laptop.  So I decided to try gtkpod on my Wind netbook, which runs the i386 version of Ubuntu 8.10.  Gtkpod works fine on this installation.  I guess I will have to file a bug report stating that the gtkpod 64bit package is broken.

I can now manage my iPod using “blizard” with the correct album art.  I can also import video to the ‘pod again, since RhythymBox does not support video.

November 25, 2008

Banshee 1.4 And iPods Are Like Mixing Oil And Water: It Does Not Work!

Filed under: 64bit, Banshee, Gnome, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:47 pm

I’m not a happy camper as I am writing this.  I simply wanted to add some music to my iPod.  Gtkpod froze and my computer was heating up.  Must be a bug.  Rhythymbox works but I decide to try Banshee 1.4, Bad idea!  I am able to load new music fine.  I unplug the iPod after it says that I can disconnect it.  No music on the ‘pod.  What is going on?  Plug the iPod and I can see the music so I disconnect it once more and still no music.  I restart the ‘pod by pressing the “Menu” and “Select” buttons simultaneously.  The iPod restarts, still no music.  I am pissed off!

I connect the iPod back to the computer and  I “Drag’N’Drop” the songs, all 11016 of them, on my laptop.  I don’t feel like pulling out all my CDs and ripping them again so that I can place them in the ‘pod.  I boot Windows XP from the only computer that I own which still has Windows on it and do a factory reset on the iPod using iTunes.

I spend several hours, over several days loading up my iPod with music.  I used Rhythymbox Music Player to load the music in the ‘Pod.  I have to mention that this post has been written in three steps:  the first paragraph was written when my iPod “lost” all of it’s songs two weeks ago.  The second paragraph and the first sentence of the third paragraph was written a week later.  The rest was written today the day I published the post.

I now know that Banshee 1.4 is the culprit in losing all the songs.  I taught that maybe gtkpod was since it had frozen and I had to terminate it because my computer was overheating.  It took all my courage to try uploading songs in my iPod using Banshee and it worked but when I eject the ‘Pod it says that I have “0 songs”.  I know for a fact that I have 11037 on it since I just loaded 21 songs using Banshee 1.4.  Damn, damn, damn.  I plugin the iPod to my laptop.  I launch Rhythymbox.  I see all 11037 songs.  I play one of the songs I just uploaded using Banshee.  It plays fine.  I unplug the iPod and low and behold all my songs are there.  I am so glad, that I am glad, that I’m glad; to quote Cream.  I must dig out their CD and add that song to my iPod.  So I have learned that I cannot use Banshee as my all purpose music player/iPod loader.  I must keep on using Rhythymbox.

I really liked Banshee 1.4 but I cannot use it because of this problem.  If you do not have an iPod I whole heartily recommend it, but if you do I cannot recommend it. Apparently I am the only person that has this problem since I cannot find anybody else on the web with the same problem.  I wonder if it is because I have the 64 bit version of intrepid installed?

If you know of a solution please leave a comment, thanks.

March 31, 2008

Tough Decision: EeePC or iMac…or Both?

Filed under: Archos 605, Asus, EeePC, iMac, iPod, iPod Touch, Xubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 6:29 pm

Last week I was on vacation, I did not have time to play/work with my computers. Then why am I writing a post on this iMaccomputer related blog? I have promised you that I would write four posts a month. Today is the last day of the month and I only have three posts this month so do the math: This is a filler post. On Thursday of last week I was in an electronics store and I was on the verge of buying myself an iMac computer. I had asked the clerk to get the iMac ready and I would be back in 15 minutes to pick it up. 15 minutes later I was back in the computer section of the store and the clerk I spoke with was with another customer, so I decide to go and look at computer switches since I would need one because my router was all plugged out. I chose a switch but there was no price on it, so I put it back on the shelve and head back to the computer department to pick up the Apple computer but the clerk is still busy with another customer. The other clerks are speaking among themselves. My conscience kicks in and I ask myself “Do I really need another computer?” I answer “Yes, of course”. My second question is “Do I need it now?” “Yes” my heart says “No, it can wait” my brain says, and I decide that since nobody at the store wants to help me at that moment, they do not deserve my business. So I left with no computer. I’ll have to wait for the next generation of iMacs before I purchase one.

I now have to decide if I should get an Asus EeePC eeepcor wait a bit and get the iMac and either an iPod touch or an Arcos 605. The way I see it at the moment the EeePC will act as a portable media player so I do not need the iPod Touch or Archos 605 and I would like to install Xubuntu and try that for a while. All I’ll need are some memory cards to be able to save data and put entertainment on. At this moment The EeePC is winning the battle, but will it win the war? Only time will tell, and knowing myself I’ll end up with an iMac and an EeePC.

I know not a lot of you leave comments but if you have suggestions noe is the time to tell me before I make up my mind. That is it for this filler post. I promise that next month all the post will be all killers and no fillers.

p.s. In the near future I’ll have some somewhat important news on something I am working on, so keep coming back to see what it is.

December 5, 2007

Gutsy Again

Filed under: 64bit, Epiphany, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Gutsy Gibbon, iPod, KDE, Kubuntu, Kubuntu 7.10, Linux, Opera Browser, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit, Ubuntu 7.10 — Normand Bissonnette @ 11:41 am


I don’t remember if I mentioned in one of the Gusty Gibbons posts that when one of my computer was freezing with Ubuntu installed on it I switched it to Kubuntu before I found out that it was a freak combination of my video card and motherboard. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted Ubuntu and Gnome on my newer desktop computer and Kubuntu on my oldest computer. On Monday I decided to switch them over with a complete Installation.

On the oldest computer, Newman, everything went fine as expected. This is the computer on which I am try Konqueror as a web browser, a bit more on that later. I am pretty much an expert on installing Kubuntu/Ubuntu and setting them up the way I like ’em. Installing Ubuntu on the newer desktop was another story.

I Had been thinking of trying the 64bit version of Ubuntu. On monday a few hours after switching Newman from Ubuntu to Kubuntu I decided to Sidney, the desktop, to Ubuntu 7.10 64bit. I downloaded the installation cd, popped it in and restarted the computer. After choosing to install I get a black screen, no signal detected, damn. After a few Google searches I found out there is a bug. I decide to install using the alternative CD, I hope this will work. It does install. I won’t go through it step by step because we would be here for hours and we don’t want that do we?

The screen resolution was screwed up! I have a 1680×1050 screen but all I was getting was 640×400! After fooling around with it a while I finally get to change it to the correct setting but I only get to see about a quarter of the screen and when I move my mouse to one of the edge I can view another part of the screen. I try several ways to fix this but to no avail. Being a fairly good problem solver, in my own mind, I decide to fix this in an unorthodox way. I decide to remove my video card and replace it with an older one.

During the installation I rechristened it Bubble Boy to continue the tradition of naming my computers after Seinfeld characters. My iPod is named after George’s Alis Art Vandelay. Anyway, Ubuntu was installed without a hitch. I installed nVidia propriety driver and a few other packages and then turned of the computer and replaced my new video card and voila everything works as it should. I should mention that Bubble Boy froze twice when I had the older video card in it and it never froze with the newer card.

Now I will be trying everything I can with the 64bit edition of Ubuntu and if anything interesting happens I be sure to mention it to you. The first step is to get flash player to work in FireFox.

I can’t install Opera since they don’t have a 64bit version but I have installed it the computer I use at work. I like it. I like it so much that I installed it in my Kubuntu box, Newman, along side Konqueror. I tried making Konqueror faster by following a few tweaks I found on the net. That did make Konqueror faster but Konqueror was so slow that it is still slow. I now use both Konqueror and Opera on that computer. On my laptop I am using Epiphany 95% of the time and 5% is FireFox. I am getting used to not using my FireFox extensions and learning to use Epiphany’s extension. I just added a few third party extensions and I am liking Epiphany more and more.

Well I have to call it a day if I want to get some work done on Bubble Boy tonight. I’ll keep you posted.

December 3, 2007

Browser Wars: The Unknowns


Before I start with this post I’ll just say that this is not the post that I was supposed to publish today. I had told you in a previous post that I was converting some Seinfeld episodes into iPod ready files. I decided to write a step by step account of this so that my fellow Ubuntu users could do the same thing whitout searching the web trying something and if that didn’t work search again. Well let me tell you That post was so long I think I could actually publish it as a book. My experience in reading blogs is that if a blog is overly long the reader tends to lose patient and not read it completely, so I decided to shelve it until I cut it down to a respectful size.

With that said on with this shorter post. I already mentioned in the past that I was trying out the Epiphany browser instead of my beloved Firefox. Lately I found that firefox was a behemoth of a browser almost as bad as Internet Explorer from our “friends” at Microsoft. Firefox in a linux environment is now slow as molasses. It actually works faster in Windows than Linux! I guess Firefox should be considered a Windows Browser that is ported to Linux.

Epiphany is a small web browser designed to work with the Gnome desktop. My first impressions of Epiphany is “damn this is fast”! It is a hell of a lot faster than Firefox. It has it’s own extensions, but not as many as Firefox. After using it a week I don’t miss my Firefox extensions, much. There is a short learning curve when changing to Epiphany but I think it is worth it. Today I decided to try Konqueror, as a web browser, on my Kubuntu computer, in fact I am writing this using Konqueror. Another learning curve. My first impression of Konqueror as a web browser is “damn this is slow”!

I still use Firefox on one of my computer and at work. At work we use Windows so I have to use something else than Internet Explorer. I was thinking of installing the Opera Browser. I think I’ll do that tomorrow since there is supposed to be a snow storm starting this evening and going through the night. Tomorrow it is going to be windy and I think that we won’t be busy. Maxthon is another alternative for Windows users. It uses the Explorer engine but it improves on it.

Who will win the browser wars? I certainly don’t know, but what I know is that Internet Explorer as all to lose and nothing to gain. It has already lost quite a bit and if Firefox improves itself when 3.0 comes out it has a fighting chance. I only hope they don’t forget us Linux users because without us firefox would not have had a fighting chance at the beginning.

November 19, 2007

iPod meet Seinfeld

Filed under: Entertainment, Epiphany, iPod, Linux, Opera Browser, Seinfeld, Television — Normand Bissonnette @ 1:23 am

It is now official I have more songs on my iPod than ever before. After screwing it up last week I concentrated myself on loading songs on it and now I have more than 6000 songs on it. To top it all off since last evening I started to fool around converting my Seinfeld DVD box sets into mp4 files for the ‘Pod.

If you have been reading this post you’ll know that I have been calling my three computers Sidney, Newman and Kramer. Sidney for Sid Vicious the punk rocker that committed suicide after being accused of killing his whore girlfriend, Kramer for Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld and Newman for Jerry’s arch enemy, again from Seinfeld. And I would like to introduce to you my iPod which is named: Art Vandalay a George Constanza alias. As you can see I am a Seinfeld fan.

I mentioned in the other blog the reason for placing Seinfeld episodes on my iPod is that we will not have a lot of television shows to watch since no new shows are being produced because of the WGA strike.

I still haven’t used the Epiphany browser to its fullest, but I will, and I try Opera once again and then decide which browser is the best for me.

I guess that is it for now. This post was not really informative but hey what the hell? I’m felt like writing something; and something is better than nothing. See you later.

November 14, 2007

iPod Troubles Will Drive You Insane

Filed under: Floola, Gnome, iPod, Ubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 11:43 pm

I know, I know that I have been lax in my blogging the last few weeks but I have good reasons for this. I was to write something about trying out Epiphany browser for gnome about two weeks ago but I did something stupid with my iPod. I decided to try Floola with the ‘Pod. I screwed it totally. It seem to work fine but it screwed up the artwork. What do I mean? Well the artwork did not match the song I was playing and there was no easy way to fix it so I initialize my iPod to the factory setting and started putting music back in. I now hate doing this. I had over 11 days of music in it!

After about a week and a half I had most of the songs back in and I was using the iPod as a memory stick to bring some files to work for a friend. I plugged it in the office computer and I was busy with customers and when I sat at the computer the ‘Pod was synced with my work computer. It was almost empty again. So last night I started installing songs back in the iPod. I am truly sick and tired of doing this. It was all my fault, damn me!

From what I saw of Floola it seems to be a good program, I recommend that you try it with an empty iPod so that you don’t screw it up. If after you installed a few different album with the covers these covers match with the songs, I think that a few of you would stick with it. One of the great features that floola had is that the program does not install in the computer so you can keep a copy in the iPod itself and install songs from any computer without installing an unwanted program on some one else’s computer.

I guess I have to continue putting more songs in my iPod so i”ll cut it short for this post. I promise you that you’ll have to wait a shorter time for my next post.

September 17, 2007

A Quick One

Filed under: Compiz-Fusion, Gnome, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Rockbox, Ubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:42 pm

Just a quick one to keep you up to date. I still haven’t gotten compiz-fusion working on the lap top. I haven’t really tried to do anything about it yet.

I like what I can do with Rockbox on my iPod but after trying it for half a day I noticed that it is harder on the battery that the original firmware from Apple. I’ll be using the original from Apple for my everyday use, and Rockbox will be to impress people and something to do in my spare time. I hope that we can update our firmware so that we have the same as the iPod classic.

As I said this is a quick post. No pictures this time.

September 9, 2007

Rockbox and iPod

Filed under: Gnome, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Rockbox, Ubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 7:11 pm

Today I was going to tweak the Rockbox installation on my iPod. My Plan Changed. Rockbox is a firmware for iPod and other media players. I had installed it four days ago and I installed a few themes. I expected to install patches to show album covers and stuff like that. The Rockbox firmware allows users to drag and drop files directly in the iPod. Rockbox users can play more music formats then with the original iPod firmware, more games (Doom), even screen savers. If you have a mp3 player you should try Rockbox. For those of you that are not sure you want to switch over when you install Rockbox you don’t get rid of the original iPod firmware you can switch from one firmware to another quite easily.

I have learnt something new today. One must at least learn something new everyday or everything becomes stagnant. I learnt that when you plug in your iPod to your computer and on the iPods screen you see displayed “Do Not Disconnect”, well follow that instruction to the letter, even if you have waited half an hour for some date to be written on the iPod. My iPod could not read the information that was on it. I had 25GB that was on the iPod but I could not play it. Can you believe it I crashed my iPod. At first I decided to drag the music files out of the iPod and on to my computer, but when I saw that it would take 7 hours I decided to revert my iPod to factory state and start anew.

At this point of the day about six hours have past and I am currently installing songs on the ‘Pod I ‘ve already installed Rockbox and while I was waiting for songs to upload to the iPod I found a build of Rockbox already patched with a few. You can find it at this link: here. I have a bunch of work to do since I have to go throu my CD collection and convert some files to mp3 again. I guess I’ll have my hands full for the next few days.

I really enjoy my new laptop, aka Kramer, but I am disappointed with Dell. I also ordered a carrying case and a wireless mouse which originally should have been shipped on August 29. Dell pushed back the shipping to September fourth. Then to September 14th and yesterday when I checked they delayed it once again, this time until October 16th. I guess I’ll have to wait. I am very happy that it was not my computer that was delayed for so long. I’ll still recommend Dell for their computers, this is my second one from them and so far I am satisfied with their products.

Well I guess I’ll call it quits for today and upload more music to the ‘Pod. Until next time.

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