Oct 25, 2008

MuCommander is a powerful, cross-platform file manager

We've covered many, many Explorer replacements here in the past, so I was a little surprised that MuCommander hadn't been written up yet.

What makes MuCommander stand out is that it is free, open source, and cross-platform. The author's web site provides downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux (.tar.gz) as well as a Debian package, portable version, and a Java Web Start package.

It's actually the first JWS application I've come across since I started reviewing for Download Squad. It loaded fairly quickly on my netbook, and ridiculously fast on my quad-core AMD desktop.

MuCommander presents a skinnable, dual-pane view for file management. There's no tab support, though I don't consider that a major shortcoming - especially considering its other features are numerous, and extremely useful.

For starters, there's built-in support for FTP, SFTP, Samba, HTTP, NFS, and Bonjour. Several types of archives can be explored without extracting: zip, rar, tar, gzip, bzip2, iso, nrg, deb, and lst. MuCommander can create archives (press ctrl+I to pack) and even modify zip files on the fly without having to recompress the entire archive

There's also a command shell window with scrolling output, credential manager, and favorite locations list.

MuCommander is a fantastic file manager, and well worth a test drive for any user - regardless of OS.

RevoluTV: Watch live TV streams in Windows

Hulu Schmulu. Some TV networks have been providing streaming content for ages. You can watch live or recent news updates from the BBC or CNN, music videos, or even movies if you know where to look. But where's the fun in that? RevoluTV is a Windows app that comes preloaded with a long list of video channels that you can stream using the built-in Windows Media Player interface.

Unlike previously mentioned LiveStation, which is mostly focused on news channels, RevoluTV has a ton of streams divided into categories like News, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music, Movies, Sports, and Kids. And most of the streams I tried actually played, which is more than I can say for some other programs I've used that promise to let you stream internet TV content from around the globe.

Of course, I've kind of gotten used to the video-on-demand feel of Hulu and similar sites, so I'm not really a big fan of watching live television anymore. But if you can't find anything worth watching on Hulu, YouTube, or whatever online video site you're addicted to these days, RevoluTV might be worth a look.

Oct 15, 2008

15 Tips For a Better Linux Experience

The beauty of Linux is in users ability to do large amount of customization to have a unique user expereince. So today we will look in to some tips for a “better” Linux experience. The term “better” here is relative, because what works for me might seem a distraction for some or plain annoying to others; some of this “tips” might appeal to beginners, while advanced users might find it too easy. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to some of you.

1) Turn on your computer remotely by sending “magic network packets” to WakeOnLan supported network cards. This can be very helpful if you run a server at home but only access it occasionally. There is no need for you to have the server running all the time.

2) If you dual boot with windows, accessing Linux file system from your windows installation might be important for you. There are three windows applications that can help you do this: Explore2fs, Ext2 Installable File System, DiskInternals Linux Reader.

3) Similarly to have read/write access for Windows NTFS file system, you can use NTFS-3G. Most recent popular Linux distribution has NTFS-3G installed out of the box.

4) Share a single mouse and keyboard with multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, with support for copy and paste. Thanks to Synergy, the most popular free KVM software switch out there.

Synergy in action.

5) Recovering data from damaged media can be handled by several Linux tools including some LiveCD, specifically built to help recover data. Parted Magic, Ubuntu Rescue Remix, SystemRescueCd, Foremost (data recovery), Ddrescue.

6) If you are a blogger like me and enjoy using desktop client over web editors, you will find these clients useful: Gnome Blog, Drivel Journal Editor, BloGTK, Thingamablog, Bleezer, QTM.

7) If you are a webdeveloper/designer, you will often find yourself testing a website across many platforms and browsers. IEs4Linux is a great painless way to check how IE browser will render your website. You could use services like browsershots, but I had mixed results with them.

8) Does your iPod miss iTunes? Here are three itunes alternative which will do most of what your iTunes would do, not an exact replacement; but does the job: Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox.

9) Follow multiple files by creating multiple windows in your console with the help of MultiTail, also known as tail on steroids.

10) Use Terminator to split your screen space with many terminal windows, both horizontally and vertically.

11) For even better control over your terminal display and customization and complex functions, GNU Screen is a much better choice over terminator; however terminator serves only one purpose.

12) Use RSIBreak to help prevent Repetitive Strain Injury. RSIBreak will force you to take short break, depending on your configuration, so that you don’t over-work yourself.


13) If you find yourself working on a dumb terminal (hello sysadmins) or prefer working on terminals, you will find newsbeuter to be an excellent RSS reader for the console.

14) I know some will disagree with me on this, but conky is an excellent compliment to your desktop experience. If properly configured, it can add a lot of value to your desktop environment. Check out this very creative conky setup and read about it here.

15) Do you do podcasts? rootprompt has a great article with huge resources for both Linux podcasters and listeners.