::Webilder. Killer app of the moment

29 12 2006

Webilder is a very cool application for linux that allows you to automatically download photos from flickr and Webshots and set them as your wallpaper.

I don’t have a Webshots account, and haven’t used it in the Windows world for years.  But from what I remember, Webilder is fairly similar to the Webshots idea–minus the bloat, spyware, and bluescreens.  You can’t have everything, though.

I do have a flickr account, and I wanted to find a program that would allow me to automatically download images based on tags–my own and others’–and set them as my wallpaper.  Webilder allows you to download flickr images based on album (set) name, tags, and the username of the person who created them–and automatically rotate through them as your desktop wallpaper. 

It is very slick, very intuitive, and easy to install.

Installation for Debian and Ubuntu users is a snap–add the Webilder repository to your sources.list file and simply apt-get the Webilder package.  Other distributions can download and install from source

Try it.  You’ll like it.





3 10 2006

Amarok is a great linux music player that ships with Kde.  It has a very cool interface, organizes your music in a very intuitive way, and has look ups for album covers and lyrics.  I really like the album cover feature, as I really haven’t set foot in a record store for more than 10 minutes since my son Liam was born. 

It will also talk to a variety of mp3 players, allowing you to add and remove tracks, and organize the contents.  Now, I bought myself a 30 GB Creative Nomad Zen Xtra about 3 years ago when I decided I was too cheap for an iPod.  All Creative players ship with this massive piece of bloatware that is supposed to organize and sync your player.  It is a memory hog, is slow, and is not stable.  And it only runs in Windows. 

Since switching to Linux, finding a good application to manage my mp3 player from Linux has been a massive pain in my ass.  Creative uses a proprietary file system and gives absolutely no help to the open source community in developing apps for use in Linux.  What’s out there has historically been at least a little unstable and bloated.  And god forbid you upgrade a library for whatever reason–there goes whatever application you spent hours and hours managing to get to work. 

Which brings me to the topic of this post, sort of. 

Up until about a month ago, I’d been using a program called Gnomad2 with my Zen.  It’s a good application, but I’ve never been a huge fan.  It is pretty slow, really doesn’t like directories with lots of files, and doesn’t transfer files recursively if there’s anything other than a music file in the directory (like say, an m3u playlist file).  Then one day, it broke.  I hadn’t changed anything, hadn’t updated anything, hadn’t done shit.  It just up and flipped me the bird.  I tried to fix it and failed.

Time to move on, I decided. 

Development of apps for Creative’s mp3 players has been pretty stilted, and a while there are quite a few out there, most of them haven’t done anything in quite a while. 

There is:

And maybe some others.

 With the introduction of Amarok 1.4, Nomad support was supposed to be built in.  I tried it a few times without ever making any effort, and couldn’t see how to connect it.  Then last week I read in the Ubuntu forums that the stock Dapper packages didn’t ship with Creative support. 

As a rule, whenever there’s a package available for an application, I’ll install the package instead of compiling from source.  It is easy and I’m lazy, and I have this illusion that there is probably better stability and support for a .deb package that is in an official repository.  Someone(s) smarter than me has built and tested whatever application it is, and it is most likely known to work.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be a package, right?

Fuck that.

I purged Amarok using Synaptic, downloaded the latest Amarok (1.4.3) and it’s dependancies.  I spent an hour configuring and making the files, and installed it without an issue, and got a neat little message saying that the package was being built with Creative Nomad support. 

 After trying to connect it for about an hour over two days, I finally figured out that my damn mp3 player had locked up.  I reset it, connected to my computer, launched Amarok, and…

It works.

Without fits or latency or being too bloated, it just.fucking.works.

I’ll write a howto in the next couple of days, because there was a little more to it than what I just described. 

But Amarok talks to my Zen with grace and style, and transfers files very quickly.

Try it, you’ll like it.