Friday, October 31, 2008

WOW! Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

Just a brief post on how impressed I am with Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex. I've only played around with the liveCD, but I am definitely well impressed, mostly with it's increased speed. I tested it on an older P4 1.4 Ghz laptop with 512 mb RAM and it was fast, even running from CD. Also, wireless worked. I've been having trouble with wireless on this laptop, with each of the 4 OSes installed (including MS Windows XP). Wireless works great with Ibex. Ubuntu has also had problems with this laptop's Intel i810 video card. I would usually have to manually edit the xorg.conf file, but Ibex handled it like a champ, including compiz.

I'd also like to make a comment on one particular accessibility feature, orca. As some might know, my eye sight is deteriorating, which is increasingly having me become more interested in accessibility options in Linux. Orca is pretty cool. For those who are unaware, orca is a text to speech application. I want to thank Ubuntu for including ocra by default.

Good job guys.

Friday, October 24, 2008

gcalcli - Google Calendar on the Command Line

gcalcli gives you access to your Google Calendar on the command line. You can retrieve your calendar information for multiple calendars and in various formats. gcalcli can be found in the repositories for Ubuntu Hardy and Ibex.

If your Distro does not have gcalcli in it's repositories, instructions can be found here. gcalcli is written in python and just has a few dependencies for an easy install.

Once installed you may need to create a .gcalclirc file in your home directory. The file should be configured like this:

<config-item>: <value>
<config-item>: <value>

Mine looks like this:

pw: password
cals: all

Obviously, use your own Google Calendar username and password in the file. I have several calendars that follow, like a US Holiday calendar, a family birthday calendar and my Wife's calendar. I wanted to have access to all the calendars so I indicated that as an option in the config file. There are several other options that can be included within this configuration file specifically having different colors for each calendar.

On my laptop running CrunchBang! Linux, gcalcli was not correctly reading
the .gcalclirc file. So, I created the following alias in my .bashrc file:

alias gcalcli = "/usr/bin/gcalcli --pw=password"

This seemed like a reasonable work around for now.

To view my calendar I simply type:

$ gcalcli agenda

Notice my calendar in blue and my wife's calendar in magenta.
Using the agenda option without parameters will list one week of calendar information. You can include a date range to customize the output.

$ gcalcli agenda 11/15 11/31

This will give you all calendar items between 11/15 and 11/31 of the current year.

To view your calendar in a matrix with borders, type the following:

$ gcalcli calw

The calw option without parameters will display the current week's calendar items. You can add parameters to increase your ranges view.

$ gcalcli calw 3

This will display the current week and the following 2 weeks.

You can post to your calendar as well using the quick option in the following syntax.

$ gcalcli quick "10/31 7 pm Halloween Party"

This will create a calendar for a Halloween Party on 10/31 at 7 pm.
Please see the gcalcli site for more things you can do with this neat little app, including adding calendar items to gnu screen and receiving notices. For all you GUI lovers you can even use gcalcli to display your calendar items in conky.

Now you can do all your scheduling and calendaring on the CLI.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everything Can be Done in the CLI (Mostly)

I love the command line and truly believe that it is an ideal interface for the Desktop. It's speed is unparalleled. It's simplicity and flexibility is far superior to anything that can be done with xorg and any GUI. Mind, I'm not a completely idealistic or ignorant to the advantages of a GUI. I'm a KDE and Openbox fan, but I'm constantly drawn to the sheer power and flexibility of the command line that I feel can never truly be reach by a GUI.

I am also drawn to Desktop applications because it is what I know and use everyday and it is what I find interesting. Most people use a computer as a Desktop. Server administrating my may be interesting to some, but I find it very boring and frustrating. Plus, most sys admin's tasks are done on the CLI anyway.

I passionately feel that nearly all tasks that are done in the Desktop can be done from the CLI. I understand that there might need to be some "work-arounds" or extra steps taken on the CLI to accomplish a similar task in the GUI, yet I think it will be a fun challenge.

This being said, I have begun a list of Desktop tasks and the command line applications or options available to complete those tasks. You can find this list here. This is just a list I've thrown together, which I hope to develop as a much bigger community resource. It is a work in progress which I hope to expand and improve. My vision is to have each application link to a resource of some kind. It may link to a tutorial which explains how to use the application or a link to a script that automates a long or repetitive process. Essentially, I want it to be a resource for users to draw upon to be able to complete any Desktop task in command line.

Please send me recommendations as to how to improve this resource. Help me to fill in the blanks. You'll notice a lot of blanks in the Development section. That's because I'm not a developer. Help me with additional solutions to tasks. Please offer suggestions as to how to improve the layout or organization of the list. I hope to have this hosted on my own website sometime, but for simplicity sake I have it on Google Docs. Please make any other suggestions you see fit.

Ways to make comment:
1. make a comment to this post.
2. email: jared (dot) bernard ((@)) gmail (dot) com
3. twitter: