Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to Ubuntu for Now

I've recently installed Ubuntu 13.10 after my latest stint of running Windows (damn you Optimus) and this has been my experience. It includes some ruthless criticism for the betterment of Ubuntu and less frustration for all. I'm not picking on Ubuntu per se, I do similar improvements to Windows when that's my primary OS. These are settings for a power user, not grandma, unless grandma is a power user.

Changes I've Made

Unity Tweak Tool
I've been using Ubuntu since 6.06 LTS, so I'm I know what life was like before Unity and I dislike Unity intensely. The tweak tool makes it at least bearable, here are some changes I made.

  • Unity > Web Apps > Integration Prompts = OFF
    • It's annoying and  I don't want to integrate Amazon into my OS. Maybe this feature has potential, and I'm sure partnering with Amazon was worth some sweet cash for Canonical, but for now it's yappy junk.
    • Sidenote: Remove Canonical's plugins from your browser.
  • Unity > Additional > Keyboard Shortcuts >  Put keyboard focus on the launcher
    • Click on the shortcut and press BACKSPACE to disable it.
      • Where's the documentation for BACKSPACE as clear? Nowhere, that's where.
      • That dialog is a usability disaster.
    • Why does this default to ALT?!
  • Unity > Panel > Transparency = OFF
  • Unity > Search > Background Blur = ON
    • I disabled everything except background blur since it's hard to read without blur.
    • I used active blur since I have the horsepower.
  • Unity > Search > [Everything else] = Disabled
    • ESPECIALLY online sources, I don't want to be leaking every search to Canonical or whoever is on the other end of that. It's not their business, shiny features be damned.
    • The rest is mostly personal preference. I use the search as more of an application launcher than a real 'search', which I think of as distinct from trawling through my programs for the one I want to run. Recent apps probably wouldn't be so bad.
  • Unity > Launcher > Appearance > Transparency = Disabled
    • Yes, please suck up even more resources.
  • Window Manager > General > Desktop Magnification = OFF
    • More resource-eating crap.
  • Window Manager > General > Hardware Acceleration > Texture Quality = Fast
    • Performance over eye candy.
  • Window Manager > Workspace Settings > Workspace Switcher = ON
    • I run 2x2, I LOVE workspaces. It seems Canonical doesn't.
    • If your application is maximized, you can move it to a different workspace via the ALT+Space menu, because you can't do it with the mouse. Usability FAIL.
  • Window Manager > Window Controls > Default > Right Aligned
    • Really just preference for Windows style vs Mac style.
  • Window Manager > WIndow Controls > Show Menu Button = Enabled
    • Also accessible with ALT+Space
Disable Apport
Apport is the program crash dump reporter, unfortunately it also takes it's sweet time to compile and send a crash report. You can disable apport by setting enabled=0 in /etc/default/apport. Kill the running service with: sudo stop apport

Compiz Configuration Settings Manager
Install the compizconfig-settings-manager package and run ccsm to start the application. Search for "Unity" and to get to the meat of what sucks.

  • Disable
    • General
      • Key to show the HUD
      • Key to execute a command
      • Key to open first panel menu
    • Launcher
      • Key to start the application switcher
      • Key to start the launch application switcher in reverse
  • Set
    • Key to execute a command to Super+D
Uninstalls, for great justice
  • sudo apt-get remove --purge unity-lens-shopping unity-lens-friends unity-lens-music unity-lens-photos unity-lens-video unity-chromium-extension unity-scope-audacious unity-scope-chromiumbookmarks unity-scope-clementine unity-scope-firefoxbookmarks unity-scope-gdrive unity-scope-gmusicbrowser unity-scope-gourmet unity-scope-musique unity-scope-yelp unity-scope-zotero unity-scope-video-remote unity-scope-musicstores unity-scope-openclipart unity-scope-openweathermap unity-scope-guayadeque

Things I've Learned

  • Don't hit the close button on Skype if you have chat windows open or you can't get back to the main window. Again, the launcher sucks.

Changes to Make

I wish I knew how to quit you. No, really.

General Comments

Something I've noticed with later versions of Ubuntu is MacOS envy, which sucks, because I really don't like many of the design decisions in MacOS.

Oh god, the launcher is SO bad at trying to be smart.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I'm taking a first stab at Heroku. Here are a few of the handy commands I've run across.

Set the default --app by setting the HEROKU_APP environment variable:
Restarting a web dyno:
heroku ps:restart web.1
Show log output. If it says "not found" it's probably lying, just run the command again.
heroku logs
Deploy a WAR:
heroku deploy:war -w <path>