The downside to having an Android device is that the home screen is completely tweakable. What starts out as a pristine and low-key desktop, soon turns into a mayhem of icons, shortcuts and widgets. The downside to such unrestricted personal freedom on your device is that you sometimes risk ending up with a home screen that looks a lot like your Uncles Windows 95 machine after 2 years of use.
Ios users have no such troubles. Cupertinian law has stated that there ARE no widgets and that each row of icons must be completely filled before you add another row of icons below. Such totalitarian control makes for a tidy room .. but also a dull one.
So what to do ? You want to give yourself at least some notion of “personification” of your portable device ? You can do so by putting up some shelves… Wallpaper shelves that is. Howtogeek.com has an interesting collection of “wallpaper shelves” for that very purpose. I agree, its not a very exiting hack, since in IOS every screen has the same wallpaper .. but its way better then having the picture of your beloved covered in icons that cover up his/her/its sweet facade.
When I was pimping out my iPad’s lockscreen yesterday and posting the pictures to the internet, I got a question from one of my followers WHERE I got that specific wallpaper. The site in question has had the privilege of my frequent visitations because its such a great source for Star Trek related wallpapers. Ricky “Madmann” Walace has, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best websites out there when it comes to wallpapers from “J.J. Abrams – reinvented” Star Trek universe. (even better then the official Star Trek Website) Ricky has great wallpapers, meshes and pictures for Star Trek lovers to gawk at.
So adorn your wallpapers with his latest exploits as he has just posted some awesome pictures of the USS Enterprise rising from the waters of the San Francisco bay and our favorite starship in orbit. All in the spirit of the upcoming second Star Trek movie that will be hitting the theaters May 17th next year.
Should the world end on December 21st and humanity will become vaguely absent from the movies premiere .. we will always have the Madmanns awesome wallpapers.
For those of you painfully oblivious about what we are talking about .. here is the trailer.
Since I’ve ported my brand new 11.6 inch Macbook Air to Ubuntu Linux, I’ve noticed that I seldom boot back into OSX on this little machine. Life is good on the Ubuntu side. Because for where it might lack powerful video editing tools or multitrack recorders that come with the same ease of use as Mac, Ubuntu (and Linux in general) shines when it comes to the myriad of free software that is available. Many blogposts will tell you the “top 5 apps” you NEED to install on your Linux machine, but you might know those lists by heart because they always offer the same apps. Today I’ll serve you up three applications that don’t necessarily show up on those lists , but for me make all the difference.
Though, with the Unity interface, Ubuntu might have moved on from spinning desktop cubes and wobbly windows, ‘looks’ are still a big part of the experience. Because 80 percent of your “post install” work consists of looking for “the right wallpaper”, I decided to ‘have somebody do that for me’ : Enter “Variety” a light, well written and awesome application that will switch wallpapers for you. You can choose the interval time, but also many many external sources of wallpaper material. Predefined Flickr groups of wallpapers are just one of the options, you can have Variety search Flickr for certain tags and keywords and pull down those wallpapers for you automatically. Luckily Variety also has the option to add your own folder filled with your personal wallpapers and mix everything up a bit with the external feeds. The menu bar icon up top lets you know it’s been installed and gives you access to all the settings. A cute little app that gives my tweaked system a little extra shine. (AND lets you use the fantastic KNIGHTWISE.COM WALLPAPERS on your machine Available from the Ubuntu software center or via sudo apt-get install variety
Although it was a pretty tough call between ‘soundconverter’ and ‘kazam screencaster’ to make this list, I chose the latter. Having to “capture” some internet video lately, I decided to give my Ubuntu machine the chance to prove its worth. Kazam is an online screen recorder that does its job well. You can record your entire screen, or sections of it, and have that video recorded in H264/mp4 format or VP8. You get to pick the framerate and the folder where the recordings are stored. No rocket science here. However the beauty comes with the combination of Kazam and Pulseaudio Volume control that let you record a much needed ‘sound input combination’. You cannot only record the screen with audio coming FROM ‘the sceen’ (your computer output) OR from your Microphone .. You can combine those 2 sound inputs and give “live” commentary on whatever youtube video you are grabbing. For a screencaster like me thats essential, AND damn handy when you want to record Google hangouts and the like. The output is very reliable and the process is dead easy. Kazam can also be found in the Ubuntu Software Center or via sudo apt-get install kazam
As the winner of the “Ubuntu app showdown” competition Rightlead is an RSS reader. Whow ! I hear you say, another RSS reader ? In order to make this list it better come with belly dancing Ewoks as a key feature because when it comes to RSS reader we have seen them all. The kicker with Lightread is that it constantly “syncs” with your Google Reader feeds ( you subscribe to new stuff, your stuff is in Lightread ) Lightread is simple, elegant, lets you tag and star articles and export them to Instapaper and Pocket. No rocket science but brilliant in its simplicity. I dare say that Lightread could be a native Mac app .. thats how good its done. I boot it up when I open my machine to read my feeds instead of surfing the web. To see is to believe. Lightread is available from the Ubuntu Software Center or via sudo apt-get install lightread.
You can find more applications from the Ubuntu App showdown HERE and HERE.
If you are looking for a geeky (or plain nerdy) wallpaper for your desktop this week, take a crack at one of these. I shot them last year as a little tribute to Irvin Kershner, the director of “Star Wars, The empire strikes back.” It was snowy outside. I had some action figures .. and a camera. You know how those things go. Click on the image for larger sizes.