Google Desktop Search vs Tracker

29 06 2007

After reading Mohammad’s blog post about Google Desktop, I thought I’d take it for a spin since I’m a GDS fan when I’m on XP. Though I’ve only been using it for two days, I soon realized that I am going back to Tracker. Here’s why:

1. Memory Footprint

GDS is costing me 50MB+ for the search utility, the indexing process, and the tray icon. Tracker peaks at about 4MB for me – and that includes the indexing process.

2. No Deskbar Integration

With tracker I can integrate it into my deskbar. I can launch apps, search the web/desktop, and run system level commands from one place. GDS is limited to only searching the web/desktop, so as a power user I’m still stuck using 2 applications, when I can be using one integrated solution. I hope in the future we will be able to integrate GDS into the Deskbar, but it seems unlikely since GDS is a closed-source binary.

3. Firefox Results

GDS displays search results in Firefox. Though this is nice, we all know that FF isn’t the fastest loading application in our toolbox. Tracker has its own native GTK+ search window which loads up a lot quicker.

3. Privacy

If enabled, Google can monitor your usage, which they claim is non-personal information. I’m still a bit weary about anyone collecting my data for that matter, even if its Google who sees, hears, and speaks no evil. Tracker just does its job, it searches. No fuss or hassle.

One thing I will note however – GDS is blazing fast. It picks up search results as I type, faster than Tracker. The speed difference isn’t enough to outweigh its large memory footprint though. I am indexing my root folder which is the culprit for GDS eating up my memory, but if Tracker can do it efficiently, I expect the boys at Google to do so as well =).

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Dia – The Microsoft Visio Alternative

22 06 2007

This post is now available on my new blog The IT Report:

http://theitreport.com/entries/linux/dia—the-microsoft-viso-alternative





Search GMail From The Deskbar

18 06 2007

I swear by the Deskbar applet. I swear by GMail. So lets put two and two together. Deskbar allows you to add “handlers” which are 3rd party extensions to this wonderful search utility. Here is a handler to allow Deskbar to search your GMail from within Ubuntu. Just save this script in your /home/.gnome2/deskbar-applet/handlers/ directory and it will automatically appear in your Deskbar Preferences. The script requires a little tweaking – you will need to hardcode your GMail username and password in order for it to work. At the top of the script there is a section:

GMAIL_USERNAME = ""
GMAIL_PASSWORD = ""

Which will require your attention. For a list of additional handlers click here. Another favorite Deskbar trick of mine is to integrate it with live Tracker search results. Deskbar is one of those utilities that make my daily computing, a little bit easier.





Skweezer.net – Fit The Web on Your Phone

15 06 2007

Mobile web-browsing is pathetic. Period. Websites are designed to be seen on regular computer screens and the mobile market lacks software that will re-render webpages to fit on the screen of your phone or PDA. A co-worker recently introduced me to skweezer.net. Skweezer is a portal that lets you view the web nicely on your phone. You give them a URL you want to browse, they format the page on their server and give you back a nice webpage that is readable on your mobile screen. The idea of no horizontal scrollbars makes me jump for joy, and the fact skweezer is a free web-service makes it an ideal solution for me.

 

I like to make skweezer my homepage so whenever I’m on the go, I can easily access the sites I need. Did I mention skweezer strips out content that can’t be rendered on mobile devices? That means faster page loads my friends.

UPDATE:

For a list of mobile web-browser software reviews check out this post from fellow blogger Mohammad.

 





Enable Tracker Live Search in Ubuntu

30 05 2007

With the advent of Feisty Fawn, we now have Tracker which does a much better job of finding files than the standard GNOME search utility. One thing that bothered me about Tracker was that I was never able to get it to integrate with my trusty Deskbar applet – until now:

“sudo apt-get install libdeskbar-tracker”

Not only does it enable the Deskbar to search using Tracker, but it does a live update of the search results a-la Google Desktop Search.





Democracy TV – Tivo for the Internet

27 05 2007

I spent my weekend watching tv shows on my computer using Democracy TV. I’ll cut down to the chase – Democracy is an open-source media player that allows you to subscribe to internet videos via RSS. This is great because now all of the videos you find on the internet can be viewed like an actual television set. Instead of clicking on links and watching videos, why not switch between channels (feeds) and use the same principle that made the television so popular? Setting up Democracy to watch your favorite shows is as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Add the Democracy repository to your sources list and install:

deb http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/democracy/linux/repositories/ubuntu edgy/o

2. Choose a show from tvRSS

Visit tvRSS and select a show that you want to subscribe to. Copy the RSS feed to your clipboard

3. Add RSS as a Channel

Copy the RSS feed for the show you selected into the Channel guide and start watching your favorite shows!

tvRSS is basically an RSS feed of tv shows that are available on the internet. Sort of like a tv guide for the internet. Democracy will go through your feed and download the tv shows via bit-torrent so that you can watch the shows at a later time. Sounds like Tivo for the internet no? Please excuse me while I finish watching the rest of The Office.

Downloads:
ftp://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/democracy/src/Democracy-0.9.5.tar.gz

Note : The download link is a tarball which needs to be compiled from source. Democracy is also updated on a regular basis, so it would be best to follow the steps mentioned in this post to install the software.





Deluge – Best BitTorrent Client for Linux

23 05 2007

This post is now available on my new blog The IT Report:

http://theitreport.com/entries/linux/deluge—best-bittorrent-client-for-linux