Author: Allen Choong

Audacious, DeadBeef, Clementine


I don’t use RhythmBox or Banshee, as they are too bloated for me. I was a Winamp user.

I tried Audacious, DeadBeef, and Clementine. The following is a brief comparison,

  Audacious DeadBeef Clementine
Shortcut key Affect application only Affect application only Global hotkey
APE tag support Didn’t test Can load APE tag Cannot load APE tag
AAC support Correct file extension needed Can play Can play
Drag-and-drop songs among playlist Copy Move Copy
Copy-paste songs among playlist (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V) Can Cannot Cannot

Clementine global hotkey gives me trouble to navigate the audio file within the application.

DeadBeef works well, the only drawback is managing the playlist.

And, my favourite is Audacious. It works well in various aspects.

Task List (aka To Do List)


I like to write Task List (or To do List), as it helps me to recall what is the next thing to do and what has been done. By completing the tasks, makes me feel satisfied as it shows the growth or development of my life (and daily life). By using tasks list, I will not wandering around too much, as I remember what to do next.

There are two Task List apps which I found nice: Wunderlist and Any.do. Both are available on Android and Chrome extensions. Both can perform synchronization (as most of the apps should able to do).

I personally prefer Wunderlist, as it has a cleaner view, the widget in Android can show the lists by different categories. One drawback of Wunderlist is, I cannot change the notification sound.

On the other hand, Any.do looks more aesthetic. And the good part is, it can set the notification sound. As a result, you can choose a sound that is louder and more alerting.

If running either Wunderlist or Any.do on Huawei phone, you may not get the reminder works. Because Huawei EMUI (Huawei’s OS) will kill the background apps to reduce battery usage. This can be solved by go to Phone Manager > Protected Apps, and you can add the apps like Wunderlist or Any.do as the protected apps, so that they are not killed.

Android file transfer to computer without cable


I used Xiaomi Mi 3, that the MIUI default file browser has a feature, which allows FTP server setup. So that you can access the phone’s storage through the FTP server, without USB cable. As long as your computer and your phone is using a same LAN.

But since my Xiaomi phone is rest in peace, I bought Huawei phone. And the Huawei phone doesn’t have this feature. So, looking around from Google Play store, I found the FTPServer. It is nice to setup, including username, password, port, and the default directory. (Note: please set the default directory to the SDCard, others are inaccessible.)

As long as your computer has the FTP client, then you can transfer the files easily from/to your phone. In my case, I use FTP fuser mount. Super nice!

WordPress desktop app


WordPress.com desktop app is available now. And I am using it.

What is the difference between desktop app and web app?

WordPress.com desktop app requires Internet connection as the web app, and it also renders the HTML5 and JavaScript. But there is one crucial difference. A web app, whenever we visit the page with the URL, our web browser will need to download the HTML and JavaScript, then runs the app.

On the other hand, desktop app, though it also requires Internet connection, the HTML and the JavaScript can be pre-installed in the app. The desktop app will focus on the REST API (or Web API focusing on JSON). As a result, whenever we run the desktop app, it will load the page and script without downloading, so that it is theoretically run faster than web app. The concept is similar to the mobile apps.

However, WordPress.com desktop app does not allow to save the draft locally like mobile app.

Interesting tech note: WordPress.com desktop app is built on top of Electron framework.

All-in-One Messenger


In the previous post, I mentioned about Pidgin. And then now I am using another one, All-in-One Messenger. It is actually a Google Chrome extension, that allows you to use multiple instant messengers in the extension.

The nice part of the All-in-One Messenger is the HipChat. I was using standalone HipChat desktop app, it is resource hungry and very slow. Thus, this All-in-One Messenger really solves my problem by running various messengers.

Yet, the limitation is that I cannot disable an invididual messenger like Hangout or Skype. It can only choose to delete the messenger. I tried sign out, but it will automatically login whenever the All-in-One messenger starts again.

Pidgin


Pidgin, best ever all-in-one messenger. Best, because it has a lot of plugins. If you have multiple GMail accounts, such as personal GMail, and your workplace uses Google App, then you can just use Pidgin. Need not open so many applications.

If you need Skype, for messeging only or group chat, install skype4pidgin plugin. It is better to use it instead of running heavy Skype for Linux Alpha or very old version of Skype. Using outlook.com web version Skype cannot give any notification, but allows you to view the images directly. But still, using Google Talk/Hangout and Skype services together through Pidgin is much more convenient.

I tried with Telegram also. It works. There are various plugins available. If you need notifications from multiple chat services (including Facebook), Pidgin is the best!

Notetaking (again). WordPress!


I love to write something, using computer or mobile. Then I found the Google Keep, which is wonderful because it is a web app, works on Linux and Android. Storing my notes in the cloud so that I need not to worry about synchronization problem.

I am not fan of Evernote, but Evernote is a very popular notetaking application. I doesn’t like it because (i) it does not have Linux native support, (ii) and the free plan has quite a lot of limitations. However, I am using it. I was using Zotero. Zotero is nice in terms of the service, but it does not have nice user interface, such as note editing, which affects the user experience. In terms of reference management, Mendeley works far more better than Zotero. As a result, I choose Mendeley for reference management, and choose Evernote for the sake of Evernote Web Clipper extension. The nice feature of Evernote that attracts me is the web clipper. I can highlight the text I want, and save to Evernote. Evernote will store the date, time, and URL. I can also screenshot the web page too. This is what I like most. (May be I should try OneNote as well. I also just found that there is Save to Google Drive extension.)

Now, I have Google Keep and Evernote. But I still feels lack of something. The problem is like this, Evernote is nice, but with the limitations that I mentioned above. As a result, I don’t put all my notes in Evernote, but only favourite quotes from Internet. Then, I use Google Keep to store my general notes. Google Keep is nice in terms of (i) lightweight, (ii) search feature, and (iii) cross-platform because it is a web app. However, recently I found that, browsing notes in Google Keep is not nice. Though you can use the tags feature, but what will happen if you have hundreds of tags? And, if you have thousands of notes, and you want to browse through the notes instead of search the notes, you needs to keep scrolling down. This is some how inefficient. Another problem I faced in Google Keep is the date, it shows only the date of editing, but not the date of creating. That means, I cannot keep track when I create the note, unless I wrote the date explicitly in the note. As a result, I decided not to put all my notes in Google Keep as well. Then, what service should I use?

As a conclusion, I want something

  1. can store the general notes
  2. cross-platform or web app that can works on mobile and desktop (or laptop)
  3. can browse the notes freely
  4. stores the note privately

Finally, I decided to use WordPress. Yes! WordPress. Use it as a private journal. Disable all the publishing and SEO configurations. It is web-based, works on any computer as long as you have web browser. It provides mobile app, you can save draft locally on your mobile. It keeps track date and time. You can search the posts by keywords that you remember. You can categorise the posts or adding the tags. One and the only thing that it lacks of is the web clipper. But, it comes with other great features. WordPress.com provides free plan, which is good enough for general purpose. You can pay for better service with paid plans. And, If you don’t like WordPress.com, you can subscribe a PHP web hosting service, then host your own WordPress app. You can export and import the WordPress articles easily. That means, you are not restricted to a paid service that you cannot work on your notes freely and do whatever you like.