I am a serious Linux user, and totally dislike using Windows for everyday productivity. But, one thing I love about the Windows, is the gaming.

Currently, there are some games become cross-platform including targeting Linux platform. And there are some cross-platform games in nature such as web-based game or the games played with emulator.

But still, a lot of games, they are targeting on Windows only. So, in order to enjoy those games, I give up trying with Wine (including PlayOnLinux), VirtualBox, QEMU, VMWare, CrossOver, etc. Because trying with these solutions, meaning that I have to sacrifice some performance. Moreover, some games are totally cannot work with these solutions.

Though I do not like Windows, I have to admit that I still need Windows, but for gaming purpose.

So, install a dual boot on your computer, enjoy the game when necessary.

VCD, DVD, mp4, mp3

lately, I was busy trying to cut some DVD/VCD (from my 說說唱唱, by 37.2 度雜貨店)… well… just to keep them in digital form, I do have legit ownership of these DVD/VCD, it’s just that, since we’ve “upgraded” our TV, ie. sony smart TV, we could play mp4 format directly from the thumb drive, that makes things very interesting and a lot easier…
I found some 說說唱唱online, but then, I don’t like the quality, and they’re just small sections of one VCD/DVD, rather than the whole copy of itself,
so, I was determined to rip one for my own consumption…
I’ve tried many many of them, but then,
conclusively, I’m using these three…
to me, it’s just good enough, easy to use,
these piece of software was not that “popular”, I guess… but somehow I had it on my desktop since year 1 I use this PC,
and still a lot of people tell me about handbrake, and so on so on…
I tried all of them,
not user-friendly… or, rather… not “dummy-proof” enough… ^_^
let me tell you…
this piece of software is good… so easy to use,
I load the .vob files, and it’ll do it job, joined all the sections to one file, this is the feature that I like…
again, I just load all the .vob files, or .dat files, walla~~~
from the above, I’ve slight problem, ie. multiple mp3 files,
which I don’t want, cos, I want all of them in 1 file, as in, following the original copy of DVD/VCD,
so, I search for some joiners…
again, a piece to please me is, Free MP3 Cutter Joiner

there completes my quests…

Portable applications

Portable applications, from, are really nice.

Though I don’t like Windows, yet portable applications are very useful, because Windows are more common (surely). Furthermore, Linux with wine can work almost perfectly with portable applications.

Prepare one pendrive with these portable applications, run your own web browser with your favourite bookmarks, without a trace on the host computer. This is really nice.

Currently, my pendrive has

  • Firefox – Popular web browser
  • Pidgin – All-in-one messenger
  • Geany – Text editor with code highlighting
  • gVim – Powerful text editor, can open large text file
  • XnView – Image browser
  • SMPlayer – Video player which supports a lot of formats
  • GIMP – Best open source image editor
  • 7-Zip – File archiver

The above applications are also available on Linux as open source except XnView (which also available in Linux but it is non FOSS as XnView MP).

VirtualDub and other video editing software (Linux)

I was using VirtualDub. It is the best (for me). I can simply mark the part of the video that I want to remove, or copy, or move, or duplicate. Moreover, with the plugins, I can also add the subtitles, overlay, and other effects on the video. Though there are less wonderful 3D effects like other software, it is very easy and good to use. There are some limitations, such as it can only load the AVI files. However, codecs of the video is based on what we have installed on the Windows. Thus, we can encode to the smaller size AVI with the codec such as Xvid. There is modified version, VirtualDubMod, yet I still prefer VirtualDub. Another problem is that VirtualDub is only available on Windows. Though, we can use Wine to run VirtualDub smoothly. However, we needs to install the codecs that we need to Wine, so that VirtualDub is able to use the codecs. Because I am using Linux, so I am looking an alternative that can work like VirtualDub. I tried some software. The followings are my little comments on the tested software.

Blender (Video Sequence Editor)

It can open almost any video file. Good interface. The concept of marking the start frame and end frame is different from VirtualDub. It is actually cut (split) the video. So that, we can select the segment to move or duplicate the segment.


It has a problem to view the video during editing, because of frame problem, as a result cannot mark the frame easily.


It has the problem to create marks like VirtualDub. But the concept is similar to Blender, that is “cut”. However, we cannot “duplicate” the segment. We need to add another (temporary) track with the same video and split it and move to the target track. Then the temporary track can be removed.


It cannot copy the selection and paste. Copy and paste work on the whole video clip. It is difficult to cut the track like Blender, because it is using the razor tool (cutter?). That means we need to use the mouse to “cut” it precisely.


The marker does not work as start and end. It is using the razor tool like Kdenlive. It works similar to Kdenlive.


Too bad. It has limited video size.


It can copy and cut easily. But it cannot load most of the files produced by FFmpeg (may be the problem of the way I encode with FFmpeg). As a result, almost nothing works. As a conclusion, I personally prefer Blender and Pitivi. Though a lot of people mentioned Avidemux, it does not work like what I expected.

Shotcut (added 2015-06-09)

Recently I found this video editor. I used it for resizing the video file. It works fine. Should take a try.

Zotero: More than notetaking

Since I am doing research. My good supervisor introduced me to use reference manager software such as Mendeley Desktop or JabRef. This is because writing the article, we always need to do citation and reference.

Since I am using LibreOffice, both can integrate with LibreOffice Writer. However, JabRef does not work as LibreOffice Writer extension. It is more complicated. This makes me try Mendeley Desktop.

Mendeley Desktop provides extension for Writer. It works fine. But when I want to insert citation, the Mendeley Desktop window will be in front, it is a little annoying.

Then, search alternative software from Wikipedia. Then I found Zotero. I used it before. That time, there was no standalone version, it was only Firefox extension. Now, the 3.0 is standalone version, but based on XULRunner. It provides LibreOffice Writere extension just like Mendeley Desktop. Moreover, I can install a lot of different citation styles which I need.

Integrating to LibreOffice Writer, I found that Zotero is better than Mendeley Desktop. Zotero allows the citation format which compatible to MS Word, that is using “bookmarks”. Then I can save it as doc or docx. But Mendeley Desktop does not do so. It is saved as odt, but export to MS Word compatible.

If you are writing article, you may need it.

evernote, I damn love~

that I can write my notes, my thoughts,
in bed…
while accompanying baby… when she’s there playing and I’m sitting here,
when I’m on the move, in the car…
cos I don’t have a data plan,
and I also do not like to blog on the go… ie. I’m the type who’ll rather type, read again, or edit again, make sure everything’s alright (well, not so serious actually…) and then, only publish it…
therefore, evernote is just THERE for me…
I’ve mentioned before…
I could jot down notes (even include some health related articles, or recipes, or parenting tips…) on my iPad,
or my droid,
or my ipod,
or my windows PC…
or my ubuntu notebook… (except this one, they do not have an apps for linux/ubuntu, the rest, there’s an installer, there’s apps…)
what other apps do I need now??

FreeFileSync, cross platform synchronizer

I am not heavily depending on  cloud computing, because uploading and downloading large files are wasting bandwidth and time. So, synchronizing among the USB pendrives or external harddisks is my solution for multiple computers.

I have tried several synchronize software:

  • GoodSync was good but not free
  • Synkron, cross platform, difficult to read the comparison of the folders
  • DirSync Pro, also cross platform. Also difficult to read the comparison of the folders

So, the best of the best which I am using now is FreeFileSync. The features I like are:

  • Multiple folders synchronisation
  • The folders comparison result is very clear
  • Can change the syncing direction easily for every file

There is only one drawback. In Linux, when synchronising, the application will exit automatically, due to gtkmm problem (I think so, I reported the bug before). As a result, I need to do the synchronize twice. However, it is still my most favourite synchronize software.

Notes Taking

I used to “love” MS OneNote a lot a lot…
(yes in a way, I still do, but you know how much you need to pay for the whole MS Office Suite right??)
it’s just designed in a way, as if you’re taking notes with your conventional notebook (those professional types, with pink/blue tags on top and bla bla bla…)
and the look’s really interesting and easy to use…
what more to say, you don’t have to click “save”, and you can just put any pictures you like, anything… it’ll appear just as how you expect it to look like, as if you’re doing it handwrittenly…
so, when I kinda moved to linux (ie. ubuntu, as of now… or probably for a while),
I was searching inside out, upside down, for a similar replacement,
I went to “lifehacker“, “mashable” repeatedly in a hope to find some resolution, but nah… nothing…
the best is still… MS OneNote… (yak!!! and that’s how ironic life is…)
then, I started to try to use Evernote
yes, Evernote…
I’d an account with this apps, the free type, but I’ve never really bothered to explore the feature, cos, whatever it is, I still tend to compare whatever I could find, with MS OneNote…
and there you go… you know, nothing can beat MS OneNote… (in my opinion)
but then… I kinda… made myself “having to” juggle between 2 desktops, ie. my windows, and my ubuntu…
and maybe sometimes, my iOs…
the common thing between all these 3, is Evernote…
so, I gave it a try…
and now, I do find it very very very, indeed… very convenient…
though, in ubuntu’s, I still need to rely on the web… however, it delivers…
whenever I go to my windows desktop, I can just sync it to my desktop Evernote,
or, whenever I use my little iPod, or my bigger iPad… Evernote’s always there, for me to take note…
THAT, YOU~~~ MICROSOFT, will not be able to deliver… for FREE!!! wa hahahahahaha!!! go to hell, MS!
I take note,
whenever I look for recipe, it can either be on my desktops, windows, ubuntu,
or my iPad, or my iPod… seriously, whatever’s in my household…
Evernote’s there…
tell me, if it’s not useful!!!
(though the look and feel may “loose” to MS OneNote…)


Yah, after posting about VLC, now it is SMPlayer. What is so good about SMPlayer? SMPlayer, playing the RMVB file is smoother than VLC. I don’t know why. Next, playing the f4v file (Flash video), the video is also smoother than VLC.

So, because of the needs or watching RMVB movie and f4v movie, that is why I use SMPlayer frequently.

But under Linux, there is a small problem about SMPlayer to play the video with a separate subtitle with Chinese encoding, namely GBK. To play the video in the Unicode locale, the subtitle will shows the characters with underline only. To get the locale of your Linux, enter “locale” in the command-line, it will show something like this,


To play the video with GBK encoded subtitle, enter the following command,

env LANG=zh_CN smplayer

However, if the file name contains some Unicode or GBK, the file might not be able to be opened. In such case, enter the following command,

env LANG=zh_CN.gbk smplayer

But make sure the OS allows the locale mentioned above. The above commands are worked on Arch Linux.