Getting rid of errors

I've been getting an odd error ever since I started wanting to play anime subs with gmplayer. Specifically - this error says:

Error
Requested audio codec family
[mp3] (afm=mp3lib) not available
Enable it at compilation.


So, I did a little searching and found that there is a very easy fix for this! Simply go into your gmplayer preferences and select the Codecs and Demuxer tab. From there, change your Audio codec family to FFmpeg. That's it! No more annoying error!

docx file converter

In my other life, I teach computer courses and accept assignments through an online course management system. Our school (and myself) have yet to upgrade to Office 2007, but students aren't wasting any time. I found an official Microsoft converter for Office 2007 formats available here:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=941B3470-3AE9-4AEE-8F43-C6BB74CD1466

Doing your taxes with Linux

Many people use computers for real purposes...not just to tinker. Although I'd rather tinker than do anything else, I did have an opportunity to test Linux's readyness for a real purpose. I did my taxes!

I've been using Turbo Tax online for a few years - and decided I'd like to do the taxes from the couch this year. Of course...the media center PC runs Ubuntu. Years ago - this might be have been a problem - but not this year. With the adoption of Firefox as an accepted browser (for all operating systems), Linux can now do 95% of what every PC user does...use the Internet. Coupled with the latest flash 9, I was set. The only problem I ran into was Turbo Tax gives you a warning that you're using something other than what they recommend (which is Windows or Mac OS X). They do support Firefox though, so I plunged ahead. Everything worked as expected, even being able to view their PDFs with Acrobat Reader.

I guess doing my taxes isn't something that nerdy. However, it's nerdy when you're doing your taxes on an up and coming operating system and run into zero compatibility issues. If only everything was this easy.

Increasing the Wine font size

Thus far in using Ubuntu, I've been able to use only Linux applications. I'll admit that some of them were just ports of their Windows or Mac OS X counterparts...but I never had to install wine (a compatibility layer for running Windows programs). Well you know that torrent app I recommended? kTorrent? It's crashed on me several times in the last couple days...and ate up every bit of memory the system had this morning. I went looking for a better alternative and my only choice was to use uTorrent under wine. No problem!

Wine is only a synaptic click away. Running utorrent under it is a simple affair too. I found this tutorial very helpful: Using utorrent with wine - Ubuntu Forums

However, since my primary monitor is a 32" LCD and I'm at about an 8-10 foot distance from it - the font size needs to be increased. Under windows this is a simple task...but under Wine = not so much. I think this is something that NEEDS to be put into the wine configuration app. Anyway - here's how it's done.

First - close any applications that are running under wine.

To change the size of any menu font - you'll need to edit the win.ini under the following folder:

/home/yourusername/.wine/

Add the following information to the win.ini file:
[Desktop]
MenuFontSize=18

You can change the 18 to whatever size you need - but that worked for me. Now we need to change font size of the rest of the application. To do so, use the terminal and launch wine's regedit:

wine regedit

You'll want to browse to this value:

HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software\Fonts\LogPixels

and change it to something larger. Make sure to change the selection to "Decimal", as you probably don't natively speak hex. It's default in decimal is 96. I upped mine to 120 and it worked nicely.

When you're done doing that, close out regedit and restart your wine application. Enjoy your larger font sizes and lack of squinting!

Here's the best resource I found on this matter after a bit of searching:
http://www.winehq.com/pipermail/wine-users/2005-April/017810.html

GCfilms

I've been working to organize my movie collection on this Ubuntu computer. I'm a big fan of nice GUIs, and found a pretty good one for organizing any film/TV collection. It's called GCfilms. It has an entry in the Ubuntu repository, so installing it is a cinch through Synaptic. Here's a screenshot from their homepage:

GCfilms Homepage
GCfilms can even launch the video file you have linked from it in your favorite media player. It is default set to mplayer, so if you're using a GNOME desktop like Ubuntu - you might want to change that to gmplayer. Gmplayer is mplayer with a nicely done GUI, enabling you to change preferences of the video you're viewing on the fly.