VirtualBox Guest Additions in Lubuntu

When trying to install VirtualBox Guest Additions in Lubuntu 16.04 I got an unexpected behavior, something I wasn’t used to in other distros.

The problem is that Lubuntu 16.04 does not come with two packages needed to install the Guest Additions: gcc and make.

In order to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions, you need to run the following command:

sudo apt install gcc make

Then you can run VBoxLinuxAdditions.run:

./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run

After running these commands, you can reboot.

For some reason, the VM won’t resize automatically to the VirtualBox based on the window size, so you have to change the resolution manually, by going to the monitor preferences, you can change to a fixed resolution, like “1920×1080” and then change it to “auto” again, so it will resize automatically the next time.

Google Play Music Connect

The music service from Google launched 4 years ago (exactly 4 years ago, according to Wikipedia), and this week Google announced some changes to their music service, mostly related to music discovery and recommendations. And that’s it.

But from all of the major competitors in the streaming music services, Google’s one is the less competitive.

No desktop client/application

Google Play Music is the only one without dedicated desktop clients, I mean, not even for Windows or Mac. You can say that there’s the Chrome app that works offline but it’s not a desktop app, it does not compare with Apple Music or Spotify.

No remote control app

Both Apple Music and Spotify offers a remote app, Apple has its Apple Remote app and Spotify has its Connect feature built-in, which is great, by the way.

Not terrible, not good

Google Play Music seems to fall behind the other alternatives, and as much I’m tied to the Google’s ecosystem, Spotify, and Apple Music looks far better options.

The only thing I can think that’s “exclusive” to the Google’s streaming service is the “free iTunes Match (kind of available on Apple Music subscription)”, which allow you to store 50 thousands of songs for free and stream to your devices, but if you take the “free” out of it, you also take the exclusiveness.

If you really want to use Google Play, there’s some hope. There are some third-party applications, like Unified Remote and Remote for GPMDP, to fill the “remote” gap.

And for the desktop client, there’s someone is doing the work Google should be doing.

 

 

Why I chose WordPress.com

There are many blog platforms nowadays, most of them are self-hosted, even WordPress itself can be self-hosted. I didn’t want to spend money to pay a server or deal with limitations that free hosting providers might have. Then, the hosted options were considered.

So, why not Blogger or Tumblr? I guess these two are the most popular ones out there. I’ve used WordPress and Blogger in the past, these are the platforms I’m more familiar with, so I prioritize these. I don’t know much about Tumblr, I tried it a little bit to see how it worked, but it seems to be target more on visual content and it looks less flexible than the other platform I was considering.

I guess these two are the most popular ones out there. I’ve used WordPress and Blogger in the past, these are the platforms I’m more familiar with, so I prioritize these. I don’t know much about Tumblr, I tried it a little bit to see how it worked, but it seems to be target more on visual content and it looks less flexible than the other platform I was considering.

Then, why not Blogger?

Blogger seems abandoned, everything looks like the same it was years ago, seems like Google could drop the project at any moment, the iOS app was pulled out of the App Store, so I cannot use the service in my current phone, and this all make me think about the future of Blogger. Google already have a reputation of killing services suddenly, I’d guess that Blogger would be next, sadly.

WordPress it is.

I wanted the writing process to be as simple as possible, I also wanted to read from the same platform I write, and WordPress.com works as something like RSS feed reader, I can add some blogs and sites, see the new stuff. It has a clean text editor for the posts compatible with Markdown, I can manage categories and tags easily, it’s modern and the project is active as always. It has mobile and cross-platform apps. And it’s free.

However, it’s not perfect. There is some stuff I don’t like about the new WordPress, like the new reader that doesn’t let me read the complete articles anymore.

Also compared to Blogger, there are the disadvantages obligatory advertisements from WordPress on the posts, no way to monetize the blog and you can’t put your own domain name in the Free plan. I believe this is a necessary evil to keep WordPress.com offering their Free plan. And I’m okay with it and I will be using WordPress. At least for now.

 

Capture, Explain and Send Screenshots

Capture, Explain and Send Screenshots is a Google Chrome extension that does exactly what it says it does.

There are many full-featured free screenshot extensions in the Chrome Webstore, with many screenshot modes, good annotation tools, sharing options and hotkey shortcuts, so why this one?

The feature that sold me this extension was the ability to send images from clipboard, so I can take screenshots of other windows with the default screenshot tool of my Linux distribution and annotate (explain) to finally send using the extension. You can even just paste the image with the popup opened.

screenshot-from-2016-11-11-22-53-50

And it’s completely free, although it has some paid features, which is fair, the developer deserves something for his work. I believe the free version is more than enough to most people.

screenshot-from-2016-11-11-22-55-46

If I could ask for something better in this extension (and I might ask someday) it’s an alternative area selector tool, something more like LightShot extension that you can select an area, resize the selection and edit in the selector itself.

GNOME Shell and Activities Overview lag

Last year I switched completely to the Linux desktop, I tried some distributions and desktop environments, the one I liked the most was GNOME.

One of the first things I noticed after installing Ubuntu GNOME (16.04) on my desktop computer was the animation lag in the GNOME Shell (3.18) when pressing the super key to show Activities screen.

With an i5-750 and a NVIDIA GTX 950 and being able to play most games with fairly good quality, I couldn’t believe I would have performance issues with a desktop environment. So I started searching for performance issues on the internet and it was not very uncommon.

I did not find a solution for that issue, so I started trying some extensions to speed up animations, I even tried to remove animations but it still had some laggy, what kind of sorcery was that. The main interface that I was supposed to use to switch between applications could not be laggy that.

Besides that annoying laggy there was one thing bugging me, that tray on the bottom left that I kept toggling by mistake. I was not being able to find a solution to that lag so I tried to find something to “fix” the tray. I rarely used that tray, so hide it would do the job. I found the extension Hide Legacy Tray that is pretty efficient in doing what it says it does, and even more, it allowed me to set a hotkey to toggle the tray if I ever needed.

Coincidentally, I started to notice that when the tray was hidden, the GNOME Shell lag was gone and when I set the tray to show, the lag returned. So I keep the tray hidden now, to make my GNOME Shell experience less laggy and much more pleasant.

Maybe this helps someone out there.

tl;dr: hide/disable legacy tray with an extension to make GNOME Shell and Activities Overview animations smoother.