Friday, February 15, 2013

One Week Linux Challenge - Day 2

Day 2

     Who doesn't collect media today? Whether it's pictures, videos or music, it's so universal that by default; Windows, Mac and Linux have folders for all three in a fresh install. One thing that's not default, and is by no means 'perfect' is the way we accrue and play such huge collections.
     For me, it was hard to stray from iTunes. They provided a convenient tunnel for me to purchase music (even though I think $1.29 is an absolute travesty for one song). And one of the main reasons I find myself running back to Windows is for access to my massive iTunes collection. More recently though, as a 21 year old college student, I can no longer justify such costs, and have had to become more creative with the paths upon which I get music. Out of a total 500 songs, I would say 25% are just raw mp3s that I...was...I was given by a friend. This was the basis for my transition; Get those 100ish songs into a usable Linux media player.
     First up; Clementine. This program is so clean, so fast, and so straightforward that the team in charge of iTunes memory usage should take notes. My music is meticulously organized, but even if it wasn't, you can create a really nice playlist using music from all different directories without any issue at all. No dragging or dropping, the in-program file browser is sweet and easy to use. Clementine functions flawlessly with my x220's 'fn' keys, as well as the the media keys on my Razor Reclusa keyboard (I'm using a Thinkpad docking station at home). I spent an hour or so listening to music on it, adding a few new songs, and just figuring out how the whole interface was a real pleasure. A great experience overall.
      The only other program I really wanted to test alongside Clementine was vlc. I used VLC for video playback on pirated legally attained films that I play through my x220's absolutely existing built in DVD player. It's such a naked old lady compared to Clem, and I wouldn't ever consider using it for Music if it weren't for one awesome feature; the CLI interface....This is my set-up, and I can use an SSH app on my phone to play music from my speakers! I can simply type 'vlc *.mp3' in my music root directory and it will play through everything. It has the ability to skip, go back, pause,'s awesome! What's even better, is that I can play a Movie on my monitor from my bed (which is about 10 feet away), and use my phone as a remote. It's like a Linux on Demand Movie Channel. 
      So what did I do? I left both installed because they both serve useful purposes. So what if I have to attain my music nefariously? I like to live on the edge. When I'm on my laptop browsing Reddit, or talking to some folks on IRC, I'll happily use Clementine. When I'm going to bed, or feeding the big screen in the living room from the laptop, I'll use VLC, and my Atrix 4g as a remote.
      I tried Audacity and Rythmbox, but they didn't seem to work as quickly as Clementine. Especially Audacity, which had a lot of tools that I didn't want or need.
     iTunes had been such a staple for me over these past years that I had gotten used to forgiving it for it's clunky, slow, resource hogging interface. It bothered me, but not enough any more to justify switching. Once you really see what's available though, it's hard to go back to forgiving. I'm really glad I gave new media players a shot. I will gladly give up the sheen of the iTunes white interface, 'trendy' big buttons and overpriced, over stuffed music store for the functionality that comes with my new VLC and Clementine combination. It just works.
     That's what these 7 days (and possibly more) are about though. Learning that I don't have to settle for crappy software, whether it be a Media Player or OS. Linux just seems to want to work. It's so easy to install and test these applications. The software centre provides no doubts as a clean place to install software. So far, I do not understand why more people who want to build home/office computers aren't using Ubuntu, or some variation.  

Tomorrow; I try to create my own NAS by enabling FTP on my HE-1000.


  1. One thing that I would look at is building a server where you can store all of your media files and install something like Plex Media Server.

  2. I'd recommend you try gmusicbrowser. Gmusicbrowser has a nicer, cleaner and more familiar interface (if you're an iTunes refugee).

  3. For your CLi music, I would suggest Cmus (C*). It is a awesome music player. I use to use Banshee, but now I really only ever use cmus. I have it always running, ala tilda (a terminal emu that docks and only pops up with a keypress, F12 in my case). Of you can just ssh in and start it up. Gives you a nice setup, can do playlists, ect.

  4. Just like these gents, I'll throw my recommendation in the ring: MoC (or mocp)

    If you're controlling media through SSH, it's great to have a CLI client that is easy to use. It's dependent on directories being structured properly, but it can read tags, play mp3/mp4s AND you can build playlists. Really lightweight as well.

  5. Look who else has G930s! I switched to Ubuntu a day after you, and I seem to have an eerily similar setup. Thanks for blogging this!

    (BTW, the G keys on the headset work out of the box with Clementine as play/pause and song switch)