Friday, June 27, 2008

Changing the default application to open up your iPod , or any device / file-type.

So I saw this question up on the forums ( ), and I though about finding out what was causing this problem. So far I have found a small fix, with a minor issue and I'll go into that later in this How-To.

In order to associate and application ( like Songbird, Amarok ) with a file-type or device ( iPod, PNG, JPEG). The only thing is that the application we want to perform our task HAS to have a desktop entry ( Songbird.desktop ) located in the /usr/share/applications/directory. The file-type or device has to have a mime-type inside of /usr/share/mime directory ( e.g, /usr/share/mime/images/png.xml). The file that directs what application will open what file-types, is mimeapps.list. A file inside of ~/.local/share/applications/.

<<< Adding the proper entry >>>

Always start safe, and make sure you can fix yourself in case you screw something up.
So we are going to start by making a copy of the current mimeapps.list file.

cp ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list.backup

Next open up the file with a text editor so that we can add our custom entry. You can change gedit for your favorite text editor.

sudo gedit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list

Add/Change the correct entry. In my case I had to add another entry since there was no entry
other than an entry from totem media player.

[Added Associations]

To find out what $NEW_APP.desktop should be ( if necessary ).

ls /usr/share/applications/*.desktop | sed -e "s@/usr/share/applications/@@g" | less

Look for the name of the application you are using. So for this scenario I'm using songbird.
I ran the above command
and I was able to find in the list the applications desktop entry, it was Songbird.desktop

Next you have to figure out $MIME_TYPE ( if necessary )

find /usr/share/mime/ -mindepth 2 -maxdepth 2 -name "*" | sed -e "s@/usr/share/mime/@@g" -e "s@[.]xml@@g" | less

Keep in mind if you are changing this for a media player the entry is going to be

In the end your new entry should look like this. Using Songbird as the choice of application
to handle the iPod.

[Added Associations]

note: I had to make a new entry, don't change anything if it doesn't not pertain to iPod or Real Player control. In example
if the $MIME_TYPE doesn't match x-content/audio-player don't touch it.

Save the file, and restart nautilus by doing


killall nautilus

Hope this works for you guys, let me know share it around, or tell me what to do to help
improve it. Appreciate it. I could make a video of my desktop while I do the guide here.
Don't know if that might help you guys better understand.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04

Well yet again I screw my windows installation up and I find myself running back to Ubuntu.

Last time I left Ubuntu because of the crappy applications that Linux has for managing and iPod. I tried all the applications, from amarok to banshee; nothing was satisfying. Songbird was the all time favorite, but due to it's divine developing stages, the program was unstable and not usable.

The other day I downloaded the installation disk for Ubuntu 8.04, and let me just say congrats to the developers of Ubuntu. Every time the install gets easier, and a lot of things work out of the box. For the first time, my Sound card was recognized and properly configured. Wireless internet went off without a hitch.

There were a couple of hard points, just like using Linux in general. The iPod for some reason wasn't being detected by Amarok, don't know if that's because I installed Ubuntu which leans heavily on GNOME. I installed Amarok, but given that it's a KDE app, not sure if it installed properly on my GNOME dominant computer.

Once again I was dazzled by the many things you can do to "tweak" ubuntu, but at the end of the day I was still worried if I was ready for a full use of Ubuntu, and my need of Windows just because of iTunes ( not that I used it, but MediaMonkey is not available for Linux. ) I remembered writing a tutorial about song bird. Talking about the potential that it had, and this was back when it was still at the .3 version.

Now today I downloaded the .6 version, and let me tell you that it has gone drastic changes. To me so far there are a bit of little bugs here and there, but as far as a standalone application, I think it's getting closer to it's final release. I have yet to connect my iPod and try to sync it and manage it, so I don't want to count my chickens to early.

In conclusion, I think this time I might be moving to Ubuntu for a permanent time. I think by sticking with Songbird I have completely erased all options for going back to Windows. Gaming is not as big for me anymore, most of my gaming has to be done through the PS3. With work and pre-deployment training it's hard to get time to sit down and enjoy a video game. However I hope that when we are in Iraq ( in country ) I will be able to relax.

Monday, March 3, 2008

How to install Songbird on Ubuntu

Now this is the way I install my programs that I get from tar.gz's. This is also how I add the extra features to give me the feeling that I installed it through synaptics, and what I mean by that is that this guide not only covers how to install Songbird, but also how to add it to your menu and how to be able to run it from your command line, with just "songbird."

Step 1: Download the newest songbird available, and save it to your Desktop. You can get it from

Step 2: Next we are going to untar the file to /opt/, that's where I put the applications that I install. Here is the command:

sudo tar -xvzf Songbird*.tar.gz -C /opt/

Step 3: This is going to change the permissions to make sure we have access to the folder where songbird is installed.

sudo chown -R username:username /opt/Songbird/

Of Course substitute username, for your actual user name. That should be the basic install of the program, but if you want to add the extra features that I was talking about at the beginning of this tutorial, then go ahead and keep on reading.

Step 4: Now we are going to add Songbird to the menu. So it can be accessed by going to Applications > Sound & Video menu.

Go ahead, and Right-Click your Menu Bar and select Edit Menus.

Once the new window opens up, on the left column (labelled Menus), click on "Sound & Video." Then on the right hand side, click on the button "New Item." The "Create Launcher" window should pop up. Fill out the information like so:

Type: Application
Name: Songbird
Command: songbird
Comment: Open Source Audio Player and Web Browser

For the icon, all you have to do is click the left box, it sort of looks like a spring and type this into the address bar


Hit OK, and close out the Menu Editor window.

The next few steps are to run songbird from the command line, just by typing in songbird, just like any other application. Start off by typing this into command line:

sudo gedit /usr/bin/songbird

Add this following text to the file:


/opt/Songbird/songbird "$*"

Save and close the window out, and then run this command:

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/songbird

... and thats it, now you have Songbird fully installed on your system, Good luck! Most of thanks goes to Artifacial Intelligence, for showing me the layout to this guide, most of the credit should go to him, I just changed a few things.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

How To: Change the default Ubuntu menu icon.

So it seems that many people are having a hard time changing the default Ubuntu menu icon, to something that they prefer. Well here in this guide I'm going to show you the proper steps to set up your icon theme to display the menu icon of your choice.

Here is a before screenshot:

So that is the mysterious icon that we are trying to change. So here we go ...

Step 1: Know what current icon theme you have, and where the location of it is. For example lets say I'm using an icon theme called "osx". If I installed that theme by myself it would be under /home/username/.icons/osx

So go ahead and find out what theme you are using, if you don't know, you can check by going to System> Preferences > Appearance then click on "Customize " and then click on the tab called "icons" this will tell you your current icon theme.

Step 2: Have the current image you want to use as the icon ready in a place that is easy to find, like your desktop.

Step 3: Create the proper folders in your icon themes folder. So like I was saying before, let say my theme is osx, right now its located in /home/username/.icons/osx . I need to create two folders in that osx folder.

So make a folder named "scalable" without the quotes, and then inside the "scalable" folder make a folder named "places"

So in the end you should end up with something like /home/username/.icons/osx/scalable/places

Step 4: In the places folder is where you want to drop the image you want to use as the icon. Now when you do this all you have to do is name that image "start-here.png" or "start-here.svg", once again without the quotes .

After that, open up a terminal and type in the following command to refresh you gnome panel:
killall gnome-panel

this should be your end result:

Follow this for all your icon themes that you have. Just make sure you have those two folder created inside your icon themes and name the icon you want to use start-here.png/svg, which ever extension, doesn't matter.

Until next time, enjoy!