I’m probably obsessed with this music player called mpd, but what the heck. I’ve good reason to be, especially since I listen to music for the greater part of the day. Having a good music player is like having a good chair to sit on. Sure, no one thinks it’s that big a deal, but paying attention to posture helps your health in the long run.
To clarify, I’m not obsessed with mpd per se, just the concept of a modularized client-server architecture for playing music. mpd is the server, gmpc is the client that I’ve chosen to use, along with a couple of other components such as scmpc to scrobble my tracks and musictracker to update my Pidgin status. I also found an XFCE applet that can control mpd. As an added bonus, it turns out that I can adjust the master volume by scrolling my mouse-wheel over the applet, something I’ve wanted for a long time. Sweet.
After I switched from KDE to XFCE as my desktop environment, I had to abandon KMail as my email client (since I would rather not run KDE-based applications in a non-KDE environment). The replacement I settled on was mutt, something I had already tried and liked a lot.
So what’s the big deal about console applications, you ask? I don’t know, but they’re just much nicer than GUI clients. It must be genetic or something.
So here’s how I’ve set up mutt:
- I can read my Gmail messages (actually, Google Mail for my domain).
- I can send email using Postfix, which routes messages through Gmail’s server
- The recipient’s address is automatically added to my addressbook when I send email
- I can look up or autocomplete addresses while composing email
- Messages are signed using GnuPG before they are actually sent
I don’t like to manually check my email. Instead, I’ve set up a mail-notification applet (a ‘biff’) to check my email every couple of minutes and play a sound when there are new messages. Reading, deleting and composing mail are all just a few keystrokes away. Additionally, there is no need to open any heavy application — the terminal window pops up within seconds.
To cut a long story short, I’ve switched from KDE to XFCE, which is universally acknowledged as a ‘lightweight’ and easily customizable desktop environment. When I earlier switched to KDE 4.1, there were several bugs that were a constant source of irritation. Add to that the fact that applications like Amarok (which were the reason why I loved KDE) did not have the same level of features as their 3.5 version avatars, and I realized there was nothing that I really needed from KDE 4.1 anymore. I could have switched back to 3.5 of course, but I generally don’t like to rollback to an earlier version after having tasted the newer one. That’s how I ended up with XFCE.
XFCE has a nice clean look, and it is much faster too. Personally, I would happily sacrifice desktop effects for performace, so this switch worked out pretty well for me. Of course, there was ‘The Terminal UTF-8 Problem’ which I will describe in detail in another post.…