SizeUp behaviour using Compiz

Recently I found out about SizeUp in OSX and found it really useful. Basically it gives you hot keys for window positions, such that you can maximise them vertically and attach them to the left or right of the screen. Great for placing terminal windows and browsers. This is similar to the behaviour in Windows 7 (don’t know what they call it or care, they are just copying this stuff from existing window managers and getting all the credit). You can also send a window to a corner, or maximise horizontally and attach to top/bottom.

I knew it must be possible in linux somehow. For one thing, there’s wmctrl, a command line program for scripting window positions and I found some scripts made by others in the Ubuntu forums that act similar to the way I wanted.

However, it turns out there is something already available if you’re using Compiz as your display manager.

To change to using Compiz and get the required config tool, run:

sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-extra

And then open the menu System → Preferences → Appearance. Go to the Visual Effects tab and choose “Extra”.

Then fire up the CompizConfig Settings Manager that’s also under System → Preferences. When the dialog loads, go to the filter and type “grid”. This is the module of Compiz that gives you almost the same behaviour as SizeUp (you can get the rest of the behaviour using other modules in the “Window Management” category.

Update: changed the apt-get command to also install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra as the grid plugin is no longer part of the core package.

Amarok collection scan stalling

I’ve got a reasonable sized music collection (just over 300 gig when I last checked) and I’ve had trouble finding software that can really deal with it. It windows there is the awesome MediaMonkey, and although there are lots of promising candidates on Linux, nothing quite matches it. The closest, in terms of usability AND polish (I don’t have time to muck around fiddling with my music player anymore) is Amarok.

Recently however, my collection has lost some of it’s tidiness, and there are quite a few tracks that are broken. Some of these cause Amarok to stall while doing a collection scan. It took me ages to find a small mention of how to find more detail about what file is being scanned. In the end I found out that ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/collection_scan.log contains the file currently being scanned. Thus, if you run:

$ watch cat ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/collection_scan.log

You can keep an eye out for if a media file is taking an excessively long time to be processed. If it is, then you can either delete it (if it’s well and truly screwed) or move it or rename it to an extension that Amarok won’t scan. Unfortunately you have to rescan the collection from the start again, but eventually you’ll get there!

One day I’ll sit down, get a virtual machine running and use MediaMonkey everywhere. Either that or create my own client for XMMS2 that is on par with MediaMonkey.