India, 4th of July

I went to the US Embassy for the 4th of July and got a beef cheeseburger and french fries… In the red circle is the US Ambassador to India. He gave a short and sweet speech.PledgeAndCake1-mod
This is during the pledge…

PledgeAndCake2There were fireworks as well! (btw, do we let embassy’s in DC use fireworks?)Fireworks4Fireworks5
And then there was cake..PledgeAndCake3

Note: Pictures not actually in chronological order.

India, living and working

About 2 months after it was requested I am finally providing a couple pictures….
This is the MIA office building we only have 1 floor, which also (luckily) happens to be the only floor with air conditioning.  Office
And this is where I live.. (bottom right balcony is mine)

And last but actually interesting :), is the view from my office window when there is a bit of rain outside.


Music Player Review: Music Player Daemon Explored

So, two Music Player Daemon (MPD) clients made it through my first review waves. Which was then followed by a “face off” or two. I generally try to make my reviews geared towards people who don’t want to have to do technical things to make music play. Music Player Daemon likely requires editing 1 text file and possibly restarting a service or two. If that scares you, read at least the next two Q&As before running on your way.

What is a daemon?
A daemon is an application that runs without a user directly seeing it (in the background) but that other applicatins the user can see ask it to do things for them.

So… What is a Music Player Daemon?
An application that organizes and plays your music, that can be controlled through various applications that you can actually see and use. All MPD clients get to use the same music library and control what is currently playing (yes you can open more than one client at the same time!)

Wait.. What about the applications that I can see?
Sonata – “An elegant music client for MPD.” Here is the info screen. It seems to follow a KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) philosophy. Sonata works (or should) out of the box if you have MPD locally set up and working.


Ario – “GTK Client for MPD” – Yes they have a technical tag line, bah! However it does win on features. Here is the Ario info screen:Ario-Info
The “Currently Playing” can always be shown in the bottom pane. Here is where Ario wins.. umm.. some cake:Ario-Cool Options
As well Ario has a bunch of other cool features (more than Sonata).

Memory Usage (just so you saw wow compared to some others):
MPD – 11.1 MiB (which really should be added to the one you are using)
Sonata – 16.6 MiB (respectable – 27.7 in total)
Ario – 4.8 Mib (wow…)

Of course MPD clients require a bit more config. Let’s get you installed and running Ario!
First install mpd
Then install Ario || or install Sonata

Hold ALT with F2. Then Copy in: gksudo gedit /etc/mpd.conf
Change the 8th line

music_directory “/var/lib/mpd/music/”

to point to wherever your music is stored, such as

music_directory “/home/your-username/Music”

Then save it. By default all users on the machine will get access to play music from the collection. (You can also enable remote access)

Then, hopefully just start up Ario and get playing 🙂

The music applet (add to your gnome panel) can also control MPD directly, so you can actually close all the other MPD clients after setting up a playlist and just control it through that!

But still, I’m not sure if MPD is ready for the non-technical user, so I am going to exclude it from the rest of the review, for now. Please do share your thoughts if you think otherwise. If you are a non-techie and love, I’d love to hear that.

Who’s left? Amarok, Banshee, gmusicbrowser, Videolan Client, Quod Libet, Exaile, Rhythmbox

Music Player Review: aTunes and Songbird

Ok, this might be confusing:
aTunes beats Amarok at it’s own motto “Rediscover Your Music”
Songbird is basically open source iTunes with the power of Firefox

aTunes looks how I remember Amarok the first time I reviewed it. As well as helping you organize your music it brings you a TON of information on it in the same interface:

This shows the bigger picture and similar artist view on the right side.
This shows song lyrics from (Interesting site, btw)


This shows Artist info
ArtistThere is a good deal more to aTunes and it seems quite powerful. Memory usage seems to be in the 100 Mb to 170 Mb range, which I find completely insane. On a related note, it uses Java and has multiple installers available (Ubuntu/Debian deb, Windows Installer, Java App Installer).

Again, it can’t win my Music Player Review because it is not in the Ubuntu repository, but still a music app to try (and if you like/liked amarok, try it).


Not much more to add. It’s based on Firefox and looks similar to iTunes, in fact with an extension you can make it look like this:Songbird-Media(3)
If you miss iTunes or want to try to write music player extensions in javascript give it a try. Grab it at [Website no longer available] Take a look at some of the add-ons at
(Don’t get the wrong idea, it is *much* better than iTunes)

Again, I can’t do the awesome one-click installer for these so they can’t win my review. However, they might be perfect for you and definitely worth trying.

Who’s left? Amarok, Ario, Banshee, Sonata, gmusicbrowser, Videolan Client, Quod LIbet, Exaile, Rhythmbox
Read more of my reviews

Music Player Review: qmmp vs audacious

These players have more in common then not. Audacious seems to have more options though and supports WinAmp skins. If you are looking for a linux app to replace (the look and feel of) WinAmp these are the two best options I’ve found, slight edge given to Audacious. Although, I personally like the qmmp default skin better. Other than options, they are practically the same program.

Look you can rearrange them in similar ways (and arbitrary)Interface-customize
And they both can become “1 Liners”:

So Audacious “wins” cause they have more plug-ins, options, and skins by default. Also they have a voice removal pluging (a little bit buggy) but quite awesome if you want to get some karaoke going. I will definitely be looking for that feature in more music players. (Neither is continuing in my review, as they are competiting more with each other, than the others)

Both are very light weight and good players, Go give them a try, Ubuntu users click below.

Who’s left? Amarok, Ario, aTunes, Banshee, Sonata, gmusicbrowser, Videolan Client, Quod LIbet, Exaile, Rhythmbox, Sondbird