Undoubtedly, Google Chrome is a wonderful Web Browser, even though it is still in beta or dev version under Mac.
Since I like to try many kinds of new apps in my Mac, I started using Chrome just when there was its first open dev version available.
And yes, it keeps improving itself while time goes by.

One day, a problem appeared after I had used it for a while with satisfaction:

Google Chrome suddenly refused to response to the mouse hover event.

That is to say, when you hover your mouse cursor over links, there would not be the "little hand" or the link information showing, or in the "New Tab", it would not give you any feedback when you put your mouse cursor over the sites thumbnails.

It is like Google Chrome died in my system.

At the beginning, I thought, "Oh, the next update version will absolutely solve this problem."
Then I waited.
But after one update, the problem was still there, after another, yeah, it was annoying you like always.
This is weird and I didn't know what was wrong.
I even post on my Twitter to remind Google this problem, but I did that in vain.

Until days ago, the 10.6.3 update for Mac OS X came.
and I made this update immediately, and there seemed nothing special happened after the update but I surprisingly found that the mouse hover hand just came back!!
Google Chrome ran like it is supposed to be again.
But meanwhile, my Smart Scroll stopped working in 10.6.3, which I didn't mind because I was sure there would be soon the corresponding update to solve this problem.

And one day after the 10.6.3 released, without any surprise, Smart Scroll gave out its update.
After immediately installed it, my nice iPhone-like scrolling was back.
But before I could celebrate for that, I found the mouse hover event problem happened again.

Now I started to realize that this long time annoying problem may have something to do with the Smart Scroll app.
Therefore, I turned off Smart Scroll and reopened Chrome, yes, the mouse hover hand came back again.
After I tested for a while, I figured out that the problem can be solved if you just turn the "Hover Scroll" function for Google Chrome off in Smart Scroll's settings:

Yeah, I can enjoy my Chrome and Smart Scroll at the same time again, wish this post could help...

After switching from Linux to Mac, one of the inconvenient things is the maximizing of windows: most of the applications don't go the really "maximizing" way when you click the "maximizing" button.

That is why I really love the little utility named "Cinch": it gives you the power to make a window fill the whole screen when you try your best to drag it to the top edge; moreover, you can do the similar things to the right and left directions. You know what I am talking about, right? Some say "Cinch Brings Windows 7's Aero Snap to the Mac", I don't know, I haven't used Windows 7 that much yet.

But this is not what I am gonna talk about here. My problem is after I had used Cinch for a while, and one day, it started not to work properly: when I try to drag windows to the top edge, the window part would have a piece of shadow as well as the Cinch's dotted box. What is worse is, the windows won't restore to their original size after I drag them back, which used to be the most lovely part I think of Cinch.

This drove me crazy. First, I thought it was because of certain applications I installed recently, so I started to remove them one by one, but as you might know, I did this in vain. I almost give up on this problem.

And it was just yesterday, I suddenly realized that maybe it is because of the BetterTouchTool. Yeah, it is a tool for you to enhance the functions of your TouchPad (if you have it) or Magic Mouse in Mac. Since it has been updating in a high pace, there must be some certain function added which would be the cause of this conflict.

After a simple seeking, ha, I found the exact causing part in BetterTouchTool's preferences: step into the "Predefinedactions" tab, here it is:

just uncheck them all, then the control will be returned to your Cinch.

Now I am playing with my Cinch and feeling that the beautiful world is back. If you are having the same problem, hope this help. :)

What is their ultimate target when people are using computer?
Productivity and efficiency, I think.
As a result, you must be interested in keyboard shortcuts, right? At least I do.
In my opinion, the most useful shortcuts would be the global ones, because you may use them no matter when and where in your system.

You might know there is a 'Keyboard Shortcuts' option in Ubuntu.
You can find it through 'System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts'.
Within it, you can learn about or set some useful global shortcuts for your system, including 'Sound', 'Desktop' and 'Window Management' parts.
But the problem is, these options are pre-defined, which means you cannot choose your own applications or commands.
Shame, huh?

But I learned a trick today, which helps with it.
Let's take add 'System Monitor' for example, say, we want to use 'Ctrl+Alt+s' to launch the System Monitor.
These are what we would follow:

  • first of all, open your Configuring Editor, or run *gconf-editor* through 'Alt+F2';
  • In the left tree panel, try to locate 'apps/metacity/global_keybindings', you will notice that there are 'run_command_X' entries in it, where the X would represent number 1 to 12;
  • doubt click one of them, say 'run_command_1', and change its Value into '<Control><Alt>s' and save;
  • then in 'apps/metacity/keybinding_commands', change the Value of corresponding entry 'command_1' into 'gnome-system-monitor' which is the command of 'System Monitor';
  • save and exit 'gconf-editor'
  • now try to press the combination 'Ctrl+Alt+s', the System Monitor will say hello to you!
That is it, simple but useful, now I can combine global keyboard shortcuts to any applications, wonderful!

And surely you can do it through terminal:
gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/run_command_1 "<Control><Alt>s"
gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands/command_1 "gnome-system-monitor"

and Attention:
You should avoid the shortcuts conflicts, which means you have to cancel the old one when you want to apply it to another use.

I am a big fan of nice music.
Like other music fans, I have a considerable amount of music files stored in my Ubuntu.
But I just found the nice music preview function in Nautilus today. How could this happen?
OK, this is it:

  • within one of your folders which are full of music files, hover your mouse on a music file, and there will be a music symbol appear at the same time (like the image above);
  • don't rush to move your mouse away, hold for a about several seconds, then the music starts to play automatically!
  • whenever you move away the mouse from the file, the playing will stop.
Isn't it magic?
Especially in my music share folder under Dropbox, I can listen to the newly downloaded ones like this. It is so convenient, isn't it?
I point to the file, and order, 'sing for me', it goes. Ha ha!!
If you didn't know this before like me, enjoy it!

And, it doesn't need extra softwares but at least you have to possess the necessary corresponding audio decoder in your system, I think.

The first tragedy I have got after installing the newly released ubuntu 8.10 is that I have my wonderful sound of flash gone.
Can you imagine that you have to guess the music of the MV you are watching on Youtube?
And I did feel I was back to the era of silent movies, even though I am missing Charlie Chaplin, I won't like this ridiculous condition.

1. Where I am

First of all, I have to tell you what is my own circumstance.
I hate the Firefox which in 'embedded' with the ubuntu release.

  • A. you cannot click the 'Check for updates' option in Help menu;
  • B. it seems to have problem with the stability. For example, I had several system crashes when I was trying to use the original version Firefox of Ubuntu 8.10.

So I decided to download the stand-alone version of Firefox at its official site.
I have it unpacked into my home folder and made the shortcuts point to it.
Yes, I did this even when I used the older versions of Ubuntu.
But this time, I lost my sound in flash contents.

2. What didn't work for me

Before I could fix the 'flash-no-sound' problem, I did got some suggestions through searching the web.
  • One guy advises to install the adobe-flashplugin package, which means
    • sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin
He says it works for him indeed, but I had no luck.
  • And some nice people suggest me install flash player nonfree package through Synaptic Package Manager, which means you open the System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager, then search for 'flash' and check the 'flashplugin-nonfree', then 'Apply' to install it. They say it works for them, but it fails me either.

I think it might be because that I am using the stand-alone Firefox which relies on the ~/.mozilla/plugin/ folder, whereas none of these methods above take care of that folder.
I note these two methods here with the consideration that they might work for your condition. So please take them as necessary references.

3. What works for me

Thank God I didn't give up after trying several ways with failures, I finally found an article on ubuntuforum and solve my problem by following its instructions.

According to its suggestion, this problem may have something to do with the 'Pulse Audio' which is introduced by ubuntu 8.10 lately. So I better remove it.
  • First, I removed the pulseaudio package and install the old friend esound
    • sudo apt-get remove pulseaudio
    • sudo apt-get install esound
  • Then I removed the config file for pulseaudio in system
    • sudo rm /etc/X11/Xsession.d/70pulseaudio
    • but as a smart user, you might want to backup this file first.
  • Then I went to System->Preferences->Sound and pointed all dropdown menu to the proper ALSA options. For example, because I am using the Creative SBLive series sound card, I chose the 'SBLive ... ALSA' options.
  • Then I went to System->Preferences->Sessions and deselected the 'Pulseaudio Manager'.
  • After those, I deleted the .asound configuration files which might be configuring for pulseaudio
    • cd ~
    • rm .asound*
    • Again, make sure to be a smart user.:)
  • Don't rush to try it to see if it works, you have to install the flash player for your Firefox first. Download the .tar.gz package for Linux from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ , and then unpack the file 'libflashplayer.so' file into your ~/.mozilla/plugins/ folder.

I didn't even have to reboot the system. After I relaunched the Firefox, I finally got the amazing sound in Youtube and Last.fm!

For reference, this is the original article: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=973637

4. Cheers

Believe it or not, I am enjoying the music of Last.fm now. Cheers, may you get back your flash sound as soon as possible. Cheers!!

Update (Nov 11, 2008): After I rebooted the system for once, I lost the sound of flash again.
Then I removed some packages through Synaptic Package Manager:
  • libpulsecore5
  • gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio
  • libpulse-browse0
By removing the above packages, following packages would be removed automatically:
  • pulseaudio-utils
  • pulseaudio-module-conf
  • pulseaudio-module-hal
  • pulseaudio-module-x11
But after these, it still didn't work.

Suddenly, I had an idea that:
What if I put back the .asound* files to my home folder? (I backed them up, ha)
I did it and rebooted the system. Yes, I got the sound of flash back again!!

Another thing should be mentioned here:
After I got the sound back again, I was notified to choose a sound card as the default one. ( I have two sound cards, one is integrated on board, another is Creative )
I set the Creative one as the default by typing:
  • asoundconf set-default-card Live
where the 'Live' parameter was obtained from running:
  • asoundconf list
This time, I rebooted the system several times, it possesses the sound permanently.

Update again (Nov. 13,2008) Today I lost my sound of flash again after installed the opera browser.
With certain romantic hope, I removed opera, but I had no luck.
According to the article http://www.macewan.org/2006/06/01/howto-firefox-flash-video-sound-on-ubuntu-linux-dapper/ , I installed alsa-oss
  • sudo apt-get install alsa-oss
But I still had no sound.
Then I followed the instructions of the article http://linux.blogs2k.com/2008/11/01/fix-for-no-sound-issue-in-ubuntu-810-intrepid-ibex/, run the following command
  • sudo alsa force-reload
  • and rebooted the system
Yes, I got the sound back again.
But, when will this nasty sound disappear again?

Always, I love the UI design of Mac systems, including its hardware and software.
She just has some professional and skillful designers, I often think so.
Within the latest version of Leopard, there is a nice menu effect, which has the black background and the most attractive part is that it is transparent.
If you don't understand what I am talking about, please refer to the picture below (thank mikhaelian):

Well, another thing I am really into is to read interesting news and articles in my Google Reader.
They are all available through RSS feeds, and you will understand if you are used to it.
You have to admit that the RSS is a great invention which makes you obtain information you are interested in so easily.

And you know what? A nice application just makes the two wonderful things together!
yes, I mean the cool interface and the great RSS feeds tracking.
It is called Snackr.
It makes the news items scrolling on your desktop, and with the help of AIR, it can run on the main-stream operation systems such as Windows, Mac OX and certainly Linux.
Below, it is a screenshot of Snackr running on my Ubuntu desktop. Isn't it cool?

If you want it too, just follow my several simple steps, come on, friends:

1. The necessary stuffs

Thanks to Adobe AIR, the team can make this wonderful Snackr for us. That is also to say you have to install AIR to use it.
To download the corresponding version of AIR according to your condition. For me, I downloaded the latest beta version for Linux:

It is a binary and executable file with the size about 10M.

Another thing you have to download is the great application Snackr.
I just got it from its official site:

It is a installer of the application with the extension .air.

2. How to install

The installation is simple, it just has something to do with some mouse clicks.
But to ensure the success under Linux, you have to first check out the permission of the AIR installer. It has to be for execute.
If it is not, change its permission to execute through command line:
chmod +x adobeair_linux_b1_091508.bin

or just follow the instructions in the official site: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/air_linux.html

Then double click on it, a nice and understandable install window will pop up. Just do what it requires you to do.

After settling down the AIR environment, it is time to install Snackr.
Just double click the .air file you just have downloaded.
And another nice install window will appear, follow it. Some options you cannot be sure, just make them default.
Within it, you can make desktop shortcut even. See, isn't it simple?

3. How to use it

Until now, the Snackr has been already installed in your system, waiting for your calling.
Double click its icon on desktop and wait for a while, its wonderful transparent body will appear at the bottom (the default position) of your desktop.

It has four little buttons for you, from left to right they are:
  • the plus mark is for you to quick add RSS feed, just paste the feed address into the text box and click OK. If the address is right, then after a while there will be your beloved news items appear scrolling.
  • the second button is for 'Preferences', within which you can manage your feeds and do some useful tuning. For me, I changed the scrolling speed and make the dock to the top of my desktop.
  • the third button is for hiding and showing the dock.
  • the fourth one is to close Snackr. You won't want to use it frequently, I am sure of that.:)

As you can see, there are only abstracts of items scrolling in the dock.
Just click the item you want to know more about, a window containing the details will slide out.
And I must say that the details window is as cool as it should be.

4. Problems

Since the AIR platform for Linux now is in its beta stage, there surely are unstable conditions for using it.
For me, there are two things abnormal:
  • when I click item to see the details, sometimes the whole Snackr application will crash;
  • in my details window, the pictures are always so shy that never appear.

If you figure out the reasons for these problems, please do let me know.

[Update: Dec. 19, 2008] Since Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux has been released, I tried to run Snackr under this new version AIR. And I was surprised that the crash problem has gone. For the picture showing problem, you may try the experimental version 0.38 (the one you install from its official site is in version 0.33 at the time of writing).

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot one thing, in the version of 0.38, you can integrate your Google Reader content to Snackr. So cool!!

Or, you may also like to follow snackr on Twitter: http://twitter.com/snackr

I don't know much about the IM software named Adium except that it resides under Mac.
It therefore, as I guess, has inherited the tradition of Mac of having charming GUI.
Apart from its beautiful software interface, it also has variety of distinguishing 'Message Style'
If you don't understand what I am talking about, you may check this out.
As to these adorable message styles, they are based on the web render engine named 'Webkit', which is actually the reason why they are so attractive.
'Guys who are using Adium would be lucky!' if you love these styles you may think.

But you can be one of them even though you don't use Adium.
There is a geek who just has written a plugin for Pidgin to use these affluent Adium message style!
But don't tell me that you have no chance to use pidgin since it's open source.

In the following, I will guide you how to make it rock on your computer:

1. Where to find the necessary stuffs

Since Pidgin-Webkit is still on its beta stage, you may have to download the source code on its developer's page:

But before you can compile it into a usable pidgin plugin, you also have to install the Webkit on your system:
  • you can refer to the official site of Webkit to compile and install it
  • and if you are lucky enough using the ubuntu as I am, there is an existing webkit package in the repository, about which I will walk you through below.
Another thing you don't want to forget is the message style resources, you can find them easily at
2. How to use these stuffs

First of all, you must make the Webkit available in your system. As I mentioned, you can compile it yourself from the source code, which I am not going to talk about here.

Then another way is that you can install it from the repository:
  • add 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/stemp/ubuntu hardy main' into your software source, if you are using ubuntu Gutsy, you may change the 'hardy' part to 'gutsy';
  • then update your package information: sudo apt-get update
  • install the webkit package for development: sudo apt-get install libwebkit-dev
By now, you have the webkit tool installed.

Second, it is time for you to compile the long-waited pidgin-webkit plugin:
  • unpack the source code package you downloaded and get into the folder
  • simply type 'make' to compile it
  • then 'sudo make install' to install it to the pidgin plugin folder
  • if you encounter problems in this part, you may refer to the 'Trouble Shooting' part below to find if you have the same problem as I did.
Don't rush to open pidgin to show the beautiful effect now, or you may meet a application crashing. You have to go a little further to there. Right, it is that you configure the style you chose with the plugin.
  • unpack the style package
  • copy the folders within it to this folder: ~/.purple/message_styles/ : sudo cp -r style_folders ~/.purple/message_styles/
Now, it is the time to open Pidgin. Go through Tools->Plugins, and check the plugin named 'Webkit message styles xx', where the 'xx' stands for the version.

Then open a message session, chat with your best friends facing the wonderful interface.

3. Trouble Shooting

Surely, you cannot go through the steps above without any problems. At least, I confronted so many problems while I am undergoing these stages. I would paste them here and also my solutions to them, wish it helpful.
  1. the version problem for package libgtk2.0
    • When I tried to install the libwebkit-dev package, I encountered the error which told me
    • The following packages have broken dependencies:
      libgtk2.0-dev: Depends: libgtk2.0-0 (= 2.12.9-3ubuntu4) but 2.12.9-4ubuntu3 will be installed
      E: Broken Packages
    • it is because I had gnome2-global-menu installed before that.
    • to get rid of it, you have to install the right package back:
      • first install the right version of libgtk2.0-0: sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0=2.12.9-3ubuntu4
      • this will uninstall some packages such as gnome-themes gtk2-engines-pixbuf gtk2.0-examples gucharmap libgtk2.0-bin
      • now install libgtk2.0-dev: sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev
      • reinstall the uninstalled packages: sudo apt-get install gnome-themes gtk2-engines-pixbuf gtk2.0-examples gucharmap libgtk2.0-bin
    • then this problem was solved
    • refer to: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=871606&page=2
  2. the "No package 'pidgin' found" problem
    • when I typed 'make' to compile pidgin-webkit, this problem occured.
    • this is all about the package 'pidgin-dev', install it in your favorite way.
    • here you go.
  3. when using the plugin, the pidgin suffers from crashing
    • when I use the plugin the first time, the pidgin gave me a crashing as an answer.
    • through searching, I figured out that it is likely to be the problem of wrong file ownership.
    • check the Adium message style folder you copied to .purple/message_styles/ for the file owner.
    • If they don't belong to you, you have to change them to this way:
      • sudo chown -hR yourusername thestylefolders
    • then relaunch pidgin
4. Improvement

Until now, you can open pidgin to enjoy the different kinds beautiful message styles, can't you?
But for me, I was not satisfied with the Chinese characters it displays.
Because most of the existing Adium message styles are designed by English speakers and they cannot be aware of other characters they don't use, other poor language characters don't shows great enough.

If you have this problem as I do, you can follow me. I will lead you to configure the fonts for your language other than English.

By the way, I choosed the style named 'renkoo', I will take it for examples.
  • go to the 'Contents/Resources/' folder under the style folder
  • open the file 'main.css' with your text editor
  • within the '#heading .conversationWith' block and 'font:' entry, add the font name of your language after 'Lucida Grande, '. As for me, I added 'STHeiti'. It finally looks like 'font: bold 16px Myriad Pro, Myriad, Lucida Grande, STHeiti, Trebuchet MS, Arial;'
  • and within the '#heading .conversationTime' and '.status_container' blocks, go in the similar way.
  • within the '.tableBubble' block, add the 'font:' entry. For instance, I added a new line 'font: 12px Myriad, Lucida Grande, STHeiti, Arial;'
  • and if you want to adjust the font size, you may go to the '.tableBubble .message' block to change the 'font-size' entry. I just changed it to '12px'
Then relaunch your pidgin, just enjoy the new face again!

5. Words from the author

Because my English is not so fluent, please forgive my problems in language.
I just take it as a note for myself, and I paste it here with the wish that it may be helpful.

[Update] the source code of pidgin-webkit can now be obtained through Bazzar at: https://code.launchpad.net/pidgin-webkit


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