I have been trying out some new technologies, both at work and at home. Now, this is unusual for me. I don’t generally like environmental change in my workspace– I get hung up on it and have a difficult time focusing.

This all started with getting set up with Synergy 2. For a while, my desk has had three computers on it: my main desktop running Ubuntu 64, a headless XP machine that I would remote desktop into, and an older iMac sitting on the corner of my desk. By adding a surplused 17″ lcd monitor to the XP machine and sliding my iMac over, I now have a three window/3 OS monster with a shared keyboard and mouse. Synergy is pretty freaking awesome in that it allows you to move from one screen to the next and cut and paste between machines pretty fluidly. So now my desktop looks like:

iMac (OSX.4) Ubuntu 64 XP
17″ widescreen 21″ LCD 17″ LCD
keyboard mouse

It hasn’t taken me long to get used to this. I’m doing tasks on each machine that best suit it although I’m having some problems remembering that I can’t drag my applications across windows (something I got pretty used to at Emory).

My next update wasn’t so successful. I tried to (and right now I’m not sure why) update the window manager on my Ubuntu box to use Compiz or Beryl (first one unsuccessfully, then the other). This was just a huge mistake. In the effort to gain a little whiz-bang eye candy (I guess I got drunk with my successes with Synergy), I’ve managed to screw up my window manager so that it doesn’t refresh properly anymore (panes will frequently look blank until I mouse over them).

I also figured I needed to get the IE7 update on my XP box. I have to say, it’s pretty nice, but I have two complaints about it:

  1. Where are the menus? It’s going to take some getting used to that they’re all nested under one icon
  2. Those ‘warning’ screens (like if you go to a site without a trusted certificate) are just horrible.

I really like the OpenSearch integration, though, and besides having to update our security certs (ugh!), it seems like all of our services work fine with it.

While I was at it, I also upgraded Firefox to 2.0 on my XP machine. Also really slick! The only downside I see to it is that OpenSearch requires the ‘searching’ site to have an extension. I also grabbed Zotero and updated the Umlaut to make it ‘Zotero compliant’.

So now I’m mainly using my XP “window” for web browsing and (there is basically no plugin support for Firefox on 64 bit Linux and is kind of slick on Windows — plus sound is better). I’ve also moved to XP for Skype when I do Library Geeks because:

  1. Skype for Linux sucks.
  2. My iMac (which I had previously used) refuses to mute the built-in mic
  3. I’ve just flat out had the best luck with it and XP.

I still use Firefox 1.5.x on Ubuntu because I’ve gotta have my Web Developer Extension somewhere.

At home we have a not terribly new desktop (AMD 2400 or something) and two 1.0Ghz iBook G4s. On the desktop, we have our own web browser setups by using different browsers: Selena uses Mozilla and I use Firefox. I’ve updated Firefox to 2.0 but I felt bad that Selena is using Mozilla (of course, she doesn’t really care). I’m trying her out on Flock, since she’s getting all into our blog for Che and Flickr and whatnot. We’ll see how that works. I’ve also got my eye on switching the desktop to Ubuntu. Selena’s not sold on that.

The iBooks are trickier. First of all, they’re pretty slow. I had to give up on Firefox and start using Safari because I couldn’t deal with the performance. The problem is that we run OS 10.3.9, so it’s an older, completely unhip, Safari. This makes me constantly on the lookout for something better. I’ve tried Camino (no), Opera (probably not), Firefox 2.0 (seems better) and now I’m trying Flock (in fact, I’m writing this post in Flock). Flock is extremely sexy-cool (I’ve got Art Rhyno’s Flickr stream across the top and my bookmarks are from, but if I thought Firefox was slow, this will probably kill me.

I’ve also been kicking around the idea of Ubuntu on my iBook 🙂

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