2011 in Review

OK, I know 2011 is long and gone, but I’ve been busy with other stuff. So here it goes.


My initial intention of travelling to a new country was scrapped due to the prices of the country I intended to visit: Iceland. Instead I readapted this resolution, to revisit my favorite places in Europe. And so I did. I revisited my favorite place in Europe, the wonderful city of Edinburgh, Scotland. I also had the privilege of revisiting Inverness and got to know the Highlands a lot better, including visiting the amazing Isle of Skye. In December, I revisited London for a few days. It is quite different to visit museus while being an adult. You really appreciate them more! I then took the Eurostar to Paris and I also revisited this wonderful city, my third time there. A particularly wonderful treat was visiting the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, one of my new favorite places ever. On my Flickr account you can check out some photos of Scotland. I’ve yet managed to upload photos of London and Paris.


I’ve set myself on the beginning of the year to read 30 books. I managed to break the scale and read a whopping 43 books. I really think that Goodreads and my Kindle were crucial in achieving this objective. You can check out all my 2011 read books on my reading challenge page. This year I’ve upped the ante and set myself to read 45 books. You can check my progress here.


On this objective I failed miserably. I intended to blog at least once a week. Then it shifted to once a month, and then just when I felt like it. I’ll try to improve my blog this year (I hope).

A year+ with my Kindle

So it’s been a year and a couple of months since I was given a Kindle for my birthday. So it’s high time I reviewed my experiences with it.

Let’s just say I can’t imagine my life without it. It has become one of those gadgets that, at least myself, can’t live without. The experience of reading a book on a Kindle is amazing. Dare I say better than a regular book? Perhaps…

The battery life of this thing is huge… Without the wireless turned on (I only need it to sync anyways) it can last almost two months, which is an amazing number!

Since I have it I’ve been reading a lot more, as you can probably guess by the posts in my book blog.

Bottom-line, it’s an awesome gadget, which I simply adore.

Ubuntu 11.10: a general improvement

So I’ve been using Ubuntu 11.10 for a couple of weeks now, and the general feeling is that is a lot better polished than Ubuntu 11.04. Unity has come a long way, and I can honestly say that this version is almost useable. In my work desktop, my default desktop environment is now Unity-2D, simply because it runs a lot smoother than the 3D counterpart.

Don’t get me wrong, I still miss Gnome 2. But at least now I can pass the mourning of not having it available anymore and actually use the computer.

The only problem at the moment is this damn bug, that forces me to unount a usb drive from a terminal. I sure hope it get’s fixed soon.

Yet more Ubuntu 11.04 complaining

Sorry, this is another post complaining about Ubuntu 11.04. This time a bug that bothers me a lot… Qt applications with a 1px icon in the notification bar. Really annoying. I personally use only two Qt applications constantly: Skype and Last.fm Scrobbler, and both applications rely heavly on the notification bar icons. So it’s really annoying having them minimized to a 1px icon. Huge fail indeed.

One alternative, suggested by Nuno Dantas, was to drop Gnome entirely and switch to XFce. I tried it but think it’s not really my cup o tea, perhaps when Gnome 2 is completely dropped from Ubuntu I’ll switch to XFce.

Another option was to find alternative applications in GTK+. So that’s what I did. For Skype, the simplest alternative was installing and activating the Pidgin Skype plugin. It still needs to have Skype running, but now I don’t care if the app has a 1px icon, because I can control it from Pidgin. For Last.fm I’m now using Vagalume, a GTK+ Last.fm Player. It has all the features of the official player, is GTK+ based, and even works with libnotify, something that the official player doesn’t support.

So, for the time being, I’m a happy camper… But Ubuntu 11.04 has to be the crappiest release to date…

Ubuntu 11.04

So Ubuntu 11.04 was released a short time ago. I’ve been using it since the beta version.

I got to be honest: i really don’t like Unity. I think Canonical made a mistake making it the default desktop so early in the development. It’s not polished, crashes a lot and in my case effectively slows performance down, a lot… I’ve since switched to “Ubuntu Classic”, aka Gnome 2.32.1…

I think Canonical really needs to reconsider the Ubuntu release-cycle. A new version every 6 months is causing the release of software which should not be given the “stable” stamp, like Unity.

If in version 11.10 they get rid of Gnome altogether, I might have to consider switching distributions and even change the base of FEUPlive.

Listening to Fans and Critics

It’s more and more unusual these days to listen to Fans and Critics. But there are exceptions. Take the remake of one of my favorite 70’s Series, Hawaii Five-0.

Here we have the original series’ titles:

A great title song, in my opinion. When the pilot of the remake was made available in May 2010, fans and critics bashed the new title song:

Since the original title song became extremely popular, fans felt the new version didn’t fit the show. So this criticism was heard by the show producers and they remade the title song to this:

This new version keeps the original song’s feel and was well received by both critics and fans. The show won the “Favorite New TV Drama” at the 37th People’s Choice Awards and has solid ratings every week.

So I think listening to critics and especially fans pays of… Let’s see if Roberto Orci keeps this up for the new Star Trek movie!!