In the last post we discussed using Rhythmbox music player, linking it up to last.fm and configuring it. I will do a future post comparing it to Amarok and Banshee.
With this new version of Ubuntu, they’ve introduced a really awesome new feature that shows a lot of potential. It’s called “Ubuntu One“.
Ubuntu One is a cloud-based platform that allows, at the least, file synchronization across Linux PCs (have not yet discovered a way to synchronize with Windows PC also, but I’m looking!). But really, this service offers the potential to really synchronize ANYTHING with the cloud service and some other applications, including Firefox, Tomboy notes, Evolution, and others, have already created plugins to jump on this.
All users are given 2 GB of space, for free (comparable to services such as Mozy), but upgrading to a whopping 50GB is only $10 / month. By comparison, Mozy only charges $4.95 / month, but that price is “per computer”. Since this service is really intended to be used as a cross-computer synchronization service, using it with 2 computers is essentially an equal price. (Are you REALLY going to be backing up more than 50GB of data?) Additionally, Mozy requires a special “MozyPro” plan for businesses / commercial use, and UbuntuOne makes no distinction (to be fair, Mozy does not support Linux natively, either… so if you’re using Linux, it’s really a non-option anyways. )
So how does one get on board with this service? It’s easier than it sounds.
Setting Up Your Ubuntu One Account
If you’ve ever signed up for ANYTHING online, you already know how to do this. If you have a launchpad.net account already (another Ubuntu online community), you can use those credentials for this service.
- Start here: https://one.ubuntu.com/plans/ and click “Subscribe” under “2 GB”. You can always upgrade later, quite easily.
- If you have a launchpad.net account, you can use those credentials to log in; If not, just create one now.
That’s it! It’s seriously that easy.
Setting Up Your Local UbuntuOne Folder
Think that was easy?
- Click on “Places” (top of your screen, by the Applications menu)
- Click on “Home Folder”
- In the window that pops up, right-click and select “Create Folder”
- Name the folder “Ubuntu One”
- Click on “Applications” then “Ubuntu Software Center”
- Search for “ubuntuone”, and install it (example)
- Once it’s installed, click on “Applications”->”Internet”->”Ubuntu One”
- Your web browser will open, and you’ll verify that you want to add the computer you’re using to your UbuntuOne account.
That last step is simply to complete the tethering operation. You will need to repeat these steps on any computer you want to link to your UbuntuOne account (you only need, and should only have, one UbuntuOne account)
If you want to be really clever here, you can download that image right there (the Ubuntu logo) right click on that folder, select “Properties”, and drag that image onto the existing folder icon in the Properties window.
If you enter that folder, you’ll now see a bar that says “Connect” on it. Provided you have an active Internet connection, and providing that you installed the “Ubuntu One Client” software through the USC, clicking on that button should connect to your Ubuntu One service and synchronize your files.
Anything you put into this folder will be uploaded to the UbuntuOne account you registered, and any new files up there that are not present in your folder right now will be downloaded. Test it out by copying a file into that folder, a “Synchronizing” note should pop up momentarily. Check it out:
Synchronizing Tomboy Notes
Tomboy is a note-reminder service for jotting down ideas quickly, but it allows you to do hyperlinking across notes, categorize your notes, and integrate with numerous other apps. If you’re the type of person who uses post-it notes, or if you’re like me and have to get your ideas down on pape quickly so that you don’t forget them (I have a whole google document called “Bag of Ideas” for this purpose) you will want to check this out.
Synchronization has actually been documented in extensive detail in Ubuntu’s Wiki, but I’ll go over the instructions briefly here. If you have not already installed Tomboy, install it through the Ubuntu Software Center. You will also want to ensure that you already have your Ubuntu One account set up. If you’ve been doing these things as you read them, you’re in good shape.
Once it’s installed, you can set up synchronization by:
- Open Tomboy Notes (Applications -> Accesories -> Tomboy Notes)
- Click Edit->Preferences and select the “Synchronization” tab
- For “Service” click on “Tomboy Web” from the drop-down list (If you do not see that as an option, then click on the “Add-ins” tab, and ensure that “Web-sync service add-in” under “Synchronization” is not greyed out. If it is, I think you just double-click on it.) (Example)
- Click on “Connect to Server”. A web browser will open and you will be asked to verify that you wish to add your computer. Type in the name of your computer and click OK. (Example)
- Go back to Tomboy Preferences and click SAVE. (This is important, if you do not do this it will not work). Tomboy will synchronize for the first time with UbuntuOne.
That’s it! Check your UbuntuOne “Notes” tab (in your browser), and you should see the default notes up there. If you’re the nerdy type, I found some documentation about the inner-workings of the Tomboy sync API.
Synchronizing Firefox Bookmarks
A small caveat with this one — I have not yet gotten it to work successfully at this point. I’m not sure specifically what it is, but if I figure it out, I’ll follow up on here. I’ve installed “Bindwood”, one of the Firefox plugin solutions, and it looks like it should work, but it doesn’t for me. I’ve seen posts of other people for whom it has worked, so I don’t know.
I followed some online instructions about setting up “Bindwood”, but did have not any success.
Other instances / projects for Firefox bookmarks integration:
If this feature is not yet fully implemented, I have a feeling it will happen soon. There are many people that want this feature (based on the chatter I see in the Ubuntu fora) so it’s only a matter of time!
Synchronizing Evolution Contacts
- Open Evolution (click on the mail icon in the top-right, select “Evolution”
- Click on Edit->Preferences
- Select “Contacts”
- Check the box next to “Ubuntu One”
- Click on “Mail Preferences”
- Click on the “Automatic Contacts” tab
- For both drop down lists (you’ll have to click the second checkbox to enable the second list) select “Ubuntu One”
Now to actually USE these features, you’ll want to close out the Preferences window and go back to the Evolution application itself. In the lower left corner there are a series of buttons, including one called “Contacts” — click that one. (Microsoft Outlook users will find this arrangement familiar). Right click on the “Ubuntu One” address book, click “Properties” then check the box next to “Make this my default address book”.
The interface here is pretty straightforward. Right clicking in the upper-right pane will allow you to create a “New Contact” (new contacts are also established when you send emails from the calendar). The contact information contains the usual stuff and a few extra details including Birthday and Anniversary (useful for people like me ).
Be sure that, when given the option, you specify the “Ubuntu One” contact list.
Synchronization seems to happen when you “Send/Receive” emails. You can edit contact information in the UbuntuOne website as well.
Tomorrow, assuming I can get it written by then, I’ll discuss Gnome-Do and some of the fabulous ways it can integrate, including using it as an awesome lightweight Twitter app!