Avoid an FSpot startup error

When you start F-Spot for the first time after a fresh installation, you'll be warned that "The folder contents could not be displayed". This is caused by the fact that the Photos folder that F-Spot expects to find isn't present. It's a trivial error but one that can be alarming for newbies.

To fix the problem, just rename the Pictures folder to Photos on any new installation of Ubuntu. Following this F-Spot will startup without any gripes.

Have you ever been chatting on a website forum and been totally unable to describe an action you've performed on Ubuntu? "Click the top bar— the grey thing at the top, you know. Then drag the icon. The blue icon. Drag it to the desktop... "

The fact is that it can be hard describing in words what are simple procedures with a mouse. A solution is at hand, however. The Byzanz application lets you record your desktop, a window, or a defined area of the screen as a movie. The resulting file is an animated .gif, so is viewable in almost any web browser ever made. You could attach it to a forum posting if you're asking for help, for example. The only downside is that the resulting movie file can be large, depending on the area you've defined and the length of the movie. Full desktop recordings can easily run in at double-digit megabytes, in fact.

The package can be installed using Synaptic—search for byzanz. Once installed, right-click a blank spot on the top panel and select Add to panel. Then select Desktop Recorder from the list.

Once the application's icon appears on the panel, click the small down arrow next to it to select to record the desktop, an area of it, or a particular window. When selecting to record an area of the desktop, the screen will turn black and you should click and drag to define where you want to record (the screen turning black is an unfortunate bug, and you'll have to try and remember where on the desktop it is you want to record). If you select to record a program window, the mouse will turn to a cross-hairs—just click on the window you want to record.

Following this, recording will start. The Byzanz icon will turn to a red circle to indicate this. When you've finished, click the red circle to stop recording. You'll then be prompted to save the movie file. Click Cancel to discard the movie.

Bear in mind that resulting movie .gif files won't play in Ubuntu's default image viewer, which will open when you double-click the file. You'll see nothing but the first frame. Instead, you must play them in Firefox to see the full animation. To do this, right-click the file, and select Open With ^ Open with "Firefox Web Browser".

Have you ever wondered why many Linux desktop screenshots on websites or even within books seem to have GIMP running? It's not because the authors are inveterate image tweakers. It's because the GIMP includes a powerful screenshot tool. To use it, start the program and click File ^ Acquire ^ Screenshot. Then make your selection of what you want to capture from the dialog box that appears—single program window, defined region, or entire screen. Particularly useful is the Delay function, listed under the above options, which allows you to set a delay (in seconds) before the screenshot is taken.

Once taken, the screenshot will be opened as a GIMP image. You can choose to crop it down, if necessary, or just click File ^ Save As, and save it to disk. Remember that GIMP sets the image type automatically, based on the file extension you type. So typing a file name of screen-shot.bmp will automatically save the file in BMP format.

See also Tip 202, on page 238 to learn how to use Ubuntu's built-in screenshot tool. Note that this only saves in PNG format, however.

If you're used to using the network diagnostic command traceroute, you might wonder where it's gone under Ubuntu. It's simply been replaced with tracepath, a similar tool that works in exactly the same way.

And now for the last tip in this monster of a book. If you're viewing a long PDF file (such as, say, Ubuntu Kung Fu, if you purchased it as a PDF file), then you can scroll automatically within the Evince PDF viewer by right-clicking and selecting Autoscroll from the menu that appears. Simply drag the mouse up or down to scroll through the pages. The closer the middle of the program window the mouse cursor gets, the slower the scrolling will be. Experiment with it. It takes a little while to get used to but it can be very useful. Just click the left mouse button to cancel when you're done.

What do you mean I should have told you this tip right at the beginning, so it would have helped you when reading the PDF? I did say back in the introduction chapter that I don't necessarily recommend reading this book from the first tip onwards. In fact, I believe I might have suggested staring at the back and working your way to the front...

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