Instantly create a HTML slideshow of photos

Use Synaptic to install igal. Once installed, copy all the pictures that you wish to make into a slideshow into one folder. Then switch to that folder and type igal. Simple as that—there's no need to specify the files. The necessary HTML files for a slideshow will be created automatically and all you need do is upload all the files to your website. The main file igal creates is index.html, and you might want to rename this to something like slideshow.html, to avoid overwriting your website's index.html file. You should also be aware that igal creates thumbnails of the images as hidden files (files preceded by a period), and these will need to be uploaded to the website too. To view then in a Nautilus file browsing window, click View ^ Show Hidden Files.

There's no reason why the slideshow will only work online. You could also email the whole folder full of images plus HTML to others as a single compressed file, and instruct them to double-click index.html when they've decompressed the folder. The slideshow will then open in their browser.

If all you want to do is instantly view a folder full of photos as a slideshow, see Tip 208, on page 242.

Like it or loathe it, Windows has a lot of useful productivity features. One of those is the Show Desktop icon which appears in the Quick Links toolbar and allows users to instantly minimize all windows in order to access the desktop. Ubuntu includes its own variation at the bottom left of the screen but more useful is to hit the keyboard combination that does the same thing: [Ctrl ]+[ Alt ]+(d). If you have the desktop effects activated, everything will slide out of the way to the edges of the screen. Otherwise it'll simply be like everything has minimized to the taskbar. Hitting the combo again will cause the windows to reappear in their original positions.

Set hard disk power-saving M 172

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Ubuntu has a powerful raft of power management features, accessible through System ^ Preferences ^ Power Management, but you might notice one missing if you're used to Windows or OS X: hard disk spin down time. This is where the hard disk powers-down after a period of inactivity. When data is requested after this, it spins up again, although there is sometimes a momentary pause while this happens.

it's possible to set your hard disk to spin down under Ubuntu, in order to save power and/or wear and tear (particularly on a computer left on most of the time), but you'll need to edit a configuration file. Follow these steps:

1. The configuration file containing the settings is hdparm.conf, so open it in gedit by typing the following into a terminal window: gksu gedit /etc/hdparm.conf.

2. Look for the line that reads #spindown_time = 24 and remove the hash from the beginning of the line, so it reads simply spindown_time = 24.

3. Alter spindown_time time to any value you want. Each number is five seconds, so the default setting of 24 equates to 120 seconds (24 x 5 = 120 seconds). However, a value over 240 changes things— beyond 240, each unit equals 30 minutes. So a value of 241 will spin down the disk after 30 minutes, a value of 242 will spin down the disk after 60 minutes, and so on. Setting the line to read spin-down_time = 241 is a good choice, because the disk will spin down after 30 minutes of inactivity.

4. Save the file when you've finished and reboot for the changes to take effect.

Remember that this doesn't mean the hard disk will spin down 30 minutes after you stop using the computer. it means it will spin down 30 minutes after all hard disk access has ceased. Often Ubuntu will do things like flush its caches or run anacron jobs in the background, meaning the hard disk can't spin down until 30 minutes after these jobs have finished.

For some laptop power-saving tricks, see Tip 5, on page 65, and Tip 106, on page 158.

Set hard disk power-saving

View the GNOME desktop version M 173

You might find that some software you want to install requires a particular version of the GNOME desktop to function correctly. To find out the version number, click Help ^ About GNOME. For instance, the default version shipped with Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04.1) is 2.22.2.

To learn the Ubuntu version number, see Tip 62, on page 123.

^JjAvoid GNOME startup errors

Every now and again I see the following error message when booting into GNOME: "There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon." To avoid it appearing in future, I clean-out my /tmp folder, which contains temporary files. Start by logging out so that you're back at the login screen. Then switch to a virtual terminal (Ctrl )+[Alt]+(F2]) and login. Then type sudo telinit 1. This will switch to the first run level and shutdown the graphical subsystem. On the menu that appears, select the root - Drop to root shell prompt option and then type the following (exactly as written—be careful not to mistype!):

# reboot

Once your system has restarted, login as usual. Some suggest that disabling IPv6 can also avoid GNOME startup errors—see Tip 60, on page 121.

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