Saturday, July 26, 2008

Testdriving Zimbra Desktop Mail for Linux

Ever since Yahoo acquired Zimbra, a lot of us were waiting for the next big thing in desktop emailing. Recently, Yahoo launched Zimbra desktop, an open source email client which aims to increase your productivity by integrating an email client, calendar, task list, contact manager and a briefcase, all in one slick and easy package.
It's time to see how well it fares with my current favorite - Thunderbird.

Let's get started, shall we. To start off, download the linux edition from the Zimbra website. Installation is really easy. Download it to some folder and run these from the terminal.
Note: Don't run the installer as root.

1. Set the permissions for the executable
$ sudo chmod u+x

2. Run the installer as a normal user
$ ./

Great, now you are all set to start using it.
One thing that you'll notice during installation is that Zimbra is based on Prism which we covered few months back. It's basically Mozilla's way of creating rich desktop like internet applications.

First thing I liked about this mail app was the seamless integration with Gmail, yahoo and Aol mail. The welcome screens asks you to setup your accounts. Gmail users need to turn on their IMAP service from their GMAIL settings before configuring it here.

Once you are done with it, you are greeted with this familiar interface that Yahoomail users have known to love ever since the Web 2.0 makeover. Drag and drops and heavy ajax stuff, with integrated contacts, calendars, to-do lists etc.

Now, the verdict. Zimbra Desktop is a really good start by Yahoo. Easy to use and the familiar interface will win loyal fans. Moreover, support for other POP and IMAP servers along with offline modes, makes it a really good email client.
But before it replaces my thunderbird, it has a long way to go. Firstly, I love the remote calendar sync with Google calendar (via lightening). Zimbra only supports local ics files.

Secondly, it is a memory hog. Installation file itself is around 48MB, and it takes up around 124MB on install. My CPU utilisation also saw occasional spikes while using the calendar or just setting up a new account. Considering the fact that it's just the first release, I'll give this a pass.

Thirdly, If you are not an active yahoomail user, like me, you might not appreciate the slick UI. Gmail labels are imported as folders! And, I really miss adding labels to filter rules.

Finally, it's a tad bit slower compared to a native email client. I had rather use orgoo for all my email aggregation needs.

Having said all that, my dream request that both thunderbird and Zimbra lack now are automatic contact sync with gmail and yahoo. Zimbra is planning to include yahoo calendar and contacts sync in the future versions. Till that happens, I am sticking to my good ol' thunderbird, waiting eagerly for Thunderbird 3.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

KDE4: Installing and configuring Network Manager

K Desktop EnvironmentI am really frustrated by the recent wave of negative reviews for KDE4.1 rc1. I had really hoped to try it out but unfortunately being a ubuntu Gutsy user, the upgrade path is a little rocky.

Anyways, one major feature I missed badly was the network-manager for KDE which apparently was missing in the default KDE4 setup. Here, let me show you how to install and get the network manager running.

1. Fire up your terminal and install kmix and network-manager for kde via apt.
Note, the network-manager package is a kde3 release which still works well in KDE4.

$ apt-get install kmix-kde4
$ apt-get intall network-manager-kde

2.To run network-manager-kde, simply run this via terminal or using Alt + F2

$ knetworkmanager

3. To make sure kmix and knetworkmanager launch at startup, simply create a new Autorun file as follows (use your favorite text editor)

$ gedit ~/.kde4/Autostart/kmix

$ kwrite ~/.kde4/Autostart/kmix

4. Add these following lines into it and save the file.

kmix; dcop kmix kmix-mainwindow;#1 hide

5. Setup the required permissions

$ sudo chmod u+x ~/.kde4/Autostart/kmix

6. Great you are done now. knetworkmanager should appear in your taskbar on startup.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Quick Tip: Downloading videos off MegaVideo

MegaVideo probably has the best collection of videos amongst youtube, veoh and dailymotion. Though some are not legal and violate copy protection laws, so I leave it to the end-user's discretion on how they wish to use it.

Here is a quick tip of downloading videos from Megavideo. Go to ClipGrabber, paste the url and voila, the downloadable lik is ready.

Happy surfing!

Life without internet.. Starhub sucks and Linux Saves the day again.

I wrote my last post on June 18th. Since then, it's been a roller coaster ride full of great experience. First thing that you miss when you come out of your university campus is "internet".
With virtually no access to internet for 2 weeks, the longest dry span ever since 1998, when I got my first dedicated dialup modem.
In singapore, getting an boradband connection is a little tricky. For international folks, you need a student pass or a valid employment pass (EP) or a Permanent residentship (PR).

I have..none, and am living on a temp EP till my PRship gets approved. Anyways my housemate returned in 2 weeks and applied for the connection with his valid pass.

In Singapore, the 2 major ISPs are Starhub and Singtel. Singtel gives you a dedicated ADSL connection via the landline whereas Starhub provides you a cable modem. Golden words of wisdom, don't ever get Starhub. A 8Mbps line gives me less that 1 Mbps, that too when I am the only one using the service.
Cable modems share bandwidth among residents living in the same block. So if you have more starhub users living nearby, expect really really bad speeds. Anyways, will have to live with it for the next 2 years.

Our wireless router will take 9 days to reach us (another bummer), so till then my trusty ubuntu acts as a wireless router so that my 3 other housemates can enjoy the internet experience and stay connected. Feels great when the small things you do comes back and helps you later in life.

So what did we learn today, south park style ;)
Contrary to what people believe, that once you get hooked on to the social network bandwagon, there is no turning back; the 2 weeks were the most productive ever. Played the guitar, read a real newspaper, watched the tv (that's a surprise right!) and met new people offline ;) .
Surprisingly, 2 weeks later when I checked my facebook, twitter, orkut, gmail, linkedin and blog accounts, I saw no new posts or messages.

So do people forget you once you become inactive for a while.. maybe so, and it's not really a bad thing. Life without internet ain't that bad as there is a whole new "real" world out there for us to enjoy and cherish.

Lol, did you really buy into that..gtg.. got a couple of posts to write, change my facebook status.. and yeah twitter is back online... happy surfing