Xfce - Thunderbird send mail context menu [How to]

If you are like me and send a lot of files via the context menu (right clicking on the file), then you might be disappointed to not see the option in Xubuntu/Xfce.

I am not sure what version this will work on, however I did this on Xubuntu 11.10, with Thunar 1.2.3.

  1. Open your file manager (Thunar) and go to the drop down menu at the top ‘edit’. Click ‘Configure Custom Actions’.
  2. Click the add button (+ symbol).
  3. In both Name and Description put whatever you like. Here is what I have:
    Name: SEND TO
    Description: SEND
  4. For the Command, paste the following in:
    thunderbird -compose attachment=”%f”
  5. To choose an icon, click the icon button. In the new window, select “All Icons” from the drop down menu. Now search for “thunderbird” then click OK.
  6. Now go to the Appearance Conditions tab at the top. I made sure I had all the boxes checked.
  7. Log out (or reboot)
  8. Now you should be able to see a “SEND TO” option when you right click a file. If it worked, when you click on it, a ‘Thunderbird Write’ window should appear WITH your attachment.

I actually found this by playing around with different things, so I hope this works for you.
If there is any easier way or it didn’t work let me.

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U . X . L . K

In the past few weeks I have tried many distributions of Linux, however the past few days I have tried many Ubuntu 11.10 based distros (Ubuntu included).
Not reviews, but just my thoughts on my brief time in Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Kubuntu, all version 11.10.

  • Ubuntu:

When I first tried 11.04, I can’t begin to tell you how much I hated it. It was slow, unstable and too difficult to get use to.
Leading up to the release of 11.10, I read reviews from people talking about how much improved it was which made me quite excited!

When I first installed it, I went in with the idea I should hate Unity. I made sure I was not going to enjoy it, as I was far too use to gnome 2x.
After messing around and mucking things up, I tried another distro, as I kept telling myself Ubuntu 11.10 is not the way to go.

I decided to give Ubuntu another shot, this time going in with a different attitude…A more positive view.

To my surprise it ran fast, it was stable and I was actually starting to have fun doing things.

I have actually started to adapt to Unity, though will admit the “start-menu” part (dash I believe it’s called?) is not my cup of tea.

I’m 90% sure I’ll end up installing Ubuntu 11.10 (along side Win7) as my main Linux distro.

What I dislike with Ubuntu 11.10 however are the following:

  • Lack of customization with Unity bar/dock. Having a 24” I’d like to move it around.
  • Dual monitor support. More or less a gnome issue, but I’d like to choose different wallpapers for each monitor. Both Xfce & KDE offer this.
  • Add the system tray by default. Although it’s a simple to get back, a system tray should be there by default.
  • Have by default, the option to right-click on the ‘places’ icon in the dock, and show folders inside…Again, easy fix though.
  • Include the synaptic package manager. This can be easily added also mind you.

All-in-all, my bitterness towards Unity and Ubuntu 11.10 in general came from my wanting it to fail. After giving it a fair shot, I find it quite usable for myself.

  • Xubuntu:

I was reluctant to try out Xubuntu, as I gave Xfce a shot a while ago and ran into issues with showing my NTFS partitions and get dual monitors to work properly.

The first thing I noticed with Xubuntu was the speed. I was blown away by how fast it was.

As for my NTFS partitions showing? Best Linux desktop yet! When booting they are automatically on the desktop! Of course this is optional to have.

After getting my dual monitors set-up, I had a few other tweaks to make.
I like having system notification sounds, which was missing. I actually came across this by pure accident, as I joined Ubuntu Forums, and one of the first posts I saw was the following:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1869787

It was a little confusing at first, but in the end took me no more then 5-10 minutes to complete.

After installing some programs (blazing fast installs), I noticed a feature I use often missing. One that was missing in KDE that I managed to add and one in gnome that has been there as long as I can remember…”Send To” for mail attachments when right clicking.
I happen to send a fair amount of files via mail, and I got use to in Windows, simply right click and send to mail. Ubuntu (gnome) made this just as easy (perhaps easier).

So I spent hours searching out a solution. I couldn’t find a proper working solution anywhere. Then I decided to fool around with the KDE file I created, or rather the ‘launch’ command for Thunderbird and sending attachments.
In the Thunar file manager, there is the option to ‘Configure Custom Actions’. So I created a new one and played around with the launch command from KDE. Not long in I did it! I finally can right-click a file and send it via Thunderbird!

I’ll do a quick little step-by-step in the post following this on how to get Thunderbird as a right click option.

Xubuntu includes Ubuntu’s new Software Centre. Although I like the new Software Centre, I do find in Ubutnu it loads kind of slow. In Xubuntu it loads about twice as fast!
Xubuntu also includes the synaptic package manager by default!

Since Windows 7, I have come to expect a search option in the start menu. Although I like to navigate via the mouse most of the time, sometimes I can’t find a program this way, so it requires typing in the search field.
Xubuntu’s start menu doesn’t include a search box. What it does have is a program called Application Finder, which works just as well at finding installed programs.

When I said I was 90% sure Ubuntu is where I’ll be heading, Xubuntu is that remaining 10%. I have fallen absolutely in love with Xfce, and can understand why many people (Linus Torvalds included) are going or have gone to Xfce.
IMO if I had to choose between going back to gnome 2x or Xfce, despite a bit more work involved, Xfce is my choice hands down!

  • Lubuntu:

First thing I should state is Lubuntu is the only distro I didn’t install, but just ran off of a USB drive.

Before even downloading Lubuntu, I read that it was extremely fast. Faster then Xubuntu even.
After finally loading it, I was blown away even more so then Xubuntu by the speed. Everything just loaded instantly.

As with Xubuntu, I had to configure my dual monitors. Fortunately it was the same as in Xfce!

After strapping myself into my computer chair, I put Lubuntu’s speed aside.

If one word comes to mind with Lubuntu (other then speed), it is ‘basic’. Xubuntu had little installed, but Lubuntu seemed to have less.
The only package manager I could find was synaptic, not Ubuntu Software Centre.

I installed a few programs, and like Xubuntu they were quite quick.

To be fair to Lubuntu, I didn’t spend too much time in it. I found many things to be similar to Xubuntu, however for myself it was a little too basic.

  • Kubuntu:

After having problems with Unity, Kubuntu was my first choice.

The last time I used a KDE distro was back on Mandrake (yes Mandrake). It was always my desktop of choice, when Mandrake gave the option between KDE & gnome.

The only issue I had with Kubuntu was after installing the updates, something called ‘jocky’ came up with a crash error. Nothing major (I assume), and after a reboot (for the updates) everything ran quite well.

I then discovered my treasured right-click to ‘send mail’ option was missing. It didn’t take long to find a work around for this fortunately!

I found KDE to run quite well on my computer. It was easy to configure. The dual monitor options ‘out of the box’ were great!

I honestly can’t say anything bad about Kubuntu of KDE 4.7. It worked well for me and the ‘eye-candy’ was quite nice (IMO).

  • Any Conclusion?

If I had to rate the Ubuntu based distros in order of where I would go, it would probably look like this:

  1. Ubuntu
  2. Xubuntu
  3. Kubuntu
  4. Lubuntu

After giving them all an honest try, I have to say I really like all of them.

There was a comment on OMG Ubuntu that compared Ubuntu to a car and Kubuntu to a truck. I don’t recall the context, but as some who rides a bicycle, I figured I’d throw the question out there, where would a bike fall into things.
The response I got was Xubuntu…which at this point I can’t argue.

Xubuntu is an operating system system that is not only fun to use, but does what you need it to do!

Ubuntu based distros or not, what desktop environment are you using?

Brief 11.10 thoughts

I downloaded Ubuntu 11.10 last night, but didn’t get around to installing it until this morning.

Everything went quite smooth and installed without any issues.

I fooled around for a little bit before I decided to install many programs I use on a regular basis.
That’s when things started to change.

Although the new Software Centre looks better, I must say it loads quite slowly. It’s not something I use often, so I can live with that however.

One of the first programs I installed was Kdenlive, which actually didn’t work. I had to put in some other version from the repositories. That did work, mind you saving in MP4 format yielded no sounds. I had to save in WebM format. I couldn’t find any work around for this.
This pretty well means for me, editing videos remains easier and less of a hassle in Windows.

As a whole, Unity is much improved over 11.04 from a stability standpoint. Usability? I’m still on the fence.
It takes too much work in order to find installed programs, especially if your unsure of their names.

Having Ubuntu’s appearance designed for tablets was a big mistake. I would assume people such as myself, who are upset with the Windows 8 interface (Metro) would look else where with Ubuntu leading the charge, but they fall short in this aspect.

As someone who hasn’t had much time in any one Linux distro, I must say what disappointed me most with Ubuntu 11.10, was the lack of customization…or ease of doing so.
Although buggy at times, I love the compiz effects. Compiz would install but simply wouldn’t open in 11.10.

Though this might be what Ubuntu was shooting for, to often it felt like I was in Windows. This may not be a bad thing to draw in Windows users, but when I ran into issues with programs such as Kdenlive and compiz, I said to myself; “why not just go back to Windows?”

I didn’t have the feeling of being in Linux anymore. Although I’m far from knowledgeable with Linux, what I liked about Mint and even Pinguy was that I (someone with limited Linux knowledge) was able to fully customize the OS to my liking.

I decided I would try Gnome Shell, which installed quite easily via the Software Centre.
Having dual monitors, I was stumped at how to get the ‘activities’ bar to my main (larger) monitor. Searching on the internet didn’t help. The speed of Gnome Shell was faster then that of Unity which was nice.

In the end however, I removed Ubuntu all together. Currently I’m back in Windows (7). I just finished downloading Kubuntu 11.10 and will give that a try.
When I first tried Linux eight or so years ago, I loved KDE and hated Gnome. That changed, but since I’m not overly crazy about what Gnome/Unity is now, I’m willing to give KDE another shot.

I read today that Mint 12 will have both Gnome 2 and 3:

Linux Mint 12 “Lisa” will be released in November this year with continued support for Gnome 2 but also with the introduction of Gnome 3. The radical changes introduced by the Gnome project split the community. At the time of releasing Linux Mint 11 we decided it was too early to adopt Gnome 3. This time around, the decision isn’t as simple. Gnome 3.2 is more mature and we can see the potential of this new desktop and use it to implement something that can look and behave better than anything based on Gnome 2. Of course, we’re starting from scratch and this process will take time and span across multiple releases. Until then, it’s important we continue to support the traditional Gnome 2 desktop. We’re likely to release two separate editions, one for Gnome 2.32 and one for Gnome 3.2. We’re also working in cooperation with the MATE project (which is a fork of Gnome 2) at the moment to see if we can make both desktopscompatible in an effort to let you run both Gnome 2 (or MATE) and Gnome 3 on the same system, either in Linux Mint 12, or for the future.

Have you tried Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) 11.10 yet? If so what are your thoughts?

Update

So it’s been awhile since my last post here. Turns out something on my computer got completely screwed up after I tried to dump Windows 8.

I was using True Image (Western Digital) and it simply wouldn’t go back to any image I had. Put it to you this way, after throwing my HP restore DVDs in, restoring all my pictures, videos, music, software and other documents to my hard drive, then restoring my Windows 7 I was finally back up and running two - three days later.

I made the decision to forgo Linux…for now. I wanted to wait until the final release of Ubuntu 11.10 was out to give it a shot. I did end up downloading the most recent beta to run off of USB, and can’t say I’m overly impressed.

Finally today I decided I wasn’t going to bother with the new Ubuntu, so I opted to install Linux Mint.
I had everything partitioned perfectly, put the USB stick in, clicked install then got to the ‘Allocate Drive Space’ part…

Nothing showed up. Just a blank window. I even tried Ubuntu and Pinguy just in case it was a Mint issue.

So after nearly an entire day of trying a million different things I gave up. Two hours later however I was back on and trying to find solutions on the internet.
Thanks to the Ubuntu forums, I managed to find a solution…A solution that would have saved me hours of work. A solution that took less then 2 minutes to do.

Pop in the Live Mint USB.
Open the terminal.
Type: sudo apt-get remove dmraid
Press ‘y’
Then I’m done.

All under two minutes and it worked like a charm!

http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=8225121&postcount=1

I probably won’t get around to installing Linux for a couple of days, but my mind is at least at ease that the problem has been fixed!
This would have driven me up a wall, probably to the point I’d be at it 24/7 until I figured it out.

So thank-you Ubuntu forums and thank-you Linux for having a solution that was mind-numbingly easy!

Windows 8…

So it’s been awhile since I last posted, however I’ve been settling in with Linux (Pinguy) as well as busy with other things.

I am currently posting this from the Developers Windows 8 beta. As a desktop user with little interest in touch computing and no interest in tablets or smart phones, I must say this is a complete disappointment.

The desktop has some improvement, but nothing major. Reading that Explorer would have the MS Ribbon feature actually excited me, however it’s not as good as I was expecting.

There appears to be better support for two monitors with the ability to have a second taskbar…Of course this seems pointless as if I want a program on my second monitor’s taskbar, it will have to be on the first. Perhaps I just haven’t figured it out yet.

Something more disappointing would be the way you login. You use your Hotmail account. Call me old fashion but I prefer the old way of logging in and having user accounts.

Arguably the biggest disappointment for desktop users would be the Metro UI. Absolutely pointless for those of us who prefer a good old mouse and keyboard. The actual desktop is now simply an “App”.

Which brings me to the fact that most of these Apps can’t be closed, rather they sit open.

Like the start menu? Not here by default. I have read that you may hack the registry to get it, but what good is that for the average person? Why not give the choice?
People went nuts in XP when MS introduced a new start-menu, but at least the option for the old one was there.

Speed wise it is quite good, but it should be noted I have pretty well nothing installed that would slow me down.

The video that’s around that shows the 8 second boot-up seems like utter non-sense. From the time I pushed the power button to the login screen, it took 26.37 seconds, about 10 seconds faster then my Win7.

As someone who usually likes Windows operating systems, this one is truly a let down. I’ve been with Windows ME, 2000, XP and now 7 and have loved all of them.

Even if they offered an upgrade for $30, I’d have to think long and hard if I’d want to even bother upgrading, let alone spend anywhere from $100-400 for a copy.

I think in order for myself to like Windows 8, MS will have to re-focus on the desktop. Forget about making it an App. Bring back the start-menu and the ability to boot directly into the desktop. Give the option to remove the Metro UI interface.

RPM vs DEB / OpenSUSE vs Fedora

So it has been almost a month now since I installed Linux. I have been happily using Pinguy OS for a couple of weeks. I must admit I love everything about it.

I am however considering trying out some other distros. Two that come to mind are OpenSUSE and Fedora.

I’ll be honest I like the idea of sticking to a Debian based system, as I truly like .deb files.

So I’m throwing a question out there. Are RPM files and more difficult to handle then deb files?

Also, which distro is better for someone who is still new to Linux…OpenSUSE or Fedora?

Rendering videos in Linux

One thing I have found difficult with my transition to Linux, has been video editing. Kdenlive is easy to use, however once I get to the rendering process all bets are off.

Too often I run into issues with my HD videos having bars on the side/top, poor quality just so I can get a respectable file size…

Well I think I’ve found out how to properly render a video in Linux so I have both quality and size!

You are going to need two programs to do this (or one if file size doesn’t matter).

Kdenlive and Arista Transcoder. You should be able to find both of these programs in the software manager. Arista came pre-installed with Pinguy!

I have done this with a video that is 1280 x 720, and on a 24” HD monitor. Results might be different depending on your monitor as non-HD monitors may still show large bars on the top and bottom.

Working in Kdenlive:

Step One - Before adding any videos to the project tree, hit the ‘New’ button at the top left.

In the profile drop down menu, select the option that best suits your video. In my case my video is 720p, so I went with the “HD 720p 30 fps" option.

Now add your video like usual to the project tree.

Step Two - Edit as you normally would.

Step Three - Now time to render your video.

I use the ‘H.264’ option, however I believe you can get away with using the MPEG-4 option as well since they both will be .mp4 files.

When it comes to choosing which option to use with H.264, this is up to you. I find using at least 6000k yields good results. Best to try rendering the same video a few times with the different choices to see what works best for you, then remember that for future uses.

Single or double pass?

Again, you can get away with a single pass but personally I use the ‘2 pass’ option.

Please note that using 2 pass will result in slightly longer rendering times, as well the higher the ‘k’ you use the larger the file.

Now that your file has been rendered, you should be able to play it without any bars on the side, top or bottom (again depending on your monitor). It should be full screen or at least nearly full screen!

My rendered file size is 117 MB. In my opinion this is too large for a video that is only 1m:40s long.

I like to have the smallest file size possible without losing too much video quality. Having a 60GB monthly cap (going up to 80GB in a couple of months!) I don’t want large uploads.

Despite having a 1TB + 500GB + 60GB hard drive(s), I also don’t want large files wasting space on my hard drive(s).

If you want a smaller file size, follow the next step. If size doesn’t matter then you should be done!

Working with Arista Transcoder:

Step Four - Select your source (video file).

For device, make sure ‘Computer’ is selected.

For the preset, I use ‘Live Input’.

Hit the ‘Add to Queue’ button at the top left then name/save it wherever you’d like.

Now your file size should be considerably smaller without much loss in video quality!

My video went from 117 MB down to 24 MB.

You also have the option to select WebM if your uploading to Youtube. This is ideal since Youtube renders most videos now in the HTML5 (WebM) format, which means they won’t have to re-render the file.

To render in WebM format do the following:

Select your source (video file).

For device select ‘Web Browser’.

Make sure the preset is set for ‘WebM’.

Hit the ‘Add to Queue’ button at the top left then name/save it wherever you’d like.

The WebM file will be slightly larger then your mp4 (live input) file, however not by much. My WebM file is 32 MB, only an 8MB difference. Like I said above, since YouTube is switching to HTML5, WebM files are ideal for uploading to that site.

Hopefully this works for you, as I was going mad trying to get rid of those bars and get a good quality video with a small file size!

Windows v. Linux - Video rendering (time, size, quality)

I have been using Sony Vegas for a couple of years now with Windows 7. I can’t say I have any complaints with it.

Since joining the Linux world, I have obviously made the switch to kdenlive. Seems like the more popular and easy to use video editing program.

I did a little comparison with Windows & Linux.

I rendered the same file which was 312 MB.

With Sony Vegas in Windows, the rendered file went down to 70 MB and took a little over 17 minutes to render. While rendering I couldn’t do anything else as it was far too slow.

In Linux, my Kdenlive rendered file was 117 MB and took a little over 12 minutes. While rendering I was surfing the internet as if I wasn’t doing anything else.

After the rendering was complete I used a program called Arista Transcoder which then rendered the file down to 24 MB (with no noticeable video quality loss). This process took just under 2 minutes.

Who wins?

Quality - Draw. You’d have to spend too much time looking hard at each video to see a difference in quality between the one rendered with Sony Vegas and the one rendered with Kdenlive & Arista Transcoder.

Time to render - Linux. Although with Linux it took two steps, it was still about 2-3 minutes faster then with Windows.

Plus while rendering in Linux you can check your email or do whatever else you like on the internet without any noticeable performance decreases! 

I suppose the plus with Windows is I had 17 minutes to clean or do whatever else I had to get done around the house, but for the most part the computer was far too slow during the rendering process to even surf the internet.

I should note this might be different for everyone. My PC is an AMD triple core processor with 8GB RAM.

File Size - Linux. If you don’t use Arista Transcoder, then Windows would win, but Arista Transcoder shrinks the file size considerably with little to no noticeable loss in quality.

The Switch

With yesterday marking the 17th day I’ve been with Linux, I have yet again opted to switch distros.

Although I started out with Mint, I went briefly to Ubuntu 11.04, back to Mint and I think I have found my home…

Pinguy OS.

I was reluctant to switch as my monthly bandwidth cap is already over the 55% mark, however I felt like it was the right time and fortunately I had already downloaded it a few days ago (and saved the ISO).

All I had to worry about was updates and the odd program I had to install, which thanks to Pinguy isn’t much.

The only faults I could find while reading about Pinguy is that it’s ‘bloated’. Yes it includes a lot of different programs, however most of them I would have installed anyways, plus I discovered a few programs I never heard of before. Of course having said that, some people find Mint & Ubuntu to be bloated.

Arguably the leading cause for the switch now was stability. Mint felt a little buggy at times. Nothing serious just minor annoyances. Pinguy on the other hand felt fast and stable.

For an operating system that includes as much as it does, it runs quite fast.

Two noticeable differences between Pinguy & Mint, where Mint is the winner would be:

1. Mint uses less RAM. Conky on Mint stayed around the 800-900MB mark, where as I’m a little over 1GB on Pinguy. Having 8GB of RAM installed this makes little difference personally.

2. Start-up time. I never cared or payed attention to how my Windows booted up until I installed Mint. From boot menu to opening the browser it is about 30-40 seconds in Mint.

I find Pinguy to be about 50 seconds, still faster than my Windows 7 but only slightly.

Like I said though, boot times aren’t a deal breaker for me.

I love that Pinguy uses Mint Update and menu, but also has the gnome global menu, Ubuntu Software Centre and many other of the pluses Ubuntu has that Mint may lack.

Perhaps minor, but one thing I love with Pinguy over Mint…Apt! When I went to the Adobe flash website, it gives the option for an Apt download, which Pinguy installs with no problem. Mint doesn’t offer this (of course both Mint & Pinguy include flash).

As someone who uses Kdenlive, initially getting it to render MP4’s can be a headache. I did manage to find an easy solution in Mint. In Pinguy, I didn’t have to do a single thing to it as everything needed was installed!

Again, I did find an easy work around for Mint & Ubuntu, but I love that in Pinguy I didn’t have to do a single thing!

Pinguy also maintains a blog with up to date news, tips and downloads.

Through the blog I managed to get the new Firefox before it was released (not beta). I installed the new Linux kernel (3.0.0.8-generic) without issue…actually it’s much better with it!

I hope I don’t jinx myself, but I’m absolutely loving Pinguy and the way it’s running so far!

Updated Mint desktop!

Updated Mint desktop!