Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Review

Resisting change can be a blessing and a cruse and resisting changing to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is a cruse. While I'm sad that I leaving Unity behind, due to some issues on 16.04 LTS, I'm glad that I decided to switch. Though I do miss Unity.

I decided to do a minimal install instead of a full one because there are many programs that I do need. I only need Firefox, PDF Reader,video player, and the core system programs. The rest of the programs that I need, including ReText and the System76 drivers, aren't included in the full install. Over the last years, I noticed that I don't use LibreOffice or the music player.

The Good

  • Minimal installation option
  • Calendar apps such as GNOME Calendar and Evolution are better integrated with the top panel. Though it would be cool to see To Do tasks

The Bad

  • ReText is not integrated in the dock, it opens another instance on the dock, if favored.
  • Nautilus doesn't have the integrated bookmarked folders in the dock when right clicked on the icon
  • No recent files on the Dash of the dock (can't think of the term)

Screenshots

ReText Review

Introduction

As I said in the last post, I found a great Markdown editor called ReText. I decided to write a review on the program, but for that, I wanted to show what preferences I have on. I'm not sure if those would effect the review.

The Review

Ratings

UX

I'm giving UX a 7.5/10. Reason number one is there is no find/find-replace button on the tool bar. The next reason is there is no way to customize the tool bar. The third reason is the line counter hides the text when text is in that corner of the screen

but it fades out when cursor is on it

Next is the symbols need to be defined; I don't really use symbols and some of those, such as & larr ; (without spaces); I don't know. I Last but not least, the images don't show up on the live previewer. I have to use Markdown Preview, a web-based tool to check the images.

Performance

I'm giving performance a 10/10 because it only uses less than 100 MiB of memory and I had no big issues with it yet.

Features

I'm giving features a 10/10 because as you can see:

  • It can export in HTML, ODT, and PDF

  • It can have multiple documents open in tabs

  • It can view other plaintext files

  • Fullscreen works in the latest version

  • Table editing/formating is much easier

  • It has auto-fill for numbered and un-numbered lists

  • It has a live previewer and a normal one

  • It can show where the white spaces are

  • It can show what line you are on

  • It allows you to move lines up or down with a click of a button or a keyboard shortcut

  • It can show what line number you are on

  • It can auto-save documents and auto-open last documents on start-up with window geometry from the last session

  • It allows reStructuredText editing with previewer along with the default Markdown editing

  • It has a spell-checker

  • It has a HTML code viewer of the document that is opened

  • It can show what directory the file is sitting in

  • It can insert certain symbols in text, for example: ←

  • It has other features that are cool

Conclusion

Overall, I'm giving ReText a 9/10 because the features and the performance wins out over the UX.

Why Plain Text?

Two weeks ago, I saw a tweet about plain text productivity and like what James Gifford said, it is a "really interesting idea". This tweet stuck out me not for the productivity side of things but in terms of workflow. I ditched hierarchical note taking programs (KeepNote and Cherry Tree as examples) because I noticed that I never really used them and I was over complicating things. But the one thing that stayed with me is the use of Plain Text, A.K.A writing in Markdown. Why?

  • Can be used everywhere- only need a text editor
  • Can still have formating via markup languages
  • Small file size
  • Copy and pasting is easier because the formating is lost in Plain Text

And these pros win over the two cons that I can name:

  • Can't really do the classic outline formating. The closest that I have is this (with spaces between the lines):

Header 1

Header 2

  1. Ordered Item 1

(Tab or four (4) lines) Unordered Item 2

Example:

Outline in Markdown

This outline system allows you to write content without using classic outlining formating if you want to write longer items for each points without making it hard to read.

  • The need for a previewer for markup languages

Recently I found a Markdown editor/live previewer called ReText which, to me, is better than GitHub's Atom or QOwnNotes.

The reason, over Atom, is ReText dedicated for Markdown but you can still open other plain text files. Atom is also really meant for developers. Over QOwnNotes, ReText is not a hierarchical note taking program.

This is how I draft in Markdown in ReText:

Drafting in Markdown

It seems that working in the Open is allowing me to think in different ways of how to do thing and this is one example.

EDIT TO ADD: I forgot to talk about that Plain Text formats don't change over versions of programs and the formats are mostly Open.

Landing Page Now Live!

As I stated before, I switched from WordPress to Nikola but I lost the landing/home page that I had. It's something that I feel a website needs. I tired to use Gandi's free web page hosting service and I was able to create a page but not having it live. I think it's due to Gandi updating their services from v4 to v5. Due to this, I asked a few people and decided to follow what Aaron Honeycutt did for his landing page. I made some changes though which are the color scheme to match the logo's, made the text to suit my liking, and added a link to my Ubuntu Wiki page.

Like Aaron, I'm using Linode for server hosting. Again, Gandi's Simple Hosting is not being nice.

Hopefully this is the last major change I do for my site.

Edit to Add: I removed the link to the landing page but it's senseopenness.com, just Copy and Paste it. Gandi's sever hosting is pricey and I would rather pay $7 a month than like $10+.

Why Nikola

As I stated previously, I switched from WordPress to Nikola for hosting my blog. Here, I want to explain more in depth on why Nikola is, to me, the best choice for a static generator.

Over WordPress

Over that year when my blog was down, I think WordPress made some changes with their WordPress importer and I wasn't able to import from my backup file that I had. That's one reason there. I can list the other reasons along with the reasons stated on the Nikola's official site:

  • There is a built-in way to write in Markdown and have it phrased.

  • A text editor of your own choice is used. Some times that is better than the web based editor.

  • The files are stored locally and on a server.

  • GitHub/GitHub Pages/GitLab can be used to host.

  • The themes are better becuase they don't have the side bar on the left-hand side.

Over Jekyll

I also considered using Jekyll, but I found it harder to use as a first time user of Jekyll and also for static site generators. Also (I think), your file formats for posts must be in a certain way.

And We Are Back...

... FOR GOOD! And with major changes!

What Changed?

After almost a year and two or three months, I finally got my blog running again and not with WordPress. Wordpress and JetPack/VaultPress plug-ins gave me enough headaches mainly from restoring a backup from another server/host to a new server/host. Lucky nothing was lost, content (thank you Internet Archive!) or money (I was able to get a full refund for both JetPack and Simple Hosting by Gandi, which I switched to).

I saw a post by Bryan Quigley about a static site generator called Nikola. Along with the reasons on why Bryan Quigley picked to use Nikola minus the WordPress import, the two main reasons why I picked Nikola is the ability to write posts/pages in Markdown and in my favorite text editor (gedit) and the ease of first time start-up and use. I decided to not use GitLabs though or Cloudflare. If you want to try Nikola on Ubuntu, Martin Wimpress wrote a great guide.

I still have tweaks to make to the blog/site but I wanted to share the news with you.

Other Updates

Not that much happened over the down time, but I do have some updates to share.

Grailvillie Wetlands

Data collection season ended a month ago and, like always, I'm working on researching possible solutions- but this time for the Clermont Park Distinct (still under Grailville) since the Grail sold the north side of Grailville to them. I have another season to data collect because it's a two year proccess for the transfer. Sad news, but at least I have a say in what they can do with the ponds. At least the land is going to good hands.

Ubuntu

Due to the lack of free time that I had, I stepped down from the CC. Mainly because I was missing the meetings because of my work schedule. There is another reason but it's something that I don't wish to share publicly at this moment in time.

A week before the recent Ubuntu release, I tried that said release and disliked it. The reason is simple, I may be resisting change. At least I wasn't the only one who disliked it. These people use a sub-forum on the community.ubuntu.com site for discussions. I invite those who want Unity 7 to maintained to join. There is also a Launchpad team.

I also want to share two articles on this topic: