Posting to Tumblr from the Linux Desktop with OpenTumblr Client

Tumblr

TumblrIf you’re looking to publish online, but want a platform that’s somewhere between Twitter and a fully-fledged blog, then you might want to check out Tumblr. With Tumblr, you post tumblelogs, short posts that can be text, video, or audio.

The great thing about a tumblelog is that it’s simple to set up and use. While posting from the Tumblr site itself is fairly easy,  you can also post from your desktop. However, if you’re running Linux, there aren’t too many Tumblr clients for the Linux desktop. One worth taking a look  at is OpenTumblr Client.

Getting Up and Running

OpenTumblr Client is written in Python, which you should have installed by default on your system. If not, install it using your distro’s package manager.

There are two versions of this application. One only requires Python, while the other requires both Python and the following libraries:

Again, you should be able to install those libraries from your distro’s package manager.

The main difference between the two version is that the Python QT version is a bit more compact and visually attractive.

Note: This post focuses on the Python + QT version of the OpenTumblr client.

Download the archive containing the installation files and extract it to your hard drive. Then, open a terminal window, navigate to the directory containing the files that you extracted, and then run the following command to install OpenTumblr Client:

sudo python setup.py install 

Let’s Get Tumblelogging!

Once OpenTumblr Client is installed, it’s added to your Applications menu. For example, in Ubuntu you can find the shortcut under Applications > Internet. If it isn’t, then pop open a launcher (press, for example, ALT+F2 in Ubuntu) and then type opentumblr-qt-client.py.

Login window

You’re asked to enter the email address of your Tumblr account, the password, and the name of your tumblelog. The name isn’t actually the name that appears at the top of a page when someone visits your tumblelog. It’s the URL — for example, mytumblelog.tumblr.com. Then click the Log in button.

Once you’re logged in, you’re presented with the application’s dashboard.

The dashboard

It looks a bit like the dashboard in Tumblr’s web interface. Just click an icon to open the editor to post text (a traditional blog post), links, conversations, quotes, photos, audio, and video. The editor is tailored to the type of post you’re making. For example, here’s the editor for a text post:

Ready to publish a text post

Just type information in the main fields and add a tag or two if you want. If you’re writing a text post, you can also add formatting to the text, as well as insert an image or a link.

If you want to schedule the post to publish at a later date, click the Publishing options list and select publish on. Then, in the Date this post field, enter a date and time to publish the post. It defaults to next Tuesday, 10 am.

When you’re ready to publish, click the Create Post button.

Like Tumblr, OpenTumblr Client is very easy to use. If you want to post to Tumblr from the Linux desktop, you’ll find OpenTumblr client a simple and effective way to do just that.

The Ultimate .vimrc Configuration File for the Vim Text Editor

Vim is a versatile and powerful text editor for command-line environments in Linux/UNIX systems.  Vim is free, open source, and is available on many different platforms, but it does have some quirks out of the box.  If you’re comfortable working in a regular text editor you might find yourself lost, but in this guide I’ll show you how to supercharge Vim with a simple configuration file.

Besides the idiosyncrasies of being a non-GUI’d text editor, there were a couple things I wasn’t wild about when using a fresh, unmodified version of Vim:

  • On some computers, the arrow keys don’t always navigate. They might instead insert random characters into your file (like the up and down arrows insert the letters A and B instead of navigating).
  • Syntax highlighting is not on by default.
  • Smart indenting is not enabled by default.
  • Line numbers are not enabled by default.
  • The Delete key does not function normally.
  • No mouse functionality.

Vim’s settings are stored in a configuration file called .vimrc which is located in your profile’s home directory.  You can add dozens of excellent features to Vim by making some very simple changes in this file  – only one problem, you have to do a lot of reading to figure out which settings to enable.

A co-worker of mine recently gave me bartered with me for an excellent .vimrc file, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to post it here.  He notes that he originally found it on the internet and made changes to it, so if you want to take any credit for this wonderful configuration just let me know in the comments.

Modifying Vim’s Settings

To edit (or create) a .vimrc file, just go to your command-line environment and use a text editor to open ~/.vimrc (the ~/ syntax denotes your home directory).  If you already have Vim installed, you can use the following command:


vim ~/.vimrc

After that, copy and paste the following code into the file (you might need to press Shift + Insert to paste), then write the changes to file with the command :wq).  These changes will immediately take effect after you’ve re-opened Vim.

If you’re wondering what any of these settings do, check out the comments after each single quotation mark (“).  Single quotation marks in the .vimrc file are viewed as comment syntax, meaning they will be ignored by Vim.


set nocompatible "This fixes the problem where arrow keys do not function properly on some systems.
syntax on  "Enables syntax highlighting for programming languages
set mouse=a  "Allows you to click around the text editor with your mouse to move the cursor
set showmatch "Highlights matching brackets in programming languages
set autoindent  "If you're indented, new lines will also be indented
set smartindent  "Automatically indents lines after opening a bracket in programming languages
set backspace=2  "This makes the backspace key function like it does in other programs.
set tabstop=4  "How much space Vim gives to a tab
set number  "Enables line numbering
set smarttab  "Improves tabbing
set shiftwidth=4  "Assists code formatting
colorscheme darkblue  "Changes the color scheme. Change this to your liking. Lookin /usr/share/vim/vim61/colors/ for options.
"setlocal spell  "Enables spell checking (CURRENTLY DISABLED because it's kinda annoying). Make sure to uncomment the next line if you use this.
"set spellfile=~/.vimwords.add  "The location of the spellcheck dictionary. Uncomment this line if you uncomment the previous line.
set foldmethod=manual  "Lets you hide sections of code
"--- The following commands make the navigation keys work like standard editors
imap   gj
imap   gk
nmap   gj
nmap   gk
"--- Ends navigation commands
"--- The following adds a sweet menu, press F4 to use it.
source $VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim
set wildmenu
set cpo-=<
set wcm=
map  :emenu 
"--- End sweet menu

With these changes, you should be dominating source code with Vim in no time.  And I have no doubt that it will impress the ladies, too.

Image courtesy: Jason Ryan

Turn Your Digital Media into Web Video with Stupeflix Studio

French startup Stupeflix has just launched Stupeflix Studio which aims to turn your digital media into something more meaningful.  Stupeflix Studio lets you easily create web videos from your own pictures and videos to showcase your digital artwork, create scrapbooks, or send personal video greetings.

To get started, create a free account and you’ll be taken to the video creation page.  You’ll choose from one of three themes: Classic, Scrapbook, and Holidays.

Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can get started right away by uploading images and videos from your hard drive, Flickr, Picasa, or any web URL.

Stupeflix has a really useful web editor that allows you to customize your video and add a soundtrack using MP3s from your computer.

Once you’re finished customizing your video, you can preview your work or click the Export button to finish.

Unfortunately, the free version only lets you produce 1 minute of standard definition video, but you can purchase the full length high quality version (640×360) for $3 and the high definition version (1280×720) for $5.

You can check out my mindblowing holiday video, as well as some slightly better produced videos for the Classic, Scrapbook, and Holiday themes.

I’ve had a lot of fun with Stupeflix Studio so far and I think it has a great potential for people who want to share digital scrapbooks and photo albums but don’t want to buy professional software.