So you’ve installed that shiny Ubuntu distro onto your PlayStation 3 and finagled a couple of cool applications to boot. And yet, there’s still a lot of empty real estate on that newly formatted hard drive, and you’re no doubt pondering what else you can load up on your now living room-friendly PC. Turns out, there are literally thousands of options available; but the task of sorting through the seemingly endless lists and testing each and every app to see if it suits your tastes and jives with the PS3 can be a daunting task. But luckily for you, we’ve done exactly that; we rolled up our sleeves, burned the midnight oil, and muscled the necessary digital elbow grease to whittle down the Ubuntu archives to the top 10 absolute keepers. So what are you waiting for? Plug in your PS3’s keyboard and mouse, fire up Jaunty Jackalope, and read onward to get cracking.
If you’re at all serious about home media, you probably have a badass audio system hooked up to your entertainment center. And let’s face it; the best PC speakers out there just can’t compare to the flagships that make up a home theater’s THX configuration. So it’s only natural that you prefer listening to music outside of the setup sitting beside your main computer. Enter Last.FM. It serves as an always-on background radio station, catered and tweaked to stream random audio tracks precisely suited to your personal tastes. Here’s how to grab it:
Open up FireFox and punch in www.last.fm
Sign up for your free account and then check your email for the necessary credentials (you’ll need them shortly).
Next, travel to Applications => Add/Remove Programs . Ensure “All” is selected in the upper left hand corner of the titles column, and also that the “Show” menu reads as “All Available Applications.” In the search field, type out “Last FM” (minus the quotation marks), and then make sure you tick a checkmark to the left of the name.
Then press “Apply Changes.”
(Note: All applications included inside our list will be installed in the exact same way. Simply follow the same instructions above and substitute the corresponding application name in the search field.)
After Last.Fm has installed, you’ll be prompted to fill out some information. Hit “Next” from the beginning, and then enter your user name and password when prompted.
Now hit “Finish” to close the setup.
Navigate back to Applications=>Sound and Video=>Last.FM
At this point, all you have to do is enter a tag or an artist to get the gears moving, crank the volume, and enjoy the music.
Streaming radio stations with randomized songs are great, but sometimes you just want to kick back your feet, reminisce, and dust off your ancient CD collection (hey, Steppenwolf had some great tracks, after all). But one thing your PS3 is not is a 10-disc CD changer. What to do? Easy. Download Audio CD Extractor and rip all those golden oldies straight to Ubuntu’s default music folder. Find your way back to the Add/Remove section, and throw the app onto Ubuntu.
Once you’ve installed the program, go to Applications=>Sound and Video=>Audio CD Extractor . Now, just slide in your favorite CD, check off each track you’d like to rip, and then hit “Extract.”
Let the program run for a few minutes and you’ll be on your way to tipping back brewskis to a stored digital copy of Magic Carpet Ride in no time flat.
Why should twittering be limited to your handheld or primary PC? You’ve already got a mouse and a keyboard in your capable hands anyways- might as well put them to good use and let the world know what wacky hijacks are transpiring under your roof at this very moment. Who says geeks aren’t social? But first we need to acquire the vehicle for our literary public ramblings, so go ahead and install it per the previous instructions and then look to the text below.
After the install, navigate to Applications=>Internet=>Twitux . Log in and connect via the embedded menu.
Now you’re all ready to catch up with your buds, stalk some celebs, and do some typin’ of your own… within the limits of 140 characters of course.
You liked playing Nintendo. And you know you liked playing the original Final Fantasy. If you didn’t like those things, you’re either hopelessly deprived, or sadly out of touch with the awesomeness that was the 8-bit era. But whether you’re a diehard retro aficionado or a born-again gamer ready to embrace the evolution of the consoles’ past, it’s not too late! KQ is a strangely addicting RPG that more or less clones the gameplay from the first edition of an iconic series. If you loved Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior, but you’re yearning for some new material along the same veins, you’ll adore KQ and its tongue-in-cheek subtle humor. The sound can become a little wonky at times, but it’s a time-killer regardless. Install the app and then continue below.
To run the game, journey to Applications=>Games=>KQ.
Once loaded, press “F1” to get a list of the controls and settings, and get ready for some serious old-school RPG action.
You have a Gmail account, right? (If not, you really should get one). Just because you’re relaxing or eating a snack within eye-shot of your dormant TV doesn’t mean you should go uniformed of important messages like upcoming TF2 practice sessions. CheckGmail is a useful tool that informs automatically of any new arrivals to your online inbox. Best of all: it’s unobtrusive, elegant, and a cinch to use, just as anything Gmail-related should be. It also looks great on a big-screen LCD. When a new message pops in, a gentle reminder flashes on the screen, notifying you that rather than eating that hamburger, you really should be logging into the TF2 match server as a medic about now. After the usual installation steps, follow along downward.
Click Applications=>Internet=>CheckGmail. Once the app launches, fill in your user name and password. Leave the external commands as they are, and hit “OK.”
CheckGmail will run by default in your taskbar. Configure it to check for email as often as you like, from every five minutes to every hour.
If there’s one thing Ubuntu and Linux in general have trouble doing, it’s playing nice network-wise with Windows PCs. In fact, creating a shared folder from Ubuntu to Vista over a wireless connection can be a flat-out nightmare. This can be doubly frustrating if you’d like to swap over existing large media files to your PS3, and you don’t have an enormous backup USB storage solution. However, if you have the option of an FTP alternative, GFTP flies in to the rescue. It more or less copies the functionality and features of Filezilla (which, unfortunately, isn’t compatible with Ubuntu PPC). Still, GFTP is the next best thing. Its transfers are speedy and reliable, and it’s relatively straightforward to operate. Install it and follow below.
Mosey on over to Applications=>Internet=>GFTP . Once GFTP opens up, just fill in the domain name or FTP IP address, your user name and your password, and hit enter. After that, it’s as easy as dragging and dropping.
Sam and Max notwithstanding, the PC’s adventure gaming realm is all but dead. Sadly, the genre went before its time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate its life by reliving the classics that once populated the spectrum, and ScummVM is the means to do so. But the app will do little good standing all by its huddled lonesome, so we’ve joined another app that goes together with ScummVM like peanut butter and jelly: Beneath a Steel Sky- one of the pinnacles of the point-and-click adventure medium. Best of all: both of these apps are available for download absolutely free. Trust us, if you fancy yourself a PC gamer, this is an experience you can’t miss (especially on the big screen). Yeah- it’s a classic, so the graphics may not be up to par with that of, say, Crysis, but the gripping narrative yanks Prophet’s fancy nano-suit down around his ankles and calls him Susan. If you enjoy an interactive graphical story and some brilliant puzzles, it just doesn’t come much better than Beneath a Steel Sky. So follow those install steps, taking special note to check off BOTH apps after first searching for ScummVM in the application repositories, and then continue on below.
Go to Applications=>Games=>Beneath a Steel Sky
Note: There’s no need to run ScummVM before launching the game, as Ubuntu already does so automatically.
The controls are fairly basic: right click to examine, left click to interact and move about. To bring up your character’s inventory and in-game menu, hover the mouse pointer on the upper top edge of the screen. And that’s really all there is to it. Now you’re prepared to show your dinner guests what REAL geeks consider classic gaming.
We’ve recommended a few audio-related apps already, and for good reason: everything just sounds better on home speakers, even if they’re the middle of the road variety. But what to do with all those musical tracks sitting on Ubuntu just begging to be mashed together and harassed? Wouldn’t it be nice to edit a long group of singular clips on the robust size of a lavish 46-inch flat screen? In walks Jokosher, a brawny audio editor that contains a plethora of options to tinker with and explore. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Jokosher is just the right fit. Nab it by reading the installation steps mentioned in the beginning of the list; then afterwards, cast your eyes below.
To open the app, meander your mouse icon over to Applications=>Sound and Video=>Jokosher
Click “Create New Project,” and give the project a name, and press “OK.”
If you’ve tangled with Audacity once or twice, Jokosher should feel eerily familiar. But if you’re still left scratching your head, check out the official site’s user manual located here .
AllTray is one of the most elementary apps on this list, but it’s also one of the handiest. The concept is straightforward: you open AllTray, a small pointer takes the place of your mouse, you click on any open window, and then the program or file gets docked into your taskbar as a tray icon, while still remaining 100 percent active (albeit mostly hidden). While it seems rudimentary at first, we found ourselves using this little gem over and over, especially when running multiple programs in concert with each other and wishing to avoid the opened visual clutter and annoyances of minimized horizontal columns. Install the app, and then read below to run it.
Go to Applications=>Accessories=>AllTray
From here, click on any open window, dock, repeat.
Look to the upper right hand corner of your screen to see the new icon associated with your freshly docked app. It’s that easy.
Have any other Linux/Ubuntu apps that you use on your PlayStation 3? Share your favorites in the comments section below!