Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Writing a book: Day 13

Research, research and research. I did not produce a lot of words in the last few days. It mostly boiled down to finding and describing the solutions for smaller or larger (hence irritating) problems that hinder everyday use. And creating screenshots of course. The problem solving is good since it will find a way into the chapters. I always prefer to try things out myself. There are quite a few books about Ubuntu already and -together with the web-based information- there are plenty suggestions for problem solving. However, I never take those suggestions at face value. I try them out myself, see what is wrong (or right) and describe them as simple as possible.
One interesting problem that grudgingly wants to reveal it’s solution is using Microsoft Word under CrossOver Office and then access your documents from a shared folder on a Windows box in the network. The book’s projectleader is having this problem and we have been writing hence and forth about solutions. The problem is that Word under CrossOver Office opens your /home/user folder, but not much else. Using the network locations option made Word crash on my box.
Ubuntu is very easy when you want to browse to network shares (locations->network servers), but you can’t open documents in Word that way (nor in Abiword for that matter, OpenOffice.org seems to be handling that fine).
With SMB4K you can mount networkshares in /home/user/smb4k, but that involves installing a ton of KDE-based stuff which isn’t very friendly to the Gnome users. I find SMB4K not really easy to use and it takes some fiddling with the settings to finally get it working. Sort of. We are now at a point where the network folder is indeed mounted in /home/user/smb4k, but the folder remains empty. So this needs solving.
Another point that needs solving is mounting the networkshare at boot time. A quick search revealed quite a few posts about how troublesome this is under Ubuntu. I agree: mounting networkshares and working with documents from them with Word under CrossOver Office isn’t something an Ubuntu newbie would want to try, but it isn’t farfetched either. Time to dig deeper.
That digging will be done at the other side of the country. It’s also time to visit the in-laws. Luckily I can the iMac along (with the laptop still broken and not replaced it’s the most portable system) so the creative process will not be stalled. No Fashion TV to be my muze there, just the sound of chickens.

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