Clementine, a great music player

31 May 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

I am a KDE user since my first steps towards Linux. Currently, my OS is KDE Neon and I am very pleased with it! Apart from very few minor occasional bumps, everything works amazingly well and I get the most updated pieces of software possible :)

My music player has been Amarok for a long (long!) time. It was always successful in allowing to navigating my music by folder instead of trying to categorize and organize it for me. However, since KDE 5, Amarok is stuck in time. Slow and without any new features. After a couple of attempts, I found Clementine. My first impression was: it does the job, even though it does not look great.

Clementine has all the basic features that you expect from a music player, including my must-have folder navigation. It also integrates very well with Plasma. But the tipping point was the "Complete tags automatically" feature: it connects to online databases and suggest the most likely tags for your mp3 files. It works perfectly and it is very handy! No need of using external software and I can progressively improve the organization of my collection.

After finding that feature, I decided to make it look a bit better and faster and you can see how it looks for me now in the image below.

clementine's interface

And here is how you can get the same look:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of Clementine. For better performance and look you need at least 1.29 to get the QT5 framework behind it;
  2. Right click on the sidebar and choose "plain sidebar";
  3. Download here a new icon set and follow the instructions to install.

Some day I will tweak the icons to make them even plainer, but even before that Clementine is my favorite music player on linux!

Hambleton bakery

09 May 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

First time I went to Stamford, near Nottingham, I checked my England travel book for hot tips and they recommended a bakery called Hambleton. The website seemed nice, good looking products. nice reviews on TripAdvisor and a god score on Google Maps. So, I decided to try it and it was amazing!

Back home, I decided to do some extra research on it and found out that they are a small East Midlands chain with one store in Nottingham.

Unfortunately, it is far from my place, but I returned there a few times and always enjoyed their products (even though I would be even happier if I could eat them in, warm and with a cup of coffee). My personal favorites are the Eccles cakes, pecan bun and a cheese and bacon wrap.

A couple of days ago I was searching for a goo Eccles cake, since I am going to visit Lancashire in a couple of weeks and the classic "where to find the best..." search on Google found a page titled "The best Eccles cake in the world!". Excited, I clicked and the page was talking about Hambleton! :) Well... at least I know I can cross that off from my list...

Probably the best Beef Wellington in London

02 May 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

I love Beef Wellingtons! The concept of a thick fillet covered in mushroom sauce and encased in puff pastry is very appealing in itself and it is relatively easy to find decent ones in regular supermarkets.

Sometime time ago, I found G. Kemp & Son near my house. A very good butcher selling a impressively good beef wellington,but I always wanted to try one in a restaurant, which is not easy to find.

After some research, I found some places in London. The first attempt was Riding House Café. Great deception. They were not serving Beef Wellington in the time I came, so I had to improvise. The result was an overpriced hipster meal (fancy names and fancy ingredients) with nothing special to offer.

But the second attempt was spot on! The Grenadier pub. I usually avoid Greene King pubs, but this one seemed to be an exception. All the comments and photos suggested it was a place of good food, so I tried. It was amazing! It does not feel as a Greene King pub, with standardized menus and crappy beers. Actually, the menu is very original and they were offering at least two decent real ales.

pub The Grenadier

As planned, my girlfriend and I ordered two beef wellingtons and they were perfect! The meat, the pastry, the sauce and the gravy. Even the regular vegetables on the side were better than usual (not from frozen apparently). The desert was ok, but the main definitely was worth the visit alone.

Beef Wellington

Although it is a bit pricey and busy, I strongly recommend The Grenadier if you want to try a Beef Wellington.

Where should I publish?

26 Apr 2018 / Leonardo Barichello

A common recommendation for those starting to publish in academic journals is try to go for the journal you read the most. Of course this could mean a highly competitive journal, in which case you may need to consider other options, but the idea behind this advice is that by reading papers from a journal you get familiar with its style, purposes and so on and, therefore, all this would reflect in your paper.

When I heard this advice my computer programmer brain thought: I could write a script to do this for me!

Since I use Zotero and Zotero is a very friendly open source software, I decided to try to write a script in Python that would search its database. After checking the tables, I could identify where the information I needed was (see the query below).

SELECT * FROM itemData INNER JOIN itemDataValues ON itemData.valueID=itemDataValues.valueID
WHERE fieldID=12 ORDER BY value

For those interested: 12 is the id for the "publication" field, which contains the title of the journal for "journal article" items.

You can use the query above in any software that can read SQLite (I recommend SQLiteBrowser on Linux). But if you are not experienced with such things, you can just download the script available on my github or here (this link may be outdated).

After unzip it, you will get a .py file. Save it on main Zotero's folder (you will see a zotero.sqlite file in it) and run the script. It depends on some very basic Python library, which I believe are installed in most computers being regularly used. The screenshot below shows the result.


Now, you just need to scroll the list and find the most common journal in your library (pay attention to small variations in the title of the journal - the script is sensitive to them). For me, it was the Educational Studies in Mathematics.

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