If you are a user of Ubuntu GNU/Linux, While working using the Orca screen reader (automatically installed and running if you use the Vinux 4 distribution of Ubuntu), you will probably also enjoy listening to music or to an audio book for entertainment, personal edification or education. Two of my favorite media players for listening to books and music are rhythmbox and vlc.
Rhythmbox allows you not only to listen to internet radio streams and mp3 files but it also has plugins which allow you to give it more features such as recording internet streams to your hard drive, manageing your iphone’s music collection, and even playing music remotely from an android phone or tablet.
Installing rhythmbox and vlc
The easiest way to install rhythmbox and vlc is to go into a terminal window (control alt t does this in the Gnome desktop, the GUI running when you install Ubuntu),. copy and paste this into the terminal, (the keystroke to paste in the terminal window is control shift v):
sudo apt-get install rhythmbox vlc
You will be asked for your super user password which, if you only have one account on the system, would be your standard password but, if you’ve added more users, you need to remember to use the password of an account with supervisory privileges.
You can also install them using software center. go into software center and search for vlc, tab to the list, press enter on vlc, then shift tab to install and hit enter then type in your password and vlc will be installed. The same procedure goes for installing rhythmbox and other applications into Vinux distros and other Ubuntu-based systems.
To access the controls in rhythmbox, either press f10 to go to the menu bar and access buttons such as play, stop and record from there, or tab through the options until you hear the button you want and press enter. Control up and down arrows raise and lower the volume of the currently playing track. Using the menu bar, if you have orca set correctly will also give you keyboard shortcuts for commonly used controls such as play, stop, and record..
Other rhythmbox features
Some other rhythmbox features:
- Play various format music files from your tagged organized Library.
- Display information on the songs through meta-data reading.
- Display songs in an organized view.
- Create static playlists by dragging and dropping from the Library view.
- Create automatic playlists from various search criteria.
- Search for songs in the sources list like Library or Playlists.
- Listen to Internet radio stations.
- Read Audio CDs, and retrieve information like track title from the Internet.
- Burn Audio CDs from playlists.
- Transfer music to iPod, MTP and USB Mass Storage music players . .
You can learn about all of the other features by taking a look at the RhythmBox help files.
Vlc Media Player
What if Rhythmbox won’t play a particular type of file?? That is where vlc media player comes in. Personally I like using vlc to listen to audio books because it has a very nice feature which easily lets you speed up and slow down an audio book just like using an nls talking book player. Vlc also has a simple internet radio station recorder which, while not perfectly accessible, can be used using Orca’s review cursor. To get to the menus in vlc press alt m for media, then you can use the arrow keys to go through the rest of the menus.
some vlc keyboard shortcuts
- play and pause, spacebar
- stop, control x
- volume up control up arrow
- volume down, control down arrow
VLC has many more features and, to learn about all of them, check with the software’s documentation.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Rhythmbox and vlc with the vinux distribution of Ubuntu. Next we’ll be taking a look at libreoffice, an excellent Microsoft office alternative with all the features you will need to get work done at home, at school and at your job.