Day 5, Part 2
Itsy Bitsy Customizations
The one thing I don’t like about Ubuntu is having a panel at the top of my screen. Why? Because I’m use to handling windows (which I generally always keep maximed) by throwing my mouse cursor at the menu bar and then clicking or double-clicking.
For example, if I want to close a window, I simply throw my cursor to the top right of the screen without even looking, and then I click. The cursor hits the corner edge and my click closes the window. You can’t do that if there’s a panel at the edge of your screen. Doing this with Ubuntu’s default settings will make you click on the red “power” button.
Solution? Click and drag it to the bottom of the screen. Nice and simple!
I also don’t like the “Applications | Places | System” menu bar. It takes up too much space on a panel. This is easily fixed by right-clicking on it and selecting “Remove from Panel”. It’s just an applet, so no big deal.
But now I don’t have anything there. What I DO want is ONE button, like in Windows. Not because I’m used to Windows, but because it saves screen space.
So lets add a ONE-BUTTON menu to our panel… Right-click on the panel and select “Add to Panel…” Find the Main Menu applet (shown in the figure) and drag it to where you want the button on your panel. Now you have one tiny button which will open a menu that contains the Applications menu, the Places menu, and the System menu! Sweet…
Weather At-A-Glance, Please!
When I want to know what the weather is like outside, my logic tells me to look in the system tray with the date and time. But there’s nothing there… so let’s add the weather down there!
Right-click on the panel and select “Add to Panel…” and in the Accessories section, you will find the Weather Report applet. Drag it beside the Date and Time Applet or wherever you wish. Right-click on it, select Preferences, and search for your city within the Location tab. You can also set your unit preferences in the General tab and then click close to finish. Wicked sweet…
Is My Network Connection On?
I always like to see if my network connection has any activity going on… at a glance, again. So I also add the Network Monitor applet to my panel.
And a few more…
Misbehaving apps? Add the “Force Quit” applet for quick access.
My Window List is too small. I like having two rows of windows to maximize the amount of windows I can see without reducing the size of the button. Therefore, I right-click on the panel containing my Window List applet and select Properties. The default is set at 24, so I double it to 48… anything smaller will only give me one row.
And then I remove all the application icons from my Panel and I add all my favorite or most frequently used applications. Yes, I remove Firefox because I like Swiftfox (installed through Automatix). Essentially, Swiftfox IS Firefox, but with some tweaks specific to your CPU (automatically detected and set by Automatix). I remove Evolution because I prefer Thunderbird, and I remove the Help icon, cause I don’t use it. Once all my icons are set and nicely spaced, I lock them all by right-clicking on them and selecting “Lock to Panel”. This prevents accidental moves.
That’s it! My very basic customizations are done. And you know what? The best thing about it is, nothing crashed, nothing reset itself, and it does exactly as I tell it to. Microsoft Windows CAN’T do that whatsoever!
It’s been a while since my last post in this series. Only because once I used Automatix to install all my applications, I was basically finished with my system. Since my last post in this series, I’ve been busy customizing the look and feel of Ubuntu, which I find is the funnest part of using Ubuntu! There are so many options and themes and icons and window borders and wallpapers… but let’s keep that for another post.
There are still some things I needed to go through to make it the best system… well, for me, anyhow!
Hidden Menu Entries: Showing Them!
After Automatix installations, I realized that my Applications menu was missing some menus and entries. By default, Ubuntu doesn’t show all applications available to a user. It hides the ones that are redundant or may cause problems for new users if not used properly.
One example of this is the Configuration Editor. Think of this like a “Registry Editor”. It allows you to select and configure settings for many installed applications and also for the system.
In the left pane, you will see your menus. If you select the System Tools menu (shown in the figure), you will see many options that are unchecked. One of these is the Configuration Editor. Select it and it will instantly appear in your menu.
I wanted to show the Configuration Editor in the first place so that I can add some regular icons on my desktop, like in Windows.
While you have the Menu Editor, why don’t you go through it and enable/disable applications you will use/not use? You can also add new entries that aren’t there, if you want to.
I usually add and entry in the System Tools called “Refresh Desktop” which contains the command:
killall gnome-panel nautilus
This will reload your panels and your desktop (Nautilus). Then I chose a nice icon that fits with it by looking in /usr/share/icons.