Thursday, 15 March 2018

Maximized applications in windows

Enable application windows to remember their state of maximized, minimized and normal. I've found this helpful running applications at startup, so I minimize those and most other applications I run maximized.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Perl Panel, an amazing lightweight utility

I usually use the Mate desktop environment with Openbox as the window manager, but I've been looking for something that I can customise to the hilt. But the standard Openbox desktop can be a little bland, so I went looking for a light weight panel and found one that is amazing, in my opinion.

Enter Perl Panel, it hasn't been updated in some time but it is solid and very customisation. I will be learning how to write applets which are naturally written in Perl, a language I'd like to master even though it isn't as 'cool' as it once was. I've never been one to stick to trends, if it works then I'm happy to use it.

It can be custiomized to you liking, add as many or as little applet to your panel, even have other panels with their own configuration if you like.

Panels can be top or bottom of the screen which works great for me as I prefer panels on the top of the screen.

Perl Panel contains a lots of useful applet out of the box, the ones I rely on are:

  • Desktop pager
  • Notification area
  • Time (my setup is %A %d %b, %H:%M%)
  • Window task-list
  • Openbox menu
  • System monitor
In total there are 34 applets included, I don't have a use for all of them as I have workflow that doesn't change too much. Some of the more notable ones are:
  • Drive manager
  • Launcher
  • CPU temp
  • Battery monitor (this on needs fixing, one I'm hoping to do)
  • Bookmarks
  • Recent files
  • Command line area
  • Task-list
  • Trash
  • WiFi monitor
  • Webcam
  • Shell manager

There is room for improvement though and hopefully I can write the missing applets myself. For example, I'l like to replicate the system monitor of Mate, in my case, I always have CPU, Network activity and Hard disk activity so at a glance I can see what is happening. At the moment, the only monitor close to what I want it CPU monitor, which is the same format as what I'd like so hoping that I can use that module as a basis for networking and hard disks.

One of the issues I had was icon size in the notification area, my clipboard manager (parcellite) icon was about two times too large. All I had to do to fix it was edit the icon, which was in /usr/share/pixmaps/parcellite.png.

I'm hoping others will see the benefit of using Perl Panel because it really is great solution to solve a problem and it does that in a brilliant fashion.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Enable virtual workspaces in Windows 10

Using workspaces is an absolute necessity in my opinion. In previous versions of Windows, it was possible through third party applications or by installing Microsoft System Internals.

Well, now it's built into Windows 10, which is very handy. Here area some easy to remember key bindings to get you started.

Win + Tab                    Virtual desktop overview
Ctrl + Win + Left         Navigate to previous desktop
Ctrl + Win + Right       Navigate to next desktop
Ctrl + Win + D             Create new virtual desktop

With an application open on a desktop, you can enable full screen:

Ctrl + Win + Up           Toggle restore/full screen
Ctrl + Win + Down      Toggle minimize

Also, if you have another monitor attached, you can use the following shortcut to move windows between screens

Win + Shift + Left/Right 

If your sight is not the best, use the magnifier to zoom in and out:

Win + +                        Zoom in
Win + -                         Zoom out

Toggle transparency effects in Windows 10

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Getting my sanity back in Chrome

If you're like me, looking at a monitor all the time has taken it's toll on my eyesight. In the last several months, I've needed to 'select all' on most web pages because I can't differentiate the contrast correctly and find having any kind of colour surrounding the text helps. I've also needed to zoom most web pages to 125% just to be able to read them.

Although I am resigned to the fact that I will need glasses in the near future, these couple of Chrome plugins that I have found that have made reading far better and I don't need to strain at all. Maybe they will help you with your sight too.

Dark Reader

When I first turned Dark Reader on, I was amazed. I could read without adjusting the brightness of the monitor or selecting all. I've set my shortcuts to Ctrl+Shift+Z to toggle on a per-site basis which Dark Reader remembers each and every one and the global shortcut set to Ctrl+Z

Z Zoom

Zooming in on each and every page gets old fast. But it was necessary due to the reasons mentioned above. After installing Dark Reader, I went on the hunt for the perfect zooming plug-in.
Z Zoom remembers each page you have zoomed, there is even an option to set the default level at whatever you see fit.

I can very highly recommend both of these  plug-ins if you are having to adjust sites just to be able to read them.