Posts Tagged ‘Must Haves’

Pimp up your Windows Desktop… for uber coolness and maximum real estate

September 4, 2008

Now that I have started working, I finally realize the meaning of Desktop Real Estate. I find myself with so many open windows, simply navigating through them becomes a pain. So here is a list of some of the uber coolness I have come across:

1) Yod’m 3D
[Photo from: ]

Nothing says desktop space like 4 desktops! Using Yod’m 3D (Yet Another Desktop Manager), I can now organize my windows into categories like Work, Social Networking, Inbox.. and enjoy 4 times the screen space I originally had. Hurry up and get it though, because the project has been renamed DeskSpace now, and you have to pay for the newer version. This version, which is free, is fast disappearing off the net.

2) Launchy


Launchy is, as the name suggests, a launcher with which you can launch just about anything on the system. Using Launchy, one can eliminate absolutely every icon from the desktop, leaving it a cleaner, more beautiful place. Launchy is essentially a cool Run command and indexing tool, and therefore I have even done away with the Start Menu button! More space on the Taskbar!

3) AutoHotKey

[My Desktop!]

AutoHotKey is probably the biggest and best find I have made on Windows. Here’s what the home-page has to say about it:

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source utility for Windows. With it, you can:

  • Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.
  • Create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey.
  • Expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way”.
  • Create custom data-entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars.
  • Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.
  • Respond to signals from hand-held remote controls via the WinLIRC client script.
  • Run existing AutoIt v2 scripts and enhance them with new capabilities.
  • Convert any script into an EXE file that can be run on computers that don’t have AutoHotkey installed.

Not only can you define shortcuts for your favorite tasks, but it also has it’s own scripting support! Pure genius!

4) Samurize


With Samurize, you can embed multiple things (Text Files, Scripts, Console Programs, System info, etc) directly into your desktop. Since I generally use text files for organizational purposes, I find Samurize really handy. It is something like the Linux tool Conky (1, 2), but just like with Conky, I suspect I have barely scratched the surface of what Samurize can do.

[My Desktop!]

5) Outlook on the Desktop

[My Desktop!]

And finally, with Outlook on the Desktop, I have my calendar always in front of my eyes. May not seem a big deal, but it is a life-saver.

So there, that is how I’ve modded my Windows desktop. If you have any other clever suggestions, do send them in so that I can benefit from them *catty suggestions like “format c:\” not expected!*

[hat-tip] Various Articles from


Must have applications on Ubuntu Linux

September 20, 2007

There are endless lists of “must haves” that one can find on the net. It’s like something mandatory that every linux user must do. So here’s my list of stuff I’d do first on my system.

This is the problem most new linux users face, and one which ultimately makes them go back to their original OS. Once you connect to the net, there is unending help available on any topic under the sky. I will explain how to get the net running on ADSL modems (because this is what I have). Open a terminal and type:

sudo pppoeconf

Choose your eth port when it prompts (usually eth0), and follow the instructions. All you have to do is click next, next, next (so to speak). Enter username and password when asked.
Now to connect to the net, type

pon dsl-provider

To see status of connection type


To turn off connection type

poff -a

There you are, connected to the net.

Firefox is a must for me. It is installed by default in ubuntu, or can be installed simply by using the synaptic package manager ( or sudo apt-get install firefox ). Instead, let me enumerate some of the add-ons which are a must for me.
1)Tab Mix Plus
2)English Dictionary
3)AdBlock Plus

This is the eye-candy component of linux. If you think linux doesn’t have a great GUI, think again.
To install compiz-fusion, I used this guide and it worked perfectly for me. There seems to be some sort of flame-war going on between people using Trevino’s repositories and Amarnath’s repositories. I used Trevino’s repositories, and have faced no problem at all. I could never tire of the awesome effects of compiz-fusion, so here’s another youtube video if you’ve missed my earlier posts.

Like most of my friends, I too use a dual-boot system with windows as the other OS. I haven’t logged into windows for a really long time, and yet somehow I’m scared of dumping it altogether. So you can say I’m still a linux newbie. Using this tool, you can write data on your ntfs drives. Here’s the site, which has detailed installation instructions.

This is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t use linux. However, getting this on your distro is not as difficult as it is made out to be. If you are using Ubuntu, you’ll find that the system will download all the necessary codecs for you without any headaches.
On my ubuntu, I use Amarok for music and Totem for videos.
I intended to link a good HOWTO here, for people having problems on other distros, but I can’t seem to find one COMPLETE guide, so for now, I’ll skip this step.
To install Amarok on ubuntu, open terminal and type

sudo apt-get install amarok

If you are really afraid of the terminal, use the synaptic package manager (System->Administration)

I know you’re scared of it, I know you’re intimidated by it. But take some time to learn emacs, because this is the best programming ide I’ve ever used. To install emacs, use the synaptic package manager, or type

sudo apt-get install emacs

in the terminal.
Start with the emacs tutorial, which is really good. To see this tutorial, open your emacs, use the hotkey Control-h and then type t.
Once you get the hang of it, you may want to check this out, as it gives a few interesting tips.

In my experience, this is the best torrent client I’ve come across on Linux. It’s very easy to use and not too hard on the resources. To install deluge, go to their site and download the .deb package for ubuntu. Double-clicking this does the job. (or you can increase your linux knowledge by learning the dpkg command)

This is a handy system monitoring tool, which serves as eye-candy too for me. Not only does this give me all the information I need about my system, it even fulfils my geeky desire to have a display like they have in the movies. While this is not a noobie tool, slightly experienced users will enjoy this.

(This is my desktop. Right-hand side is a transparent terminal session as my desktop background, left-hand side is my customised conky, bottom is awn and wallpaper using webilder.)

AWN is a Mac-like dock for the gnome desktop environment. Installation instructions are messy (scratch that, complicated), and I recommend you don’t try it if you’re new.

Webilder is a tool that provides the most gorgeous wallpapers from Flickr. It auto-downloads wallpapers based on tags provided by you, and it changes your wallpapers every 5 minutes (customizable). Installation instructions here.