Posts Tagged ‘Open Source’

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


What kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch….

September 3, 2008

and built on the best elements out there?

There is already enough buzz on the net without me adding my two cents. All I can say is, so far, I love it!

Check out the comic book, which explains the design, inspiration, and under-the-hood stuff quite well!

Finally, if you’re the geeky type (which you would have to be to a)visit this blog and b)read through the entire comic), don’t miss this video.

P.S. Did you notice? I wrote the entire post without mentioning the product!

Ubuntu Hardy Heron Alpha 6 :: Impressions

March 14, 2008

After waiting for a long time I finally decide to take a dive into Hardy Heron when it hit the Alpha 6 stage and I am glad I did. It’s not only fast, but it also looks great.

The Default Hardy Heron Desktop….nice artwork eh???

I haven’t installed Hardy Heron yet, but using the LiveUSB has been a good experience. Hardy Heron includes the following new features and my views about them.

  • A new look theme, desktop background….both are cool.
  • GNOME 2.21.92 with the new GNOME VFS. Its a faster and better GNOME. It also includes encryption.
  • Brasero as the default CD/DVD burner.
  • Transmission as the default Bittorrent client.
  • Firefox 3 beta 3 — looks good, but a bit buggy…( its a beta 😀 )
  • Overall, the total package is a lot faster than any other Ubuntu version.
  • Another great addition is the inclusion of the Policy Kit. It asks for password only when needed. Nice feature.
  • And to add icing on the cake it includes an installer which can install Ubuntu directly from Win.
  • There are a few other changes, but you will need to use it to feel the change . 🙂

Check the screenshots below.

The install through Windows

The revved up Internet menu


FOX 3 with the chaged file copy look

The Policy Kit (check the unlock button)

For those wondering, Hardy Heron goes beta on March 20 and the final 8.04 release is scheduled for April 24. For a list of other includes in Alpha 6 check this link.

Ubuntu LiveUSB….It works

February 10, 2008

I have been using the Ubuntu Live USB since I made it and I must say I am pretty impressed. It works and it works really well.

Things that work:

  • All settings remain persistent.
  • Apt packages installed are all persistent.
  • Compiz settings manager and Emerald can be installed and persist.
  • AptOnCD can still be used.
  • Even Samba works

As of now I have found just one thing that does not work. The fstab entries do not persist. So you are going to have to manually mount the local disks each time. But that isn’t a problem. Actually I find it a boon considering that the local disks on each PC will be different. Haven’t tried using the same USB on another PC, but I am guessing it wont be much of a problem. Anyways, it still is a great thing as a rescue system and even to use it regularly as an OS, which I have been doing ever since I got it to work.

Check out a few screen-shots below.

Fox, Anjuta and Compiz manager with Group and Tabs

The Cube Still Works

Belenix,Ubuntu and LiveUSBs

February 9, 2008
A few days ago Vedang introduced me to Belenix, an OpenSolaris based OS. It had a few bugs regarding HDD installation and I was forced to use the LiveCD which as with all other LiveCDs was terribly slow. But then Anil Gulecha happened to Belenix. He’s developed a script to generate a Live USB out of the LiveCD. The usb version of Belenix is blazing fast. I was very satisfied with the result (add to the fact that my cdroms been throwing out LiveCDs while the system is still running and you will see 😀 ).
Considering the positives of the Belenix LiveUSB, I have been looking for something similar for my favourite distro Ubuntu. I ended up with this link. Its got a complete step by step procedure to make your own Ubuntu LiveUSB. Whatever changes you make to the system remain i.e they are persistent, even the extra packages that you install. So now you can have your own LiveUSB with all the packages you need pre-installed.

PS:: I am writing this blog entry from the LiveUSB. You can use your installed system for the procedure, running from the LiveCD is not mandatory.

PPS:: If the cdrom keeps looking for the CD during boot (from the USB ), just eject it and the process will continue.