Friday, December 05, 2008

First steps and Custom Desktop

First thing to do is the update.

Next I went to and downloaded their skype install package for Ubuntu. After this was installed I did the restart that the update required.

Next I decided to start customizing my desktop a little by cleaning up the panels.

First, I right-clicked on the top panel and deleted it. Then I right clicked on the bottom panel and added a new panel. Then I deleted the original bottom panel. I grabbed the new panel and moved it to the bottom (if it wasn't already there). I then right clicked this panel and did an add to panel. The first thing I added was the workspace switcher. I right-clicked, selected move and dragged it all the way to the right hand side and locked it in place. Next I added the clock and moved it all the way to the right and locked it. Next came the notification area then the window list.

Then to work on the left side of the panel. I first added the show desktop, moved it all the way to the left and locked it in place. Then I added the main menu, moved it all the way to the left and locked it in place.

Now to add a program launcher to the panel just click the menu, find the program in there and right click it...then choose "Add this launcher to panel". I went ahead and added Firefox, Skype, Pidgin, Gimp, OpenOffice Writer, and gedit (my most used stuff). Okay now we'll right click the panel one last time and go to properties, background. Here I chose solid color (hex code #000000 is black; #FFFFFF is white) and went black. Then cranked the style all the way to opaque. Now this does cause the text in the panel to be unreadable so to fix that we go to the Menu -> System -> Preferences -> Appearance where I chose the Dark Room theme for now.

Now the last thing I'm going to do today is to change my desktop background image. I'm going to cheat and use an image I found a long time ago on the web. Since then I've done a little bit of color editing on it so that it is red (rather than the original blue). Okay so the image I want is in my Pictures folder so I right click directly on the Desktop and choose "Change Desktop Background". I then click on +Add and browse to my Pictures folder and find the file I want. Click open. Set the Style option to Zoom (choose the option that looks best to you) and I changed the background color to black as well (just to be safe).

And now my desktop looks like this: (same as yours different image I would imagine)

So because the background image is black towards the bottom it looks like the bottom panel is floating there. Which is what I like. :)

Okay last thing for the night is make a keyboard shortcut for the terminal. So we go to Menu -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts. In the Keyboard Shortcuts window scroll down to the Desktop section there is one called Run a terminal click this line and then hit whatever key you want to be your terminal key (I used the Super L on my laptop which is the window button up near the top right). Okay that's all for the evening. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Looks good man. I still need to figure out what to do with this laptop once I get a new one. Got any ideas? I thought about making it a completely open source system, but then I thought, "Why?" (other than the fun of it) Need to do something useful...

Matthew Robinson said...

Well I've learned that nearly anything folks do on a Windows system can be done on Ubuntu for free now (games are the main thing that haven't ported to linux yet). So it's really just about having fun and learning more about the computer. Overall, I haven't actually had to use any purchased software for like a year+ now. Even Dell is beginning to ship systems with Ubuntu install instead of Red Hat or Windows. So I simply see it as staying just within the mainstream tech curve. If you really have nothing to do with the comp I'd say try it out for fun. You could always donate it for a tax right off later on. ;)

Anonymous said...

Sounds good. I'll let you know how it goes... will probably need help. =)