I already had the standard Xfce Application Finder bound to my alt-F2, alt-F3 and Super (aka "Windows") keys, though I didn't use it that much. What I was going for with the Application Finder being bound to the Super key was Unity/GNOME 3-like functionality in terms of finding and launching applications while retaining the speed and stability of Xfce.
I haven't even used the Whisker Menu for a full day, yet I just used the Xfce Keyboard settings' Application Shortcuts to bind the Whisker Menu to the Super key.
Aside from the Whisker Menu actually working, since it saves me a keystroke/mouse click over the standard Application Finder when searching for and launching an application, I'm pretty much sold on the Whisker Menu.
I'm sold enough that if I find it really working out, I'll remove my application-icon-filled panel on the left side of my screen.
The point: I like the Whisker Menu.
While I'm happy with my panel on the left and the traditional Xfce Application Finder, I thought the Whisker Menu would be worth a try.
Once installed, the menu itself can be added as a panel item (that's a step that took me a second or two or 10 to figure out). After you do that, you're ready to go.
Not only does the Whisker Menu provide an alternative to the stock Xfce Applications Menu, you can access your 10 most-recently used applications, create favorites for their own portion of the menu, or easily plop an application launcher onto the desktop or into the panel.
It's a nice little application that Xfce users might very well want to check out.
It sounds screwy, but I'm taking some of the elements I like in GNOME 3 and Unity and implementing them in Xfce.
First of all, I really like the idea of having a panel on the left side of the screen for my application launchers. Given that laptops are now widescreen and there is not enough vertical space but plenty of horizontal space, it makes sense to have the application launchers consume as little horizontal real estate as possible.
So in Xfce, I moved the lower panel to the left. That was an easy one.
The other thing I like about both GNOME 3 and Unity is the ability to click the "Windows" or Super key and then type in the first few letters of an application to launch it.
Xfce already has a great application finder that does this. On Fedora with Xfce, it's configured to open with alt-F2 and alt-F3. I went into the Xfce keyboard configuration and set the Windows/Super key to open this same application finder. Now I can click Super/Windows, type in a few letters and have my desired app open without going through the menu. Just like in GNOME and Unity.
Of course my favorite apps are already in my panel on the left. But for those that are not, this is a nice feature to borrow/steal from GNOME 3 and Unity.
That Xfce can replicate this behavior says a lot about what you can do with this lightweight, stable and very configurable desktop environment.
Some readers might have seen this post appear and disappear, appear and disappear again. That's because my first "fix" for this annonying Xfce problem didn't really work.
Neither did my second attempt. Nor my third.
Screw proverbs. The
third fourth time now seems to be "the charm." That finally fortunate circumstance allows me to resurrect this entry yet again with my now-new onetwo-line script to keep the screen from blanking on its own -- without xscreensaver's help -- with a fix that has worked for me over the past couple of days. And this time I'm sure of it:
Here's a quick fix for Xfce users whose screens are blanking even though they have a much-longer screen-saving interval set in xscreensaver. This includes me.
The title says it all: I just added the Axe Menu GNOME Shell Extension to my Debian Wheezy system.
After complaining a bit about the lack of a menu in GNOME 3/Shell and not liking the last GNOME Shell Extension I tried to get a menu back, I decided to go to the GNOME Shell Extensions web site again. There I found the Axe Menu. Liking it so far.
It's been awhile since the last "My Xfce desktop" post, and it's time for an update.
I've been tweaking things slowly since that previous post appeared. If I could definitively solve my screen-blanking problem, that would be nice. I keep thinking I've got it nailed, and then it returns.
One thing you might notice in the above image (click it, or here for a full-sized version) is that I'm back to Debian Squeeze's SpaceFun wallpaper. It's the best Debian theme design ever and is definitely not outclassed by what got picked for Debian Wheezy (in a process that, to me, appeared very, very broken).
I keep an eye on Planet GNOME and World of GNOME to follow the project, and via the Planet site I noticed GNOME developer Bastien Nocera's post on new features in GNOME 3.7 that will be polished through the 3.8 release. Those features include a search panel (to control search output; I really don't know what this means), a notifications panel to manage and filter notifications on the desktop and, best of all, a privacy panel that, as Bastien says:
... would be the go-to place to ensure your identity isn't leaked on the network, or visible on your system. You can see how some of the features in the two aforementioned panels will also affect your privacy.
More GNOME: From the As Far As I Know blog, Give a detail this Christmas follows GNOME's Every Detail Matters project and shows some of the new features that developers are bringing to GNOME 3. And there are pictures. Personally I like the little headphone icon that appears in the upper panel when you plug in headphones. (!!) If you want to know more, go to the GNOME Every Detail Matters wiki page.
I get on any other computer, any other OS (even Windows and Mac OS), or any other desktop environment, and I find myself mousing into the top-left (or "hot") corner to get my application panel and search/launching dialog.
That works in GNOME 3. I do it all the time.
You can also hit the "super" (aka "Windows") key to make the same thing happen. And I do that, too.
But I'm so comfortable mousing into the hot corner that I continue to do it in environments that aren't GNOME 3.
You know what happens when you mouse into the corner in these other OSes/DEs (excepting Ubuntu's Unity, which shares more technology with GNOME 3 than you might care to admit)?
Thanks to readers who have helped me, and to the Fedora Project for offering a very solid GNOME 3.x environment in what is now the Fedora 18 beta, I'm getting the hang of working in GNOME 3.6 (as opposed to the GNOME 3.4 version of the desktop environment in Debian Wheezy).
My previous complaints centered on what I thought were the absence of the "Connect to Server" and "Create Empty File" functions in the Nautilus file manager, now pretty much called Files in the world of GNOME.
Using the Clock app in the upper panel of the Xfce 4.8 desktop in Debian Wheezy, I didn't like the stock way date and time was displayed as just time only in the default:
Luckily when you right-click on Xfce's Clock in the panel, left-click on
Properties and choose
"Custom Format" under Xfce's Clock options, you can use anything that the Unix/Linux
date command switches offer. Go to
man date and study up for every single option.
At first, I used the easy
%c, which is one of a few options in date that bring a whole lot of information into your clock:
%c Fri 02 Nov 2012 08:23:27 AM PDT
That's good but not exactly what I wanted. I spent considerable time looking at
man date. This is more complicated but gives me output more like I want:
%A, %B %-d, %Y - %-I:%M %p %Z Friday, November 2, 2012 - 8:23 AM PDT
I now have the full day of the week, full month, 12-hour time and time zone -- all with no "leading zeroes."
Lately I've wanted to save a little space, so I use
%b instead of
%A, %b %-d, %Y - %-I:%M %p %Z Friday, Nov 2, 2012 - 8:23 AM PDT
Explanation: All of these parameters are explained in man date. You use a minus sign to remove the leading zeroes in dates and times when they are in single digits:
%-I instead of
Spending some time with
man date is the best way to get exactly the output you want in your Xfce (or any other Unix-based) clock application.
Also: If you want to go from
08:23 AM to
8:23 AM -- removing the leading zero, use this:
%-I:%M %p 8:23 AM
I pretty much included this last one so I'll remember it. But if I didn't,
man date is my friend.