Archive for the ‘desktop’ Category

Mystery System Tray Icon – anybody recognize it?

September 26, 2007

Anybody know what this icon is in my system tray? When I hover over it, it only displays that it’s downloading updates (10%) but the percentage never changes. Left-clicking or right-clicking on the icon does absolutely nothing. I’ve opened up Windows Task Manager to see what it might be, but I can’t spot anything too suspicious. It looks like a shield but I uninstalled McAfee months ago and also recently uninstalled the horribly bloated Adobe Reader 8.1 (Foxit Baby!).

Anybody recognize this tray icon? What the hell is it, and how can I get rid of it?

mysteryicon.jpg picture by rfq

Blogged with Flock

For Gnome fans trapped in XP

September 24, 2007

For the last month or so, I’ve been running Openbox on my Ubuntu Feisty home system. I like the simplicity and speed of it. It takes a little more manual work to customize it, but then again you end up with a system that works the way you want it. It’s like taking a standard desktop environment like Gnome and removing (or hiding) all the bits that are not important to what it is you do every day. Eliminate the fluff, so to speak. I run a very sharp and slick looking Murrina-type theme on it. I don’t bounce around between a lot of different themes, but I have to say that the Murrina style themes are definitely my favourite.

Anyway, at work I’m stuck on XP-Pro. I do have Virtualbox installed to run a virtual environment that is pretty much the same as my Linux box at home (Openbox on Fiesty etc.). And for probably a year now, I’ve ran a Gnome theme in XP on my work box to at least make it a little more homey ;).

Today however, I came across WinGNOME-XP on deviantART which is a project that aims to provide various resources to allow users to experience a consistent Gnome-type desktop environment on Windows XP. I’ll sign up for that!

Of course the project is just getting organized, so there are only a couple of things available so far. One neat utility is the Tango Patcher which will replace or revise your system resources to provide icon themes based on various Linux projects (basic Tango, Tangerine, Suse Industrial Theme, Gnome 2.0 theme..). I ran it on my system and it seemed to work fine – although like any utilities of this type, it’s caveat emptor.

I also downloaded and installed the MurrinaFancyClearlooks theme which finally got my windows controls looking somewhat like my home box.

It ain’t perfect, but at least I can now be somewhat happy with the look and feel of the XP box I have to spend all day with. Here’s what it looks like now:

Blogged with Flock

PC Envy

September 6, 2007

Kent Newsome just bought a new (and quiet) toy. Of course, I’m immediately jealous. 🙂

I’ve been pondering for the past month or so about what my next system purchase will be. I’m torn between a laptop or a desktop machine. The Dell XPS M1330 has caught my eye – no pedestrian Inspirons for this tough guy! 😉 But buddy at work got a nice XPS 710 desktop system a while back and I have to say, when you pair that up with a Dell 24″ LCD monitor, it’s pretty damn nice too.

My current machine is still plenty usable. It’s a P4-3GHz, and with running Openbox on Feisty, I’m very happy with the speed. It’s very capable for most of the stuff I do. Of course extra processing power (even in the M1330 I suppose) would do me fine for encoding all those damn screencasts too. 🙂

So right now I’m torn between a laptop and a desktop. The laptop makes infinitely more common sense to me. And I’m not looking for a desktop replacement style laptop either. I like the 13.3″ screen because I’m interested in a light, portable and capable device. We have a 17″ HP laptop at work and it’s a behemoth. Completely at odds with what I’m looking for (the guys at work say I’m nuts).

Another problem? I’ve been out of the computer buying market for quite some time and haven’t paid enough attention. A T5300 or T7200 processor means almost nothing to me. And worse still, I’ve never owned a laptop so I’m at a loss as to what to really look for technically. One thing is for sure, it’s gotta be a Dell – family discount y’know. 🙂

Gnome Turns 10 – as does the Gnome/KDE war

August 15, 2007

So the Gnome desktop environment turns 10 today. Of course I took a look at Miguel de Icaza’s announcement post. But I found the single follow-up post to be interesting too! 😉

On Fri, 15 Aug 1997, Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> We want to develop a free and complete set of user friendly
> applications and desktop tools, similar to CDE and KDE but based
> entirely on free software:

IMHO this is a knee-jerk reaction to a nonexistent problem.

Best of luck doing this with GTK... it has a long ways to catch up
with Qt.

-Dan

Clearly not only the start of Gnome, but the start of the Gnome/KDE wars too! 🙂

Personally, I have always ran Ubuntu with Gnome, but I run KDE and GTK apps interchangably. Besides, my new found love is OpenBox anyway!!

Here are a couple of screenshots of my current desktop setup:

Check out The GUIdebook

August 1, 2007


If you’re interested in screenshots, icons and splash screens of various GUI’s over the years from GeoWorks, Amiga Workbench, CDE, NextStep, BeOS, OS/2, Windows, Mac and others, check out GUIdebook.org. While the front page notes a last update of Oct/06, I still found plenty of good images, and info on the development of various GUI systems.

The navigation on the site tells me that they were planning (or maybe are still planning) to provide a very wide breadth of information on GUI’s and OS’s from timelines to graphics and news. There are a quite a few areas to explore, but naturally some areas are thin on information as you might expect. A nice find anyway though.

One GUI I couldn’t find on the site was the old OpenWindows desktop (a piece of which is shown above). I used this desktop during graduate school for my thesis which dumped me into the deep end of C programming, make files and gcc. Nevertheless the OpenWindows desktop (and unix in general) seemed like a revelation to me at the time (just previous to the launch of Win95). Very high resolution – for that time – and a desktop capable of really multitasking made me frown when I went back to my apartment where I was running Windows 3.11 at 800×600 and bombing around the Compuserve forums using OzWin.. 😉