Ubuntu : Desktop Shortcuts

If you have ever wondered how to add desktop shortcuts to Ubuntu, fret no more!

Whenever I use Ubuntu, it is normally through command line. But recently, I have been using Ubuntu 16.04 Desktop in a VirtualBox container, almost solely as a C IDE. I’ve never really understood the workings of the GUI (properly) and have almost become used to finding it unnecessary, until now.

Unfortunately, adding icons to the desktop is a little more involved then just “right click, make shortcut” as you would in Windows, but it’s not too complicated.

In Windows, an icon is usually a direct link to an .exe file within the installation directory.
In Linux, it’s a script. It’s a file that tells the GUI environment the icon picture, the text to be displayed underneath the icon, and can house different configurations such as the name depending on local language settings for example.

To add an icon, you need to locate the folder where all of your installed software icons are stored.

/usr/share/applications
icons-folder
Icons folder

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Long boot after W10 update

The “Creators” update dubbed by Microsoft as being the latest big update to their heavy-lifting Windows 10 OS.

Most of the new features are pretty obscure and won’t bring me any great enjoyment (other then being up-to-date, which seems to be pretty important in recent times).

However, it seems it has “created” some problems of its’ own. After doing some housekeeping (updating to the new W10 update, updating drivers and applying a bios update), I noticed the boot process spending alot more time then it did previously.

At first it could have been a problem with UEFI after the bios update, but ruled it out when it eventually booted and didn’t prompt me to activate Windows again.

Did the bullet proofed CMD:

sfc /scannow

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Ubuntu: indicator-multiload

indicator-multiload

indicator-multiload is a small lightweight package found in Ubuntu to display different system IO graphs on the GUI menu bar. It’s really simple and lightweight, with numerous graphs and options to choose from!

Indicator-multiload
Ubuntu GUI IO graph

Do you remember Xtree?

Back in the mid 90’s when my Dad was teaching me how to use DOS and install WIN NT4, a program he used really stuck in my mind. It wasn’t only because of what it did, but also what it looked like. With black screens and white text, when you first see a visual ‘colourful’ representation of files that you would normally navigate with many cd and dir commands (‘d’ probably being the most used character on a keyboard), it then starts to make sense.

Xtree made the navigation of dos file systems an easier task. GUI for the command line… wonderful!

Being (probably over) excited about being reunited with an old gem, I found a unix/linux version of xtree called unixtree. I’m still yet to get to a terminal and give it a go, but I bet it will not dissapoint! ?

You can find unixtree here

Node-Red: The interesting world of API

The pi I have running at home had accumulated alot of updates. Anyone who owns a pi can tell you that a small collection of updates can take an exceedingly long time to complete. About 20 minutes into the upgrade, I noticed apt stalling on one particular package : node-red. Knowing that it’s not usually included in a standard installation, I did some digging and found something interesting.

Node-red is a graphical wiring program that allows you to do some cool things with different API’s. I mean, really interesting things.

Starting it up for the first time, it listened to port 1880 and told me to connect via a browser. What then arose was a brilliant piece of technology.

A scratch like interface with pastel coloured buttons and brief descriptions about their purpose filled the left colomn. Those are, as I understand, the nodes. Simply dragging and dropping these building blocks and linking them up felt seamless; some functional boxes for different languages such as html, xml and json. Switches to initialise case logic, splitters to manipulate the direction of data and in and out nodes for twitter implementation. Also for the pi, nodes to make use of gpio pins for muchly anything you can think of. This is for the makers. Brilliant.

To my surprise (and burden however), there’s not a great deal of documentation that I could find for this platform. There a few tutorials for the very basics but when it came to slightly more complex stuff, it’s almost non existant. Either way, I plugged on and crafted a twitter bot as an excersise; expanding on some of the basic tutorials on YouTube. My first small ‘flow’ was a program that pinged to a network address and recorded the time and latency in a text file. Pretty low grade but if I wanted to, I could expand to tweet myself a message if the ttl lapsed.

I’m still unsure of the language used in main function block, it looks like java (being objective) but I don’t know enough about it to know exactly. I would like to make my @awkwardbot_ a bit more intelligent but will need to dig deeper into this exciting framework.