Apr 29, 2015

Organize Your Unity Launcher Based On The Current Workspace With LSwitcher

Unity LauncherSwitcher (LSwitcher) is a new tool which can be used to organize the Unity Launcher by letting you control which apps should be displayed (pinned) on the Launcher depending on the current workspace.

Unity LauncherSwitcher

The application remembers which apps are pinned to the Unity Launcher for each workspace and it automatically changes the Launcher when you switch between workspaces.

This can be useful for those who have trouble finding apps on the Unity Launcher because it gets too crowded as well as for those who want to have different workspaces for different task categories - for instance, a workspace for web-related stuff, another one for work, etc.

Here's a short video I recorded under Ubuntu 15.04 which shows Unity LauncherSwitcher in action:

(direct video link)

Using Unity LauncherSwitcher is as easy as it gets: the app comes with only two options: one which allows you to enable or disable saving the Unity Launcher state (so enable this or else nothing will happen when changing workspaces and pinning apps) and another one for enabling the app to start automatically on login.

As you would expect, this app only works if you're using Unity with multiple workspaces enabled (System Settings > Appearance > Behavior > Enable workspaces).

Install Unity LauncherSwitcher

Unity LauncherSwitcher is available in a PPA, for Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 and 14.04. Add the PPA and install the app using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/lswitcher
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lswitcher
Or, if you don't want to add the PPA, you can grab the Unity LauncherSwitcher deb from HERE (but you won't receive any updates unless you use the PPA).

If you encounter bugs, report them @ Launchpad.

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Fresh Player Plugin 0.2.4 Released With Accelerated Rendering Enabled By Default, High DPI Support

Version 0.2.4 of the Fresh Player Plugin was released recently, bringing some important changes, such as accelerated rendering enabled by default, high DPI support and more.


Fresh Player Plugin is a wrapper that allows Linux users to use Pepper Flash from Google Chrome in Firefox and other NPAPI-compatible browsers.

The plugin was developed because on Linux, Flash Player is only updated for Google Chrome (it comes bundled with it), while other browsers, such as Firefox, are stuck with an old Adobe Flash Player version: 11.2.

Fresh Player Plugin 0.2.4 brings the following improvements:
  • 3d (accelerated rendering) is now enabled by default;
  • IMEs support (ibus and fcitx were tested);
  • mouse wheel events support;
  • screen saver inhibition fixes;
  • playing audio through JACK;
  • high DPI screens support via device_scale parameter.

The most important change in this release is default-enabled accelerated rendering (which should bring improved performance), which means this feature is now considered stable enough for general use. However, it's important to mention that if accelerated rendering is causing issues on your system, you can disable it by editing the freshwrapper.conf file, changing the "enable_3d" value from 1 to 0 and then restarting your browser.

To make use of the newly added HiDPI support, you'll need to look for the "device_scale" option in the freshwrapper.conf file and change it to suit your needs.

Getting Fresh Player Plugin

If you use Ubuntu / Linux Mint and derivatives, you can install Fresh Player Plugin by using the main WebUpd8 PPA. For installation and configuration instruction, see: Install Fresh Player Plugin In Ubuntu Via PPA (Pepper Flash Wrapper For Firefox)

Arch Linux users can install the latest Fresh Player Plugin (Git) via AUR.

For other Linux distributions, you'll have to compile it from source.

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Apr 28, 2015

Vivaldi Browser Technical Preview 3 Adds Native Window Decorations For Linux, More

Vivaldi, a new Chromium/Blink based web browser aimed at power users, has reached Technical Preview 3, receiving numerous improvements such as data import from all major browser, on-demand image and plugin controls, optional native window decorations for Linux and more.

Vivaldi Browser Linux

Vivaldi (which is built using open source technologies, but is not open source software) is a web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies, whose chief executive and founder is John von Tetzchner, former Opera CEO and co-founder.

The app is available as a technical preview for now and includes various features which for power users, such as tab stacks, mouse gestures, a note-taking feature, Quick Commands to easily search through settings, history, open tabs and bookmarks and more.

Changes in Vivaldi Technical Preview 3:
  • added optional Native window support for better integration with Linux;
  • added Tab stack and tab selection tiling in vertical, horizontal and grid organization;
  • improved Notes feature both visually and functionally. Now you can add more attachments and screenshots (in my test, adding screenshots doesn't work on Linux);
  • added support for more mouse gestures, including link gestures;
  • added more keyboard shortcuts and improved keyboard shortcut editing;
  • added Unread tab indicator to both tabs and tab stacks;
  • added data import from all major browsers;
  • added on-demand image and plugin controls so that you can load only what you need;
  • added Background tab progress indicator;
  • improved both Fast Forward and Rewind functionality;
  • significantly improved Spatial navigation;
  • added more options to the download dialog. It now has both “Save” and “Save As” in addition to “Open”;
  • improved Page actions;
  • added a new option to the bookmarks bar, so that you can have a very compact bookmarks bar with icons only;
  • added full screen reminder option;
  • increased the number of supported languages to 40;
  • various performance optimizations and bug fixes.

Vivaldi Browser Linux

Since it's pretty difficult to move the Vivaldi browser window without native Linux window decorations, I highly recommend enabling this new option (Tools > Settings > Appearance > "Use Native Window"). Enabling it should also fix the missing app window shadows under GNOME (Shell).

This should be the last technical preview release and the next major milestone will be Beta. There are still some key features that need to be implemented, like a built-in email client, sync and extensions support and hopefully at least some of these will make it in the first beta.

Download Vivaldi

Download Vivaldi (available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux: 32bit/64bit deb and rpm)

Note that by installing any Vivaldi version (tech preview, snapshot, etc.), the package automatically adds the Vivaldi stable repository (at least in Ubuntu/Debian) and if you install multiple Vivaldi versions, it may result in duplicate repositories - this can be fixed by deleting the extra vivaldi-*.list repository file from /etc/apt/sources.list.d/.

If you encounter bugs, report them HERE.

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Unsettings 0.10 Released With Ubuntu 15.04 Support

Unsettings, a tool which lets you change various Unity settings, was updated version 0.10 recently, bringing full support for Ubuntu 15.04.


Besides support for Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet), the latest Unsettings 0.10 also brings new options for some recently added Unity features like "always show menus", as well as a fix for changing the desktop font, along with other bug fixes.

For those not familiar with Unsettings, here's a quick list of Unity settings that you can access using this tool:
  • Launcher look: change size, opacity, background color;
  • Launcher behaviour: change visibility, reveal trigger, edge responsiveness, reveal pressure, autohide animation, urgent animation, launch animation, backlight mode;
  • Dash: change size, blur, enable or disable apps available for download, recently used apps, search all files, online search results;
  • Panel: change opacity, opaque if maximized, show real name on the panel, show/hide battery status;
  • Indicators: show/hide bluetooth and sound indicators, set which media players are ignored by the Ubuntu sound indicator;
  • Windows: set minimize animation, overlay scrollbars behaviour (including an option to disable it), enable/disable global menu, HUD, click to focus, auto raise, set the automaximize value, enable LIM;
  • Fonts: change the font (for the desktop, window title, monospaced, etc.), hinting and antialiasing;
  • Desktop: change the number of workspaces, enable/disable icons on the desktop, shortcut overlay, alt-tab behaviour, set the next monitor pressure
  • Themes: options to change the theme: GTK, window, icon or cursor theme. There's also an option to force low graphics mode;
  • GTK: show mnemonics, display icons in buttons or menus, cursor blink
  • Keyboard: position of Ctrl, compose, Euro and Rupee keys, layout of numeric keypad;
  • Privacy: disable online search results, change the SmartScopes base URL, enable/disable Zeitgeist, HUD usage data and Ubuntu GeoIP service, clear recently data.

Also, Unsettings allows saving your current profile so you can easily use the same settings on multiple computers and there's also an option which allows resetting everything to default.

Install Unsettings in Ubuntu

Download Unsettings (includes deb and source)

Alternatively, you can also install Unsettings by using its official PPA. To add the PPA and install it, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unsettings

If you encounter bugs, report them @ Launchpad.

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Apr 26, 2015

Your Mobile Phone can Detect Earthquakes

Was it just you or did the ground really shake? Your iPhone, iPad and most newer mobile phones can work as basic seismometers, the same instrument that is used to measure the magnitude of earthquakes and volcanoes. You don’t need to install any apps, just the built-in web browser would suffice.

OK, try this. Launch Google Chrome or the Safari browser on your mobile phone (or tablet) and then open this page. You should see a continuously moving waveform but if you slightly shake or tilt your mobile device,  simulating seismic activity, the graph will capture these movements in real-time much like a seismograph.

The seismic intensity will vary depending on how vigorously (or slowly) you are shaking the phone (see the following screenshot) and will also change based on the orientation of the device. And you’ll be surprised to learn that this basic seismograph is written using simple JavaScript.

earthquake seismograph

Most newer mobile devices have built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes and as you move the physical hardware, the changes in the orientation of the device and acceleration are detected by the browser which are then mapped into the seismograph.

The orientation and motion data are in turn captured by the HTML5 DeviceOrientation and DeviceMotion events of the browser. This works mostly on mobile devices but if you are using Google Chrome on the desktop, you can turn on the Accelerator option under Sensors inside Chrome Dev Tools to simulate motion.

Update: The code was originally published on isthisanearthquake.com in 2011 but the domain is no longer available. A mirror is located on ctrlq.org.

The story, Your Mobile Phone can Detect Earthquakes, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 25/04/2015 under JavaScript, Internet.

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