Turn your smartphone or tablet into a trackpad [How To]

A nifty trick I stumbled upon recently allows me to use my SwiftKey keyboard with Swipe and predictive text as well as dictation by Google Voice on my Ubuntu PC! That’s not all. I can also use my tablet touch screen as a trackpad with multi-finger gestures and scrolling on my PC!

wifimouse

How does it work? You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that this is really easy to set up! The only catch is that you need a wifi hotspot setup so that your PC and your Android device can connect to the same wifi network. If you don’t have a wifi hotspot setup, you can use another smartphone to set up a wifi hotspot and then connect your PC and Android device to that wifi hotspot.

Try it now!

  1. Head over to the Play Store on your Android device and install the Wifi Mouse app
  2. Download the mouse server for your OS (it is available for Mac, Windows and Linux). I have tested the Windows (7) and Ubuntu (13,10) versions of the server. Both work great!
  3. Make sure your devices are connected to the Wifi network.
  4. Run the mouse server on your PC and start the Wifi Mouse app on your Android device Follow any on-screen instructions.
  5. Enjoy!

Thanks to Nectarine for the great software! If you like it, please buy the paid version to support the developers.

Copy (Cloud Storage App) – Review and Installation Guide

Copy recently joined the list of storage clients with native apps for Linux desktops. Other notable storage clients that offer Linux apps are Dropbox, Ubuntu One, Owncloud, justcloud and Spideroak.Cloud Storage AppsCopy offers 10GB free storage when you sign up, an additional 2GB free storage when you first tweet about Copy and an additional 5GB storage for every successful referral. Now that’s a lot of FREE storage space!. If that’s still not enough, Copy offers additional space at competitive prices. There are native apps that can be downloaded on Windows, OS X, iOS, Android and Linux. Copy also offers companies the ability to setup a storage account that features advanced monitoring and sharing facilities. I installed Copy in elementary OS Luna. The installation was smooth and accomplished in a few steps.

Like other cloud storage apps, Copy features a menu at the top panel from where you can control synchronisation, open your folder or open settings and preferences.

Copy Panel MenuThe preferences app is features a clean, easy to use UI that fits nicely in elementary.

Screenshots

Installation

  • Go to https://copy.com?r=eZdfwW
  • Sign up and download the Linux installation file. (It will automatically prompt download once you’ve filled out the sign up form).
  • Check your email to verify your new Copy account.
  • Extract the downloaded folder.
  • Open the extracted folder and navigate to the sub folder pertaining to your computer’s architecture (X86, X86_64).
  • Click on the file called, “CopyAgent” and follow the on-screen prompts. DONE!

Copy will create a folder called, “Copy” within your home folder. If you’re familiar with Dropbox, you’ll know that the contents of this folder will be synchronised with your cloud drive.

ENJOY!

How to install and configure conky in elementary OS

Some people love it, others hate it, Conky’s the name. If you know what Conky is, skip the next paragraph.

If you’re new to the Linux desktop environment and haven’t heard of Conky before, it’s a highly configurable app window that stays pinned to your desktop and displays system information which it retrieves from your computer. Hence it can display the date, time, CPU and network information, fan speeds, etc. The main pull-factor of Conky is the extent to which you can customise the display. It may not be necessary to have a clock widget on your desktop for instance, but that bling it adds to you desktop is sometimes quite irresistible, and why not spruce up your workspace anyway?

(Most of this guide is based upon the guide for installing Conky in Ubuntu. This is a much simplified version. For extra configurations and options, see the guide: here.)

Installation instructions:

Bear in mind that the following steps worked for me, but that doesn’t mean it will definitely work for you :-/ I’m running (an almost new installation of) elementary OS Luna (beta 1). Good luck.

Open the terminal and type the following code:

sudo apt-get install conky-all
sudo apt-get install conky curl lm-sensors hddtemp

To run conky, type:

conky &

You should see something like this:
Default Conky

To close Conky, type:

killall conky

Next, search devianart and other websites for your favourite “Conky theme”. Once you’ve downloaded your theme, copy the file called .conkyrc to your home folder. You may need to show hidden files in pantheon. You can do this by pressing ctrl+h.
The downloaded theme may come with additional resources like fonts or wallpapers. Follow the instructions in the readme file or from the website where you downloaded the theme from.

Here are links to some themes:

My Conky setup

My conky setup

This will work very well if you have a resolution of 1600 x 900, but the theme can be modified for different resolutions.

Download the theme file: here

Download the font: here

Download the wallpaper: here.

Save the theme file to your home folder.

Open the font and click “Install Font” at the bottom right corner of the font preview window.

Conky shortcut

To add Conky to your dock, download the desktop file: here.

Conky in Dock

Save the file anywhere you like, preferably in /usr/share/applications/

Download the icon: here.

Save the icon in /usr/share/icons.

Open the folder with the desktop file and drag the desktop file to the dock. Click the icon on the dock to start Conky. Right click the icon to close Conky.

Configuring/Customising Conky

To configure a theme or to create your own one, see this page (Click here) for configuration options as a guide to editing/creating the .conkyrc file. ENJOY 🙂

Birdie tweets best – Birdie Twitter Client for Elementary

I came across this app via a post in the elementary community on Google+. I’ve never really used a twitter client on a desktop before as I find the web version of TwBirdieitter to be feature rich and more than sufficient. Most users of desktop clients I suppose look for the ability to use multiple accounts, a feature I don’t currently require. However, enter Birdie. There’s something so appealing about the interface. Of course, it’s designed to blend in with the elementary theme, but it’s also very clean and simple. Unlike other desktop Twitter clients, Birdie bears a bit of resemblance to official Twitter apps with the top (icon-based) menu bar. The app is still in early development, resulting in a missing “search” feature. The search icon is greyed out in this version, but should be included in later versions.

Bottom line, Birdie does what it’s meant to do, that’s provide a clean, easy-to-use desktop twitter client that looks and feels at home on an elementary desktop.

To install Birdie in elementary OS Luna; type the following code in a terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:birdie-team/daily

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install birdie

Remember: this is probably an early version of the software and may not work as expected. Installing the software and editing your software sources is done at your own risk.

How to get the start menu back in Windows 8

So you just spent a decent amount of your savings to buy a new laptop with the much crazed-about Windows 8 pre-installed. Or maybe, you upgraded your Windows 7 to 8 so that you could be on par with the latest software. But you soon feel uncomfortable, disorientated, maybe even sea-sick when you realise that your old favourite Windows button, that revealed the start menu, is missing in action. Whilst the Metro interface is a bold move by Microsoft to please users wanting a more modern feel that resembles the incredibly capable mobile devices in use today, snatching away the start menu was pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

In fact, it becomes even more apparently ridiculous when you realise that the code for the start menu is so intricately connected with the core code of the Windows GUI that Microsoft could not delete the start menu from Windows. Instead they simply hid it away from the desktop.. That’s right… Nuts! Luckily for us, the world is full of geeks who simply leap in joy at the opportunity created for them. So before you join a Start-menu-addicts anonymous group, here’s a few quick and easy ways to get back the start menu.

Pokki

Developers at Pokki have been pushing an alternative desktop experience since Windows 7, but the missing start menu in Windows 8 has given them a unique advantage. The Pokki menu for Windows 8 doesn’t only offer you all the features of the traditional start menu, it boasts a different, modern UI, pinnable apps, the ability to tweak and change the colour scheme of the menu and most incredibly, access to really cool apps from the Pokki store. The best part? Pokki is FREE! Go and grab Pokki now!

Pokki Windows 8 Star Menu

Pokki Windows 8 Star Menu

The Pokki menu is fully customisable, even allowing you to swap the Pokki logo for the Windows logo on the actual button.

Traditional Start Menus

If you really liked the look and feel of the Windows 7 start menu, then of course you can get that as well. There are three popular start menus I’ve come across. Truth be told however, I have only tested Pokki, so no guarantees here, but from the reviews I’ve read, all three seem pretty reliable. Only one is free. The non-free ones are very affordable, costing $3 and $5. The non-free menus offer additional features, themes and customizability whilst the free one simply does a great job at giving you the traditional Windows 7 start menu back. By installing these start menus, your computer will boot directly to the desktop as it did in earlier versions of Windows. You’ll still have access to the metro start screen (junk). You’ll be able to customise how to access the menus and where to boot to.

Download:

These are not the only options. Do a Google search to find plenty more start menus that you can install in Windows 8. Some offer different themes and features. Find the one that suits you.