Unity’s fixed launcher position is terrible for multi-monitor setups

When Ubuntu moved from the Gnome desktop environment to Unity with version 11.04, I wasn’t one of the many people who thought it was a bad move. Gnome was starting to feel old, and I like many of Unity’s interface choices. But there’s one thing that makes no sense to me, and it’s driving me crazy.

The launcher bar in Unity is always positioned on the left side of the screen. You can choose to have it “autohide”, set its sensitivity, its icon size, but not it’s position on the screen. And Canonical has made it very clear that they’re not willing to reconsider this. Here’s why I think they should.
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Roy | February 11, 2013 | English,Software | Comments (1)
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Raspberry Pi update

It has taken considerably longer than first estimated for Raspberry Pi computers to finally be delivered to customers. Logistics, manufacturing errors and other factors delayed the highly anticipated device time and again, but I’m happy to report that mine arrived a couple of weeks ago. This was around the same time things started to get really busy at work, so I’ve only played with it a little so far. Nevertheless, I wanted to post a progress update.


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Dear Asus, are you flipping mad?

For as long as I’ve been using PCs, I’ve loved Asus products. My very first motherboard was the now-famousAsus P55T2P4, I’ve got two Eee-PCs, and my laptop is also from the mythical flying horse brand. But recently, I’ve come across an issue with said laptop that’s making me question Asus’s sanity. Turns out that the webcam in my UL30A is mounted upside down.
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Roy | August 18, 2011 | English,Gadgets | Comments (6)
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Joli OS is great for kids!

When the first wave of netbook computers appeared, I got myself an Asus Eee-PC 901. I loved it, and used it to play around with various flavors of Linux, even Chrome OS. But since then, I’ve been forced to buy a full-size laptop computer, and I handed the 901 down to my daughter. At first I installed Ubuntu, but the 4 GB SSD in the Asus turned out to be too small for that to really work out. So I decided to try Joli OS instead. And I think it’s great. Especially for kids.
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Having trouble with VNC and Unity? Try this!

The latest version of Ubuntu, released two months ago, replaced the Gnome desktop interface for a new one called Unity. In terms of simplicity and speed, I quite like Unity, but I found that operating it through VNC was horribly slow. Often, I’d be unsure whether VNC was still connected. Screen updates would sometimes take minutes. Today, I found a workaround that makes VNC usable again for me.
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Roy | June 16, 2011 | English,Gadgets,Software | Comments Off
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CompuLab’s Trim Slice puts ARM on the desktop

In 2009, I posted a review of the Fit-PC2, the smallest desktop computer available at the time. Since then, CompuLab has released an updated “i” version, and recently the Fit-PC3. That new version is based on a faster AMD chipset, but it’s still an evolutionary update to earlier models. Their latest product however, is something entirely new. An ARM-based desktop computer.
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ASRock’s ION nettop really rocks!

A little over a year ago, I got myself the cheapest media center PC ever, on the form of an old refurbished office machine. It was fast enough to handle most of what I wanted it to do, but it was lightly too big for my AV setup, and decidedly beige. Ugh. But my main issue with it was that it was also making long hours. The Pentium 4 series of processors is notorious for its high power consumption, and I was starting to feel guilty.

I’ve had a couple of Atom based PCs in my home (a netbook and that really small PC I wrote about earlier), but found them to be slow, especially when it came to graphics. Intel’s ancient 945 chipset was a real bottleneck, and the newer US15W had terrible driver issues in Linux. That’s why I wanted to try nVidia’s Ion chipset. I decided that an ASRock Ion 330 would be the perfect little HTPC for me.
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My attempt at the top 10 gadgets of the decade

When I read Engadget’s “Ten Gadgets that Defined the Decade“, I was amazed by some of their choices. I could easily think of a few gadgets that changed the way we use technology, but weren’t listed. While I agreed with a couple of items on their list, like the iPhone, I couldn’t help writing my own top 10 of the most influential gadgets of the last ten years. Here are my candidates in random order.
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I could just hug Karmic Koala!

koala babyYesterday, one week to the day after the release of Windows 7, Ubuntu released version 9.10 of their Linux distribution. It’s got all sorts of new features that have been talked about extensively all over the web, but I just found out it also fixes a bug that’s been bothering me ever since I first got into Ubuntu. Under ‘Karmic Koala’, the video tearing on Intel graphics adapters is finally gone.

Intel’s integrated video adapters have long been recommended for Ubuntu users with modest graphical needs. If you’re not into games and don’t need the absolute best possible video playback, going with an onboard video adapter from Intel was a safe bet. I have two machines that use Intel’s GMA 950 chip, and I found them to work quite well, except for this one issue.
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Getting Adobe AIR to use the default browser under Ubuntu

Adobe AIR logo smallI’ve searched high and low for a good native Linux Twitter client, but there’s nothing out there that can really compete with TweetDeck. At least not in terms of functionality. TweetDeck is based on Adobe’s AIR platform and as a result is quite heavy on resources. But the biggest problem I had with it was getting it to open links in my default browser. It disregarded my setting and used Firefox to open all links. Twitter is far less fun if you need to carefully copy paste every link to a new tab in your browser. As it turns out, the issue is with AIR, not just TweetDeck, and it took quite a while and a lot of help for me to find a working solution.
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