Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quick Tip: Update Shortcuts in Ubuntu's Main Menu

Installing and running most applications in Ubuntu is a piece of cake, no doubt about it, but sometimes, some programs refuse to appear in the Applications menu without you having to restart the session (logging out and back in). Such is the case for Sun's awesome VirtualBox virtualization software. Today I will present you with a relatively quick way to make it appear in the menu without the session restart hassle. There are probably other (better) ways to do this, but it's what I use. Don't shoot me if it's not the best approach. :)

So, after you have installed VirtualBox, go to System --> Preferences --> Main Menu, make sure the "Applications" entry is expanded (click on the little arrow on its left if it's not), go to the "System Tools" menu and there you'll see VirtualBox with a checkmark next to it. Now simply uncheck it, wait a few seconds, and check it back again and voila, you now have the extra "System Tools" entry in the Main Menu, hosting Sun's VirtualBox.

As for some of you words are becoming obsolete, here's a video showing the above steps:

Thanks for tuning in, have a great day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tasks and To-Dos with Glista 0.4

If the memory of humans could be measured in removable media and the best would be a BluRay disc, mine would be somewhere around a floppy. Needless to say, I use my phone's reminder function a lot, especially for important stuff with set deadlines. For other "things-to-do-sometime-in-the-future" I want to use a Task manager application that is as simple as possible. I don't want to set alarms, I don't want to receive an email three days before the cat's litter box is empty, I just want a window in which I can type stuff to do and then "check" them once they're done. As I wasn't really *craving* or in dire need of such software, I haven't actually dug up the web in search of one, so I simply stumbled upon Glista while browsing through the latest deb packages on

I do hope you have a solid broadband Internet connection, as Glista comes in a whooping 37.8 (almost 38!!) KB .deb package for Ubuntu users. For Gentoo, you can get the ebuild package and, for any other distros, the 134 KB source package is available and ready to be compiled. The size of it alone was a strong indication that this was what I wanted.

Once installed, it found a comfy place inside the "Office" category also bringing along a nifty looking icon. After you launch it, Glista will be "kept alive" through a system tray icon, so clicking X on the main window won't shut it down completely. The interface is dead simple: four buttons on top, the main section in which your tasks will be displayed and a text-entry field at the bottom, followed by a "plus" sign. To save a task, type it in the field, click the plus and BAM! it's there. Quick and easy.

All the tasks are alphabetically arranged, so you'll find the ones you need quite rapidly. I wish though, that there was an option to arrange them by date. Once you complete a task and place a checkmark in the box on the right, the text will become strikeout and the item will move at the bottom of the list. To delete an item, select it and press the big red button (I love big red buttons). All the done tasks can be easily removed with the broom icon.

Sometimes, a couple of words won't be enough and some tasks require more in-depth explanations. For that purpose, Glista allows you to add notes to your tasks by clicking the first icon on top (the clipboard). An extra, larger, text field will appear to let you type in whatever you like. Oh, URLs will automatically be highlighted for easy opening, so that's nice. When you're done, just click the x at the bottom of the text field and it's attached. To view a note, double click on the clipboard icon that appears next to each task that has such extra info.

If you tend to create a lot of new tasks, a bit more organizing is needed, and placing tasks in categories is the first step towards that. Glista keeps it simple: if you want to create a category, go to the add task text field, type it in, place a colon and then type the actual task. Example: "Groceries: Peanut butter jelly!", in which case "Groceries" will become a new category, and "Peanut butter jelly!" will be a task inside that category. So every time you begin a new task with "Groceries:" that task will be added to the Groceries category.

Well, that's pretty much it. What did you expect? 3000 words for a 37 KB app? Jeeeez. :) Anyway, if you want a truly BASIC (keep that in mind) task application, use Glista. If, otherwise, you need pop-ups and reminders and a monkey tapping on your head when you need to renew your car insurance, look elsewhere. I hope you found the article helpful (or at least enjoyable) and I wish you an awesome morning/afternoon/evening/night!

Download Glista from the official homepage, or get the deb package from getdeb.