If you’ve never tried desktop screenlets, you’re missing out. We’ve previously discussed how to set up your screenlets, but we’ve never put together a showcase of the best ones. Today we’ve gathered seven of the best from Screenlets.org, and they cover everything from audio eye candy to steampunk system monitors. If you’re finding your desktop lacking in flash or functionality, look no further.
Getting Screenlet Support
The screenlets package is available in the standard repositories of several major distributions including Ubuntu. If you cannot find it in your system’s package manager (such as Ubuntu Software Center), it can be downloaded manually here.
As noted in the introductory paragraph, further setup of screenlets has been discussed on MakeTechEasier before. If you need more assistance, check out Damien’s article here.
1. Circle Sensors
While not particularly impressive in functionality, Circle Sensors can really make system monitoring gorgeous. The design is very similar to the Ring Sensors screenlet, but using a solid ring instead of one broken into chunks. I believe this gives it a much cleaner and more pleasant look.
2. Disk IO Space
While the standard screenlets application comes with disk space monitoring tools, Disk IO Space comes with a few of its own tricks. For starters, it automatically monitors any devices you have mounted and expands itself to fit the new drive. The most notable feature however (to me at least) is that alongside each drive, in addition to the space graph, you’ll find some colored bars indicating the amount of activity happening on that drive.
This screenlet is more about visual style and organization than it is about function. The sidebar is just a (themeable) visual layer that can sit behind your other screenlets to make them distinctly separate from the rest of your desktop.
4. All Core CPU Usage
If you want something more than the current CPU use as a percentage, you can use All Core CPU Usage to see a little bit of recent history. It may not be the prettiest screenlet around but it’s simple and effective.
5. Drag Drop Play
The name should give you a pretty good idea what this screenlet is all about. Dragging a media file from something like Nautilus on to this app will play it. Both audio and video are supported, and it’ll play anything that mplayer can handle (which, by the way, makes mplayer a requirement). Drag Drop Play
Impulse is pure eye candy, plain and simple. It watches your PulseAudio output and generates a spectrum analyzer along the bottom of your desktop (or wherever you place it). If you use this, it’s recommended to set the window properties to Keep Below, or it’ll get annoying fast.
While clean and modern design is appreciated by many, some like the vintage look. For them we’ve got the Manometer screenlet which allows you to perform your system monitoring with a more unusual style.
There are dozens more great screenlets in the built-in pack and on Screenlets.org. We couldn’t possibly review them all here, so if you’d like to find more just search or browse through their categories.
If you’ve got any other great screenlets to share, drop a note in the comments below.