One of the overlooked feature in Ubuntu Gutsy is the deskbar-applet found on the top panel. Being one of the best (personally, I found that this is the best) desktop search tool around, I am quite surprised that only few are fully utilizing it. The only reason that I can think of is either most people don’t know how to use it, or they don’t realize how powerful it is
What can you do with deskbar-applet?
Basically, you can do anything you want it to do. On a nutshell, it allows you to
- search for files/folder in your system
- look up words in Wikipedia, dictionary
- perform search in Google and Yahoo
- open a web address
- send email
- search for producst in Ebay, Amazon
- search del.icio.us bookmarks
- launch program
- shutdown/restart your computer
- and many more…
If you are a Python developer, you can even write your own extension to get it to perform whatever tasks you want.
Configuring your deskbar-applet
Configuration is easy. Right click on the orange icon and select Preferences. Place a check on the features that you wanted.
Performing a search
Click on the orange deskbar-applet icon. A search bar will launch. Type in whatever terms you want to search. If you are looking for a previously searched result, just click the History dropdown bar to show your past result.
If you want to go to a particular web address, enter the url (for example: http://www.url.com) on the search bar and select ‘Open http://www.url.com‘ under Web section.
To send a email, type in your recipient’s email address and select ‘Send email to …‘. A mail compose window will pop up where you can compose and send your email.
To open up a program, type the name of the program and select launch program. The deskbar applet also has the ability to match keyword with certain programs. For example, when I enter “music”, it provides me with a choice to launch any of my music player.
Some other useful extensions
- perform calculation and conversion
This extension allows you to do a simple and quick calculation or unit conversion.
To enable this extension, download the file, copy it to /home/username/.gnome2/deskbar-applet/modules-2.20-compatible. Activate the extension in the Preference. The converter module require the units library to be installed. You can easily achieve that by
sudo apt-get install units
- remember the milk
You can also use the deskbar-applet to create/delete/update your tasks in rememberthemilk.com. Download the file and extract it to the deskbar-applet module folder. Activate it in the Preference and you are ready to go.
Some of the other interesting extensions found in the GNOME Live include
- Google suggest
- Wikipedia suggest
I have not tried them though. If you have tried it, do let me know if it is useful.