Some usability tricks and tips
In this post I’m sharing some of the little tricks I use on my pc.
I must mention that I only use gnome, so this might only apply there.
1) Use the multiple workspaces
When I first started using Ubuntu a few years ago, I did really use them.
But once I started using them, boy did I became more productive.
When you use them, your desktop is less cluttered, and you don’t need to minimize applications.
I use the compiz fusion plugin called “expo” to quickly switch to another workspace.
I have the plugin binded to the top right edge of my screen to start the effect faster.
2. Using tabs in firefox faster
If you don’t use tabs, well start.
Firefox didn’t invent tabbed browsing, but they sure became populare because of it.
Most people open a link in a tab by right clicking it and then selecting “open in tab”.
However, this procedure can be reduced to 1 click.
Just hover above a link and press the middle button (scroll wheel).
If you don’t have a middle button, press the left and right one at the same time.
Also, if you hover above a tab, a middle click will close it.
3. Make sure your preferred applications are configured properly.
The various gui’s in ubuntu don’t really cover that subject well enough.
Click this link to find out how to do it properly.
This will avoid searching for an mp3 and even tough you set mp3s to be open with, lets say exaile, they open with totem.
Another time safer.
Learn them or modify them.
Also, the app that should have a shortcut on every computer is the terminal.
I set mine to f12.
If need the terminal, I can access it in a millisecond.
5. Start much needed applications when you boot the pc.
I’m not talking about things like firefox or anything like that.
But things like emerald, screenlets, … should have a mention in “sessions”.
That beat having to type “emerald –replace” every time you start the pc.
6. Add the “force quit” applet to the panel
An application doesn’t feel like doing it’s job anymore.
Click the force quit applet and then the app that’s malbehaving.
Poof, it’s gone.
7. Restart the x server instead of the pc
Something goes wrong.
You can’t get the wireless to work anymore, your graphics are messed up, the system doesn’t respond anymore?
Instead of resetting your pc, press “ctrl + alt + backspace” and voila, your back on the login window.
Enter you username and password, and you’re back again in a few seconds.
8. Package managers
“apt-get remove” won’t remove dependencies if you remove a package.
So either you use aptitude to install and remove programs, or you delete packages with “apt-get autoremove appname –purge”.
The difference between “apt-get remove” and “apt-get autoremove appname –purge”:
(remove even recommends using autoremove :p)
9. A terminal tip
Pressing the “up” key will bring up the previous command used.
Can come in handy some times.
10. gksudo nautilus
You don’t have the permission to do something in nautilus but you don’t want to use the cli?
Use gksudo nautilus to start nautilus with root priviledges.
But don’t start deleting/modifying files you don’t know.
You might end up destroying your installation.
11. Create a diffent partition for you /home folder
You screwed up and your install isn’t usable anymore?
If you use a different partition for /home than you do for /, then all your data will be safe.
Just reinstall Ubuntu and your /home will be there, unchanged.
12. Moving a window when it’s stuck “under” the panel
There is a bug in compiz fusion that will allow a window to be put behind the panel.
You can use “alt+left mouse” to drag windows, that should fix the problem.
You could just also use the expo plugin to move the window.
That’s all I can come up with for now.
If you know any other trick, leave a comment.