SlickPanel 0.02 Released!

Hi! After a long wait, SlickPanel 0.02 has been released.

The changes in this release include lots of bug fixes, but most of all the ability to configure your panel. While not all of this is completely finished (some things like changing the background of the panel and its orientation and not fully complete yet), the majority is.

To configure SlickPanel, all you have to do is run:


And you will open the SlickPanel Settings application:

Remember that this is still early days and so SlickPanel is not what I would call stable yet 🙂 However if you do want to try it out, check out the installation instructions here.

Development of SlickPanel : Configuration

I thought since it has been a while since I posted anything on SlickPanel, I would update you on what I am currently doing on it. At the moment I am both creating a configuration backend for SlickPanel and a program to configure it. To do this I am parsing an XML file (with libxml2) which looks something like this:

<slickpanel:settings> <slickpanel:panel > 

All of this code, which is both common to the actual panel, and the settings program is compiled into a static library so that I can call it from both applications.

The settings program itself will look something like this:

Of course all is coded in Vala and GTK3 🙂

LetMeRead : Google Reader

While I think the new Google Reader changes are miles better than the old Google Reader, like others, I think the chrome takes up too much space, and not enough room is allocated to the actual RSS items you are reading.

So I fired up Greasemonkey and created a userscript called LetMeRead that does two things:

  1. Reduces padding on the top bars of Google Reader and adds a border to the right of the sidebar
  2. Adds a Show/Hide button to toggle the visibility of the secondary bar (contains the subscribe button etc.)

Google Reader with LetMeRead installed and the toolbar hidden

Google Reader with LetMeRead installed and the toolbar showing

Google Reader without LetMeRead installed

It has been designed to integrate flawlessly into Google Reader itself and be as unobtrusive as possible. You can install it from its page on

Presenting SlickPanel

When I switched to Oneiric, I tried Unity and GNOME Shell however I found I preferred my classic setup of GNOME Panel and used a external application launcher.

However, I was surprised to find that GNOME Panel had not very well maintained in Oneiric. In fact it is buggy and I had to go through some effort to get Indicators working on it.

After looking at GNOME Panel and other options (such as wingpanel) I realised there was not a quick, stable, extensible (and pretty!) desktop panel for GTK.

So I made one 🙂

SlickPanel is a modern panel that provides common tools such as a list of open windows and an indicator bar.

Its goals are:

  • Provide a robust, and quick desktop panel
  • Make it easy to customise and extend, rather than hide options
  • Use modern technologies rather than be backwards-compatible
  • Make it easy to hack on!

Current Status

SlickPanel is not ready for production use, this is an alpha release. Currently it will provide a panel at the top of the screen, containing a list of open windows (which can be minimized, maximized etc.) and the list of indicators.

In the next release I will try to focus on customisability (is that a word?) – making it easy to configure SlickPanel exactly the way you want it (

How to Install

Add the SlickPanel Daily PPA to your Software Sources and the install the package slickpanel. Then run it using the command slickpanel

More Info

All other information can be found on Launchpad ( and if anyone wants to get involved with developing etc. please get in touch (

nVidia GeForce 210 on Ubuntu 11.04

Recently I bought a nVidia Corporation GT218 (GeForce 210) graphics card however I was surprised to find that it didn’t actually work straight away after installing it into the motherboard in Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty).

the reason this happens is that Ubuntu doesn’t ship the latest version of the nVidia binary driver (for stability reasons). This is an issue as the version that Ubuntu ships does not work with the GeForce 210.

However this is not a reason to worry, it is very easy to fix 🙂

Step 1 : Remove Nouveau Drivers

In order to install the newer nVidia drivers without issue, it is wise to remove the free Nouveau drivers. To do this, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get --purge remove xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

And then reboot to make sure everything goes smoothly 🙂


Step 2 : Install new nVidia Drivers

You can download the new nVidia drivers direct from nVidia, however one issue is that the driver kernel modules won’t be rebuilt when your Linux kernel is updated.

Instead, install them from the Ubuntu X Swat PPA (fancy name for the team that manage all things graphical in Ubuntu) and you get the latest stable drivers, and additionally they are rebuilt with every kernel update.

To do this, open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

sudo apt-get update

And then:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings

Once this is complete, restart your computer and all should work! You can configure any specific graphics settings with nVidia X Server Settings found in Applications > System > Administration.


Help something went wrong!

If anything goes wrong, don’t worry. Boot up your computer and hold down the SHIFT key so that the GRUB Boot Menu appears. Then choose the top-most entry that contains “(recovery mode)” using the arrow keys and click ENTER.

Then using the dialog that appears, select Reconfigure graphics, and then select the entry to reset the graphics configuration to default. Then you should be able to boot correctly again 🙂



Creative ZEN Stone Tango Icon

A drawing done in Inkscape (in the Tango/elementary style) of my ‘venerable’ Creative ZEN Stone that has lasted ~4 years! Despite me putting it through hell (read: dropping it a lot of times) …

Download the ZIP file at DeviantArt in which there is an SVG File containing all sizes (16, 48, 64 and 128) as well as already rendered PNGs.