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ubuntu indicator appletsAdd new functionality to your Ubuntu panel. Whether you want to see the weather at a glance, disable your touchpad or manage your clipboard, indicator applets are what you’re looking for. As of Ubuntu 11.04, they have replaced the old system tray completely, so it’s worth knowing how to find more.

Among the many changes in Ubuntu’s new Unity interface is the replacement of the system tray with indicator applets instead of assorted application icons. The rationale for the switch makes sense, but the default 11.04 experience can leave you feeling like you’re stuck in an odd transition. Adding new functionality is harder without the old panel “applets”, and many programs have yet to switch to it.

Check The Weather

ubuntu indicator applets

Sometimes you just want to know the weather. This isn’t included in Unity by default, but there is a way to re-add this functionality. We pointed out how to install the weather indicator a couple of weeks ago, along with some more screenshots explaining how it works. In summary, you can add multiple locations, see the current temperature in the tray and even check out a short forecast.

Manage Your Clipboard Items

If you’re anything like me you’ve done this more than once: copy something to the clipboard only to copy something else a little later, overwriting your clipboard and losing the thing you’ve copied. It sucks.

With Glipper you don’t have to worry about that; a record of your clipboard is kept in an indicator applet :


ubuntu applets

Click one of your old clipboard items to put it back on the clipboard, so you can paste it somewhere. You’ll never lose a vital URL again!

Click here to install Glipper. You can start it from the menu once you’ve launched it.

Turn Off Your Touch Pad

Whether you love or hate your laptop’s touchpad, many admit that it can get in the way from time to time. Accidentally hit it with the bottom of your hand while typing and your cursor can jump all over the screen, causing your text to make no sense at all.

Luckily, there’s Touchpad Indicator:

ubuntu applets

With this, you can turn off your touchpad when it’s time to do some writing. You can set up a keyboard shortcut for doing this, which is recommended because it gives you an easy way to turn the touchpad back on. If that’s too much work, you can also set the indicator to turn off the touchpad anytime a USB mouse is plugged into your system.

Ready to install? You’re going to need to run the following commands in the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install touchpad-indicator

Red Tint Your Screen To Reduce Eyestrain At Night

ubuntu indicator applets

Looking at your computer screen at night isn’t great for your eyes, because it’s usually much brighter than the lights around you. Happily, there are programs that can help and both feature useful panel applets.

Check out our articles on f.lux for Linux f.lux Now Comes With A Simple GUI [Linux] f.lux Now Comes With A Simple GUI [Linux] Read More or Redshift Redshift Keeps Your Eyes Sharp & Helps You Sleep [Linux] Redshift Keeps Your Eyes Sharp & Helps You Sleep [Linux] Read More to find out more.

Re-Add Missing Icons

Wish you could re-enable the system tray? That’s understandable; not every program supports indicator applets yet. Happily, there is a way to re-add the system tray. Just install the Unity configuration app Confiity Easily Configure Ubuntu's Unity Interface With Confity [Linux] Easily Configure Ubuntu's Unity Interface With Confity [Linux] Customize Ubuntu's new Unity desktop, all from an easy-to-use interface. Confity allows you to re-enable the Ubuntu system tray, resize or hide Ubuntu's dock and remove the Fisher-Price color scheme. Unity is brand new, and... Read More and you’ll be able to turn the tray on and off in two clicks.

Looking for more indicator applets? I highly recommend you check out this list of indicators over at Ask Ubuntu. Feel free to point out anything particularly cool in the comments below.

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