Okay, we get it: most of our commenters don’t like Ubuntu’s new Unity interface. I still think it has huge potential, but any transition is going to cause some frustration.
The lack of a customizable panel will doubtless be a problem to many, which is why I’m glad to see many developers are starting to design various indicator applets. OMG Ubuntu’s in-depth reporting on indicator applets is probably the best found anywhere on the web, if you want to find more applets right now. But by far the most useful thing I’ve seen is this indicator for the weather, probably because I spend as much time outside as I can.
Being able to see the current temperature, along with an icon representing conditions, at a glance is awesome, but there’s more than that here.
Using the Ubuntu Weather Indicator
Using this application isn’t any more difficult than it needs to be. Like I said, you can see the current condition, represented by an icon, by default. Click this and you’ll get more information.
As with all indicator applets, the information is presented in a clean manner. Wind speed, humidity and sunrise/sunset times are all provided for you. There’s also a forecast, but you have to click to bring it up. When you do you’ll see a simple rundown:
A rare rainy week in Boulder. I’m looking forward to it.
Configuring The Program
You can configure the program by clicking “preferences”, of course. There are three tabs of options: General, Units and Locations. Units and Locations, of course, are self-explanatory: you can change the units of measurement used to present information.
Under General there are a few things you might want to change. For example, I highly recommend adding the temperature to the panel with this checkbox:
You can also decide whether or not you want to have notifications, which is useful if you need to be reminded that there’s weather outside. I turned this off.
Want to install this indicator applet? Time to add a PPA! Run the following code in the Terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:weather-indicator-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-weather
Not using Ubuntu 11.04 yet, or using a different Linux distro? Weather Indicator will only work on desktops that support indicator applets, but you can head over to the project’s home page to potentially find installation instructions. Source code is all that’s offered, so you might need to compile this; sorry about that!
I really do prefer indicator applets to Gnome’s old panel applets. They’re better integrated – move your mouse from side to side to switch the applet you’re using – and they bring a polished feel to Ubuntu that it was lacking. As time goes on, more quality indicator applets like this will make Unity increasingly useful for home users. I’m looking forward to writing up a list of other indicator applets in the week to come, so stay tuned.
For now, feel free to recommend your favorite indicator applets below, or to comment on the value of the weather one. Also feel free to talk about how you personally dislike Unity, and why this means Ubuntu is now crap. That’s a very productive thing to add.