Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Natty + Conky looking great

To be truthful, there really is not much of any great moment in this post other than an opportunity to admire the stunningly beautiful Desktop that I've created using Ubuntu Natty Beta 1 on m,y Dell E 520.
Almost everything I did was based on what I learnt from the incredible threads started by a guy called kaivalagi. Here's one of his threads which has been going on for three years.
Everything at all complicated came from this guy including getting Weather, Gmail and Media Player (I'm using Banshee) into Conky. So read the first post in the linked thread carefully before starting anything. And bear in mind, that Conky is more than a little complicated so a little forebearance and patience may help.
I do have my External IP showing in my Conky display (using post #2 from here) but I took it out for the screenshot.
Perhaps you may have noticed that the Conky display shown in the screenshot is actually composed of two separate Conky windows, one on top of the other.
I did this because I just couldn't get the Weather section to display properly even though the example available from kaivalagi's weather thread worked perfectly.
My main, actually my only, problem was that temperature units didn't show up right when I included kaivalagi's example in my own code.
Instead of seeing 15°C what I kept getting was 15°C.
Obviously a font problem but no matter what I tried I just couldn't get rid of the Â
So, as a workaround, I borrowed an idea I found in this post where the guy uses two Conky displays, one beside the other.
What I needed, however, was one on top of the other. But this presented no problem.
The key and only configuration (the stuff above the TEXT in the conkyrc file) you need to change to pinpoint exactly where the Conky window sits are:
1. Alignment
For example, alignment top_right
2. Gap which define how distant the window sits from the nearest horizontal and vertical screen edges.
For example,
gap_x 10
gap_y 25

To get the colors I wanted in the Weather section I had to make the changes in the conkyForecast.template that you'll find in /usr/share/conkyforecast/example/ after you install kaivalagi's stuff.

Just for completeness, I'm using Ubuntu with Unity-2D on the Dell because, for the moment, my nVidia card driver doesn't handle 3D Unity.
I got my wallpaper from DevianArt who provide an absolutely enormous quantity of great stuff although there's a lot of, let's say, "less interesting" stuff too.
It's probably best to decide what category you prefer and select those in addition to selecting the time interval you want.
One difficulty with Conky is that you really need that your wallpaper has a uniform colorization where you want your Conky window to sit otherwise you may have problems with clash of colors and unreadability of the text at places.

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