Category Archives: desktop


I configured my docked Ubuntu laptop with an external screen to have an extended desktop using Xinerama. It works (almost) nicely. I have a wide desktop that I can drag screens around on now, but unfortunately the pointer isnt rendering properly on the external screen – instead of a clean pointer I have a 2cmx2cm square on the external monitor.  Even with a clumsy mouse pointer, this is an improvement on my previous dual monitor setup which used aticonfig’s bigdesktop setting. I found that bigdesktop configured two separate desktops which meant that I was unable to run firefox/thunderbird on both desktops, or drag windows from one screen to another.

These two references were useful:

Java status bar

This might save someone else a little bother. I’ve been building Java Swing demo’s in the last few months and one thing that has slowed me down is building a status bar. A status bar is the strip at the bottom of a window that contains useful information about the status of an application. As an example, here is the status bar for my skype client:

skype status bar

There is no standard swing control (container) to do this so you must roll your own. Searching for “java status bar” didnt get me very far. Initially I just used a JLabel, but this is too simple. I really wanted something with multiple recessed panels (as in the skype example). I considered using an unfloatable JToolBar but I dropped this idea because a toolbar’s default background doesnt look like a status bar and because its not easy to make the recessed panels this way. Finally I realised that the best way to build my status bar is to nest JPanels. Continue reading Java status bar