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Tutorials

Changing Wallpapers

As you may have noticed already as an Ubuntu user, there’s a choice of making “cosmos” your wallpaper, which keeps changing the background photos for you. If you want to do this with some photos of your own, you can!

There’s a couple of ways of doing this.

The easy way:

The easiest way of doing this, is to find 9 photos you’d like your computer to change between as a wallpaper, copy them into your home folder (the folder with your name on it) and call them “blue-marble-west.jpg”, “cloud.jpg”, “comet.jpg”, “earth-horizon.jpg”, “galaxy-ngc3370.jpg”, “helix-nebula.jpg”, “jupiter.jpg”, “sombrero.jpg” and “whirlpool.jpg”. (Hint: you don’t need to have all 9 ready from the very beginning and you can change one-and-one photo.)

The next step is to go to the Terminal and then write these codes:

sudo mv ~/blue-marble-west.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/cloud.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/comet.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/earth-horizon.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/galaxy-ngc3370.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/helix-nebula.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/jupiter.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/sombrero.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos
sudo mv ~/whirlpool.jpg /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos

When you’ve done all of this, go to your desktop, right click on it, select “Change desktop background” (or whatever the option at the bottom is called at your desktop, mine’s not in English, so I don’t know what the default name for it is) and then select “Cosmos”. (Hint: if you’re having trouble finding “Cosmos”, look for the photo that looks like it’s laying on top of several other photos, and with an arrow below it.)
And there you go! You now have a desktop that changed the background picture itself! That wasn’t so hard, was it?

(I’m not sure if this works for all Ubuntu versions, since I’ve been operating on Ubuntu since 10.04 was released only and I found this way of doing this myself.)

The slightly harder way:

If you want to have your own names on the pictures or want one picture to last longer than the others or want to be able to have more than 9 photos, you can do that as well. All you have to do, is change the .xml file that’s lying in the folder located at /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/.

Before you change it, you should make a copy of it, in case something goes wrong. You should also copy one away from the folder it’s located in, since it’s hard to edit files that are located here (which is why I used “sudo” before all my commands and in fact used commands to move the photos from your folder to /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos). The easiest way to do so, if you prefer staying away from the Terminal, is to go to the folder, right click on the .xml file (it’s name should be “background-1.xml”) and select “Copy to” and then “Home folder”.

Now that you should have one safety file, one original file and one file to work with, open the one you want to work with (which would be best located in your home folder) by right clicking on it, then selecting “Open with” (or “Edit with”) and then we’ll just use “gedit” for this, since I think that’s featured in everyone’s natural Ubuntu pack.

When you’re looking at this, it shouldn’t be TOO hard to see what does what and how things work. But since this is a tutorial, I’ll guide you through it. You should now be looking at a lot of lines that looks a lot like this:

[…]

<transition>

<duration>5.0</duration>

<from>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/helix-nebula.jpg</from>

<to>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/jupiter.jpg</to>

</transition>

<static>

<duration>1795.0</duration>

<file>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/jupiter.jpg</file>

</static>

<transition>

<duration>5.0</duration>

<from>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/jupiter.jpg</from>

<to>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/sombrero.jpg</to>

</transition>

[…]

This is basically telling your computer which photo to change to from which photo and how long each photo should stay on before it’s changed and how long time it’ll use to change the photo. The time unit we’re operating with is seconds (I’m pretty sure of). Of course, if you don’t want things to be in the “cosmos folder” at all, then you can also here change the path to whatever you’d like, but I wanted things to be kept simple at the first part of this tutorial, and therefore just told you to copy it to that folder.

If you want to change how long for instance the “sombrero.jpg” photo is your background, because you like it just SO MUCH that you want it to stay on for a long time, you locate this line:

<static>

<duration>1795.0</duration>

<file>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/sombrero.jpg</file>

</static>

And change the number 1795.0 to however many seconds you want it to stay there. If we’d want it to stay there for 2000 seconds, the line would look like this:

<static>

<duration>2000.0</duration>

<file>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/sombrero.jpg</file>

</static>

Now save the file. After it’s been saved, go to your Terminal and type in:

sudo mv ~/background-1.xml /usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos

And then it should work for you to stay there longer!

If you on the other hand wants more photos to be able to change between and don’t want to give them silly astrophysical names, but instead keep it’s real name (in this example, let’s use…”dollface.jpg”), you’ll need to locate the end of the .xml file when in edit mode (or just opened in gedit that is), and change some things a bit.
It should look like this before you start:

<transition>

<duration>5.0</duration>

<from>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/whirlpool.jpg</from>

<to>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/cloud.jpg</to>

</transition>

</background>

Now, change it to and insert:

<transition>

<duration>5.0</duration>

<from>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/whirlpool.jpg</from>

<to>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/dollface.jpg</to>

</transition>

<static>

<duration>1795.0</duration>

<file>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/dollface.jpg</file>

</static>

<transition>

<duration>5.0</duration>

<from>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/dollface.jpg</from>

<to>/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos/cloud.jpg</to>

</transition>

</background>

And there you go!

Upgrading the OS

If you’re like me and want to update your Ubuntu to the newest version as quickly as it’s released (either stable or “unstable”), but doesn’t seem to find the option in the normal update manager? Then I got the solution for you:

Just hit Alt + F2 (which leads you to “Run program”) and then type in “update-manager -d” and hit Enter (or “Run”). This will give you an update manager that looks a lot like the normal one, but it should let you know that there’s an upgrading possibility.

Hope this was helpful!

DVD support

I’m probably not the only one to have some difficulties with running DVD’s on Ubuntu when I first install it each time. There’s a couple of reasons for this, in which you can read about here: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/04/10-things-to-do-after-installing-ubuntu-11-04/

But in my case, following the instructions showed on that page wasn’t enough to do it for me. What did make it possible for me to run DVD’s (probably in addition to following their advice about installing the restricted extras) was to go to the terminal and type in:

  • sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh
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