How to customize the Gimp interface on Linux

The Gimp Graphics editor, though not perfect, is one of the best open-source applications available to Linux users. However, the default layout of the app is quite terrible. The toolbars are in three parts and hard to use; the theme it uses by default doesn’t match your system’s one, and so on.

Thankfully, Gimp has a significant number of customization features that are sure to excite Linux users. So, in this guide, we’ll go over how to customize the Gimp interface on Linux. We’ll show you how to tweak everything from the toolbar, the icons it uses, theming, and much more!

Hide docks

In Gimp, “docks” are the items to the left and right of the workspace. In the left dock, you’ll see your toolbox, filled with various graphical tools you can use to manipulate the image you are currently working on. In the right dock, you’ll see the layer UI, brush options, image pathing options, textures, and much more.

These docks are very useful when working with Gimp. However, you may find that they get in the way from time to time, and take up a lot of space. If you’re working on an image in Gimp and want to get rid of the docks, here’s what to do.

Click “Windows” in the Gimp UI to reveal the “Windows” menu. Then, in the menu, find the “Hide docks.” button, and check the box next to it to hide both the left and right Gimp instantly docks.

Need to unhide the docks? Go back to “Windows,” and uncheck the “Hide docks” button, or press Tab.

Single-window mode

For the longest time, Gimp has had a weird UI that was hard to work with. The left and right dock and the image workspace floated independently. These days, in new versions, that issue is taken care of with the “Single-window” mode, which gives the users an experience similar to Adobe Photoshop.

If you’re still stuck in multi-window mode in Gimp, you can change to Single-window mode by clicking on the “Windows” menu, then checking the box next to “Single-window mode.”

Need to exit Single-window mode in Gimp? Go back to “Windows” and uncheck the box next to “Single-window mode.”

Tab position

The default tab position in the Gimp application is at the top. For most users, this works just fine. However, if you’re not a fan of the positioning, for whatever reason, the app lets you customize it and change it to wherever you’d like.

To change the position of the tabs in Gimp, do the following. First, open up the “Windows” menu. Then, inside of the “Windows” menu, look for a sub-menu labeled “Tab position.”

In the “Tab position” menu, you will see several different choices for where you’d like the Gimp app to display tabs (top, bottom, left, right). Select one of the options in the list to switch the tab position instantly.

Toolbox items

The Gimp application’s toolbox items can be customized to have more (or less) tools available to use. To customize the Gimp toolbox, do the following.

First, click the “Edit” button at the top of Gimp and access the Edit menu. Then, look through for the “Preferences” button and click it to open up Gimp’s preferences area.

Inside of Gimp’s preferences window, find the “Interface” section. Then, look under it for “Toolbox” and click on it to access Gimp’s toolbox settings.

In the toolbox settings, look through the list of tools enabled in Gimp. Click the eye button to enable/disable tools in the toolbox.

When you’ve finished adding/removing tools to the Gimp toolbox, click the “OK” button to save changes.

Gimp icon style

Gimp’s default icon style is quite frankly an eyesore. Luckily, the icons in the app are very customizable, and it is possible to change out the defaults for other ones.

To customize Gimp’s icon style, start out by clicking on “Edit” to open the edit menu. Then, look through the menu, and select “Preferences” to open up Gimp’s preferences area.

Inside of Gimp’s preferences area, look for the “Interface” column. Then, click on “Icon Theme” to access the Gimp icon settings.

In Gimp’s icon settings, you will see 4 different icon themes to choose from. These icons are “Color”, “Legacy”, “Symbolic”, and “Symbolic-Inverted.” Choose the theme that suits your needs best.

When you’ve set your preferred Gimp icon theme, click “OK” to save the changes.

Gimp user-interface style

If you’re not a fan of the Gimp user interface, you’ll be happy to know that you can customize it with different themes. To customize Gimp’s user interface style, do the following.

First, click on “Edit” to open up the Edit menu. Then, look through the menu for “Preferences” and click it to access Gimp’s preferences area.

In the Gimp preferences area, find “Interface” and click it to access Gimp’s interface settings. Then, under “Interface” click on the “Theme” option to access the theme area.

Inside of the theme area, you will be presented with 4 different Gimp styles. These styles are “Dark,” “Gray”, “Light”, and “System”. Select the theme you like best.

After selecting your preferred theme, click “OK” to instantly change Gimp over to the new theme.

Read How to customize the Gimp interface on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to make a custom Linux panel with Tint2

All desktop environments on Linux provide a panel to use for switching open applications, managing notifications, and so on. However, these panels are often hit and miss, and some Linux users find themselves unhappy with the default options.

A great alternative option to the panels that Linux desktop environments provide is Tint2. It’s lightweight, fully customizable, and can work on all of the popular Linux desktops! Here’s how to set it up!

Note: if you use a window manager rather than a desktop environment, consider following this guide here to learn how to set up Tint2 on the Openbox window manager.

Which desktop environment to use with Tint2?

As mentioned earlier, Tint2 will work on any desktop environment. However, the Tint2 panel is meant to give users a Lightweight panel alternative. So, since it is a lightweight panel, the best desktop to use is XFCE4.

Note: feel free to use Tint2 on any desktop environment on Linux. However, you will not have the same type of experience as you would with XFCE4.

Why XFCE4? It’s incredibly lightweight. Furthermore, it’s possible to configure XFCE to work well with Tint2 heavily.

So, before we begin on how to configure Tint2, you must install the XFCE4 desktop environment.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install xfce4

Debian

sudo apt-get install xfce4

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S xfce4

Fedora

sudo dnf install @xfce-desktop-environment

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper in -t pattern xfce

After installing the XFCE4 desktop environment, log out of your current desktop environment. Then, find “session” at the login screen, set it to XFCE, and log in.

Install Tint2

The Tint2 panel is available on all modern Linux distributions, as it is open source and not a lot of work to install. To get the Tint2 panel working on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line instructions below that correspond with the Linux OS that you currently use.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, the Tint2 panel is available in the “Universe” software repository. To install it, enable “Universe.”

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt update

After enabling the “Universe” software repository, you can install the Tint2 panel on your computer with the Apt command.

sudo apt install tint2

Debian

The Tint2 panel is available to Debian Linux users in the “Main” software repository. Install it on your system with the following Apt-get command.

sudo apt-get install tint2

Arch Linux

On Arch Linux, the Tint2 panel is available for installation through the “Community” software repository. Be sure that you’ve enabled “Community” in your Pacman.conf file.

After enabling the “Community” software repository, you can install Tint2 with the following Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S tint2

Fedora

The Tint2 panel is available to Fedora Linux users via the primary software repository. To get it working on your system, use the following Dnf command.

sudo dnf install tint2

OpenSUSE

Tint2 is installable on all current releases of OpenSUSE via the “OSS all” software repository. To get the panel working on your system, use the following Zypper command in a terminal.

sudo zypper install tint2

Configure Tint2

The configuration process for Tint2 is pretty straightforward. To make it as easy to understand as possible, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: In the XFCE4 desktop environment, we must disable the default desktop environment panel from loading up. To do this, you need to access the XFCE4 session settings.

Press Alt + F2 on the keyboard. Then, write the command in the launcher below to access session settings.

xfce4-session-settings

Step 2: In the session settings window, find the “Application Autostart” tab, and click on it with the mouse. Then, find the “+ Add” button and click it to create a new startup entry.

In the name box, write:

XFCE Panel killer.

Then, in the command box, write:

killall xfce4-panel

When both boxes are filled out, click the “OK” button to create the new session entry.

Step 3: Make your way back to the session settings window and click the “+ Add” button to make a second entry.

In the name box, write:

Tint2 launcher.

Then, in the command box, write:

tint2

Step 4: Click “OK” to create the new session entry.

Step 5: After both session entries have been created, right-click on the desktop, hover over the “Applications” section of the right-click menu, and choose “log out” to access the logout window.

Step 6: In the logout window, find the box that says “Save session for future logins” and uncheck it.

Step 7: Log back into your XFCE4 desktop session. When you do, you’ll notice the Tint2 panel has replaced the default XFCE4 one!

Need to open applications on your new Tint2-powered XFCE4 session? Right-click on the desktop and select the “Applications” menu. Or, press Alt + F3.

Customize the Tint2 panel

The Tint2 panel is incredibly customizable. If you’re not a massive fan of the default look, do the following to change themes.

Step 1: Click on the menu icon next to the “workspace” box on the Tint2 panel. Selecting this icon will open up the Tint2 wizard app.

Step 2: In the Tint2 wizard app, look through the list of panel themes available. Then, when you’ve found one you like, click on it to select it with the mouse.

Step 3: After selecting the Tint2 theme you like from the list, click the green check-mark button to apply it.

As soon as the green check-mark button is selected, the panel will switch to the new theme.

Read How to make a custom Linux panel with Tint2 by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

5 Best Outdoor Smart Plugs of 2019

Smart plugs add unprecedented levels of convenience to day-to-day life. You can control even old appliances from your phone through Wi-Fi. Some smart plugs can even be put on timers and left to work automatically.

Others can be set to deactivate if no motion is detected in a room. These are small, inexpensive devices that change the way we approach routine tasks, but most of them aren’t weather-resistant in any way. 

When it comes to finding the right outdoor smart plug, options are more limited. An outdoor smart plug is useful for holiday decorations or even just day-to-day use, like powering a security spotlight on your home, but it might not feel like it if you can’t find a decent one. To help, we’ve rounded up what we think are the best smart plugs to use outdoors. 

iDevices Outdoor Switch (Amazon)

The iDevices outdoor switch gives you levels of control over your holiday light displays you never even knew you wanted. The smart plug works with both Siri and Alexa, provides two separate outlets to plug things into, and is tested for outdoor use with an IP44 weather-resistant rating. This means it’s safe to leave out in the rain but it won’t survive total immersion.

There are a few downsides, foremost of which is that you do not get individual control of each outlet. Turning the power off to a single outlet turns off the power to both. That said, at $43 it’s an inexpensive option to provide smarter control of your Christmas lights.

Maxcio Outdoor Wi-Fi Outlet (Amazon

The Maxcio Outdoor Wi-Fi Outlet is one of the best smart plugs for outdoors, as it checks off quite a few boxes from the outset. It’s compatible with voice control through both Amazon Alexa and Google Home and gives you individual control over each outlet. 

You can set schedules and timers for each outlet, too—although creating an artificial flicker in your Christmas lights might not be the best idea. Setup and configuration takes only a few minutes, which makes the Maxcio Outdoor Wi-Fi Outlet basically plug-and-play.

Like the iDevices switch, the Maxcio outlet has an IP44 weather-resistant rating. While it doesn’t require a central hub to operate, the Maxio only works on the 2.4 GHz band, not the 5 GHz. The smart plug also measures voltage and energy leakage. 

While you won’t get detailed reports about how much energy each port uses, any devices plugged into it will be protected. The Maxcio is budget-friendly, coming in at just $25 on Amazon. 

Kasa TP-Link Smart Outdoor Plug (Amazon)

If you’re looking for brand recognition, it’s hard to find a company better known than Kasa. The Kasa TP-Link Outdoor Smart Plug gives you individual control over both of its outlets as well as the ability to set up schedules and timers. 

Where the Kasa outdoor plug truly shines, however, is its weather-resistant rating. Coming in at IP64, this outdoor smart plug has a much higher rating than the others on this list. It’s designed to handle just about anything the weather can throw at it short of total immersion. 

The Kasa TP-Link Smart Outdoor Plug can be controlled through Google Home and Alexa. It’s great for controlling something like a pool pump or an electric appliance. It also has Wi-Fi range up to 300 feet, which means you can use and control it far from the home. The design and casing is bulky, but provides plenty of space to plug cords into each outlet. 

Geeni Outdoor Smart Plug (Amazon) 

Most of the best smart plugs on this list have two ports, but not everyone is looking for that. Sometimes you need a single port in a relatively narrow frame for work within enclosed areas, and you need it on a budget. 

If this is the case, the Geeni Outdoor Smart Plug is the best choice. Coming in at $19.99 on Amazon, this smart plug has Wi-Fi built into its design—no hub required. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Microsoft Cortana. You can also set up scheduling and timers so that it only provides power during set periods.

Though no IP rating is given, the descriptions of the product make it seem like an IP44 rating is the most likely bet. It may lack the bells and whistles of some of the other smart plugs, but provides plenty of utility for its low price point. 

Tonbux Outdoor Smart Plug (Amazon)

Tonbux may be a relatively unknown company, but their outdoor smart plug sets them apart from the competition for one very clear reason: it has three separate ports, each of which can be controlled independently from the others. 

The Tonbux is IP44 weather-resistant and can be controlled from Google Home and Amazon Alexa. According to the specs, each socket can support 15 amps and 1875 watts on its own, which means you’ll have plenty of power for any devices you might want to control. 

This smart plug is ideal for use under a carport or outside a tool shed where you might need to plug in multiple devices at one time. 

Wallpaper of the Week: White Sands Monument

This weeks wallpaper is an image of White Sands Monument in New Mexico, USA. In this image, the foreground of rolling dunes made of white gypsum sand meet the mountains, tinted orange by the slanted light pouring out of a yellow sky. The ripples in the sand provide a nice counterpoint to the soft sunlight. Icons show up quite well in most areas, less so in the lighter areas than the darker parts.  Read More

How to fix iPhone not showing in Finder under locations on macOS Catalina

Catalina has officially been released and that means iTunes is no more. If you own an iPhone, or had one in the past, you know that it’s hard to use it without iTunes. With Catalina, iTunes’ functionality has been broken up and split across different apps. Syncing the iPhone on Catalina is now done through Finder. It’s simple and the interface is taken almost entirely from iTunes. It does require that your iOS device show up in Finder. If you don’t see it, there’s a simple fix.

Fix iPhone not showing in Finder

Your iPhone or iPad should appear under Locations in the left column in Finder. If it’s not there, you need to click Finder on the menu bar, and select Preferences.

In the window that opens, go to the Sidebar tab, and enable the ‘CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices’ option under the Location section.

Return to Finder, make sure you’ve connected your iPhone or iPad to your Mac, and it will appear under Locations in the sidebar. You can select it and you’ll get options to sync/back up the iPhone to your Mac.

Connected devices have always appeared in Finder but it was never really that important to access an iPhone from the file manager. Before Catalina, iTunes normally launched when an iPhone was connected and took a fresh back up. The photos and videos on the device synced with it, and could be imported in the Photos app. The Photos app itself is a photo library manager like no other and users weren’t likely to want to browse their photos and videos from Finder when they had Photos.

While Photos is still around, iTunes isn’t and the Finder is how an iPhone is synced. The device being absent from the sidebar matters a whole lot more now.

The option to show iOS devices in the sidebar on Finder isn’t hidden but it’s grouped together with CDs and DVDs and, that particular hardware is now almost gone from modern laptops. We’re not even sure if any current Mac or MacBook models still have one. Older ones might have an optical drive but Apple has been quick to drop the hardware in an attempt to make slimmer, lighter laptops.

If your iPhone doesn’t appear in Finder after enabling this option, it is possible that you have a faulty cable, or there’s something wrong with the port. Change the port, and try a different, preferably original cable to connect your iPhone to your Mac.

Read How to fix iPhone not showing in Finder under locations on macOS Catalina by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter