10 steps to setting up a live wallpaper on [Arch] Linux.

One reason why people switch over to Linux is the cool customization and tweaking capabilities offered.

One of my first tweaks on Arch was setting up a live desktop. I could have used so many conky configurations, so many skins and themes.. but this simple trick was.. elegant.

My desktop wallpaper is now a live view of the Earth from one of NASA’s satellites. It keeps updating every three hours, with the shadow of the Sun visibly shifting.

So the steps to set one up on your Linux desktop are :

1. Download and install gnome-schedule from your package manager.

Install the package gnome-schedule by using the command : “sudo pacman -S gnome-schedule” or its equivalent in your package manager.

2. Run the application

3. Click the “New” icon to setup a new task and select the option : ” A task that launches recurrently “. Give it a title – moving wallpaper or something.

4. Now the command : In the command line copy this and paste it there : ” wget -O 1600.jpg –user-agent=”Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/8.0.552.224 Safari/534.10″ http://static.die.net/earth/mercator/1600.jpg

Understanding the command :  wget is a software package for retrieving files from the web. Here the -O option means “–output document=file”.

the file is 1600.jpg from the site root : “http://static.die.net/earth/mercator/1600.jpg” whereas the  –user-agent option is used to circumvent a kind of protection against direct downloads on that site. Each of the option therein are for different web browsers.

5. Choose to “Suppress the output” in the next option.

6. Below these, there are options to set how frequently this command runs. Make it a 3 hour update. Put “*/3” in the hour line.

7. Save and execute the command.

8. The image should be saved in your “Home” directory. Put it as your desktop background.

There it is!! Now every three hours, your background is updated as the image on the site is updated. Here’s mine :

@5 pm.

My desktop. It’s around 5 pm as of now.

Note: This setup could’ve also been done without the use of the gnome-schedule package. A simple crontab could have done the trick as well. Or instead, one might’ve used the software package : “xPlanetFx” – a much more comprehensive but complicated option.

Makings of a bibliophile ??

It was April, and I was back home for the last time before my my end semester exams. My mom and brother were leaving for Lucknow to meet a few relatives so it was gonna be me and my dad alone in the house for about a week. I was hanging around the house when I took up a long forgotten idea of mine.

I started cataloging my collection of books; mine -that is both me and my dad’s – collected over the last 3 decades or so. My dad too was supportive and with mom being absent to fuss over the mess, it was the perfect time.

It was with almost childlike glee that I stacked up my books on my bed, stacks as tall as I am( not that I’m tall) ! It was good holding books which I had not touched for over half a decade, and had spent a large chunk of my childhood getting lost in.

I was so jobless I actually took up a few – reading my favorite parts of them was so refreshing ! Some book s are too much fun to only read once. Sometimes I was surprised that I found a new meaning between the lines, other times I was left dumbfounded that my younger self ever read such material. But I guess that’s how life is.

The books on my bed. A lot have been cataloged already and are missing from this picture.

There, just right above the Harry Potter series was the space occupied by the Wheel of Time series. There on the top is another hole – probably dad’s photography books.

A lot of this was done on time ( before mom came back ) with the help of my dad.

Check out the full list.

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

  -Groucho Marx.