Desktop apps

Scroll like you mean it in Windows

One of the most annoying aspects of Windows after using Linux on the desktop for 10+ years was how the mouse wheel scrolled windows.

On Linux desktops I could hover over a window and scroll it without focusing. It was really useful when I had a browser window with instructions behind a terminal or just comparing the contents of two windows. The same happened when scrolling panes in file managers. I could scroll directories when hovered over that side of the window and files when over on the other..

So, imagine my frustration when I realised I had to click the side of the Explorer window I wanted to scroll in Windows? It was doubly annoying if I had selected files as I’d have to click an empty area or CTRL click an already selected file to select that side of the window.

Well, there’s a simple solution. Alex Leonard found and blogged about Wizmouse. It simply does what I expect, it scrolls the window under my pointer, whether it’s focused or not.



Middle click your urls again in Firefox 2

One of the really useful features of Firefox in the past was the ability to click the middle mouse button anywhere on a browser page and have the URL in the clipboard load in that window. For some reason it stopped working some time back and I don’t know why. Here’s how to enable it again if your Firefox has stopped obeying your middle finger.

  • Open “about:config” in a new browser tab or window.
  • Search for “middlemouse” and find “middlemouse.contentLoadURL”. Set it to true if it’s false.
  • If that preference isn’t there, create a new one by right clicking and creating a new boolean value. Type “middlemouse.contentLoadURL” into the box and press return.
  • A new value, set to true by default, will be created.
  • Now try copying a URL and middle-clicking it anywhere on this page. Try for good luck!

That mouse presses all the right buttons

Having just installed Ubuntu Edgy on a squeaky clean partition I’m still migrating some of my settings and programmes from my last Ubuntu install. Why did I reinstall when an upgrade from Dapper already went well? Unfortunately in the course of configuring my Wacom graphics tablet I broke my sound and for the life of me I could not remember how to fix it. That and I was running out of space and there was a nice 28GB NTFS partition doing nothing but taking up space..

Your mouse is probably luckier than some but if some of the buttons on it don’t work then look for the following line in /etc/X11/xorg.conf:
Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
and change it to this:
Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"

I hate middle mouse button clicking on a scroll wheel and this Microsoft mouse is worse than others. The side button works much better for me! Finally, I can press the right button again! 🙂

Oh and good luck if you have a widescreen monitor. My Dell 2405 LCD barfed every time I tried the graphical install. I had to look for the “alternate” cd and do a text install, and then install the proprietary Nvidia drivers and add a suitable modeline to /etc/X11/xorg.conf. I haven’t done that since I don’t know how long ago. Definitely in the last century.