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Build a business case: developing custom apps

Now I just have to implement the obvious changes to make Firefox point to Zhura.com. At the same time, it seemed worth adding another stanza to give my relauncher script a front end alongside the simpleui.rc edit function. And to tidy up the new additions by blocking them between a couple of XML comment lines - always a useful thing to do when changing system files. The resulting new stanzas look like this:

<!-- This chunk added by chb -->

<parcel simplecat="Favorites" extraargs="/usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/kwrite /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/simpleui.rc"

icon="documents_norm.png"

selected_icon="documents_hi.png" >

<name lang="en">Menu Edit</name>

</parcel>

<parcel simplecat="Favorites" extraargs="/usr/bin/sudo /home/user/relauncher"

icon="sync_norm.png" >

<!-- selected_icon="sync_norm.png"> -->

<name lang="en">Relauncher</name>

</parcel>

<parcel simplecat="Favorites" extraargs="/usr/bin/firefox http://www.zhura.com"

icon="zhura_norm.png"

selected_icon="zhura_hi.png" >

<name lang="en">Zhura</name>

</parcel>

<!-- end of chunk added by chb -->

And here's how that looks on the Eee PC screen.

Asus Eee PC desktop with added icons

I've re-used standard Easy Mode icons for Menu Edit and Relauncher - check out the cheeky cheat I used to move the Relauncher caption down to make room for the too-low icon - and added Zhura's own icon for the movie script Web site. But it's still work-in-progress - see my confessional in the box below.

Next time... we'll be looking at some more interface tweaks, discuss how to get help over the Web, and talk a bit about optimising video on these neat little machines.

Easy (?) Mode Icons

A manufacturer who has decided to lock down an interface isn't going to worry about how difficult it might be for a user to make modifications. That seems to be the way with Asus' Easy Mode - particularly when it comes to the icons.

Each single icon you see in Easy Mode actually needs a full set of five separate icons in order to work properly. So if you're going to add a new icon of your own, as I did with Zhura rather than appropriate an existing icon - which, by the way, doesn't always work either - you're going to have a merry time grafting away inside a graphics app like The Gimp before you get a result. Yes, there are some utilities out there specially designed to help with this problem, but I wanted to make sure I understood the fundamentals first.

The Easy Mode screenshot I've included here is actually a bit of a cheat: when I took it I still hadn't mastered the whole elaborate process of icon creation. I haven't Photoshopped anything, but if you were able to slide the mouse cursor over the Zhura icon you'd see it vanish, because the "highlight" aspect of the icon wasn't working properly at the time I took the screenshot.

I've fixed the problem now, so I don't feel too bad about publishing this. I'm not going to take up space here to tell you how to do it, but I will point you in the direction of these six webpages (!) that walk you through the whole rigmarole.

Other Episodes
1. 'We're the Fukawi'
2. Into the Cloud

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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