Timelet: A Themeable Desklet to Show Time

 I always have a love-hate relationship with Conky: the fancy desktop monitoring system. Though I don't extensively use it, I adore the simple time widgets that are both stylish and useful. However, Cinnamon Desktop has its way of spicing up the experience: desklets, applets, and extensions. After procrastinating for a long, I decided to implement my favorite Conky theme: Gotham, as a Cinnamon desklet and end up with a new desklet that supports custom themes just like Conky but only to show date and time.

Timelet: A Themeable Desklet to Show Time

This article explains the basic features of this new desklet named "Timelet" and introduces its sub-API for other developers to create new themes for this desklet. As of writing this article, the desklet is just submitted for review. Currently, there are five themes available out of the box for end users to use. All five are inspired by famous Conky themes and other Cinnamon desklets. Let's see how to install and use this desklet on your desktop.

How to Install & Configure Zsh

Bash: the default shell preinstalled in most Linux distributions is rock solid and industry standard for many years. There is not much to complain about Bash. It does the job and is the default shell on almost all Linux distributions. All the Linux tutorials and blogs assume you are using Bash. However, there are other shells to explore, including the famous ZSH and Fish shells. However, Bash is not customizable as ZSH or Fish. The more you can customize your shell, the more you can tailor it for your needs and be productive.


Why not Fish?

Some time ago, I tried ZSH, but it was too slow to open. Spending more time to open the terminal than running the actual command didn't justify using ZSH. That's when I decided to try Fish. Though Fish offers even more customization than ZSH, it breaks compatibility with Bash. From simple export commands to complex Bash scripts won't work in Fish out of the box. Every time I copy-paste some CLI commands from a website, I had to change the syntax to Fish almost every time I copy commands from the internet. It defeats the purpose of Fish. I installed Fish to boost my productivity, but it was counterproductive when writing shell scripts.

How to Install & Configure Zsh

Once again, I switched back to ZSH to give it a try. Surprisingly it is as snappy as Bash and Fish this time. The slowness of ZSH could come from an older version, an extension I used, or due to my years-old hardware. However, after installing ZSH with all the necessary plugins, it runs as smoothly as Bash without sacrificing the features I love in Fish.

Solaar: Logitech Device Manager for Linux

Solaar: Logitech Device Manager for Linux

 I am a long-term fan of Logitech keyboards and mouses. Their build quality is unbeatable. Currently, I own the ergonomic MX Vertical Wireless Mouse and ERGO K860 wireless keyboard. Even though the build quality is exceptional, Linux users are left behind in software support as usual. This article introduces Solaar: an open-source device manager for Logitech devices.

Solaar is an open-source tool developed by reverse engineering Logitech's connection protocols to provide some basic functionalities to Linux users. It can be used from pairing multiple devices to the same unified receiver to configuring your devices.

Since it is not an official tool, do not expect it to support all the bells and whistles packed in Logitech devices.

As of writing this article, Solaar has the following features for the supported devices:

  • Pairing and unpairing devices with the receiver
  • Displaying the current battery level and basic information about the device
  • Change some settings

To install the latest Solaar on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or any other derivatives, use the following command:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:solaar-unifying/stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install solaar


Arch users can install the latest version from the AUR:

yay -S solaar

Fedora has the latest Solaar in its official software repository:

sudo dnf install solaar

For other Linux distributions, check the GitHub profile to see the pre-built packages.

After installing Solaar, you may have to unplug and plug the receivers to let them detected by Solaar. Any customization other than pairing may not be persisted by the device if turned off. Solaar remembers any such changes and apply them every time you start Solaar. Therefore, if you are using Solaar to change any device settings, make sure to start Solaar at the startup to keep the changes alive.

Easily Switch Audio Devices on Linux

Those working from home on a Linux machine might have already noticed the pain of switching between input and output audio devices. You may want to quickly switch from one headset to another or from the speaker to the headset and vice versa. Opening the settings dialog every time you want to change the sound device is not very productive. Some desktop distributions like Cinnamon provide out-of-the-box solutions to change the audio device with a couple of clicks. For Gnome, there is an extension that enables this feature. This article covers such options to switch between different audio devices with less effort.


In the Cinnamon desktop environment, right-click on the Sound applet and choose the output device. You can individually select the output device and input device so that you can listen to the sound on one device while using a mic from another device.

Easily Switch Audio Devices on Cinnamon

The Input device selection will appear only if there is an application actively using a Mic. Otherwise, you will have the Output device selection only.


Gnome doesn't provide a similar option as in Cinnamon. However, the "Sound Input & Output Device Chooser" Gnome extension fills the gap by enabling the exact shortcut in Gnome. All you need to do is, installing this extension and enable it from the GNOME Extensions app.

Easily Switch Audio Devices on Gnome

Use the following button to install the extension:

All Linux Distributions

Sound Switcher Indicator is a simple application to change the input and output audio from the tray icon. Unlike the first two options, this application is not limited to a particular distribution. If you don't like the long hardware names, the application also provides an option to rename any detected devices for your convenience.

Easily Switch Audio Devices on Linux

To install the "Sound Switcher Indicator" from PPA, run the following command:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:yktooo/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install indicator-sound-switcher

Arch users can use the following command to install the app:
yay -S indicator-sound-switcher

On any other distributions, you can either install it from the Snap or the source.

sudo snap install indicator-sound-switcher

Make Gnome Look Like Mac (with the notch)

 You might have seen hundreds of YouTube videos on how to make Gnome looks like a Mac. Apart from some similarities (inspirations!) Gnome does have its own workflow in contrast to apple, but there are ways to mimic the exact Mac appearance with Gnome by installing some extensions and customizing the theme. Wait, did I say "exact Mac appearance"?  Not after the release of the latest MacBook Pro 14" and 16". Now Apple has a notch on the screen. It is not enough to change the Linux logo to an Apple logo for true diehard Apple fans like me. We want the new innovative notch on the screen. Go home Linux you don't have it.

However, Linux gives the freedom to achieve anything. That's what made Alynx Zhou develop a super useful extension for Gnome that introduces a notch to your screen. What does it do? Nothing just adds a virtual notch on your screen that mimics Apple's notch in all the way. It hides your cursor if you move the cursor below it. It shows a fake camera to be more secure than an actual camera. (Thanks to the developer for being mindful otherwise we might end up with an extension with an actual camera). There are a lot of FAQ answered in the official GitHub repository that you may wanna checkout for a good laugh.


Use the button below to install extension from Gnome Extensions site:


Now with a perfect theme and wallpaper, you can experience a true Mac feeling. Apart from all the fun, I do admire M1 chips. I am actually planning to get a MacBook Air in the near future, but the notch? I'm not a big fan of it. If everything Apple introduces is innovative and fault-proof, the touch bar should have been there forever and the MagSafe, SD card slot, and the HDMI port shouldn't have returned. While I understand the reason behind notch, it interrupts the Human-Computer-Interraction (HCI), especially if the menu is too long. Regardless, Linux has once again proved to be fun to use.

To get a Mac like Gnome, check this video out form Linux Scoop.

Dark Mode in Cinnamon Desktop Environment

Dark Mode in Cinnamon Desktop Environment

Some desktop environments like Gnome and Pantheon provide a dedicated system setting to switch between dark and light modes. In Cinnamon, you have to change the themes for Window borders, Icons, Controls, and the Desktop to achieve the same thing. Something can be done necessarily doesn't mean that is enough. I developed a new applet to switch between light and dark mode with a single click. The idea behind this applet is simple: change the system theme according to the mode.

Installation and Configuration

As with any other applet, open the Applets dialog and switch to the Download section. Search the "Dark Mode" applet and install it.

Dark Mode in Cinnamon Desktop Environment

Once installed, add the applet to your panel and configure the light mode and dark mode themes. If you do not want to change a particular theme with the light and dark modes, you can either leave that option empty or select the same theme for both the light and dark modes. For example, I use the same Icon theme and Desktop theme regardless of the system mode. In addition you can also choose a folder with mode specific wallpapers as the desktop background location. The applet will randomly choose a picture from the folder and set it as the desktop background while changing the mode. Currently the applet only supports: .jpg, .jpeg and .png files.

Dark Mode in Cinnamon Desktop Environment

After defining the themes, you can enable/disable the dark mode using the configuration dialog or from the applet menu.

Dark Mode in Cinnamon Desktop Environment

You can also enable the automatic mode switch and set the time for light mode and dark mode. The applet will switch the system theme automatically based on the defined time. Even with the automatic mode switch enabled, you can switch to your preferred mode at any time using the applet menu.

Dark Mode in Cinnamon Desktop Environment

If you like this applet and/or if you have any suggestions, please comment below. I will include them in the upcoming versions.

KDE Connect for iPhone

Good news for iPhone users using Linux is revealed by the KDE community. KDE Connect: the famous tool to integrate Android with your Linux desktop now supports iPhone too. For those who haven't heard about KDE Connect, it's a KDE application that lets you seamlessly bridge your Android device with your desktop Linux operating system. Though it was developed by the KDE community, there is an extension for the Gnome desktop environment. Zorin OS has its fork of the Gnome extension and the Android application. Other distribution users can still install KDE Connect if they don't mind installing some additional KDE dependencies. KDE Connect desktop application is also available for Windows and Mac (experimental).

I mainly use KDE connect to share the clipboard between my phone and PC, but it can do more than that.

  • Receive your phone notifications on your desktop computer and reply to messages
  • Control music playing on your desktop from your phone
  • Use your phone as a remote control for your desktop
  • Run predefined commands on your PC from connected devices. See the list of example commands for more details.
  • Check your phones battery level from the desktop
  • Ring your phone to help find it
  • Share files and links between devices
  • Browse your phone from the desktop
  • Control the desktop's volume from the phone



A demo video released by the KDE community shows:

  • How to connect two devices
  • The ability to view battery status and device info
  • Shared clipboard
  • File sharing
  • Slideshow control
  • Remote input

However still the app is under development and not polished as Android version. For example, as of writing this article, the KDE Connect iOS requires iOS 15 or the latest, but the developer said they are working on backward compatibility by fixing some SwiftUI widgets. It also doesn't support iMessage yet. These issues will be fixed soon according to the developer. Dear iOS users, you can receive your iPhone notifications in Linux very soon and it will be a milestone in integrating the proprietary echo system with the free world.

Use the following link to install the testing version of KDE Connect on your iPhone via TestFlight. You can find more information about the development, at the official GitHub repository.

If you find any bugs while testing this version, please report them at KDE Bugzilla to improve the product.


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