Sunday, 13 August 2017

August 2017 Living with PLASMA 5

I'm sorry it has been so long since I updated this blog.  At Easter I was rushed by air to a hospital a bit over 300 kilometres away, suffering from bleeding into my brain.  Previously I had anscesses in the brain, this time it was just blood.  However the blood was once again infected with Golden Staph, and once again it also got into my heart.  In the 2011 incident, my three of my heart valves were infected and my Aortic valve was replaced by a prosthetic tissue valve.  This time there was so much of my heart infected that the surgeons were not sure if they could successfully operate.  However, they eventually got down to replacing the entire Aortic Root, including another valve.

Ok, that's out of the way, and once again I am looking at several years of recovery, along with the possibility of it all happening again.  In the mean time, I am restricted again in things that I can do, so I have the opportunity to mess with Linux.

I tend to run low powered computers and my main computer is still the little Gigabyte BRIX running a Celeron processor at about 1.6GHz.  That is combined with 8GB of RAM and a 500GB internal hard drive.  Externally I have three USB 3.0 hard drives of 1TB, two USB 2.0 drives of 1TB and one USB 2.0 drive of 2TB.  These store stuff going back over many years, with some drives being the masters and some, backups.  The stuff I keep is not really valuable, but a lot is stuff I spent considerable time on, like programs and scripts I wrote for particular jobs.  Because everything has only been running on LINUX since 1998, all my programs and scripts will still operate even on the newest computers.

So Back we come to the topic of this post.  In March I had decided to learn to live with Mint KDE 18, which runs in the PLASMA 5 environment.  I had many of the same problems I had experienced before using PLASMA 5, and quite a few of the little annoyances.

One of the worst is that it is no longer possible to have different wallpapers on each virtual desktop.  Now, I know that having different wallpapers is sort of childish, but there are practical uses for it.  For a start, it gives me a quick visual guide to which desktop I am on before I open a program.

Some time ago the PLASMA 5 team announced that they would not bring back separate wallpapers on virtual desktops, and that we should use 'Activities' instead of virtual desktops anyway.  At the time, switching between Activities was a slow, clumsy process involving several mouse clicks.  This was eventually addressed when someone produced a 'pager' for the panel that works just like the virtual desktop pager.  The only thing that was not working was the ability to change activities by using the mouswheel and scrolling on the desktop itself.

That has been fixed, probably long ago, but it took me a while to find it.  First it is necessary to Right Click the Desktop and open 'Configure Desktop'.
 On the LEFT pane, open Mouse Actions and  where it says 'Vertical Scroll', change from Switch Desktop,

to Switch Activity.

PLASMA 5 is still not perfect.  There are glitches, but finding this setting gets rid of one annoyance.  The switch from one activity to another is not as instantaneous as it was using Virtual Desktops, but the scrolling takes care of the delay using those annoying mouse clicks.

You might notice that I have a panel at the right edge of the screen.  It has the Activity Pager that I was using to switch Activities before I decided to look further into using the mousewheel on the desktop.  I had been simply scrolling on the pager.  Above that pager are folders and a script.  The folders each contain an xwinwrap command and a video , but that will be for another blog post.

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