GeekTool Intro

And they asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Matt 11:3-6

I'm a teacher by vocation and gifting; I love to teach. By corollary, I love to learn. I'm curious about everything and I have a blast learning about almost anything. Over the years, I've picked up quite a bit of information through the Internet. This website is my simple attempt to pay back; to contribute to the community and try to make the interwebs a better place.

As such, I don't require registration. I don't want your personal information. I don't set cookies. I won't put up advertisements. If I mention a product or service, it's because I use it, benefit from it, and I think others would too. I don't need, or want, your money. I simply want to offer some information to other curious characters.

I'm writing this site as an experiment. It's all written in a text editor. I make my own graphics, write my own JavaScript, CSS, PHP, and HTML from scratch because I'm trying to learn more about how all these pieces fit together. I use TextWrangler because I think it's a great text editor and it does everything I want in a very simple and efficient way.

If you want to contact me, try FaceBook or Twitter.

March 2, 2012

I like to keep a clean desktop, but I also like to have certain information readily available. For example, I have always worked from lists and I need to have my todo list handy. Until recently, I had not found an app for keeping track of my todo list that I liked. I've actively searched for years and haven't been able to find anything that I like--including a couple I wrote for myself-- until now.

I put together a solution that rolls several elements together, the heart of which, at least on my desktop, is GeekTool. Sorry, GeekTool is only for OS X, but I'm certain there is something similar for the Windows OS. GeekTool creates a highly customizable layer above your desktop image where you can output results from scripts, display graphics, or the contents of a file. If there is information that you always need to have available on your desktop, then you've got to check this out. GeekTool is available on the App Store if you are using OS X 10.6.8 or later, or directly from the developer, Tynsoe, (or Tynsoe Fr if you prefer French) for earlier versions of OS X.

During the course of the next few posts I'll lead you through developing the best todo list I've used since the days of the legal pad. In the meantime, let's get comfortable with GeekTool. Start by downloading and installing the appropriate version, and then we'll do something easy.

Open the preference pane and drag a shell geeklet onto your desktop. A property window will open, which is where you adjust the content, font, color, etc. of the geeklet. In the command textbox type cal and set the refresh to 300 seconds so the geeklet will update every five minutes. A calendar of the current month should be showing in the geeklet. You will need to adjust the font size, color, opacity, etc., and the size and location of the geeklet, to your liking. Once you have everything just the way you like it, close the GeekTool preference pane. The geeklet becomes transparent except for your content. You'll notice you can't select or move the content. It's as if it has become a part of your desktop image, but it's live content. Of course, with this particular example you will have to wait until the end of the month to see it actually change, but it is, none the less, live!

If you've messed around with Unix a bit, you might recognize that cal is a Unix command. It is not a command in Geektool; in fact, there are no GeekTool commands. GeekTool is simply for displaying on your desktop whatever your heart desires.

Some information I've displayed on my desktop using GeekTool, and remember all of this is live:

Play around with GeekTool. It's a good impetus to learn some Unix scripting, and you never know when that will come in handy. I added a couple of geeklets in the downloads section if you are interested in looking at them or installing them. They are some of the more complex geeklets I've written. They could probably be done in a more efficient way by true Unix guru, but mine work and I had fun figuring them out.

All content and graphics copyright (c) 2012-2017 Brian Dentler - all rights reserved.