timer-applet: a countdown timer applet for the GNOME panel

November 7th, 2007 edited by Alexey Beshenov

Article submitted by Vasiliy Faronov. We are running out of articles! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like!

When working at my PC, I often forget that I need to do something, say, in ten minutes. Therefore, I need an easy way to set up a reminder and be prodded when the time elapses. timer-applet is a small applet for the GNOME panel that does this.

The applet takes the form of a small button sitting on the panel. When you click it, the timer setup dialog box appears.

The timer setup dialog box

You may just enter the time after which you want to be reminded and click “Start Timer”. You can also set a name for the timer; it will be shown to you when the timer finishes, so you don’t have to painfully recall what you are to do. If your needs are more complex, you can set up multiple timer presets.

After you click “Start Timer”, the countdown begins. The panel button shows the time remaining. Clicking the button will pause the timer; clicking it again will allow you to continue the countdown or start it over.

The timer button displaying the remaining time

Once the chosen time period elapses, the applet notifies you with a bubble, and the button begins to flash.

The timer has finished

timer-applet is actively maintained and has a web site. It has been available in Debian since etch and in Ubuntu since dapper. Ubuntu gutsy features the 2.0 version of timer-applet which has a slightly better user interface.

The obvious downside of timer-applet is that it is only useful in GNOME environments. KDE users might want to check out the package kalarm (from KDE’s PIM suite). Also, the packages teatime and kteatime may be useful if you specifically need a tea timer.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 10 Comments »

Torus-trooper: a shoot-’em-up in a tunnel

November 4th, 2007 edited by Vince

Article submitted by Vincent Fourmond. We are running out of articles! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like!

Torus-trooper is a pretty nice abstract shoot-’em-up taking place in what could be called a space tunnel. You drive some kind of ship or car who has to stay on the sides of the tunnel, and shoot bad enemies. This game is pretty neat and original in several ways:

  • You don’t have lives or energy. Rather, you have a limited amount of time to spend in the tunnel. Every time you kill some (big) enemies, you may gain 15, 30 or 45 seconds. Every time you get shot, you loose 15 seconds.
  • In addition to shooting, you can build up a kind of charge by pressing the x key. When you release that charge, it runs in front of you, destroying enemy ships and absorbing enemy shots - the latter adding significant amount to your score. One thing though: building the charge slows you down considerably.
  • It is pretty fast-paced, rather faster than anything else I’ve seen, and quite neatly designed.
  • I like the idea of the tunnel!

torus-trooper menuWhen you start the game, you can ask for full screen mode (which makes you feel more “into” the game) with the -fullscreen option. After that, you get a menu where you choose the level and start playing with the fire key. You can also see your last game re-played with the alt key.

Once in the game, you need few keys: arrows, or wasd for movement and acceleration; z for normal firing and x for charge shooting. esc will take you out of the game and p will pause it, as expected.

Some screen shots

torus-trooper in play torus-trooper in play torus-trooper in play

Torus-trooper is available in Debian testing, but it still hasn’t made its way into Ubuntu.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 17 Comments »

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