Thursday, 11 February 2010

Zooming around in Ubuntu

Having been back on Ubuntu 9.10 ( Karmic ) for a few weeks, I've been reacquainting myself with the loveliness that is Compiz.

This includes the ability to be able to zoom in and out of the virtual desktops, in a manner similar to that used in Spaces and Expose on the Mac.

For me, with a UK keyboard on a Thinkpad T60p, the magic keystroke is, by default, is [Windows] + [E], also known as [Super][E].

This zooms OUT like this: -

I can then select the required desktop, and hit the right-hand mouse button ( button 2 ) to zoom back in to the chosen one.

However, it gets better.

Compiz also includes the ability to zoom in: -

Again, for me, this is [Windows] + [Button4] which translates to the middle mouse button of the trackpoint on the Thinkpad keyboard.

Having done this, I wasn't sure how to zoom back out, and ended up struggling to restore my desktop.

Thankfully, a quick Sametime chat with my Hursley colleagues and managed to save the day.

Having zoomed IN, the trick is to use [Windows] + [E] to return to the many desktops view, and then hit [Esc].

So, in conclusion, here's the magic keystrokes: -

Show MANY desktops        [Windows] + [E]
Go to a desktop                  Select and hit [button2] - right-hand mouse button
Zoom in                              [Windows] + [button3] - middle mouse button ( on Trackpad )
Zoom out                            [Windows] + [E] + [Esc]

If you could install your IBM stuff on a Mac (Portal etc.) would you still use Ubuntu?
Yes, but I'll probably use VMware less and run more stuff natively on the Thinkpad, as I used to back in the days of Cafe Culture in 2006 - running VMware Fusion or Workstation adds more overhead as you end up with 2 running operating systems. I'm also hoping to get an upgraded Thinkpad W500 at some point, which is 64-bit and capable of addressing more RAM. Phwoar!
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