We could all use some handy tips now and then. Wouldn't it be great if they were, quite literally, at our fingertips? If you are a Ubuntu user, those tips can be at your finger tips with the help of a handy tip applet. This applet works in conjunction with the Fortunes application and serves up helpful tips for any level of Ubuntu user. Let's install and use this handy tool.
What is Fortune?
If you are new to Ubuntu and Linux you probably have not heard of "Fortune". If not, the Fortune application (It's usually referred to as a game for some odd reason) uses flat text files to issue random sayings to various subsystems or applications. It is commonly used to append signatures in email clients (See my article "Add uptime and/or a daily fortune to your email signature").
In order to install the Ubuntu Tips Applet, you will first have to install the application fortunes-ubuntu-server. Since the Ubuntu Tip Applet is not found in the repositories (it's an installable .deb file you download), you will first need to install fortunes-ubuntu-server. To do that, follow these steps:
sudo apt-get install fortunes-ubuntu-server.
With this dependency installed, you can move onto the installation of the tips applet. First download the .deb file from the GTK-Apps web site. Save that file in the ~/Downloads directory. Now, follow these steps to install:
Open up a terminal window.
sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-tips-applet_XXX.debWhere XXX is the release number.
After the install, you will not see any tips start up. That is because you actually must start the app before it can serve up those handy tips. To start it click Applications > Accessories > Ubuntu Tips Applet. What you will notice immediately is a small icon in your notification area (see Figure 1). The icon is the swirling line between the network applet and the sound applet. If you left-click that icon you can do the following:
Really the only configuration option you have is the interval. As I said, the default is one minute. This can get a bit annoying, so I wold suggest setting it to something more like five or ten minutes.
When a tip appears it looks just like a standard Ubuntu notification (See Figure 2).
The tips you are shown range in level of difficulty. You will see some fairly easy tips all the way up to some significantly challenging tips. You might well be surprised at how helpful this tool will be to your Ubuntu education.
Having a handy tip system at your fingertips will go a long way to aiding you in your quest to learn more about Ubuntu Linux. It's non-intrusive, can be stopped, and offers up some fairly handy advice. What more do you want in a tip system?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.