Okay, I’ve always been fascinated with GeekTool. It’s one of the (many) reasons I’m still happy I converted from PC to Mac several years ago. (By the way, the Mac that I bought back on 2008? Still going strong. If I were on a PC, I would have already reformatted and defragged and cleaned it up – and I’d be doing it to my second replacement by now – and probably getting ready to buy a third one already. I never understood why PC people think Macs are so expensive!)
I had a Geek Tool desktop setup a few years ago, but I made it go away for some reason I can’t recall. But I had to move out of my office over the weekend – it’s so funny how moving just to another room makes you want to clean and organize like crazy! – and when I got my new space situated, I wanted to upgrade to OSX Lion, and then Geek Tool it out.
I’ll start with a little show, and then I’ll tell
So, on the iPad, one of my favorite games of late is called Superbrothers:Sword & Sworcery EP (apparently, if you have a Steam account, you can get it there, too, now). I’ve played it (and defeated it) several times. It’s a fun game – and funny – and has a great story. I tell you, every time I play it, I wish it were longer. (I wish they’d hurry up and come out with a part II or something!) So, my desktop was pretty much inspired by the game. This is how my desktop looked this morning when I got to my computer:
It’s a fairly simple GeekTool layout: current time (which I really don’t need, to be honest, since it’s up there in the corner. But hey, it looks cool!), current date and day, and what the weather is like. See that sun above the Scythian and the Bear (the two little figures on the mountain in the center?) that actually changes with what the weather is like outside (according to Accuweather, which I’ve found isn’t so “accu”… but anyway…) I’ve also dipped into my iCal and pulled out any upcoming events I have for the next 7 days, because I’m notorious for putting stuff in my calendar and then not checking it to see what’s going on. Now I have it at a glance.
There’s a lot of people who love the game, and there’s a lot of “fan art” out there, especially wallpapers for your computer. That’s where I got mine. I follow the game creators on Facebook, and they’re always posting new “fan art” pictures – I think that’s where I got the wallpaper (
but I’ll be darned if I can find it now! Found it!).
The font used in the game is ITC Conduit Light, but I don’t have it (and my budget doesn’t allow me to splurge and purchase it just yet), so I used Steelfish. It was the closest I could get to it.
Of course, to pull this off, you need to obtain GeekTool – if you don’t have it already, that is. I followed a tutorial I found by Alex Onsager – although his instructions were a bit convoluted, so I had to do a few edits to make it work. I used his links to obtain “Starry Night” icons to represent the current weather, and I also got his recommended external Ruby script by Ted Wise to pull in the weather, instead of using the regular Shell commands (which are generally unreliable).
For the record, this was a case where reading the “readme” files were a lot more helpful than following the tutorial. All the commands I was looking for were in that little zipped package. Just another example of how the old “RTFM” phrase holds true!
I also found some great tips and examples from the Geeklets site, as well as a few simple code snippets from this thread on MacRumors.
I’m not going to go all into huge detail on what I did, exactly, because it’s all covered in the above links. The tutorial by Alex was the biggest source of info – if you follow his instructions there, then you’ll be mostly set. What I’m going to do is tell you how I had to alter his instructions to make them more clear (and actually make it work for me) – because, at first, nothing was working properly, and he wasn’t too clear on how to make it work – even in the comments area.
I suppose this cluelessness stems form the fact that I don’t GeekTool it out all that often, and neither am I a prolific shell/terminal user.
So here’s the edits:
1) When you get “Starry Night”, the biggest issue is the filenames are wrong. You have to rename the icon files numbered 1-9 to 01-09. Accuweather looks for icons with a leading zero – if it’s not there, it won’t display the correct icon.
2) The “acweather-icon.png” image he talks about doesn’t exist. You have to make one – and really, it can be anything. (Or, you can simply copy one of the icons and rename it to “acweather-icon.png”. Either method will work.) The idea is that it’s just some image that the Ruby script looks for to replace with the icons in the folder you tell it to look in.
3) For the calendar stuff: He says to use terminal to edit the file for the layout settings (icalBuddy.plist) – but I was having serious issues with that (probably due to the fact that it took me a while to find the hidden file area where I needed to edit it, because I couldn’t seem to do it properly through Terminal). That’s where the “RTFM” stuff I mentioned earlier comes in: You can use TextWrangler or Smultron (or whatever) to create a file. Name is “icalBuddy.plist” and put it wherever you want. Then, in your GeekTool script, just tell it where to look for the plist file:
But really, I didn’t even do that. There’s actually just commands you can use in your script to format everything, so you don’ need to edit the config file. Mine looks like this:
/usr/local/bin/icalBuddy -nc -npn -nrd -df '%A, %B %e' -tf '%I:%M%p' -b "" -ab "" -eep "notes, location, url" -ps "|\\t > \\t|" -eed eventsToday+7
4) Speaking of having issues finding the folders because they were hidden, I did two things: a) opened up Terminal and turned on the capability of seeing hidden folders:
defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
and b) went to to the top of my Desktop and clicked “Go > Go To Folder” and typed in “/private” – you can then find the tmp folder to place your acweather-icon.png file (mentioned in step 1)
That’s really all the edits I had to do to pull this off. but I warn you: once you get started with GeekTooling out your desktop, you’ll become addicted. It’s really sweet, and a whole lot of fun!
(Now I’m off to see if I can make the sprites appear at random )