Boss Mode extension

Gnome-shell’s popup notifications and integrated chat are great, but sometimes I’m annoyed when the content of a chat is displayed on screen at the wrong moment (for instance if a colleague sends you a work-related message while you are sitting at a conference next to other people).
The Boss Mode extension allows you to quickly disable notifications, without any UI feedback, by just pressing Win+B. Press Win+N to enable notifications again.

The default keybindings can be modified by clicking the preferences button on the extension page (next to the switch to enable/disable the extension).

Better notification support

Yesterday I released a new version of my message notification extension for gnome-shell (3.2 and 3.4), to install it or to update it just visit its page on

The main feature in the new version is that it just handles notifications coming from well-known applications: Empathy, XChat, XChat-GNOME, Pidgin and notify-send. Handling the Empathy notifications is easy because they are well integrated with the shell, but the other notifications required some hack because all the applications handle notifications in different ways. I did my best to make the notifications as useful as possible, similar to the Empathy ones, but there are some small limitations.
Some of the handled applications require plugins to show notification bubbles:

  • Pidgin: Click on the “Tools” menu and then “Plug-ins”. Make sure that the “Libnotify Popups” plugin is enabled. If the plugin is not in the list it means you need to install it. On Debian the package is called “pidgin-libnotify”, other distros should have a package with a similar name.
  • XChat-GNOME: Click on the “Edit” menu and then “Preferences”. In the “Scripts and Plugins” tab make sure that “On-screen display” is enabled.
  • XChat: Click on the “Settings” menu and then “Preferences”. In the “Alerts” tab make sure that “Show tray baloons” is enabled for both “Private Message” and “Highlighted Message”. If the notifications pile up in the bottom right corner of your screen and clicking on them does nothing, it means that XChat is using notify-send because it cannot find libnotify. I don’t know how to fix this issue on different distros, but I found a Red Hat bug explaining the problem.

Message notification
Notifications coming from Empathy and XChat-GNOME

Is there any other common application that you would like to be handled by my plugin? The only prerequisite is that they somehow use standard notification bubbles (and this means I cannot implement it for Skype).

If you are looking for the source code, it’s in this git repository.

Updated message notifier and new cooking blog

A few months ago I wrote a gnome-shell extension that shows how many conversations with unread messages you have, so that I could stop missing incoming messages.
I updated the extension so it now works better and it can also show what the incoming notifications are when you press the icon. You can get the new version (and install it with just two clicks) from If you previously installed the extension from git and you don’t have an update button on that page it could mean you need to first manually remove ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/ and reload the shell (ALT-F2 and then type “r”).

Message notification

Note that the extension shows the number of conversations with new messages and not the number of messages; I don’t like seeing “2” up there if somebody just wrote me “hi” and then “how are you?”.

There is still a major problem with the extension. I wanted to be able to also see if somebody pinged me on IRC (I’m a XChat-GNOME user) so I don’t limit the count to active chat conversations, but I consider all the active notifications. I find this very useful to avoid missing something, but it means that the red icon will also appear every time banshee or rhythmbox change song. Suggestions on how to solve this?

Changing completely topic, I recently moved to a new home and, having a nice new kitchen (with dishwasher), I started cooking a lot again. I decided to start a new cooking blog called to keep track of my recipes and share them with others. If you like food, in particular Italian one, take a look at it :).