Sometime ago Richard and I started using Daniel Taylor’s Key-Status Monitor as a visual aid to our Inkscape screencasts. I remember first seeing this used by Rolf Steinort from Meet The Gimp. At the time I remember thinking it looked rather neat and just figured that it was part of Gnome or Ubuntu or something. After some time had passed I got interested in it for my own screencasts and contacted Rolf to get the scoop on it. He helped me get it working on my box, I relayed that information to Richard and from that point it just became part of our screencasts. We use it often now, except for the period where we couldn’t get it working for most of the Ubuntu 8.10 time frame due to a bug. However, with a little help from Peter Carrero, we got the Key-Status Monitor working again. It’s my understanding that the issues we had with it not working have been fixed in Ubuntu 9.04.
I have always been appreciative of Daniel’s program. However, lately I have been feeling like it’s a little too big in dimensional size for my specific needs. Actually, that has always been a problem but I have just dealt with it. In some cases I opted not to use it at all because I couldn’t find a suitable place for it on top of my small Inkscape window (my screencast window size is 912×684). So…I decided to make a smaller version for myself.
The first thing I tried was just scaling the PNG icons from the original 48px high to 32px high. It worked but the text on the keys were no longer legible. Fortunately for me, Daniel supplied the SVG icons with the application (which I think Jakub Steiner had a hand in) so I altered all of the icons so that the text would be legible again. I combined that with a tip that Garrett LaSage gave me last week regarding the use of Devil’s Pie to turn off the the windows decorations and voila!…a smaller Key-Status Monitor was born.
There might be a few more tweaks necessary but overall I’m quite satisfied with this smaller version, especially without the window decoration showing. An Alt+LMB easily moves it around and I can easily stop it from running via the terminal.
Below is a screenshot comparison of it all. 🙂
Update: Until I hear from Daniel regarding his interest in this smaller version, I will offer it up here for download.