Unity Workarounds

I'm currently running the unity desktop shell on my development computer. I got fed up with KDE's lack of support, and the gnome-shell just annoyed me. Unity seems like a good start, but suffers from several problems. I've found workarounds for all of these, and thought I'd post them below.

Scrollbar Corruption:

One of the major changes in unity is the thin scrollbars (technically called "overlay scrollbars", I believe), which are enabled by default for all GTK applications. This is what I'm talking about (image from techgarage.com):

These work fine for native GTK applications, but applications built using the wxPython toolkit suffer from render corruption when you try and scroll a styled text control (bug report). This bug manifests itself in many applications, including my current favorite development text editor editra. Here's a screenshot of the issue:

The problem can be avoided by turning the thin scrollbars off. How do you do that? Easy - launch the application with the "LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR" environment variable set to 0, like this:
You can of course edit the menu item for editra to include this, or add the line "export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0" to your ~/.xprofile file (create it if it doesn't exist).

Panel Corruption:

Whenever I change a setting in the compiz config settings manager (ccsm), the top panel of my unity desktop becomes corrupted. Previously the only way to fix this was to log out and log back in again (effectively restarting unity). Here's a screenshot of the problem:


When this happens you can restart unity without having to logout, or close any applications. Simply run (either by pressing Alt+F2, or in a terminal):

unity --replace


I can understand the need to filter humans from machines on the Internet, but we need to do a much better job. It seems like the most common captcha software I run into these days is reCAPTCHA. The system has some noble goals - specifically, users who submit captchas are actually helping digitize books. However, here's the problem:

What the hell does that say? The first word is obviously "the", the second? "Claccupr?". Perhaps I have bad eyesight, but I often get these wrong. Here's an alternative proposal:

Instead of asking humans to perform text recognition (something computers can already do reasonably well), ask them to do something that comes naturally to humans, but not to computers. How about asking the user to pick which image they might find at a beach. Or ask the user to pick the image that represents the largest object in real life. Use context that humans understand instinctively, but computers do not.

Any ideas? Someone should build it!