lens ideas

As you guys have probably noticed, I’ve been making a bunch of lenses lately (whether or not they’re good is obviously up to you guys).  I’ve found that it’s pretty fun to write them, and I plan on writing a quick sum-up so that people can write their own, but first, I’d like to ask if theres any lenses someone wants but hasn’t found yet.  If you think of one, leave it in the comments, and if it’s feasible, I’ll get to it!

Posted in Uncategorized.


  1. ssweeny October 11, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    How about adding a virt-manager scope for your VM lens so I can search the non-VirtualBox VMs I use for testing?

  2. Jay-Allemand October 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    An idea for a new unity lens :

    I am loking for a Dictionary/translator (such as french-english). I usualy use worldrefenrence.com, but it would be very convenient to use directly on the Dash ! So, open the dash, just select in which language you would like to translate a word, type your word and get the translation ! It would be great !
    Is-it possible ?


  3. Matthew Goode October 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Having just written a thesis I found myself regularly searching my computer for academic papers. Since my filenames are based on BibTeX keys, i.e. Smith2012.pdf, it’s not that easy to search using the Files lens of the Dash.

    As I use JabRef, the path to the file is stored as a custom BibTeX key. Therefore, if you could parse a given BibTeX file for the authors, titles, journal names and the location that would be immensely helpful. The results could then be grouped by those three types in the same way that the Music Lens groups by Title, Artist and Album.

  4. Dustin MacDonald October 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    A Professional Sports Lens
    Stats and schedule would be drawn from league websites (if possible).
    Could be done regionally A Pro Sports lens per Continent, filtered by Pro Leagues, searchable by City or Team name. Or A Global Pro Sports Lens filtered by Continent and then filtered by Sport.
    Search results for the team would show up in five rows (if possible like this). First would show the teams current record: First box would be Games played, Wins, Losses, Draws and then Overtime losses and then Team Points.
    Second Row could show the teams league standing, conference and division standing.
    Third could show the teams next 3-4 games opponent and if it is home or away.
    Four row would show the teams previous games results if they were wins or losses and to who.
    Last row could just simply be links to the teams official website and the leagues website.
    Do not know if this is doable or if it would have to be one lens per sport, or one lens per Continent/region/country. But it would be fun and handy.

  5. Sakimori_X October 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    How abou a DLNA search lens, so you can run searches against media in local DLNA servers? DLNA (so far as I have been able to determine, and please let me know if I’m mistaken) is outside of the scope of the default music/video lenses.

  6. Julian Fernandes October 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    A blog lens would be cool :)

    You setup your favorite blog’s RSS feed (or couple of them), and then you could search articles.

    Also, when a new article is posted, you could add a notification using the default Ubuntu notification system.

  7. Anthony October 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Hmm, I think the rate of “lens” that are being created, you are going to need a “lens” lens, so people can find them all in one place.

    * A voucher lens will be cool for online shopping. (useful with the addition of Amazon and web apps on the new Ubuntu release).

    * I’m guessing a Instant messaging lens that comes with a shortcut key would be useful as you wont have to search through multiple windows to reply to a message.. although I don’t know the limits of the ubuntu lens to know if possible.

  8. Udit Mahajanp October 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    I always feel two things are missing from unity lenses.

    1. Currency converter
    I believe google converter provides pretty much everything one would need to create such a lens.

    2. A Dictionary lens. Not a translation, but normal dictionary, something like Mac spotlight. I think there was a dictionary lens a couple of months ago but not its dependencies are so old that it just can’t be built.

  9. Lars Viklund October 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    How about a lens showing all installed programs? both in the foundation layer, installed from the program central and other repositorys/packages

  10. daniel brainard October 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    I’d like to see an RSS Feeder lens. You could be able to narrow the search down based on the different sources, the previews feature can pull up the summary and picture associated, and then include the link to the actual story.

  11. Jon Reeve October 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    A folder index lens.
    I have a folder where I store a lot of (i.e., ~900) plain-text notes. Where certain launchers like Kupfer and Gnome-do excel is in their indexing of certain manually-added folders. In Kupfer, for instance, I add my ~/Notes folder, and I have instant access to any of my many notes. I press my Kupfer hotkey, start typing the name of the note, and I can open it. Since the dash uses Zeitgeist, however, and there isn’t a way (that I know of) to manually add a folder for indexing, I have no way of pressing a button, typing the name of a note, and accessing a note through the dash. And I would like to.
    A folder index lens would allow the user to specify any folder, and have the lens pull up the contents of that folder which would then be searchable by typing. True, nautilus already kind of does this, but it’d be nice to be able to launch programs and notes all from the same interface. Not to mention, there’s a Tomboy and Gnote lens, yet not a lens for plain-text notes, which is a tragedy.

  12. Lee Lazarecky October 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    A html5 video player supported in the dash for quick lookups in the video lens, nothing fancy, just one that works.

  13. Sascha Peter October 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    There’s one lens I would love to use: a thunderbird-contacts-lens, searching your adress book. Such a lens could save me so many clicks and so much time…

  14. William Peetal October 12, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    I always make my dash fullscreen even though i use desktop pc, because i like the dash being full screen. My idea is to have a lens that give us the simple environment that looks like meego OS interface that works that way.. where u can use the dash fullscreen .. and cater for your IMs, Social, Emails, play music etc.. the common task.in other words.. it can be the interface that user use within unity lens itself ( maybe it can combines other lens to integrate those functions )

  15. Frederik Elwert October 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    I second Sascha’s idea, but with a slight twist: A contacts lens would be a great and much needed addition. It seems to me like the most natural idea, and I am surprised that we did not yet see one finished. I just think it should not be limited to thunderbird, but rather (or additionally) use Folks as its backend, so that it can access the “system” address book, which is also used by Contacts.

  16. Maurizio Geronazzo October 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I think could be a great idea make a lens with open apps and workspaces! a scale-effect-like or similar could be awsome!

  17. emre October 14, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I second the dictionary suggestion; it is a glaring deficiency in the lens market. Make it multillngual for bonus points.

  18. unity1 October 14, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    I would like to see a google voice lens showing missed calls, contacts etc

  19. cwayne October 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm #


    I actually wrote a dictionary scope yesterday, it’s unity-scope-dictionary in the scopes packagers ppa

  20. Sascha Peter October 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    There has already been at least a google-contacts-lens in 11.10, but if I remember right, it never worked stable. There was a Tomboy-lens, too, which is abandoned on launchpad. Anyway, if you run Tomboy, you can search your notes via the HUD…

  21. Frederik Elwert October 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Sascha, thanks for the hint. There were several attempts or proof-of-concepts for contact lenses (including one in which I was involved), but none of them turned into a mature product. I think this shows that a) this is actually wanted, b) it’s not easy to do, and c) it would be worth getting this done properly.

    Regarding Tomboy: The launchpad project was never official, the project used to live on github. It is correct that is was abandoned (or halted) by the original author. You can find an up-to-date branch at https://code.launchpad.net/~frederik-elwert/unity-lens-tomboy/quickly-rewrite .

    I proposed to take over maintainership of the tomboy lens, but did not yet receive any reply of the original author. Maybe I should just go ahead anyway and claim that launchpad project … If anyone wants to join in, that’s always appreciated!

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