Add and Arrange Custom Icons for Launch

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 07/30/2010

This last step is hardly worthy of its own blog post, so I will spice it up a bit with giving a custom icon on the PC side. When I get home, I will have to do the equivalent on the Mac side. There appear to be ways to do this on the PC for the Mac, but they cost money.

But first, a bit of directory structure and a PC shortcut icon. Surf into the pcqemu directory, and right-click on the qemu.vbs icon and select Create Shortcut. That will make a new icon at the bottom of the file list named “Shortcut to pcqemu.vbs”.

Rename that to “Debian on PC.vbs”. This will look good sitting next to the Debian.app directory. You will always know what to click, whether you’re on a Mac or a PC. You can’t rename Debian.app, or it will throw off the internal refrerence to Debian.sh for OS X.

Now, make a new directory next to Debian.app. I called this directory ShankServer, purely for self-serving branding reasons. Now, drag the Debian.app folder into the ShankServer folder. Also, drag the shortcut you just made in Debian.appContentsResourcespcqemu into the ShankServer folder. So, it should effectively look like this:

Mission complete. Double-click “Debian on PC” when you’re on a PC. Double-click Debian.app (which will appear as just Debian) when you’re on the Mac. Either way, exactly the same virtual machine will launch. Shut down your VM and eject your USB pen drive, switch machines, and pick up where you left off. It’s really the ideal Linux pendrive.

Okay, so what about icons? I’ll zip through it super-fast, because we’re really done, and this is utterly cosmetic for branding. I have a rubber penguin squeeze-toy on my real-life desktop, which when you squeeze it, the eyes pop out. I really love it, and of all the penguins I’ve seen for Linux, this is by far my favorite, and I’m going to turn him into the mascot for ShankServer. My first step towards that end is:

Take a picture of your ShankServer mascot with your iPhone or other camera. Email it to yourself.

Load the picture into Photoshop. Be sure you have the Telegraphics plugin for saving .ico files installed. It will be necessary for saving the icon in the correct file-format.

Select the magnetic lasso tool of Photoshop, go into the Layers palette, right-click on your image, and select “Layer from Background”. This will ensure that when you delete out the background, it will make it transparent instead of white.

Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool to outline your mascot. Stay close to the edges, because it does a pretty good job of picking the right edge, except where it becomes low contrast. My method after that is to invert the selection and hit the delete key to delete the background, leaving only that checkerboard transparency pattern. I find that it sometimes pays to touch it up with the Polygon Lasso Tool. Photoshop Magnetic Lasso Once you have the background removed, choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool, and set the aspect ration to 1:1, and crop a square box of your mascot. Remember, icons are square!

Now simply “Save as” and choose the .ico format (which will be present only if you installed the Telegraphics plugin). Save it to your pcqemu directory.

Now right-click your “Debian on PC.vbs” icon, and select Properties, then click “Change Icon…” and then click Browse and then surf into the pcqemu directory, and select your mascot icon.

Done. Now just double-click the penguin to launch your Debian session on the PC, or the Debian.app folder on the Mac. I’ll add the custom Mac icon later from home.

Oh, and somehow this entire endeavor wouldn’t feel complete if we kept the hostname Microknoppix. So, login to the virtual server, and type the following command:

echo ‘ShankServer’ > /etc/hostname

And now, restart it with the command:

shutdown -r now

And on the restart, it should look like this: Welcome to Shankserver

And upon getting home, I popped the USB keychain drive in my Mac and double-clicked the still-working Application Bundle icon, and lo and behold: Welcome to ShankServer.