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I was delighted to learn about the demands_attention flag as explained here: Is there any way to initiate "urgent animation" of an icon on the Unity launcher from command line?

However, that notification is very brief - meaning I won't notice when I step away from the keyboard for a minute.

Is there a way to make that notification persistent so the icon is animated until the respective window is focused again?

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Turns out this isn't required; setting the demands_attention flag already adds a subtle indicator (blue triangle) to the very top left, which disappears when the respective window is focused again.

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Ahhh, so THAT's what that thing is. Learned something new... –  Tom Brossman May 25 '11 at 13:11

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