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Firefox version 29 has had a nice make-over, but one thing that has greatly annoyed many users is that not only has the Tab bar been moved to the top above the Address bar, but that when going into Customize, there is no longer an option to move it back to where you want.

Move your Firefox Tab Bar back below the Address Bar

Move your Firefox Tab Bar back below the Address Bar

While you can install the Classic Theme Restorer Add-on to do this, you will still need to fidget with its settings to move the Tab bar, and it will revert to the old-style square tabs instead of the nice new rounded ones. But rather than install yet another add-on, which you then have to figure out how to use, and then loose the rounded corners on tabs, you can actually hack one of Firefox‘s config files – userChrome.css – to get your Tab bar to go back to the bottom.

To open your Firefox profile folder where the file is located, just go to Help > Troubleshooting Information, and in the Application Basics section on the config page that appears, next to Profile Directory click the Open Directory button (Show Folder in Windows, and Show in Finder in Mac OS X)

When the folder appears, open the chrome folder, right-click userChrome.css and choose to open it with a text editor. When the file is open, go to the bottom of the document and add the following code (if the end of the document is at the end of a line of code that was already there, then add a couple of blank paragraphs by hitting Enter twice):

#TabsToolbar{-moz-box-ordinal-group:10000!important}

Once you’ve saved and closed the file, go to File > Restart, and when Firefox reloads, the Tab bar will be below the Address bar, not above it.

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Introduction to the FLAC Format

The FLAC audio format is so awesome, I still can’t get my head around it! It is lossless, like WAV files, yet often less than half the size. For example, if you had an album at full-quality (320 kbps) in MP3 format (which is lossy, meaning some quality had to be sacrificed), it could well be around 140Mb. Raw, lossless audio in the form of .wav files would on the other hand take up around 1Gb, if not closer to 1.5Gb. The reason .flac files have become so popular is that while being lossless in quality like .wav files, that album would probably only take up about 450Mb – half the size or less, but the same lossless quality.

If you’re quite happy with MP3s and their much-smaller filesize, if you ever end up with an album in FLAC format, you can always convert the tracks down to MP3 with a program like Sound Converter. But what if you get the album as one, long, continuous .flac file? Well, as long as that file also came with a .cue file (which specifies the breaks between tracks), it’s really easy to split it via the command-line, as you’ll see.

How to Split a FLAC Album with CUE File

First off, you need to make sure you have the necessary packages installed, which you can do with the following command:

sudo apt-get install cuetools shntool flac

Once done, you can start splitting the album with a command like the following:

cuebreakpoints album.cue | shnsplit -o flac album.flac

… replacing the word “album” in each case with the correct name. If the 2 files have multiple words with spaces, you’ll have to enclose them in double-quotes, like in the following example:

cuebreakpoints “The Number Of The Beast.cue” | shnsplit -o flac “The Number Of The Beast.flac”

Once that’s done, all you’ll have to do is rename the tracks (unless it doesn’t worry you), and edit the tags (the info you see in your audio player) via Rhythmbox, or a dedicated tag editor.

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While there are ways to change the default web browser via a GUI, this command-line method is even quicker. Also, while your email program and other apps might know which browser to open URLs with, you might find that ApportUbuntu‘s bug reporting system – looks to another browser you have installed. This is especially true if the other browser was at one point the default, and most notably this happens with Opera, though could also happen with Chromium/Google Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser you’ve installed before.

While Apport generally carries on with the bug reporting silently once you’ve clicked to continue, occasionally it require you to log into Launchpad, and will fire up the wrong browser, quite often it being Opera.

But it’s easy to remedy this by entering the following into the terminal:

sudo update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser

Change Default Browser in Ubuntu

As you’ll see, all you have to do is enter the number corresponding to the browser you want to be the default (in this case 2 for Firefox). To complete the process, enter this command:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser

Change Default Browser in Ubuntu 2

… and do the same there. That’s it – you’ll no longer have Apport or any other app open the wrong browser again.

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If you’re a Kubuntu user (or, like me, an Ubuntu user with multiple desktop environments installed, including KDE), you may have noticed that every time you start Chromium (or Google Chrome) web browser, KDE Wallet pops up and asks for authentication. While you can just exit that without having to enter your password, one can be forgiven for finding it irritating to have to do so every time the browser is opened. But it’s actually quite easy to disable, and all you have to do is enter the following into a terminal:

gedit ~/.kde/share/config/kwalletrc

Once the file opens, hit Ctrl+End to go to the bottom of the file, hit Enter a couple of times (so there will be a blank paragraph between the last entry and the test you’ll be pasting), and add the following:

[Auto Deny]
kdewallet=Chromium

(substitute “Google Chrome” instead of “Chromium” if using the former)

Save and exit the file. Log out and back in again for the changes to take effect, or simply enter the following into the terminal:

killall -9 kwalletd

That’s it – the next time you open Chromium/Google Chrome, kwallet will no longer appear to annoy you.

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 450,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 19 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

If you’ve upgraded your Ubuntu system to 13.10 and found that you no longer have any sound, you may have noticed in your sound preferences you now only have an audio device called “Dummy Output“. And you can’t change the device to your actual sound card, as it is no longer there (in KDE’s sound preferences, it will probably be listed as a device, yet will be greyed out, meaning you can’t select it). The problem isn’t your sound card, or needing new drivers for it, but a problem with ALSA – and hopefully will be easily fixed with the info in this article.

First, you need to check that your sound card is recognised by running this command in a terminal:

sudo aplay -l

It will then list the devices it finds (in the case of the following output, it finds the built-in audio [which is disabled in the BIOS] as well as the actual sound card I use):

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: ALC883 Analog [ALC883 Analog]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 1: ALC883 Digital [ALC883 Digital]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: Audigy2 [SB Audigy 2 ZS [SB0360]], device 0: emu10k1 [ADC Capture/Standard PCM Playback]
card 1: Audigy2 [SB Audigy 2 ZS [SB0360]], device 2: emu10k1 efx [Multichannel Capture/PT Playback]
card 1: Audigy2 [SB Audigy 2 ZS [SB0360]], device 3: emu10k1 [Multichannel Playback]
card 1: Audigy2 [SB Audigy 2 ZS [SB0360]], device 4: p16v [p16v]

If you see something like that, then all should be well, but if you want to make sure, copy and paste this rather lengthy command into the terminal:

echo "Sound cards recognized by the system:"; lspci -nn | grep --color=none '\[04[80][13]\]'; echo "Sound cards recognized by ALSA:"; lspci -nn | grep '\[04[80][13]\]' | while read line; do lspci -nnk | grep -A 3 '\[04[80][13]\]' | grep -e 'Kernel modules: ..*' -e '\[04[80][13]\]' | grep --color=none -F "$line"; done; echo "Sound cards recognized by ALSA, and activated:"; lspci -nn | grep '\[04[80][13]\]' | while read line; do lspci -nnk | grep -A 3 '\[04[80][13]\]' | grep -e 'Kernel drivers in use: ..*' -e '\[04[80][13]\]' | grep --color=none -F "$line"; done

The output should be something like:

Sound cards recognized by the system:
00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller [8086:293e] (rev 02)
05:01.0 Multimedia audio controller [0401]: Creative Labs SB Audigy [1102:0004] (rev 04)
Sound cards recognized by ALSA:
00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller [8086:293e] (rev 02)
05:01.0 Multimedia audio controller [0401]: Creative Labs SB Audigy [1102:0004] (rev 04)
Sound cards recognized by ALSA, and activated:
00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller [8086:293e] (rev 02)
05:01.0 Multimedia audio controller [0401]: Creative Labs SB Audigy [1102:0004] (rev 04)

Once again, everything seems fine, other than the fact you can’t enable your sound card as an audio device. Hopefully, the following command will rectify the situation:

sudo alsa force-reload

You will probably see no change until you reboot, so do so and when you login again, your sound should be back. If it isn’t, you may need to go back into the sound preferences and make the sound card the default audio device, after which all should be well.

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If the problem still persists, you can try the following command which has worked for some (replace “yourusername” with your actual username):

sudo usermod -aG audio,video,pulse,pulse-access yourusername

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If you’ve upgraded your Ubuntu system only to find you don’t have permission to do pretty much anything, as I did after upgrading to 13.10, it can be pretty annoying even for an advanced user, and downright scary for a novice. The symptoms are pretty obvious, as when you go to install updates, all you get is an error message saying “This operation cannot continue since proper authorization was not provided“. And using the Shutdown button seems to do nothing, and even using a terminal command to power off might see the shutdown process halt half-way through, forcing you to use the PC’s power button.

On top of that, even mounting removable drives (or other partitions on your internal drive) ends in being told you can’t, and even trying to play a DVD ends with “Unable to access “DVDVIDEO”. Not authorized to perform operation.

While there are ways around all of these situations for more advanced users, those less experienced with Ubuntu/Linux would find it all quite daunting, and pretty much look at their system as unusable. And one shouldn’t have to go through the bother of manually mounting drives through the terminal, or invoking the Software Updater as superuser, or any other thing we usually take for granted.

Luckily, the fix – which involves PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) – is actually quite simple, and should have everything back to normal in no time.

In a terminal, enter the following command to edit the PAM authentication file for the LightDM display manager:

gksu gedit /etc/pam.d/lightdm

Under the first line “#%PAM-1.0” paste the following 2 lines:

session required pam_loginuid.so
session required pam_systemd.so

Save and exit the file, then log out and back in again, and all should now be fine (you shouldn’t need to reboot).

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Another method, which fixed the problem for some (but not in my case, and many others) is to run:

sudo pam-auth-update --force

This opens PAM‘s config within the terminal, at which you either check or uncheck items, or just hit Tab to go to OK, and hit Enter.

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If need be, like you have GDM installed and it is interfering with LightDM, run dpkg-reconfigure gdm and select lightdm (you may need to reboot).

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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