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Archive for the ‘Essentials for Newbies’ Category

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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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.

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If you’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 13.04, you may have noticed that its file manager, Nautilus, has lost some of its functionality. One of the glaring omissions in the 3.6x versions (the current is 3.6.3) is the Open With sub-menu when right-clicking a selected folder. Previously, you could use it to open a folder with a program, like Movie Player (now called Videos, though technically it’s totem) to open a folder full of video clips, or a folder full of pictures with Image Viewer (or eogEye Of Gnome – to be precise).

In this guide I’ll show you how to do both, but you can of course apply this to any program you want, as long as it has the ability to open a folder starting with the first file. In the case of Image Viewer, it will open the first file within the folder and continue to cycle through the rest as you use your arrow keys; in the case of Videos, it will open the media player with all videos from the selected folder in its playlist, in alphanumerical order.

To get around the missing Open With option, you will first need to install Nautilus Actions. To do so, run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions

Once installed, you can use the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool to define your own actions (in Unity’s Dash menu, just start typing the name; in Gnome Classic, it will be in Applications > System Tools).

New Menu Item for Image Viewer:

In the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool, click the Define a new action button and name that action to what you want to appear in the menu (eg: Open with Image Viewer; whatever name you choose will also appear in the Context label: field in the first tab in the right-pane, Action).

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Image Viewer to Context Menu

Making sure that the new action is selected in the left-pane, in the right-pane go to the second tab – Command – where you define what that menu option will do. For the Path: enter eog (or the full path /usr/bin/eog), for Parameters: enter %b (for first basename), and finally for Working directory: enter %d (for first base directory). While there are a bunch of other tabs in the tool, that is all you should need to do.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Image Viewer to Context Menu Step 2

If you want to add an icon for that menu option, you will see Icon: in the Action tab, where you can browse for an icon to use.

Nautilus-Actions Icon Chooser

Once you’re finished, click the Save button, and exit the tool. You will find your new action in the Nautilus-Actions actions sub-menu in your context menus.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Image Viewer to Context Menu (DONE!)

(OPTIONAL: If you also want this action to appear in context menus for locations – in other words, not just the selected folder, but when you right-click an empty area of the folder you’re currently in – check the box next to Display item in location context menu in the Action tab)

New Menu Item for Movie Player (Videos):

In the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool, click the Define a new action button and name that action to what you want to appear in the menu (eg: Open with Movie Player or Play Movies in Folder; whatever name you choose will also appear in the Context label: field in the first tab in the right-pane, Action).

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Movie Player/Videos to Context Menu

Making sure that the new action is selected in the left-pane, in the right-pane go to the second tab – Command – where you define what that menu option will do. For the Path: enter totem (or the full path /usr/bin/totem), for Parameters: enter %b (for first basename), and finally for Working directory: enter %d (for first base directory). While there are a bunch of other tabs in the tool, that is all you should need to do.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Movie Player/Videos to Context Menu Step 2

If you want to add an icon for that menu option, you will see Icon: in the Action tab, where you can browse for an icon to use.

Nautilus-Actions Icon Chooser

Once you’re finished, click the Save button, and exit the tool. You will find your new action in the Nautilus-Actions actions sub-menu in your context menus.

Nautilus-Actions: Adding Movie Player/Videos to Context Menu (DONE!)

(OPTIONAL: If you also want this action to appear in context menus for locations – in other words, not just the selected folder, but when you right-click an empty area of the folder you’re currently in – check the box next to Display item in location context menu in the Action tab).

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If you’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 13.04, you may have noticed that its file manager, Nautilus, has lost some of its functionality. One of the glaring omissions in the 3.6x versions (the current is 3.6.3) is the ability to open selected folders in their own windows.

Nautilus 3.6 Options for Selected Folders

Nautilus 3.6 Options for Selected Folders

Currently, the only options available when you right-click selected folders are to create a new folder containing whatever is selected, or to open them in new tabs. The Open option simply mimics the next option, which is to open them in new tabs. The only way at all to open another (single) folder in a new window is if you right-click the breadcrumb in the toolbar.

Right-clicking Pictures lets me choose to Open in New Window

Right-clicking Pictures while in a sub-folder lets me choose to “Open in New Window”

However, there is a way around this: Nautilus Actions. To install it, run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions

Once installed, you can use the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool to define your own actions (in Unity’s Dash menu, just start typing the name; in Gnome Classic, it will be in Applications > System Tools).

Nautilus-Actions: Open in New Window

In the Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool, click the Define a new action button and name that action to what you want to appear in the menu (eg: Open in New Window; whatever name you choose will also appear in the Context label: field in the first tab in the right-pane, Action).

Nautilus-Actions: Defining the Action

Making sure that the new action is selected in the left-pane, in the right-pane go to the second tab – Command – where you define what that menu option will do. For the Path: enter nautilus (or the full path /usr/bin/nautilus), for Parameters: enter %b (for first basename), and finally for Working directory: enter %d (for first base directory). While there are a bunch of other tabs in the tool, that is all you should need to do.

If you want to add an icon for that menu option, you will see Icon: in the Action tab, where you can browse for an icon to use.

Nautilus-Actions Icon Chooser

Once you’re finished, click the Save button, and exit the tool. You will find your new action in the Nautilus-Actions actions sub-menu in your context menus.

Nautilus-Actions: Open in New Window

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A couple of years or so ago, Ubuntu‘s file manager, Nautilus, gave you the ability to “Safely Remove Drive” when right-clicking an attached USB hard drive (or flash drive), rather than just simply “Unmount” it. The difference between the two is that when you simply unmount a drive, it is still listed as attached (but not mounted) in Nautilus‘s left-pane. For many, seeing the drive completely removed was reassuring, since it could then be unplugged safe in the knowledge there would be no data loss, or physical damage to the device.

However, in the Ubuntu 12.10 upgrade, we lost this option, and now only have “Unmount” and “Eject” (which is exactly the same as “Unmount“, except in the case of CD/DVD drives where it will eject the disc tray).

Device Context-Menu

While “Safely Remove Drive” may yet make a return (it has caused a flood of complaints about this backward move), for now you can do it via the command-line if you really prefer this to simply unmounting.

First, if you’re unsure what the drive’s address is, run the following in the terminal:

mount|grep ^'/dev'

If you only have one internal hard drive, and no other storage devices attached, it should be something like /dev/sdb. To safely unmount and totally remove the drive, enter the following command, replacing /dev/sdb with your own drive’s designation if need be:

udisks --unmount /dev/sdb1 && udisks --detach /dev/sdb

You should now see your drive disappear from the file manager’s left-pane.

Note that in the unlikely event you have a partition other than the first partition on the drive mounting, you will need to change the “1” (ie: sdb1) in the command to reflect that.

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If you’ve installed a program for working with specific file types, you might find that Ubuntu‘s file manager Nautilus has no idea about it when you right-click a file and go to Open With, where a list of alternative programs to the default are presented. While in most cases that new app will be found when you choose Other Application… from the context menu, sometimes this isn’t the case.

Back in Gnome 2.x, if the program wasn’t listed, you could choose to add a custom application, which let you specify the command manually. However, this is no longer the case, but there should be another way to rectify this (see also the command-line interface method at the bottom).

In this example, we’ll look at getting Nautilus to recognise PDF Editor (pdfedit) as a viable program when right-clicking PDF documents, since the file manager doesn’t know it exists, and one can no longer just specify pdfedit as a custom command (at least via the GUI).

While you could be forgiven for thinking you’d need to hack a list of applications (for example, ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list), the answer in fact lies in editing the .desktop file of the newly-installed program, and simply inserting three characters into it. Basically, this will allow Nautilus to add it to its context menu (actually, it specifies that the application can be passed a filename, which is what is missing).

All you need is the actual command that runs the program (e.g. pdfedit for PDF Editor), and you should be able to guess the .desktop file’s name (e.g. pdfedit.desktop), and open it for editing with the following command (replacing pdfedit with the appropriate name in your case):

gksudo gedit /usr/share/applications/pdfedit.desktop

(Note that the .desktop files should be in /usr/share/applications, but if not will be in ~/.local/share/applications, so change the path accordingly if you need to. Also, if you cannot correctly guess the .desktop file’s name, you can get the correct name by going to the folder and browsing for it).

[Desktop Entry]
Name=PDF Editor
Comment=PDF Editor
Exec=pdfedit
Icon=/usr/share/pdfedit/icon/pdfedit_logo.png
Type=Application
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false
Categories=TextTools;Viewer;Graphics;Qt;

Find the Exec= line and you will see the command listed after it. Simply go to the end of the line, hit the spacebar, and add %f, so the line looks like:

Exec=pdfedit %f

(Once again, substitute your command’s name for pdfedit).

Simply save the file when exiting, and you shouldn’t even need to restart Nautilus, let alone log out or totally reboot. You should immediately see the desired program in the list of apps presented in Other Application…, and once you open a file with it, the app should be easily accessible in the list of secondary programs found in Open With.

If you want to make that program the new default for opening the particular filetype, you can now right-click one, choose Properties, go to the Open With tab, click on the app under Recommended Applications, and click the Set as default button.

CLI Method to Change Application & Set Default:

You can easily open a file with another application using the mimeopen command in the terminal. However, if the program isn’t already in the list of recommended applications, you’ll need to make it the default for that filetype first. Simply open a terminal in the folder where the file is and run a command like the following (substituting Recipes.pdf with the appropriate filename and filetype):

mimeopen -d Recipes.pdf

Please choose a default application for files of type application/pdf

1) GIMP Image Editor (gimp)
2) Adobe Reader 9 (AdobeReader)
3) Document Viewer (evince)
4) Other…

use application #4
use command: pdfedit

Simply choose the number that corresponds to Other… (in this case it’s 4), then type the command of the program after use command: (you probably won’t need to specify the path, but if it doesn’t work without it, it should be something like /usr/bin/pdfedit).

After that, you can switch default applications quite easily with the above command, or use the --ask option to just open the file in the desired app without changing the default (note there is no option to choose Other…, which is why you have to use the -d switch first):

mimeopen --ask Recipes.pdf

Please choose an application

1) pdfedit (pdfedit-usercreated-2)
2) GIMP Image Editor (gimp)
3) Adobe Reader 9 (AdobeReader)
4) Document Viewer (evince)

use application #

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That’s it – hopefully with either of the methods you’re not cursing Nautilus any more, and have more control of your filetypes than your file manager currently provides.

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If you’ve attached an external hard drive for backing up your files, or created a new partition for storage, only to find you don’t have the permissions to use it, you’d be understandably frustrated. But it’s actually quite easy to remedy by simply running a command in the terminal in the form of:

sudo chown -R username:username /partition/mount-point

Note that the above isn’t the actual command you’ll be using, as you’ll need to replace each instance of username with your actual username, and also determine your mount-point, which is not the device name (eg: /dev/sdb1).

To find the mount-point, run mount in the terminal, and locate the line that corresponds to the drive or partition in question. If you have never named (or set the label for) it, it will probably look something like:

/dev/sdb1 on /media/bf9a2c45-491a-4778-9d76-47832fe38820

If you have set the label with something descriptive, it should like similar to:

/dev/sdb1 on /media/1Tb Pocket Drive

As you can see, your mount-point will look something like /media/bf9a2c45-491a-4778-9d76-47832fe38820 or /media/1Tb Pocket Drive, so all you need to do now is run a command like one of the following, replacing the relevant info with what is appropriate to you:

sudo chown -R billgates:billgates /media/bf9a2c45-491a-4778-9d76-47832fe38820

sudo chown -R billgates:billgates '/media/1Tb Pocket Drive'

Note that if your custom label contains spaces (e.g. 1Tb Pocket Drive) , you will need to enclose the entire mount-point path in single quotes, but won’t need them if it’s a single word or multiple words joined by hyphens or underscores.

That’s it – you should now be able to do whatever you want with the drive or partition in question, as you’re now the owner.

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If you’ve attached an external hard drive to your system, then decided to use your partitioner to format it to EXT4 for greater efficiency (or just to match your Ubuntu system), you may have been shocked to find that your empty drive seemed to be missing a few gigabytes when mounted afterwards. And this has nothing to do with the good old binary (base-8) vs decimal (base-10) situation which would see your “750Gb” drive be more like 700Gb (in Windows and earlier versions of Ubuntu – now Mac OS X and Ubuntu have followed hardware manufacturers and use decimal, so that’s more like 738Gb).

This is because Ubuntu (and other Linux distributions) reserve typically around 5% of the space for the root user and system services, so should you run out of hard drive space, the administrator can still log in, and system services continue to run.

However, this is only really needed for your Ubuntu partition, so if you have an external EXT4 drive, or have an EXT4 partition on your internal drive (other than the one your system is on), you are needlessly wasting space (40Gb of the drive in the example). But you can free up that disk space quite easily, without having to re-partition the drive or anything. All it takes is a couple of commands pasted into the terminal.

In the following example, an external hard-drive will have the reserve set to 0 (zero), since this is what most people will need this for. First, we have to determine the device name, as using its mounted name – /media/700Gb Ext4 – won’t suffice. To do so, enter the following into the terminal:

mount|grep ^'/dev'

Look for the line containing your device:

/dev/sdc1 on /media/700Gb Ext4 type ext4 (rw,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=udisks)

… and you can see what it is named (/dev/sdc1 in this case). To free up reserved space, enter the following (replacing /dev/sdc1 with whatever the appropriate device name is, if need be – just make sure you don’t do it to your main drive!):

sudo tune2fs -m 0 /dev/sdc1

You should then be presented with the following message:

Setting reserved blocks percentage to 0% (0 blocks)

To confirm all has gone well, you can right-click an empty area of the folder window for the device and choose Properties, then compare the free space from before and after, or run the following command (once again replacing the device name with the correct one in your case):

sudo tune2fs -l /dev/sdc1 | grep 'Reserved block count'

You should be greeted with the following:

Reserved block count: 0

That’s it – you now have all of your drive to use.

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Note: if you receive the following error message:

tune2fs: Bad magic number in super-block while trying to open /dev/sdb1
Couldn’t find valid filesystem superblock.

… then the filesystem likely isn’t EXT4 – chances are the drive is actually formatted as NTFS or FAT for use on Windows systems (which would be the case if you’ve bought an external drive, and never did anything other than copy files to it). You would have needed to partition/format the drive to EXT4, so if you didn’t, then you actually don’t need this guide.

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If you find yourself trying to figure out which package contains a certain command, or any other file for that matter, apt-file is a command that will make this easy. It probably won’t be installed by default, so do so with this command:

sudo apt-get install apt-file

You will then be presented with the message:

The system-wide cache is empty. You may want to run ‘apt-file update’ as root to update the cache. You can also run ‘apt-file update’ as normal user to use a cache in the user’s home directory.

It’s probably best to run the former option (that is, as superuser), so enter the following:

sudo apt-file update

Let it update the cache, then you can search for the command or package or file. Simply use apt-file search followed by whatever it is you’re looking for. For example, we’ll search for the command ccsm, which is what runs the Compiz-Config Settings Manager, as there is no actual package of that name:

apt-file search ccsm

You might find the list presented is quite long, so it may pay to set your terminal to unlimited scrolling beforehand. In the case of the example, the line we’re looking for:

compizconfig-settings-manager: /usr/bin/ccsm

is not visible, since it is right near the top, which is beyond scrolling. If this happens to you, edit your terminal settings and run the command again.

Generally speaking, if it’s a command/program, then the line that has /usr/bin/ followed by the command (like ccsm) will be the correct one. The actual package that contains it will be listed at the beginning, in this case being compizconfig-settings-manager.

Remember, this can work with other types of files too, so if you’re looking for a specific config file or icon or whatever, just specify that at the end of the command. Eg:

apt-file search ccsm.desktop

Hopefully this is all you need to find that elusive file, or the package that installs a program you’re after.

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At times when using the terminal, the output from a command can be so long, you simply can’t scroll to the beginning, as it is no longer in view. But you can actually set the terminal to display as many lines as you like, or even set it to unlimited scrolling.

In the terminal, go to Edit > Profile Preferences, and in the Scrolling tab you will see there is a default amount of lines to be displayed (probably something like 512). If you have an older computer and are worried about memory, you can up the amount to 2000 or thereabouts, as that should suffice, otherwise the best option is to place no limit on the amount of lines displayed. Under that, you will see “Unlimited“, so check that, and from the next command onwards you won’t have that limitation any more.

Various terminals available might differ as to where to change that setting (like a Settings menu, or Edit > Preferences or Tools > Settings), but they all should have it, and you should find it easy enough.

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