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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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If you’ve set up Indicator Applet to include Mozilla Thunderbird, you may have noticed that the notifications are somewhat limited compared to what you get for the default email client, Evolution. But by installing a Thunderbird add-on and a small package, you can get a green envelope notification for newly received mail in the Indicator Applet, as well as a “black bubble” pop-up notification that blends in with the rest of your Gnome desktop.

First off, download the “Indicators for Thunderbird” add-on and install it:

In Thunderbird, go to Tools > Add-ons, click the Install button, locate/select the file you downloaded, and click OK.

You will note that the envelope indicator will be green when you get new mail, but you may also get an error message complaining about that libnotify-bin must be installed (to get popup notifications), so just enter the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install libnotify-bin

Once installed, you’ll get the familiar “black bubbles” popups for incoming mail.

 

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Bonus: Also works with other distros like Arch.

Limitation: Only works with your Inbox; if you filter your incoming email into different folders, you won’t be informed when new (filtered) email arrives.

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Remove Evolution Mail Notifier from Indicator Applet in Ubuntu’s Panel

Remove the Volume Button from the Indicator Applet in Ubuntu’s Panel

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Accessing internet radio (or eRadio) stations in Ubuntu is pretty simple. Most of the media players installed by default in Ubuntu can handle the task, and you can easily find and install many other great apps (like Amarok) via Synaptic Package Manager.

The current default for this is “Movie Player” (actually called Totem), and it does the job well, but there is another app installed in every system that can do even better: the default “Music Player“, Rhythmbox.

What we’ll look at is the basics of eRadio in Ubuntu (using the default Totem Movie Player), how to set up a web radio station in Rhythmbox, and why it’s a good idea to do so.

Finding web stations to your liking is a simple matter of a few minutes in Google, and when you find some you’d like to listen to, they generally have a clearly visible link to click.

When you click the stream link, Firefox will ask what you want to do with it, so just go with the default of opening it in Totem (or “Movie Player” as it will be listed).

Totem will open, and the station will be visible in the Playlist pane. You might even find it lets you access more than one station, as some will have US (English) and European (often German) versions. Simply double-click the station name and it will start streaming music within a second or two.

Now, while Totem does the job, and all that was pretty quick and painless, there isn’t a way to bookmark the station or anything, and from the lack of any additional information you wouldn’t even be aware many stations broadcast the artist and song names along with the music data. This is why setting up stations in Rhythmbox is a great idea, but you’ll still probably need the help of Totem to do so.

As you probably know, when Firefox wants to know what to do with a specific file, you can actually choose a program other than the suggested default. Usually, a list of apps will even be presented to you, but in the case of links that point to a .pls (“MP3 ShoutCast playlist“) file, you probably won’t find a way to open it in Rhythmbox. That’s because (currently) no apps at all are suggested for that filetype, and manually specifying the command /usr/bin/rhythmbox may not help. Same goes for other formats, like .wax (“Windows Media Audio Redirector“) files (more on those at the end of this article), but there is a simple way to get around this.

Now, when you click a link that points to a playlist file, the URL will be something like http://www.heavymetalradio.com/listen.pls, and (currently) Rhythmbox seems incapable of handling that (which is why nothing happens). But if you open the station in Totem, you can right-click the station and choose Copy Location, and you’ll find the URL is something like http://www.heavymetalradio.com:8000 (the numbers on the end are the port to connect to).

When you go to Rhythmbox, just right-click the Radio icon in the left pane and choose New Internet Radio Station…

Once you’ve pasted in the address and clicked Add, you will see your station(s) in the right-pane. Once again, just double-click the desired station to begin streaming, which you can of course pause at any time, and it will begin streaming again when you click Play.

Now you will notice that not only do you have the name of the station in the title bar, but also the name of the artist and song currently playing. That information is also visible beneath the media control buttons.

It doesn’t end there, as you can do one more thing, and that is customise the “cover” artwork. You’ve probably noticed when accidentally hovering your mouse over the artwork area that a tooltip saying “Drop artwork here” appears, and this is what we’ll do for the radio station (so pick a picture you like, or download their logo).

The option for album cover artwork is actually supplied by a Rhythmbox plugin, which should be installed by default; if it isn’t, you should be able to get it easy enough in Synaptic by searching for “rhythmbox“. If you don’t have artwork visible, it is still probably installed, just not enabled, so go to Edit > Plugins and enable Cover art.

Then simply drag a picture file from an open folder window onto that area, and it will be displayed every time you activate that station.

As you can see, that’s all pretty easy to do, only takes a few minutes, and is well worth it if you want to access your favourite internet radio stations in a flash (not to mention have the current track info broadcast along with the music).

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Some notes on WAX files

When you go to open a station via a .wax file in Firefox, it should go to open as expected in Movie Player.

Once again, all you need to do is copy the URL in Totem, create a new station in Rhythmbox, and paste in the address.

But you may find that the name of the station doesn’t automatically appear, but is instead just the URL.

But that’s only a minor issue, as all you have to do is right-click the station and choose Properties to edit its information.

Simply replace the URL (or whatever text you want to replace) next to Title: and click Close.

Your new station will now have the proper name, or any that you desire.

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At the time of Ubuntu 10.04Lucid Lynx“, the Indicator Applet used for notifications in the Gnome panel’s system tray sorely lacks any configurability. While I imagine that soon enough you’ll at least be able to remove entries from it, it may be a while before it is truly user-friendly and offers a way to easily add more apps to it.

For those of us that don’t use the default email client Evolution, but instead use Mozilla’s Thunderbird, the notification area is less than useful. But there is a way to add Thunderbird to the Indicator Applet, and it only takes a few minutes.

First, you need to create a Desktop file for Indicator Applet, so enter the following into a terminal:

sudo touch /usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop

… then open it for editing:

sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop

… adding the following text (if it doesn’t already exist):

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Mozilla Thunderbird Mail/News
Comment=Read/Write Mail/News with Mozilla Thunderbird
GenericName=Mail Client
Exec=thunderbird %u
Terminal=false
X-MultipleArgs=false
Type=Application
Icon=thunderbird
Categories=Application;Network;Email;
MimeType=text/html;text/xml;application/xhtml+xml;application/xml;application/vnd.mozilla.xul+xml;application/rss+xml;application/rdf+xml;
StartupWMClass=Thunderbird-bin
StartupNotify=true

Note that you need to make sure you have specified the correct command next to Exec=, as for your particular version it could be something like thunderbird-3.0 %u (you can find out by right-clicking a Thunderbird launcher and choosing Properties). Once finished, save and close the file.

You now need to create another file for Thunderbird:

sudo touch /usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/thunderbird

… and open it for editing:

sudo gedit /usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/thunderbird

… adding the following line:

/usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop

All you need to do now is logout and back in again, and Mozilla Thunderbird Mail/News should be in the Indicator Applet’s mail menu.

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If while trying to run sudo touch /usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/thunderbird you get the following error message:

touch: cannot touch `/usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/thunderbird’: No such file or directory

… it means you have uninstalled indicator-messages, so you need to reinstall it with this command:

sudo apt-get install indicator-messages

If your system tray is missing after this install, just log out and back in again, and it should be fine (you can try killall gnome-panel, but in my case the notification area was not restored until I had logged back in).

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Get a Green Envelope Indicator & Gnome’s Libnotify Popup for New Mail

Remove Evolution Mail Notifier from Indicator Applet in Ubuntu’s System Tray

Restore Missing Volume Button to System Tray After Upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04

Remove the Volume Button from the Indicator Applet in Ubuntu’s Panel

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A new little extension for Ubuntu‘s file manager is nautilus-pastebin, which is a script written in Python that allows users to upload text-only files to an online pastebin service by simply right-clicking them. Each scrap of text has its own unique URL, which is placed in the clipboard ready for pasting into your web browser (or email if wanting to share the text with the recipient).

Once installed, all you have to do is right-click a text file, choose Pastebin from the context menu, and your text clip is uploaded. A notification should pop up under your system tray informing you where it has been saved to (as mentioned, the address will now be in memory ready for pasting).

To view it, simply paste the URL into your browser’s address bar.

If this seems like something you can do with, install the forementioned package via Synaptic, or enter the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install nautilus-pastebin

Users can also customise the extension’s behaviour by using nautilus-pastebin-configurator, an easy-to-use configuration tool that is also installed (just paste the command into a terminal or Alt+F2).

With it you can make the URL automatically open in your web browser, turn the notification on or off, force a confirmation message to appear before uploading the text, and change the pastebin service to another in the list.

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Click here for more Nautilus Extensions!

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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!

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Google Chrome is a fast and lightweight web browser that has already become the 3rd most used browser on the planet. OK, so at 4.4% of the market it isn’t threatening to topple Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer, but it has pushed my beloved Opera out of that position in a fairly short time.

Basically, it is a very slimmed-down browser with less screen real estate being taken up by things like a menu bar, and in independent tests has proven to be much faster than other browsers. For this speed boost, Google employs its own technology which many experts claim have Mozilla and Microsoft scrambling to match, let alone better.

Also, security is something the developers take very seriously, and once again has proved equal or superior than its counterparts in independent tests.

For more detailed technical info and browser comparisons, just search online with your favourite search engine (funnily enough, Google comes to mind), but you can check out the Wikipedia article for a good introduction.

To install Google Chrome, simply go to the download page and specify either 32- or 64-bit Ubuntu, and proceed to download the .deb installer. You’ll notice at the bottom of the user agreement it says:

Note: Installing Google Chrome will add the Google repository so your system will automatically keep Google Chrome up to date. If you don’t want Google’s repository, do “sudo touch /etc/default/google-chrome” before installing the package.

Note that simply downloading the installer won’t do this, but the repos will be added during installation. And you may notice that if you don’t want the repos added, there is a command outlined to prevent this, though I would suggest you let Google Chrome update itself, to keep it stable and secure.

Once you’ve downloaded the file, double-click it to proceed with the install.

In the first dialogue that appears when you start Google Chrome for the first time, you’ll see you can import settings from your browser. If you have Firefox, then this is simple, but if you have another installed, like Opera, then it may not appear in the list (in my case, I have multiple web browsers, and only Firefox was available to import from).

You’ll also notice you can have crash information sent back to the Google developers; the default (surprisingly) is not to send any info, but if you plan to keep using it and want to help improve stability and performance, you might consider enabling this before proceeding.

If you have Firefox open, it will complain that it could not import settings due to this. Simply close Firefox, then click the Continue button to proceed with importing your Firefox settings, bookmarks and passwords.

When Google Chrome finishes loading, it will likely open your Firefox “Home” page as the first tab, as well as an introductory page for the program itself. If you look to the first pic, you’ll see it also grabs any links you added to Firefox toolbars.

When you click the + button at the end of the tabs to open a new tab, you will find a customisable page for links which is similar to Opera‘s Speed Dial. Unlike the latter, however, you can’t really add new links at will, as it is more like a history of most frequently visited pages, but you can remove thumbnails for those you don’t want there (and also Keep on this page any you want there permanently). It’s worth spending a few minutes customising this page (once you’ve surfed a few sites), as it can be quicker than opening a blank tab and then finding the link in your Bookmarks menu, like you’d do in Firefox when opening a frequently used page.

And if you’re wondering where your imported bookmarks got to, just click on the Other Bookmarks button on the far right.

When you go to your favourite sites, you’ll see any login information would have been imported, and you’ll be ready to log into Facebook, MySpace or eBay with a click.

And if you’re wondering about customisability, while the window border obviously does not use your GTK or Compiz/Emerald theme, note that you can skin Google Chrome with the many themes available, like you can do with Firefox and Opera, as well as install all sorts of useful extensions. Once the browser is installed, go to the settings/spanner button to the far right of the address bar (it will say “Customize and control Google Chrome” when you hover your cursor over it), choose Extensions from the menu, and on the page that appears telling you you have none, click the browse the gallery link to look for goodies to install (use the Search field to look for theme and skin if you just want to change the look and not wade through hundreds of other extensions).

As you can see, it is no major pain setting up Google Chrome, and currently is just a 12.8Mb download, so you may want to give it a try, even if you just want a backup browser in case Firefox misbehaves and you don’t want to reboot. And if you’ve been having issues with your browser, or just prefer something more lightweight yet full-featured, this just may be what you’ve been looking for.

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Note: Currently the Linux version is still a “beta”, but on my 64-bit Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” system, seems perfectly stable.

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ADDITIONAL INFO:

Make Google Chrome Look Like the Rest of Ubuntu

Change Between Installed Themes in Linux

Google Chrome Themes for Ubuntu Users

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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!

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64-bit Ubuntu users: You can read this for some general info, but for installation of Flash use this guide instead.

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A common complaint from newbies is the lack of Flash support in Firefox when they first encounter a site that needs it. However, the solution is quite simple, and the fact that it is even seen as a problem is evidence that often the most obvious things are the most easily missed.

When you go to a site that relies on Flash, don’t look at the error message on the web page – look just above it and you’ll see Firefox is well aware of the issue, and is presenting the solution to you.

All you need to do is click the “Install Missing Plugins…” button and you will be presented with a list of plugins to choose from, both official (ie: the Adobe one) and open-source. You can try any you please, especially if you’d like to try slimmer, open-source alternatives that probably use less system resources, but pick “Adobe Flash Player (installer)” if you prefer to play it safe (I’d recommend that).

Select your choice, click the Next button, and that’s it (Firefox might need to be restarted, though probably not).

If you want a simpler method you can implement straight after an Ubuntu install, before you even load Firefox, once again the terminal is the answer. Just enter the following command, and it will take care of everything:

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

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If you’d like to make sure the plugin is successfully installed, enter about:plugins in the address bar. It will list all installed plugins, with the first one being the most recently installed, Flash.

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In case you’re wondering what other web browsers this plugin supports, any browser based on Netscape or Mozilla can use the Flash plugin. Here is the list of those currently supported:

Mozilla, Mozilla-Firefox, Firefox, Iceweasel, and Iceape. Also Galeon and Epiphany can use the Flash plugin. Konqueror can also use the Flash plugin if konqueror-nsplugins is installed.

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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!

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