May 20, 2012
Well, I already missed a week in my quest to post every Sunday. Oh well, I may miss a week here and there. I am sure it will not be the end of the world for anybody.
Here are some things I have been wanting to post:
- When I installed Linux Mint 12 on my second computer recently, I installed the latest version of Lotus Notes 8.5.3. It was slightly different then when I installed the 8.5.2 version:
- Download 8.5.3 from IBM's website
- Install the following packages:sudo apt-get install libgnome-desktop-2-17 libgnomeprintui2.2-0 libgnomeprint2.2-0
- Install notes: sudo dpkg -i ibm-lotus-notes-8.5.3.i586.deb
- Within the /opt/ibm/lotus/notes directory, download and untar (and replace if necessary) these files
- Change the permissions of the downloaded files: sudo chmod 755 libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0 libgdk_pixbuf_xlib-2.0.so.0 libgdk_pixbuf-2.0.so.0 libgdk-x11-2.0.so.0
- Launch notes: /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/notes (note, it takes it about 5 seconds for the license agreement to come up)
- I found out you can enable autosave in Lotus Notes by going to "File->Preferences->Basic Notes Client Configuration" and you will see a section on the top left hand corner that says "AutoSave every 15 minutes." You just need to check that. I changed mine to every 1 min. You want to change this! Trust me. This comes from someone who has lost quite a few emails because Notes or the OS crashed in the middle of writing an email. It does not happen nearly as often as it use to, but still does occasionally.
- To enable middle mouse button and scroll wheel in Mint: apt-get install gpointing-device-settings then launch gpointing-device-settings
- To be able to login to another machine via ssh without being prompted for a password:
- ssh-copy-id -i .ssh/id_rsa.pub <ip of other machine>
- ssh <ip of other machine>
- I often need to check my ip address. I use to be able to do this with wget, but my old method quit working (because the page I was using changed), so I came up with this alternative command via the command line: links -dump www.whatismyip.net and added this to my $HOME_DIR/.bashrc alias whatismyip='links -dump www.whatismyip.net' so you just have to type "whatismyip" at the command line. You can even shorten this to something like "wi" if you like. I also have these aliases in my .bashrc:
- alias h='history'
- alias c='clear'
- If you want to be able to use sudo without having to type the password each time modify /etc/sudoers with the visudo command and make the following changes:
- For a group: %admins ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: NOPASSWD: ALL
- For just one user: %jdoe ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: NOPASSWD: ALL
- On my desktop that I installed Linux Mint 12 and Gnome3 + MGSE, for the life of me I could not get the gnome screenlock to disable. It kept coming on after about 5 min of being idle. I tried every suggestion I could find but the stupid thing continue to come on. I decided just to remove it with the command sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver since it is a home desktop computer.
- I just learned about the CMS application Plone. It appears to be a very mature open source project so I do not know how I have not heard about it previously. They also take security seriously. I thought I was content with Drupal and was going to convert this site to Drupal eventually, but since finding Plone I am not so sure. Another plus is that it is written in my new favorite programming language, Python!
May 06, 2012
I am making a conscious effort to blog every Sunday hoping I won't go a month between posts. Here are some things I wanted to blog about:
- It took me quite awhile to figure out how to add an executable or custom application launcher to the Gnome 3 and Cinnamon Favorites bar or panel (left hand side when you press the windows key). The easiest way to do this is to install the package 'alacarte' and add the launcher to any of those menus, then you can add to favorites from there by right clicking on the icon.
- I use GoDaddy for my domain and website hosting. I plan on switching to a different hosting provider because of two reasons: a.) Godaddy CEO's killing of an elphant in 2011 which if you believe his story 100% the way he explained in the article it is not as bad as it sounds, but the smile he has posing with the elphant makes me believe it wasn't all to help the local villagers and b.) their inital support for SOPA. I have been keeping a list of webhosting companies recommended by other's and will choose one of these.
- I have been working from home fulltime for the past 11 years. I have learned a thing or two during this time to make it successful and I would like to share these tips with you:
- Do not work from home if you are an extrovert, at least not fulltime. I am an introvert and love working from home fulltime. I am much more productive then when I am in the office taking the obligatory coffee break or catching up on office gossip/how everyone's weekend was. It is easy for the critic to say "Well just don't participate in these thngs" but then you will be known as the office shrewd and that has it's own negative consequences.
- ALWAYS be available during working hours and if you happen to miss a voicemail or instant message respond as soon as possible. People are going to think you are slacking off
- You need the upmost DISCIPLINE! I once had someone tell me "Wow, I could never do that. I would be playing golf all day" when I told them I work from home fulltime. My response was "Well, you either wouldn't have a job for very long or you wouldn't be working from home anymore." Occasionally you have to run an errand or go to an appointment, just don't make a habit out of it. Do it as much as you would if you where in the office.
- Ideally have a separate building from your house where you can work. If this is not possible, have an office in isolated part of the house. When I started working from home I had the single worse thing you can have as a work from homer, a rambunctious one year old boy. Kids this age do not understand daddy or mommy are working and can't be interrupted. Purchase yourself some door locks. I used these and spray painted them a color to match the door/decor. When I had my home office in the house, you actually had to go through my bedroom to get to it, so I put a lock on the bedroom door so my son could not knock on my door. I am now very fortunate to have a home office in a separate building on my property. It is actually a workshop with a small office up top. It is the ideal work from home environment.
- Even being in a separate part of the house, noise is still going to interrupt you either from your own family or the neighbor's dogs. I like to listen to music (I purchased a Pandora One account for $36/year, which I feel is well worth it since I also use it when working out and around the house). I also like to listen to www.rainymood.com for ambient noise.
- Get yourself a standing desk. See my previous blog post for my reasons.
- Seriously consider the Pomodoro Technique or GTD. I find myself being more productive since I started using the Pomodoro Technique. I also use and really like Remember the Milk for both my personal and work todo lists.
- Exercise or do something that requires moving your body for your lunch break. I go to the gym three times a week and the other two days I do little things on my todo list around the house. It definitely helps break up the day. Just do not get carried away and take too long of a break and also always have your cellphone with you.
- Try to go somewhere to work that is not your house a few times a week. I usually go to the library because they have free wifi, but I also will go to Starbucks occasionally.
May 02, 2012
I made a bunch of edits to my Linux Reference document. I still have stuff I need to add, but it will have to wait.
Recently, I accidentally overwrote some system files on Linux Mint and these are the steps I had to perform to get them back:
- Install the package "apt-file"
- Update apt-file: sudo apt-file update
- Figure out what package the files where in: sudo apt-file find power.sh
- Reinstall the package the files where in: sudo apt-get install --reinstall acpi-support
Recently I installed LibreOffice on two different machines, both running Linux Mint, and they both had a problem with spell checking, which basically did not work. I resolved it with the following steps:
- I had to install an English (American) dictionary extension because no spell checkers appeared when I went to "Tools -> Extension Manager"
- I chose the 638K American English one from here.
- If you never installed an extension before, the instructions are here.
- I am fairly certain I had to go to "Tools->Language->For all Text" and choose "English" before spellchecking started working.
If you are still having problems after following these steps, this post.
April 01, 2012
Wow, I can't believe it has been over a month since the last update. I guess it is better then over a year. I have been working a lot with Drupal lately. Here are some Drupal (v7) tips:
- To rerun the drupal setup wizard again, remove the file drupal_install_dir/sites/default/settings.php file and make your default.settings.php writeable (chmod +x default.settings.php). Then visit your site: http://localhost/drupal
After install, make the following permission changes to secure the site:
- From the drupal_install_dir/sites/default directory:
chmod 644 settings.php
chmod 755 ../default
- From the drupal_install_dir/sites/default directory:
- If you have tried everything to enable clean URLs in Drupal, and it still does not work, check that you have Allow Override set to "All" in the directive <Directory "YOUR DOCUMENT ROOT FOLDER"> within your Apache configuration file (this will allow local .htaccess overrides on your site). I had to do this on a new install of CentOS 6
- To apply a patch in Drupal: git apply -v 1232006.patch from within the directory containing the file(s) that are being patched (look at the patch itself if you do not know)
- If you want to remove the "Request New Password" line from the login form, then comment out this line in drupal_install_dir/modules/user/user/user.module "$items = l(t('Request new password'), 'user/password', array('title' => t('Request new password via e-mail.')));" You may have to do it more then once (the 2nd instance of this line is the one that did it for me).
- To determine the version of Drupal you are running go to the following menu: "Administer (or Administration) >> Reports >> Status report" You can also use the drush command drush st
- Some more useful Drush commands:
- drush st - drush core-status. This provides very useful information such as what version of Drupal you are running, what version of Drush running, Drupal root folder, etc
- drush pm-uninstall module - remove a module (you may need to disable it first with "drush pm-disable module")
February 23, 2012
I was hoping to post an update before now, but the beginning of the year is crazy busy for us. Anyway I will post some things that I have been wanting to post for awhile. They are a bit random, but all tech related. So without further ado:
- I switched my Linux Mint UI to Cinnamon UI and I really like it. If you want to install it and try it out for yourself, it is simple, just do a sudo apt-get install cinnamon
- This may get me ostercised and be sacrilegious to complement a big company's customer service, but I had a very good experience with Comcast tech support recently. They catch a lot of flak on the interwebs and I was expecting a less then positive experience, but to my suprise it was one of the better customer service experiences that I have had lately. Keep up the good work Comcast!
- We homeschool our children and both of my kids love computers. My twelve year old has been learning Python from the book Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners. He is about half way through and really liking it. I assign him a few pages a day to read and have him do the exercises at the end of each chapter. I think he is picking up Python faster then me! Don't let the "For Kids" part throw you. If you are new to programming and want to learn it using Python, this is an excellent book to start with. I wish I would have started with this book.
For my eight year old, I thought learning Python would be too difficult for her and may make her lose interest in this topic quickly, so I am starting her with Scratch and she is really enjoying. We started with the lessons from the Scratch educational site as well as some other sites I found online, but she went through them quickly, so I purchased the book Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide. I am happy I did because it has lots of exercises and she really likes it and she is becoming quite proficient. My goal is to create a separate page on this site for teaching programming to kids.
- I inherited a Drupal 5 website at work since I was the only person on my team with any web building experience. We migrated from RedHat to CentOS (I really like CentOS btw) and I had to decide what to do with the Drupal website. I was concerned about running such an older version of Drupal so I decided to install the latest version, Drupal 7. I then looked into migrating from Drupal 5 to 7 and I basically found out it was easier to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on a topic so I spent about 2 weeks learning Drupal 7 and building a new site. I learned a lot in the process (I have another goal of creating a separate website building/Drupal page on this site). Here are some things that I wrote down during the process that I thought others might benefit from:
- If you are using Drush with xampp and get the following message when trying to do something in drush Drush was not able to start (bootstrap) the Drupal database and a debug "drush -d 3" shows this error message SQLSTATE[HY000]  Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock' a quick hack to get this working is find out where xampp is using the mysql socket with the command: ps -ef | grep mysql.sock and make a link to it with sudo ln -s /opt/lampp/var/mysql/mysql.sock /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
*Note I had to create the dir "/var/run/mysqld" first. Make sure you replace "/opt/lampp" with the location you have xampp installed. Also if you are running another instance of mysql on the same box this will mess it up.
- Drush is freaking awesome! If you administer a Drupal site and you are not afraid of the command line, you definitely need to be using drush. You can get a complete list of commands, FAQ, and other resources here. I am also keeping a list of Drush related websites, articles, etc here. These are the drush commands that I use the most so far (I know I am just scratching the surface of drush's capabilities here):
- drush dl
- short for drush pm-download
- drush en
- short for drush pm-enable
- drush up - short for drush pm-update
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <title>Your Page Title</title> <meta http-equiv="REFRESH" content="0;url=http://www.new_site.com/"> </head> </html>Save this as index.html and whenever someone visits the site, they will immediately be redirected to the new site.
January 18, 2012
I have posted a linux reference document.