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-JM

Posted in administrata | 5 Comments

Tech Tidbit #02 – Use Jump Lists In Windows 7, Windows 8, And Windows 8.1

Jump Lists are one of the features of Windows 7 (and now Windows 8/8.1) that greatly benefits those who use certain programs and files within those programs frequently. Pinning a program to the Taskbar makes it easy to access this program frequently. This is done by right-clicking the icon of the program when it is open in the Taskbar and selecting the option “pin this program to Taskbar.”

If there was a certain file within the program (such as a budget or inventory) that was used frequently, this file could be pinned onto a jump list in order to make it more quickly accessible. The Jump List is accessible by right-clicking the icon of a program that has been pinned to the Taskbar, as shown in the screencap below:

JumpList1

 

Notice how recent documents show up on the jump list. These recent documents can then be pinned to the jump list by hovering over the file and clicking on the pushpin symbol that appears to the right of the file name. The files that are pinned to this jump list will appear at the top of the list even of other documents have been used more recently.

To remove a pinned program from the jump list, simply click the pushpin icon to the right of the document name on the pinned list and it will be removed from the list. If you wish to remove an entire program from the jump list, right-click the program icon in the Task Bar and select “unpin this program from Taskbar.”

-ABM

 

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Tech Tidbit #01 – F11 in a Browser for Full-Screen

In a moment of reaching for the phone or even another key on a cramped laptop keyboard, it is easy to make the top part of your browser disappear accidentally. This error is easily corrected with a single key. Pressing the F11 key will restore your browser to its usual size and restore normal functionality.

When working with a document or text-heavy site in an Internet browser, F11 can also be used to remove the browser bar to make the page easier to read. Below is a screenshot of a typical Google Drive document in a browser window:

BrowserF11One

When F11 is used on the same page, notice how the tabs, address bar, and add-ons disappear in the screen shot below:

BrowserF11Two

-ABM

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Install And Configure SSH Server On Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

SSH stands for “secure shell”, and it is a network protocol that allows you to securely send commands to a remote machine. The “secure” part comes from the fact that the connection is encrypted, which means that an attacker cannot eavesdrop on the connection, or intercept and replace your commands with his own midway through transit. SSH is pretty reliable and secure, and is commonly used in the Linux world. Administrators often use it to remotely manage machines – it’s usually more comfortable to control a server from your laptop than in the chilly and noisy server room.

In this post, we’ll show you how to set up an SSH server on Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander.

The default SSH server package for Ubuntu is OpenSSH Server, which we’ll use here.

First, you’ll need to install OpenSSH Server. To do so, open up a Terminal window and type the following command:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Enter your password to authenticate, and the apt utility will download and install OpenSSH Server for you. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection and your computer, the installation may take several minutes.

Once the installation has finished, return to the Terminal window. We’ll need to make a few changes to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file in order to increase SSH’s security. First, as always, we’ll want to make a backup copy of your sshd_config file in case anything goes wrong. Type this command into the Terminal:

sudo cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config ~

This will make a backup copy of the sshd_config file in your home directory.

Next, we’ll need to edit the sshd_config file itself.

sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

(Note that you can use emacs or gedit or another text editor of your choice.)

Like almost every other server software package, SSH is controlled by a number of directives in its configuration file. The default installation of OpenSSH server is reasonably secure. However, you might want to make a few changes to tighten up its security to additional degree.

The “PermitRootLogin” directive is one you’ll want to change. Once you’re editing the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file, you’ll want to change the following directive as follows:

PermitRootLogin no

This will keep anyone from attempting to log into your server via SSH as root. It’s generally a good idea not to allow any to log into your SSH server as root. If an attacker manages to hack into your SSH server with the root login, he will have complete control over your machine, and that is definitely not a good thing.

Another directive you might want to change is the “AllowUsers.” When the AllowUsers directive is active, only users specifically specified in the directive can access the system through SSH. This adds an additional layer of protection to your SSH server by only allowing specific users to connect via SSH. For instance, if you wanted to limit SSH access to just the “camalas” user account, edit the AllowUsers directive like this:

AllowUsers camalas

To add multiple users to the AllowUsers directive, just add them one by one without commas or semicolons. An AllowUsers directive that permits the camalas user account and the lmaraeus user account to log in would look like this:

AllowUsers camalas lmaraeus

You may also want to consider changing the Port directive. By default SSH runs over TCP/IP port 22, which means that any malware bot autoscanning port 22 can target it. If you set up your user accounts with a weak password (always a bad idea), eventually an automated bot might break through and guess the password. Changing the Port directive to something different will make SSH run over a different port, blocking some of those automated cracking attempts. To set SSH to run over port 5699 instead, make sure your Port directive looks like this:

Port 5699

Note that if you change your SSH server’s default port, you’ll need to remember the new port number when using an SSH client, which we’ll cover in the next section.

After you’ve finished changing the directives in /etc/ssh/sshd_config, switch vi to command mode, and save and quit vi. After you return to the command line, restart the SSH daemon with this command:

sudo restart ssh

You should now be able to SSH into your Ubuntu machine from another system with an SSH client.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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Install GNOME Fallback (formerly GNOME classic) On Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail comes with the visually impressive Unity desktop environment, but Unity does take a moderate degree of graphical horsepower. If you’re using Ubuntu on an older computer, you might want to install the GNOME Fallback environment, formerly known as the GNOME Classic environment. GNOME Fallback is less demanding of your computer’s graphical capabilities, which may speed up Ubuntu’s performance quite a bit.

To install GNOME Fallback, go to a Terminal window (if you don’t know how to find Terminal, go to the Dash, the Ubuntu button in the upper-left hand corner of your screen, and search for “Terminal”) and type this command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

enter your password to authenticate, and apt-get will download and install GNOME Fallback for you.

After the installation is complete, restart your computer.

When the Ubuntu logon screen returns, click on the small icon of the Ubuntu logo next to the list of user accounts. This will list a menu of various desktop shells installed on your computer, and GNOME Fallback with No Effects should be at the top of the list. Select GNOME Fallback, and you’ll log into the classic GNOME environment.

If you want to switch back to Unity, log back out, and select a different desktop environment from the list.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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Install the GIMP Image Editor on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

Starting with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu no longer came with the GNU Image Manipulation Tool (the GIMP), and Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail follows in its predecessor’s footsteps.

This makes some sense; the GIMP is rather more image editing capability than your average user needs. However, some users need the GIMP for their workflows. Fortunately, the packages are readily available in the Ubuntu repositories, and it’s trivially easy to install the GIMP. Simply go to the Terminal and issue this command:

sudo apt-get install gimp

Enter your password to authenticate when prompted, and apt-get will download and install the GIMP for you.

When the installation is complete, you can launch the GIMP by going to the Dash, searching for “GIMP, and click on the application’s icon.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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Install Audacity and enable MP3 encoding on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

Audacity is useful digital audio-editing application, available for free on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and BSD. It’s quite easy to install on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail. Merely use this command from a Terminal window:

sudo apt-get install audacity

(If you don’t know how to find a Terminal window, click on the “Dash”, the Ubuntu icon on the upper-lefthand corner of your screen, and search for Terminal. You can also hit the CTRL+ALT+T keys at your desktop to launch a Terminal window.)

This will download and install Audacity and its dependencies from the Ubuntu repositories. Once finished, you can run Audacity by going to the Dash, searching for “Audacity”, and double-clicking on the Audacity icon.

However, the default install of Audacity lacks the ability to export its projects as an MP3 file. To gain that functionality, you’ll need to install the LAME library, which gives Audacity the ability to encode MP3 files. Note that the ownership of the MP3 patents remain in some dispute, so there may be liability issues in using LAME. However, if you’re in the legal clear, you can use this Terminal command to install the LAME library:

sudo apt-get install libmp3lame0

This will gave Audacity the ability to export projects as MP3 files.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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Install PlayOnLinux On Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

The Wine compatibility layer lets you run a variety of Windows applications on a Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail. Wine is, however, sometimes quite tricky to set up, and it can often take a good deal of tweaking to get a program running properly, or even at all. That’s where PlayOnLinux comes in – it’s basically a graphical frontend for Wine. It has an extensive list of Windows applications (mostly games), complete with install scripts and tweaks for them. Needless to say, it makes the Wine experience much simpler, especially for games.

Here’s how to install it.

First, install Wine on your Ubuntu system. If you don’t have Wine installed, here’s a quick guide on how to do so.

After you have Wine installed, you can install PlayOnLinux by going to a Terminal window and typing this command:

sudo apt-get install playonlinux

Enter your password to install, and apt will download and install PlayOnLinux for you.

(If you don’t know how to find a Terminal window, click on the “Dash”, the Ubuntu icon on the upper-lefthand corner of your screen, and search for Terminal.)

After the installation is completed, you can launch PlayOnLinux by going to to the Dash, searching for “PlayOnLinux”, and then clicking on the PlayOnLinux icon. The first time it runs, PlayOnLinux will download application updates, which again might take a while. Once it’s finished updating, you can install a Windows application by selecting the category in the left hand column, and then clicking on the individual application (assuming, of course, that you have the installation media for it).

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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The 5 Best Music Players For Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

These days, one of the primary uses for a computer system, any computer system, is to play digital music files. Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail is no different, and since it is a Linux distribution, there is a plethora of free software to let you play music on it. Ubuntu comes with the Rhythmbox music player, which is in my opinion pretty good. However, not everyone agrees, and you might need more performance out of your music player software. If you do, here are the best five music players for Ubuntu.

1.) Amarok. A free music player designed for the KDE platform, Amarok offers extremely powerful capabilities for organizing and sorting a large quantity of music files. So if you have a large music library, and difficulty in keeping it organized, Amarok might work for you. Here’s how to install it.

2.) Clementine. A free and cross-platform port of Amarok, Clementine offers numerous useful features, and a slick user interface to boot. Follow these directions to install it. 

3.) Banshee. Another free music player, Banshee is highly customizable, offering a wide array of plugins and extensions. If you want to tweak your music player to something unique, Banshee might be for you. Here’s how to install it.

4.) Audacious. Audacious is basically a Linux version of Winamp. Follow these directions to install it. 

5.) VLC. The VLC player can play practically any video or audio format, and is quite easy to customize. Here’s how to install it. 

Lastly, to get the most out of your media player software, you’ll need to install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package to handle most audio and video formats. Click here for directions on installing the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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Install VLC Media Player On Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

VLC Media Player is a handy program that can play numerous forms of video, and runs on just about any OS platform. It also runs on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail and installing it is quite simple.

First, open up a Terminal window and type this command:

sudo apt-get install vlc

Enter your password to authenticate, and apt will download and install VLC and its various dependencies for you. (You can also install it through Synaptic Package Manager and Ubuntu Software Center.) Afterwards you can launch VLC by going to your Applications menu, then to Sound & Video, and then selecting VLC Media Player.

Of course, most of the media you watch will probably be found on the Internet, which means you’ll want the VLC plugins for Firefox. Fortunately, the VLC Firefox plug is also easy to install. Return to the Terminal and type this command:

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-* mozilla-plugin-vlc

Once you enter your password, apt-get will install the Firefox VLC plugin. You can check that the plugin is installed by going to Firefox, to the Tools menu, and selecting Add-ons. Once in the Add-ons dialog box, you can view all your plugins by hitting the Plugins button. You should see the VLC plugins listed there.

Of course, VLC needs codecs into order to display certain kinds of video. You may need to install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package in order to get maximum use out of VLC.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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Install Audacious Media Player On Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

Winamp is one of the more popular media players for the Windows side, and has been “whipping the llama’s ass” since 1997 or so. Unfortunately, while it is possible to use Wine to install Winamp on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, there is no native version of Winamp available for Ubuntu (or any other version of Linux). Fortunately, there is an application that’s pretty similar, and that’s the Audacious Media Player.

Even better, installing Audacious is pretty simple, and doesn’t take very much. Simply go to a Terminal window and type this command:

sudo apt-get install audacious

(If you don’t know how to get to the Terminal window, you can get to it by clicking on the Dash button – the Ubuntu icon on the upper-left hand corner of your screen – and typing “Terminal” in the search box.)

This will download and install Audacious and its various dependencies. After the installation is complete, you can launch Audacious by returning to the Dash, searching for “Audacious”, and clicking on the Audacious icon.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

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