Posted (Updated ) in Linux

Update 2011-10-26: Added support for Ubuntu 11.04+ which uses slightly different FTP folder names

Lack of FTP keepalive functionality in Nautilus has been one of my biggest gripes in Ubuntu for a long time now. It’s infuriating attempting to open a folder only to discover the session has timed out and I need to reconnect. Well that problem is now solved!

Run the following bash script in the background each time you boot and you’re good to go:

#!/bin/bash
 
while true
do
	#10.10 and earlier
	ls ~/.gvfs/ftp* &> /dev/null
	#11.04+
	ls ~/.gvfs/FTP* &> /dev/null
	sleep 15
done

Many thanks go to the user who originally posted this script in a mailing list here.

PS. If anyone knows how to integrate this into a nautilus script I’d much appreciate it!

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux, Uncategorized

I’m currently working on a mobile version of an existing website utilizing the Responsive Web Design paradigm. One problem I instantly came across was a perplexing page width issue on Android. Even with a blank, HTML5 webpage, the page width was appearing at almost twice the width of my phones native resolution (and 2.5x that of my browsers width). For the record, I’m using Android 2.3.3 vanilla with the default browser on a Nexus One.

Firstly an example:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>Untitled Document</title>
<script type='text/javascript' src='https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.6.2/jquery.min.js' />
<script type='text/javascript'>
	$(document).ready(function() {
		document.body.innerHTML = $(window).width();
	});
</script>
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

The above code gives a blank, HTML5 webpage that will display the pages width on load. When loaded, it would print ‘800’ on the screen – indicating the page was set to an 800px width. This was clearly wrong.

I quickly noticed that using the following doctype:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//WAPFORUM//DTD XHTML Mobile 1.0//EN" "http://www.wapforum.org/DTD/xhtml-mobile10.dtd">

gave me the width I was expecting – 320px. Obviously this isn’t an acceptable solution for responsive web design and so another was needed. Meet viewports. With the addition of a simple META tag I was able to fix the issue (albeit losing the ability to zoom in the process). Simply add the following to your HEAD tag and you should be good to go:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width; initial-scale=1.0; maximum-scale=1.0; minimum-scale=1.0; user-scalable=0;" />

With this line added, my page now prints 320 to the screen as it should.

For more information, please see this StackOverflow post on the issue.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

Tonight I needed to transfer files directly between two servers via the terminal and figured this would be useful information for others, so here’s how to do it:

Upload to a remove server:

$ ssh username@remote_address cat < localfile ">" remote_file

Download to your server:

$ ssh username@remote_address cat remote_file > local_file

Source: the incomplete news project

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

Update 2011-11-20: Now working with Ubuntu 11.10+

I’ve always been pretty jealous of my Windows 7-using friends with their fancy rotating backgrounds so I thought I’d do a bit of research into adding similar functionality into Ubuntu. After a little investigation I found that sure enough, Ubuntu supported background lists through the use of XML files. The only problem now was: How do I automatically generate the XML file and set the active background to it?

Behold! My automatic rotating background generator! Below is the code, or you can download it here.

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#!/bin/bash
 
#
# Author: Flynsarmy
# Contributor: Ariel Barabas (ariel.baras atGmail)
#
 
#interval in seconds
INTERVAL=1800
OUTFILE=backgrounds.xml
DIR=$(pwd)
 
if [ $1 ]; then
	if [ $1 == "--help" ]; then
		echo "	Creates the background configuration xml file with 30min of delay between pictures with the images found in the same directory, you can modify that delay entering other number
Example:
	./createSlideShow.sh 15		makes the delay of 15 minutes"
		exit
	else
		INTERVAL=$(expr $1 \* 60)
	fi
fi
 
echo "<background>
  <starttime>
    <year>2009</year>
    <month>08</month>
    <day>04</day>
    <hour>00</hour>
    <minute>00</minute>
    <second>00</second>
  </starttime>
" > $OUTFILE
 
while read -r IMG;
do
	if [ "$FIRST_IMG" ]; then
		echo "<transition>
	<duration>5.0</duration>
	<from>$DIR/$LAST_IMG</from>
	<to>$DIR/$IMG</to>
</transition>" >> $OUTFILE
	else
		FIRST_IMG="$IMG"
	fi
 
	echo "<static>
	<duration>$INTERVAL</duration>
	<file>$DIR/$IMG</file>
</static>
 
" >> $OUTFILE
done < <(find -name "*.jpg" -o -name "*.png" -o -name "*.gif" | shuf)
 
echo "<transition>
	<duration>5.0</duration>
	<from>$DIR/$LAST_IMG</from>
	<to>$DIR/$FIRST_IMG</to>
</transition>
 
</background>" >> $OUTFILE
 
if hash gsettings &>/dev/null; then
	gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri "file://$DIR/$OUTFILE"
else
	gconftool-2 -t string --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename "$DIR/$OUTFILE"
fi

Remember to chmod +x ./createSlideshow.sh to add execute permissions then ./createSlideshow.sh to run it.

Unlike the original script (written by Ariel Barabas), this version will search recursively from its location for jpg, png and gif files and will work with files/folders containing spaces in their names. It also shuffles the files in the slideshow so if you need to regenerate the background list you won’t get the same list every time.

It defaults to rotating every 3 minutes but you can change this by using ./createSlideshow.sh <minutes>.

Have fun with it!

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

Upon downgrading back to Ubuntu 10.10 after my horrendously bad experience with 11.04, I’ve been reunited with a bug I’d previously put up with for 6 months: The trackpad on my laptop often ‘mouseups’ when dragging, resulting in windows not being dragged correctly. In addition, web browser and pidgin tabs will occasionally close on click instead of giving focus to that tab. Well here’s the fix!

Make sure the following 2 lines are In the InputClass section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf:

Option "ClickFinger3" "1"
        Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "280"

Here’s what mine looks like:

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "touchpad catchall"
        Driver "synaptics"
        MatchIsTouchpad "on"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Option "ClickFinger3" "1"
        Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "280"
EndSection

You’ll probably need to do a reboot for the changes to take effect.

Thanks to users egermani and ejmarkow for their respective fixes here and here.

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Posted (Updated ) in Database, Linux

Update 2011-10-12: More storage options! Google Storage, Local HDD, FTP, experimental unlimited Google Docs conversion

Have you ever wanted to ensure that even if your server dies in the most spectacular of ways, your DB is safe? Meet Cloud Database Backup. Cloud Database Backup is a little script I’ve written that allows you to quickly and easily back up your MySQL DBs to the cloud.

Currently you can back your database up to:

  • Amazon S3
  • FTP
  • Google Docs
  • Google Storage
  • Local HDD

Download the script here.

Requirements:

  • MySQL with access to INFORMATION_SCHEMA database
  • php, php5-cli (for S3 backups)
  • python2, python-gdata (for Google Docs backups)

This is an updated version of my old Automatic MySQL Database Backup script that adds support for Google Docs (which now allows uploads of any file type for non-enterprise users), the recently opened Google Storage, as well as local HDD and FTP servers. It does a MySQL dump of each DB separately, zips them all and uploads the zip to your cloud service of choice.

I’ve also added in an experimental ‘db chunker’ which uses this script to split SQL dumps into convertible sizes for Google Docs, allowing you to upload unlimited backups for free; owever due to a reproducible bug in Google Docs, I wouldn’t recommend its use (and it’s disabled by default).

To get started simply update your details in the appropriate places at the top of backup.sh and type ./backup.sh. Presto!

I’ve also included a crontab example to allow automation of backups.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

One of my last niggling issues with Ubuntu 11.04 is, as you’d expect, another remnant of Unity carried over to the Ubuntu Classic desktop. This remnant is the notification area (or ‘Systray’ to you Windows converts) not allowing all applications access to it. Below is the line you’ll need for bringing Ubuntu back to the 21st century:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

Thanks to the good fellows at Web UDP8 for this little piece of magic.

PS. It appears the VLC icon STILL does not always appear. There’s a question posted on the VLC forums about this issue and it looks as though it’s due to an incompatibility between QT4 and Gnome. Stay tuned for further developments on this issue.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

Note: Also see the followup to this post: How to Make Ubuntu 11.10 More Usable

So my previous post How to Move App Menus Back Into Their Windows in Ubuntu turned out a little more bitter than even I had first intended. As a result I think it’s only fair I give a few more reasons as to why I have such a strong dislike towards Unity.

Let me preface this post by saying that I was actually quite looking forward to Unity. It looked relatively promising (although I was slightly worried about reports it wasn’t as customizable as Gnome) and after I ended up liking icons on the left when thinking I wouldn’t, I was determined to give Unity a fair go. I would also like to say that many of these issues will probably be sorted out in later bug fixes and updates – but that does not help me right here right now on my shiny new Ubuntu install a few days after release.

So here it is: a ‘by no means complete’ list of reasons using Unity is not a good idea at this point in time.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

You’ve recently upgraded to Ubuntu Natty and discovered that Unity is crap. Don’t worry – you’re in the vast majority. One of the many issues with this disastrous attempt at a shell is that it moves application menus into a global menu in the top panel. This may be useful for small screens – but for the other 99% of the market it’s just downright frustrating.

After a bit of searching I came across this post describing how to banish the global menu back to the warped hell from whence it came. You want to remove the indicator-appmenu package.

This is but one of a great many great challenge you’ll face if you decide to continue on with Unity. Good luck…and may God have mercy on your soul should you choose to stick with it.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

OK so this is an issue I’ve had for a very long time now (since Firefox 4 beta) whereby Google keeps defaulting to a strange language and seemingly completely ignoring my preference for English:

Incorrect language on google.com in Firefox 4

 

The reason for this is a bad language string in Firefox’s settings. You can fix it by doing the following:

Edit - Preferences 
Content - 
Choose... (under Languages)

You’ll see the following language:

chrome://global/locale/intl.properties

Delete it. It’s wrong and it’s causing you problems. Once deleted, time to add your language of choice:

Select Language to add... -
<pick your desired language>

You should now be greeted with a much easier to read google index page!

Here’s hoping this post will make it out in time to save the flood of Ubuntu Natty users on their shiney new Firefox 4 installs 🙂

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