Monthly Archives: November 2010

Dropbox in Debian Lenny (Gnome)

If you’ve been reading lately, you read where I installed Dropbox in my Slack64-13.0 and Slack64-13.1 on my desktop and laptop machines, respectively.

If you haven’t been reading, poo on you.

I use Debian on my desktop machine as a backup operating system. It’s fully functional and shares some common partitions with Slack; to keep synch’d somewhat. However, installing Dropbox would also be helpful for transferring stuff to and fro between these operating systems, which reminds me… I need to install Dropbox on my Win 7 laptop installation, too.

Anywho, installing in Debian isn’t quite as easy as it was in Slack, but it’s not that bad. Here’s how ya’ do it:

  • Download the source tarball from Dropbox’s site.
  • Untar it in your download or build directory.
  • Install the necessary dependencies using apt:

# apt-get install libnautilus-extension1-dev libnotify python-docutils

  • As root from within the recently extracted dropbox folder:

# ./configure -prefix=/usr/local

# make

# make install

# make clean

  • Logout
  • Login
  • Start Dropbox from the newly created menu launcher.
  • Follow the setup baloney.

Have FUN!

Later…

~Eric

More Clouds On the Horizon?

We were talking here a little while ago about the Slacker’s cloudy furure.

Well, folks… it has taken a turn for the cloudier. I officially fired up my very own Dropbox this morning. I’ve been running images and Mozilla profiles back and forth between my lappy and my desktop using a thumb drive. Well, that’s just so 2008. Know what I mean? It was time for a newer more efficient method of sharing between my systems.

Dropbox is the slickest damned things since stuffed-crust pizza. I like it! I’m still a bit paranoid about this cloud stuff. I even encrypt my .mozilla profiles before uploading to Dropbox. I don’t want Yuri and his friends to hack into my saved passwords and form data, you know. 😉

This was a breeze to install in Slackware. There was a SlackBuild already available on the SlackBuilds.org servers. Also, Alien Bob has an older version on his SlackBuilds server. Note: there is only a 13.1 version at SlackBuilds.org, but it compiles and runs fine on 13.0.

Once you’ve installed it, you’ll get a neat little Dropbox folder in your /home directory (or wherever you choose to put it). Here’s a screenie of mine:

Photobucket

Anything you put into your Dropbox folder is then uploaded to the cloud and accessible by you via the website or any of your Dropbox sych’d systems. In other words, I can see what’s in that Dropbox directory from my desktop or my laptop. Furthermore, if I went to my brother’s house and logged into Dropbox’s web page on his computer, I could also access my Dropbox files. It’s COOL!

Drop me an email an I’ll send you a Dropbox invitation. Yeah… you earn stuff (more space) if you get folks to sign up.

Have FUN… and learn something. It won’t hurt you none.

Until next time…

~Eric

Variety On the Desktop

Are you like me? Do you like to change your desktop backgrounds and themes pretty often?

Do you get kinda’ tired of the same ol’ offerings for your windows managers; be they KDE, Gnome, Xfce? I trolled Xfce-Look and snarfed up most of the good stuff there over the past couple years. Sometimes though, you just gotta’ do it yourself. Here’s how to customize already existing Xfce themes the easy way.

Pick a simple based theme like Clearlooks-gray. If you don’t already have it installed, go to Xfce-Look and pick it up real quick. Once you have it installed in your /home/<user>/.themes directory, you’re ready to start. The first thing you want to do is make a copy of the Clearlooks-gray directory. Call it Clearlooks-build or something like that.

Now, go into the new Clearlooks-build directory and you’ll find gtk-2.0 directory. Inside that one, you’ll find the gtkrc file and the menu.png file. That’s what we’re going to work with here. Open the gtkrc file using your favorite text editor. It looks similar to Figure 1.

Figure 1

The color codes that I’ve circled are the ones you’ll be dealing with. They determine the colors for the background, foreground, text, selected times, etc. Use your favorite color picker app (I use Gcolor) to pick and choose your custom colors. just copy/paste them over the existing ones in the gtkrc file. Save the file and reload your theme using the Xfce Settings –> Appearance tool. You can also use The GIMP to re-colorize the menu.png image so that it matches the rest of your theme colors.

Once you have everything the way you like it, save the files and rename your top level directory from Clearlooks-build to whatever you want to call your new theme. It’s easy-peasy, folks. Since you’re working on a copy of the Clearlooks-gray theme, you’re not going to break anything by tweaking this stuff.

Here are a couple shots of my Clearlooks-dkblue theme:

Desktop

Theme

Until next time, folks…

Have some fun!

~Eric

Breaking Tech News – Novell Agrees to Takeover Bid

Attachmate, an investment group led by Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo, has acquired Novell for $2.2 billon.

According to Novell’s press release, Attachmate bought Novell for $6.10 a share. There’s also this:

Novell also announced it has entered into a definitive agreement for the concurrent sale of certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft Corporation, for $450 million in cash…

Hmm… what effect, if any, is that going to have on Linux folks; specifically SuSE and OpenSuSE users. I wonder.

In a related article at The Register, Tim Morgan writes:

Jeff Hawn, Attachmate’s CEO and chairman, said that it would operate Novell as two business units: one for the SUSE Linux stack and another for all of the other Novell bits.

So SuSE will be run as a separate business entity. OK. Interesting.

Can’t help but wonder what those intellectual properties acquired by the MS-controlled consortium included.

This could get interesting, folks. Stay tuned.

Later…

~Eric

What? No More USENET Provided By Verizon?

I’m a little behind on this subject. Seems Verizon dropped its USENET service over a year ago.

Well, I guess I’ve been busy doing other stuff. I could have sworn I accessed a couple of my favorite newsgroups just a few months ago. Hmmm… maybe I did it at Google Groups and just think I did it in Thunderbird via Verizon’s USENET service. Either way, it sucks. What’s the world coming to? First, all the Gopher servers shut their doors, and now the ISPs are dropping their USENET service. *sigh* The world just keeps moving on.

When I first came online back in 2000 (Yeah… I was a late comer to the party), I found USENET. I was absolutely astounded by the size of it. It was a world all its own. It was still pretty active back then, too. There is an amazing amount of information and useful data still on those servers here and there around the world. Google Groups can provide you free access to many of them that are still up and running. Back when I started trolling USENET newsgroups, there were other free providers. I think Google is the only free one in town these days.

Other than a short stint cruising local BBSs back in the early 80s on a 300 baud modem,  USENET was my first real experience with online communities. Remember pen pals when you were a kid? That was where you had a friend in some foreign country that you corresponded with via paper/ink and the mail services. You younger folks probably won’t remember that. They had pen pal programs set up in our schools when we were little tikes. Nowadays, you can just fire up your ‘puter and be yakkin’ with your Russian bud, Yuri, on XChat in a matter of seconds. COOL, huh? That’s progress.

Sadly, progress is also what’s killing USENET (and already killed Gopher). It’s in its twilight time right now, I do believe. Too bad. I sure had a lot of fun on USENET a decade ago. Times have changed. Now we have online boards and forums or Facebook and Twitter, et. al. Man! It’s a whole lot different. Some of it is better; not all. Texting is BS. Tweeting is BS. If you want meat in your online interactions, you’re going to have to do boards or what’s left of USENET. You can’t get much if you have a character limit when posting.

Anyway, getting back on topic…

Yeah, Verizon dropped USENET. But that’s OK. I found a cool little extension for T-bird that allows me to read my favorite USENET newsgroups within tabs inside the email client. Works like a charm! One day, after I’ve reached my goal of financial independence thanks to your donations, I’m going to donate some $ to each and every one of those folks who wrote the COOL extensions that I use in FF and TB. Seriously! They deserve something for coming up with this stuff.

Off to read soc.history.moderated for a while.

Later…

~Eric

Image credit: Google Groups –> Google.com

I Love Thunderbird 3.x

Wow! What a difference 24 hours makes, huh?

See yesterday’s article HERE to read the back history of all this.

I did it! I did it! I got T-bird 3.x set up and working in my Slack64 13.0 installation. I was even able to get Lightning to work! YAY! What happened between yesterday and today? Well, I was snooping around the Mozilla Calendar Project website, reading the blog and the release notes, etc. At the very bottom of Lightning’s Release Notes page, I found THIS link to a server with a 1.0b2 x86_64 Lightning version! COOL, huh? I’d swear that link wasn’t there yesterday.

Anyway, this version of Lightning works like a champ. I did have to modify the install.rdf to allow for a minimum version of TB 3.0, because that’s the version in my Slackware repos right now. I’m happy now! I use Lightning to plan my life. I would have been seriously disappointed if I couldn’t have gotten it to work eventually. I pretty much got T-bird 3 to behave the way I wanted it to, also. I think I’ll be able to get used to it. It’s a bit different from T-bird 2, but not that much. Check out figure 1 for a screenie of my T-bird 3 on Slackware.

Figure 1

Click for bigger pic

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print, folks. I’m off to go watch Criminal Minds from my recliner and do some stuff on my laptop.

Later…

~Eric

I Hate Thunderbird 3.x

I knew I’d regret it when I started it. I just knew it.

Since the Slack 13.0 repos were updated to the newer T-bird 3.x recently, I thought it was about time that I gave it another go. I say “another” because I already tried it out on my laptop, which has Slack 13.1 installed on it. It was not a fun experience then or now. Many of my favorite extensions in 2.x don’t work or break altogether in 3.x. It SUCKS!

I managed to modify a few of the older extensions to get them to work in 3.x. I even managed to get my most important extension working… Lightning. Of course, I had to use an older version because the current 1.0b2 is only available for x86. The older version of Lightning (1.0b1) has an x86_64 version, though. Sadly, I could not get it to work properly. It would not import or even see my backed-up calendar data from my older Lightning.

Sad… very sad. I have a lot of data on that older Lightning calendar. If the Lightning folks can’t come up with a decent x86_64 release candidate for their extension, I’m screwed. I’ll have to start all over with some other calendar/personal mgr. app or I’ll just have to stick with good old T-bird 2.x for a while longer.

I guess I could just install MS Win 7 and use Windows Mail, huh? Yeah… I’m just kidding about that one.

/rant

Later…

~Eric

Attn: Slackware 13.0 | Thunderbird Users

Recent updates could affect your system.

Slackware 13.0 users who use Thunderbird email client need to make sure they understand what’s happening when they do their updates. Slackware has now added the newer Thunderbird 3.0 version to the Slack 13.0 repositories. This is being done because the older Thunderbird 2.X is not being supported any longer by Mozilla.

Thunderbird 3.0 is VERY different from your 2.X version. Be careful. A lot of your extensions and customizations may not work with the newer version. Read the actual security update regarding this:

[slackware-security] mozilla-thunderbird (SSA:2010-317-01)

New mozilla-thunderbird packages are available for Slackware 13.0,
13.1, and -current to fix security issues.

Here are the details from the Slackware 13.1 ChangeLog:
+————————–+
patches/packages/mozilla-thunderbird-3.0.10-i686-1.txz: Upgraded.
This upgrade fixes some more security bugs.
For more information, see:
http://www.mozilla.org/security/known-vuln…nderbird30.html
(* Security fix *)
+————————–+

As noted in the Slackware 13.0 ChangeLog, this is a major update there:
+————————–+
patches/packages/mozilla-thunderbird-3.0.10-i686-1.txz: Upgraded.
With Thunderbird 2.x unmaintained, it seems like a good idea to provide a
upgrade to Thunderbird 3.x for security reasons. This will bring with it
quite a bit of changed functionality, so be prepared… one hint is that
it will now make local copies of remote mailboxes by default, so you will
need to have enough disk space to handle that.
For more information, see:
http://www.mozilla.org/security/known-vuln…nderbird30.html
(* Security fix *)
+————————–+

This posting here on Nocturnal Slacker is just an alert, in case you don’t actually read the release notes before updating. 😉

Have fun!

Later…

~Eric

Future Cloudy for the Slacker?

OK… call me a hypocrite, but I had to do it. I had to stick my head in the clouds.

My first foray into cloud computing… well, sort of… is my new favorite tool, Xmarks. What is Xmarks, you ask. Well, grasshopper… let me tell you all about it.

As many of you know, I run numerous distributions of GNU/Linux on my desktop system and I also run Slackware/MS Win 7 on my laptop. Keeping bookmarks and other browser-related baloney synchronized between platforms and operating systems is becoming problematic for me these days.

The solution? Online storage and auto-synchronizing of my browser stuff. COOL idea, huh? You may not see it for what it is, but it’s a form of that dreaded “cloud computing” that I’ve been ranting about here and there. My biggest worry about cloud computing is security. In this case, though, I’m not too worried.

I’m only using the service for bookmarks storage and synchronizing. I’m not using the saved passwords or browsing history options; mainly because I don’t need them. However, that bookmark synchronizing is slicker ‘n snot on a glass doorknob. I’m here ta tell ya’! It works between FF and IE like a charm.

I went this route because I found recently that IE is not capable of importing my FF bookmarks because of some silly-assed ancient name length restriction. Oh well, I got around that issue by using Xmarks. It’s easy-peasy to download, install, and set up. Figure 1 shows the Xmarks settings window that you access via Addons –> Xmarks Preferences in FF and by using the icon in the system tray in MS Windows.

Figure 1

Click for bigger pic

In Figure 2 below you can see how I added a couple buttons to my Firefox tool bar to access my bookmarks at Xmarks online or to synchronize manually.

Figure 2

What made me choose Xmarks over Google Bookmarks or Yahoo Bookmarks was the fact that both of those services want you to install their browser toolbar to manipulate your bookmarks. I didn’t want another damned toolbar on my FF at the moment, so Xmarks was the way to go for me.

I read the TOS and the Privacy stuff. There was nothing to scare me off in there. I was impressed with Xmarks dedication to protecting your data and keeping it private. I’m sure that Yahoo or Google would be just as good at husbanding your stuff, but Xmarks just seemed more sincere for some reason. Maybe it’s my ingrained aversion to mega-corps. 😉 Speaking of corporate stuff… if you’re interested, you can read more about Xmarks here.

It took me about 30 minutes all told to install and set up Xmarks in Slackware (primary OS) and Debian (secondary OS) on my desktop machine; and Slackware (primary OS) and MS Win 7 (experimental OS) on my laptop. Easy-peasy… like I said. 🙂 Hey! It even works in Ice Skunk… er, I mean Ice Weasel in Debian. Whaddya’ know?

And that’s how the ol’ Slacker ended up with his head in the clouds for the first time. I’m lovin’ it! Next up: I’m transferring all my tinfoil hat designs to Megaputer, Inc’s super-servers in the sky. I sure hope Steve from New Delhi is available to walk me through that one.

Have fun no matter what you do.

Later…

~Eric

Image credit: Xmarks logo –> Xmarks.com

Note: This article cross-posted on Nocturnal Slacker v2.0.

Ubuntu Headed to the Clouds?

Hmm… I should have seen this coming.

Friend Alain Baudrez wrote a fabulous review of the upcoming “Unity” Ubuntu. Reading it and seeing the screenshots that he provided immediately struck me that the folks at Ubuntu are aiming for the clouds… cloud computing, that is. We’ve ranted… er, I mean discussed this here before, if you remember.

Head In the Clouds and Head In the Clouds Follow-up

I’m still a firm believer in keeping my head (and my data and apps) on my own desktop on my own media on my own systems. I just don’t trust cloud security at this time. Yeah… I keep my money in a bank. I even do online banking. However, since I rarely have more than $18.53 in any of my accounts, what’s the risk? But man! I don’t want to lose those tin-foil hat designs or my mp3s. You know what I mean?

Read Alain’s article, though… good stuff.

Until next time…

~Eric