Technology

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With the ongoing unemployment crisis, I have not had much time at all to do anything computer-related in a while.

But, Dedoimedo has a fabulous post about how to make FireFox more user-friendly in the current v91 user-interface. Here is what I managed to accomplish in 20-30 minutes.

Download the userChrome.css file I created yourself to save some copying and pasting, if you want.
Continue Reading Adapting FireFox

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Dedoimedo has an excellent commentary of the state of the Linux desktop.

He notes that usability has plateaued in many ways. I agree. The basic functionality and speed I had with Xubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) was stellar. Now running Xubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) on both newer and faster desktop and laptop computers, I have had problems with graphics cards, samba networking is a bust that I work around, and connecting my iPhone for file transfers
Continue Reading Not all is hunky dory with Linux, but it is doing as well as others

Insync has undergone a major re-write of the underlying sync frameworks from version 1.5.x to 3.0.x.
Integration with file managers like thunar is a work-in-progress with this new version. More troubling is a major change in sync behavior with the series 3 version. While the new version has many more syncing options, there is a significant change that is NOT adequately explained.
Previously, all files in the sync folder were synced across google drive and the computers connected
Continue Reading Issues with the new Insync3

Here are some comparative geekbench scores between a 2011 MacBook Pro, a thinkcentre desktop, and a 2018 Galago Pro from System76:
Single-Core scores
MacBook Pro desktop Galago Pro
2935 2186 4209

Multiple-Core scores
MacBook Pro desktop Galago Pro
6282 3493 11636

The MacBook Pro is a 13-inch Early 2011 model with 8 MB of memory and an Intel Core i7-2620M running at 2.7 GHz and an SSD replacing the original hard drive.
The desktop is a
Continue Reading Geekbench scores

Ghostscript is the open source command-line access to everything postscript and PDF. Because ghostscript can do nearly everything with these files, however, it is not the easiest to use. The options can and are overwhelming to casual users who may need ghostscript for occasional and very specific purposes.
Luckily, a host of utilities have been created around ghostscript. For example:
$ ps2
ps2ascii ps2epsi ps2pdf12 ps2pdf14 ps2pk ps2ps2
ps2eps ps2pdf ps2pdf13 ps2pdfwr ps2ps ps2txt
$ pdf
pdf2djvu pdfatfi pdffonts
Continue Reading shrinkpdf: making PDF files smaller

Because I have an encrypted home folder on an ext4 formatted volume, Dropbox stopped working.

Luckily, Alan Pope has a solution at his popey blog.
He essentially has created a shell script for you to download and run (after shutting down DropBox on your computer and backing up all of the files).
After downloading the script (I simply copied and pasted it inside a text editor and then saved it as a file called move_DropBox.sh), make sure to
Continue Reading A fix for the DropBox file system warning

All of a sudden on 18.04 of Xubuntu, my ability to convert image files to PDF has stopped working.
Normally, I could do the following at the terminal:
$ convert image*.jpg NEW.pdf
to convert a series of image files into one PDF file. Now I get an error. For instance:
$ convert MarsSunset.jpg new.pdf
convert-im6.q16: not authorized ‘new.pdf’ @ error/constitute.c/WriteImage/1037.
After a few weeks of these errors (and resorting to GIMP to convert the image files by opening and
Continue Reading Fix for ImageMagick convert errors with pdf files

VeraCrypt has replaced TrueCrypt as the all-around, essential encryption software everyone should be using.
For instance, any password info for your computer, financial info (account and social security numbers), personal/private encryption keys, and pics of essential documents can be kept in an encrypted volume on a USB stick that you take with you at a moment’s notice but which no one — we all hope — can unlock.
Dedoimedo has a quick run-down on how to use VeraCrypt. The
Continue Reading Encryption on the go

Unix systems have been around for more than half a century. But, with Linux and Mac OS X, Unix systems have now achieved wide-spread success. Mac OS X is extremely well designed, but Apple does not play well when you attempt to step outside its ecosystem. Even an older iPhone or computer can be left behind and unsupported by Apple (until recently, Apple still supported Windows XP for various products such as iPhone syncing, but Apple offered no similar
Continue Reading Review: Galago Pro from System 76 and Xubuntu 18.04 — Bionic Beaver

Google provides inexpensive cloud storage — google drive — but does not provide a native Linux client for mirroring those cloud files on the local computer.
Into this gap strolls insync, a Mac, Wintel, and Linux client for connecting a local computer to google drive storage.
This product is NOT free, but for any business user, it makes sense, especially when compared to the annual cost for a DropBox account — $99 for the least expensive option —
Continue Reading Using InSync for google drive files

Missing icon problem
DropBox has always had a Linux client since 2008 or so when I started using Xubuntu. As always, this software has been changing and has not always worked so well.
In 2016, folks started reporting problems with the notification icon in the panel not properly appearing.

Various solutions popped up, but I was not having much luck with those solutions myself.
With 18.04, Bionic Beaver, however, the icon problem finally has been resolved.
Continue Reading DropBox and Xubuntu

A new long-term support release of Xubuntu is out, and I have upgraded to it on my desktop. Make sure to check out the Xubuntu release notes as well as the general Ubuntu release notes before upgrading yourself.
The new version was the smoothest upgrade I have ever had — taking less than an hour to do all of its work. There is a new document viewer — Atril — which has been great so far. And, the display
Continue Reading Xubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) released