Tech Tips

Dropbox Tips and Tricks

Dropbox, or one of the alternatives like Ubuntu One or SparkleShare, are great tools for keeping computers in sync. They offer some unique abilities as well. Here are a few of our favorites: Keep config folders, like Pidgin's .purple directory in your Dropbox, and symlink to it in your home directory. It saves entering the same information on your computers.

Organize Your Shows with Sickbeard

First, a disclaimer: the program Sickbeard was created for the purpose of pirating television shows from Usenet and torrent sites. I don't condone piracy of any sort, but Sickbeard has some amazing other features that make it worth mentioning.

Adding More Awesome to Your Office

Whether you prefer OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice, which currently still are pretty similar, out of the box, they are missing some of the conveniences installed by their commercial counterparts. Granted, they are fully functional, but if you want a robust clip-art library and a decent selection of document templates, you'll want to add some extensions and templates.

SerbDict - Serbian-English Dictionary

I've highlighted a few language programs in this column, but so far they've been for Japanese, Chinese and German—all languages spoken by large populations. So a dictionary program for a language like Serbian jumped right out at me. According to the SourceForge page: "Serbian Dictionary is a bidirectional Serbian-English dictionary. It currently contains only a command-line interface.

Tor Browser Bundle-Tor Goes Portable

I've never covered a subproject of something I've reviewed before, but I noticed this a few weeks ago when trawling the Tor site (I've no idea how I missed it until now). It seemed so important that I instantly gave it top billing for this month's column.

Lock Firefox 6 Prefs (Also versions 3, 4, & 5)

In a corporate environment, it's often important to enforce Internet proxy settings for all users. Setting those options automatically is often difficult. Making them locked and immutable is even more difficult and poorly documented. Today we'll learn the basics, and from there you can customize Firefox as much or as little as you like.

The Web Proxy Autodiscovery Protocol

WPAD certainly isn't new technology. In fact, it's been around for many years. However, it seems that many system administrators are unaware of its magic. Simply put, WPAD allows you to offer proxy information to users in your network without ever touching their computers. The feature is supported by most browsers, and in general, it "just works".

How-To: Release Stuck NFS Mounts without a Reboot

Computing environments may revolve around heavy usage of NFS infrastructure. Network areas are hosted and provided by storage file servers, with compute servers mounting the exported areas into their directory tree. Periodically, the mounts expire when not in use and are removed from the directory tree on local machines.

Creating a Centralized Syslog Server

A centralized syslog server was one of the first true SysAdmin tasks that I was given as a Linux Administrator way back in 1997. My boss at the time wanted to pull in log files from various appliances and have me use regexp to search them for certain key words. At the time Linux was still in its infancy, and I had just been dabbling with it in my free time.

Moving Databases

I recently moved my personal website from GoDaddy to my home server. I have a business connection at my house, and my site gets little enough traffic that hosting at home on my static IP makes sense. Moving the files wasn't really difficult, I FTP'd them down from the old server, and SFTP'd them up to the new server. Moving the database was a bit more challenging, however.

Pint-Size PPA Primer

Package management in Linux is great, but unfortunately, it comes with a few cons. Granted, most distributions keep all your software, not just system software like Apple and Microsoft, updated. The downside is that software packages aren't always the latest versions. Whatever is in the repository is what you get.

Managing Your Dead Tree Library

If you're an e-book reader, chances are you already use the wonderful Calibre software. If not, see Dan Sawyer's article in the April 2011 issue. Like many avid readers, however, I still find something soothing about a book made from dead trees.

Getting Help from Linux - Part 1 Man Pages

man womanNo manual entry for woman Oooh, I just know I'm going to hear it in the comments for that one. But you know what? Just how many of you have tried something similar with other words? You know you have at least once or twice. Go ahead, try one or two..you might be surprised.

Creating Software-backed iSCSI Targets in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Studying for certification exams can be an adventure. Even more so when the certification exam is a hands-on, performance-based exam. The quandry most people I know fall into, is that to effectively study for such an exam, you need access to a lab environment with elements that may be beyond the scope of the average Linux enthusiast. One such element is iSCSI. 

Archiving CDs to ISO from the Command Line

A few weeks ago I was working on a PC when I needed to grab the motherboard driver CD.  In a perfect world, the CD would be located in a nice protective sleeve, safely kept away from the nasty elements that encompass the IT tech area (read: coffee, scratches, and the occasional jelly doughnut).  But in this case, it appeared someone had taken this CD and wiped it a

Safer Access without Passwords

How do you make sure that your passwords are safe? You can make them longer, complicate them by adding odd characters, making sure to use different passwords for each user account that you have. Or, you can simply skip them all together.

Accessing Remote Files Easily and Securely

The secure shell, ssh, and its companion, scp, are tools that I use more or less on a daily basis. Being able to move files between machines without having to setup SAMBA or NFS is very handy when working with multiple systems. All that you need is to enable the secure shell daemon - sshd.

Drop Your Dropbox and SparkleShare Instead!

We love Dropbox here at Linux Journal. It's cross-platform, offers a decent free offering and generally "just works". It has some problems though. Dropbox is proprietary. Dropbox stores a copy of your data in its own data repositories. Dropbox is limited in size, especially with its free accounts.

Fun with ethtool

Time to be honest here for a minute. The open source community really has outdone themselves coming up with some very obscure names for packages. Let's take this list of packages for instance: emacs, gimp, gcc, mutt, grub, kyle rankin, parted, tar, mutt, vim. Nine times out of ten, a common person is going to look at that list and become utterly confused over what package does what.

Silly Programs

Those of us who have been using Linux for a long time all know the joy of silly programs like xeyes. One of my favorites, however, is good old xsnow. Whether you love the cold weather or live in Florida and like to ski on occasion, xsnow will add some winter fun to your desktop. The xsnow program has been around forever and is surely available for your distribution.