Ubuntu 15.04 — Internet

This is a continuation of my series of notes on my install of Ubuntu 15.04 on my laptop. The full list of posts is on this page. Previously, in the last post, I installed utilities and tweaked the configuration.  In this post, I setup various networking and Internet-related programs.


Posted in Chrome, remmina, Skype, Zoom. No Comments »

Chrome App Launcher

I found Google Operating System’s post about the Chrome App Launcher.  Here’s my experience with getting it to work.

First, I found that I needed to install a “Desktop Web App”.  So, I picked up one from the Chrome Web Store.  It needed to be one from the “For Your Desktop” Collection.  I decided to try out the Pocket app.

Before installing that app, this didn’t work.  Afterward, I was able to search for “Chrome App Launcher”.

Chrome App Launcher in the Unity Menu

Here’s what it looked like when it opened:

Chrome App Launcher

To get it to stay where I could easily click on it, I right clicked on it’s icon and selected “Lock to Launcher”.

Locking to the laucher


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Office Online Apps in Chrome

Recently, Microsoft’s Online applications have come to the rescue.  I’ve learned that I can edit Word documents on my Linux OS without needing Wine or a Windows VM.  I don’t have the full feature set, but it’s close enough for basic editing.  One big issue that I have is that I can’t create Styles.  I’m not sure that I can adjust tab stops either.

So, when I ran across the Chrome store apps for Office Online, I was excited.  Maybe Microsoft is showing Linux, or at least Web-based users a little more attention?

Here are the links to the Apps in the Chrome Web Store:

Unfortunately, these apps didn’t help me much.  Anytime I click on one of the apps, it requests my email address.  Then, it takes me to an Outlook page.  I’m not sure if it is because I am using my company account which is has a Sharepoint corporate account associated.

I was hoping that these apps might help me with some major bugs that I have been experiencing.  First, in Word documents, Chrome deletes my selection when I press Ctrl + C.  If I try to right click and ask it to copy, I just get a message saying the browser doesn’t have access to the clipboard.  Second, in Excel, Chrome seems to get in this mode where it deletes the contents of cells when I navigate to them with the arrows on the keyboard.

Both of those are serious issues, so I have taken to using Firefox for the time being.  At least this shows that Chrome is on the radar for supporting the online applications.


OMG Chrome: Microsoft Brings Office Online Apps to Chrome Web Store

Ubuntu 13.10: Internet-Related Setup

This is my second post in setting up my Ubuntu 13.10 install.  I am working to reinstall my laptop from scratch, and I have grouped all of my notes for my Internet-related programs in this post: email, browsers, VPN, etc.


Trying Brackets

About Brackets

About BracketsA while ago, I ran across the brackets development environment.  It looked really awesome, particularly the part about dynamically updating the page as you edit it.  When I first heard about it, the Linux version was not quite out yet.  Now, they have a package and everything for easy installation.  So, here’s a first post about what I found.


Posted in Brackets, Chrome. No Comments »

Can’t Close GMail Tasks Window

I just helped a friend with a “GMail” problem.  He couldn’t close the “tasks” window.  I found that it might be a somewhat common problem — I found a Google Groups post regarding the problem (Google Groups: Help! Can’t close Tasks).

Here’s what it looks like with the task Window open where you can’t see the close button:

GMail Zoomed with Tasks Open

The issue is that the resolution is too small to display the title bar of the tasks.  Therefore, you can’t click the close button.

I read that in some cases it was the screen resolution.  In my case, it was because the window was zoomed in.  That is a feature of the browser rather than GMail itself.  In this case, I am using the Google Chrome browser.  In the view menu, you’ll see the options.

Zoom Options in Google Chrome

The “Zoom In” will make things larger so that you can read things better.  It might distort the page a little, which is what it is doing here.  The “Zoom Out” option shrinks it back so that you can see more on the page.  The “Actual Size” resets things back to normal.

I believe most of the different browsers support this feature.  You will find the option in different places, but I think they use the same keyboard shortcuts.  If you hold the Ctrl key down, the plus ( + ) makes things bigger, and minus ( – ) shrinks it back.  Holding the Ctrl key and pressing zero ( 0 ) resets things back to normal.

So, in this case, hitting Ctrl + 0 fixes it so we can see the close button:

GMail fixed

Here are some of the other browsers’ documentation for zooming:

Ubuntu 13.04 A Ruckus with Ringtail

This past weekend, I finally got the time to go through installing Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail).  Here’s to documenting it…


I have been trying to rebuild my laptop with each new version of Ubuntu.  This is proving a little more challenging, but this is my first post.  This is as much of a story as my other posts, and if you have any suggestions please comment.

Preparing the Installation Media

The troubles started at the outset for me.  The default tool for putting an iso on a USB drive had been crashing, so I have dropped back to UNetbootIn.  I had mentioned that on several posts, and this one is no different.

It worked fine at first, but after I went through the install, my wireless wasn’t recognized.  Then, I found that my USB ports weren’t working; at least, I couldn’t mount a USB key or external drive.  Also, my touchpad wouldn’t work.

I did a little searching around, and I found Husain’s Chronicle.  He mentioned that the problem seems to be common with everyone who used UNetbootIn.  It seems very strange to me because the problem happens not when you boot off the USB but after booting to an installation made by the USB drive.  Still, I went to my other computer that happened to be running Linux Mint, and I used the “USB Image Writer” program:

USB Writer

The only thing that I noticed different was the boot loader was different.  The install went exactly the same, but when I booted, I had no trouble with the touchpad, the wireless, or the USB drives.


I tried the option to remove the Ubuntu 12.10 partitions and reinstall, but that didn’t work for me.  I have special preferences on where I want my partitions.  Yes, I have to be difficult.

I have a solid state drive (apparently /dev/sdb) that I want to use as my root.  My thought is that I want all of the binaries and the swap partition on the faster solid state drive.  Then, I have a 1TB drive (/dev/sda) that I want to use for my home folder where I will place all of my files, pictures, virtual machines, etc.

I set the large partition to format and to mount on the /home folder:

Selecting Home Partition

Next, I removed all of the partitions on my SSD drive and created an 8G swap partition at the end:

Creating the Swap Partition

Finally, I created my root partition with the rest of the space:

Adding the Root Partition

Encrypting the Drive

This time I decided to encrypt my home folder to add a little security.  This is my first try at this, so I’ll have to see how things work.  So far, it doesn’t seem like any complication for the security that it adds.

Encrypting the Home Folder

On the first boot, it prompted me to save my key.

Encryption key message

So, I ran ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase.  Note that it says, but I missed it the first time: when it asks for the “Passphrase”, it is asking for the password that you associate with your user account, the one when you login to your computer.

Cleaning Up the Launchers

One of the first issues that I notice is that the launcher on the left is full of icons that I don’t necessarily use all of the time.  So, I removed most of them to make room for running applications:

Unlocking Launchers

Adding Google Software

Google offers a software repository.  Rather than just trying to install chrome by downloading the deb, I installed the repository with:

wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | sudo apt-key add -
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install google-chrome-beta

I had expected chrome to show up in the Ubuntu Software Center, but it never did.  It worked fine to install from the command-line though.


Shutter is one of the first things that I install so that I can document and blog my install.  It is an easy install from the Software Center:

Shutter in the Software Center

For configuration, I don’t like the way the program sticks the screenshots in the Pictures folder.  To me, that is for photos rather than screenshots.  So, I create my own screenshots folder:

Creating the Screenshots folder

Then, under Edit > Preferences, I set it to use the new folder:

Shutter folder setting

On previous versions, I had to tweak the settings to get it to show by the clock.  This install, I didn’t have to do anything, and it shows up!

Shutter by the clock

Since I am always taking screenshots of things, I set it to start automatically.  I checked the first two options on the “Behavior” tab:

Shutter on Startup options

Restoring Backups

I copied off all of my important content off to an external USB drive.  I installed grsync to make copying easier.  Then, I copied the following directories back:

  • ~/Documents: This is where I put all my document files
  • ~/Pictures: I have Shotwell pointed at this directory, so it contains all the pictures from my cell phone and digital camera
  • ~/MIS: I keep my work files in a different directory
  • ~/app: This has all of my programming stuff (“application development”)
  • ~/VirtualBox VMs: These are the virtual computers
  • ~/.config/google-chrome: The settings for Chrome (extensions, bookmarks, etc)
  • ~/.gnome2/keyrings: My saved passwords
  • ~/.Skype: Skype history
  • ~/.remmina: The settings for my remote connections
  • ~/.ssh: The keys for my remote ssh connectinos
  • ~.local/share/shotwell: The settings and thumbnails for my photos (moved from ~/.shotwell, see Ask Ubuntu)
  • ~/.sword: The downloaded Bible files for Xiphos (and the underlying Sword library)
  • ~/.VirtualBox: The settings for my virtual machines
  • ~/.filezilla: The settings for my FTP connections
  • ~/.sqldeveloper: The connection settings for SQL developer
  • /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections and /etc/NetworkManager/VPN: this saves all of my wireless connections and VPN connections

Other Utilities

I like to use the “Main Menu” program, or alacarte to update the list of applications for the Applications Dash.

Main Menu program

Bumblebee for the Discrete Video Card

WebUpd8 has a great article for installing Bumblebee.  I decided to try the Bumblebee Configurator GUI.  Notice that the program name changed from gtk to gui — bumblebee-config-gui.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alessandrofac93/bumblebee-config-gtk-dev
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bumblebee-config-gui

Issue … I started it with “sudo bumblebee-config”.  All I got was this output:

Traceback (most recent call last):
 File "/usr/bin/bumblebee-config", line 17, in <module>
 wnd = BumblebeeMainWindow()
 File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/bumblebee_config/bumblebee_main_window.py", line 53, in __init__
 if self.aptHelper.checkBumblebeeInstalled():
 File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/bumblebee_config/apt_helper.py", line 112, in checkBumblebeeInstalled
 if cache['bumblebee'].isInstalled:
 File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/apt/cache.py", line 204, in __getitem__
 raise KeyError('The cache has no package named %r' % key)
KeyError: "The cache has no package named 'bumblebee'"

There is a bug opened for this issue.  Just as a guess, I tried to add the repositories:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable

sudo apt-get update

After that, it worked fine:

Bumblebee Configurator

I found that I needed to click on the “Configure Bumblebee” button first to choose the Nvidia driver:

Configuring the Driver for Bumblebee

I clicked the “Install Bumblebee” button, and it started installing…

Installing Bumblebee

When I ran check status, I got this message:

Bumblebeed status:
[ 7161.740177] [INFO]Configured driver: nvidia
[ 7161.742547] [INFO]Switching method 'bbswitch' is available and will be used.
[ 7161.744668] [ERROR]Module 'nvidia-current' is not found.

Everything still seemed to work fine, though.  The nvidia-current package was actually installed.  I don’t know why it reports that “not found” message.


Canary Alternative for Ubuntu

A while back, I came across a tech-talk about Batarang.  According to the video, I had to have Canary because the tool depended on features that were not available in the stable release of Chrome.  To spoil the story, Batarang is now available via the Chrome Store and works fine on Chrome.  But, this is my story on searching for Canary for Linux.

What I found was that Canary was not feasible on Linux.  The best alternative was to install the “daily” release of Chromium.  Because I use Chrome as my day-to-day browser, Chromium works great as a development browser.  They can exist side by side without conflicting.

The Chromium-Daily Repository

My first attempt was to use this chromium-daily repository.  I’ll save you some time: it’s out of date.  Skip on down to the next section.  The only reason that I included this is to point out that it would be great if someone could pick it up to make it active again.

Here’s the install instructions to add the repository and install the browser:

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chromium-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

I get these error messages:

W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/source/Sources 404 Not Found

W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/binary-amd64/Packages 404 Not Found

W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/binary-i386/Packages 404 Not Found

E: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

To remove the PPA, I used this:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*chromium*

Chromium Continuous Build Website

So, I found this website:  Chromium Continuous Build.  It apparently keeps a daily build out there.  I just had to download it and unzip it on my drive.

I created a directory to put it in (~/bin/chromium).  Then, I wrote this script to download the latest version:


wget http://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/chromium-browser-continuous/Linux_x64/LAST_CHANGE
echo "Last Update ID: $LAST_BUILD_ID"
wget http://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/chromium-browser-continuous/Linux_x64/$LAST_BUILD_ID/chrome-linux.zip
unzip chrome-linux.zip

Then, I ran the chrome binary.  This is the version it downloaded:

The cool part is that it is separate from my main chrome browser because it is chromium, and my main browser is chrome.


To download the Batarang extension, I ran this:

git clone git://github.com/angular/angularjs-batarang

After it was downloaded, I went to Chrome Extensions:


Then, I checked the Developer Mode:


Next, I clicked Load Unpacked Extension:

I chose the directory:

That installed the extension.  I went to my site with Angular installed.  I used Ctrl+Shift+J to open the console.  And, there it was:


Posted in Chrome. 1 Comment »

TamperMonkey Fixed!

I recently had an issue with Tamper Monkey, jQuery, subdomains.  You can view the issue here:

tampermonkey.net: subdomain + jQuery issue

Basically, my page would load jQuery plugins when I hit the page directly from my site.  But, if I hit the page via a subdomain off the website, the plugin would not load.  Any javascript that used that plugin would err as if the plugin did not exist.  When I disabled TamperMonkey and reloaded the page, everything would work through the subdomain again.

You can try it with this tech test.  This is without the subdomain:


This is through the subdomain:


You should get alert dialogs when the page loads and when you click the button.

The fix is to use the Beta version of Tamper Monkey.  This latest version fixes the bug.  You can download it from here.

Also, just FYI, here is my original thread asking for help:

jQuery Plugin won’t work on Subdomain

Great Links: Fedora 15 Quick Tips

By accident, I ran across several links that seemed very helpful for getting situated in Fedora 15:

Chrome Extensions Quick Fix

I was able to get Chromium installed, but it keeps mentioning that “Tampermonkey has crashed.” Thomas’ Blog suggested running this command to fix extensions:

restorecon -R -v -F ~

Hallelujah! My Tampermonkey works. I was hoping that it wasn’t my backing up the profile.


I went to this link as suggested:

Adobe’s Flash Page

Since, I am running the 64bit version, I opted to follow the 64bit link.

This looks a little complicated. I may save this for another day. Please comment if you have any advise here. I was hoping for an RPM I could install that would just stay up to date. Flash is something I just want to take for granted rather than tinker with. The tar bar for Flash 11 has a bunch of directories and files. I need to read up on it more.

Gnome Shell Tweak

Multiple sites recommended this tool. So, I installed it:

su -c 'yum -y install gnome-tweak-tool'

Here are some of the tweaks, I found useful:

  • Shell — Show date in clock (turned on)
  • Shell — Laptop lid close action (changed from Suspend to Blank)

More Packages and Stuff

Ok, I don’t want to go through each of these individually, so I’ll just throw them out there the same way the Chema did on his blog:

su -c 'yum -y install gnome-tweak-tool gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-bad-free-extras gstreamer-plugins-bad-nonfree gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-ffmpeg audacious audacious-plugins unrar java-1.6.0-openjdk java-1.6.0-openjdk-plugin gparted vlc gimp gimp-data-extras gimp-fourier-plugin gimp-lqr-plugin gimp-resynthesizer gimpfx-foundry yum-plugin-fastestmirror'

–Thanks Chema

I also did the DVD support thing:

su -c 'yum -y install libdvdread libdvdnav'

And, I have the 64bit installed, so I ran this:

su -c 'rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/repo/15/x86_64/libdvdcss-1.2.10-1.x86_64.rpm'

Check out this page for the 32bit command.

SELinux and Performance

I have been struggling with my laptop running slow. It comes to a crawl when I run my Java/Swing application and VMWare at the same time. I found this tidbit about performance on Chema’s blog: “If you are experiencing poor performance, you may want to check what the current SELinux status is”.

I edited the file /etc/selinux/config and changed it from enforcing to permissive:
Editing SELinux Status

Thankfully, it seems to have fixed my problem.

Gnome Shell Extensions

Chema’s command does a good job showing the list of extensions. It is a good start for seeing what is available already:

yum search extension | grep gnome-shell

I found a few other resources on extensions:

I like the alternative status menu. To me, it is kind of absurd to not have a shutdown option in your menu! But, this adds it back:

yum install gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-status-menu

Alternative Status Extension

Note: After installing this extension, I found on the cheat sheet that you can use the Alt key with the default menu to get a Power Off option.

The places menu is another good one:

yum install gnome-shell-extensions-places-menu

Places Menu Extension

The weather and a11y look good, too, but I may save those for another post since they look a little more in depth.

One more trick I learned is that after installing the extensions, you can restart the shell by pressing Alt-F2 and then typing r.

Gnome Do

I was able to easily install Gnome Do with Add/Remove Software, but I had several issues with getting it to work. One of the issues, I already talked about. You have to install an extra dependency: gnome-desktop-2.

Furthermore, you also have to change the Summons key. Digital Tool Company recommended Alt-F3. You can do that from the preferences menu option once you start Gnome-Do.

Launching Gnome-Do Preferences

Or, when you first open Gnome do, you can use the menu there:

Opening Gnome Do Preferences

Then, you can change the summons key here:

GNOME Do Preferences -- Summons Key

Stay tuned as I continue to get used to Fedora!

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