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The Geek

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

Firefox has a ton of shortcut keys, but this is one of the most useful. I had written before about how to select a specific tab with a keyboard hotkey, which I use to easily switch back to my RSS reader of choice (Google Reader).

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The VLC Media Player is an open source, cross-platform media client that supports the vast majority of media formats. One of the great features is that it supports skins that work across different platforms. This article will cover installing on both linux and windows.

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The VLC Media Player is an open source, cross-platform media client that supports the vast majority of media formats. Just check out the features page to see the list of them.

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Using ftp from the command line can get tedious after a while. There’s a client for Ubuntu called gFTP that gives you a GUI based ftp experience. Much easier.

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VMware has a set of shortcut keys or hotkeys for quick control over your virtual machine. This is a list of them.

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Firefox has built-in keyboard shortcuts for quickly navigating directly to the tab you want to get to. This is very useful when you are using Google Reader or Bloglines to read RSS feeds, and you’ve opened up a bunch of tabs. Before discovering this trick, I always used Ctrl+Tab to navigate back, or had to use the mouse.

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Setting the default route on Solaris is easy. If you are trying to just set the route temporarily you can use the route command:

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If you have installed multiple versions of an application into your system, you may wonder which command is being run from the command line when you launch it. This is especially useful to figure out the path of php when running on a shared server, as many shared servers have both php4 and php5 installed.

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Setting the system date and time is fairly easy on solaris. Because you can easily set the time from the command line, you can set the time on a server remotely.

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It’s really easy to figure out how long a system has been up and running on solaris. Absurdly easy.

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Solaris includes a command line utility to get basic current system configuration information and output it to the console.

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Getting the exact version of the Solaris operating system running on your system can be useful, especially if you are connected to a remote server.

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It’s easy to get the type of processor that a Solaris box is running on. While this might seem like a silly thing to need to know, if you are connected into a Solaris server at a remote location, you may need to know what type of processor is being used in order to install the correct packages.

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On Solaris, the hostid is similar to the hostname. To determine the hostid of a Solaris box, there are a couple of options to follow.

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With the release of Windows Vista around the corner, I started wondering if my laptop will even run Vista. Thankfully Microsoft provides a utility to examine your system and let you know if you need to upgrade anything.

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Ubuntu linux has a rich set of commands for getting system info. One of the useful pieces of information that a system administrator might need is to know what the overall system load on a server is.

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When building a string for output to a web page, it’s useful to format any currency value in a human-friendly money format. This is extremely easy in C#.

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If you want to quickly restart X Windows on Ubuntu, Debian, or pretty much any version of linux, all you have to do is hit this key combination quickly:

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Installing software on Ubuntu usually entails using Synaptic or by using an apt-get command from the terminal. Unfortunately, there are still a number of packages out there that are only distributed in RPM format.

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Ubuntu Linux has a rich set of commands for manipulating and accessing files. The du utility gives information on disk usage, and the sort utility can sort the results. Finally, we can run those results through the head command, which gives you the top 10 lines outputted through any other command. We’ll chain the commands together to get the output that we want.

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Ubuntu Linux has a rich set of commands for manipulating and accessing files. The stat utility gives detailed access to file information, including last accessed and last modified file time.

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A frequent task when designing applications that work with TCP/IP and the internet is to lookup an IP address from a hostname. It’s much easier for users to deal with the hostname than having to type in an IP address.

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KDE has an extremely powerful scripted user interface through the use of the dcop utility. You can control virtually any KDE application by entering dcop commands through shell scripts or from the shell itself. These actions can then be tied to menu items, and even hot keys. KDE can also be installed on Ubuntu through the kubuntu-desktop package.

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If you mess around in the registry, or install some different software packages that add things to the right-click menu, you can end up with a problem where the default action on a folder is always “Search…”, even though you set it to something else.

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A hidden functionality in Windows allows you to right click on a directory, and select “Command Prompt Here” from the menu.

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