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LINUX IS CONFUSING. THESE ARTICLES SHOULD HELP.

If you receive an error saying “Tunepimp (MusicBrainz tagging library) returned the following error: “Fingerprinting of .mp3 files is not supported” when you are attempting to fill in the tags on your mp3 files using Amarok’s MusicBrainz plugin, then you’ve come to the right place.

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So you’ve got MySQL on your web server, but it’s only opened to local ports by default for security reasons. If you want to access your database from a client tool like the MySQL Query Browser, normally you’d have to open up access from your local IP address… but that’s not nearly as secure.

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If you are like me, you’ve just gotten the news about the new Google Desktop client for Linux, and you are removing the current Beagle search for Ubuntu so you can replace it with Google instead.

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If you’ve been using the default movie player in Ubuntu to play videos, you might have noticed that there’s no way in the application to clear the recent history of watched movies. This could cause issues if you happened to open a video that you don’t want other people to see in your list.

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Don’t get me wrong, I think the mouse was probably the greatest innovation in computing since the silicon chip, but for a power user it’s really the slowest form of input.  Taking your hands off the keyboard to reach for your mouse takes easily 500 ms of time, if you’re fast.  Add to that the time to actually find the cursor (no small feat on high resolution screens), and the time to find and click on that one tiny icon you need, and you’re talking some serious productivity cramping.  Of course, you could always be one of those *nix rebels who refuse to use any graphical environment, but what’s the fun of using bash, VI and command-line compilers for the rest of your days?

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So you are using the killer Amarok music application under Ubuntu, but when you try  to “Burn this Album”, the menu item is grayed out and otherwise disabled. The reason for this is because Amarok is a KDE application designed to work with K3b, the cd burning application for KDE, but it’s not installed by default in Ubuntu. (For that matter, neither is Amarok)

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Most of the time, when I download something it’s a file archive of some kind – usually a tarball or a zip file. This could be some source code for an app that isn’t included in Gentoo’s Portage tree, some documentation for an internal corporate app, or even something as mundane as a new WordPress installation.

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How many times have you noticed a file sitting in a directory and wondered… where did this file come from?  Or you are trying to tell a friend how to use a utility but he doesn’t have it installed, and you can’t remember what package you installed to get it.

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My favorite feature in the latest version of VMware Workstation is that you can run virtual machines entirely in the background. This is most useful for “appliance” machines that you won’t actually use from the prompt, but through a web browser or ssh client.

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If you are a new Ubuntu user coming from a Mac background, you might be disoriented by the placement of the minimize/maximize/close box on Ubuntu, which mimics Windows by default.

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A very common task for a web developer is uploading a single file from a subdirectory on your development box to the same subdirectory on a remote server. Unfortunately, this always ends up being an annoying manual process involving switching directories on both servers, and wastes a large amount of time.

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If you’ve got a directory with dozens of zipped or rar’d files, you can run a single command to unzip them all in one step, thanks to the power of the bash shell.

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You’ve got a production database server, and you can’t enable query logging… so how do you see the queries being executed against the database?

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Every Geek uses Gmail… it’s pretty much required. And now you can set Gmail as the default client in Ubuntu without any extra software. (Windows requires the Gmail notifier be installed)

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If you’ve tried to use the built-in “Extract Here” functionality in Ubuntu’s File Roller to extract either a single or a multi-part zip or rar file and ended up with a “Password required” error, then you might just assume the files are password protected when in fact they are not.

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Ubuntu has an option for adding a Trash Can icon to the desktop, which might be a comfort for those of you migrating from Windows.

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I prefer a clean desktop with no icons cluttering it up, but by default Ubuntu adds icons to the desktop for every single removable drive that you attach to your system.

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Ubuntu includes a very limited shortcut key configuration utility which doesn’t allow you to assign hotkeys to your own applications or scripts. To get around this limitation, we can use the built-in gconf-editor utility to assign them ourselves.

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As a webmaster, I’ve often wanted to be able to see real-time hits as they arrive. Sure, Google Analytics is a wonderful package for looking at trends over time, but there’s a delay of a few hours there, and you really can’t see data like requests per second or total bytes.

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If you are jealous of your geeky linux friends that have Beryl running under linux, you should check out Yod’m 3D, a small application for Windows XP / Vista that will give you a decent substitute for the “Desktop Cube” effect.

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VMWare Workstation is great. The version 6 beta has even more awesome features…  but it’s slower than dirt, because debugging mode is turned on by default.

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If you run a dual-boot system with Linux and Windows, this has happened to you. You had to do your monthly reinstall of Windows, and now you don’t see the linux bootloader anymore, so you can’t boot into Ubuntu or whatever flavor of linux you prefer.

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If you’ve just upgraded your Linux box, or you are wondering how many processors a remote server has, there’s a quick and dirty command you can use to display the number of processors.

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The find utility on linux allows you to pass in a bunch of interesting arguments, including one to execute another command on each file. We’ll use this in order to figure out what files are older than a certain number of days, and then use the rm command to delete them.

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Note that this is Not very secure, and should only be used for a local development box where you don’t feel like setting up individual permissions, but still need to connect from other machines.

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