Lowell Heddings

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.

Ruby on Rails is a popular new framework for developing web applications. Since Ruby on Rails includes a built-in web server for development purposes, there is no need to install a separate web server.

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If you are running a virtual machine on your computer, you may want to access that virtual machine from another computer. Let’s use an example: Say you have an Ubuntu virtual machine with Apache running on port 80, and you want to show other people on your network to access the website you are hosting.

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VMware Workstation includes a network utility that allows you to manage the virtual networks. Typically virtual machines will use NAT (Network Address Translation) to automatically assign a virtual IP address that hides behind your host address, but the default range of 192.168.200.0/24 may not work for everybody.

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One of the best extensions for Firefox is Tab Mix Plus because of the enhancements to the tab browsing that can’t be found elsewhere. There is also another extension called tab browser extensions that provides similar functionality.

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There’s a bug in Windows XP where sometimes the system tray tooltips and popup notifications will show up behind the taskbar, or behind other windows. This is really annoying when you want to use a tooltip.

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Outlook 2003 has an automatic completion for any email address that you try to type into the To or CC fields. This feature does not pull from the contacts or address book, because you may have tried to email somebody that wasn’t in your contact list, and it will still add that to the auto complete list.

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Ubuntu has an easy way to keep your system synchronized with the internet time servers. This is especially useful on older computers that may have problems with the system clock losing time.

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Ubuntu has a number of terminal emulators that you can use, including xterm and the gnome terminal. If you install the kubuntu desktop package you can also use konsole under ubuntu.

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Ubuntu Linux has a default browser functionality that will automatically launch the correct browser when clicking on a link in a gnome gui application. It’s easy enough to set the default browser using the GUI tools, but sometimes it’s easier to set it using the command line client.. for instance, if you are trying to remotely administer a machine.

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gFTP is a great ftp client for Ubuntu Linux that provides both a GUI based experience as well as a command line client. There’s an easy way to switch between using the default ftp client and using gftp-text. First you’ll want to make sure that you’ve installed gFTP.

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Many of the utilities in Ubuntu Linux use a text editor to allow you to edit configuration options and files. An example of this is using the crontab command, which allows you to edit your cron jobs using the default editor.

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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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