Category Archives: Applications

Fix for Firefox’s Profile Manager Error

There is a bug in Firefox (as near as I can tell) and it has been present for many versions (more than a dozen at least). It only effects users in a particular configuration on Macs, so it is not very likely to get any love any time soon. (I filed a bug report here ages ago.)

In short, Firefox is able to create it’s Profiles folder under /path/to/home/[username]/Library/Application Support/Firefox/ and it is able to create the associated profiles.ini file next to it.  However, Firefox is not able to add the information pointing the profiles.ini folder at the newly created profile folder.

If you try to launch Firefox you will only get the Profile Manager and it will not be able to see any profiles, nor will it be able to create one.  Instead it throws an error:

Profile Manager Error
Profile Manager Error

Anyway, perhaps one day Mozilla will fix it.  In the meantime I need to be able to fix this for users.  I know I can add a known-good profile and profiles.ini pair, so I figured I could just build my own profiles.ini file based on what I saw in the Profiles folder.  That worked so I just needed to create a way to use that information.

We use the Casper Suite to manage the Macs in our environment, so I was bent on doing something through Casper.  Additionally I wanted to user Casper’s Self Service application so I could just point a user to a single button to fix the problem.

Here is the script I added for users to evoke through Self Service.

##
#! /bin/bash
## Fix Firefox profile manager error on machines with re-directed home directories.
## by JamesIsIn

#Get current logged-in username.

username=$(stat -f %Su /dev/console)

# Get first profile name in user's Library folder.

profile="$(basename /home/"$username"/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox/Profiles/* | head -1)"

# Empty and populate user's Firefox profiles file.

printf "[General]\nStartWithLastProfile=1\n\n[Profile0]\nName=Default User\nIsRelative=1\n" 1>/home/"$username"/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox/profiles.ini
printf "Path=Profiles/""$profile" 1>>/home/"$username"/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox/profiles.ini

exit
##

First I get the username of whomever happens to be logged in at the time Self Service is run on that machine and save that in a variable (called username).

Then I get the name of the first profile located in the user’s Firefox folder (under the user’s Library folder).  It doesn’t matter which one I use, I just arbitrarily chose the first one.  This way if there is only one I’ll be ok too.  I store that in a separate variable (called profile).

Finally I use those two variables to construct the appropriate profiles.ini file (using printf and standard output redirection).

Hope that helps you.

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Download Evernote on Linux

If you run Evernote and you use Linux (I run Evernote on Ubuntu under Wine) you may find yourself in the situation where you are attempting to download the Evernote Windows installer to install Evernote into the Wine environment.

You will run into trouble.

The Evernote site does a browser/OS check and presents you not with any download options but instead informs you that they do not offer a version of Evernote for Linux.  Simply put, you cannot get to the installer by the usual means.

So what about unusual means?

Since I run Opera (you can read about how to install Opera here) I am able to mask my browser identity by right-clicking on the page in question, choosing Edit Site Preferences…, and then on the Network tab modifying the Browser identification.

If you set the browser identity to Mask as Internet Explorer (and reload the page) you will be presented with the download as expected.

Fuck browser checks (and OS checks) when the result is to limit user action and not merely inform or suggest.

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Migrating Your RDP History to a Different Windows 7 Machine

You would think this would be a simple operation.  Migrating my bash history for Cygwin meant moving one file.  But you’d be wrong.  This migration means moving two registry hives, one file, and the contents of one very difficult to locate hidden folder.  Well, at least it can be done.

I began with the RDP client already pinned to my Task Bar.  Your results may vary if you have not done so.  Let’s get started.

First open the registry editor (just type regedit in the Run dialog or in the search box for the Start menu).  Once there navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER —> Software  —> Microsoft  —> Terminal Server Client

In this location you will find two hives called Default and Servers.  Export each of those hives (right-click  —> Export), move them to the new machine, and import them (right-click  —>  Merge).

Then you need your Default.rdp file (and any other .rdp files you may have saved if you’d like).  This is a hidden file located in your My Documents folder.  Migrate that file to your other machine (just copy it into the same location on the destination machine).

Finally locate this hidden folder.  You will not be able to navigate to it in the usual manner, even if you have hidden files enabled for viewing.  Just put this in your Explorer window:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations

Migrate the entire contents of that folder to your new machine and you will migrate all of your so-called Jump Lists.  If you are already using your new machine and would rather not see certain Jump Lists overwritten, only copy in the unique files.  (I don’t know how to determine which file is which list at this time.)

Now you have all four of those items migrated (two registry hives, one file, and the contents you selected from one folder) just go ahead and restart your machine.  Now you should be all good to go.

I hope this helps you along.

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Some Good and Bad News in Ubuntu 14.04

I have been upgrading certain machines here at work and testing various items along the way.  First one item of concern.

There is a great package out there for Windows domain integration called likewise-open.  We had a 13.10 machine running and connected to our Windows domain using this package.  It’s a great package and it really streamlines the domain membership problem.

Unfortunately there is currently no 14.04 package available in the repositories.  The machine we upgraded is currently not able to log in using domain credentials.  Since it’s Friday at 16:09, I created the user a local administrative level account and we’ll look to doing more as is necessary (but surely next week).

I imagine this package will appear in the repositories before long.  We shall see.  Just be forewarned if you are planning to upgrade any Windows domain connected Ubuntu machines any time soon.

But there is a nice delight to offset this.  The old vmware-view-client package which was broken due to a misplaced dependency and which has finally been removed from earlier-version repositories has been replaced in the 14.04 repositories with a working version.  Now you can use vmware-view-client to attach to your View sessions and you can do so using the VMWare native PCoIP protocol.

Have fun with that.

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Installing VMware (Fusion) Tools for Ubuntu 13.04

Recently (not so recently now because I’m a slow blogger) I was installing, or rather attempting to install, the VMware Tools into a virtual machine running Ubuntu 13.04, and I ran into a bit of trouble.  This may happen to you too.

First you’ll see this problem:

Searching for a valid kernel header path…
The path “” is not a valid path to the 3.5.0-26-generic kernel headers.
Would you like to change it? [yes]

Enter the path to the kernel header files for the 3.5.0-26-generic kernel?

Clearly no path (“” <— note the lack of… anything) cannot be correct.  But how do you find the correct path?

The kernel header path in question should be under /usr/src/[your current kernel version]/include.  Of course you’ll need to know your current kernel version.  You can find this by running uname -r (it will return something like linux-headers-3.5.0-26-generic).  So this is the answer to the above question:

/usr/src/linux-headers-3.5.0-26-generic/include

This may yet fail if the headers were not installed alongside the kernel.  Sweat not, little piggies!  Enter this command to install the proper headers:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Once that install finishes you can hop back over to the Tools installation and insert the above path once again.

The path “/usr/src/linux-headers-3.5.0-26-generic/include” is not a valid path
to the 3.5.0-26-generic kernel headers.
Would you like to change it? [yes]

Enter the path to the kernel header files for the 3.5.0-26-generic kernel? /usr/src/linux-headers-3.5.0-26-generic/include

The path “/usr/src/linux-headers-3.5.0-26-generic/include” appears to be a
valid path to the 3.5.0-26-generic kernel headers.
Would you like to change it? [no]

I hope that helps you get where you want to be.

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Be an Expert Screen Shooter in Ubuntu

I mean, why not, right?

The built-in screen capture software in Ubuntu is pretty good.  Hit a button (Print Screen) and it snaps your screen into the copy buffer.  Then you save it as an image file though a simple dialog.

But, and this happened to me recently, you may find need to capture something like a menu which doesn’t like to stay put while you press the appropriate button.  Fortunately there is a way to work with this.

Take a look at the manual page for the Gnome screen shot application:

man gnome-screenshot

Apparently you can add border effects.  Who knew?

Anyway, for my interests the one to know is the -d or –delay= argument.  This allows you to hit Enter, mouse to the menu, and hover over the item of interest before you screen shot fires.

Try five seconds:

gnome-screenshot -d 5

Exciting, eh?

Pew pew pew!

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Evernote, Everpad, and Ubuntu

With Canonical abandoning Tomboy and Tomboy synchronization through Ubuntu One, I have been forced to seek out a different notes solution.  Evernote is very popular, is available for a wide variety of environments (Windows, Mac, Android, &c), and has been mostly free for quite some time.

I’m willing to give it a shot to see how it goes.  I have it running on my work Windows machine and my work Mac.  I have also installed it on my Android tablet.  Finally I installed it on my old Ubuntu 10.04 machine (under WINE) in order to transfer all of my Tomboy notes into Evernote.

In newer versions of Ubuntu you will have access to Everpad.  This is an open source application which takes advantage of the Evernote API (since Evernote has thus far failed to create a native Linux version of their application).

Personally I find Everpad to be a little clunky and it seems to inappropriately fiddle with formatting when synchronizing between instances.  Nonetheless, let’s go over installation and initial set up so you can try it for yourself.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nvbn-rm/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install everpad

You will be required to invisibly enter your password.

Once you have it installed, it’s not very obvious how to get started.

Right-Click Menu
Right-Click Menu

Yep, right-click on the Everpad icon and choose Settings and Management.  This will open the Settings and Management dialog.

Settings and Management
Settings and Management

Now you will need to log into your Evernote account (if you don’t have one, go to their Web site and create one).  Click the Authorise button.

Authorize
Authorize

Log in using your Evernote credentials.

That’s pretty much it.  If you already have notes it will (on schedule) synchronize your notes.  If you’d like to manually synchronize your notes (and again this is not obvious), that’s also pretty easy.

Manual Synchronization
Manual Synchronization

If you click where is tells you about your last synchronization, it will spawn a manual synchronization.  Easy but not obvious.

Again, it tended to goof up my formatting as I moved from Everpad to other instances of Evernote.  As such I am giving Evernote a run under WINE to see how that performs.

So far it seems fine.  If you’d like to try Evernote under WINE, install WINE through the Ubuntu Software Center (or however you’d like) and download the Windows version of Evernote.

Have fun with that.  I’ll report back if I have any issues worth mentioning.

Update:

After having run Evernote under WINE for some time now I can say I see no issue worth mentioning.  You may have some slight trouble with getting the correct icon in the dock (it tends to use the WINE icon instead).  Not a show stopper, obviously.

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Update JoinMe as a Normal User

Sometimes it may be faster to launch and update JoinMe as the currently-logged-in user rather than logging out as that user and logging back in as an administrator.  In those cases you can follow these instructions to launch and update JoinMe as a privileged user without logging out as the current user.

  • Open a Terminal
  • Switch user to root (su root); you may have to su to administrator first
  • Launch JoinMe: /Applications/join.me.app/Contents/MacOS/join.me
  • JoinMe will launch and update successfully, then you should close JoinMe
  • Now you may launch JoinMe from the Dock as the user
  • Remember to exit out of your changed user session in the Terminal (and close the Terminal if appropriate)

(This is important only only on a Mac.  Windows doesn’t require elevation to run this update.)

That’s it.

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Flash Video in Blue Blues

Have you ever opened a video and had all the colors therein tilt to blue?  I have.  Happens because of a discontinuity between the Flash players efforts to take advantage of hardware acceleration and your hardware’s ability to make said acceleration (or lack of ability I suppose).

The fix is simple.  But there’s a catch.

To fix the problem you simply disable hardware acceleration within the Flash settings.  Even doing this is child’s play.  Run any Flash video, right-click on the video, and choose Settings.  In the small settings dialog simply uncheck the “Enable hardware acceleration” check box.

Flash Settings with Acceleration Disabled
Flash Settings with Acceleration Disabled

See, simple.

Oh, snap!  You can’t use your mouse to tick that box.

Ok, try tabbing through the dialog until you are focused on that area and use your spacebar to tick the box.

Damn it!

Ok.  Fine.

Open the video in full screen and try again.  It should work in full screen.

If not, there is a hack for it in Ubuntu which you can find here.  Otherwise, best of luck.

Blue videos are so bleu…

 

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Trillian Comes to Ubuntu

Technically “is coming” is more correct.  Currently the Linux version of Trillian is in beta.  If you are a Trillian Pro user (I am) you have free access to the beta, which is currently available as a .deb package.  They have assured me that a repository is coming.  I haven’t tried to use this .deb on my 64 bit machines yet, so I can’t say if it will work.

Nonetheless, this is very exciting news for fans of Trillian and users of Linux.  It has long been the best and most useful multi-protocol communications client out there.  They released a Mac client a few years back, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this announcement on their blog:

Trillian for Linux: Early access for Pro customers!

I’m looking forward to participating in the testing, of course, but I’m also looking forward to seeing this emerge from beta.

Thanks, Cerulean.

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