14 July 2017

Linux Mint 18 KDE - First Things to do for Usability & Security - my Favorites

Here a few favorite settings for a newly installed Linux Mint 18 KDE. I divided the list in usability, security, and applications & adjustments. It makes no claim of being complete:).

First thing to do after installation is to install updates, and along with it configure the Update Manager. Under Edit → Preferences make sure that you check "Always select and trust security updates".


The Linux MInt desktop with System Settings and Widgets
The Linux Mint 18 KDE desktop with System Settings and Widgets. The latter is addressable over the Plasma toolbox button in the upper left corner.


Desktops with different wallpapers

Especially Linux Mint with the KDE flavor can be customized to a high degree. In LM 17 I had several virtual desktops with different background images. In KDE Plasma 5 this does not function any longer. This is greatly missed by many users.

But there exists a workaround: click the "Plasma toolbox" button in the upper left corner, choose "Activities", and create a bunch of activities (instead of virtual desktops). Then add a wallpaper to each activity. With a right click on the panel choose Task Manager Settings → General, and uncheck "Show only tasks from the current activity". Now it's almost like working with different virtual desktops in LM 17.



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24 May 2017

Custom CSS styles with CKEditor and Wysiwyg Module in Drupal 7

The CSS Zebra
The CSS Zebra

In Drupal 7 you can easily define custom CSS styles which you can choose within the editor. It is a small, useful feature that makes writing an article easy and saves a lot of time. Here a tutorial with the Wysiwyg Module and the CKEditor libraries. It lets you apply your CSS classes of your style sheet to choose from the drop-down menu in the CKEditor.

Installation of the modules

If you have not already done so, download the Wysiwyg module, and the modules IMCE and IMCE Wysiwyg bridge for the image integration. Unpack the modules in the /sites/all/modules folder. Then download the CKEditor JavaScript package - the standard package will do - and unzip it to the folder /sites/all/libraries. Make sure that the version of the CKEditor is compatible with the Wysiwyg module. Install the modules.

CKEditor profile

Under Configuration → Content authoring → Wysiwyg profiles create a new profile. As an example I will create the profile "Full HTML".

CKEditor:create a profile with the Wysiwyg module in Drupal 7
When selecing the CKEditor on their download site make sure that the version of the CKEditor is compatible with the Wysiwyg module. Here a "Full HTML" profile is created, so there are no restrictiones.


Under "Editor" select the CKEditor. Create the profile and add desired buttons and plugins. Under the tab "CSS" the classes and elements can be defined.

If the styles of the custom style sheet shall be shown within the editor, choose "Use theme CSS" in "CSS Editor".

Some CSS elements, like h1-h6 are already in place. Other CSS classes and HTML elements can be added.

Custom CSS...

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11 December 2016

Edit E-Mail header Information in KMail

KMail is in fact a privacy friendly and safe email program. Unfortunately, KMail writes the own hostname and the user agent into the email header, which is subsequently sent to the recipient. This is unnecessary and should be changed in the configuration due to data avoidance and privacy protection.

An email consists of two parts: the header; and the actual message, the body. Email programs often hide the header because it interferes with the reading experience.


In the header one can find many different information: the sender's and recipient's adress, subject, copy, date and time, a message-ID (a unique email identifier), the content type (plain text or HTML), etc.

Depending on the email program more information will be written, e.g. if the email is an answer to another one, the importance (normal/high), thread topic, and other. Also more data is added on the transport route, like information about the IP address, passed mail servers, spam and virus checks.

One can have a look at the header of an email by pressing the "v"-button. Alternatively just hover with the mouse over the message, click right and select View Source. The header tags are listed on top in the Message as Plain Text. First comes the name of the tag, followed by a colon and the "value", the content of the tag.

Hostname (Computer Name), Message-ID, and Email alias


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21 November 2016

Images for Websites: Optimization, Creative Commons, Copyright & Meta Tags

When publishing images or photos on the own website or blog, one has to pay attention to some technical characteristics like size, compression and color space. If images can be shared, usage rights can be given with the Creative Commons license. Metadata is not a must, but offers a good possibility to embed information about creator, origin and usage rights into the images. A useful element on websites is the alt tag for images.

There are many possibilities for accomplishing this, and many programs for publishing photos on the own site.

Here is my workflow with the open source software Gimp and ExifTool. Gimp comes along with the handy plugin „Save for Web“. The programs run on Linux, Windows and Mac.

Color converting with Gimp with a photo from the Oberbaum Bridge
Photos can be made fit for a website with the free image editor Gimp. Here the conversion from Adobe RGB to the sRGB color profile with a photo from the Oberbaum Bridge (Oberbaumbruecke) in Berlin.

1. Size, format, scaling, compressing, color profile

Editing with Gimp

The images should be made in best quality, that gives scope for editing. If the color space can be set with the camera to e.g. Adobe, then it is best to leave it during editing. The conversion into the right color space is...

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25 March 2016

Setting up a Let's Encrypt certificate on a web hosting account at webgo

The web hosting provider webgo.de  has set up an automatic installation of SSL certificates provided by Let's Encrypt within the web hosting space. There is no need to install any software. The SSL certificate is generated in the Webspace Admin with a few clicks. With that encrypted connections are implemented easily in shared hosting.

1. Prepare the website

Provide access to hidden files

To make things run smoothly it is necessary to pay attention to some points. There will be an automatic generated text file with a content which is predetermined by Let's Encrypt. The text file will be put under the URL www.domain.tld/.well-known/file-name-also-predetermined-by-lets-encrypt. Let's Encrypt checks if the content of the text file (a short mix of characters) is accessible under this URL. Is the content readable by Let's Encrypt, the certificate will be created for www.domain.tld. All that happens automatically.

However, the folder .well-known is a hidden folder, caused by the preceding dot. Some CMS block the public access to hidden folders and files by default due to security reasons.

If that is the case, remove the blocking of hidden folders. Normally this is an entry in the file .htaccess in the root directory of the website installation.

E.g. drupal installations have a default RewriteRule in the .htaccess which looks like this:

#RewriteRule "(^|/)\." - [F]

Commend this line out as above with a # for the length of the installation of the certificate. When the certificate installation is finished, you can delete the #.

If you are unsure if hidden files are accessible, you can just test it...

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