Apple LogoDo you use your iPhone to make business calls? Sooner or later, you’re going to need to store a telephone┬ánumber that includes an extension number for your contact.

Rather than fumble around adding spaces and even brackets around the extension (which we tried initially!), we thought we’d show you the correct way to add extension numbers to your iOS contacts.

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Ubuntu Logo

Ubuntu LogoCanonical’s decision to add an Amazon shopping lens to the latest version of Ubuntu 12.10, Quantal Quetzal has been hugely controversial. On one hand it brings an additional (and possibly very lucrative) revenue stream to the maker of the largest Linux distribution (which I support), but on the other, users are concerned for their privacy. Me, I just find the Amazon Shopping Lens a massive pain in the rear end.

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Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook ProIf you’re a power multi-tasker, switching between open application windows is essential. On a Windows machine, ALT+Tab is your friend here, allowing you to switch between any open applications.

While COMMAND+Tab still works on Mac OS X, you’ll find that it doesn’t work when you try to switch between windows in the same program. For instance, if you’ve got two browser windows open – one for researching, one for drafting. Or maybe you want to switch between messages and the inbox in the Mail app.

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Looking for a quick way to delete old files in Linux? For example, log files can build up over a long period of time.

Usage case: The default WordPress backup tool doesn’t delete old backup files. So, over time, these files can accumulate and take up valuable disk space. If you run a large and busy site, this can become a problem. So, in order to maintain a healthy file system, we’ll want to keep say the last 30 days’ worth of backups and discard anything older than that.

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Tux, the Linux mascotRemember when we configured our headless Crunchbang computer the other day? Now that we’ve got the machine up and running and logging in automatically, we want to start some programs running when the machine boots up.

Well, the good news is that Crunchbang makes this process embarrassingly easy: the distribution has an autostart script that you can edit to run the programs of your choice. You can even specify a sleep delay so that programs load in a specific order and don’t overload the machine. This is some heavenly scripting!

Finding and editing autostart.sh

The autostart.sh script is the file you need to edit to customize your startup experience. Let’s fire up the terminal and do some editing – we’re going to fix a problem in my earlier post!

  1. Browse to the OpenBox config folder: cd ~/.config/openbox/
  2. Edit the autostart.sh file: nano autostart.sh
  3. Navigate to the bottom of the file – it’s the smartest place to add your own custom entries. Along the way note that a double hash (##) denotes a comment – always advisable to explain the commands you’ve added to your script!
  4. We’re going to configure the vino server service to start automatically, so add a comment like “## Start Vino server” and take a new line. In the new line, type /usr/lib/vino/vino-server & (the ampersand character at the end allows the script to continue processing any additional commands you might add). Add any other commands you’d like to run at startup.
  5. Save the autostart.sh file and then restart your computer to test.

The Sleep Command

A useful variant is to add the “sleep” command to your script. This delays execution of your program by a specified number of seconds, allowing the computer to launch programs sequentially, preserving system resources or allowing other tasks to complete first.

A modification of the command above would be:

(sleep 60s && /usr/lib/vino/vino-server) &

This would delay startup of the Vino server until 60 seconds after OpenBox loads. Feel free to play as creative as you like with this command – you could execute a system backup script, run an application or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Shutting down unwanted services

You can also comment out software in the script that you don’t want to run – for example the novelty Statler app that says a random phrase every now and again. Simply find that line in the autostart.sh script and comment it out with “##”.

Likewise you could disable the Conky service or the screensaver – both of which are activated via this script. Find the lines you want and comment them out.

What else?

So that’s it for this little tutorial – I’d be interested to see what other things people use the autostart script for in Crunchbang. Also, is it available in other Linux distributions?

Tux, the Linux mascotIf you read my previous post about building a headless Crunchbang Linux machine, you’ll understand that one of the next steps for us is to have the machine log in automatically.

Without an automatic login, the Vino server won’t have the chance to start and therefore you won’t be able to control the machine remotely. The good news is that configuring automatic logins in Crunchbang is remarkably easy.

Step by step: Configuring automatic logins

  1. Right-click anywhere on your Crunchbang desktop and browse to the System menu. Click on GDM Login Set-up. You’ll be prompted for your administration password to make these changes.
  2. Now, when the Login Window Preferences window appears, click on the Security tab and select Enable automatic login. You need to use the drop-down box to select the user account to log in when the computer starts.
  3. Save your settings and reboot the computer. It should log in automatically first time.

And that’s it. In our next tutorial, we’ll be looking at making applications start automatically when the Crunchbang computer starts up.