Linux Mint Update

I consider myself a longtime novice Linux user. I have enjoyed using Linux OS’s since I discovered them 20 years ago and I always watch to see what is changed with each upgrade of the various distributions of it. For years now I have found Linux Mint to the be the best for me, it just works from the start and always has.

Today I decided to update the programs in it and I found a new (to me) button in the update program, Update to Tricia. (Linux Mint uses names for each new version) In the past it was not possible to update the distro without re-installing the whole system and it was not suggested for stable system users. But this new button offered to update the whole distro to the newest version and did so quickly, took me less than 15 minutes.

I can’t say I saw all the changes, I had updated many of the program changes myself before doing this. But it does seem to have cleaned things up a bit and the boot time is less and the icon and artwork is cleaner. I like it!

Long Distance Support

I had an interesting job today.

Hidden chips

I had someone in another state ask for help. Her Computer is dragging badly and taking long pauses. My first suggestion was to get a new computer but as we looked at what she has it seemed like an upgrade for her memory from 4 gigs to 8 gigs might be the better answer for this HP Notebook. I was hesitant to talk her through it because I’m so far away and if things go wrong the computer is not going to work but it seemed like a simple job so we went ahead and tried anyway.

I had sent over a link for a YouTube video that shows how to do this job. It’s fairly straightforward. Turn the computer over, take out the battery, unscrew the memory cover, remove the memory, install the new memory, put the covers back on and put the battery in and turn it on.

Didn’t quite go that smoothly.

8 Gigs!

The first thing was the memory was hidden. Once she got the cover off you couldn’t see the memory chips so she was sending me pictures via text or MMS messaging. It turned out there was just a cloth cover and pulling that back everything was back to normal.

She got the old memory out but had some trouble putting in the new memory and I think she got very nervous in the process. Can’t blame her. I was a little nervous on my side too. But a few more pictures of what was going on and I was able to help her reposition things and get the memory chips in.

And it works! Thank God!

I think in the future I will be sure the client has and can use a live video program, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, something just so I could be watching in closer to real time what is going on. I found some of the MMS photos sent to me took several minutes to get to me, not speed of light at all.

Thunderbird E-mail

Being modern means using social networks and new apps but we all seem to still have email.

I’ve been using Gmail in it’s webpage for years and years now. Before then I used Thunderbird. Many of my clients still use Thunderbird so I just reinstalled it, set it up with IMAP for my Gmail account and thought I’d go through some of the settings I did that might help other people out there.

Setting up an imap Google account

I always recommend using imap to get email from your server. This leaves the mail on the server until you view it. Gmail has an All Mail folder that includes everything you did not delete. The other option, POP mail, will pull all your mail off the server and delete it from the server. This means trying to see your mail from our phone or another computer will not work, it will have moved to the computer that POP’ed it.

IMAP mail will normally only download the message header and subject until you choose to view it. I am using Thunderbird as a backup for my mail so I have IMAP pull the whole message. For me this means my message file on my computer is almost 1.5 Gig, and that is compressed. But if my account was grunged at Google somehow I still have copies of everything on this machine. I then backup my data folder. This way I could open a new computer, install a new copy of T-Bird and restore my mail.

Setting up the addon gContacts to handle addresses from Gmail account

Now that my mail is setup I would like to keep my addresses in Thunderbird too. And an available addon called gContacts will do that. For simplicity here I’ll just say in Thunderbird go to Tools, Addons, look fro all available addons and search for gContact, install it and follow its directions.

Setting up addon Lightning and Google calendar provider

Like the Contacts, Google Calendars can be imported into an addon called Lightning and it can use an addon Provider for Google Calendar to make it see and interact with Google Calendar. Now you can use your phone app for Google Calendar and read it from thunderbird and the other way around.

This makes Thunderbird almost everything Outlook is for far less money so make a donation to Thunderbird and its addon providers and still save over the price of Microsoft solutions.

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

This post actually came with the new editor in WordPress. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. What it says about the editor is exactly right, and if you use wordpress I recommend this new editor.

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

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Remote Support with Zoom.us

Most folks by now have had computer problems solved by having their uncle or primary grade niece help them out by connecting desktop screens with remote control. Teamviewer is probably the best known software for this process but there are many others.

Zoom.us

A new product for Webinars has this option for free (for 1:1 meetings) and it is Zoom.us. I first learned of Zoom in a business article about its great success, at that time I hadn’t heard of it. Then I realized I’d heard its mention on NPR, as a supporter of public radio, so I visited its website.

What I like most about it is its support of most operating systems. It works on Windows, MAC, Linux, Android and IOS phones and tablets. I like to work most from Linux but most other services don’t work in Linux.

You can use it just for its great video communication, but it has Desktop sharing and Remote support right there! Its easy. Just make a free account and install the app and you are ready to go. I recommend everyone who would like my services to sign up and install it and it will make communicating computer solutions much, much easier.

More Than Half of Websites Still Use PHP V5

Websites I host are all updated to version 7+ now, but many are using a PHP version that is going to be dropped at the end of the year.  If you have a website and don’t know if you are in trouble with this issue ask your host, or check your self. I recommend the Chrome addin called Wappalyzer which will show the source and version of websites CMS and server programs as you view websites. Read the linked site below to know the whole story…

Support for PHP 5.6 drops on December 31 – but a recent report found that  almost 62 percent of websites are still using version 5.

via As End of Life Nears, More Than Half of Websites Still Use PHP V5 — Foxeth

My new (used) Chromebook

It’s been two weeks now since I bought a Chromebook on Craigslist. I have thought about it for some time, one I had seen at my PC User group meeting looked like it might be useful. I was waiting to see one for less than $100 and a Samsung showed up and I bought it.

The first thing I noticed was how quickly it started. Flash memory replaces the hard drive, no moving parts!

The second was the keyboard is not a normal PC board. The F keys are not labeled, there are no pgup and pgdn keys, no Home or End keys. It took a a while to discover ctrl-alt-/ would bring up a help screen including key combinations to handle these functions.

Now that two weeks have passed I found I really like this little thing. It does all that a good Android does but it has a keyboard. It runs any app the Play Store has so I can log into my desktop and run Linux or Windows programs with them but most of what I need to do works in a web browser and using Google’s Suite and drive I can handle all I need to do.

Backup, backup, backup!

Include backup in your website planning

Too often we need a backup before we made one, and it is too late. WordPress sites can be saved for no cost using Updraftplus and Google Drive automatically, behind the scenes. If you aren’t doing this, contact me for guidance or help before you really need it!

One of the most important steps to a secure website (or computer!) is to keep backups. When you need it is after you have used it reliably for some time.

Larry Cotton

Hostcopilot

liveusb-creator 

As windows gets further from simple, Linux is becoming more viable for the “rest” of us. This is a simple way to make a bootable USB of Fedora or Sugar On A Stick for trying or installing these systems.

If you use a computer a lot it is worth considering these options.

Source: liveusb-creator

FDA issues new security guidelines so that your pacemaker won’t get hacked — TechCrunch

This week, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a set of recommendations for securing medical devices that could jeopardize the safety and privacy of their users. The report, titled “Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices,” focuses on security throughout the lifecycle of a device, emphasizing that robust cybersecurity is an ongoing process that requires……

via FDA issues new security guidelines so that your pacemaker won’t get hacked — TechCrunch