Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tech Tidbit #4 – Pinning And Unpinning Icons From The Windows 7 Start Menu

A shortcut to frequently-used programs can be created on the Start Menu through a process that Microsoft calls pinning.

If the program is currently on the start menu but not yet pinned to it, right-click the program and select “Pin to Start Menu”:

StartPin1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once “Pin to the Start Menu” is clicked, it will remain at the top of the Start Menu above the blue line regardless of how often it is used:

StartPin2

 

 

 

 

 

If you no longer wish to have a program pinned to the Start Menu, right-click the program on the list and select “Unpin from Start Menu.”

StartPin3

Tech Tidbit #3 – Save A Word 365 Document As A PDF File

To save a document in Microsoft Word 365 as a PDF file, go to the File Menu, located on the top left of the screen. Choose “Export” option near the bottom of the list. “Create PDF/XPS Document” should be highlighted in blue in the center of the screen, as seen in the screencap below. Click on it.

 

PDF1

 

 

 

 

 

You will then be given choices as to where to save the document. Choose the folder where you wish to save the file and then click “Publish.” If you do not already have PDF reader software such as Adobe Reader or Preview, you may need to install one of these first in order to be able to view the PDF file.

PDF2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-ABM

Three Ways To Access The Desktop In Windows 8.1

Win8Desktop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows 8.1 is a hybrid interface – it is designed to run on both tablet PCs with touchscreens and traditional laptop and desktop computers. The idea is that the same interface will prove equally useful on both tablets and conventional PCs. That said, Microsoft does prioritize the tablet interface over the Desktop, which is why the PC by default boots to the Start Screen and not the Desktop.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to get to the Desktop from the Start Screen. We’ll show you three ways to get to the Desktop.

-First, click on the Desktop tile upon the Start Screen. By default, in a new installation of Windows 8.1, the Desktop tile is in the lower left-hand corner of the Start Screen.

-Second, you can use a keyboard shortcut. Hitting the WINDOWS+D keys simultaneously will take you to the Desktop from the Start Screen or any other Modern UI app.

-Finally, you can access the Desktop from the Administrative Menu. Press the WINDOWS+X keys simultaneously to summon the Administrative Menu. The Desktop item will be toward the bottom of the menu. Click on it, and you will be taken to the Desktop.

You can return to the Start Screen from the Desktop at any time by either clicking on the Start Button in the Taskbar or by hitting the Windows key upon your keyboard (or the Windows button upon your device, if you are using a tablet).

-JM

Tech Tidbits #2 – Create Jump Lists In Windows 7 & Windows 8

Jump Lists are one of the features of Windows 7 (and now Windows 8) that greatly benefits those who use certain programs and files within those programs frequently. Pinning a program to the Taskbar makes it easy to access this program frequently. This is done by right-clicking the icon of the program when it is open in the Taskbar and selecting the option “pin this program to Taskbar.”

If there was a certain file within the program (such as a budget or inventory) that was used frequently, this file could be pinned onto a jump list in order to make it more quickly accessible. The Jump List is accessible by right-clicking the icon of a program that has been pinned to the Taskbar, as shown in the screencap below:

JumpList1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how recent documents show up on the jump list. These recent documents can then be pinned to the jump list by hovering over the file and clicking on the pushpin symbol that appears to the right of the file name. The files that are pinned to this jump list will appear at the top of the list even of other documents have been used more recently.

To remove a pinned program from the jump list, simply click the pushpin icon to the right of the document name on the pinned list and it will be removed from the list. If you wish to remove an entire program from the jump list, right-click the program icon in the Task Bar and select “unpin this program from Taskbar.”

-ABM

Linux Mint 15: Find The Mac Address

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Finding the MAC address of the computer’s network adapter on a modern graphical operating system is often quite counter-intuitive. Fortunately, the command line makes it easy. To find the MAC address on a Linux Mint 15 system, use this command at the command line prompt:

ifconfig

This will bring up a great deal of information about the network interfaces on your Ubuntu system, including the MAC address of your Ethernet adapter. If your computer has only one Ethernet adapter, it will show up as eth0. The adapter’s MAC address will be the line labeled HWaddr.

However, you can make finding the MAC address even easier by parsing the ifconfig command’s output with the grep command, like this:

ifconfig | grep HWaddr

This will only bring up the line of ifconfig’s output with the MAC address.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

Find The MAC Address In Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

UbuntuMAC

Finding the MAC address of the computer’s network adapter on a modern graphical operating system is often quite counter-intuitive. Fortunately, the command line makes it easy. To find the MAC address on a Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander system, use this command at the command line prompt:

ifconfig

This will bring up a great deal of information about the network interfaces on your Ubuntu system, including the MAC address of your Ethernet adapter. If your computer has only one Ethernet adapter, it will show up as eth0. The adapter’s MAC address will be the line labeled HWaddr.

However, you can make finding the MAC address even easier by parsing the ifconfig command’s output with the grep command, like this:

ifconfig | grep HWaddr

This will only bring up the line of ifconfig’s output with the MAC address.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

Windows 8.1: Use ALT+TAB To Quickly Switch Between Applications

4AltTab

Windows 8.1 includes many new interface elements, but the old ALT+TAB switcher is still around, and is still the most convenient keyboard shortcut for quickly changing between desktop applications and Modern apps. ALT+TAB has been around since the days of Windows 3.1 back in the 1990s, so you may have used it before in a previous version of Windows. If you haven’t, we’ll give you a quick overview here.

To summon the application switcher, hold down the ALT+TAB keys simultaneously. This will summon a small horizontal box listing your currently running desktop applications and Metro apps. To switch between them, continue holding down the ALT key while pressing the Tab key repeatedly. The focus will move from application to application as you tap the key. To switch to the selected application, release both the Tab and the Alt keys, and Windows 8.1 will switch to the application you have selected.

You can also use the mouse with the ALT+TAB switcher. After hitting ALT+TAB, the switcher will stay in place until you release the ALT key. While holding the Alt key, you can use the mouse to click on one of the applications listed in the switcher.

-JM

Install Synaptic Package Manager To Install Software In Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

Synaptic

For years, Ubuntu (and most Debian based Linux distributions) have relied on a program called Synaptic Package Manager to install software. However, as of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, Synaptic has been removed from Ubuntu in favor of the Ubuntu Software Center. Ubuntu Software Center does have a nicer GUI than Synaptic. However, if you prefer Synaptic, it’s quite easy to install on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail. Synaptic can especially come in handy as you set up a new Ubuntu installation, since you can use it to search for specific packages that you might need.

To install Synaptic on Ubuntu, go to the Terminal (to find the Terminal, click on the Dash and search for Terminal) and type this command:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Enter your password to authenticate, and apt-get will download and install Synaptic for you.

After the installation is complete, you can launch Synaptic by searching for “Synaptic” in the Dash and click on the program’s icon. You’ll need to enter your password for authentication before Synaptic launches.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

Install And Configure SSH Server In Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

UbuntuSSH

SSH stands for “secure shell”, and it is a network protocol that allows you to securely send commands to a remote machine. The “secure” part comes from the fact that the connection is encrypted, which means that an attacker cannot eavesdrop on the connection, or intercept and replace your commands with his own midway through transit. SSH is pretty reliable and secure, and is commonly used in the Linux world. Administrators often use it to remotely manage machines – it’s usually more comfortable to control a server from your laptop than in the chilly and noisy server room.

In this post, we’ll show you how to set up an SSH server on Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander.

The default SSH server package for Ubuntu is OpenSSH Server, which we’ll use here.

First, you’ll need to install OpenSSH Server. To do so, open up a Terminal window and type the following command:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Enter your password to authenticate, and the apt utility will download and install OpenSSH Server for you. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection and your computer, the installation may take several minutes.

Once the installation has finished, return to the Terminal window. We’ll need to make a few changes to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file in order to increase SSH’s security. First, as always, we’ll want to make a backup copy of your sshd_config file in case anything goes wrong. Type this command into the Terminal:

sudo cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config ~

This will make a backup copy of the sshd_config file in your home directory.

Next, we’ll need to edit the sshd_config file itself.

sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

(Note that you can use emacs or gedit or another text editor of your choice.)

Like almost every other server software package, SSH is controlled by a number of directives in its configuration file. The default installation of OpenSSH server is reasonably secure. However, you might want to make a few changes to tighten up its security to additional degree.

The “PermitRootLogin” directive is one you’ll want to change. Once you’re editing the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file, you’ll want to change the following directive as follows:

PermitRootLogin no

This will keep anyone from attempting to log into your server via SSH as root. It’s generally a good idea not to allow any to log into your SSH server as root. If an attacker manages to hack into your SSH server with the root login, he will have complete control over your machine, and that is definitely not a good thing.

Another directive you might want to change is the “AllowUsers.” When the AllowUsers directive is active, only users specifically specified in the directive can access the system through SSH. This adds an additional layer of protection to your SSH server by only allowing specific users to connect via SSH. For instance, if you wanted to limit SSH access to just the “camalas” user account, edit the AllowUsers directive like this:

AllowUsers camalas

To add multiple users to the AllowUsers directive, just add them one by one without commas or semicolons. An AllowUsers directive that permits the camalas user account and the lmaraeus user account to log in would look like this:

AllowUsers camalas lmaraeus

You may also want to consider changing the Port directive. By default SSH runs over TCP/IP port 22, which means that any malware bot autoscanning port 22 can target it. If you set up your user accounts with a weak password (always a bad idea), eventually an automated bot might break through and guess the password. Changing the Port directive to something different will make SSH run over a different port, blocking some of those automated cracking attempts. To set SSH to run over port 5699 instead, make sure your Port directive looks like this:

Port 5699

Note that if you change your SSH server’s default port, you’ll need to remember the new port number when using an SSH client, which we’ll cover in the next section.

After you’ve finished changing the directives in /etc/ssh/sshd_config, switch vi to command mode, and save and quit vi. After you return to the command line, restart the SSH daemon with this command:

sudo restart ssh

You should now be able to SSH into your Ubuntu machine from another system with an SSH client.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide