April 30, 2010

Move Window Buttons Back to the Right in Ubuntu 10.04

One of the changes in the Ubuntu 10.04 that has annoyed me the most is the Mac OS-inspired change to have window buttons on the left side. I didn't spend my whole life using Windows and now Ubuntu to start pretending that I like anything about Macintosh!!! In this article I'll show you how to move the buttons back to the right.

As of the final release of Ubuntu 10.04 the maximize, minimize, and close buttons appear in the top left of a window.

How to move the window buttons

The window button locations are dictated by a configuration file. We’ll use the graphical program gconf-editor to change this configuration file.

Press Alt+F2 to bring up the Run Application dialog box, enter “gconf-editor” in the text field, and click on Run.

The Configuration Editor should pop up.

The key that we want to edit is in apps/metacity/general.

Click on the + button next to the “apps” folder, then beside “metacity” in the list of folders expanded for apps, and then click on the “general” folder.

The button layout can be changed by changing the “button_layout” key. Double-click button_layout to edit it.

Change the text in the Value text field to:


Click OK and the change will occur immediately, changing the location of the window buttons in the Configuration Editor.

Note that this ordering of the window buttons is slightly different than the typical order; in previous versions of Ubuntu and in Windows, the minimize button is to the left of the maximize button.

You can change the button_layout string to reflect that ordering, but using the default Ubuntu 10.04 theme, it looks a bit strange.

If you plan to change the theme, or even just the graphics used for the window buttons, then this ordering may be more natural to you.


After this change, all of your windows will have the maximize, minimize, and close buttons on the right.

Now that we have this annoyance fixed, what do you think over all of the new Ubuntu 10.04 look and feel?

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April 29, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 hit by major bug on release day

a bug's life, I guessImage by [phil h] via Flickr

by Erez Zukerman

It's the end of April. Spring is here, and so is Ubuntu 10.04. Or at least, that's the plan. Canonical's rigid release schedule is awesome for many reasons -- one of which is the amount of excitement it generates around each new Ubuntu release. However, I don't think this is the kind of excitement Mr. Shuttleworth had in mind when the "fixed schedule" policy was set.

As it turns out, after the final release ISOs were already created (or "spun" in Ubuntu geek-speak), a critical bug came up; and no, I don't mean something like "OMG, we put the window buttons on the wrong side!". I mean something like "once you install Ubuntu, you will not be able to boot your other operating system." Oops. It doesn't kill the other OS, and it's fixable when it happens (it's a problem with the GRUB2 bootloader configuration), but it's certainly not something you want to have happen to people just trying out your OS (or even upgrading from previous versions).

Granted -- it doesn't happen with each and every installation, but it can happen. The Ubuntu team considered a quick-fix, but eventually went for the more responsible (and safer, in terms of PR) option of re-spinning the ISOs. However, re-spinning all ISOs would push the release into May, which would be a PR flop in itself. So they're just re-spinning some of the most popular ones, like the x86 and x64 desktop releases, as well as the Netbook remix. Exciting stuff!

The Fix
The partition(s) of the other operating system(s) are not being destroyed and the menu entries for GRUB can be re-generated using update-grub.

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Computer Doctor Getting Married

WeddingImage via Wikipedia

After spending 10 year of marriage horror and one year of separation from my ex wife I figured that maybe I'd spend the rest of my days as a recovering ex husband in second bachelorhood. Just before my divorce was finalized I soon discovered that I didn't much care for living by myself and that it's a lonely life. Of course there are times when it's good to be alone... like when you're in the middle of a making a nested sub-report that's dependent on multiple tables and a nested query... but on the other hand how many times a day could I find myself in database programming bliss like that? So I found a lone flower in the garden that had been overlooked for so long and we actually hit it off wonderfully.

So for all the techno-babes out there, you may commence the weeping of many tears because The Computer Doctor is getting married on June the Twelfth this year.
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April 26, 2010

Academy Ware

After developing dozens of stand alone databases over the past three years I finally took the plunge and have developed a student management solutions package for an intended audience of private schools.

I would like to thank my fiance and my best friend and fellow contractor for their support over the past year while developing this database.

The basis behind this database is modularity. My theory behind developing databases was always to give the users freedom to add content to the databases to give them as much freedom as possible. This database covers registration, student id badges, class electives, classroom setup, grade books, attendance, report cards, parent teacher conferences, honor roll, and database backup.

Perhaps in an update to this software I will also incorporate a lesson planner and itinerary report generator.

Academy Ware from Computer Doctor on Vimeo.

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Removing Bad File Associations

Windows 98 logoImage by AcidZero via Flickr

Have you ever gotten a support call that starts out with the customer telling you that when they click on X icon it unexpectedly opens up program Y? Of course you find out that they chose the open with and selected a wrong program... No big deal right? Just have them choose open with and select the correct program and problem solved.

What if the file type shouldn't have any file extension? You can choose open with, but there isn't an option to delete the incorrect file extension (that would be too easy Microsoft).

For Windows XP Users

  • Click the "Start" button in the lower left corner of the screen.
  • Click "My Computer" to open Windows Explorer.
  • Click the menu "Tools > Folder Options" and select the "File Types" tab.
  • Scroll down the file type list and find the desired file extension. Click on it to select.
  • Click the "Delete" button, then "Yes" to confirm.

For Windows Vista or 7 Users

  • Click the "Start" button in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  • Type "cmd" and press "Enter" to open the command prompt window.
  • Type "assoc .ext= " and press "Enter."
Note, "ext" stands for the file extension you wish to remove from the association list.

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April 15, 2010

Getting Past "Being Used By Another Person Or Program" Errors

Have you ever had an annoying situation where you tried to delete a file or folder and were given an error message that the file is in use by another person or program? or one of the following similar errors?
  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied
  • The file is in use by another program or user.
  • The source or destination file may be in use.
  • Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.
  • There has been a sharing violation.
You go to the task manager and can't find the offending program running in processes, so what do you do? Reboot and hope for the best? Sometimes even this doesn't help.

I stumbled on a great tool for this problem called Unlocker.

After installing unlocker, when you get these error messages, just right click on the file and choose the unlocker options and you will be given a windows that shows what program(s) is effecting the file you are trying to delete and give you the options to kill the process, unlock, or unlock all. Try the unlock and that will usually let you delete the file otherwise kill the process and it definitely will.

In addition to helping delete files that are locked, you can also use this tool to help rename locked files or make them movable to a different directory.

The best part is that the tool is free but you can choose to send a donation also.
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New Projects With The Doctor

As some of you may have noticed I haven't been posting very regularly and it may seem that the Doctor hasn't been very busy. On the contrary! I've actually been too busy to focus on any of my pending projects.

This is where you can come in. Are you an inspiring Geek wanting to get your article published with the Doctor? Take a look at my list of pending projects and see if any of them look like something you could add your two sense on and then use the e-mail the Doctor link on my blog page to let me know what you think.

1. Turning Microsoft Access Forms into Web pages.

Microsoft Office AccessImage via Wikipedia

Scenario: I have an enterprise level database with forms for a student management suit, but the client would like to see a web page for parents to log in and view their children's grades, get homework itineraries for the week or possibly even get class handouts.

My Work: So far I have been able to export a form as an html page which doesn't work and a asp file which I'm not sure exactly what to do with.

2. Making a portable application for Dansguardian

DansGuardianImage via Wikipedia

Scenario: Our local private school wanted an internet filter for the computer labs but did not have a budget to purchase third party software. I suggested Dansguardian with tinyproxy and then locking the proxies on the internet browsers. The problem is that the old Pentium 3 I put it on seems a little flaky and I'm always getting calls about it. I put it on a virtual machine and that works as a backup, but it also ties up a machine since most of them only have 512 Mb to work with.

My Work: I'm looking at Ubuntu JeOS as a possibility to run from a bootable USB drive, but so far I've struck out because I can't ping an internet connection. If I can get to the Internet then I can install Dansguardian and make a go of it so this USB key can be run on any spare machine in the building and be moved to another machine if something happens.

3. Moving my blog to Wordpress

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase

Scenario: The time has come for me to step up my blog a bit and I don't know if staying with blogger will be the best solution for me or not. Many people have suggested wordpress and I want to play with that a bit.

My Work: I'm looking at getting the Wordpress application from Turnkey Linux but I'm not sure if that is the right thing to do. I don't want to do all the work in bringing my blog over to it only to find out that I won't be serving my own blogsite and then being stuck not able to export my work out to somewhere else that can serve my Wordpress blog.

So here's my challenge... If anyone can come up with a viable solution for any of these three projects, I will publish their suggestions or article and give them credit, and the only rules are that the solutions should be free or low cost. Good Luck!
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April 05, 2010

I don't have a CD Rom

In the era of netbooks being used for regular PC's I have come across a support problem of how to install a CD when there is no CD ROM present.

Last year I was working on a computer lab that had multiple PC's that had failed CD ROM's and the solution was exactly the same...

Step1. Share the CD ROM from the host PC.

Step 2. Find the host PC's full computer name.
Step 3. On the target PC, navigate to the host PC in explorer and double click on the shared CD ROM drive.
Step 4. Now treat this directory just like you would a CD drive that is mounted to the target PC.
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Hex Converter

Hex To ASCII Converter



Integer to Byte converter

This is a tool to practice converting between decimal and binary representations. After you have practiced for a while and feel that you know how to do the conversions, take the quiz.
Decimal number to convert:
Binary representation:

Binary number to convert:
Decimal representation: