This is where you’ll find various musings of mine about the world of computing and digital technology. Sometimes, they take the form of personal appraisals but you’ll often find ways of doing things shared on here too. The pace of posting isn’t forced but I do try to share as soon as I find something worthy enough for that. Hope you find something of interest or of use on here.
Recently, I noticed that the disk in my WD My Cloud NAS was active all the time so it reminded me of another time when this happened. Then, I needed to activate the SSH service on the device and log in as root with the password welc0me. That default password was changed before doing anything else. Since the device runs on Debian Linux, that was a simple case of using the passwd command and following the prompts. One word of caution is in order since only root can be used for SSH connections to a WD My Cloud NAS and any other user that you set up will not have these privileges.
The cause of all the activity was two services: wdmcserverd and wdphotodbmergerd. One way to halt their actions is to stop the services using these commands:
The above act only works until the next system restart so these command should make for a more persistent disabling of the culprits:
update-rc.d -f wdmcserverd remove
update-rc.d -f wdphotodbmergerd remove
If all else fails, removing executable privileges from the normally executable files that the services need will work and it is a solution that I have tried with success between system updates:
chmod 644 wdmcserverd
Between all of these, it should be possible to have you WD My Cloud NAS go into power saving mode as it should though turning off additional services such as DLNA may be what some need to do. Having turned off these already, I only needed to disable the photo thumbnail services that were the cause of my machine’s troubles.
On another website, I have had a contact form but it was missing some functionality. For instance, it stored the input in files on a web server instead of emailing them. That was fixed more easily than expected using the PHP mail function. Even so, it remains useful to survey corresponding documentation on the w3schools website.
The other changes affected the way the form looked to a visitor. There was a reset button and that was removed on finding that such things are out of favour these days. Thinking again, there hardly was any need for it any way.
Newer additions that came with HTML5 had their place too. Including user hints using the placeholder attribute should add some user friendliness although I have avoided experimenting with browser-powered input validation for now. Use of the required attribute has its uses for tell a visitor that they have forgotten something but I need to check how that is handled in CSS more thoroughly before I go with that since there are new :required, :optional, :valid and :invalid pseudoclasses that can be used to help.
It seems that there is much more to learn about setting up forms since I last checked. This is perhaps a hint that a few books need reading as part of catching with how things are done these days. There also is something new to learn.
Having moved beyond the slow response and larger memory footprint of Firefox ESR, I am using Firefox Developer Edition in its place even if it means living without a status bar at the bottom of the window. Hopefully, someone will create an equivalent of the old add-on bar extensions that worked before the release of Firefox Quantum.
Firefox Developer Edition may be pre-release software with some extras for web developers like being able to to drill into an HTML element and see its properties but I am finding it stable enough for everyday use. It is speedy too, which helps, and it has its own profile so it can co-exist on the same machine as regular releases of Firefox like its ESR and Quantum variants.
Installation takes a little added effort though and there are various options available. My chosen method involved Ubuntu Make. Installing this involves setting up a new PPA as the first step and the following commands added the software to my system:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ubuntu-make
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-make
With the above completed, it was simple to install Firefox Developer edition using the following command:
umake web firefox-dev
Where things got a bit more complicated was getting entries added to the Cinnamon Menu and Docky. The former was sorted using the cinnamon-menu-editor command but the latter needed some tinkering with my firefox-developer.desktop file found in .local/share/applications/ within my user area to get the right icon shown. Discovering this took me into .gconf/apps/docky-2/Docky/Interface/DockPreferences/%gconf.xml where I found the location of the firefox-developer.desktop that needed changing. Once this was completed, there was nothing else to do from the operating system side.
Within Firefox itself, I opted to turn off warnings about password logins on non-https websites by going to about:config using the address bar, then looking for security.insecure_field_warning.contextual.enabled and changing its value from True to False. Some may decry this but there are some local websites on my machine that need attention at times. Otherwise, Firefox is installed with user access so I can update it as if it were a Windows or MacOS application and that is useful given that there are frequent new releases. All is going as I want it so far.
Because I now have business dealings in Ireland, there is a need to add in the Euro currency symbol to emails even though I based in the U.K. and use U.K. keyboard settings. While there is the possibility to insert the symbol in Microsoft Office and other applications, using a simple keyboard shortcut is more efficient since it avoids multiple mouse clicks. For some reason, CTRL+SHFT+E got into my head as the key combination but that turns on the Track Changes facility in Word. Instead, CTRL+ALT+4 does the needful and that is what I will be keeping in mind for future usage.
My web hosting provider offers SSH access that I often use for such things as updating Matomo and Drupal together with more intensive file moving than an FTP session can support. However, I have found in recent months that I no longer can exit cleanly from such sessions using the exit command.
Because this produces a locked terminal session, I was keen to find an alternative to shutting down the terminal application before starting it again. Handily, there is a keyboard shortcut that does just what I need.
It varies a little according to the keyboard that you have. Essentially, it combines the carriage return key with ones for the tilde (~) and period (.) characters. The tilde may need to be produced by the combining the shift and backtick keys on some keyboard layouts but that is not needed on mine. So far, I have found that the <CR>+~+. combination does what I need until SSH sessions start exiting as expected.