Monthly Archives: May 2016

Access Blocked Websites In Censored Regions With Lantern

Lantern is a free, open source internet censorship circumvention software that was created to “give users fast access to the blocked Internet“. The application is available for desktops (Linux, Windows, Mac) and Android.
Lantern unblock websites

The application is not new, but I never got to write about it on WebUpd8. Lantern is built by Brave New Software, whose founder and lead developer is Adam Fisk, former lead developer of LimeWire and LittleShoot.
The project was started in 2013 and it was initially available through an invitation-only system, but with version 2.0, released in 2015, the application no longer requires an invitation to use.
Lantern relies on both its own servers and on the bandwidth of users in uncensored regions acting as access points, to unblock websites. According to its FAQ, Lantern encrypts all of your traffic when you are accessing a blocked site.
It’s important to mention that Lantern was not designed to be an anonymity tool and if that’s what you need, you should use Tor instead. Lantern’s goal is to provide fast, easy to use and secure access to blocked websites.
The application is very easy to use: simply install and run it, and it should automatically change your system proxy, allowing your web browser to access blocked websites. 
Its user interface consists of a tray / appindicator and a web interface (which opens automatically upon launching Lantern) that allows access to some options, like running Lantern on system startup, proxy all traffic, enable/disable anonymous usage statistics and manage system proxy:

Lantern unblock websites

By default, Lantern tries to use a proxy only for websites it detects as blocked. This didn’t work properly for most websites I tried in my test, like Pandora, CBS and others however, everything worked as expected after I enabled the “proxy all traffic” option.
Note: you may need to restart Lantern and your web browser after changing the “proxy all traffic” option.
Lantern used to allow customizing the proxied sites list, but that feature is no longer available with Lantern version 2, although this feature might return in a future release.

For more information about Lantern, check out its FAQ.

Download Lantern

Download Lantern (binaries available for Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives, Windows and Mac OS X as well as Android)
Arch Linux users can install Lantern from AUR.

For generic Linux binaries, source code, bug reports, etc. see the Lantern GitHub page.

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Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar Plugin 0.17.1 Released With Options To Use Dark Theme And Vertical Categories

Alternative Toobar is a plugin that enhances the Rhythmbox play controls and interface, including optional headerbars for GNOME-based desktops.
Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar
Rhythmbox with Alternative Toobar 0.17.1 with the new dark theme option enabled (using Adwaita theme / headerbars / GNOME Shell)

The plugin was updated to version 0.17.1 recently, which brings the following changes:
  • added an option to use a dark theme (this works with themes that include a dark theme, like Adwaita);
  • added an option to display the categories horizontally of vertically;
  • fixed displaying the app-menu in Budgie Desktop;
  • added an option (only available via gsettings / Dconf Editor) to force the display of the app-menu (GNOME menu) if required;
  • correctly toggle the search button using Ctrl + F (when using headerbar only).

Here’s Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar under Unity, using classic window borders and vertical categories:

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar
And another screenshot under Unity (Ubuntu 16.04), with the “Modern” (headerbar) option enabled in the Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar preferences:

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar

While Rhythmbox Alternative toolbar was initially started as a simple plugin to change some parts of the Rhythmbox toolbar, it has evolved and the plugin can now change the sidebar, enable client-side decorations (headerbars), use a compact style toolbar and much more.

Here’s a list of Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar features:

  • allows toggling between headerbars (“Modern” option in plugin settings) and classic window decorations
  • use compact controls for the Rhythmbox toolbar;
  • redesigned sidebar;
  • redesigned plugin window, about box and plugin preferences window;
  • allows moving columns (title, artist, etc.) using drang’n’drop;
  • Source Toolbars can be toggled (CTRL + T or from the menu: View > Show Source Toolbar);
  • option to display album/genre/year for playing song;
  • volume Control can be switched on or off for all toolbars;
  • seek forward (fast-forward) through a track (ALT + Right Arrow) and backward (ALT + Left Arrow);
  • repeat button can switch between repeat tracks and repeat-one-song mode;
  • and of course, the recently added features mentioned above.

Install Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar is available in the Ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10 repositories (however, the latest 0.17.1 version is only available in the Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak repositories) as wells Debian (version 0.17.1 in sid and 0.16.3 in stretch). To install it, simply use the following command:
sudo apt install rhythmbox-alternative-toolbar

To install the latest Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar in Ubuntu 16.04, 15.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18 or 17.x, you can use a PPA. 

To add the PPA and install the plugin, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
sudo apt update
sudo apt install rhythmbox-plugin-alternative-toolbar

For source, installation instructions for other Linux distributions, bug reports and more information about Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar, see its GitHub page.

update via xpressubuntu

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Temporarily Disable Notifications In Ubuntu (w/ Unity 7) With NoNotifications Indicator

NoNotifications is a simple indicator for Ubuntu (Unity 7) that allows you to temporarily suppress NotifyOSD notifications. The tool is useful for presentations, when working, and so on, to prevent unwanted notifications from getting in your way or distracting you.

Ubuntu Unity do not disturb nonotifications

The NoNotifications indicator offers only two options (and Quit): “Don’t disturb”, which disables the notifications and changes the indicator icon to red, and “Show notifications”, which you’ve guessed it, enables the notifications, and changes the indicator icon to green.
Ubuntu (with Unity 7) lacks a “Do Not Disturb” mode and while NoNotifications can be useful for temporarily disabling NotifyOSD notifications, it doesn’t provide a complete “Do Not Disturb” mode.
A “Do not disturb” mode that also mutes the sound, disables all kinds of popups and allows scheduling when you want to activate this mode would be extremely useful. I’m not sure if the NoNotifications developer is interested in these features but nevertheless, I reported a bug for NoNotifications to include them @ Launchpad.

Install NoNotifications (NoNotifs) in Ubuntu

NoNotifications indicator is available in a PPA for Ubuntu 16.04, 15.10, 15.04 and 14.04. Add the PPA and install the indicator using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/nonotifs
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nonotifs

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Tool To Display Keystrokes In Screencasts `Screenkey` 0.9 Released [PPA]

Screenkey is a tool which displays key presses on the screen, useful for screencasts.

Screenkey Ubuntu

Screenkey itself can’t be used to create screencasts, its use is to display your keystrokes on the screen. To record your Linux desktop, I recommend SimpleScreenRecorder.

Screenkey 0.9 was released a couple of days ago and is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA. Changes in the latest version include:
  • Ctrl+Ctrl detection now works correctly in more scenarios;
  • Ctrl++ (and similar sequences with repeated characters) are now shown as Ctrl+”+” for improved readability;
  • Shift+Backspace is now recognized and shown correctly;
  • Several multimedia keys are now supported. If “FontAwesome” is installed, the correct symbol is also displayed instead of a text abbreviation (in my test, volume up/down and mute/unmute worked while play/pause/next/previous didn’t however, other keys like brightness also worked)ge;
  • Visualization of whitespace characters can now be controlled;
  • Repeated key sequences are now abbreviated with a repeat count if above the specified threshold (3 by default).

Screenkey preferences

The original Screenkey was abandoned and the application was forked a while back, received quite a few extra features, like multi-monitor support, configurable font face, size, and position, includes several keyboard translation methods, and more.
Tip: to pause Screenkey at any time, press both Control keys in the same time.

For more information about Screenkey (fork), see our initial article: Display Keystrokes In Your Screencasts With `Screenkey`

Install Screenkey in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA

The latest Screenkey 0.9 is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA. To add the PPA and install the app in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and derivatives, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install screenkey fonts-font-awesome

Arch Linux users can install Screenkey via AUR (not updated to the latest 0.9 version at the time I’m writing this article).

For other Linux distributions, download Screenkey via GitHub.

Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

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Limited Time Offer To Get Insync Pro For Free (Unofficial Google Drive Client)

Insync is an unofficial Google Drive client available for Linux, Window and Mac. The application is not free (well, except for the next 51 hours): it costs $25 per Google account (one-time fee), along with plans for 3 Google accounts and business.

Insync Ubuntu

For the next 51 hours, you can get an Insync Pro account for free. Simply sign up using THIS link with your @gmail.com or @googlemail.com account. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to Google apps users.
After signing up, download, install and login using your Gmail account on the Insync app within the next 24 hours to activate your free Insync Pro account.

Note: for Ubuntu 16.04 and 15.10, download the Insync 14.04 deb. If Insync fails to start for you, there’s a fix/workaround at the end of the article.

Insync features:

  • nested selective sync (allows you to selectively sinc subfolders and files) and ignore list (allows adding rules for files and folders that you don’t want to upload or download);
  • both desktop and command line interfaces (a headless client is also available)
  • symlink, junction and alias support;
  • support for external and network drives;
  • options to convert Google Docs to OpenDocument or Microsoft Office formats (by default it doesn’t convert Google Docs)
  • recent changes feed;
  • integrates with most file managers on Linux (Nautilus, Nemo, Caja, Thunar and Dolphin)
  • supports multiple accounts (but using the free promo, you can only use one account with Insync Pro)
  • proxy support, desktop notifications and more

In Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint and derivatives, after installing Insync, a repository is automatically added which is used for future Insync updates as well as to install the Insync file manager integration.
After authorizing Insync with your Google account, the application will ask you if you want to install the file manager integration package (Insync tries to detect your desktop environment). 
If this doesn’t show up for you or you want to install the Insync file manager integration for another file manager, you can do this manually. Firstly update the software sources:
sudo apt update

And then install the Insync integration for your file manager:

sudo apt install insync-FILEMANAGER

… replacing “FILEMANAGER” with: caja, dolphin, nautilus, nemo or thunar.

Important: in my test, Insync failed to start for me in Ubuntu 16.04 (oddly, in 2 just out of 4 virtual machines). To fix it, I renamed /usr/lib/insync/libfontconfig.so.1 to /usr/lib/insync/libfontconfig.so.1.old. To do this from the command line, use:

sudo mv /usr/lib/insync/libfontconfig.so.1 /usr/lib/insync/libfontconfig.so.1.old
After running the command above, try running Insync – now it hopefully works.

Tip: you can encrypt your Google Drive files using Cryptomator.

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