Must use WordPress plugins for a technical blog

When I took a Droplet from Digital Ocean to host my server, I decided to give Ghost a shot. Using Ghost was a unique experience. It was minimalist and the editing experience was great. Unfortunately a lot of things like analytics, image compression, comments, advanced SEO, and code syntax highlighting were absent or took time to setup. The core team implement things fast and have a very aggressive release cycle, but theme developers are not able to keep pace with the changes and new features available. In addition, the default theme that comes with Ghost is not very apt for a technical blog.

I have hence decided to shift back to WordPress in order to utilize the large number of plugins and themes. This blog contains a list of plugins that I have installed and consider as must use WordPress plugins for a technical blog.

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Updating ghost-cli process name

Imagine you’ve created your new Ghost install but have set it up with the incorrect process name. The official documentation does not tell us how to update it, it just tells us that it can be set using the --pname flag during initial installation. Let’s look at how we can update the process name after we’ve installed our site.

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Setting up a blog using Ghost on Debian

My web hosting’s annual payment date was drawing close, and instead of renewing it, I decided I’d rent a server on Digital Ocean for 10$ a month. It turns out to be a lot more expensive but gives me the option to use the server for something other than just blogging and running PHP application.

After shifting to this new server, the first thing to do was to migrate my blog here. WordPress is an amazing platform, but over the years it has evolved to something a lot more than just a blogging tool. Besides the new kid on the block – Ghost, was creating a lot of buzz for its simplicity. I wanted to give it a try.

I setup my Digital Ocean server with Debian (Jessie 8.2). Node.js is required to run Ghost. Since I wanted to use this server for multiple applications, I decided I’d put nginx as a front facing proxy/compression server.

This blog item is a guide for setting up Ghost on a server running Debian. Let’s start,

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My tools on Linux

Update 2016-01-16

Development of Crunchbang has now stopped. There are a few community spin-offs available, Bunsen Labs and Crunchbang++. I’m now using a netinst version of Debian at home with the i3 window manager, and Bunsen Labs on my office laptop. Both are working well. I’m still using the same set of software for my work, in addition to a few more, so this post is still valid.


I’ve been using Linux at home and work for over 5 months now. I’m using a Debian based distribution called Crunchbang. Over these past few months I’ve developed/programmed using multiple technologies and have gathered a collection of tools, that I use on a daily basis.

Name Type Link
Eclipse with NodeEclipse – Check Update IDE for Node.js Link
Netbeans IDE for PHP Link
Dbeaver GUI client for Cassandra and others Link
MySQL Workbench MySQL/MariaDB GUI client Link
Dia Flowchart and Diagrams Link
SoapUI Testing – API and Web Services Link
Tilda Drop down terminal Link
Meld Mergetool Link
Remmina GTK RDP Client Link
Tomboy Note Taking App Link
GMTP MTP Client Link
GIMP Image manipulation Link

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Setting up my fresh Crunchbang installation

Update 2016-01-16

Development of Crunchbang has now stopped. There are a few community spin-offs available, Bunsen Labs and Crunchbang++. Although most of what’s been written here should be applicable to these distributions, it hasn’t been tested. I’m now using a netinst version of Debian at home with the i3 window manager, and Bunsen Labs on my office laptop. Both are working well.


For the past year and a half, I’ve been working primarily on Microsoft’s stack – C#.NET, ASP.NET Web Forms, HTML, CSS, JavaScript (jQuery primarily). My company recently started taking up projects on open source software such as PHP, WordPress and Android. This gave me an opportunity to shift to Linux again. I’ve always been fond of Linux. The ability to customize and fine tune your system to just the way you like it gives me a sense of freedom and power.

Last Friday, I installed Crunchbang. It is a Linux distribution derived from Debian. The purpose of this post is to outline the various steps I followed to get Crunchbang ready for use. I can then refer to this post whenever I’m setting up my system again, or helping someone else set up theirs.

Hardware Configuration

I’ll start of with my computer specifications first. This might help people with similar hardware configuration to find a solution to their problems.

Name Configuration
Processor Intel i5-4570 CPU @ 3.20GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte H87M-D3H
RAM 6.00 GB RAM
Video Card MSI HD 7850 Hawk
Monitor(s) Philips 190VW (1440 X 900) Dell S2240L (1920 x 1080)

System Update

Once Crunchbang is installed and you boot up for the first time a handy script starts up that allows you to update your system and installed software. This script can be invoked later on as well by running cb-welcome command on the terminal.

Installing LAMP and Java

Follow the script and install Java and the LAMP stack. It is also possible to install – Git, SVN and drivers for printer.

Installing AMD Proprietary Driver

After the script has finished, it’s time to install the graphics driver.

I followed the manual method outlined in this post on the Crunchbang forums. I tried using smxi to do it for me, but I think it was having trouble disabling the default Radeon drivers. Follow the exact steps, and reboot whenever advised.

Setup dual monitors in AMD CCC

Okay, so driver installation is over. It’s time to set up dual monitors. By default, after you’ve installed Crunchbang on a system that has dual monitors and an AMD graphics card, the monitors will duplicate each other. Once you’ve installed the driver you can change that setting. Fire up the AMD Catalyst Control Center by running amdcccle command on the terminal.

Change the mode to extend the display to two monitors rather than duplicate the display –

Multiple Monitors in AMD CCC

Placing monitors in the correct order (left or right of each other) is as simple as dragging them into place. You can also change the resolution from this screen.

Another problem that people with DELL S2240L and AMD cards will have that the display on the monitor won’t re-size to fit the entire screen. The fix for that is available through CCC –

Dell S2240L Overscan Correction

Note that the CCC makes changes to the xorg.conf file in /etc/X11. If you don’t want to make these changes everytime you reinstall Crunchbang, just backup that file.

Installing Logitech Wireless Driver

I have a wireless Logitech keyboard. With the new motherboard the keyboard is not auto detected by Crunchbang. Installing the driver found here and then restarting resolves the issue.

Boot Error : platform-microcode : intel-ucode … (not found?)

If you are running new Intel hardware, the following error –

platform microcode: firmware: agent aborted loading intel-ucode/06-1a-05 (not found?)

seems to pop up during boot. It’s basically harmless, but can be fixed by installing intel-microcode using APT.

Un-install Software

gFTP
Transmission
Gnumeric
VLC Media Player
Abiword

Install Software

Following is a list of software I install after installing #!

Deluge

Torrent client

Clementine

Music player

Dropbox

Use existing #! script, under the Openbox menu, Networking tab.

MPlayer

Video player

Then change add the following to the ~/.mplayer/config

This raises the max volume to 400%.

Artha

Dictionary

Google Chrome

Use existing #! script, under the Openbox menu, Networking tab.

Flux

Monitor screen color manager

I know the above line, doesn’t make it sound very exciting, but you really should give flux a go.

  • Grab the binary from here. That’s the xflux daemon (command line, but for X-Windows).
  • Add the following line to Openbox autostart file to start xflux daemon on system startup.

Netbeans

Development IDE for PHP

Grab the installer from here

Code::Blocks

C / C++ Editor

Grab the .deb from here

OpenOffice

Grab the .deb installation files from here
Run the following commands one after the other –

Customize Startup and Openbox Menu

autostart.sh determines the applications to be run at start-up and menu.xml defines the layout of the Openbox menu.

Here is my current autostart.sh file and here is my menu.xml.

Customize Conky and Tint2

Conky is basically a system monitor software for the X Window System. It can be extend via plugins and can be customized to show things such as weather.

Tint2 is a task-bar designed to be simple and lightweight. Here’s my tint2 config file.

My Conky configuration can be found here. The result –

Conky Screenshot

That’s it. That’s all I do once Crunchbang has been installed. It took me about four hours hours, but with this post as a reference, next time I should be able to reduce that time to about an hour.

Crunchbang is wonderful distribution that is minimalist, fast, stable and extremely customizable. It runs very well on old and new hardware. They have a helpful and friendly community. So, if you are looking for a new Linux distribution to try out, do give Crunchbang a test drive.

  1. List of software that can be installed using APT on !#.

Macro to insert date time in Visual Studio 2010

My current assignment at work has me working through a lot of old code. Code that now needs to be modified to implement new features and remove bugs. While updating or modifying existing code it is very important to insert comments stating why the modifications were carried out and the date on which they were carried out. Eventually when other developers work on the same piece of software and compare revisions, they shouldn’t be left wondering why a certain modification was made.

Unfortunately, Visual Studio lacks insert date time at current position functionality. But what it does support are Macros, and using those, it’s quite easy to implement that feature ourselves.

Macros are written in VB.NET. The following VB.NET code can be used to insert the date time at the current caret position –

The code above creates a module called PrintDateTime.

  1. It first checks if there is an active document, if there, it gets the currently selected text.
  2. It then inserts current date time at the currently selected caret location.

Next step is to place this code in the correct place.

Macros in Visual Studio 2010

  1. Open up the Macro explorer by pressing ALT + F8.
  2. In the Macro explorer right click on Macros, and click on ‘New Macro Project’.
  3. Give it a name, and once it’s created, it should be visible in the Macro explorer.
  4. Create a new Module under the project and give it a name that relates to what you are doing
  5. Double click on the new Module to open a Macro editor.
  6. Paste the code above in that editor and save the file.

Now that that is done, your Module should be visible under your project. The next thing we have to do is to assign our newly created Macro to a shortcut key, so that we can easily run it whenever we want.

  1. On the file menu, click on Tools > Options
  2. On the window that opens up, in the tree view, go to Environment > Keyboard
  3. In the Show commands containing textbox, type the name of the Module you created earlier and it should show up in the list below the textbox. Select it.
  4. In the Press shortcut keys textbox, press the combination of keys that you want to use whenever you wish to run your Macro.
  5. Make sure Global is selected under Use new shortcut in: and then press the Assign button, followed by OK.

It’s time to see if what we did works! Open up a document and press the same combination of keys that you used to create the shortcut. Once you do, the date time should be inserted at your current caret position and this should work for any document that you create inside Visual Studio 2010.