My Favorite Way to FTP

It should come as no surprise by now that I like using Linux. While I could go on and on about why I like using Linux, which I plan to do in a series of blog posts, the largest reason I like using Linux is because it makes my life so much easier as a web host.

“How does it do that?” I can hear you all asking. Simple, FTP. Yes I know that there are amazing FTP clients out there for Windows and Macs, such as the wonderful Filezilla. What Linux offers me though is seemless FTp integration. With Linux, using FTP is as simple as using a file manager.

Whether I’m using a KDE Plasma desktop or a GNOME-based desktop, I can simply start up the file manager, connect to my ftp server, and just manage files on my web server as if they were on my computer. Here’s an example of what I mean using Files (also known as Nautilus) in Ubunutu 16.04.

File Manager FTP fun
File Manager FTP fun

Here you can see me using the default file manager as my FTP client. I have two opened and snapped to the opposite sides of the screen. The window on the left, my files on my computer. The window on the right, FTP to my web server.

Using FTP in this way is super simple. All I need to do is drag and drop when I want to upload files to my server, or when I want to download a backup of files. I can rename, change permissions, and any other file management that you can do with a file manager, with my files on my server. It is super simple, super effective, and I love it.

Kensington Slimblade Button Mapping in Ubuntu

In an earlier post I talked about my wonderful Kensington Slimblade. In that post, I mentioned that I remapped one of the buttons to let me use the ball as a form of free scrolling.  What you may not know is that I am a Linux enthusiast, and right now the distro I am playing with is Ubuntu – though oftentimes I can be found using Arch or Antergos.

My Trackball, the Kensington Slimblade
My Trackball, the Kensington Slimblade

When I got my new slimblade trackball all hooked up, the first thing I looked for was for a way to remap the buttons. Usually this is done in a config file in Linux, but I was finding nothing on how to do so with the Slimblade. The only configuration guide I could fine was for the Logicteck Marble.

I managed to modify the config for the Logicteck Marble so that it works for the Slimblade. I am sharing it here so that anyone who needs it in the future can find this guide.

The first thing you need to do is to find where your distro stores the input device config file. In Ubuntu, it can be found here:


Just open up that file as root or fakeroot with your favorite editor. In Ubuntu, you can type in:

sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf

Scroll to the bottom of the text file and paste this config file. Feel free to experiment with the different button layouts!

# - - - Kensington Slimblade Settings - - -
# The Kensington Slimblade buttons are mapped [A-D] from left to right:
# A (large); B (small) | C (small); D (large).
# Preferred options for right-handed usage:
# A = normal click [1]
# B = middle-click [2]
# C = middle-click [2]
# D = right-click [3]
# Hold button B while rolling trackball to emulate wheel-scrolling.
# Preferred options for left-handed usage:
# A = right-click [3]
# B = middle-click [2]
# C = middle-click [2]
# D = normal click [1]
# Hold button C while rolling trackball to emulate wheel-scrolling.

Section “InputClass”
Identifier “Kensington Slimblade Trackball”
MatchProduct “Kensington Slimblade Trackball”
MatchIsPointer “on”
MatchDevicePath “/dev/input/event*”
Driver “evdev”

# Physical button #s: A b D – – – – B C
# Option “ButtonMapping” “1 8 3 4 5 6 7 2 2” right-hand placement
# Option “ButtonMapping” “3 8 1 4 5 6 7 2 2” left-hand placement
# b = A & D
Option “ButtonMapping” “1 8 3 4 5 6 7 2 2”

# EmulateWheel: Use trackball as mouse wheel
# Factory Default: 8; Use 9 for right side small button
Option “EmulateWheel” “true”
Option “EmulateWheelButton” “8”

# EmulateWheelInertia: How far (in pixels) the pointer must move to
# generate button press/release events in wheel emulation mode.
# Factory Default: 50
Option “EmulateWheelInertia” “10”

# Axis Mapping: Enable vertical [ZAxis] and horizontal [XAxis] scrolling
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”
# Option “XAxisMapping” “6 7”

# Emulate3Buttons: Required to interpret simultaneous press of two large
# buttons, A & D, as a seperate command, b.
# Factory Default: true
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “true”

Once you have it in, save the file, log out, and log back in and the newly mapped buttons should work!

My experience with Ubuntu 16.04 and Unity

I have been using Ubuntu  Linux  16.04  with the Unity Desktop for a week now, and figured I’d share my experience and thoughts.

screenshot-from-2016-03-23-13-01-27-768x432My desktop, Ubuntu 16.04 – Unity DE

I love the layout – I always have though. In fact, I have always changed Gnome Shell or KDE to match the layout. The fact that I don’t have do anything to achieve that layout with unity is a win.

I love the HUD, very nice tool. KDE and Gnome Shell need something similar.

The Dash Menu is far better at finding programs than KDE and Gnome’s menus.

Buttons on the right take time to get used to, no big deal.

I would say needs typing integration with Pidgin and/or Empathy like Gnome Shell, but with all the clients killing interoperability with multi-clients, whats the point?

I prefer plasma applets to indicators, but only slightly.

I haven’t had to clear out SWAP yet. Usually I have to do this daily or every other day with KDE or GNOME Shell. Unity must be more resource efficient than those two. Interesting.

UBUNTU 16.04
Over all, nice and stable – though at start up I always get a message that something crashed but that crash has already been reported.

Still not a fan of PPA’s – I’d take the AUR over it anyday. But at least PPA’s is something, even though a huge majority of them don’t yet work with 16.04.

Gnome Software seems very buggy right now – more so than in other distros, but this is not a finished release so yeah.

Apt-Get is slow, and sometimes fails. Synaptic succeeds at updating the system when apt-get fails. Odd.

Love the fact that it is so easy to get my printer installed because… it is already installed. Love the true plug and play aspect of Ubuntu.

So easy to deal with restricted drivers, even drivers that I didn’t know existed on my computer.

Please, please put in an option to not display icons on the desktop. Had to delete things from desktop folder just to achieve the clean look I desire.

Files/Nautilus…. so underwhelming. Any better file managers out there with perfect unity integration?

Overall I have been pleasantly surprised with Ubuntu 16.04 and Unity. There are some issues, sure – but this is not a stable release yet. I have a feeling this is going to be a very awesome LTS once everything is ironed out. Still I’d encourage the Ubuntu people to consider replacing Files.

My favorite aspect of Ubuntu has been the plug and play nature of it. It just works, which is nice since I don’t have lots of time anymore to fix things and make things work.

I am also rather enjoying my time with Unity. Sometimes I have the itch to go back to KDE or play with Gnome Shell, but really I’d actually be loosing more than I’d gain by doing so. I can still use the KDE apps that I prefer just fine in Unity, and Unity fits my overall workflow nicely.

If I could have the Ubuntu ease of use with Unity on top of pacman with AUR support, I’d have the perfect distro for me. But for right now, Ubuntu 16.04 comes very close to perfect, so I think I’ll stick with it for a while longer.