Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: software

Upgrading to Ubuntu Server 16.04 – Part 2

As mentioned, I’m currently upgrading my Ubuntu 14.04 servers to 16.04, and I’ve just completed upgrading my development server. Actually, I use the term “upgrade” loosely as I opted for a clean install. This took a bit longer, but I’m happier with the end result, knowing that the server will be starting with a clean slate.

The actions I took went a bit like this:

  1. Backup my project files and any related data such as databases.
  2. Backup my crontab.
  3. Backup my dot files.
  4. Backup my bin directory, containing build scripts etc.
  5. Backup the /etc/network/interfaces file.
  6. Backup the /etc/fstab file, the server had a bunch of drives attached.
  7. Backup the /etc/nginx folder containing config files for all development sites.
  8. Create a 16.04 virtual machine.
  9. Restore and test all backups on virtual machine.
  10. Happy that the backups were good, perform a clean install of 16.04 on development server.
  11. Restore and test all backups.
  12. Archive any old (unwanted) project files.

And that’s it. Barring any major malfunctions, my development server should be good for at least a couple more years. Next job, tackle my production servers.

Upgrading to Ubuntu Server 16.04

This weekend it’s going to be wet and rainy, so I’m going to make a start on upgrading my personal servers from Ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04. I was hoping to keep 14.04 in place for ~5 years, but due to this, and this, I’m going to perform the upgrade a little earlier than planned.

I’ve currently got 3 servers running 14.04, a development server, a production server, and a storage server. I’m confident that the upgrade will go smoothly (I’ve been working with 16.04 on several servers at work and I’m pretty familiar with it, so I’m not expecting too many surprises), but if I do experience any issues, I’ll write an update.

ColorSnapper 2 image/svg+xml

The macOS color picker app for designers & developers which makes it easy to collect, adjust, organize and export colors of any pixel on the screen.

Previously, I was using a free colour picking app, but it didn’t work very well with my multiple monitor set-up, so I’ve switched to ColorSnapper. It’s not free, but it works beautifully. £7.99 well spent.

Shell commands in Rocket Menu

Yesterday, I accepted a pull request and merged a commit into Rocket Menu that makes it possible to create menu items for running shell commands in a terminal. The commit adds a clever fake cmd:// protocol for adding shell commands via the Connections Editor. An example of this would be:


I never intended for Rocket Menu to do this sort of thing, I just use it for opening SSH connections in Nautilus, but it’s interesting to see how others are using it.

A big thank you to Adam Wójs for developing the latest feature and taking the time to submit a the pull request. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

P.S. For anyone using Rocket Menu via its PPA, I’ve rebuilt the package and the new version is already available.

MenuMeters for OS X El Capitan 10.11 image/svg+xml

So, there I was, sat on the couch and merrily tapping away on my MacBook Pro. I was working in Atom, coding on a little project, whilst also taking a mild interest in The Great British Bake Off, which was playing on my desktop. It was only when the GBBO finished that I noticed the audible racket coming from my MacBook. It sounded like it was about to take off!

After a little bit of investigating, it turns out there was a runaway service (Atom related) consuming the CPU, which in turn, was causing the fans to spin at warp factor 9!

Worryingly, because of the ambient noise (and my crappy hearing), I was blissfully unaware of the problem. Not good. So, to help reduce the likelihood of this scenario happening again, I Googled for “OS X CPU monitor menubar” and found MenuMeters.

Problem solved. MenuMeters is a nifty little preference pane that allows for showing a number of live stats (CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring etc) within the OS X menubar. So, all I need to do now is glance at it from time-to-time, and if I see the little CPU percentage bar turn red, I’ll know there’s a problem.

Oh, and MenuMeters is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Winning!

About Faviconator

The other night, I built Faviconator, a little GUI application for creating favicon files from images. I’m pretty pleased with the result and the app works quite well, I think.

Screenshot of Faviconator running on Ubuntu

Screenshot of Faviconator running on Ubuntu.

To be honest, it’s not often that I have to create favicons, but that’s one of the reasons I created the app. Prior to creating the app, I had to try and remember (read as lookup via Google) some archaic ImageMagick command, or use one of the many ad-ridden web services, and neither was a pleasant experience.

Also, when I was using OS X, I really liked the fact that the App Store was full of little apps that were designed to perform a single task. I’d like to see more of that for Ubuntu, so Faviconator and pwgenGUI are contributions towards meeting that goal.

Anyhow, if you’d like to try the app, you can find more details here.

Rocket Menu Update – Connections Editor Improvements

Today, I accepted the first pull request to Rocket Menu. The commit includes some improvements to the connections editor, which now sports some new toolbar buttons for inserting separators and duplicating existing items.

A screenshot of Rocket Menu on Ubuntu 16.04

Rocket Menu’s Connections Editor on Ubuntu 16.04.

I’m pretty chuffed about this, not only because of the new features, but because it means at least one person has found the application useful. So, thank you, Mourad Hamoud, your contribution is really appreciated!

About Rocket Menu

Back when I was using OS X, I used Transmit to connect to remote file systems and have them mounted in Finder. Now that I’m using Linux again, I can do this easily with Nautilus. However, Transmit provided a nifty little system tray icon, that when clicked on, revealed a menu of available connections. I missed that, so I created Rocket Menu as a replacement.

Why did I call it Rocket Menu? Because I fancied having a little rocket in my system tray. Rockets are cool!