by November 1, 2011 0 comments

Sufyan bin Uzayr, Freelance Writer, Graphic Artist, Photographer,


Setting up automated emails in Joomla

You can setup Joomla to send automated emails from your personal email account. To do so, go to Global Configuration–>Server. Under Mail Settings, set the mailer to SMTP (not PHP) and specify your email address. Leave the Sendmail Path settings unchanged. Under SMTP authentication, check Yes. To enter the SMTP host settings, you’ll need to check your email provider’s help files. In most cases, it is

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Creating a sitemap in Joomla

Sitemaps are great for search engine optimization and if you haven’t created one for your site yet, you should consider doing so. In order to create or generate sitemaps, most CMSes (including Joomla) come with extensions or plugins. However, installing too many extensions or plugins can often slow down your website. Thankfully, in Joomla you can manually create a sitemap and thus avoid activating one extra extension.

To create a sitemap, create a new article and name it Sitemap. In its body, type: loadposition sitemap

Now, create a new menu item named ‘Sitemap’ and make it point to the article.

Next, setup a new module. In the ‘Position’, simply type Sitemap and check the ‘always show sub-menu items’ as well as ‘expand menu’ options. You can add modules to each menu. Also, if you so desire, you can further improvise your sitemap by using CSS and JavaScript (not mandatory, though).


Creating a ‘To-Do’ reminder script

Sometimes, it gets tough to maintain a To-Do list properly when working on the computer. Unless we install dedicated software for task management, we are likely to forget an important deadline. If you’ve suffered in past too, now create a script that notifies you of your pending tasks.

First, create a script (say,, using the following command:

if [ $# -ne 2 ]
xmessage -default EXIT -center “usage: notify “
while true
do sleep “$1”
xmessage -default EXIT -center “$2”

You can then run the above script as follows:

~$ nohup ./notify 100 “Pending task” &

The ‘nohup’ and ‘&’ in the above command ensures that the script runs in the background, so that you can close the terminal. When you wish to stop the reminder, simply KILL the running process.

Combining/extracting audio files

You can manipulate audio files from the terminal itself using the ‘sox’ command. In order to combine two audio files into a third file, use the following command:

$ sox -m file01.wav file02.wav outfile_file.wav

Here, we are combining ‘file01.wav’ and ‘file02.wav’ into a separate ‘output_file.wav’

Similarly, to extract a segment of an audio file, we can use the ‘trim’ option as follows:

sox file01.wav file02.wav trim[STARTING POINT] [DURATION TO EXTRACT IN SECONDS]

In the above syntax, [STARTING POINT] is the location from which we wish to extract, say, 01:00 and and [DURATION TO EXTRACT] is the time frame of the segment we wish to extract. To illustrate further, say we wish to extract the first 25 seconds of a file named ‘abc.wav’ and save the extracted portion in a new file called ‘xyz.wav’

To do so, use the command:

sox abc.wav xyz.wav trim 0 25


Using Gmail without Internet

If you are travelling or experiencing sporadic Internet connectivity issues, your work may come to a stand still. However, you can still keep in sync with your emails. To do so, download the Gmail Offline Extension For Google Chrome from https://chrome.

Once installed, run it. You will be greeted with a choice to enable/disable Offline Mode. Enable it.

Once done, all your mail will be synced with your web browser itself, so you can access it even without an Internet connection. Simply select “Offline Gmail” from Apps menu. You can archive, delete, edit, modify and arrange your mails without connectivity. The extension will automatically sync your data with the online Inbox.

Quite obviously, you should not use this feature on public computers.


Some (unknown) keyboard shortcuts for Window

Alt+P : It activates a Preview Pane of the selected file(s) in Windows Explorer (especially useful for images, sounds and videos).

Win+[Up] and Win+[Down] : Win+[Up] maximizes the current window (if it isn’t already maximized) while Win+[Down] minimizes it.

Win+[Shift]+[Up] and Win+[Shift]+[Down] : Win+[Shift]+[Up] vertically stretches the active window to the maximum desktop height (the width of the window remains the same). Win+[Shift]+[Down] restores the active window to normal height.

Win+[+] and Win+[-] : This keyboard shortcut activates the Magnifier and you can zoom in or out using the [+] and [-] keys respectively. You can also customize the Magnifier to follow the keyboard cursor or mouse pointer.

Win+[Left] and Win+[Right]: Either of these keyboard short cuts will make the active window fill exactly one half of the screen. And if the window has filled one half, using the other shortcut will make it flip to the other side of the screen.

Win+Home : This shortcut will minimize all open windows except the active window. Re-pressing it will restore all windows.

Win+T : In Windows 7, Win+T cycles through the thumbnails of active windows/programs using the Taskbar’s peek menu.

Win+P : It opens a small overlay that lets you configure a second display or projector.

Win+E : In Windows 7, it opens up a new window to show your Libraries folder.

Win+[Shift]+[Left] and Win+[Shift]+[Right] : If you are using multiple displays, you can use these shortcuts to move from one screen to another.

Win+[Number] : Programs and shortcuts on the Taskbar can be launched using this combination. For instance, Win+[5] will open the fifth item on the Taskbar, and so on.

Win+[Spacebar] : This shortcut makes every window transparent so you can view the desktop.

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