Using pacpl to rip CD’s in Debian

First you need to install pacpl. Open a Terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install pacpl

Any dependencies, as usual with Debian, will also be installed.

Ensure that your CD is in the drive, and decide in which directory you want to put the resulting MP3 tracks – I would suggest your Music directory which will probably be /home/[yourname]/Music.  It’s a good idea to create a directory here with the name of the artist, so the files will be put directly into /home/[yourname]/Music/[ArtistsName] as they are copied & ripped.

Then type:

pacpl --rip all --to mp3 --outdir /home/[yourname]/Music/[ArtistsName]

If you want to check the manual, just type:

man pacpl (q to close it)
pacpl --longhelp (q to close it)

Updating and Upgrading packages in Debian

Open a Terminal

Firstly you have to update the package list. Type:

sudo apt update

Then, when that has run, you need to upgrade your machine:

sudo apt upgrade

Then to throw the wrapping paper away(!):

sudo apt clean

That’s it, although after a kernel upgrade (ie where a “linux-image” package has been upgraded), it’s a good idea to restart your system so the new kernel can be loaded.

Useful WordPress plugins

Widget Context

Show or hide widgets depending on the page/section of the site that is being viewed.  WidgetContext


Foo Gallery is the most intuitive and extensible gallery management tool ever created for WordPress.  FooGallery


The Duplicator gives WordPress administrators the ability to migrate, copy or clone a site from one location to another. The plugin also serves as a simple backup utility. If you need to move WordPress or backup WordPress this plugin can help simplify the process.  Duplicator

Child Theme Configurator

Creating a Child Theme is a must for anyone who wants to make any alterations to their theme’s stylesheet (style.css), functions, header, footer and other php pages, without running the risk that the next update may wipe out all of your modifications.  The Child Theme Configurator provides a fast, easy and automated way to safely create a child theme. There is great video guide here too to quickly take you through the process.

Shortcodes Ultimate

Using Shortcodes Ultimate you can easily create columns, tabs, buttons, boxes, sliders and carousels, responsive videos and much, much more.  A great way to add more design functionality to your chosen theme.

Skype on Linux

Although Microsoft acquired Skype and incorporated it into their Office 365 suite, and since then into Windows 10, it is still possible to download it for Debian here: However, it will only work if you have a 64-bit system.

If you’d prefer not to dabble with this installation you can use a great, yet very simple, alternative directly on the web. See Skype Alternative for more details.

If you’re continuing with the Skype download and installation, you need to choose the Linux DEB package (not Linux RPM or Linux SNAP) which will download skypeforlinux-64.deb into your Downloads folder.

Open a Terminal and change the directory to your Downloads folder:

cd Downloads

Then you need to find the file within your Terminal. You can do this by listing the contents of the directory in the order downloaded so that the skype file is at the bottom:

ls -ltr

Now to install it, you need to type:

sudo gdebi skypeforlinux-64.deb (you’ll be asked to enter your password before you can proceed).

You should now find Skype in your applications menu (Debian) or Internet menu (MX-Linux).

Windows 8 Safe Mode

To access Safe Mode in Windows 8, you need to do so via the Advanced Startup options menu. To restart your computer into the Advanced startup options menu, go to the Windows 8 Start Screen and type Advanced. When the search results appear click on the Settings category.

Now click on the option labeled Advanced startup options and you will see the General PC Settings screen. Scroll down to the bottom until you see an option labeled Advanced startup.

Click on the Restart now button and Windows 8 will restart your computer and go directly into the Advanced Startup options menu.

Then click on the Troubleshoot button and then the Advanced options button. This will take you to the Advanced options screen where you should click on the Startup settings option.

At the Startup Settings screen, click on the Restart button. Your computer will be restarted and brought into the Startup Settings menu as shown below.

You can start Safe Mode in Windows 8 from this screen. There are 3 possible Safe Modes options that you can choose from.

Choose Enable Safe Mode with Networking

Printing an A5 brochure in LibreOffice Writer

You can print a LibreOffice Writer document as a brochure or a booklet. That is, Writer prints two pages on each side of the paper, so that when you fold the paper, you can read the document as a book.

When you create a document that you want to print as a brochure, write your document in ordinery A4 pages, using portrait orientation for the pages. Writer will apply the brochure layout when you print the document.

To Print a Brochure

Choose File – Print.
In the Print dialog, click Properties.
In the properties dialog for your printer, set the paper orientation to landscape.

If your printer prints duplex, and because brochures always print in landscape mode, you should use the “duplex – short edge” setting in your printer setup dialog.

Return to Print dialog, and click the Page Layout tab page.
Select Brochure.
For a printer that automatically prints on both sides of a page, specify to include “All pages”.

Click OK.

If you print a document in portrait on a landscape page, two opposing sides in a brochure will be printed next to each other. If you have a printer with double-sided printing capability, you can create an entire brochure from your document without having to collate the pages later. If you have a printer that only has single-sided printing capability, you can achieve this effect by first printing the front pages with the “Front sides / right pages /odd pages” option marked, then re-inserting the entire paper stack in your printer and printing all the back pages with the “Back pages / left pages / even pages” option marked.
Note: If LibreOffice prints the pages in the wrong order, open the Options tab page, select Print in reverse page order, and then print the document again.

Managing cookies in Chrome

Chrome, by default, allows cookies to be set by all websites. We advise installing the “Vanilla Cookie Manager” extension so that you can control which websites can save their cookies on your system. You only really need to allow cookies from sites that you want to interact with, such as sites that you need to log in to for shopping, banking, webmail, facebook, etc.

Installing Vanilla Cookie Manager
  •  Open Chrome
  • Tools > Extensions
  • Click “Get more extensions”
  • In the search box, type Vanilla Cookie Manager
  • In the resulting page, click the “Add to Chrome” button and click Add in the confirmation box.
  • Close the extension tab


How to use Vanilla Cookie Manager

Once this extension is installed, an icon will be added in the right hand side of the address bar, next to the favourites star icon.

VanillaCookieManager - unlisted site
website not in whitelist

Clicking the icon provides a dialog for quickly adding the current site to the  whitelist. It also gives an option to delete unwanted cookies (any that are not related to your whitelist).


website is whitelisted

After adding a site to your whitelist, the diagonal line through the icon disappears, indicating that you have allowed cookies for that website.


Right-clicking the icon provides further options for managing your whitelist.

Managing cookies in Firefox

Firefox, by default, allows cookies to be set by all websites. We advise installing the “Cookie Whitelist” extension so that you can control which websites can save their cookies on your system. You only really need to allow cookies from sites that you want to interact with, such as sites that you need to log in to for shopping, banking, webmail, facebook, etc.

Installing Cookie Whitelist
  •  Open Firefox
  • Tools > Add-ons
  • In the Search box on the top, right of page – type cookie whitelist
  • Find “Cookie Whitelist, With Buttons (if you don’t see it click See all results at the bottom) and click the “Add to Firefox” button next to it
  • You will be presented with a
    box – click the Install button when it’s ready
  • Restart Firefox


How to use the Cookie Whitelist buttons

Once this extension is installed, two buttons are added to the top of your browser to allow easy control over cookies.




The Add (+) button adds a dialog for quickly adding the current site to the  whitelist. Green indicates that the site is not yet listed in the whitelist; grey indicates it has already been added and can set cookies.

The Record (red) button allows Firefox to temporarily accept cookies from any site not on the whitelist. These cookies will be deleted when Firefox is closed. This makes it much easier to deal with the occasional sites that refuse to work without cookies.

Right-clicking on either of the buttons enables you to manage your whitelist and any currently stored cookies.  It also allows you to choose whether or not to allow third party cookies (best to generally say no to these, although you may need them for a small number of sites; trial and error prevails here, I’m afraid!)