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Manage Crontab on Synology

By Jimmy Bonney | June 15, 2013

As we’ve seen before, Synology’s NAS offer a Linux distribution that can be enhanced with many applications. As all Linux distributions (at least as far as I can tell), it comes with cron which allows to easily schedule tasks that need to be run on a regular basis.

We’ve shown previously how to add a task to cron but I have noticed that some of the tasks that I set up were disappearing on reboot. The crontab file was simply containing the default entries and I had to add again my custom tasks after each reboot. As this doesn’t really happen so often, it is easy to forget about it meaning that if those tasks are supposed to run backups for instance, then you might end up in situation were your backups do not run for a while.


Configure Nano Syntax Highlighting on Synology

By Jimmy Bonney | June 15, 2013

Nano is a small text editor available from the console. It is an alternative to editors like vi or pico but comes packed with features making it more user-friendly – especially for beginners. Nano is available from pretty much all Linux distributions. In this article, we’ll focus on installing and configuring its syntax highlighting feature on a Synology NAS.

Install nano

In order to install nano, ipkg needs to be installed. If it isn’t, have a look at this previous article or go directly to the Synology forum.


Fix Postfix SASL Authentication Failure

By Jimmy Bonney | June 9, 2013

I discussed recently how to install a minimal LAMP stack environment on a virtual server. The installation was based on TurnKey Linux Lamp distribution, which is based on Debian. However, I noticed some time ago that when trying to send emails through sendmail, nothing was sent out.

When looking through the mail logs (located at /var/log/mail.log), the recurring error was the following:


Managing GitHub Gist with GistBox

By Jimmy Bonney | June 8, 2013

I’ve started to use GitHub Gist to store some of the code snippets that I share on this blog. The application website works well and does its job but it is quite minimalist and does not provide any advanced functions. It is not possible for instance to organize the snippets, nor search them.

Fortunately, a web application (and a Google Chrome application) have been developed to do just that. The service is called GistBox and the web application is available at while the chrome application can be installed from the webstore. It connects to GitHub to store all the gists and provide a nice interface allowing to:

  • search among existing gists,
  • provide labels to organize gists based on language or application they are related to for instance
  • copy function to copy the content of a gist to the clipboard


Export Tumblr Posts to nanoc

By Jimmy Bonney | June 8, 2013

I used to have a blog on Tumblr. I migrated there the content of an old web site back in 2009. It allowed me to keep the content available without having to maintain a server. But time has passed, visits on the Tumblr blog have been almost inexistent, and as I built this new personal site, I decided that it was time to perform some clean up and consolidation. I therefore spent a couple of hours to migrate the posts that were just lying down on Tumblr to this web site. And well, since Yahoo bought Tumblr not long ago, it will also allow me to ensure that I keep ownership on the content I wrote.


Replacing Google Reader - 4 Alternatives

By Jimmy Bonney | May 31, 2013

Google announced earlier this year that they would shut down Google Reader as part of their spring cleanup on July 1st, 2013. Google Reader is a feed reader that had been adopted by a few millions users but the usage of the application has been declining for a while and instead of maintaining a costly application, they preferred to retire it. This came as a shock to many people but based on what I’ve been reading so far, a few applications raised to the challenge and users seems to have found their way around it… often for the best.

So, with one month left to migrate your data from Google, it is time to find out a viable alternative to Google Reader. In this article, I’ll present 4 alternative feed readers.


New Design

By Jimmy Bonney | May 26, 2013

I have just deployed a new version of the website. Gumby framework has been replaced by InK and the overall design has been somewhat simplified – less boxes, less borders, less colors… Design is responsive making it more accessible from mobile devices.

A few other things have been updated at the same time:

  • The front page provides only a summary of the latest article
  • Links to LinkedIn, G+, … have been moved to the footer
  • About page has been reviewed
  • Article layout


Parsley.js and Twitter Bootstrap

By Jimmy Bonney | May 9, 2013

Parsley.js is a (quite) new library allowing to perform Javascript form validation – but without writing any Javascript. Validation is performed through instructions embedded in the DOM, in some data attributes to be more precise.

It comes up with a pretty extensive documentation and allows for easy customization. In this article, we’ll highlight how to use it in combination with Twitter Bootstrap - so that we do not need to write any custom CSS (or let’s say a limited amount depending on what you want to achieve).


Link Object and Subject with ACL9 without Database View

By Jimmy Bonney | May 5, 2013

Authentication and authorization are two important aspects of any web application. Users should be able to log into the application (this is where the authentication part kicks in) and then view / update / create resources based on their access rights (this is for the authorization).

There are plenty of gems allowing to implement (more or less) quickly those two concepts in a Rails application. A lot of developments have happened in this field in the last few years and to get an overview of the different tools available, the easiest is probably to look at The Ruby Toolbox in the authentication and authorization sections.

Some time ago, most of the authorization gems allowed to define global roles in an application. This means that a user could be assigned an admin role (for instance) that was valid on all components of the application. This type of behavior works well for a forum for instance – where users either have a role to manage the different posts or not – but this isn’t so convenient in an application where more granularity is needed. In a project base application, users could be assigned a manager role on some projects but a viewer role on others and therefore have local roles (or scoped roles). ACL9 was one of the first gem (as far as I know) to offer such behavior and allow to define granular roles on some resources. The remaining of this post focuses on ACL9 and more precisely on how to link / access resources based on the user role.


Launch HTTrack manually in Ubuntu 12.04

By Jimmy Bonney | April 6, 2013

I am using HTTrack from time to time in order to fetch some website that I want to be able to browse while being offline. While it was working properly at the beginning, I got some issues recently. Whether I launch the application from the WebHTTrack Website Copier shortcut in the application menu or from the command line with webhttrack, it seems that the server starts but exits right away. Based on a few readings here and there, it seems that I was not alone having this issue.