Create Your Own Google+ ID Card

Create your own Google+ ID card at Hangout Graphics. If you haven’t joined Google+ yet, sign up. To get your own ID card, you will need to provide your Google ID number, and the date you joined Google Plus. Hangout Graphics will then spit out an image after you click submit. Finding out your Google ID number takes a little bit of searching. I found mine under Google+ Settings > Privacy. Getting the date when you first joined Google+ is the tricky one. I ended up digging in my email to look for then message when I first got the Google+ invitation.

Get your own Google+ ID card.

Calculating Dates in PHP

Displaying dates in PHP is a no brainer. You simply echo the date() function to display the current date. For example, echo date(‘Y-m-d’) will display the current date in the ISO date format of ‘2012-02-27.’ However, calculating dates in the past or in the future is a tiny bit more tricky. For accuracy, I recommend that you use mktime(), which converts time to Unix timestamp. You can then perform date calculations in Unix timestamp which is much more accurate. You do have the option to change the format back to ISO, if you desire. Here are a few examples.

Display the current date:

echo date('Y-m-d');

Output: 2012-02-27

Convert to mktime:

$t = mktime(0, 0, 0, date("m"), date("j"), date("Y"))

Display the start of the current month:

echo date('Y-m-d', mktime(0, 0, 0, date("m"), 1, date("Y")));

Output: 2012-02-01

Display the end of the current month:

echo date('Y-m-d', mktime(23, 59, 59, date("m")+1, 0, date("Y")));

Output: 2012-02-29

Display the start of last month:

echo date('Y-m-d', mktime(0, 0, 0, date("m")-1, 1, date("Y")));

Output: 2012-01-01

To display the end of last month:

echo date('Y-m-d', mktime(23, 59, 59, date("m"), 0, date("Y")));

Output: 2012-01-31

Display the start of next month:

echo date('Y-m-d', mktime(0, 0, 0, date("m")+1, 1, date("Y")));

Output: 2012-03-01

Display the end of next month:

echo date('Y-m-d', mktime(0, 0, 0, date("m")+2, 0, date("Y")));

Output: 2012-03-31

This code is very flexible. If you like to display the dates to any other format, you can change the date format to any format that you like. Check out all the different date formats. I hope this was helpful.

Google Voice on Ubuntu Desktop

This article will show you how to use Google Voice on your Ubuntu Desktop. If you don’t have a Google Voice yet, you can sign up for free and get your own local number. I’ll assume you already have Google Voice, and your computer has a soundcard. In addition, you will also need a headset with a microphone.

Once you have those requirements squared away, you will need to download the Linux plugin for Google Voice. By the way, the plugin is also available for Windows and Mac users. Once the Google Voice plugin installed on your system, you can then start making phone calls.

Here’s a screenshot when dialing out with Google Voice. With Google Voice, you can call any landline or mobile phone in the US and Canada for free. Google Voice has competitive international rates as well, for those wanting to call outside of the US.

I recommend that you do an actual test with your cell phone before calling friends, clients and others. This is just to make sure you can actually hear voices on both ends of the line.

OpenShot Video Editor

If you are looking for a simple video editor in Linux, perhaps something that is somewhat similar to Windows Movie Maker, then I highly recommend the OpenShot Video Editor. It’s an intuitive video editor that is both easy to learn and to operate. That means you’ll be editing and watching your video production in no time.

The OpenShot Video Editor will allow you to import videos and audio files, add text and text animations, and add transitions between video segments. In addition, you can also add several video tracks to facilitate easier editing and production.

The OpenShot Video Editor is an open-source software that is free to anyone. While it can be downloaded for installation, I recommend installing it via the PPA route. To install, just perform the following commands via the Terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonoomph/openshot-edge
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openshot openshot-doc

Text animations require that you install Blender. To install Blender, type the following commands via the Terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cheleb/blender-svn
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install blender

Finally, here’s a demo of what OpenShot can do.

Copy Files Bigger Than 4GB To A USB Drive

If you are having problems copying files bigger than 4GB into a USB drive, then you’ve come to the right place. Your drive is most likely formatted to FAT 16/32. To get past the 4GB limit, you will need to reformat your USB drive to NTFS.

I strongly suggest that you backup your files to a different drive, because reformatting involves erasing all data in the drive. In Ubuntu, you can reformat a USB drive using GParted. If you don’t have GParted installed, you can easily install it via Terminal with the following command:

sudo apt-get install gparted

Next, go to System > Administration > GParted to start the GParted application. Be careful when choosing drive. You don’t want to reformat your system drive. That would be disastrous. Pay particular attention to the partition name, mount point, and the drive size.

Once you have identified the correct drive, you will then unmount the drive. Once the drive is unmounted, you can now proceed to format the drive with NTFS. Click Apply to make your changes permanent. GParted will now format your drive.

You can now copy a file bigger than 4GB to the USB drive again. It should now work. It took me several times to figure out what was wrong. At first, I thought there was a problem with the file, or with my system, until I realized the 4GB file size limitation.

Add Keyboard Shortcuts To Ubuntu

This article will show you how to add keyboard shortcuts to your Ubuntu desktop. A keyboard shortcut can improve your total desktop experience by assigning a keyboard shortcut to applications that you run frequently. This will cut down on navigation time and will launch a program with just a keystroke or two.

In my case, I decided to add the screen rotation app called Xrandr to the list of keyboard shortcuts that’s already available in Ubuntu. Previously, I talked how to add icons to the Gnome panel. I’m taking this one step further, by adding several custom keystrokes.

To customize a keystroke, we need to open System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. Click Add. Type the name of the application. In my case, I called it Rotate Left. The command is xrandr -o left. Click Apply. You can then assign a keyboard shortcut by highlighting the entry and typing in the keyboard shortcut.

If you’re not familiar with the actual command, you can take a look at System > Preferences > Main Menu. Find the application that you want and right-click to Properties. Copy and paste the command line entry, and paste it to your keyboard shortcut.

The only thing you want to make sure is, that there are no conflicts with the existing keyboard shortcuts. There are already several Functions keys that are already assigned by default. For example, F1 is normally Help, F3 is Search, F5 is Refresh and F11 is Full Screen mode. So, just keep that in mind.

Get The Latest Firefox Release in Ubuntu

This post will show you how to install the latest Firefox release on your Ubuntu desktop. Firefox has been cranking up its release schedule this past year. To keep up with the latest and greatest Firefox releases, this is what you need to do on your Ubuntu desktop.

The best way, and perhaps the easiest way, in terms of installing and updating software in Ubuntu, is to use PPA. It’s stands for Personal Package Archive. PPAs are collection of repositories that were not included in the original Ubuntu distribution.

When you add PPA repositories to our Ubuntu desktop, it allows you to update to the latest package releases, maintained by its owners. In our case, we will install the latest Firefox-stable PPA repository maintained by the Mozilla team.

To install the PPA, we simply run the following command from the Terminal. We do this only once.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable

Once you have the PPA in your list of repositories, you just run the upgrade and update commands every time there’s a new release.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

The Mozilla team is usually pretty good with updates. It may take a day or two after the official Mozilla Firefox release, but nevertheless you will get the latest Firefox release update within reasonable time.

Create Xrandr Shortcuts

If you have a monitor that swivels to portrait or landscape mode, you can easily create shortcuts in Ubuntu that makes rotating screens via the Xrandr utility that more easier.

With a couple of application shortcuts on the Gnome Panel (see above), changing monitor orientation is literally just a mouse click away. The application icons: the left and right arrows indicate the direction of the rotation. You can find these icons under the directory below in Ubuntu.

/usr/share/icons/Humanity/actions/48

My Ubuntu desktop is a bit unusual since I’m still using Gnome 2 and Ubuntu 10.04. You can add application launchers on other windows managers as well, whether it’s Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome or KDE, it doesn’t really matter which one do you use. Just use the following Xrandr commands below.

To default: xrandr -o normal
To rotate left: xrandr -o left
To rotate right: xrandr -o right
To rotate upside down: xrandr -o inverted

The application launchers I created just happen to be on my Gnome Panel. It makes changing my monitor orientation that much easier. I wished I did this a long time ago.

HTTPS Is Now Default On Twitter.com

Twitter recently has turned on Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) by default to users who are logged in to Twitter.com. Once users are authenticated, they will be able to see the familiar HTTPS and an image of a secured lock (on Chrome) next to it in the browser’s address bar.

HTTPS provides encrypted communication and secure identification of network web servers. Encryption has been used for many years by payment processors, banks, and many other websites. It uses the TLS/SSL protocols to authenticate web servers. HTTPS uses port 443 by default, as opposed to port 80 for the standard HTTP.

The standard HTTP protocol is not secure and is subject to eavesdropping attacks, thereby letting attackers gain access to website accounts and sensitive information. To secure a website, administrators issue a public key certificate assigned by a trusted certificate authority.

By turning on HTTPS by default, Twitter is forcing users to use secure communication when logged in to Twitter.com. This is a positive move towards securing Twitter.com. In addition, Twitter still encourages users to use strong passwords with at least 10 characters, using a combination of letters and numbers.

iPad 3 Coming Soon

Rumors has it that the iPad 3 is just a couple of weeks away from being introduced by Apple. Several sources indicate the special release date is going to be March 7. Speculations indicate that the new iPad will have these new features: a retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, a quad-core processor, a better camera on the front as well as in the back, and finally 4G LTE networking.

Now how accurate are these rumors? Nobody really knows. But chances are that one of these features will make it on the iPad 3 is pretty good. It may not be all the features mentioned above. However, it is possible that one or two unanticipated features will surface and catch everyone by surprise.

By the looks of it, the iPad will essentially be the same size and design, but it could be slightly thicker if the bigger battery rumors are true. We’ll just have to wait several weeks if the rumors are really true.