Category: Ubuntu

How to Eat a Digital Elephant One Bite at a Time

I can’t believe I didn’t blog this before but let’s put my regrets aside.

So, you have come to realize that everyone who knows how technology works was right – it’s all spying on you.  And, well, you don’t like it but – you don’t know where to start.  You feel overwhelmed.  Many people have these kind of feelings

  • I’m too busy to figure this out
  • I’m afraid to try something new in case something breaks
  • I’m used to letting ‘geniuses’ fix my tech
  • I’m too old
  • Everything is changing to fast
  • I just want it to work

Ok, these are all normal feelings but let me be crystal clear that none of them are an excuse for letting a creep spy on you.  Imagine if a peeping tom had binoculars fixed on your bedroom window. It’s as bad as that or worse so do something today, ok?

Great.  Let’s get started.

THE SOCIAL STUFF

This is the most scary stuff.  I watch my foolish friends and family amass the precious photos and history of their children (who had no choice in the matter) onto the servers of some very uncool people.  What’s most frightening is that 9 out of 10 of these people don’t even know exactly how the technology works.  If you are one of those 9, just trust me and start making the better choice for your family with the following alteratives – and bring your friends and family so that you aren’t alone.

UnsafeSafer AlternativeWhere to get itQuick Notes
Facebook*Diasporahttps://diasporafoundation.org/Choose a pod. Sign up. Bring your friends and family. Never go back to facebook. Totally decentralized. Totally your data. You can even import and export all your data!
TwitterMastodonhttps://mastodon.socialFun and extremely awesome and powerful. Totally decentralized. Totally your data.
InstagramTBAlet me know!

THE PERIPHERAL STUFF

The first step is to start switching from unsafe ‘peripherals’ to safer ones.  These will immediately start helping you relax about change because your operating system will be familiar.  It’s kind of like renovating an ensuite washroom before tackling the kitchen.  It kind of eases you into this new and safer life. But before we move on to this easy and simple step, please keep in mind that your ultimate goal *must* be to remove all unsafe operating systems from your life.  This includes Apple, Microsoft and Android.

But for now, let’s start with taking one bite of the elephant.

Unsafe Safer AlternativeWhere to get itQuick Notes
Microsoft Office SuiteLibre Officehttp://www.libreoffice.org/Wipes out Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point and more while leaving you with *more* power and features and a great experience.
WhatsAppTelegram Messengerhttps://telegram.org/Not only open source but feature loaded and works on literally any device as well as even on a web browser.
Kakao TalkTelegram Messengerhttps://telegram.org/See notes above
Skypehublhttps://hubl.in/Browser based. Just allow it to use your mic/camera. Use it on almost any device. Once finished with link, never use it again, or link stays active and you can use it again and again. Multiple people at the same time is also awesome. No file sharing yet but Telegram can do this while on a chat.
Skypejitsihttps://meet.jit.si/Have heard good reports that jitsi works well on self-hosting (even safer)
Google ChromeFirefox
Internet Explorer (or whatever dumb new name they give to the same garbage)Firefoxhttps://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/Most people use this anyways, but just in case you are really lost... Also, the plugins you can add to this make browsing so much more awesome.
Outlook ExpressThunderbirdhttps://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/Just awesome and then you just plug in Enigmail plugin for total email encryption.
icloudNextcloudhttps://nextcloud.com/You can either buy their box or install it on an old computer as a server... or put it on shared hosting. Pure sweetness in cloud file stuff.
Adobe PhotoshopGIMPhttps://www.gimp.org/Unbelievably robust and easy to use. Edit photos like a pro or as a pro and never turn back.
Missed any?? Let me know!

EMAIL

So now we have the stuff out of the way, we need to deal with email by itself.

Most people, sadly, use some of the most compromising and horrific spying machines around.  Some of these might look familiar:

  • hotmail
  • gmail
  • yahoo
  • live
  • outlook
  • etc

First of all, putting technology aside, your email address actually speaks volumes about who you are as a person.  For more on this, read my post here about that.  But, on top of that, it’s not secure having your email on someone’s computer.  For just a second ask yourself this concerning question: Why would a company pay to give you free email?  Answer: to market to you or worse. So in order to market to you they must have all your data.  Haven’t you ever wondered why advertisements start to look very, very similar to what you are doing in your life?  Yeah.  That’s because of that (and other things)

For email, if you are technologically savvy enough you ‘could’ run your own email server which would be the safest possible solution.  However, it’s not that easy.  Maybe your friend could set it up, but if you don’t have such a friend, what is best is to stop supporting these companies who prey on people like this and move to something cooler.  It’s really *not* that expensive to pay for email.  Here is what you do:

  1. buy a domain like ‘your name’
  2. choose something cool that goes before it like ‘me’ or ‘name’
  3. call a company that sells domains and email (preferably in a country like Canada) and force their tech support to set it up.

Then you would have an email like this:

me@yourname.ca

If it’s not available there are countless Top Level Domains (TLDs) that you can choose from and certainly one of these will be waiting for you.  And it’s fun!

Just make sure that when you buy your domain and email that you have enough memory.  Most of them have some kind of unlimited plan for memory so go with that.  Also, make sure that it has IMAP support – I would be shocked if they didn’t but this is the email service you want.  You should budget about $15/year for the domain and another $?? for email and storage.  I have been really happy with Canadian Web Hosting for service and pricing if I can make a quick plug.  For about $5.00/month to have safe email per person is pretty reasonable.  If you have another reason to have a website, you could simply get unlimited email through your website hosting plan as well.  This requires a little more skill but it’s not that hard.  A friend who runs their own website should be happy to set it up for you once you purchase.  I would do this for my friends…

Now you’ve got your email and your other ‘stuff’ more secure, the last discussion is the big one.

THE OPERATING SYSTEM

You need to start planning to get rid of your current operating system which is probably either Apple/mac or Microsoft Windows.  These companies have compromised many things at your expense of both dollars and privacy.  They do not deserve your business nor are there endless reasons to stay with them.  For 99% of people they could switch 100% to a safer option and be completely happy.  There are a very small number of people in niche markets like print and design and perhaps medicine where the entire industry has forced everyone to communicate with these corrupted systems.  In these cases you may need to keep one computer for ‘work only’ and your ‘personal life’ should be immediately moved to a safer option.

I recommend that everyone immediately switch their desktop and laptops to Ubuntu

Ubuntu is the safest, fastest, most supported and most loved free and open source operating system in the world.  Switching to Ubuntu operating system is not that difficult but it does require enough comfort and skill.  It’s easy enough to learn, but if you do have access to an ubuntu community near you, you should join that community or start one yourself.

Soon Ubuntu will be ready to go for mobile devices too.  This is another reason why it would be wise to consider Ubuntu.

UBUNTU WEBSITE

 

A NEW AND SAFER INTERNET

Another important thing that we will all need to work on quickly is to create a new and community-owned internet.  This is a bigger picture discussion but please also start preparing your mind for ‘mesh networks‘.  I will post more here as I learn and this will be my new focus for 2017 and 2018 because what good is all this safe stuff if we are using them on unsafe platforms owned by people who have agendas that we cannot control?

I hope this has helped someone break the chains.

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Ubuntu: How to Decrease Desktop Icon Size 16.04

It’s quite funny how easy this was but how long it took me to figure this out so I just thought I’d throw this online in case anyone is as dumb as me.

Hopefully it helps someone and if it does, don’t tell anyone. 😉

Within Nautilus (your file browser) click the 4 square icon thing

01_icon_tutorial

(THIS)

00

 

02

Then, slide the left-right dial thing (don’t worry about what is selected in the radio dial)

04

Yes. It was really that easy…

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Ubuntu: The Relationship Between Freedom and Quality in The Software World

Unlike previous blog posts, I’m going to start this one with two exciting tables to get you thinking. In the first table, I increased freedom and in the second table, I decreased it so that we could look at the effect, if any, on other items. Sorry, they are just image screenshots:

wot_decreased_freedoms wot_increased_freedoms

Someone sent me over this article written by Mark Shuttleworth, chief of Canonical – the company behind Ubuntu.

Usually, Mr. Shuttleworth writes with excitement, hope, positivity and other such forward-moving adjectives. Unlike pretty much anything else I have read written by him, this article sounded more like a dad who was forced by his disobedient kids to lay down the hard law. Just the tone alone being so different from his usual, caught my attention.

It appears that some unnamed European corporation has taken the Ubuntu code (written for free by many coders and volunteers around the world and maintained by the for-profit company Canonical at their heavy cost of time and money), done a few ‘things’ to it, and published it as ‘their own’. For full disclosure, I haven’t done any of my own research like looking at the notice of claims against them. However, what I’m picking up from the article is that the soon-to-be defendantscontributed little or nothing to the base code that made ubuntu what it is today

  • invested little or no money to the ubuntu project
  • decreased the quality of the user experience
  • harmed the Ubuntu name
  • harmed Canonical by means of all of the above

If this is true, it should not be difficult to prove monetary damages for Canonical plus I’m guessing there will be a lot of angry programmers out there who would rally beside Mr. Shuttleworth for screwing up all their volunteer work.

From a bird’s eye view it seems like a suitable analogy for this behaviour would be something like this:

Imagine a grade 5 teacher creating a cool project where the students build a gizmo that’s valuable to the world – let’s say it creates clean drinking water out of thin air. Next thing you know, all the parents and grandparents are excited about the project and start volunteering their time to help build it and make it better. Next thing you know, a company (let’s call them Company A) picks up on the project and realizes that they can help improve the project by funding certain parts plus they can make some money as well because some industries will want an industrial version of these water-makers which is out of the scope of these volunteers time/money to build or support. So Company A starts investing time and money and builds a business around it while continuing to support the kids’ gizmo proliferation around the world. Out of nowhere, Company B, which has not participated in the project at all, shows up, takes the plans that all these volunteers made and improved on over the years at the cost of their time (and at Company A’s expense, too), and starts making their own industrial water-makers. They slap their own brand on it, change one or two small things and start making money. Then problems start happening. They don’t have a volunteer base of countless thousands who can jump in to improve or fix things when they go wrong, so this makes sense. Company B then routes all the problems of their customers to Company A saying “they have support over there, I think…”

I’m guessing that there would be lots of angry kids and grandparents and most people would agree to take action to stop Company B.

The question of this soon-to-be lawsuit will probably hinge entirely on the licensing of the software. Has this European company violated any software license agreements including the free software licenses of Ubuntu? What exactly did they change? Are they guilty of changing the code or are they guilty of not supporting the code? It will be interesting to read the claim, for sure (if you like reading litigation documents)

This also got me thinking about correlation between freedom and regulation. I know that one of the main reasons why myself and others moved to Ubuntu was for the freedom. We didn’t want to be told by bullies like Apple or Microsoft how we are going to be using our hardware and who will be accessing our private information. I started thinking about un-related industries and correlations between different things when you increase or decrease freedom. I thought it would be timely to share the quick charts that I built.

(review charts above again)

As you can see from the charts, it was an interesting exercise. It seems that in most cases clear changes occur in most columns – except one. I could not determine in any instance that quality increased or decreased with the increase *or decrease* of freedom. At a glance you might quickly disagree with my conclusions, but allow me to explain them.

Drinking water: Although you may increase regulation and decrease freedom to do what you want with your drinking water, it is debatable that the government controlled waters with chlorine, fluoride, and who knows what, is better for you that this or that in a free stream of water. The long term jury is still out on this one.

Voting: To clarify I am referring simply to the freedom to vote and having a regulatory system to govern the actual elections and voting procedure. By regulating or not, does it really help improve the final product (the person you are voting for)?  Point proven in recent elections in big North American country…

Guns: Perhaps you could say the quality of the actual physical gun might improve with regulation…. I don’t know enough on the topic, but it would seem to me that a nice old man building a gun in his shop could do just as well as a heavily-regulated gun factory.

Religions beliefs: the ‘negative event’ here would be something like a mass suicide with a cult. The Catholic church is heavily regulated, but is the quality of faith and the fruit of believers higher?

Marriage: I was thinking here free-love marriages versus arranged marriages. Although one might think that by choosing your spouse, instead of your parents choosing him/her might yield a higher-quality spouse/match, I believe the jury is still out on this. Look at the divorces in ‘love marriages’, for example.

So when it’s all said and done the only category where I felt freedom had a measurable impact on quality was in the realm of computer code. No one will deny that the fruity computer company typically has typically stable software which works on stable hardware. But on the other hand, very few of its users, when asked, deny that they feel stifled, controlled and possibly even spied on – if not totally ‘stuck’.

And so there seems to be a much more pronounced correlation between freedom and quality in the world of code.

And that also is why this will be a very interesting legal case to follow. Will Shuttleworth be tempted to pull in some of the freedoms of the Ubuntu code base in order to maintain the quality that Ubuntu deserves? Will a task force of lawyers be commissioned to seek and attack low quality Ubuntu publishers much like how a big proprietary corporation might do?

Until now Ubuntu has wowed the world with its ability to stay both free and yet maintain an incredibly high quality final product which I can boldly say is the same and better than competing proprietary systems in every category. The proof of this quality has been in the pudding with fast world-wide growth with more and more everyday users converting 100% to ubuntu and also in the realm of innovation (look it all up yourself because I don’t even know where to begin!).

On the one hand I’m completely in agreement that selfish individuals and corporations should be stopped in their tracks and made to pay for damaging others. On the other hand, I’m also keenly aware that the freedom of the Ubuntu code must remain of higher importance overall.

I find myself favouring the ‘whatever-it-takes-to-make-sure-ubuntu-comes-out-the-winner’ side but I will remain full open to all sides of this story.

 

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Ubuntu: Something to Write About

Today a friend pointed out that Mr. Joey Sneddon (a.k.a. Mr. OMG Ubuntu) had nothing to write about.  If you don’t believe me, go read it yourself HERE.

Really? Nothing to write about?
Is that possible in Ubuntu?

I could understand having nothing to write about in Apple, in Google or in Microsoft because you can only talk about what they let you talk about.

Perhaps in Apple you could write about your frustrations about how you own the only phone that can’t use a friend’s mini usb charger.  Perhaps you could write about how you feel enslaved and want to break free and have something truly smart in your pocket.  But after that there is absolutely nothing left to write about with Apple.  It’s just a thing.  It’s just electronic ‘stuff’ like a watch or a necklace or a running shoe (with batteries).

In Google perhaps you could write about how you know someone is watching you and you know you are being tracked and compromised for the free email you agreed to sign up for and that you are scared and don’t know what to do.  But once that article is over, there’s nothing more to write about.  It’s just spying and you aren’t willing to close your bedroom window curtains to stop it.

But in Ubuntu having nothing to write about is actually impossible unless you – personally – have lost the vision or, worse, never had it in the first place.

I didn’t come to Ubuntu because it worked better, looked better or could toast my bread with the usb device (although that would actually be pretty awesome – and go figure  it already exists!).  No, I came to ubuntu because it absolutely BLEW MY MIND (that’s the first time I’ve blogged italics and underline together like that I think) that a group of people could get together on a project and end up putting out something that TRUMPED (under-talicked again!) the above mentioned monopolists in both vision, potential, and freedom.

It was night versus day.

And it was exciting!

That was seven years ago and my excitement towards the project has only skyrocketed in the last year with Ubuntu in my pocket and convergence on the horizon.

Nothing to write about??? You should change the blog to WTFubuntu…

How about write about freedom and future?

How about write about revolution?

And if that isn’t exciting enough to fixate upon, you could publish testimonies of people who have been impacted by Ubuntu or who have impacted others.

I’m not trying to say you haven’t done some good informative stuff, because you have, but if you can’t find something to write about, please don’t publish something that makes it sound as if there is nothing to write about!

Maybe this is your problem.  You wrote this:

Get In Touch (Seriously, We Love It)

Whether you’ve made an app, theme or nifty little script you’d like the world to know about, or have stumbled upon some fresh news you think we really ought to mention (and that hasn’t been covered to death elsewhere) please do get in touch.

1.  Is an app newsworthy?  Maybe if you are searching for one, but I’m not sure this is what stirs the hearts of the people and draws them to Ubuntu.

2. Is a theme or a script newsworthy?  Not to 97% of the people I know.  So how about  not asking them for this nor publishing it moving forward? That will drive up interest in your blog by pure statistics.

3. If you angle something correctly you should be able to cover news from elsewhere *better* than others because you can publish about it from an Ubuntu perspective.  To say you don’t want to cover news because someone else did makes me wonder about your passion as a writer.

But here is the bottom line.  Perhaps the stuff you are writing about is not OMG at all.  Perhaps you could start writing about bigger picture things. Not only would your own imagination run wild but you could use your great forum as a place to inspire the minds of people who are pretty darn uninspired out there.

Let us move forward inspiring the world with Ubuntu shall we?

There.

I’m done.

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Ubuntu 16.04 – How to Make Brightness Keys Work on System76 Lemur

Nice computer. Usually works awesome.  Just this one little bug every time I re-install the OS or upgrade it seems.  Easy to fix but I always forget how to do it so here it is for everyone else who might be having issue.  Might also solve all your other Intel brightness button issues so give it a shot! This also seems to work for 14.04 and maybe even 13.04 and before…

Read the whole blog article first, if you want, but just doing this worked for me:

Command in terminal:

sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf

Then paste all this stuff in and save it.



Section "Device"
        Identifier  "card0"
        Driver      "intel"
        Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
        BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"
EndSection


Then log out and back in again and my buttons were working.
schweet.
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How to Make Old HP Laserjet 1000 work with Ubuntu 16.04

EDIT: Sorry, I had one weird ‘-yes’ stuck in that first command a while back but have fixed it and this tutorial works again with copy/paste of commands.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

I’ll admit I should probably upgrade my printer but… it’s still alive so I won’t.  Problem is that now it’s getting harder to install on Ubuntu.  Hopefully this will help someone who is havin similar issues.  For me it looked like it was installed and working on 16.04 but it wouldn’t print so I reverted to command line because the HPLIP Toolbox seems to no longer be there in the Software Center…

1 Install the HP LIP Thing with GUI with this command in terminal

sudo apt-get install python-qt4 hplip-gui

2 Run the tool with this command:

hp-setup

3 Next, next, next, next, next, I agree, next….

4 Name your printer in ‘Description’5 Save, send test page (if you want), etc.

5 Save, send test page (if you want), etc.

Hope that helps!

 

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Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Phone

Someone I know sent me this positive article about the ubuntu phone. I read it and it was nice, and probably one of the best ‘tech-focused’ articles, but as a few friends and I discussed after reading it, it’s missing some of the most important reasons why one would switch.   Here are my list of reasons why one should switch:

1. Being Part of Something Meaningful

Apple sucked in a lot of victims by making their customers think they were either cool or part of something cool.  They paid heavily for that entrance fee in both privacy and dollars left in the bank (and other ways).  You may have noticed how important technology is in our lives, so with the Ubuntu project you can change the world by participating.  You become part of a community that cares.

2. Being Somewhere Where Your Voice Matters

Have you ever rolled your eyes (or worse) at how your smart phone is really quite dumb? Have you ever wondered “how could they do this? How did they let this happen?”  Then, unbelievably, the same horrible ‘feature’ is still there years later? With the Ubuntu project, the programmers and people who change stuff are *you*!  Let that sink in for a bit. That’s right, you can literally be a huge part of changing Ubuntu to better match your life and needs and the life and needs of those around you.  Ubuntu cares what you think.

3. Living Free

Ever felt sick and tired about how you know the ‘big boys’ are spying on you, stealing your information, and watching everything you do? Ever felt helpless and that there is nothing you can do about it because there are ‘no other choices’? Good news.  You now have a choice.  Ubuntu.  Ubuntu frees the captives and like Moses it ‘let the people go’.

4. Being Future Proof

Ever noticed how the ‘big boyz’ (including their strategic business relationships with the big telecoms) somehow manage to make your perfectly good phone ‘out dated’?  Ever thought that you’d like to buy a device that is more future proof? Ubuntu is the only choice if you want to be future proof with ‘convergence‘.

5. Nice Pillars!

Randall Ross wrote a little article that doesn’t get enough circulation. This really sums up why Ubuntu has a nice set of pillars!

 

 

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How to Install Jitsi on Ubuntu 16.04

Yes, this is the hard way but seems to be the ‘only way’ right now at the time of this blog.  Always first check to make sure it’s not simply sitting in the software center before beginning this tutorial.

No, I can’t figure out why the packages aren’t in the Ubuntu software centre.

All I did to make this tutorial was update the wget link from this fine lad’s blog post so thanks Mr. Ji M

For 32-bit system:

wget https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/jitsi_2.5-latest_i386.deb

For 64-bit system:

wget https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/jitsi_2.5-latest_amd64.deb

To actually install what you just downloaded on both 32-bit & 64-bit run following command:

(hint: as soon as you have hit the 2.5 part and press ‘tab’ button it will auto-fill the rest then just press enter and it starts)

sudo dpkg -i jitsi_2.5-latest_*.deb

When it’s done doing it’s thing then just hit your super button and start typing jitsi and you should find it. However, mine would not work until I did a software update.

I am not sure the best way to trigger the software update but I did it by going through my dash to
s ‘system settings’ then ‘details’ and then click the update button and upon restarting my machine
i went to the dash, searched Jitsi, opened it and it started working.

Hope this helps because I was pretty surprised to see it wasn’t in apt repositories (ubuntu software center) and more surprised that there wasn’t a tutorial like this as a work around until it was!

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How to Install Nextcloud Owncloud App on Ubuntu Phone

Before you begin: Always first check in the stock ubuntu software center to make sure that it’s not simply available there first.  As of the date of this post it is not, but I expect it will be there very soon.  Do not proceed with this tutorial if there is a one click app in the software center 🙂

1 Go to this link on your Ubuntu phone browser, follow the installation instructions.

http://open.uappexplorer.com

2 Scroll down until you see the ‘Open Store’ app

(image coming).

Click ‘install’ and it will show you the 4 steps you have to follow.  Follow them.  Do them. Love them.  However, if you aren’t awesome with difficult stuff, I’ll expand on each step:

  1. download the openstore thing: click it.  It will download.  Then at bottom of browser, slide up again and it will bring you back to instruction page
  2. your terminal app is the black thing on your main home screen of phone (image coming).  open that.
  3. to navigate to your downloads file, in your terminal app, type this:   cd ~/Downloads
  4. for the ‘run the command’ simply copy the pkcon install-local – – allow-untrusted openstore.openstore-team_0… stuff’ to your phones clipboard by pushing and holding.  Long slide from the right side of your screen. paste it in your terminal with a long push on screen and then enter key by pushing the keyboard icon lower right.

3 Go back to the link above and scroll down until you see the owncloud file sync app and click the ‘install’ button.  It will give you a warning that you are about to kill your phone and ruin your life.  Accept this because life is short.

4 Install again (you’ll see an orange install button down a bit after the warning screen)

5 Go back to your home screen of phone and the owncloud app will be waiting for you.  When you open it enter your owncloud or nextcloud credentials and server location

From here you should be able to connect a shared calendar and also share files and backup files.  I’ll do a quick tutorial on that at my next available minute but hopefully this helps a few people out.

 

 

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How to Sync a Calendar Between Owncloud/Nextcloud and Thunderbird Lightning

For some reason this is not that intuitive the first time and there don’t seem to be many/any specific tutorials out there.  I kept getting a ‘modification fail’ error message or other errors. So, here you go:

In Nextcloud/Owncloud

1. Log in to your browser-based owncloud/nextcloud page

2. Go to the top left and click the down arrow to access the calendar app

Note: this *must* be enabled first by your admin, if you happen also to be your own admin

01_nextcloud_lightning

3. Grab the caldav link from the … share icon drop down

02_nextcloud_lightning

4. Select the content of the link and copy it to your clipboard (control A/Control C)

03_nextcloud_lightning

Back in Thunderbird Lightning

Note: You must first have the Lightning add-on installed in Thunderbird if yours does not already have it.  It should come default but I recall in the past it did not…

Now skip past step #10 in this tutorial, and start at the ‘Back in Thunderbird Lightning’ steps

The key point is that it is ‘caldav’ that you select, *not* ical.

 

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