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Learning the command line on any system can be daunting, so why not leverage that knowledge against multiple operating systems? Here are some that can help.

Image: Claudio Caridi, Getty Images/iStockphoto

As an admin, one of the things that irks me after a particularly long day is the switch over, or mental reset that comes with changing gears between Windows, Linux, or macOS. It may seem like a trifling nuisance, but it doesn’t get any easier over time when you execute a long string and press enter, only to have the console attempt to process the command and end in failure.

It’s those lost seconds that lead to minutes, then hours. Even worse is when you’re trying to figure something out and can’t quite get it, though you’re sure the command is right. Only then do you realize that you’re attempting to run a command from one shell in another.

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)

Some time ago, as I got more into macOS and Linux, I noticed that some commonly used commands share their usage and syntax across platforms. I began to use these whenever possible. Below you’ll find a collection of common, highly utilized commands that will make a useful addition (or replacement) to your knowledge base, especially if tasked with supporting multiple systems.

1. Secure shell (SSH)

Secure Shell (SSH) has long been a staple in macOS and Linux distros, however, a few years back Microsoft introduced it as a native component to its Windows line of OSes. It works exactly the same to securely connect to systems remotely, encrypting data transmissions, and generating keys for extra security. It is usually turned off by default but can be enabled either by command line or GUI.

2. Wget

Wget is one of those utilities that you might not have a real appreciation for until you use it and see how truly awesome it is. It is used to download data from servers, typically web servers, but can also be used as a tool to synchronize entire directories to a local drive. It has a large set of syntax for filtering data allowing you to copy as much or as little as you’d like or need. It also includes progress monitoring and can resume downloads from where it left off.

3. DD

Going back to the early 1970s, the DD command has been used for a number of tasks: Transfer, recovery, and modification of data on a disk are some of the common use cases for employing this command. With many other types of commands to do this faster, why use DD? Apart from it being OS-independent, it also can be used to copy entire chunks of data from one drive to another, using it to make 100%, integrity-verified copies of files, directories, or entire drives to partitions, other disks, ISO files, or optical media. 

SEE: macOS Big Sur: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

4. Ping

What ping does cannot be measured in time saved for countless admins throughout the world. The command is ubiquitous among many computer users, even non-IT-personnel, who are aware of what it means and does. While I believe ping to be pretty universal at this point, every few years I do get the “What is ping?” question. For those: It’s the command used to determine if a device is communicating online.

SEE: 10 more PowerShell cmdlets you can use instead of CMD commands (TechRepublic)

5. Curl

Curl works similarly to wget, except that where wget supports HTTP/S and FTP protocols, curl supports those and a whole lot more. Since curl can be used to transfer data bidirectionally and was created to work non-interactively, it’s perfectly suited for scripts and other automated tasks. It uses the URL path to get data from or send it to that location and includes a plethora of arguments for fetching secured data, providing credentials, data rate-limiting, proxying requests, the list goes on.

6. Netstat

The network statistics command displays network connections and their respective port numbers, how the connections are configured (inbound/outbound), the types of connections they are, and the routing tables for each connection. It can also provide summary information over the total number of data transmitted/received, including parameters detailing loss and over IPv4/6 to name but a few.

SEE: How to run multiple Linux commands from one line (TechRepublic)

7. Tail

This command has been in use by Linux admins since its inception and continues to be a go-to command for retrieving the last few lines of its standard output. It does this however with a set of syntax that allows admins to filter data based on a specific input or wildcards to further breakdown reporting to just the details that are necessary. macOS has long had this feature as well, and surprisingly so has Windows, albeit through the resource kits made available for free by Microsoft for each version of Windows. The tail utility may be copied over to the System32 folder to provide the same functionality Linux and macOS admins continue to enjoy.

SEE: Microsoft’s GitHub: Our new ‘gh’ command-line interface makes you more productive (ZDNet)

8. Cd

The cd or Change Directory command should be known to all but maybe the newest of computer users. Whether you’re trying to move forward or backward in the directory hierarchy, cd is the way to do it. Since it does not provide any real interaction, it can lend itself easily to be used in scripting and automation.

9. Mkdir

When working with data it needs a place to go. Unless you prefer desktops cluttered with files everywhere, the Make Directory command is your only salvation when it comes to organizing data in neat little folders, or nested within subdirectories. It can be used to create a single, one-shot directory, or can be customized (and scripted out) to create an entire directory tree structure.

SEE: 16 Terminal commands every user should know (TechRepublic)

10. Sort

The oldest command listed here is also, arguably, one of the least used, at least in my experience. The sort command does exactly as its name implies, it sorts the data of the input file into an order of your choosing. Depending on whether the data needs to be sorted by alphabetical, numerical, reversed, or some random or custom order, this is the utility to get it done quickly and efficiently. 

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Realme Q Series Phone Allegedly Spotted on TENAA, Key Specifications Tipped

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Realme Q series seem to be getting a new smartphone and it allegedly been spotted on TENAA, offering a glimpse of the possible specifications. A Realme smartphone with model number RMX2117 was spotted on the regulator’s website and it is being speculated that the phone could be a part of the company’s Q series that already includes one phone. The TENAA listing shows the phone sporting a 6.5-inch display and powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.4GHz. The listing also hints that the phone may carry up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage. Realme hasn’t officially confirmed any of the specifications.

As per the listing on TENAA, the smartphone with model number RMX2117 sports a 6.5-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. Allegedly belonging to the rumoured Realme Q series, the smartphone supports 5G and is powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.4GHz.

The Realme Q series phone may be launched in China in three RAM options – 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB, that may be coupled with three inbuilt storage configurations – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The listing also shows a microSD card slot for storage expansion. It may be launched in four colour options – Black, Blue, Gray, and Silver.

The phone is seen featuring a rectangular camera module that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel snapper, and a 2-megapixel shooter. For selfies and video calls, the phone features a 16-megapixel camera at the front. The Realme RMX2117 smartphone packs a 4,900mAh battery. The handset runs on Android 10 and features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The smartphone measures 162.2 x 75.1 x 9.1mm and weighs 194 grams.

The development comes a week after Realme vice president Xu Qi Chase teased the arrival of a new series, including the Q series, V series, and X series, with in a poster. Chase noted that the upcoming phone will be powered by a 5nm flagship chipset.


Redmi Note 8 or Realme 5s: Which is the best phone under Rs. 10,000 in India right now? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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How to remove the 3D Objects folder from File Explorer in Windows 10

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The 3D Objects folder is not useful for many users but removing it from File Explorer in Windows 10 requires a tweak of the Registry File. We show you how.

Image: scyther5, Getty Images/iStockphoto

In addition to the traditional Paint application, which has been a part of Windows since its beginning, Microsoft has also added Paint 3D to its list of standard Windows 10 applications. When combined with a touch display and a stylus or pen, Paint 3D can be a powerful tool for creating three-dimensional objects, a feature many artists and designers find useful.

SEE: 30 Excel tips you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

However, if you are not inclined to use Paint 3D, you may find the prominence of a 3D Objects folder, and possibly several other folders, on the This PC screen of File Explorer obtrusive and unnecessary. Unfortunately, you cannot remove those folders from File Explorer with a simple change to default settings. That procedure requires an edit of the Windows 10 Registry File.

This how-to tutorial shows you how to remove the 3D Objects folder, and other folders, from the This PC screen of the Windows 10 File Explorer.

How to remove 3D Objects folder from File Explorer

Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.

To get a better idea of what we are talking about, open File Explorer in Windows 10 and then navigate to the This PC screen, as shown in Figure A. Take note of the default listing of folders in the right-hand window.

Figure A

a-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

We are going to concentrate our efforts on the 3D Objects folder, but this technique will work for any of the default folders listed in that section of File Explorer, if you know the code. Further, if you are running the 64-bit version of Windows 10, you will have to perform two edits.

Type “regedit” into the search box on the Windows 10 desktop and select the appropriate result to start the Registry Editor application. As shown in Figure B, navigate to this key (it’s a deep dive):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerMyComputerNameSpace

Figure B

b-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

To complicate matters, the subkeys in the NameSpace section are coded, so you have to carefully choose the key with this code (on my computer, it was in the second position, see Figure C):

{0DB7E03F-FC29-4DC6-9020-FF41B59E513A}

Figure C

c-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

Right-click the key and select “Delete” from the context menu and confirm your action.

If you are running the 32-bit version of Windows 10, you have completed the procedure, however, if you are running the 64-bit version, you will have to perform a second edit. As shown in Figure D, navigate to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerMyComputerNameSpace

Figure D

d-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

As before, locate this coded key in the NameSpace folder, as shown in Figure E:

{0DB7E03F-FC29-4DC6-9020-FF41B59E513A}

Figure E

e-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

Right-click the key and select “Delete” from the context menu and then confirm your selection to complete the process. Exit out of the Registry File editor. The change should take effect the next time you open File Explorer.

The 3D Objects folder is located in the Users folder and will still be there after implementing this procedure, but it will no longer be displayed so prominently in the This PC section of File Explorer, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

f-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

To restore the 3D Objects folder to File Explorer, add the coded key back into the two NameSpace Folders using the Registry File Editor.

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Twist on CRISPR Gene Editing Treats Adult-Onset Muscular Dystrophy in Mice

2020 09 14 DM1 longitudnal muscle

Myotonic dystrophy type I is the most common type of adult-onset muscular dystrophy. People with the condition inherit repeated DNA segments that lead to the toxic buildup of repetitive RNA, the messenger that carries a gene’s recipe to the cell’s protein-making machinery. As a result, people born with myotonic dystrophy experience progressive muscle wasting and weakness and a wide variety of other debilitating symptoms.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technique increasingly used in efforts to correct the genetic (DNA) defects that cause a variety of diseases. A few years ago, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers redirected the technique to instead modify RNA in a method they call RNA-targeting Cas9 (RCas9).

Twist on CRISPR Gene Editing Treats Adult Onset Muscular Dystrophy in

Green muscle fibers with RCas9 (the therapeutic candidate for myotonic dystrophy) have eliminated their toxic RNA (red), whereas fibers lacking RCas9 (dark) have persisting toxic RNA (red). Credit: UC San Diego

In a new study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team demonstrates that one dose of RCas9 gene therapy can chew up toxic RNA and almost completely reverse symptoms in a mouse model of myotonic dystrophy.

“Many other severe neuromuscular diseases, such as Huntington’s and ALS, are also caused by similar RNA buildup,” said senior author Gene Yeo, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “There are no cures for these diseases.” Yeo led the study with collaborators at Locanabio, Inc. and the University of Florida.

Normally, CRISPR-Cas9 works by directing an enzyme called Cas9 to cut a specific target gene (DNA), thereby allowing researchers to inactivate or replace the gene. RCas9 works similarly, but Cas9 is guided to an RNA molecule instead of DNA.

In a 2016 study, Yeo’s team demonstrated that RCas9 worked by using it to track RNA in live cells. In a 2017 study in lab models and patient-derived cells, the researchers used RCas9 to eliminate 95 percent of the aberrant RNA linked to myotonic dystrophy type 1 and type 2, one type of ALS and Huntington’s disease.

The current study advances RCas9 therapy further, reversing myotonic dystrophy type 1 in a living organism: a mouse model of the disease.

The approach is a type of gene therapy. The team packaged RCas9 in a non-infectious virus, which is needed to deliver the RNA-chewing enzyme inside cells. They gave the mice a single dose of the therapy or a mock treatment.

RCas9 reduced aberrant RNA repeats by more than 50 percent, varying a bit depending on the tissue, and the treated myotonic dystrophy mice became essentially indistinguishable from healthy mice.

Initially, the team was worried that the RCas9 proteins, which are derived from bacteria, might cause an immune reaction in the mice and be rapidly cleared away. So they tried suppressing the mice’s immune systems briefly during treatment. As a result, they were surprised and pleased to discover that they prevented immune reaction and clearance, leaving the viral vehicle and its RCas9 cargo to persist, and get the job done. What’s more, they did not see signs of muscle damage. In contrast, they saw an increase in the activity of genes involved in new muscle formation.

“This opens up the floodgates to start testing RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas9 as a potential approach to treat other human genetic diseases — there are at least 20 caused by buildup of repetitive RNAs,” Yeo said.

It remains to be seen if RCas9-based therapies will work in humans, or if they might cause deleterious side effects, such as eliciting an undesired immune reaction. Preclinical studies such as this one will help the team work out potential toxicities and evaluate long-term exposure.

In 2017, Yeo co-founded a company called Locanabio to accelerate the development of RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas9 through preclinical testing and into clinical trials for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy and potentially other diseases.

Source: UC San Diego




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