How to automatically start programs on Mate

The Mate desktop environment has a lot of settings that users can take advantage of for customization purposes. One of the best, most in-depth customization features is the autostart function, as it allows users to automatically start programs on Mate. They can decide how their Mate system loads up programs, scripts, and even services!

Configuring the autostart function on the Mate desktop is done through the system settings. To gain access to this area of the desktop, follow the instructions below.

Autostart programs via GUI

Configuring automatic program starting in Mate with the GUI is done through the Control Center application. To access the control center, open up your menu and look for “Control Center.” Alternatively, the app can be opened by pressing Alt + F2 and writing in mate-control-center in the box.

In the Control Center application on the Mate desktop, you’ll see a whole lot of different settings. All of these settings correspond to individual aspects of the Mate desktop environment and can be changed at will.

Scroll through the Control Center application and make your way to the “Personal” section. From there, find the “Startup Applications” button and click on it to access the autostart configuration area for the Mate desktop.

Inside of the Startup Applications Preferences window, you’ll see a huge list. In this list, there are dozens of startup services, programs, scripts, etc. If you’d like to create a new, custom startup system, locate the “+ Add” button and click on it with the mouse.

After clicking on the “+ Add” button, a small pop-up box will appear. In this box, there are several text fields. The fields are “Name,” “Command,” and “Comment.”

To automatically start up a program, find the “Name” box and write out the name of the program. Then, write in the name of the program in the “Command” box.

For example, to automatically start up Firefox in Mate upon login, you’d write “firefox” in the command area.

Removing program autostart with GUI

You may wish to stop a program from automatically starting on the Mate desktop. To do this, gain access to the Control Center.

Note: for quick access to the Control Center in Mate, press Alt + F2 and write “mate-control-center” in the command box.

Once in the Control Center GUI tool in the Mate desktop, look for “Startup Applications” and click on it to gain access to the autostart GUI.

Inside of the autostart GUI, scroll through the list of startup entries and select the one you’d like to disable with the mouse. Then, check the check-box next to the service to stop it from automatically launching.

Alternatively, remove the startup entry for good by selecting the startup entry in the list with the mouse, and selecting the “- Remove” button.

Autostart programs via terminal

The Mate autostart GUI tool is a great way to manage automatic startup programs quickly. However, it’s not the only way. If you’re a terminal fan, you can also create automatic startup entries in the command-line.

To make a new startup entry, launch a terminal window with Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, move the terminal session into the /usr/share/applications/ directory.

cd /usr/share/applications/

Run the ls command and view the program shortcuts in the folder, so that you may locate the name of the program you want to auto-start.


Can’t find the app you need? Combine ls with the grep tool to more easily filter out a keyword.

ls | grep programname

Take the name of the program and plug it into the following cp command to create a new autostart entry. For example, to autostart Firefox on Mate through the terminal, you’d do:

cp firefox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

Removing automatic program start in the terminal

To get rid of an automatic startup entry for the Mate desktop environment from the command-line, you’ll need CD into the ~/.config/autostart directory.

cd ~/.config/autostart

Can’t access the ~/.config/autostart directory on your Mate desktop? If so, you may not have an autostart folder. To create one, use the mkdir command.

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart

Inside of the autostart folder, run the ls command. Running this command will allow you to take a look inside the folder.


Take note of the files revealed by the ls tool. Then, plug them into the following rm command to delete and disable the startup entries.

rm programname.desktop

Want to delete more than one startup entry at a time? Use the rm command, but instead of specifying the exact name of the startup entry file (such as firefox.desktop,) you can make use of the wildcard (*) function in Bash on Linux.

Using the wildcard (*) will allow you to automatically remove and delete all desktop shortcut files from the ~/.config/autostart directory.

rm *.desktop

Read How to automatically start programs on Mate by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Allow or Block Pop-ups in Chrome

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Google Chrome does a great job at blocking pop-up windows out of the box, but sometimes it prevents them even if you’re expecting one from a trusted site. Here’s how you can take control and allow or block pop-ups in Chrome.

By default, Google Chrome disables pop-ups automatically in the browser; something easily overlooked because that’s how the internet should be presented. Not all pop-up windows are malicious or invasive. Some websites use them for legitimate reasons.

How to Allow Pop-ups from a Specific Site

When Chrome blocks a pop-up from a website, it displays an icon with a red X in the corner of the Omnibox.

The popup being blocked icon in the Omnibox

If you suspect this is an error and want to see pop-ups from this website, click on the icon to see site-specific options, select “Always Allow Pop-ups and Redirects” and then click “Done.”

Click the blocked popup icon, select Always Allow Popups and Redirects, then click Done

After you click “Done,” refresh the page to save your choice and see any intended pop-ups on this website.

Alternatively, if you just want to see a pop-up one time, click the blue link in this window and you’ll be redirected to the pop-up that was initially blocked.

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Daily News Update: Galaxy Folded

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Samsung—the first Galaxy Fold hands-on posts looked promising, but then review units started breaking. Now, the company has canceled launch events in China and delayed the Fold’s release indefinitely. Ouch.

The Fold, which went on sale to customers last week, was slated to be released just three days from now, on April 26th. But with all the display issues on review units, Samsung is pushing back the launch. It a statement, it confirmed that it would announce a new release date “in the coming weeks.” That means anyone who pre-ordered the Fold will wait for at least another month, most likely more.

While this isn’t as disastrous as the exploding Galaxy Note 7 fiasco from a couple of years ago, it’s still a pretty bad look for Samsung—especially because we all remember the Note 7 situation pretty clearly. It’s been nearly three years, but that’s still not long enough to undo the damage.

The issue is that this is the second time something catastrophic points back to Samsung’s quality control. The Note 7’s battery problems should’ve been found internally before they became the public’s problem. And while the Fold’s display issues were found before the public release, it’s incredibly troubling that it wasn’t noticed during Samsung’s testing. It took the device getting into reviewers’ hands before it became apparent.

The statement from the company points out that “initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge.” Do they not do any sort of impact testing during development?

Either way, the company claims it’s going to fix these issues before releasing the device to the public. It’s also going to “enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer”—you know, so people don’t remove the screen protector that isn’t a screen protector. Oof.

But on to other news now. Apparently, the Nokia 9’s fingerprint reader can be fooled with a pack of gum, AT&T settled the lawsuit over its 5G E network, OnePlus sets a date for the OP7 announcement, and more!

  • A sticky situation for Nokia: A recent update to the Nokia 9 jacked up its in-display fingerprint reader, causing everyday objects like a pack of gum to bypass it. What a stupid problem to have. [ZDNet]
  • AT&T’s 5G E logo is still go: Sprint sued AT&T over its crappy 5G E network logo (because, you know, it’s still just 4G). The companies have settled—but the 5G E logo isn’t going anywhere. -__- [9to5Mac]
  • The OnePlus 7 is coming: The company announced a May 14th event to announce the OP7, of which there are rumors of a couple of models. Interesting. [Engadget]
  • Linux on your phone: Linux on DeX, the software that allows users to run Ubuntu from their phone using DeX, is coming to the Galaxy S9, S10, and Tab S5e. It’s like a desktop in your pocket. [Android Police]
  • iOS apps to get external storage access? The word on the street is that iOS 13 will give apps like Lightroom access to attached external storage. That could be a game changer for creators. [The Verge]
  • Bing Maps gets traffic cam access: A new feature added to Bing Maps will let users access real-time traffic cameras. Also, Bing Maps is apparently a thing. [MSPowerUser]

ASUS has long been one of the last holdouts making high(er)-end Android tablets, but the writing is on the wall for its ZenPad line. As its ZenFone line continues to get more popular, it’s going to move its focus away from Android tablets—which have long been dying, anyway—and onto something that, you know, actually makes money. I guess if you want an Android tablet now, Samsung is one of the last options for decent large-screen devices. The end of an era.

How to Use Text to Columns Like an Excel Pro

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Excel’s Text to Columns feature splits text in a cell into multiple columns. This simple task can save a user the heartache of manually separating the text in a cell into several columns.

We’ll start with a simple example of splitting two samples of data into separate columns. Then, we’ll explore two other uses for this feature that most Excel users are not aware of.

Text to Columns with Delimited Text

For the first example, we will use Text to Columns with delimited data. This is the more common scenario for splitting text, so we will start with this.

In the sample data below we have a list of names in a column. We would like to separate the first and last name into different columns.

List of names to separate with Text to Columns

In this example, we would like the first name to remain in column A for the last name to move to column B. We already have some information in column B (the Department). So we need to insert a column first and give it a header.

Column inserted for last names

Next, select the range of cells containing the names and then click Data > Text to Columns

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Why Can’t You Use a TV as a Monitor?

Large TV on wallGaurav Paswan / Shutterstock

Televisions and computer monitors are similar and use mostly the same technology to drive the panels. You can usually use a TV with your computer, but they’re made for a different market and aren’t the same as monitors.

Differences in Connections

Both TVs and monitors will accept HDMI input, assuming they were made in the last decade. HDMI is the industry standard for video signals, and you’ll find them on nearly every device that outputs video from Rokus and game consoles to computers. Technically, if all you’re looking for is a screen to plug something into, either a TV or monitor will do.

Monitors will usually have other connections, such as DisplayPort, to support higher resolutions and refresh rates. TVs will often include multiple HDMI inputs for plugging in all your devices to one screen, whereas monitors are usually meant for using one device at a time.

Devices like game consoles usually send audio over HDMI, but monitors generally don’t have speakers, and rarely have decent ones if they do. You’re usually expected to plug in headphones at your desk or have desktop speakers. However, nearly all televisions will have speakers. The high-end models pride themselves on having great ones, as they function as the centerpiece of your living room.

TVs Are Much Larger

The obvious difference is the size of the screen. TVs are generally around 40 inches or more, while most desktop monitors sit around 24-27 inches. The TV is meant to be seen from across the room, and so needs to be bigger to occupy the same amount of your vision.

This might not be an issue for you; some people may prefer a larger display instead of many smaller ones. So the size isn’t an automatic dealbreaker, but the resolution is–if your TV is a 40-inch panel, but is only 1080p, it will look blurry when it’s close up on your desk, despite seeming just fine from across the room. If you’re going to be using a large TV as your primary computer monitor, consider getting a 4K panel.

The opposite is also true, as you wouldn’t want to use a small computer monitor as your living room TV. It’s certainly doable, but most mid-sized 1080p TVs cost about the same as a comparable desktop monitor.

Monitors Are Made For Interactivity

Gaming monitorGorodenkoff / Shutterstock

With televisions, the content you’re consuming is almost entirely prerecorded, but on monitors, you’ll be interacting with your desktop constantly. They’re built accordingly, with TVs focusing on better picture quality for movies and shows, often at the cost of processing time and input lag.

It’s important to understand the basics of how most TVs and monitors work to grasp why this matters. With both TVs and monitors, devices (like your computer or cable box) send pictures to the display many times per second. The display’s electronics process the image, which delays it being shown for a short while. This is generally referred to as the panel’s input lag.

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