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The road through Ubuntu

My mom bought a new laptop because of a broken screen on the old Linux machine that she had inherited from me (which wasn't wasn't a laptop, so I'm sure that the Golden Arrow of Consumption can explain why she didn't just replace the screen, although the new boyfriend who is kind of Windows-but-not-Linux-literate qualifies as a more probable reason for getting a laptop that is needlessly dragged down by Vista). Read More »

Change ext3’s reserved block count and gain Gigabytes

Wiebe was looking over my shoulder while I was running df to check the disk space that was still available on my Lenovo ThinkPad: Read More »

png2ico: converting favicons to Windows’ ICO format

Even though, strictly speaking, I should be using favicons in anything but Windows' ICO format and refer to them from a <link>-tag at any location other than /favicon.ico, I sometimes like to help Microsoft break the web by putting an ICO file at the location that they reserved for it (/favicon.ico). Read More »

Decoding djvu files on the command line

So, you have djvu files on a remote machine that you have SSH access to, and the local machine you're working on doesn't have djvu tools. What do you do? Simple, use ddjvu to decode the djvu files to images. Read More »

PostgreSQL back-end for Ruby on Rails confusion

I just need to add a quick summary of what postgres back-end tool our Ruby on Rails application uses, and how we've configured it, because it's quite confusing... Read More »

Using wget to download all files on a page

Just a quick one-liner I used to download a bunch of MIDI files from an on-line listing of Chopin MIDIs: Read More »

VIM modelines for per-file configuration

The MediaWiki developers use tabs instead of spaces for indentation. This can be annoying for someone like me who has configured VIM to work with spaces by default—annoying because I don't want to enter something like :set tabstop=4 noexpandtab shiftwidth=4 every time that I open a file. Adding different conditions for each project to my .vimrc is probably possible but not much fun. Read More »

Disabling SSH shell access for SVN users on a Linux/Unix system

A common problem is that Linux/Unix system administrators want to grant users access to SVN repositories, but prevent them from logging in on the shell. This can be accomplished quite easily. Read More »

Configuring a Debian satellite Exim server

A very common way to configure Exim on a Debian machine, is to make it a 'satellite'; a server which uses another SMTP server for sending and does not do local delivery, the latter being the difference with a 'smarthost'. It can be used by other computers in the network to send mail, but also by the machine itself, to send system notifications and such (one of my favorite apps, arpwatch, for example). Read More »

Crane camera shots with just a tripod

When shooting footage with a motion camera, one of the most important things to achieve to avoid it looking like a home-barbecue video, is stable motion, normally achieved with a crane. A simple way to achieve this, is by retracting one leg of your tripod, and then tilt it forwards and backwards. This video gives a good demonstration. The difference between the tripod shots, and the hand-held shots (the shots made to demonstrate the technique) is astounding. Read More »