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Showing posts from May, 2009

IceWm and GMail

I have been using the IceWM window manager and have been exploring how to add functionality and usability to it since it presents as basic window manager. The homepage provides useful documentation and FAQs.

By default, IceWm expects you to have traditional UNIX tools at hand and doesn't automatically provide for newer technologies like GMail. It would be nice for the mail icon to work with a GMail account.

Joel Dare has built upon the work of others and crafted a URL that automatically opens your GMail account in a browser. Importantly, Joel's version of the URL closes any open logins to GMail before attempting to log in; earlier versions of the URL would not complete correctly if you have multiple GMail accounts as I do.

Since the URL contains my password in plain text, I chose to create a script at ~/bin/gmail-login with permissions of 700:

# the following is all on one linefirefox…

KDE's kdict, and Firefox

I haven't used the KDE desktop since the release of KDE4, instead relying on IceWM. and while I may go back to it, I miss one of the desktop applets, kdict. Using it to check a definition, spelling, synonyms, etc. was very handy.

Since I use Fierfox as my primary browser, it made sense to consider using a bookmarklet. Bookmarklets are small pieces of javascript code that can be treated as a bookmark. When clicking the bookmark, the code will be executed. I modified a bookmarklet for to use the dictionary like kdict did.

To make one for yourself, right-click on the Firefox Bookmarks toolbar, then select "New Bookmark", then fill in the following information. The javascript is all on one line.

Location: javascript:void(q=prompt('',getSelection()));if(q)%20void(location.href='*&Query='%20+%20escape(q))

The Database=* value mimics that used by kdict an…

HP Mini 1120NR Mi Edition

My wife surprised me with an HP Mini 1120NR Mi Edition for an anniversary gift!

While it runs Linux, it uses an HP-modified version of Ubuntu, which is a Debian-based Linux. Nothing wrong with that, except that Debian/Ubuntu organizes things differently than Mandriva/RedHat, so it took some getting used to.

The first thing I did was to increase the memory from 1GB of RAM to 2GB of RAM, not that I needed it right now, but RAM is currently very inexpensive. Previous version of Ubuntu for the Mini did not have kernels compiled for >1GB support, but this one recognized it upon re-boot.

The interface is unlike a conventional desktop and is called harbour-launcer. you can see how HP modified the Ubuntu/GNOME desktop by reading how others have modified their desktops to mimic HP.

The first thing that I need to do was install some familiar apps, like mc.

Alt-F2 brings up a RUN dialog, and entering gnome-terminal launches a terminal window. I couldn't become the superuser since I didn't …

Using rsync to Fix a Downloaded ISO File

I wanted to upgrade to Mandriva 2009.1 and had the .iso image, but the checksum failed. Since I was at my workshop and had only EVDO modem service, I didn't want to download the entire .iso again and I remembered that I could use rsync to "fix" the damaged .iso file.

To avoid using bandwidth at the garage, I use a USB drive at home (where I have Verizon FIOS) to mirror the current Mandriva repositories using rsync, so I knew that Georgia Tech had an rsync server. I just needed to find the path to the .iso files.

NOTE: Although Mandriva 2009 is now obsolete, the technique described here still works on any downloaded file using and rsync server.
Starting with:

$ rsync

I eventually wound up with:


as the path.

Then, I changed directory to where I had the damaged .iso file and executed (all on one line):

$ rsync -Pz --stats --inplace --ignore-times rsync://…