Resetting a Dell TB16 Thunderbolt dock

I have a TB16 Thunderbolt dock to act as a hub for my screens, internet, camera, and so on.

This afternoon I came back from a meeting and my computer was hibernating and the doc was dead: no power light, no light on the thunderbolt cable, no response to commands, and no screen, sound, or internet pass through.

Looked through the Dell troubleshooting guide and found nothing.

In a chat with a tech, they told me how to reset the dock (I don’t see this anywhere obvious on the Dell site):

  1. Unplug the dock from power and from the computer
  2. Hold the power button on the dock down for 45 seconds
  3. plug everything back in
  4. Read the rest of this entry »

Fixing sensitive mouse on Dell XPS 13 9370 “Developer Edition” (i.e. Ubuntu 18.04 OEM)

I was having trouble with the mouse being too sensitive on my touchpad. After googling around I found this Dell page. I’ve followed the instructions (it was last updated Feb 2019), with the following changes and modifications:

  1. substituting 18.04 for 16.04 in all kernal and file names (e.g. in Step 3);
  2. substituting 51- for * in Step 5 iii in the file name sudo gedit /usr/share/x11/xorg.conf. Read the rest of this entry »

Recovery key for Dell XPS 13 OEM Ubuntu (Developer edition)

Just bought a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with OEM Ubuntu (18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver) installed.

As I was setting the computer up for the first use, it asked me if I wanted to create a recovery key (i.e. disk or USB), but indicated that you could also do this later. I didn’t have a USB key with me, so I skipped the step.

Once I got set up, however, I wasn’t able to see where I could access the utility to make the recovery disk. I thought the dialogue during set up had said the Ubuntu app store, and various Dell sites seemed to indicate either the app store or launchpad. Read the rest of this entry »


Finding files modified within a specific time period

I had been working experimentally on a file a couple of days ago and forgot to change the name to something meaningful. I remembered roughly when I was working on it and would recognise the name and context when I saw it (probably). But the problem is how to you find the relevant files? Stackoverflow to the rescue (as always), with a bit of man find:

find /home/dan/ -name *.xml -mtime -2 -ls |more

It’s all pretty self explanatory except the -mtime -2: the utility, the start directory, any restrictions on the file name (you want to use this if you are searching a home directory: I have 10k+ files, it looked like before I added it, given all the cache files from the web browsers), the time period in days (-mtime), and a ls-style display. |more is a pipe that allows you to look at the output in segments if there is more than a screen’s worth.

-mtime is the only funny bit: it searches back the number of days expressed by its value. If the value is positive, it searches bac Read the rest of this entry »

Finding and replacing text in multiple files from BASH

A problem I’ve had lately has been how to find and replace text in multiple files from the command line. Since I keep googling the answer, here’s a post to remind me. It is based on this page: https://superuser.com/questions/428493/how-can-i-do-a-recursive-find-and-replace-from-the-command-line

find . -type f -name "*.txt" -print0 | xargs -0 sed -i'' -e 's/foo/bar/g'

Note that unlike the source, I have -i'' rather than -i ''. This seems to required on a *nixes.

I also discovered (mostly ‘cause I’m not good at regular expressions, I suspect), that if you are searching and adding things in < and > that you need to escape everything except the first and the last < and >. Read the rest of this entry »


Finding and moving off screen applications in Gnome 3/Ubuntu 17.10

I have a strange problem in the gnew gnome windows manager that ships with Ubuntu 17.10: on my three-monitor desktop, application windows occasionally open off screen. I.e. in the following screen shot, they open partially or entirely in the space marked “invisible window” to the left or right of the tall window.

To make matters worse, applications that open like this do it all the time. I.e. Read the rest of this entry »


An interesting issue with the *nix ls command, or, why you should never begin a filename with a hyphen

In which I discover an odd error using ls and learn how to solve it.


Linux/Chrome on Chromebook using Crouton

There are many articles about this on the web. This is just a reminder to me as to what I’ve been doing.

Change boot to developer mode

Doing the following deletes all local data on your system. You can always reinstall the Operating System (Chrome seems to do that remotely). But your data is wiped after you do this.

  • Hold down the ESC + ↻ (refresh) key (the refresh key is where F3 would be on a normal keyboard)
  • While holding them down push the ⏽ (power) key (top right corner).
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Installing Vidyo on Ubuntu 16.10

I need to use Vidyo conferencing software for some projects I’m on. Because I just reinstalled Ubuntu 16.04, I needed to reinstall the Vidyo desktop.

This is not easy, since the installation file Vidyo directs you to contains a dependency that is not available on Ubuntu 16.10 (libqt4-gui).

There are various solutions out there, though I was not able to get the one proposed by Vidyo itself to work.

The one that did work for me is on the CERN site. Read the rest of this entry »


Displaylink and Ubuntu 16.10 and 17.04

I have a new supercool three screen setup in my office.

To run this, I am using two cables: A old-style displayport cable to the middle screen, and HDMI cables, via a Dell USB3 Docking station, to the side screens.

Running screens via a USB docking station requires me to use DisplayLink. Fortunately, Displaylink have an Ubuntu driver. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to work with 17.04 and getting it to work well with 16.10 LTS requires a little fiddling. Read the rest of this entry »


Updating Textpattern and Solving a Rewrite Problem

Just updated my CMS (Textpattern) to the latest version (6.4.2). I had to because the University just updated the PHP on the server and this broke the old install.

Everything worked great except for one thing: I could get it to work if I put the full URL to the index page in (i.e. http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel. Read the rest of this entry »


How to write to text pattern

This document is a quick primer on using TextPattern, the Content Management System that controls my web pages. It covers the basics only.

Log in

After I have made you an account, you should receive login information in an email. Read the rest of this entry »


Phonetic spelling exercise

This exercise is an experiment in “phonetic” spelling, that is to say the use of orthography to capture sound.

In doing this, we are trying to get a sense for how people in previous eras might have used one spelling system to transcribe another language—e.g. use French spelling to write Middle English, or adapt Latin letters to spell Germanic languages.

This is not an exercise in the use of modern Phonetic Alphabets (e.g. IPA). If you know phonetic transcription, try to ignore that knowledge here. Read the rest of this entry »


Sweetcaptcha WordPress Plugin deliberately creates popups

For a little while, I’ve been surprised by popups on my blog site dpod.kakelbont.ca (tl;dr: they don’t happen any more because I removed the SweetCaptcha plugin).

I’m not quite sure the contexts in which I’d been seeing them, but for whatever reason I thought they were coming as an artefact of something else: a bottom banner on my cellphone that I was accidentally touching or something similar.

But today it became clear that there really was Something Amiss. When I checked on both Chrome and Firefox, it was happening the first time I clicked on any page link in my site. It took a little while googling for a solution (turns out a lot of people want popups to appear in their Wordpress sites and most things I found were about how to make them happen).

Read the rest of this entry »

How to backup an Ubuntu system using Dropbox

How you do this depends on whether you are setting it up for the first time or want to restore already-saved files from Dropbox to their correct place.

First time (i.e. you have never used dropbox to backup your files)

  1. Install dropbox
  2. In the terminal, navigate to the Dropbox folder (probably ~/Dropbox)
  3. Soft link to each directory you want to backup in dropbox (i.e. ln -s ~/Documents ., ln -s ~/Desktop . Read the rest of this entry »

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