Quick notes on “mediumish” Jekyll theme

  • Author profiles are stored in the _config.yml
  • Post formats:
    bq.. layout: post
    title: “Title”
    author: name // matches _config.yml
    categories: [one,two]
    tages: [first,second]
    image: assets/images/example.jpg
    description: “snippet”
    featured: true // put it in the splash
    hidden: true //seems to remove it from the listing below the splash
    rating: 4.5
  • Filename: yyyy-mm-dd-title-you-want-in-url

Trying to work out where the card css is stored:

Gnome extensions not working in Ubuntu 21.04 (solved)

A couple of useful tools that I rely on a lot are caffeine (a tool for disabling the screensaver) and, especially, system monitor (a tool for tracking memory use, CPU use, and so on). With the rise in online meetings due to the COVID emergency, this last has been particularly important: Firefox and Zoom together can rapidly cause trouble and it’s important for me to see when I’m about to run out of memory or my CPUs are straining.

With my update to Ubuntu 21.04, Hirsute Hippo, I somehow couldn’t get either to work. I installed the Gnome Shell extensions add on to firefox, but no mater how many times I turned things on there, nothing happened in the system bar.

The answer in my particular case was that the place to turn extensions on is via the Gnome-Tweaks tool. That was it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Setting up Firefox after new install

I just updated my operating system from Ubuntu 20.10 to 21.04. This was an upgrade, rather than a new install, but one of the things it did was replace my Firefox with the latest version.

I’d been having trouble a while ago with Firefox eating up all my memory and processing power and had made a number of changes that, while solving the problem, I forgot to write down. Installing the new Firefox deleted these leaving me with issues again.

Bulk converting and moving docx files to pdf

The issue I had was a set of student assignments downloaded from Moodle. Most were in Word format (.docx), but to grade them quickly I wanted them in pdf.

The Moodle download was a zip file that expanded to a series of directories of the format “studentName/randomwassignmenttitle.docx.” So I also wanted to collect all the files one directory higher up BUT add the student names to the files.

So to put in steps:

  1. I wanted to convert all . Read the rest of this entry »

Joining a Todoist project

This is a quick reference for people joining a project set up by me in Todoist.

1. You’ll get an invitation from me

You’ll get an invitation by email to join the project. After you accept it, tasks can be assigned to you.

You can email tasks to the Board

One of the great strengths of Todoist is that each project (in fact each card) has both a URL and an email address. You can email tasks to a project and comments to a card.

When you email a task to a project,

Read the rest of this entry »

How to uninstall Shift from a linux computer

Shift is an app that allows you to combine several productivity apps in a single package — email, calendars, and so on. I hope to use it to combine my union and university accounts.

I’m having some problems getting it to work, however, the various tech people keep asking me to uninstall Shift before or after doing something. Unfortunately, unlike a lot of applications, Shift doesn’t come with a handy uninstall.sh to match its install.sh installation script.

It does have relatively clear uninstallation instructions on its website, though you need to find them (I didn’t see any direct links from any page dealing with installation) and there’s an error in the Linux instructions. Since I have to keep finding this page and then rediscover the error every time, I thought I’d record the corrected instructions here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Rotating one or more pages in a PDF in linux

Had to rotate a single page of a PDF. Here’s how to do it using pdftk (from makandra.com):

  • rotate page 1 by 90 degrees clockwise:
pdftk in.pdf cat 1east output out.pdf # new pdftk
  • To rotate all pages clockwise:
pdftk in.pdf cat 1-endeast output out.pdf # new pdftk

The east etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Various remote work guides and tips

Here’s a place where I’m collecting various tips and tricks for remote work in light of the University of Lethbridge moving to “alternate methods of delivery.” I’ll update this as I go.

Some Zoom tips.

The university is encouraging us to use Zoom for meetings, office hours, and classes. Read the rest of this entry »

Zoom in the time of COVID-19: Setting up Zoom for classes and office hours at the U of L

The University of Lethbridge is moving to an ‘alternate delivery model’ for classes as of Wednesday March 18. Mostly, this seems to me subscribing to Zoom, a widely-used teleconferencing system, and encouraging faculty to use it. Since the University of Lethbridge has not previously subscribed to Zoom, this means that a lot of faculty members will be doing two new things starting on Wednesday: using Zoom and teaching on Zoom.

I’ve used Zoom a lot in the last couple of years for my research (in fact my lab has a subscription of its own). The following are some tips and hints for faculty that are using it for the first time to teach. They are based on my experience running workshops and meetings, rather than teaching. I’ll update them as I get tips and experience. They are not meant to replace online guides to using Zoom (such as this one from UC San Diego). Just things you might not think about or see in such guides. Read the rest of this entry »

Fixing “Failure to download extra fonts” error in Ubuntu 19.10

I’ve had an annoying issue with Microsoft’s core fonts installer: no matter which mirror I choose, I get a “failure to download extra data files” error every time I boot.

I found the answer here: https://ranatauqeer.blogspot.com/2019/03/failure-to-download-extra-data-files.html

The second method worked for me:

If it doesn’t work, than opt for manual installation of ttf-mscorefonts-installer as below:

Go to Debian’s Site and download the latest ttf-mscorefonts-installer_3. Read the rest of this entry »

Fixing a Thunderbolt dock/display issue on Dell XPS 1300 in Ubuntu by unlocking Thunderbird

I came into work this morning after taking a week off.

I plugged my notebook into my docking station as usual, but couldn’t get the screens or wired internet to work. When I went to Settings > Display only the built in display was showing rather than the three I have attached to my docking station. I could turn the computer on and off using the button on my docking station.

I did the usual things when the docking station doesn’t work exactly as it should:

  1. Restart the computer
  2. Cold boot the computer (i.e. Read the rest of this entry »

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, humblerise.com(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
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 »


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