linux

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Adventures in online lectures

A few weeks ago I started teaching a mathematics-course for first-year biology students, as part of a larger three-month Systems Biology course at the University of Utrecht. A couple of years ago the university started to record a number of its lectures, which were then made available online for students and the general public. I think that this is a very good thing in general. From an educational perspective, it allows the students to choose where and when they follow lectures, and it allows them to revisit subjects that they may find difficult.

Batch search & replace in PDF files

The other day I found out I had misspelled a word in a whole batch of automatically generated PDF files. Regenerating all of them would be a lot of work, as the PDF files were plots created using perl/PDL, gnuplot and epstopdf (available in texlive-extra-utils), and the input data was scattered over about 20 different machines.

Hardware 3D acceleration on an ATI Radeon 9600 mobile

UPDATE (2010-08-25): This article describes how to configure Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) for stable 3D-acceleration and desktop-effects with ATI R300 series (Radeon Mobility 9600 and similar) GPUs. On recent Ubuntu versions (such as 10.04 LTS) this should work out of the box, and making modifications to xorg.conf may actually introduce unwanted artefacts. Therefore if you upgrade from 8.04 LTS to 10.04 LTS you should remove your customised settings. See the description at the bottom of the article for more details...


Downgrading packages using yum

In Linux-land there are two major package management systems, APT/dpkg and YUM/RPM. My favourite of the two is definitely APT, which is mostly used by Debian and derivatives such as Ubuntu. Yum is used by Red Hat and derivatives such as CentOS, Fedora and SME, and works just fine for installing packages.

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