technical

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Tweaking Ubuntu fo the Lenovo Flexpad

I don't like to get new equipment if I have old equipment that still works fine. My Asus A2500S laptop is now more than 10 years old, and although it has received a few small repairs and a memory upgrade over the years, it still works fine. Its Pentium 4 Mobile processor may be a power hog, but it's not slow. Its main bottleneck is memory. The full Ubuntu is getting a bit too heavy for the old guy, but Xubuntu still runs like a charm. On the other hand, at over 5 kg (including power-supply) the thing is HEAVY.

Replacing the volume knob on a Kenwood amplifier

For some reason, repairing broken equipment is one of these tasks that I tend to put off for months, if not years, because it feels like it's going to be a lot of hassle.

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.

Fixing video drivers in Linux

One of the drawbacks of a monolithic kernel is that you're often stuck with outdated drivers that don't work for your hardware. Even if a fix is available upstream, there's no easy way to update just a single driver. Luckily, LinuxTV now at least offers a script to automatically recompile the entire Video4Linux subsystem against your current kernel version, and replace the default modules with the latest versions: http://git.linuxtv.org/media_build.git

On Filesystems

Filesystem types and (lack of) compatibility

PDF Tips & Tricks

Repairing a damaged PDF-file

Ghostscript can "repair" some damaged or buggy PDF-files, by regenerating them. Try something like: ps2pdf damaged.pdf fixed.pdf

Assorted Ubuntu Problems (and how to solve them)

I've been running Ubuntu as my main operating system since around 2004, and I must say I love it. However, every OS has its problems, and Ubuntu is no exception. Here's a few I ran into, and how I solved them (or not).

The Mystery of the Lost Diskspace

Use and abuse of the Facebook "Like"-code

A while ago I noticed that a lot of my Facebook friends "liked" a page called "This Man Took A Photo Of Himself Everyday For 15 Years In A Row, Look at the Results!", or something similar. Curious as to what that was about, I clicked on the link. It transferred me to a page that, in addition to embedding the (rather cool) video "Living My Life Faster" by JK Keller (don't worry, harmless link), added itself to my "liked" pages without my approval...

Useful graphics software

Here is a list of some graphics software I find useful:

Raster graphics

The GIMP A cross-platform photo and image editor
Phatch A cross-platform photo batch processor
IrfanView An excellent image viewer and batch processor for Windows (which runs fine under Wine as well)

Vector graphics

Inkscape A cross-platform vector graphics editor, which is easy to use

OSS4 on Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx)

After upgrading to Ubuntu 10.4 LTS, I was happy to notice that audio in all applications (including Skype) was finally working perfectly! However, I was less happy to notice that Pulseaudio was using quite a lot of CPU-time, and that the sound quality was absolutely awful... So I decided to give OSS4 a try. After some googling, installing a few packages and some minor configuration, OSS4 was up and running, and I must admit the improvement in sound quality is rather significant!

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