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Saturday, October 07, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

PulseAudio broken in Mint Sonya

I was running Mint Sarah and had recently upgraded to Mint Sonya and just noticed the Pulse developers decided to unnecessarily break Dolby AC3 support. Like all good Debian LTS releases, this will never be fixed by an update and you'll have to fix it yourself.

I found the solution here. Essentially just edit
and uncomment
and set it to whatever is reasonable for you.

Now I can go back to watching movies and hearing sweet helicopter fly overs.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The programmer divide

Over the course of time I've seen this ever growing division between two types of computer programmers.

Firstly there is the traditional "raw" programmer. This type like to own their code and nearly always program in C, sometimes Perl or Python but nearly always C. They understand how their program will compile and are okay with the fact that their code will compile a whole lot of evil "goto" statements.

The second type is the "library" developer. This type understand that writing code that has already been written is inefficient and use layers of other code to get code written quickly and beautifully. They will adhere to concepts like DRY and closures so their code is short and readable.

With the growing amount of computing resources (growing speed and memory) the first type of programmer should of died out but hasn't for three reasons. The first and most obvious is that these programmers maintain the base code for which libraries are written on and if they stopped doing it the second type of developer wouldn't exist. Secondly they are needed for raw speed, we've all seen that now common "spinning wheel" and love it don't we? Imagine if that happened when you went to start your car? Love gaming in JavaScript? Didn't think so. The third reason is to support the "library" developers when they get too deep and stuck. When this happens it's a simple case of finding out what's going on and how to fix it. Armed with tools like wireshark and a DASM "raw" programmers can come to the rescue.

The "library" developer is in high demand as they can solve problems quickly by standing on the shoulders of giants. They understand their code must be easily readable because of the next person who may work on it. Constantly learning about new programming strategies and libraries is of the utmost importance to keep their programming skills relevant and efficient. Regular progress and multiple projects are the norm for this developer. Writing code that uses a library and is used by a library will keep them in a job like the "raw" programmers.

Another aspect is these two types of programmers don't tend to get along, even though they need to. What I've seen is this divide growing. Will it get to the point where the "library" developers don't even know what a computer is doing? Will "raw" programmers be regarded as too inefficient and relegated to only writing computer games and operating systems or has this already happened?

My own personal experience with this issue came in the form of the language JavaScript, it's the programming language used by web browsers. I started out with the opinion I should write all my own code because that's what a competent programmer should do. Almost as soon as I started Microsoft entered the game and started messing with things. In the old days I dealt with this by making different versions of web sites depending on the supposedly standardised technology being used. After a while things like jQuery came along which provides a common library to mitigate the differences and I found myself being outperformed by programmers using jQuery. I learned the advantages of jQuery and came to love and embrace it.

It's obvious now that there's an entire industry to connect these two types of developers. People that maintain tools and libraries that run in between these two types are common, Atlassian make a lot of money from doing just that. Where will it progress from here?

Monday, September 11, 2017


I'm currently doing some WordPress administration for my psychic tarot reader
& counsellor friend Marilyn Vaccaro. Go here if you want to make a booking, especially if you are in the Byron Bay area.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

NBN Co explained

Yay Aussies, there is now a lot of discussion about NBN Co, how terrible they are and what not, and how they are now succeeding where they should have failed. So how did this come to be? Let me break it down for you, it's all related to this thing called the Internet which is the network of all networks.

There is a lot of discussion that the NBN Co was created to increase the speed of the Internet in Australia. This is sort of correct, but there is a lot more too it. At the time that NBN Co was conceived, the Internet (version 4), had a serious problem and that issue was not related to speed, but "addresses". Each device that connects to the Internet needs an "address" which is simply a number and version 4 of the Internet allows for 4,294,967,296 addresses. Whilst 4 over billion seems like a big number, think about the number of people and computers in the world, the reality is the great firewall of China" saved the Internet from dying ten years ago.

Now obviously the IETF, the people that govern the Internet, foresaw this problem and met together to address the problem. There were enough disagreements that version 5 of the Internet was scrapped altogether but they sorted out their differences and invented a solid version 6 of the Internet. Version 6 of the Internet has 3.40282366921e+38 addresses, almost enough to WiFi enable every second piece of sand on the planet, awesome!

Now the Internet version 4 and 6 needed to coexist whilst people transitioned from the old to the new. So what happened next? Everyone, and I mean everyone, realized we'd need to replace our copper cable with fiber optic cable to get new sweet speeds of the new sweet Internet version 6. Even the people running NBN Co (or whatever it was called at the time) knew this at the time.

Replacing all the copper with fiber was going to cost a lot of money. Fiber had already rolled out, the Internet would never have began without it, all the cities and telephone exchanges were already connected by fiber. It was the many connections between the exchanges and the houses that would need their copper replaced. It was going to cost billions, and so the NBN Co go their billions.

So what did the NBN Co do with their billions? Figure out ways to pretend they spent it on infrastructure! Tasked with the simple task of laying fiber optic cable to every single house in Australia NBN Co decided that rather than do this it would try to make money from an infrastructure project that was never ever going to make money.

So how did NBN Co manage to take in billions whilst not rolling out infrastructure? By lying to the public and creating a pyramid scheme. NBN Co decided do nothing and put out contracts for other companies to "upgrade" the existing infrastructure. NBN Co is upgrading the horrible cable network from DOCSIS 3.0 to 3.1 and simply quoting laboratory tests and future undeveloped technology. Whilst they were initially honest about it, they replaced ADSL infrastructure with VDSL2+ infrastructure (ie: not fiber). Naturally they failed because VDSL doesn't work as far as ADSL so to fix this they invented FTTN (Green boxes of VDSL2+ modems you can see all over the country side). Essentially NBN Co has taken billions and changed not much, just putting VDSL2+ hardware only where it is absolutely needed where fiber should have been placed and where DOCSIS 3.1 just dies, depending on who lives one the street.

So what is the end result? DOCSIS (the cable network) never has or never will meet the expectations set to the Australian public by Senator Richard Alston, will eventually be replaced by VDSL2+. All VDSL2+ boxes will be replaced by a company (most likely from Singapore) that will envisage the Australian dream of 100MB/s+ Internet speeds.

End result? The individuals that stole billions in the NBN Co project will get to keep it. When we do get fiber to the house, as we were told we would be, we'll find we're fifty years behind Vietnam in technology.

And get this, connecting to the NBN Co in Australia is compulsory.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ford EL and AU ECU location

Anyone Googling this and getting horrible results like this the answer is the passenger side kick panel. I should have guessed this because it's the same for a Nissan Skyline.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Find and remove duplicate files in Linux

After maintaining data for years and guessing I have terrabytes of duplicated data. I couldn't find a great solution so I made my own using fdupes.

Firstly, use eyeballs to ensure there will not be any problems:

fdupes -rnm .

If all seems well then remove the duplicates:

fdupes -rndN .

I'm sure this can be approved on. The fundamental concept here is to determine if there is going to be any problems before automatically deleting a bunch of files.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Install Google Assistant

I'm currently running a Moto G3 with Marshmallow and Google Now. My Google Now feed has been bombarded with articles about how I'm going to get Google Assistant for over five months now and as an Australian I thought it would have happened already. Despite what you may read, it isn't going to happen automatically and this article describes how to make it happen.

Firstly you should try Google Assistant via Google Allo to determine if you want it in the first place. Personally I ask AI systems "who shot first" to determine their quality. Google Assistant's comments about Chewbacca impressed me enough to make the switch.

A word of warning you won't find on the web: this process will destroy your launcher configuration and means you'll have to set up all your icons and widgets again. If you've ever moved from Lollipop to Marshmallow this is something you have become accustomed to anyway.

Are you ready to do this? Let's go!

Step 1: Make your phone American (it's only temporary). Go to settings then "Language & input".

Now change your language to English (United States).

Step 2: Kill Google. In settings go to Apps.

Now wait forever and find the "Google App".
Then go to Storage, Manage Space
And now click "Clear All Data".
Now go back to Apps and repeat the process for "Google Play services".

Step 3: Configure Google Assistant and rebuild the universe. Go back to your home screen and you should notice it has been destroyed. Swipe right to where Google Now was and it will ask to configure Google Assistant. Do this and rebuild your launcher icons and what not.

Step 4: Get the hell out of Dodge. Remember to go back to settings, "Language & input" and change your language back to English (Australia) or whatever. You'll have to keep your language as English (United States) or Google Assistant will stop working.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Krush, Kill 'n' Destroy rfkill


rfkill is the worst piece of software ever conceived, in a nutshell it is designed to completely destroy radio (eg. WiFi / BlueTooth / etc) right when you need it most. Why anyone would think that you would need to do this is beyond me (I'm not buying the "it uses less battery" argument, using a shot gun would be more elegant). Whoever though this needed to be installed by default in all Ubuntu distro's needs a mental health plan.

After dealing with years and years of agonizing pain because of this I found an elegant solution, remove it:

sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove rfkill

No more USB cables, booting Windows, and command line ninja mastery, this works! Even if you accidentally hit that mysterious checkbox in NetworkMananger the radios do not die.

I'd also like to thank the genius who though it would be a good idea to add "connect" buttons to network connections in the latest version NetworkMananger, you are a true visionary!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Upgrade adoptable USB storage in Android Marshmallow


I'm writing this guide for myself because I can't find much on the Internet about this. I haven't even tried this, I'm making it up as I go but trust me this is going to work or there will be blood.

  1. Install App2SD on the phone
  2. Backup app list using App2SD
  3. Disable USB debugging (if necessary)
  4. Set the USB mode to MTP (if necessary)
  5. Plug the phone directly into a PC (no USB hub)
  6. Browse to the SD contents:
    • If you are using Windows or a Mac, just do it
    • In KDE look in Dolphin's "places"
    • If you use GNOME put on your big boy pants
    • If you use Unity, check yourself into rehab
    • Or see 2
  7. Copy the SD contents to the PC12
  8. Switch off the phone
  9. Replace the old SD card with the new one
  10. Boot the phone
  11. Tell Android to delete the old SD card and pray
  12. Format and migrate to the new SD card
  13. Reboot the phone
  14. Copy the backed up data to the new SD card (I needed a File Manager and AirDroid for this)2
  15. Re-install App2SD
  16. Use Superman strength to replace the App2SD backup with the actual backup3
  17. Use app restore in App2SD to manually confirm to install each and every missing app
  18. Reboot the phone
  19. Put everything back to normal. 99% of apps will have fully restored data, use Superman strength for the 1%
  20. Try not to kill anyone

Easy huh?


I'm thinking my OTG cable could have really helped with this.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I use tmux because it is rather awesome and I have spent quite a bit of time developing a script to automate starting it. It uses screen compatible key bindings to help with muscle memory. It should just work on debian and be easy to adapt for redhat and others.

I'm not happy with the mouse mode component because it wrecks my OS clipboard functionality so I've still got some work to do (help?). With this much effort it would be a shame to not share it so here it is.

# first window is called console, top 60% is bash
tmux new-session -d -n console -s default
# remap prefix to Control + a
tmux set -g prefix C-a
tmux unbind C-b
tmux bind C-a send-prefix
# windows start at '1'
set -g base-index 1
# allow resize
tmux setw -g aggressive-resize on
# allow mouse mode
tmux set -g mode-mouse on
tmux set -g mouse-resize-pane on
tmux set -g mouse-select-pane on
tmux set -g mouse-select-window on
# lower left 50% x 40% is logs
tmux split-window -p 40 'bash -c "tail -Fn20 /var/log/syslog"'
# lower right 50% x 40% is htop
tmux split-window -h htop
# window for work (bash)
tmux new-window -c ~/Documents/Projects/ -n work
# window for root
tmux new-window -n root 'sudo su -'
# window for htop
tmux new-window -n htop 'htop'
# window for syslog 
tmux new-window -n syslog 'bash -c "tail -Fn20 /var/log/syslog"'
# focus on desired window
tmux selectw -t 0
tmux selectp -t 0
# wish I could remember what this does
tmux a -t default

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Google Now API

I've been wondering about how to do custom integrations with Google Now for quite a while and have finally found the documentation:

Thank you Private Public Transport Victoria for finally coming around. I'd like to shout out to the AFL and point out that an AFL match is an "event", much like an NRL or cricket match really.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Does anyone know the nerd from the Google Translate ad? I can't find the ad and keep thinking about it. The letters in his zipper and hair just need to go through a SOUNDEX and a dictionary before being thrown out. More false negatives will need to be dealt with but a whole lot less false positives. The false negatives can be improved by optimizing detection of known non-dictionary items like numbers.

Thursday, August 04, 2016


I have fixed this but it is really comforting to know that Canonical can get aptitude working in Windows 10 but not in Ubuntu
E: Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock - open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

blueproximity KDE

Not sure why:

rfkill unblock bluetooth


  • Lock command:
    qdbus org.kde.screensaver /ScreenSaver Lock
  • Unlock command:
    qdbus | grep kscreenlocker_greet | xargs -I {} qdbus {} /MainApplication quit
  • Proximity command:
    qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver SimulateUserActivity

From here!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

PulseAudio why so hard

The type of application I want to use is one where sound comes out of speakers. I have another where I'd like sound to come in through the microphone but I don't want to ask for too much.

:~ > pacmd
No PulseAudio daemon running, or not running as session daemon.
:~ > ps aux | grep pulse
pulse    30519  0.0  0.1 479048  8824 ?        S 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ok Internet

I suck at BASH scripting but make myself do it anyway. Even though I'm not supposed to go near toy ponies, today I wrote this for Ubuntu:

while true; do
        P=`ponysay -l | sed -r "s:\x1B\[[0-9;]*[mK]::g" | sort -R | head -n1 | tr -s ' ' | tr ' ' '\n' | head -n3 | sort -R | head -n1 | tr -d ' '`;
        printf "$N) $P says:\r\n";
        fortune -s | ponyfy | ponysay -F $P | pv -qL750;

I took the following from milesluigi @ reddit:

sed -e 's/america/amareica/g' -e 's/America/Amareica/g' -e 's/anybody/anypony/g' -e 's/Anybody/Anypony/g' -e 's/anyone/anypony/g' -e 's/Anyone/Anypony/g' -e 's/boy/colt/g' -e 's/Boy/Colt/g' -e 's/butthurt/saddle-sore/g' -e 's/Butthurt/Saddlesore/g' -e 's/children/foals/g' -e 's/Children/Foals/g' -e 's/child/foal/g' -e 's/Child/Foal/g' -e 's/cowboy/cowpony/g' -e 's/Cowboy/Cowpony/g' -e 's/cowgirl/cowpony/g' -e 's/Cowgirl/Cowpony/g' -e 's/gentlemen/gentlecolts/g' -e 's/Gentlemen/Gentlecolts/g' -e 's/everybody/everypony/g' -e 's/Everybody/Everypony/g' -e 's/everyone/everypony/g' -e 's/Everyone/Everypony/g' -e 's/feet/hooves/g' -e 's/Feet/Hooves/g' -e 's/folks/foalks/g' -e 's/Folks/Foalks/g' -e 's/fool/foal/g' -e 's/Fool/Foal/g' -e 's/foot/hoof/g' -e 's/Foot/Hoof/g' -e 's/girls/fillies/g' -e 's/Girls/Fillies/g' -e 's/girl/filly/g' -e 's/Girl/Filly/g' -e 's/halloween/nightmare night/g' -e 's/Halloween/Nightmare Night/g' -e 's/hands/hooves/g' -e 's/Hands/Hooves/g' -e 's/handed/hooved/g' -e 's/Handed/Hooved/g' -e 's/hand/hoof/g' -e 's/Hand/Hoof/g' -e 's/\bhey\b/hay/g' -e 's/\bHey\b/Hay/g' -e 's/humans/ponies/g' -e 's/Humans/Ponies/g' -e 's/human/pony/g' -e 's/Human/Pony/g' -e 's/ladies/fillies/g' -e 's/Ladies/Fillies/g' -e 's/main/mane/g' -e 's/Main/Mane/g' -e 's/woman/mare/g' -e 's/Woman/Mare/g' -e 's/women/mares/g' -e 's/Women/Mares/g' -e 's/\bman\b/stallion\ /g' -e 's/\bMan\b/Stallion/g' -e 's/\bmen\b/stallions/g' -e 's/\bMen\b/Stallions/g' -e 's/no\ one\ else/no\ pony\ else/g' -e 's/No\ one\ else/No\ pony\ else/g' -e 's/nobody/nopony/g' -e 's/Nobody/Nopony/g' -e 's/people/ponies/g' -e 's/People/Ponies/g' -e 's/person/pony/g' -e 's/Person/Pony/g' -e 's/philadelphia/fillydelphia/g' -e 's/Philadelphia/Fillydelphia/g' -e 's/somebody/somepony/g' -e 's/Somebody/Somepony/g' -e 's/tattoo/cutie\ mark/g' -e 's/Tattoo/Cutie\ mark/g' -e 's/the\ heck/the\ hay/g' -e 's/The\ heck/The hay/g' -e 's/the\ hell/the\ hay/g' -e 's/The\ Hell/The\ Hay/g' -e 's/troll/parasprite/g' -e 's/Troll/Parasprite/g'

To install:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vincent-c/ponysay
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ponysay fortune pv

The "P=" line basically asks ponysay to get a list of pony's it knows about, picks one at random, pivots that and does it again because there are three ponies per line to get the name of a random pony. Next it ponyfy's a fortune quote and uses pv to make it render slowly.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Big guns for fun

I've had some free time lately and I decided to adapt a scrolling shoot em up style game to have what everyone really wants, insanely powerful weapons. I found a good Java game to adapt and modified it until I was happy with the result. Update: I'm getting into github.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

BASH question

I have a slightly old Ubuntu based distro with a slightly new wifi card that has never had a working wifi driver so I've been having to bake my own. Of course every time a new kernel comes out I have to recompile it with my own wifi driver.

When, say, I'm on a moving train and I update my system, which in turn updates the kernel which then kills my wifi, which then requires me to download the latest headers to re-compile the wifi driver into the kernel, it feels a lot like my own personal hell. I've learned to deal with it by adopting the mantra "dealing with Linux drivers is like going to war armed with a teaspoon".

To save me a lot of pain, I have a BASH script that compiles the driver into the kernel and starts it etc. I also have a custom alias that updates my system, it runs apt-get update, apt-get dselect-upgrade etc, and the second last and important thing it does is download the current kernel headers. I do it with this:

apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

Running this command in a console does the job fine. But within my alias, it seems to grep a whole lot of crap back into it somehow, and I get what feels like a thousand different messages like:

Note, selecting 'libcpan-uploader-perl' for regex 'tree...'

I'd love to know why this happens, I'd probably be able to stop it if I knew why. I'm sure it has something to do with running a sub-command from within an alias. If you know BASH well and can explain this to me I'd greatly appreciate it. I expect most Linux users will ask why the f**k I use BASH and Windows users will ask what the f**k is BASH.

Here are the relevant parts of my ~/.bashrc :

alias nomnomnom='echo Updating repository...
sudo apt-get -yu update
echo Upgrading....
sudo apt-get -yfu dselect-upgrade
echo Updating kernel headers...
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
echo Cleaning up...
sudo apt-get -yu autoclean
sudo apt-get -yu autoremove
echo Done.

alias fixwifi='echo Shutting down WiFi...
sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
echo Making...
cd /usr/local/src/rtl8723
echo Installing...
sudo make install
echo Restarting WiFi...
sudo modprobe rtl8723e
sudo modprobe -r rtl8723e
sudo modprobe rtl8723e ips=0
sudo ifconfig wlan0 up
echo Done.
sudo ifconfig wlan0

I've come to the conclusion that backticks in an alias are just plain buggy in BASH so I've moved the alias to /blah/bin/nomnomnom and it just works now.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Minecraft fixed

Linux Notebook / Netbook users, I a have solution that will stop you from accidentally smashing your bed to pieces after waking up in the morning or pouring molten lava everywhere when you are interior decorating! Here is my /usr/local/games/minecraft:


# Chris' Minecraft launcher
# see:
# xinput list
# xinput list-props

# Disable synaptics touchpad tap
xinput set-int-prop 12 279 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

# Disable synaptics touchpad scrolling
xinput set-int-prop 12 270 8 0 0 0
xinput set-int-prop 12 271 8 0 0

# Start Minecraft
java -Xmx1024M -Xms512M -jar /usr/local/games/Minecraft.jar

# Enable synaptics touchpad tap
xinput set-int-prop 12 279 8 2 3 0 0 1 3 0

# Enable synaptics touchpad scrolling
xinput set-int-prop 12 270 8 1 0 0
xinput set-int-prop 12 271 8 1 0

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Maybe I do want a tablet

I'd be very interested if some one out there with too much time and money could take the time to post some photos of KDE running on the new Microsoft Surface Pro. I haven't seen the point in owning such a device due to the lack of useful features but getting a full blown Linux on it would be a different story.