La France

1 August 2009

So I found out where I’ll be teaching next year. I’ve been posted to a place an hour north of Strasbourg, with a pathetic train service. I’ve thought about getting a car, but that doesn’t solve getting from the Eurostar/Airport to wherever it may be that I end up living. It’s certainly an interesting predicament, but saying that I still haven’t introduced myself to the school yet, which is something I should probably do sooner rather than later. As I feel just a little bit ill from too much alcool yesterday I suspect I ought to put this off until tomorrow. I’m told no-one will be reading it until la rentrée in September, but it’s probably better to organise things sooner rather than later in the vain hope that someone will reply. I’m quite excited about the whole thing really, but strangely not as worried and anxious as I might expect. I’m sure they will come in time.


32-bit Skype on 64-bit Ubuntu

18 June 2009

“It’s not possible”, they cry! Well, get off your soap boxes dear heretics, it is in fact entirely possible. (If you don’t have problems with pulseaudio, that is)

So, step one. Download the official Skype client for linux to your desktop from their website, you want the .deb for Ubuntu (ignore the version numbers, it’s fine).

Step two.  Install libqt4-gui and libqt4-core, either through synaptic or in a terminal.

sudo apt-get install libqt4-gui libqt4-core

Step three. Let’s play dressing up, we have to convince the package manager to install Skype against its will. That happens to be quite easy. Open a terminal window, and run this command:

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture ~/Desktop/skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_i386.deb

What it does is talks directly to the package manager and asks to install the file we downloaded, but doesn’t check the type of system it’s supposed to run on against the type of system you have.

Easy peasy!


Find messed up references in Writer

21 May 2009

I’m anal about essays, beautiful essays are important, nobody wants to read ugly text for any long period of time.
References always have to have a space between the (p)p. and the page number(s). This regular expression finds the ones your tired eyes missed:


Handy, ey?


Gnome DO Quick Tip

12 May 2009

Press Shift-Return to launch the action you’ve just described and keep Gnome DO visible. The Escape key will clear your last text entry and start again.



28 April 2009

Sometimes things aren’t as exciting as you would expect them to be. Obviously going to Tesco is never that exciting, finding the brand of peanut butter I love was slightly exciting, yet it was a little disappointing. Even if in this case it did make nice chicken satay while that lasted (It wasn’t about long)!

Other things are however more exciting, but boasting is wrong.


Thumbnail woe

26 April 2009

Point 1: The new exam timetable system looks pretty, but doesn’t seem to be a marked improvement on what we had last year. When you download your exam timetable it erroneously tells the computer it’s HTML not a PDF, so you need to change the extension to make it work properly. I have reported this to them, I doubt anything will happen or that they will give me a response, I’m still waiting for a reply to the email I sent almost a year ago.

Point 2: Because my computer read the PDF as HTML the pretty thumbnail was garbled text, the question is how do you fix the thumbnail. Thumbnails are saved in ~/.thumbnails/normal with really helpful names (they look like md5 hashes perhaps?). The answer lies in the tracker-thumbnailer tool.
$ tracker-thumbnailer /path/to/garbled/thumbnail/file
will give you the location of the thumbnail image which you can rm then run
$ tracker-thumbnailer /path/to/garbled/thumbnail/file mimetype normal
which will recreate the thumbnail. You need to change the mimetype to reflect the type of file, such as application/pdf or image/png (there’s a little more help on the man page).

Point 3: There must be an easier way to do this


This video is not available in your country

7 April 2009

…because you are dirty. You know that is what they are thinking – you just know it. Still, slightly annoying.