Archive for the 'Computer' Category

Jul '07
Install new themes for kopete
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

I grew bored with the default look of kopete and installed a few new themes. It’s really simple:

  1. Settings->Configure
  2. Appearance
  3. Chat Window

Now you have reached the screen where you can choose the theme you would like to use with a preview showing how the new theme will look.
Read the rest of this entry »

Mar '07
A few new useful bash keybindings
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

I started reading “Learning the bash Shell” again because I suck at shell scripting. But before I reached the shell scripting part, I was playing around with bind because I wanted to move a few of the Esc-… key bindings to more ergonomic combinations. While looking for examples I found exactly what I was looking for on a site by Petar Marinov:

# ctrl+left/right arrows:
bind '"\e\x5b\x31\x3b\x35\x44"':backward-word
bind '"\e\x5b\x31\x3b\x35\x43"':forward-word
# alt+backspace:
bind '"\xff"':backward-kill-word
# alt+'.':
bind '"\xae"':yank-last-arg

Ok, and now back to shell scripting :-(

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Feb '07
Yahoo Pipes
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

pipes logo
Some time ago I was writing about my idea of powerful rss filters to control my flood of incoming posts. I wrote a small prototype with very limited functionality. It was good enough for me but I always dreamed about releasing it to the public. But configuration via text configfile is nothing for the general public. OK, back to the subject.

pipes screenshot
editing a filter to combine all my feeds

Last week Julian told me about It is everything I wanted plus a lot of other features. Processing starts with “sources” with output that can be piped into “operators”.


Right now, there are 5 types of sources available: Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! Local, Fetch, Google Base, Flickr. For my purpose “Fetch” was already sufficient. Given an URL it returns the feed content for further processing.


  • Union: combines two feeds
  • Sort: sorts items by a number of different criteria
  • Filter: blocks items matching certain rules


Within a few minutes of playing around I build an RSS feed for all my blogs combined into a single feed.

Feature requests

I don’t know I anybody from the pipes team reads this post (if they do: great tool! please keep improving it!). Pipes is already very powerful, but a few things could be even better:

  • Union operators with any number of inputs. As you can see from my screen-shot, just combining 6 feeds is already messy
  • Debug the debug view. When I was playing around, the debug view was frequently missing items.
  • Shrink the boxes. My screen is 1600×1200 and was barely big enough to show my configuration
  • Friendly URLs: is ugly

Jan '07
No review of “The Ruby Way”
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

I bought The Ruby Way a few weeks ago and thought it would be nice to write a short review about it. But I won’t, because there are already many reviews about it. The excecutive summary: it’s good, really good.

Dec '06
Bash shell goodies
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

I stumbled over three very handy shell variables CDPATH, HISTCONTROL and HISTIGNORE.

  • CDPATH takes (just like PATH) a list of directories to use for tab-completion for cd, e.g. export CDPATH=".:~/:~/work/:~/download/" gives me a tab completion for the current (don’t forget this one!), my home, my word and my download directory.
  • HISTCONTROL can be set to ignorespace, ignoredups or ignoreboth. The first ignores lines starting with a space (I’m not sure, why this is useful :-)) but the second causes bash to ignore duplicates. The last one turns turns both options on.
  • HISTIGNORE takes a list of patterns for commands which should not be saved, e.g. export HISTIGNORE="rm *:cd *:[a-z][a-z]" ignores rm and cd with any parameter and every 2 letter command.

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Nov '06
Apple rocks
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

nano image

This morning I finally ordered an Ipod Nano Red. I submitted the order around 10:00, I received an order confirmation at 10:40 saying my order will be posted today or tomorrow. A few minutes ago (19:40) I received the shipment notification saying my Nano is on its way. It took them less than 10 hours to process my order, which included engraving the Ipod, which earned them another happy customer and some free advertising :-)

Update 29.11.
I received my Nano yesterday, less than 36h after posting the order. I’m quite happy with it, except for one annoyance which is completely my fault: I forgot that the port on my laptop is only USB 1 and it took ages to put all the music I wanted on the Nano.

Nov '06
37signals “Getting real” for free
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

Just a short note for people like me who wanted to purchase Getting Real but forgot about it: it is available for online reading.

Nov '06
German ThinkGeek clone
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer, Fun

I love ThinkGeek and all the useless gizmos they sell. But it has one huge disadvantage: obscene costs for shipping. I was happy to find out about, a German online store, that sells similar stuff.

Nov '06
Rubyforge down again
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

Rubyforge seems to be down again. A working mirror is (thanks Robby Russell).

Oct '06
How to remove old kopete status messages
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

Kopete allows you to quickly add a message whenever you change your online status. Just click Set Status -> Online -> New Message and enter a new message.

kopete screenshot

But there is no way (at least in the graphical UI) to remove these messages again. These messages pile up and the UI is cluttered with useless old messages.

To remove unwanted messages, close kopete and edit .kde/share/config/kopeterc. You will find a section [Away Message] with a Messages entry. As you have probably guessed by now, this entry contains a comma-separated list of your away messages.

[Away Messages]

And now I have to set my online status to work again :-)

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