I’m going to build on Jamie Zawinski’s excellent advice about backups, which you should read first. This is basically that, but with some extra bits. If this seems too complex, then just do what he says.

The plan is to use Backupninja to backup everything to an external USB drive — and also to Amazon S3 or Dropbox, depending on what it is. Backupninja provides a centralized way to configure and schedule many different backup utilities, just by dropping ...


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I recently needed to convert some FLAC music files from the increasingly common 48 bit encoding, down to 16 bit at 44100 kHz, so that they’ll play on my Sonos. Here’s how to do it:

If you don’t already have sox installed, do this to install it:

$ sudo apt-get install sox

Then run this to do the conversion, in the folder with music in:

$ mkdir resampled
$ for flac in *.flac; do sox -S "${flac}" -r 44100 -b ...

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A trip report from our Canada Day 2013 long weekend kayak camping trip to Thormanby Islands, Smuggler Cove & Secret Cove, on the sunshine coast.

We started at Welcome Beach on Saturday afternoon, kayaked over to Thormanby for lunch, then up and round to Buccaneer Bay - stunning camp on the dunes, then over to Smugglers Cove on Sunday. Camped there Sunday night, with a trip to Secret Cove in the afternoon, then back to Welcome Beach on Monday morning.

Map screenshot ...

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Compressing Limited Colour PNG images

Most of the .PNG files on this site are the ‘blueprint’ style diagrams, like this one:

Blueprint style diagram showing an optical microscope. The sample inside is magnified in a bubble to 2,500 times, showing it to be a complex, detailed paisley pattern.

This illustration is a large 5.6MB SVG file, mostly because of the very detailed paisley pattern that I used.

Exported to PNG - and then compressed using the process below, you can get this down to 118.5kB.

I create these in Inkscape as vector .SVG files & export them to bitmap .PNG files. I then re-compress them, to ensure ...


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Thunar's icon, a beautifully rendered, stylized version of Thor's hammer, Mjölnir.

Thunar - XFCE & XUbuntu’s small but perfectly formed file manager - has a simple mechanism that allows you to easily add new commands to the right click menu of files and folders. These are called Custom Actions and are easy to create… here’s how to do it.

Click the Edit menu, then click ‘Configure custom actions…‘. This will take you to the Custom Actions Manager, where you can create, edit or delete your custom actions.

You can enter anything into ...


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This is a Pelican plugin to calculate various statistics about a post and store them in an article.stats dictionary. You can see this in action in the sidebar on the left of this site.

Nice touch from medium.com - now available in Pelican.

I wanted to implement the nice little “X min read” thing from Medium - and it turned out that it was easy to provide a few other interesting stats at the same time, for people to use ...


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How much does a a software bot weigh, anyway?

Heavily modified & adapted from the original public domain robot on openclipart, posted by johnny_automatic.

reddit, the insanely popular internet community, had 71,435,935 unique visitors last month, with over 2,360,783 people logged in [1].

I say people - but it turns out that not all of the denizens of reddit are human. There are also bots. Lots and lots of bots. How many? No-one really knows. [2]

This is ...


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StackOverflow is made of people - lots and lots and lots of people.

Seemingly like every­thing else in the world, Stack Overflow is getting more & more competitive as time passes. Gaining a good reputation - and even finding good questions to answer - is becoming harder and harder, as more and more people compete for less and less unanswered questions.

This is fantastic if you want to find an answer - but makes it much harder for newcomers to get started and ...


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