duncanlock.net

As I mentioned previously, this site was put together using Pelican - a static site generator, written in Python.

Blueprint style diagram showing a brown Pelican
Figure 1. Pelecanus Occidentalis - the Brown Pelican. Original clipart Flying Pelican from OpenClipart, by molumen, Public Domain. More on Pelican, the bird.

Static site generators take your content, pour it into your templates and output the result as static pre-generated HTML, CSS, JS & image files. You can then just upload the resulting folder of output to your server and you’re done. All you need on the server is a web server of some sort, like Apache or Nginx - anything really - all it’s doing is serving static pages.

The huge advantage of this setup is simplicity:

  1. You can write your content in Markdown [1], reStructuredText [2] or AsciiDoc [3] - all simple text formats, designed to facilitate writing and get out of …
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Ever tried to copy something onto a USB flash drive, only to discover that the file was too big to copy?

This is because most USB Flash drives are formatted using the FAT32[1] filesystem - which only supports individual files up to 4 GB in size, no matter how much free space you’ve got. It also only supports drives up to 2 TB, can’t store symbolic links, can’t store files with these characters in the name: "*/:<>?\| – and is generally pretty crappy.

The solution is to use a better filesystem

There are many filesystems to choose from - but there are a few criteria that a good USB flash drive filesystem needs to meet which cut down the choices quite a bit:

  • Compatible with every computer - just plug it in, and it should work
  • Has no permissions, or optional …
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I recently needed to convert some Apple Lossless music files to FLAC. Here’s how to do it:

If you don’t already have ffmpeg or libav-tools installed, do this:

$ sudo apt-get install libav-tools

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

$ for f in *.m4a; do avconv -i "$f" "${f%.m4a}.flac"; done

And that’s it - it will convert all the .m4a files in that folder to .flac files, preserving the metadata. You can now delete the .m4a files if you want:

$ rm ./*.m4a
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Blueprint style diagram showing the compose key sequence for the Euro currency symbol.
Figure 1. Just hold down your chosen compose key, then press the other keys in turn: [compose key] + e + = gets you a Euro symbol.

The compose key on Linux is incredibly useful, but not configured by default - and on XFCE there’s currently no graphical UI to change it. However, it’s pretty simple to change…​ here’s how to make the Caps Lock key your compose key:

In the file /etc/default/keyboard, change XKBOPTIONS to look like this:

XKBOPTIONS="compose:caps"

Save the file. You can now either reboot, restart X, or see Activating your change without rebooting, below.

If you don’t want to use Caps Lock as your compose key, there are some other options to choose from in this file: /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/xorg.lst - search for ‘compose’, they’re listed towards the …

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