Electrum vs Multibit: a Bitcoin thin client comparison

I couldn’t find a decent comparison between Electrum and MultiBit, so I downloaded them both, and decided to write my own. They’re both excellent Bitcoin thin clients; and for the average user, the choice likely doesn’t matter. If your Bitcoin client needs are a little beyond basic, keep reading for a showdown of Electrum vs MultiBit.

I’ve written a follow-up to this article: Bitcoin – Two (ish) Years Later Continue reading “Electrum vs Multibit: a Bitcoin thin client comparison”

How to convert videos for the VTech Innotab 3 on Mac and Linux via the terminal

Innotab 3 Photo

I picked up an Innotab 3 for my son’s 3rd birthday, and one of the selling points for this, aside from being a rugged (hopefully) kid-proof tablet, was that I could encode his favorite movies and put them on there for him. A Google search yielded tons of how-to videos on this subject, but the problem with them all is that they’re either not free, only for Windows, or some convoluted single-purpose bloatware. That being said, I took it upon myself to solve the problem. Continue reading “How to convert videos for the VTech Innotab 3 on Mac and Linux via the terminal”

Mute KDE from the Terminal

I’ll preface this by saying I like to listen to classical music. The problem is, that a certain streaming music service plays its classical music quietly, and it’s advertisements insanely loud. As a result, my comfortable classical music turns into this obnoxious loud cacophony of crap every time an ad comes on. Usually one of those you-appear-to-like-classical-why-not-listen-to-this-idiotic-rap-song adverts that make you listen to the first 15 seconds of some sheer garbage song.

I solved the problem by writing a shell script to just mute KDE, wait 30 seconds, then restore the volume. This gets triggered from a keyboard action.
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How to paste your password into the sign-in form on Guru.com

Guru.com does something terribly vexing – it disables (purposely) the ability to paste, copy, drag, and drop into the password box on their login form.  They claim it’s a security measure, but it impedes my ability to use KeePass to manage my passwords.  I got fed up with this, and decided to write a user script (Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey) to correct this idiotic behavior.

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Decimal Hour Display in Task Coach

As a freelancer, it’s imperative that I keep track of my time spent per client. The problem, is that while Task Coach uses hour:minute:second to format effort totals, my invoicing/finance software, GnuCash, uses decimal hours. This makes transferring times from my Task Coach to my invoices a bit onerous.

I’ve looked around, and couldn’t find anything on how to make Task Coach use decimal hours, so I dug around in the source code and implemented it myself.  The patch is below.  This is a simple fix – there’s no settings for it, it simply switches the display of efforts to decimal hours.

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Saitek Eclipse II Left Control Key Anomaly

left control key

I’ve noticed another issue with the Eclipse II – the left control key takes harder pressing to activate.  I surmise this is deliberate – most FPS games require hammering and/or mashing the left control key to fire the primary weapon.  On Linux, where many of my terminal operations and application shortcuts make heavy use of the left control key (think emacs, or simply sending a process a SIGINT) it can be quite annoying.  While there’s no fix, as usual, I’ve got a handy workaround (for KDE users).

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Saitek Eclipse II Backlight Color Change Button on Linux

The Saitek Eclipse II has an annoying issue under linux: pressing the button to change the keyboard backlight color causes the mouse to act up until the keyboard is unplugged/replugged, resetting the color back to blue. It does this by simulating a key being held down, but not released. I’ve not found a solution to this, per se – but I have found a simple workaround.

To prevent the keyboard from screwing up the X11 session, just switch to a console first. Pretty easy. Let’s review.

  1. Press CTRL-ALT-F1 to switch to a text console.
  2. Press the color change button all you want.
  3. Press CTRL-ALT-F7 to go back to X11.

Logitech Solar App on Mountain Lion

If you use any of the Logitech solar keyboards on the Mac, you’ll sooner or later find out that Logitech provides this really cool application that lets you see how charged your keyboard is, but additionally, the amount of light (in lux, approximately of course) that the solar cells are getting. While the application is awesome, it does have a minor issue: it runs a service which does not terminate with the application, and writes several lines to your log every second until the keyboard hits a timeout. Not only is this wasteful of system resources, it also will fill up your disk with meaningless log entries. Fortunately, the fix is easy since your Mac provides all the tools you need:

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Brother HL-2230 via LPR/LPD

I have a Brother HL-2230 that’s shared via LPR on my router. Up until today, it’s had this issue with printing multiple copies, or anything involving printing more than 1 physical page. It worked fine if plugged into a computer (my Linux machine, or my Mac) via USB, but something about sharing it via the network has always had this issue. I’d blamed it on the printer, blamed it on CUPS, blamed it on the individual application.

I’m posting this not to complain, but because I searched everywhere online for a solution and came up empty-handed. This is actually a very good printer, considering it only cost me about $60 online.

Turns out it was a pretty simple fix…
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