Learning Dvorak

March 28, 2010 at 5:17 am (commands, tips)

Dvorak Keyboard

So I’ve decided I’m going to start learning Dvorak as a layout for my keyboard. I’ve always wondered why people use that instead of QWERTY; this site explains it all:

http://www.dvzine.org/

Yes, I know, that site is hideous, but it does have a lot of useful information on switching. This is the easiest way to switch between keyboard layouts in Arch:

$ setxkbmap dvorak – Switch to Dvorak
&
$ setxkbmap us – Switch back to US [QWERTY] style layout.

My initial switch to Dvorak dropped my words per minute down to around 5. Major difference in speed. But with practice over the next couple weeks, my speed should improve and return back to normal (and hopefully much faster).

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Keeping Arch Clean

March 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm (arch, bash, commands, terminal, tips)

So I’ve been digging around on the Arch forums and came across a little script to run. It will show you what you’ve installed explicitly to help keep your system clean and free from miscellaneous packages. Simply save the following script to a blank text document (no file extension needed):

#!/bin/bash
pacman -Qei | awk '/^Name/ { name=$3 } /^Groups/ { if ( $3 != "base" && $3 != "base-devel" ) { print name } }' > exp_pkglist

Then simply run the file with this command:
$ bash FILE_NAME_HERE.

It will export all your explicitly installed packages (excluding base and base-devel) to a text file which you can then go through and $ sudo pacman -Rs PACKAGE_NAME_HERE. That should help keep your system clean.

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Bashrun

March 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm (arch, commands, install, tips)

Bashrun in progress

So, I’ve been getting used to using the terminal/command line a lot more since moving to Arch. In the process, I’ve been trying to run programs from the terminal. I find it to be much quicker than looking for it in the menu and getting used to that helps me troubleshoot my friends computer much easier. The problem I’ve been running into with running a program from the terminal, is that you can’t close that terminal or the program will close as well. I stumbled across a solution to that problem.

It’s called Bashrun and can be installed from the main repos: $ sudo pacman -S bashrun. Be sure to also install the optional file it suggests. It will give bashrun more functionality. What it does essentially is pop up a little box in which you can run your programs/commands from. It will then hide in the background (it’s a very small process).

Simply run $ bashrun and a small box will appear, then type in a program/command and hit enter. It will then hide and the command/program will run. Very useful. Here are some basic commands for the program:

$ bashrun –hide #Will hide bashrun
$ bashrun –show #Will show bashrun
$ bashrun –restart #Restarts bashrun
$ bashrun –su (cmd) #Run the command as root [note: don’t add the parenthesis]

Edit: Apparently xdotool breaks bashrun in the last 2 release. The devs for xdotool are working on fixing the problem of bashrun not closing once run, as well as –toggle not working properly

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My Minor Rant.

March 14, 2010 at 11:43 am (arch, friend)

I just wanted to rant for a bit since I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII the last couple days, and haven’t spent too much time messing around with my desktop. Anyways, so a couple of weeks ago, I figured it would be a good idea to switch my friend to Arch Linux from Ubuntu. The transition made sense as he kept asking for “the newest version of linux” and he was _slightly_ higher in tech knowledge then most people. I decided a rolling release might be a better fit for him. I went ahead and installed it on his computer as well as putting KDE on there and told him the few basic commands he would need to know to update his system as well as installing a package.

Unfortunately, I didn’t install all the applications he needed, so I spent a solid half an hour trying to walk him through installing an application over the phone. Of course with my luck, the packages weren’t compiling for some reason, and I still can’t figure out why one isn’t compiling. After a bit, we finally got the program he needed working.  You start to bang your head against a wall when I get asked questions like this: “It says ‘Proceed with installation? y/n’…what should I do?” I decided I would head over to his house the other day and see if I could walk him through a few more steps and see if I could just install everything he needed so I wouldn’t have to walk him through another half an hour or so just to install another program.

I arrived at his house and decided to install a few programs and update his system. I know his internet connection is fairly slow (150 Kbps download and wireless to boot) so downloading packages might take a while.  I turned on his computer and noticed he had about 6 panels at the top of his screen as well as a missing task manager. I had set up the panel bar at the bottom how he liked it BEFORE I left his computer at his house a few weeks ago. Everything was in disarray. I ended up deleting all 6 unwanted panels at the top of the screen as well as adjusting his bottom panel bar. I made sure to lock it again.

I went ahead and tried to install a few programs, I immediately noticed how laggy and slow his computer was with KDE. His computer isn’t slow by any means, but it’s not fast either (AMD Athlon 3000+ I belive, 512MB’s of ram, Nvidia 8600 GT). I simply had Amarok and Konsole open as well as his wireless loaded in the backgroud. Even with Amarok shut, it was still incredibly slow. Using packer took forever to load and download.

I decided I might try to see if his computer needed to be updated. Lo and behold, 500+ megabytes of files needed to be updated. Ugh…

I’ve been trying to convince him to switch to a lighter alternative which would drastically speed up his computer as well as cut down on the size of his updates. Something along the lines of XFCE or something. He didn’t seem to mind the sluggishness of KDE and is still fascinated by the beauty of it. I did suggest I should try to walk him through an Arch install after he gets used to the feel of Arch. That way he would understand his system much better and should be well enough on his own. He’s moderately tech savvy, but still has a fairly low understanding of computers.  I essentially told him to mess with and possibly break your desktop to get a feel for it. Afterwards we could do a full reinstall of Arch.

So, any suggestions on an alternative desktop that’s pretty and fast, or any tips on speeding up KDE? It’s unbearable to work on his computer. I have debated on putting an openbox install to boot into when I have to work over there.

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Learning Vim

March 13, 2010 at 7:56 am (commands, programming, tips, vim)

So I’ve heard all kinds of good things about Vim or Vi as a text editor/syntax highlight for coding. I’ve looked online for a few tutorials, but really couldn’t find much. I also tried using $ man vim and still didn’t find too much useful information. I did however stumble across vim’s built-in tutorial.

$ vimtutorial

It basically walks you through learning various commands. I also suggest opening a blank terminal next to vimtutorial since it has you use one part way through the tutorial.

If anyone has any suggestions for other nice tutorials for learning Vim, let me know.

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