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:


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):

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:

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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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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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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‘Embedded’ Terminal on Desktop

March 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm (commands, linux, terminal, tips)

My desktop with a terminal built in.
So I’ve been dinking around quite a bit with my desktop again and stumbled upon a juicy tip. I’m always trying to find ways of simplifying my life and this made it even easier. Since I ran into Tilda tossing up a ton of GTK errors, I’ve been looking for a drop down/always present terminal that wouldn’t show up in the system tray. I’ve seen a majority of people using Rxvt-unicode and heard it’s quite customizable. So digging around on the Openbox Wiki, I came across some tips about a transparent terminal. I had to modify it a bit since it wasn’t working properly, but the above screenshot is what it looks like. Notice no terminal in my bar 🙂

To achieve this, here is what I did. I installed Rxvt-Unicode in pacman.
$ sudo pacman -S rxvt-unicode.

I then added this to my ~/.Xdefaults file:


If you currently don’t have a .Xdefaults file, just simply create one in your home folder. Then I added the following to my ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml file:

<application name="urxvt">

Then the last thing I did was adding urxvt to the ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh file. Simply add:

# Urxvt Terminal on Desktop
urxvt &

You should be good to go after that. On a side note, those settings work for a dark/black wallpaper like I’m using. To adjust it for a light colored wallpaper, simply change the foreground to black and the cursor to black in the .Xdefaults file. You can also adjust the size and font as well as quite a few other things. If you’re interested check out these 2 pages:

Rxvt-Unicode Preferences in Xdefaults

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