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2023-04-09 📌 Project Zebra: Gimme that sweet sensation of a rock hard rationalisation

Tags 🏷 All 🏷 Linux 🏷 Tech 🏷 Personal

This entry is part of my Project Zebra series covering migration to Linux for personal computing use.

Title reference: Garfunkel and Oates, The Loophole.

Time to clear some things out of my notes. Speaking of which, having a document for blog and other notes isn't cutting it any more. Years ago I used something called TreePad from Freebyte, which might have been the original GUI hierarchical notes app but it was around since 1996 and certainly seemed to help to popularise the concept. According to a comment on the developer is deceased, which hits rather hard because it brings home that the early days of the web and many software projects are over a quarter of a century ago now. A maintained one, which I'm typing in currently, is which is in the Ubuntu repos and does everything you'd expect. A quirk of Plasma as DE makes the tray icon low resolution so I think I'll use KDocker for that instead.

I've removed Ghex, because it experienced the same interface degradation as Gnome projects like Gedit, and installed Okteta (a native KDE application) for those occasional hex viewing requirements.

Memo to self: an LG G6 retail demo unit can be charged past 50% when not booted into the nobbled firmware. Simply power off, restart with the volume down and power buttons held, briefly pause holding the power button at the LG logo screen (this bit may not actually be necessary) then continue to hold both until the recovery screen. Judging by eBay the price of a G6 unit like this is now about £25 (or £60 for an actual phone handset) but it was definitely worth a midpoint price to get one a couple of years back, the camera is a nice point-and-click with good low-light capabilities.

As someone put it, these days there are lots of "devices that degrade into a limited set of functions" and it's nice turn of phrase. The set is quite large though, particularly for Android devices. Phone handsets (or demo units, as I've often gone for and which occasionally come up cheaply on eBay) on wi-fi cover a multitude of usage cases that previously an MP3 player, radio, camera, remote control, torch, security camera viewer, authenticator, small tablet for browsing and video, etc would have been relevant to. It's less large with eg an older Apple tablet that can't get updates or most apps now, isn't rooted, can't sideload apps, etc.

At the end of 2022 Amazon launched a 10.2" Kindle Scribe for about twice the price of a 10.1" Kindle Fire tablet (i.e. four hundred quid bracket) still keeping with grayscale but with a stylus. I think this is another case of E Ink patents harming the possibility of a consumer market for devices in this size, but it's interesting that Amazon have gone for it and I wonder if a bit of a pre-owned market might develop. I'm probably not getting one even if they come down in price a lot, that ship has sailed.

Also a memo to self: as of January 2023 it seems to be possible to move a Win11 taskbar using HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StuckRects3 with 00 = left, 01 = top, 02 = right, 03 = bottom + restart explorer.

Cubic is a project that allows you to do with Ubuntu what Microsoft used to call slipstreaming i.e. adding updates and additional software into a set of installation files. This can be useful to for instance add VeraCrypt to a bootable ISO so that it's possible to access backups graphically without needing an installed virtual machine.
sudo apt-add-repository universe
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:cubic-wizard/release
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --no-install-recommends cubic

Note that it requires a normal Ext4 file system and fails if you happen to be using the somewhat rare case-insensitive flag.

Per there's a Xubuntu PPA with VeraCrypt: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unit193/encryption

Also on the subject of running separate environments whilst VirtualBox built-in shared folder functionality is a bit of a pain with Linux VMs it's pretty straightforward to access Samba shares on a networked host from a client VM:

sudo mount -t cifs // /home/vmuser/share -o username=***,password=***

An easy way to show a persistent terminal view of the output for a command line application is with the “watch” command, eg “watch sensors” to check temperatures without adding a graphical widget. Source:

From the terminal you can type "xdg-open ." to open the current folder in your default file manager. Source:

Audible requires a fricking browser extension to control the volume.

And it's not alone in this, Bandcamp doesn't provide a volume control either.

MPlayer is much better than MPV at handling the jumpy streams produced by Tapo cameras:

mplayer -ao null -loop 0 -xy 800 -geometry 50%:50% rtsp://

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