Life

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Discovering your Debian version

Today, I dug out an old Lex Light fanless PC which I haven't used for years. The first thing I had to do was find out the version of Debian it was running which I normally do by checking the contents of the sources.list file. I wondered if there was an easier way to find out the current version and indeed there is:

abcde

In the "old days" I used a really nice GNOME GUI app called Grip for ripping CDs. The interface was so nice that I would invariably use it for playing CDs too. I decided recently to make copies of my CDs for use on my tablet and mobile 'phone. However, I was dismayed to find that my old standby no longer existed in Debian. Unfortunately, the last stable release of Grip was in 2005. Around 2010, due to bugs, it was dropped by Debian.

There is a very similar GUI app, for ripping anyway, called Asunder but it doesn't seem to allow sorting rips into Artist/Album/Track hierarchy instead opting for Artist-Album/Track. So, for example, this would give Queen-A-Day-At-The-Races/ and Queen-A-Night-At-The-Opera/ as the top level directories rather than just Queen. I'm fussy, I like things just so. The hundreds of CDs in my collection with sometimes multiple albums per artist would give me too many top level directories.

My favourite software package names

Free and Open Source (FOSS) software projects often have humorous names for their packages. Some of the earliest FOSS projects, from the 1980s, used recursive acronyms for their names. A recursive acronym is where one of the constituent letters is provided by the acronym itself. Probably, the best known example is the GNU project which stands for GNU's Not Unix. Many years later the graphics package GIMP arrived, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program[1].

New Xiph video

A while ago I wrote about a great little Digital Media Primer from Xiph.org. Well, the follow up video took a little while longer to appear than I anticipated or as is ironically stated on the website 'Continuing the "firehose" tradition of maximum information density'. Regardless, the second video is well worth watching as it is both educational and presented in a entertaining manner.

Creating lined writing paper using GLE

First steps

My journey began when I was searching for a way to produce some lined paper, with a very particular layout, that my girlfriend could use to practice her calligraphy skills. Initially, I investigated some graphical applications with the usual point-and-click interfaces such as GIMP, Scribus and Inkscape. As excellent as all these applications are I found it was tedious using them to create a precise, repetitive layout that was likely to need refining many times. A typical problem is: realising that you made a mistake when drawing line 1 when you are already on line 44 and all previous lines now need to be shifted.

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