Tuesday, September 6, 2016

git: Using the branches in a remote repository

This is more of a personal note -- something that I need to record in order to use git efficiently.

If you git clone a repository in (e.g. from GitHub), you generally end up on the 'master' or 'origin' branches, assuming that you accept the default nomenclature for referring to a remote repository. To show the other branches available to you:
git remote show [origin]
git ls-remote
To show you what you are currently tracking:
git branch -vv
You can then switch to one of the remote branches shown in ls-remote:
git checkout remote_branch
You may find that git warns you about untracked files that are present that may be overwritten by changing the branch.

Assuming you have a bunch of untracked files or cruft that you are certain that don't need and you want to discard:
git clean -d -fx ""
... and then you can proceed with the checkout.

Monday, September 5, 2016

This is what replacement nibs (tips) for the GT-N8013 look like

Nibs for the Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8013 (first edition, from 2013) are increasingly  hard to find. An Internet search turns up a lot of tips that look like they're incompatible -- and indeed, they probably are.

It turns out that the nibs for this particular model are straight: no curves, no blobs -- just a tube of plastic with a rounded tip. A #2 Philips is included for scale:

And yes, you can just yank them out of the pen barrel.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Building Python3 modules from FreeBSD ports

If you're like me, you will have python2.7 selected as the default interpreter in your TrueOS installation. However, some programs may require Python version 3 (and associated python3 modules). However, there aren't many py34 modules available using pkg install.

The solution to the problem is simple if you have a FreeBSD ports tree installed.

To build a port for a specific version of python, execute:
Substitute X.X for the appropriate version that you require. Instead of the default py27-modulename, FreeBSD will build pyXX-modulename.

The default, of course, can be changed in make.conf (see man make.conf for details.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Prevent websites from hiding UI elements in Firefox browser window

This is freaking annoying
I find it very annoying when websites disable the menu bar, back and forward buttons, navigation bar, or bookmarks in windows. Banking websites and Paypal both have pop-up windows that 'castrate' my browser.

The JavaScript / HTML code that does this is quite straightforward; this is a comma-separated properties list of string tokens that define the new window behaviour:
window.open ("url","title",

It took some digging, but Firefox allows you to disable modification of the attributes of windows with a little bit of about:config magic. Simply search for disable_window_open_feature as shown below, and double-click on the attributes that you don't want websites to be able to enable or disable. My preferences are to manually set the following properties to true:

  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.menubar
  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.minimizable
  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.personalbar
  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.scrollbars
  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.titlebar
  • dom.disable_window_open_feature.toolbar

Saturday, February 6, 2016

LibreOffice: Interpreting CSV money "$XX.XX" as numeric value

For as long as I can remember using LibreOffice, I found that CSV files did not seem to be interpreted in a way such that monetary values preceded by a dollars sign (e.g. $12.34) would be interpreted as a numeric value. For example, when highlighting multiple numeric values, LibreOffice very conveniently shows the sum of the values in the lower-right area of the window.

The fix is simple. Check the box "Detect special numbers" as shown in the image below:

After this fix, LibreOffice very nicely formats any negative numbers in red ink.

Hurray! Now I'm all ready to analyse my 2015 expenditures!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chase Ultimate Rewards sale item: Kohl's card 10% off

As part of my quest to hunt for cash back credit card bargains:

As of Feb 1, 2016, I had about $100 of Chase Ultimate Rewards built up, and noticed the Kohl's cards are currently 10% off.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Microsoft Windows 10 (build 1511 / 10586, November 2015) update likely fails if you "forcefully removed" applications in Windows 10

Months after I had followed directions posted on Super User to remove arguably useless parts of Windows 10 (including Cortana), it seemed that Windows Update didn't work very well on this particular Windows 10 update. Executing the Get-WindowsUpdateLog command in PowerShell rendered a log file on my desktop that didn't contain anything useful.

I suppose that the answer to this problem is to use the Windows Media Creation Tool to perform the update, but without diagnostic logs to demonstrate where the failure was, I am reluctant to spend time attempting this.