26 October 2013

node: No such file or directory

TL;DR: When installing the nodejs package on Debian, you'll probably need to install nodejs-legacy along with it.

If you are trying to use Node.js on Debian, you might get a node: No such file or directory error. I did. The root of the problem is that, 'Both LinuxNode (package "node") and node.js (package "nodejs") are designed to be accessed through the command name "node"' (bug #614907). Debian's solution is to make Node.js access happen through the nodejs command, move the command that previously used the node command to ax25-node, and (it seems) to let nobody use the node command.

Of course this breaks everything that expects the node command to invoke Node.js, and that's why you see the error. Fortunately, the Debian solution also has a workaround: package nodejs-legacy installs a symlink from node to nodejs.

08 September 2013


Quicktile is an nifty Python script by Stephan Sokolow that lets you tile windows in non-tiling window managers. I am currently using it with Xfce and Fluxbox (with and without xcompmgr). So far it has been pretty sweet.

The default key-bindings assume you have a numeric keypad, which my main lappy lacks. So, I cobbled together the following quicktile.cfg. It uses the alphabetic keys on the right side of a QWERTY keyboard, with key locations mapping to tile location. It also uses Windows+Alt to mask the commands instead of the original Ctrl+Windows.
cfg_schema = 1
UseWorkarea = True
ModMask = Mod1 Mod4

C = move-to-center
H = horizontal-maximize
V = vertical-maximize
0 = maximize
b = bottom-left
n = bottom
m = bottom-right
j = left
k = middle
l = right
i = top-left
o = top
p = top-right
KP_Enter = monitor-switch

16 June 2013

Controlling thumbnails in Thunar

Maybe I'm weird, but I don't like seeing thumbnails of my PDF documents in my file manager. This post pointed the way toward fixing that in Thunar. More concisely, Thunar uses a package called tumbler to generate thumbnails, and this is controlled by a config file. So, begin by making a local copy of the config file:

$ mkdir ~/.config/tumbler/
$ cp /etc/xdg/tumbler/tumbler.rc ~/.config/tumbler/

and then edit the local tumbler.rc file as needed to disable the unwanted thumbnailers:

# PDF/PS thumbnailer

You'll also have to delete the unwanted thumbnails from ~/.thumbnails/normal. I have a ~/.thumbnails/large as well, and those might need to be deleted too.

01 April 2013

Big Data wean?

Google's recent announcement to end Google Reader came as bad news to a lot of people, including yours truly. However, it might actually be precipitating my weaning off Big Data.

For a long time, it's been my intention to divest from or at least distribute my interests in Big Data. I am a heavy user of Google's search, Calendar, Gmail, Reader, and, of course, Blogger. I've repeatedly tried to find alternatives to all of the preceding before, and every attempt has ended with it just being too much bother and/or my not being able to find a workable alternative.

That's changed.

The impending demise of Reader got me off my butt and into finding something, anything (Big Data or not), that would work for me. And I think I've succeeded. It also just turned out that the best solution I found, Tiny Tiny RSS, is a self-hosted FOSS Web app. It's not perfect, mind you--but it does what I need it to.

Now this has got me going. Next up for me is Calendar--possibly using ownCloud, which could also replace Google Drive (which I barely use at all). Then probably my blogs--for which there are a lot of options.

Email and search? Those will be harder to find alternatives for, but you never know.

I intend to go with self-hosted or at least self-hostable solutions for all the preceding. The added burden is just part of the cost of maintaining a healthy technology ecology.