Fix Black on Black Highlighting in Evince

A Band-Aid for Google’s Search Tracking

There are some appealing aspects of Google. Namely it actually finds what you’re searching for. Often with uncanny accuracy. On the other hand, it frequently lies to you about what it’s doing, redirecting and rewriting links on the fly. Which I’m not a fan of. I have been using my hosts file to block googleadservices.com, but this is sometimes a hassle as links don’t really work transparently anymore. As I already run a server on my machine I thought, why not do the redirect myself. Here’s what I came up with, I have no experience with javascript so I’m sure this could be better in more than one way, but it does seem to work.  Please leave a comment if you see an improvement.

<html>
<head>
<title>Google Pagead Redir Test</title>
</head>
<script>
var prmstr = window.location.search.substr(1);
var prmarr = prmstr.split ("&");
var params = {};

for ( var i = 0; i < prmarr.length; i++) {
    var tmparr = prmarr[i].split("=");
    params[tmparr[0]] = tmparr[1];
}
var target = params.adurl;
target = target.replace("%3F","?", "g");
target = target.replace("%3D","=", "g");
target = target.replace("%26","&", "g");
window.location = target;
</script>
</html>

Accessing Journals from outside your Institution’s Network

I had been using the proxy for my university, which allows you to submit a link to get a proxied url, but I noticed in the status bar that it was really just adding a .ezproxy.stuff.morestuff.evenmorestuff to the url, and thought there might be a better way of doing this. A little googling found I wasn’t the first person to think about this. I found a few solutions, but the most elegant by far is to use greasemonkey to rewrite urls. I didn’t investigate the source of this addon too much, but it seems to work for me. And without going through the “this article is a bazillion dollars”, back button, submit url, get article for free dance.

Here’s the greasemonkey script: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/42011

The Goldman Steady State Flow & Potential a Worked Example

I found this annoying, mostly because I couldn’t find an unambigious explanation in all my searching for the life of me.  After trying all the possible definitions I finally arrived upon the one that made sense.  I’m attaching it as a spreadsheet to this post in the hope that it is useful to someone in the future.

Goldman Steady State Example (Spreadsheet)

SphinuxOS now with 150% more speed

There is at the present a news story that is making big ripples in very small puddles. Namely some Egyptian coders claim to have a new OS which is 150% faster than linux, while using 1/3 the memory (depending on how you interpret their English). Being somewhat technically inclined I decided to give it a test drive. You can see a (long) video here, here are some of my first impressions:

Pros:
KDE
Comes with apt-get, sudo, some other Debian like things

Cons:
Huge image size (2.5gb)
Gparted without much guidance
Only KDE (no gnome, xfce, other)
Difficult to build packages (pkg-config is broken)
Lacks polish (firefox installed by default, but outside path)
Meh performance (in a virtualbox), would be a meh, but if you’re going to make fantastic claims I’m going to judge more harshly.

Meh:
Average download speed
Install is reasonably easy

Debugging lightdm

Lightdm is a nice display manager, which best I can tell does nothing other than provide a nice graphical login screen (someone correct me if I’m wrong). But I sort of built up my install from bits, and I hadn’t been able to get lightdm to work, so I was always starting xfce via startxfce4, and logging out via xfce4-session-logout (there might have been a better way to do that latter bit). But I decided to give it another go, and found that you can simulate lightdm via “lightdm –test-mode”, which told me that lightdm was starting then immediately crashing. Not terribly helpful. But wait there’s more, lightdm also accepts a debug flag, so “lightdm –debug –test-mode” told me something useful.

[+0.13s] DEBUG: Failed to load session file /usr/share/xgreeters/default.desktop: No such file or directory

Interesting at least, so I browsed over to that directory, and found that unity-greeter.desktop was the only thing in there. So I just symlinked from the only option to where lightdm seemed to be looking and voila, it started. You might have a different issue, but hopefully getting some good debug output will help.

An Interesting New Camera

There are a couple of main trends in cameras these days, many of which benefit everyone who takes photos, but a few of which try to pigeon hole any photographer into narrow definitions. For example sensor technology improves every year, leading to lower noise sensors for everyone. The other trend at the moment is towards smaller cameras, but almost exclusively through removing the mirrorbox and optical viewfinder. I like optical viewfinders, in fact I love optical viewfinders. Using an optical viewfinder makes using cameras more fun to me. To the degree that I like old film cameras because they have viewfinders that put the best of today’s cameras to shame.

One of the cameras I own (and starting a sentence thus is a sure sign I own too many cameras), is an olympus 4/3 camera. The 400 series, which is their intro model. I considered the 500 series, which might have gotten me a slightly better sensor and in body stabilization. But after thinking about it, the lighter weight and increased portability of the smaller camera won me over. But four thirds seems to be a dying system, no matter what Olympus might say. The last four thirds camera released was a few years ago, and the lenses are getting more difficult to find every day. So while it’s a great system, it’s almost like using my old film cameras. Amazing technology & utility, but sadly no longer made.

So I was excited to hear that Canon is introducing a new camera this year, I believe it’s the Rebel SL1, or 100D. And it’s essentially one of their crop sensor cameras, except miniaturized to the degree possible while retaining an aps-c sensor. So modern sensor (win), great lens selection (win), optical viewfinder & smaller size. If I were looking for a camera this one would certainly be near the top of the list. Probably my biggest worry would be the mirror instead of prism viewfinder. Now if only I had a collection of Canon lenses instead of Nikon.

Anyways, gizmodo did a nice write-up & you can see the specs on Canon’s website.

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