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A "HOWTO" guide describing the accomplishment of some (usually technical) task.

HOWTO: Debugging an ssh connection problem

I'm sick of trying to debug ssh connection issues; they're often hard, and I work on them just infrequently enough to forget everything I knew. This blog post is a note to myself about what kinds of problem to look for and where to look when ssh has gone south…


HOWTO: Starting debsums

I needed to run debsums on everything on one of my boxes today. A hack from the net helped me get it going…


HOWTO: Making Network Manager manage your wired network

This is a very short HOWTO that answers something that's been bugging me for months. Network Manager was finally working fine with my Debian laptop's wireless, but would not (as advertised) manage its wired connection. The solution was found in an obscure email list conversation. Go to /etc/network/interfaces and comment out the lines related to eth0. Then restart Network Manager or just reboot.


HOWTO: Replacing cryptoloop with dm-crypt in Debian

A while back, I wrote a little HOWTO on putting the cryptoloop module back in Debian. Yesterday, Josh Triplett pointed out to me that current dm-crypt can actually be used instead of the cryptoloop module to compatibly work with cryptoloop-formatted volumes. Huh.

It turns out to be as simple as

$ apt-get install cryptsetup
$ cryptsetup create -c mycipher -s mykeysize volume-label /dev/sdx7
$ mount /dev/mapper/volume-label /mount-point

Obviously you'll need to make some substitutions in the above. Use


HOWTO: Rotated Halftones in Inkscape

There are a few good tutorials on the web about how to get a (mediocre) halftone screen in Inkscape (1, 2). (The GIMP, by contrast, has a special halftoning plugin that does a nice job. I wish that Inkscape had one of those.)

One thing that none of these tutorials tell you is how to rotate the halftone screen. This turns out to be important, since unrotated screens of different colors do not overlay well.

In this tutorial, I summarize the basic technique for halftoning in Inkscape, and suggest a way to do rotation…


HOWTO: Putting cryptoloop back in Debian

Update 2010-11-20: It has been pointed out to me that dm-crypt can handle cryptoloop volumes. Thus, you may choose to ignore this HOWTO in favor of one on how to do that.

For reasons detailed in Debian Bug #559961 the cryptoloop module has been dropped from the Debian kernel as of the 2.6.32-trunk binary packages. I've filed a complaint at that bug. I know what I'm doing, and am unhappy that the Debian kernel maintainers have taken it upon themselves to gratuitously delete functionality from the Linux kernel image…


HOWTO: Disabling Emacs' new "mandatory" splash screen

With emacs 22, apparently someone got the idea that it would be a good idea to drop you into a splash screen rather than your edit buffer when you say "emacs -nw filename". Sending an edit command, such as control-L to refresh the screen, shows you the buffer you wanted to edit. Good plan.

HOWTO: Picking "random colors"

So, a friend's project tried to blind me today with a hideous "random color" for a large area of text. The quotation marks are because it's hard to say what a "random color" even means. For most purposes, it means a color that is chosen solely as a label, and that therefore can be anywhere in the color palette. The usual constraint is that a set of labels need to be chosen, and so successive random colors should be easily distinguished…


HOWTO: Debian + Drupal upgrade

I always forget to take notes when I do a Drupal upgrade. This blog entry will be my notes for this upgrade of my home boxes. I will use it in turn to upgrade FOB, and then hopefully use it again when it's time to upgrade again in the future…


HOWTO: It's All Text + gnome-terminal + emacs

A while back I commented that I might switch to It's All Text for writing my blog posts. I really like having access to full GNU emacs features and its reliability for editing text. It's All Text (IAT) is an Iceweasel plugin that promised to give me that by actually allowing me to invoke emacs directly on a text box in my browser.



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