You are here


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

HOWTO: ikiwiki + git

Ikiwiki is a nice wiki and a nice idea. Git (with its friend Cogito) is a nice source code management system. However, after spending many, many hours trying to figure out how to get them to work right together, it took Jamey coaching me to finally get the combination going. Since this seems to be due to the combination of a bizarre model with a strong insufficiency of documentation, I thought I should leave a record here…


HOWTO: Portland State WPA + Debian network/interfaces + wpa_supplicant

Update 2012-10-31: Spencer of the PSU CAT pointed out to me that this 6-year-old HOWTO is stale, and should no longer be used. Try instead…

Portland State has two ways of authenticating users of its 802.11 network. One is NoCat, about which the less said the better. The other is a somewhat idiosyncratic WPA setup. Jules Kongslie and I got a client working with it recently; here's how.


N200 + Windows = trauma

On my operating system of choice, Debian Linux, when you want to install and run something, you say "apt-get install " and it goes and gets the thing from the net and installs it and configures it properly. No prompts, even. Then you just run it…


HOWTO: Tracks + Debian + Apache 2 + SSL + FastCGI

I recently got the Tracks personal task management software and installed it and started using it. It currently contains 41 actions for me to execute. When I am done with this blog entry, there will be just 40. Everything must go in there.


HOWTO: Apache 2 SSL Name-Based Virtual Hosting

I recently reported being stuck trying to set up multiple SSL name-based virtual hosts on the same IP address with non-SSL name-based virtual hosts. Soon after, I figured it out. Shortly after that, one of my students suggested the same solution to me…

The key idea in achieving SSL name-based virtual hosts in Apache 2 is this: Apache's decision as to whether or not the connection is SSL is made by port number early in the process, just as one would hope. If Apache decides that the connection is SSL, it presents the site certificate.


HOWTO: Labeling Tiny Things

I've gotten tired of irredeemably losing tiny things—I just lost a $25 Bluetooth USB dongle. I also got tired of being unable to distinguish my tiny work keys.

Unless you are pretty dumb, you could figure all of what I'm about to tell you out yourself. But hey, it took me several iterations… Smile

What you'll need:


HOWTO: Debian SID + BitPim + LG VX5300 + Bluetooth

Been meaning to post this one for a while, but gah life is busy. As regular readers know, I upgraded my cellphone recently to an LG VX5300. I found out only after I got it home that it had only been out a week. Thus, there is currently no standard USB cable available, and no BitPim support. This means that there is no obvious way to get pictures taken with the lovely phonecam off the phone and onto my Linux box, or even to back up the onboard phonebook…


HOWTO: Dirvish remote device setup

I set up my laptop to do Dirvish again tonight. I had forgotten how non-trivial the process is if you want to follow the security guidelines. Here's a brief tutorial. I'll assume you have a working local Dirvish install, and have backed up your local root partition using it. My system is running stock Debian everything, if that helps…


HOWTO: Debugging for Newbies

This is the nth in a series of tutorials I don't have time to write, really. So it will be little more than a sketch. But I'm tired of telling this story in person, so I'd like to point people here first. Here's how to debug…


HOWTO: Tune a piano the Keith Packard way

Recently, my colleague Dick Hamlet did an amazingly generous thing. He gave me a beautiful old upright piano. He was moving, and didn't want to move it, so I had it hauled to my house. How cool is that?

The piano needed some work, so Keith Packard and Carl Worth did another amazingly generous thing. They came over and helped me fix the piano. Then Keith tuned it. This in itself took several hours.

My Mom used to tune our piano when I was a kid. Since then, I'd never seen it done. So I thought maybe some of you would be interested in how Keith did it. It's quite repeatable, actually; all the way to easy. It just takes time, patience, quiet, and a bit of equipment...



Subscribe to RSS - HOWTO