Tips and Tricks

Installing RubyGems on Centos 5

This should apply to RHEL5 as well, but I haven’t verified yet. The easiest solution I’ve found is to simply install Ruby and it’s dependencies and then install RubyGems from source. I’ve written a small script which installs Ruby and it’s dependencies. It then grabs the RubyGems source tarball and installs Gems from source. As I wrote this to get a working Chef install, it also adds an opscode gems source.

Dress-up your Firefox

I just stumbled across a Mozilla Labs project called Personas. It’s light-weight theming for Firefox that can be changed without restarting the browser. After you install Personas, you get a new menu entry Tools->Personas for Firefox, where you can quickly change the persona you are using. From what I can tell, Personas seem to change the your browser toolbar and menu font colors and usually add a lightweight background picture. According to the website, the project has been going since Dec 2007, so there’s a lot of Personas to choose from.

Combine your partition space with mhddfs.

As I was browsing the Gentoo forums today, I came across a very interesting post. A user had 2 partitions on different hard drives that he wanted to combine the space on. Ok, well the interesting part was one persons reply about a new fuse filesystem called mhddfs. He pointed out an article on that explained a bit about this new filesystem and how to use it. Sure, there’s multiple ways to combine the two drives, but this one is pretty intesting.

Conky now supports MOC player

So, I found myself tweaking my Conky rc file today. I’ve been using mocp for playing music becuase it’s a really lightweight, versatile and can run detached from the console. I really wanted to see my currently playing music info on my desktop in Conky, but Conky’s documentation shows no mention of any support for moc and thier are no mention of variables to use for the config. So, in doing some googling, I found a website that has a patch for moc support and also mentions that it’s been in Conky since September 28th!

Huge List of Tips and Tricks

I can’t believe I never saw this before. Sourceforge has an absolutely HUGE list of tips and tricks. There’s hundreds of Linux tips and lots of programming tips as well.

Using CPAN Unattended

CPAN is great for easily installing and updating Perl modules. I use it all of the time on my servers. It’s a lot easier than managing Perl modules through the systems package manager. The problem is, when you want to install or update a Perl module, it asks you if you want to follow and install all of the dependencies and the dependencies for that… and so on. Sometimes you want to be anal and make sure it doesn’t install any extra crap, but quite often, it would be nice to just have it install what it needs automatically, so you can walk away and do other things while it’s installing.

Quick and Dirty Linux Load Testing

Today I had a need to keep the load on a server at 20 for an extended period of time. I was doing this to test notification escalations in Nagios. So, I found a nice little program call cpuburn-in that will load a processor at 100%. It’s just a tarball with an executable and a single README file included. To run the program, call the executable and supply the number of minutes you want it to run.

Quickly get up to 5% more disk space from your ext3 volumes

I’ve seen many websites that have pretty much the same ext3 performance tips, but I just came across this one today that had something very useful on it. It turns out that the ext3 filesystem by default reserves 5% of the disk space of the volume just in case the volume fills up. This would allow the system to continue running and allow the root user to still log in and clean things up.

Cheat Sheets for Front-end Web Developers

In this article, you’ll find 23 excellent, print-ready cheat sheets for HTML/HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (including MooTools and jQuery). read more | digg story

Powerful CSS-Techniques For Effective Coding

In this post we present 50 new CSS-techniques, ideas and ready-to-use solutions for effective coding. … There are some very nice techniques here. Item #43 is very cool. It might come in handy for a site I’m currently working on. read more | digg story


I finally hope to start using this blog. At the very least, I want to start putting Linux tips and tricks in here. Most will probably be from the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter, while others may be original. :)

Searching For Ebuilds In Overlays That Are Not Locally Available

With the diverse array of overlays now available to the community, one of the issues a person might have is finding that overlay that is just right for the package they are looking to install. Unfortunately, the default search capabilities of portage are only able to search though overlays that have already been installed on your system. Stefan Schweizer has written an excellent article at his Planet Gentoo blog this week detailing the workings of a tool that makes searching through remote overlays a much easier task than ever before.

Using a 32-bit mplayer with 64-bit kmplayer

On amd64 systems, you can use media-video/mplayer-bin to play multimedia files that require 32-bit only codecs (win32codecs), but mplayer doesn’t look as good as the 64-bit native version and it doesn’t integrate very well with the system. KDE users can emerge kmplayer - a KDE based “front end”. If you use konqueror, kmplayer adds a plugin to the browser. For this tip to work, you will need to unmerge your native mplayer, if you have it.