Category Archives: Free software

Reliable 1Password backup written in Python

I’ve done a pretty deep dive comparing the features of various password managers, but one feature I didn’t cover in that analysis was backup for business customers. What commitments does the vendor make in terms of backup/restore? Do they promise to be able to restore data that is accidentally or maliciously modified or deleted by… Read More »

Hack of the day: stop accidental text scaling from brushing trackpad in GNU Emacs on macOS

I’ve been using GNU Emacs as my primary text editor and IDE for more than 30 years, so I’m not about to stop. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and all that. When I started my current job and had to start using a Mac for work instead of my preferred Linux, GNU… Read More »

Hack of the day: enhancing Eastern Bank deposit notification emails

I have my Eastern Bank account configured to email me notifications about checking deposits. There are three problems with these notifications: They include only the amount of the deposit, not whom it’s from. They only put the deposit amount in the body of the email, not in the subject. They email me about every deposit,… Read More »

Hack of the day: using the Google Fi “Messages for Web” app on Linux to open “tel:” links from the browser and elsewhere

Over on Github, I just published some code I wrote to implement support for “tel:” links for Google Fi’s Messages for Web app on Linux. In other words, if you have Google Fi and you use Google’s Messages for Web app on Linux, then once you’ve deployed my solution, if you click on a phone-number… Read More »

DisplayLink isn’t *quite* working in Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute)

[This article is obsolete, see the update here.] Earlier, I wrote that the current DisplayLink release for Ubuntu was finally compatible with Ubuntu 21.04 (“Hirsute Hippo”). I’ve since learned that I wasn’t entirely correct. It turns out that if you have a DisplayLink hub plugged into your Ubuntu 21.04 box when you boot it up,… Read More »

Convincing GNOME to allow remote desktop when screen is locked

Recent releases of GNOME on Ubuntu, and presumably in other distributions as well, finally support remote access to your GNOME desktop on both Xorg and Wayland from a VNC client. However, they do not allow you to connect to your desktop when it is locked, and similarly if your desktop locks — either because you… Read More »

DisplayLink is now working with Ubuntu 21.04

UPDATE [August 9, 2021]: It turns out DisplayLink doesn’t quite work in 21.04. See this blog posting for the latest on how to work around the remaining issue. Thanks to Peter Boros for pointing out that Canonical and Synaptics have made the fixes necessary to make DisplayLink work with Ubuntu 21.04 without any of the… Read More »

Here’s how I pick good passwords

A billion people have written about this before, but I like my approach, so I’m sharing it in case someone else finds it useful. Most of my passwords go into a password manager; those are long and random and generated by the password manager and I don’t care whether they’re easy to type or memorable… Read More »

How to undo a broken Ubuntu package update

I am often running prerelease versions of Ubuntu, for three reasons: (a) in general I like to help find with finding bugs in prerelease software that I use and benefit from, to give back to the community; (b) I specifically want to find and report bugs that impact me in Ubuntu prereleases to increase the… Read More »

Update on using DisplayLink with Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo)

UPDATE [August 9, 2021]: It turns out DisplayLink doesn’t quite work in 21.04. See this blog posting for the latest on how to work around the remaining issue. UPDATE [June 3, 2021]: DisplayLink works on Ubuntu 21.04 now without any of my fixes. If you’ve installed my fixes, see this blog posting for uninstall instructions.… Read More »