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How to pixelise a picture area in the Gimp

September 3rd, 2007

The most common use of this is to blur faces in photographs.
Select area, then Filters → Blur → Pixelise.

XEmacs: how to change fill-column on the fly

September 1st, 2007

XEmacs uses fill-column to break lines at a width defined by the user, either automatically as you type, or whenever you hit M-q, depending on whether auto-fill-mode is set to 1 or to −1.

For me, the default is set to 70 in ~/.xemacs/init.el by this line:
(setq default-fill-column 70).

If you want to change fill-column temporarily for the current buffer, you’ll figure out quickly enough that you can use M-x set-fill-column or C-x f. However, if you’re hoping to use that and then just enter a number, it doesn’t work, but instead XEmacs complains:

set-fill-column requires an explicit argument

You need to give that first using C-u.

For example, to change fill-column to 80:

C-u 80<RET>C-x f<RET>

To change fill-column to where point currently is, omit the argument to C-u:

C-u<RET>C-x f<RET>


Maybe I made a mistake, or maybe things are different with Emacs, which I am now using. In any case, on Emacs, you should not hit enter between C-u (and its argument, if any) and the C-x f. So the commands to type would be:

C-u 80 C-x f


C-u C-x f


Getting information about your Linux system

August 31st, 2007

To see which kernel version you are running:

uname -r

To see which version of Ubuntu you are running:

lsb_release -a

To get information about installed hardware:


To see whether the kernel detected plugging in of an external device:

dmesg | tail

Using your linux machine as a router

August 23rd, 2007

The wireless card of my old old old Toshiba laptop (urmel) seems not to be getting along with the 128bit WEP key. Since I use it only very rarely, I’ve now set my everyday laptop (audrey) up to act as a router for urmel, using these instructions:

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The next level for Firefox smart keywords: yubnub

August 20th, 2007

I’ve written about Firefox smart keywords before. Now, I’ve just come across yubnub, which takes smart keywords to the next level. In fact, yubnub is much more useful and general, a “social command line for the web”, but for starters, you can use it just as you would smart keywords, with the difference that they are stored online. The immediate benefit is that you can access them from any computer, but the option of piping commands that are hosted on different servers means this has much more potential; read more in this blog post by the yubnub author.

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