Category Archives: software

Install Simplenote on #Linux with @simplenoteapp

I missed the arrival of Simplenote on Linux – how wonderful.

Up until now I have relied on nvPY to add to and sync with my Simplenote account.
nvPY works really well – possibly even more smoothly than the new Simplenote app, which exhibits some of the glitchiness of it’s brower version – so if you don’t mind a little ugliness, stick with it. For the moment I’ll try both, side by side, to see which I prefer.

Simplenote on Linux fills in one of the missing gaps of ‘apps I missed from my Mac’.

#VPN and #LinuxMint auto-connect on start-up.

I have been using Nord VPN ever since I received the following notification from Twitter:

…we are alerting you that your Twitter account is one of a small group of accounts that may have been targeted by state-sponsored actors. We believe that these actors (possibly associated with a government) may have been trying to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses, and/or phone numbers.

I also, belatedly, turned on two stage identification for my Twitter account and changed my method of making and using passwords. But one of my most persistent problems has been my own fallibility – I search and email for half an hour after turning on my Linux Typewriter before Doh! remembering to connect through my VPN.

A quick search and I found this great explanation of how to set-up Linux to automatically connect through my VPN service at start-up. I added a delay of fifteen seconds to the Application Start-up settings to make sure the process worked every time.


#Artha ~ The Open Thesaurus #opensource #Linux

What a brilliant find. I installed Artha a few weeks ago and like all serial application fiddlers forgot all about it. Then, this morning I launched Artha by mistake and am pleased, grateful and enthralled. I’m pleased that I have this wonderful tool to use on my Linux Typewriter; grateful to Sundaram Ramaswamy for having the idea, and investing the time to make Artha; and enthralled, as I always am, by how perfectly formed free, as in freedom, and open source software so often is.

All the functionality you need in a thesaurus is there. There are no frills. Sundaram’s use of font styles, colour and layout is perfect. I appreciate Artha’s naming derivation from the Tamil: Arutham, and Sanskrit: Artha. I appreciate The Open Thesuaurs ~ Artha.

If you need a thesaurus on most Linux desktop environments, Windows or Windows Phone 7, Artha is for you.

#DuckDuckGo goes !Bang

I love DuckDuckGo !Bang.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine for finding what you want on the worldwide web. It’s unique selling point is that it doesn’t track your search history like all the other mainstream search engines. Which is just one good reason for trying it out.

Because DuckDuckGo also have a great search facility called !Bangs – these are special short cuts exclusive to DuckDuckGo that always start with an exclamation point, followed by a short cut letter, typed into the search slot. Like all useful computer tricks you have to have a need for the trick to find it useful.

I use Wikipedia a great deal and for this !bangs are perfect.

Go to DuckDuckGo and type an ! in the search slot. Some of the available !bangs will pop up. Type in the letter w directly after your ! – then a space – then your Wikipedia search word or words – click Enter.

duckduckgo bang

DuckDuckGo will go to Wikipedia, search, and return with the Wikipedia page you were looking for like magic.

For users of a Launcher Application such as Kupfer on Linux, you can enter a DuckDuckGo !bang directly without having to load a web page.

First, in Kupfer Preferences, enable the Wikipedia Plugin.

Now when you want to look something up in Wikipedia, while writing in your word processor say – Launch Kupfer – Type a period . (to start free text mode) – Type ! followed by w followed by your search terms – and Launch. You will be taken directly to the Wikipedia page from your word processor, in just a few clicks – wonderful.

To use a !bang other than Wikipedia choose from the others available, the YouTube !bang !yt is also very useful.

==DuckDuckGo !Bangs==

It’s ‘Quick look’ in #Linux via #kupfer – wonderful

One of the few tools I missed all the time, coming from Mac OSX to Linux Mint, is Apple’s Quick Look. Quick Look is a powerful and useful tool that it is easy to overlook, but for taking a peek at a document without opening it, it is wonderful. One click of the spacebar and a functional view of the focused document pops up for a word, image, video or sound file, which you dismiss by clicking the spacebar again.

While I was looking through Kupfer’s preferences the other day – Kupfer at its most basic is a launcher application – I spotted a plugin called Quick Image Viewer and guessed that it might offer a Quick Look facility – it does!


The facility isn’t available from the Linux equal of Finder so you have to access it via Kupfer, but this is no hardship at all, in fact it is exactly the same as using OSX Search. Invoke Kupfer with Ctrl+Spacebar, locate the file, hit Tab, type View, Enter, and hey presto. To dismiss the Quick Image View hit Esc.

This made my day and has improved an already top notch Linux Mint user experience to something that to all intents and purposes is as fine and useful as using OSX, but with none of the walled garden annoyances.

Adding emphasis in #Lyx – wot, no bold or italic!

An apparent lack of bold and italic in Lyx is something I’ve been aware of for some time now, but only today have I finally spent a moment to get  my mind around the answer.

In the Mail Archive, Lyx Users, I came across a thread which explains the philosophical and practical reasoning behind the general lack of bold or italic within Lyx, and the reason for the lonely Emphasis button.

Next week – I discover what the Noun button is for…

Adding accented characters in #Lyx #writing

I hope this helps any new Lyx users who need to add the occasional accented character.

I’ve just used up a half hour of writing time, doing something other than writing, just to discover the solution to a relatively simple task. How do I type the word fêted, complete with its circumflex ê, in Lyx?

Thanks to PaulJohnson32gm here is one solution that appears reasonably straightforward.

Either – go to View/Toolbars/Command Buffer or enter Alt+x – either of these actions opens a little window at the bottom of the Lyx screen. Leave the cursor where you want the accented character to appear, within your Lyx document, then click in the little box and type whichever of the following you need. The correctly accented character appears within your document.

  • accent-grave e
  • accent-acute e
  • accent-circumflex e

I know, this answer will be somewhere in the Lyx documentation. I couldn’t see it after 5 minutes; but DuckDuckGo and I found it in 5 seconds.

Thanks Paul.



In praise of #TimeMachine and #Grsync for #Linux Backup

One crucial file containing early work on my book was corrupted today in the move over from my old MacBook to my new Asus Typewriter. After a few seconds of horror I remembered that I had a Time Machine backup of the Mac’s contents. I plugged the backup hard drive in, fired up Time Machine and restored the file. Time Machine is such a good application that it’s almost a good reason to buy a Mac. But was there anything on Linux that worked that easily?

Searching brought up four likely candidates, all seemingly inspired by Apple Time Machine: FlyBack, Back in Time or TimeVault and Grsync.

I couldn’t get FlyBack, Back in Time or TimeVault to install, there were ‘missing dependencies’, your experience may vary, but this is something you sometimes come across when trying out Linux software. These problems are often fairly easy to overcome, with searching and crossed fingers, but for backup and not to waste any writing time I didn’t want to have to bodge something only to regret it later.


So, to the rescue came the visually unglamorous but perfect Grsync by Piero Orsoni. It installed from the Mint Package Manager and ran out of the box. Phew.

I’ve yet to set Grsync up with an external hard drive but it looks to have almost exactly the functionality of Time Machine, so I’m hopeful.