From Pine View Farm

Geek Stuff category archive

Meta: A Little BASH Script for Scaling Media 0

You may have noticed that I rescale embedded media to 500 pixels in width. When I started blogging, 800×600 monitors were still not uncommon, and 500px seemed a sane choice. I’ve maintained the practice for consistency’s sake.

At one time, I maintained a spreadsheet of common dimensions and their scaled values. I could enter the existing values and it would calculate the scaled ones, then I could save it with the additional data.

Ultimately I replaced the spreadsheet with a command line alternative, which works quite nicely (if you can remember high school math, you’ll recognize the equation; piping the output to bc is necessary because BASH by itself can parse only integers):

echo 500/[original width]*[original height] | bc -l

This outputs the proportional height.

Here’s an example:

bash-4.3$ echo 500/640*423 | bc -l
330.46875000000000000000 < ---I round the output to the nearest integer

Read more »

PolitiHack 0

Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning website devoted to checking the factual accuracy of US politicians’ words, appears to have been hacked so that it secretly mines cryptocurrency in visitors’ browsers.

Coin Hive is a legit outfit that offers free JavaScript to web admins . . . .

However, the code hidden on at this moment appears to be malicious: it is completely non-throttled, and kicks off eight instances of the miner, which means it hammers the visiting machine’s processor, taking up 100 per cent of spare processor capacity.

The story goes on to say the malware was removed within hours after discovery.

(Link fixed.)

Geeking Out 0

Listening to Old Time Radio with Real Player in a Virtual Machine of Windows 7 in VirtualBox on Slackware –Current.


Twits on Twitter 0

Electrotwits in blue.

The Snaring Economy 0

You’re on the air at your AirBnB:

A tiny black dot on the Longboat Key bedroom smoke detector was enough to alert an Indiana couple that something was wrong.

Sure enough, when the couple got a closer look, what appeared to be a smoke detector was actually a camera pointing directly at the bed, according to ABC Action News.

Details at the link.

The Internet of Targets 0

Is nothing sacred?

AIMless 0

AOL Instant Messenger will be shut down in December.

I still have an AIM account. Mostly I use the associated email account as a spam trap.

I think the last time I used the instant messenger was in 2008.

“Free Weights and a Bicycle” 0

Some Weights

I have a new podcast up at Hacker Public Radio.

Geeking Out 0

Debian Sid with the KDE Plasma desktop environment.


Facebook Frolics 0

The Register explains why, in the “social” media industry (and it is an industry, not a service), cluelessness is not a bug; it’s a feature. A snippet:

No one at Facebook had any idea anyone might use its ad tools to target “Jew haters,” said COO Sheryl Sandberg earlier this week.

Of course not. Facebook, like its rival Google, thrives on the income of ignorance and contrition.

To prevent money laundering, financial institutions must comply with know-your-customer laws.

Facebook and Google know everything about their product – the people who use their free services – but as little as possible about everything else, because knowledge goes hand-in-hand with liability.

You Are a Commodity 0

Facebook Frolics 0

Delusions of grandeur frolics.

There’s a reason I seldom log into Facebook. (When I do, it’s because that, if you want to do reach-out, you must reach out to where the people are).

Facebook as a company–remember, it’s company that desires profit, not a community–is a vortex of [de/il]lusion.

Even as it preys on its users, Facebook pretends that it is a community.

It’s not.

It’s a milking-machine for profit. It’s a really well-designed milking-machine, but a milking-machine that is suckling on your anatomy none the less.

Do not fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

Adventures in Malware 0

I suspect the mope is having second thoughts right about now.

After a three-day trial this week, Mittesh Das, 48, of Atlanta, Georgia, was found guilty by a jury in North Carolina of knowingly transmitting malicious code with the intent of causing damage to an Army computer used in furtherance of national security.

Specifically, Das deliberately introduced malware – seemingly designed to delete files and knacker services – into the US Army Reserve payroll systems after his employers lost the contract to provide the technology. The military estimates it cost $2.6m to fix the damage.

Gaming the Google 0

That seldom works out well.

Geeking Out 0

The Enlightenment v. 21 desktop environment* on Mageia 6.


*Some contend that E is a window manager. They’re wrong for this reason: Enlightenment configuration is managed using GUI tools, not text configuration files. That lifts it out of the “window manager” category.

Meta: Maintenance 0

My hosting provider has notified me that it will be doing maintenance on my VPS (and, I suspect, numerous other VPSs) starting this evening. The site may be unavailable for short periods over the next 24 hours.

Stray Question 0

Who is Google anyway to presume to tell me what items in my Gmail inbox are “important” and which are not?

Read more »

Facebook Frolics 0

The trolls come out to frolic.

Geeking Out 0

Slackware 14.2 with the Window Maker window manager.

Window Maker

Click for a larger image.

Window Maker is the one major *nix window manager I haven’t played with, other than the tiling window managers, which are not to my taste. I’ve used Blackbox (there once was a Blackbox for Windows but the maintainer’s site got hacked and he abandoned the project, but it was a pleasure to use); IceWM; Fluxbox (my favorite window manager); and even TWM, the oldest (some would say “most primitive”) of all.

Window Maker is much more versatile and configurable than I expected. It’s been around for a long time and is still actively supported.

I expect to have fun playing with it.


Window managers are unknown on Apple and Windows; their default interfaces are “desktop environments.” If the terms puzzle you, this may help.

Geeking Out 0

Slackware 14.2 with the old FVWM desktop environment. Fifteen years ago, FVWM was in vogue because it could be used to make a Linux distro look (sort of) like Windows 95. I’m running Slackware –Current on this here computer, but I have 14.2 in a VirtualBox virtual machine because I’m considering taking another shot at LFS.

Several years ago, I used FVWM for a while on Debian just for fun, but KDE or Enlightenment it’s not.

FVWM is still around and still supported, but not very popular any more.

Slackware with FVWM


I’m using KDE on all three of my computers right now. One is running Magiea, one is running Debian, and one is running Slackware. (I’m a Slacker at heart–Slackware always works and never breaks.)

I guess I’m just a KDE kind of guy.