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Annotate PDF files on Linux with Xournal

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  • Tuesday, July 07 2020 @ 05:31 PM UTC
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Xournal is a great tool that I only discovered recently. From the package description, "Xournal is a GTK+ application for notetaking, sketching and keeping a journal using a stylus. It can also be used to add annotations to PDF files."

I use this tool only infrequently and have trouble remembering its name so I am making this blog post for it.

I use Xournal fill out PDF forms on Linux when the PDF document has no actual form fields (basically annotating over the empty blanks) so I can type on a computer instead of having to print a form, fill it out, and then scan it. This also makes the form much more legible than if I were writing on paper.

I have also used Xournal with a stylus in order to "hand write" / sign my name.

On Ubuntu, the package name is "xournal" in the Universe section and you start annotating a PDF by selecting from the menu File -> Annotate PDF

Forms with the little boxes for individual letters are a little challenging, but usually there is a font that comes close to the proper spacing.



You can save your work in-progress as a Xournal file (.xoj). To get the results into a final PDF for submissions, select from the menu File -> Export to PDF.

Access Docker After Install Without Logout or Reboot

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  • Tuesday, March 24 2020 @ 06:48 PM UTC
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By default, after installing docker on Ubuntu, normal user accounts cannot connect to the docker daemon.

$ sudo apt install docker.io

$ docker ps

Got permission denied while trying to connect to the Docker daemon socket at unix:///var/run/docker.sock

 

After adding one's user account to the "docker" group, a full logout and login is typically needed for the user account to receive the new group membership. And in fact, on Ubuntu running the default desktop environment, one may need to actually reboot or run an extra command such as:

$ loginctl terminate-user $USERNAME

because systemd seems to preserve a user context even after logout.

Starting a new bash login shell inside an existing terminal is definitely insufficient:

$ bash --login -i

Terminating a desktop session can be fairly inconvenient, depending on the amount of Work In Progress and document editors and browser tabs, etc.

 

On Ubuntu 18.04, here are steps to allow a normal user account to immediately access docker without having to log out first:

$ groups  # note that "docker" will not be in list of groups

$ sudo gpasswd -a $USERNAME docker   # add your specific username to the "docker" group

 

$ sudo grpck   # verify that your group file has no syntax errors, and only the expected differences exist
[sudo] password for dan: 
'dan' is a member of the 'docker' group in /etc/group but not in /etc/gshadow

$ sudo grpconv    # syncs group and gshadow aka the magic command that prevents "newgrp" from generating the error: 'failed to crypt password with previous salt'

$ newgrp docker  # log in to new group (starts a subshell with the new group membership attached, environment preserved)

$ groups  # note that "docker" will now appear in list of groups for the user

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED
         STATUS              PORTS               NAMES

 

$ docker run docker/whalesay cowsay "No Logout Needed!"
 ___________________ 
< No Logout Needed! >
 ------------------- 
    \
     \
      \     
                    ##        .            
              ## ## ##       ==            
           ## ## ## ##      ===            
       /""""""""""""""""___/ ===        
  ~~~ {~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~ /  ===- ~~~   
       \______ o          __/            
        \    \        __/             
          \____\______/   

 

Thanks to the following articles which provided reference for this blog post:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/477551/how-can-i-use-docker-without-sudo

https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/grpconv-command-in-linux-with-examples/

https://askubuntu.com/questions/1045993/after-adding-a-group-logoutlogin-is-not-enough-in-18-04

Thermal Issues on Dell Latitude with Microsoft Teams for Linux

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  • Friday, March 20 2020 @ 06:26 PM UTC
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With work from home orders due to COVID-19, I am now working remotely fulltime.

My company is relying on Microsoft Teams for chat and video conferencing. Thankfully, Microsoft released a native Linux client.  Not really, it appears to be an electron app. But at least it doesn't need to run in a browser tab somewhere.  And it actually works... audio, video, and screen sharing. And after using a variety of video conferencing solutions over the years, I can say that video and audio quality of Teams is quite good.  Unfortunately, as of Microsoft Teams Version 1.3.00.958 (64-bit), the app is a CPU hog and causes my Ubuntu laptop to heat up. When the laptop heats up, the fan winds up like a small jet engine.  This is especially noticeable in a quiet home office environment.

I spent a lot of time with i8kutils and cpufrequtils to no avail. On Linux, the Dell Latitude 5501 seems to have only three fan speeds: off, low, and high. There is no medium speed. It is possible to tweak the temperature at which those fan transitions happen, but it is not possible adjust the fan RPMs.  On "low", the temperature will just continue to rise while Teams is running and eventually the fan has to kick into high (or the laptop overheat and crash).

The most significant change I was able to make to resolve the heat issue was to turn off TurboBoost. Whereas my temps were shooting up to over 90 degrees C if I tried to run the fan on "low", with TurboBoost disabled the temperature rarely goes about 50 degrees C. I disabled both Hyperthreading and TurboBoost in the system BIOS. This is disappointing to say the least, but this laptop still has 6 cores running at 1.4 GHz, which has been fine for all of the types of work I have been doing.

After disabling TurboBoost, the cpufreq-info tool shows:

 

More Screenshots of ARK: Survival Evolved on Linux

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  • Saturday, August 12 2017 @ 12:17 AM UTC
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ARK: Survival Evolved is very very soon moving from Early Access to RELEASE! As mentioned in my first ARK screenshots post, ARK is available on Linux via Steam.

I thought I would post a few more screenshots.

The most recent patch (264.36 released on August 9, 2017) seems to have fixed a rendering bug (where water texture did not render properly) that was introduced a few patches ago. Also, I note that ARK seems to load a LOT faster now on Linux. I have not had a chance to see if Caves are still broken / unplayable on Linux due to rendering bugs like this:



The GOOD news is that the game continues to improve. These screenshots are from the free Ragnarok DLC huge expansion map:









The following screenshots are from older patch levels and / or other maps:

Don't trash your Torch router just yet

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  • Friday, August 11 2017 @ 10:57 PM UTC
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The Torch router was a Kickstarter project that was successfully funded and shipped product but the company failed shortly afterwards. Closed. Out of business.

"Torch. A simple router for digital parenting."

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...-parenting

I was apparently not a backer but bought the product through their store so I am unable to leave a comment on Kickstarter (backers only). Maybe a backer will find this blog and post a comment on Kickstarter for the rest of the unfortunate customers.



This Torch router apparently depended on having access to the Torch cloud services which have been shutdown.

https://www.pcwrt.com/2017/06/the-tor...-is-better

This all happened before I even had a chance to turn mine on for the first time.

However, thanks to the fine folks at pcWRT, I was able to flash a new ROM onto the Torch and I now have a working router!

I just followed the basic steps in their quick flashing guide:

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