My PyQt GUI book Create Simple GUI Applications has been updated, with new chapters on Qt Designer and multithreading. Get it here.

Customize directory colors

You can use the command ls --color (or an alias) to show directories with colours for folders, files, links, etc. However, you may not realise these colours can be easily configured using bashrc and a configuration file.

Control memcached from the command line

memcached is a general-purpose distributed memory caching system originally developed by Danga Interactive for LiveJournal but now used by many other sites. It is often used to speed up dynamic database-driven websites by caching data and objects in RAM to reduce the number of times an external data source (such as a database or API) must be read. Here we describe the options available from the command line to control a memcached instance via unix socket or IP:port.

Install Haiku under Mac OS X with Virtualbox

Haiku is an open source operating system currently in development that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the Be Operating System, development began in 2001, and the operating system became self-hosting in 2008 with the first alpha release in September 2009, the second in May 2010 and the third in June 2011. Here we describe how to run a Virtualbox hosted Haiku OS on Mac OS X.

Kill unresponsive applications on Linux

Sometimes things go a bit wrong. Sometimes they go very wrong. XKill is a simple little application that allows you to kill a running X application that has got out of kilter. Think of this as a quick way to get back control of your Desktop.

Change the 'Desktop' directory on Linux

On desktop setups where icons are shown on the desktop these are normally taken from the specific folder ~/Desktop. If you find you want to show icons from either your Home or another directory for a particular install/user you can do so by editing the user-dirs config file as described here.

Collaborate in the shell with screen (multiuser)

Screen is a neat little program that allows you to use multiple virtual terminals in a single session on Unix/Linux and Mac. However, it does more than just that. It can also allow you to share your current session on a machine with another user - allowing you to collaboratively hack away at a problem in real time.

Bash Command Substitution

Bash command substitution performs a given command replacing the marker with the resulting standard output. It is particularly useful when you want to store the output of a command in a variable or as an alternative method of chaining multiple commands together.

Syntax highlighting with Django and Markdown

Syntax highlighting is more than just eye candy. It can turn a block of impenetrable code into a simple grok (although it has it's limits). To boost the usability of our code guides on this site we wanted to implement nice clear syntax highlighting of our hacks. Code samples are already marked up with markdown syntax so an extension to this is the obvious choice.

Django Threaded Comments

Django ships with it's own comments contrib app that provides commenting on arbitrary models. However this is a flat-comment system which doesn't allow replying to comments. An app called django-threadedcomments exists but has not been updated for a number of versions and is broken. Other alternatives are less flexible than the Django commenting system itself.

Remove duplicate lines from text files (with sort)

A quick method to remove duplicates from text files - including for example CSV files - where multiple records have been added (perhaps automatically) at different times resulting in multiple copies of the same record scattered throughout the file. Here is a simple one-liner bash command to remove duplicates using sort.

Control Console with SysReq

System request (often abbreviated SysRq or Sys Req) is a key on keyboards for PCs that has no standard use. This key can be traced back to the operator interrupt key of the IBM System/370 mainframe computer. But under Linux there's a bunch of useful things available via this key.

Install Cinnamon on Ubuntu 12.04

Cinnamon is a re-implementation of the Gnome 2 desktop in GTK3 developed by the Linux Mint project as an alternative to both Gnome3/Shell and Ubuntu Unity. Here we explain how to install Cinnamon on top of your Ubuntu installation, without installing Linux Mint.

Set CDPATH to ease folder navigation

CDPATH is an environment variable which tells the cd command where to look for the specified folder. By including the parent folders of commonly used locations you can access folders more easily - and without typing an entire path.

Use to return your IP and Host is a web service that displays information about your connection, including IP address, hostname and User Agent string. Helpfully it provides a simplified interface that can be easily queried to get this information from the command line.