Archive for May, 2012

Block Ads Using the hosts File

Online ads displayed in web pages are annoying. Is there a way to reduce or eliminate them at the system level instead of installing browser plugins?

One effective way to prevent ads from appearing is to prevent the computer from making connections to them in the first place. This conserves bandwidth because if no connection is made to the ad server, then its content cannot be downloaded.

A simple method to achieve this is by editing the /etc/hosts file.
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Upgrading the Acer Aspire One 722 to 8GB

May 28, 2012
The Acer Aspire One 722 ships with 2GB (sometimes 4GB), which is more than enough. But why settle for a 4GB upgrade? While most people are aware that the RAM can be upgraded to 4GB, did you know 8GB of RAM will also work?

After reading rumors about the legendary working 8GB upgrade, I put this theory to the test by installing 8GB in the Acer Aspire One 722. The result is cause for jubilee!
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Improving the Built-in Dictionary

Gedit is a great text editor complete with a spellchecker, but many words spelled correctly are underlined in red as misspelled words. Why?

This is not gedit’s fault. Linux, and Ubuntu, contains a basic built-in dictionary located at /usr/share/dict/words that any program, including gedit, can tap into to check for misspelled words in a text file.

The problem is that the built-in dictionary is extremely basic, but it is easily improved by adding words to the dictionary’s text file.
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Mounting Truecrypt Volumes by Disk ID

Are you using scripts to mount your Truecrypt drives? Do the device paths seem to mix up randomly upon each system boot which confuses your scripts? Here is a technique to make sure each Truecrypt encrypted drive mounts in the correct mount point using disk identifiers to specify drives.
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Trivia: What is an NSP?

We’ve heard of an ISP, but what is an NSP?

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Sort Text File and Remove Duplicate Lines

Copying and pasting text into a single text file can lead to duplicates. If you have ever needed a way to sort lines within a text file and then remove the duplicate lines, here is an easy method in Bash.

Method 1

sort infile.txt | uniq > outfile.txt

This uses the sort command to sort the file infile.txt alphabetically and then pipes the output to the uniq command to remove any duplicate lines. The result is redirected to outfile.txt.

Method 2

sort -u infile.txt > outfile.txt

This uses only the sort command with the -u (unique) option to remove duplicate lines.

The end result for both methods is an alphabetized text file with unique lines. Check the man pages for sort and uniq (man sort and man uniq) for more options.


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Entering Japanese Text (or any other language) in Ubuntu 10.10

“I need to write an email in Japanese, but all I have is an English QWERTY keyboard. What can I do?”

Situations like this arise. Your Japanese pen pal seeks your advice, but he can only read Japanese. You want to reply in his langauge, so when typing emails or text, is there any way to enter Japanese characters?

Ubuntu, as well as many other Linux distributions, has excellent multilingual support. It is possible to compose an email or write text using the characters in any language so native speakers can read it. The key to doing this is installing the target language on the system and finding a way to enter characters from an English QWERTY keyboard.

While an English system and Japanese is used in this example, the same principles apply to any other locale and language.
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