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Fixing stuck login screen for Ubuntu 19.10 and i3

Since upgrading to Ubuntu 19.10, I've had the issue that Ubuntu would just get stuck before or after the login screen.

After some searching I found the recommendation to remove quiet splash from the grub options, and indeed that fixes the issue for me!

Specifically, at the stuck login screen, change to a terminal by pressing e.g. ctrl+alt+f4, login, then run sudo nano /etc/default/grub to edit the configuration for grub (the bootloader). Find the line that says

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

and change it to

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

save the file, then run sudo update-grub to apply …


Ubuntu Audio over Display Port

I just upgraded my desktop to the new AMD Ryzen 3900X and on that occasion also replaced my decade (!) old GPU with a recent Nvidia RTX 2060. Initially I couldn't get it to output audio to the speakers in my monitor (connected using DisplayPort).

Finally, using pavucontrol to switch of the other HD-Audio Generic device did the trick.

After some more research I also discovered volumeiconcache, a small app that shows a volume control in the system tray (i3 in my case). It can be configured to open an external mixer on click (pavucontrol) and can also be directly …


Splitting >4 GB ISO files for isostick

This is more of an archival post for myself since part of the documentation for isostickcache (a USB stick that can emulate optical drives) is down and the project does not seem maintained any more.

Since isostick only supports FAT32 filesystems, ISOs larger than 4 GB need to be split up into multiple parts.

Here's the explanation for how to do this from the now offline isostick forum:

The isostick can only read files from FAT32 partitions. Unfortunately, FAT32 has a maximum file size of 4GB. To overcome this, isostick can read ISO files which are split into multiple …


Debugging Android devices with adb on Ubuntu

Just some notes for myself next time.

Either download the Platform Toolscache package or directly install adb from the repository:

sudo apt install adb

If you are running Ubuntu, make sure that you are in the plugdev group (sudo usermod -aG plugdev $LOGNAME if notcache). You may have to create a udev rule to ensure the device is mounted under the right group.

To do so, create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules:

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="18d1", ATTR{idProduct}=="d002", MODE="0660",
GROUP="plugdev", SYMLINK+="android%n"

Where vendor and product id must match your …


Lonely Planet on Kindle - The Cheap Way

Lonely Planet guidebooks are nice to get a quick overview of a place, or find some things worth seeing and doing around where you are traveling. However, lobbing around an extra half a kilo or more isn't great.

I'm already carrying my e-reader, so wouldn't it be great if I could just save the relevant sections there?

However, while they do sell an official Kindle edition, I prefer using the paperback versions when planning my trip. So instead of buying it twice, I simple scanned the relevant pages at the office, then cropped them into a single paged pdf with …


VPN with Wireguard

Today I spent some time setting up a Wireguard VPN on a Linode VPS.

Overall the process is not too complicated, but there are some things I was confused about initially. Initially I followed the guide on the Linode websitecache, but then I switched over to this excellent article: How to setup a VPN server using WireGuard (with NAT and IPv6)cache.

My biggest confusion was about the distinction between the private IP assigned to the server/client within the VPN, and the externally visible IP of the server (the client does not need a public IP). Importantly, the …


Master one skill at a time instead of learning many at once

Every skill has both a cost to maintain and a cost to learn. Take the case of learning a language: You need to spend some time every day rehearsing vocabulary and grammar you already learned so you don't forget (maintain), then you can also study new words and grammar points (learn).

The maintenance is a fixed cost - you need to spend this time just to not forget what you already know. As you get better, this cost goes down. Either because you can integrate the skill in your normal routine - read news in foreign languages - or because it has become …


xmodmap and Umlaute

If you speak German but prefer using an English keyboard layout for programming (dvorak in my case), then you will frequently face the issue of how to conveniently enter Umlaute.

Luckily, there's an easy solution with xmodmap, just add the below to your .Xmodamp config:

clear mod1
keycode 108 = Mode_switch
add mod1 = Alt_L

keysym a = a A adiaeresis Adiaeresis
keysym o = o O odiaeresis Odiaeresis
keysym u = u U udiaeresis Udiaeresis
keysym s = s S ssharp

Where 108 is the keycode returned by xev for your Alt key.


Remap Caps Lock to Tab

Don't want to waste prime keyboard real estate on a key you never use?

First, find out the keycode of your Caps Lock key: run xev, repeatedly press Caps Lock, note the keycode you see in the logs.

Next, create or append to the .Xmodmap file in your home directory:

clear Lock
keycode 66 = Tab

Where you replace 66 with whichever keycode you saw in the output of xev.

Finally, load the map: xmodmap .Xmodmap.

You can of course replace it with any other key as well, not just tab.


Ubuntu and Japanese Input

This is more a note to myself, but to easily type japanese on Ubuntu, install ibus-anthy (sudo apt-get install ibus-anthy), make sure ibus-daemon is running.

Then you can add Japanese in Anthy's 'Input Method' tab, make sure to select 'Japanese - Anthy'. If you use dvorak like me, also make sure 'Use system keyboard layout' in the Advanced tab is checked.

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