Jun 27, 2013 GMTAfter a long pause, I'm back to my favorite pastime: learning foreign languages. But this time, I've enlisted Raspberry Pi as a little language learning tool. Currently, I'm using an audio language course, and Raspberry Pi helps me memorize the words and phrases I learn. The way this works is very simple. I chop each audio lesson into sentences and phrases using Audacity and save them as MP3 files in a separate directory. Raspberry Pi is hooked to a breadboard with a push button and a resistor as shown on the diagram. When I push the button, a Python script picks a random mp3 file and plays it. The script is rather simple, and it uses the mpg321 player to...
Jun 26, 2013 GMTSlow storage can often be a bottleneck that hampers your Android device's performance. SD-Booster provides a solution to the problem. This app lets you set up cache for each detected storage device, including an external microSD card and internal storage. SD-Booster requires root access, so it only works on rooted Android devices. Using the app is as easy as it gets. When the app is running, it automatically detects and lists all available storage devices. You can then specify cache for each storage device, or set up cache size for all devices globally. The recommended values are 512, 1024, and 2048. The optimal cache size depends on many factors, and the best way to find out the...
Jun 25, 2013 GMTWhile gedit is a versatile text editor as it is, you can extend its functionality by installing third-party plugins and tweak its appearance using themes. There are quite a few plugins and themes floating on the Web, but if you want to take gedit's functionality to a whole new level, look no further than GMate. This package contains an impressive collection of plugins that will likely cover most of your writing and coding needs. GMate also packs a large selection of themes which will satisfy even the most picky users. Better still, if you're using Ubuntu or any of its derivatives, you can easily install the entire package from the project's PPA. To do this, run the following...
Jun 24, 2013 GMTStatic blog generators come in all shapes and sizes, but probably few of them can rival the simplicity and elegance of bashblog. As the name implies, bashblog is written in Bash. In fact, the entire blog engine consists of a single Bash shell script, so deploying bashblog couldn't be easier. Grab the script from the project's GitHub repository, and move it to a separate directory for your blog. Open bashblog in a text editor, and adjust the global variables, such as the blog's title, description, URL, author, etc. Alternatively, you can create a separate configuration file and specify the desired values in it using the key=name format (don't forget to update the...
Jun 19, 2013 GMTHooking up LEDs to Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins and controlling them using Python scripts is a great and fun way to learn the ropes. For more advanced projects, you might want to consider investing in BlinkStick, an open source USB LED kit that works with Raspberry Pi, or any other machine for that matter. BlinkStick plugs directly into a USB port, which eliminates the need for a breadboard and wires and makes the setup more tidy. The accompanying software can control multiple BlinkSticks, which you can hook up to a USB hub. More importantly, BlinkStick supports a long list of options, and you can put it to a variety of practical and not-so-practical-but-fun uses.To get started with...
Jun 17, 2013 GMTgedit works fine on Kubuntu, but the editor does have a few quirks that can quickly become a nuisance. For starters, the Up and Down arrows in the Find panel use generic blank icons. To fix this problem, install the gnome-icon-theme-symbolic package using the sudo apt-get install gnome-icon-theme-symbolic command. By default, when you launch gedit on KDE or open a text file in it, the editor automatically creates an empty Untitled document. Needless to say that closing and discarding each and every empty file manually can quickly become rather annoying. Fortunately, this issue is easy to fix (I stumbled on the solution in a Ubuntu Forums thread). Open the...
May 30, 2013 GMTSometimes the simplest tool can prove to be one of the biggest timesavers. Case in point: HTMLify. This web app does one very simple thing: it converts code snippets into an HTML-friendly format. This may not sound like much, but if you often need to insert code blocks into blog articles, this tool can make your life easier. Using HTMLify is as straightforward as it could possibly be. Paste a code snippet into the input field and hit the HTMLify button. Press then the Copy to Clipboard button to copy the processed code.
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