Archive for February, 2012

Neeks Amp should not be lost in oblivion

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | 1 Comment

Remember the times when mp3 was brand new, sounded terrible and it took almost an hour to encode a 3 minute song? Those were the days 😀

The de-facto mp3 player of the time was Winamp – my favourite one was 2.81 (@see for some nostalgia). I’ve been using Winamp ever since on all my Windoze installations, now that I use Linux I fell in love with Audacious which supports Winamp themes. I just don’t like bloated media players …

Back in the days I had a favourite skin that was always a pain in the arse to search for. Neeks Amp. There are at least two versions out there and I used to have a hard time finding the right one. So here is a little blog post for me to never look for Neeks Amp again and maybe make somebody else’s day as well.


Audacious provides a few nice skins out of the box and because I did not have Neeks Amp at hand I chose Refugee as my new default skin. Today I like it even better than the old skewl Neeks Amp, yet who knows, maybe I will be looking for Neeks Amp at some point in the future again. Now I know where I have to look.

So here is the file: – just unzip it to /usr/share/audacious/Skins and make sure you enable the option “allow loading of incomplete skins” in your Audacious settings. (Seems the original artist did not “implement” the full Winamp skin spec 😉 )

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Five toys I’d like to call my own

Monday, February 27th, 2012 | Gadgets, Misc, Tech-savvy | 5 Comments

“Honey, we pretty much have everything now …”

I just have to share my thoughts on things I’d like to have yet cannot purchase for reasons such as money, time, sanity and the like. › Continue reading

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Mint 12 (/Ubuntu): Set up Java alternatives

Saturday, February 18th, 2012 | Java, Linux, Tech-savvy | 2 Comments

Your modern Linux distro will provide you with a more or less decent Java setup by default. Mint 12 comes with a Sun JDK pre-installed. To switch between installed versions of your Java runtime use the

update-java-alternatives --list

command to list installed alternatives and

update-java-alternatives --set alternative

to switch them. If you still want to have different versions of the JDK you can always download them manually, untar and use them directly. So far so good.

I wanted to be able to switch my downloaded JDKs as easy as the pre-installed ones, so I was looking for a way to add my JDKs to my system’s repository. So here is how it’s done (it’s basically a copy of a nice post I found, I just wanted to spread the knowledge) – it’s a bit painful but made me feel quite good when I was done 🙂 › Continue reading

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eclipse essentials: Grep Console plug-in

Friday, February 17th, 2012 | IDE, Java, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Every time I set up a mint eclipse I am wondering why an IMHO essential feature is missing: a configurable coloured console.

I like stacktraces to be red and “JBoss started” messages to be bold. I like the important log entry you are looking for to be highlighted with a yellow background.

All this bliss is provided by a very nice plug-in I’ve been using for years: Grep Console.

Using it is very easy and intuitive. Just select the desired text part in your standard console output, right-click and choose “Add Grep Expression”.

You can add colour and format information for background & font of the matching expression or the whole line.

That’s basically it, there is not much more to say, yet sometimes it’s the simple things that make us happy, right? 🙂

Go get your Grep Console using this URL as your eclipse update site:

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Mint 12: Hide unwanted devices in Nautilus

Friday, February 10th, 2012 | Linux, Tech-savvy | No Comments

My laptop consists of quite a few partitions, different OSs and file systems. Nautilus displays everything that will be mounted to /media as a device in the places sidebar. This became an annoyance, because I really don’t need to see my Win7 system partition and my old Mint 10 partitions on a regular basis. I tried the easy way: right-click on an item and say “remove” or something – naaat!

I was looking for an easy solution and came across some pretty old forum posts and workarounds that simply don’t work (any more). Here is how I managed to get rid of the unwanted device entries fairly easily: you simply have to explicitly mount the unwanted volumes and use a folder other than /media – basically /mnt will do. This way you don’t have the unwanted file systems listed in Nautilus directly yet can access them easily by navigating to /mnt/mountpoint.

Step by step:

  1. open nautilus
  2. mount all unwanted files systems by selecting them one after another
  3. open a terminal
  4. list mounted devices
    nick@mintbox ~ $ mount
  5. look for the entries that resemble the unwanted files systems
  6. write down the /dev/sdx and type attributes
  7. create mountpoints for each device in in /mnt
    nick@mintbox ~ $ sudo mkdir /mnt/exampleMountPoint1
    nick@mintbox ~ $ sudo mkdir /mnt/exampleMountPoint2
  8. open fstab
    nick@mintbox ~ $ sudo gedit /etc/fstab
  9. add a fstab entry for each device (first is a Win NTFS partition, second a ext4 Linux one)
    /dev/sda6   /mnt/exampleMountPoint1   ntfs-3g   defaults 0 0
    /dev/sda7   /mnt/exampleMountPoint2   ext4      defaults 0 0

That should do the trick.

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Treasures of the toolbox: SequoiaView / GdMap

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 | Gadgets, Linux, Tech-savvy | No Comments

A few years ago I stumbled across a tool (SequoiaView) that graphically displays the contents of your hard drive using a so called cushion treemap. It’s a fast and easy way to get an overview of your (probably messed up) file system.

This is one of the gems I considered part of my Swiss “computer tools” army knife.

Now that I use Linux as my desktop OS I had to find an alternative to this Windows-only tool. Luckily there are quite a few similar tools available for Linux. I am pretty happy using GdMap.

So, whether you are using Windoze or Linux, try one of these cushion treemaps to get an idea how of your file system looks like from a distance. (…and get rid of these old ISO images in your temp dir 😉 )

Happy housekeeping!

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A Studio Ghibli homage

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 | Activities, Misc, Movies | 1 Comment

Today I invited Totoro to stay.

Ever since we moved into our “new” flat a few years ago we could not decide what to do with our living room walls. I suggested that we could try to draw the Studio Ghibli logo – namely Totoro – next to the TV. The other side of the telly got decorated with the beautiful postcards that come with the German Blu-ray edition of Arietty and Laputa. Now I feel like a true fanboy 🙂

And this is how I will enjoy my films from now on:

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