Computing 2011

Lost space on root partition

I was recently told by my computer that I'd run out of space on my Mandriva root partition. It's a 26GB partition and shouldn't be anywhere near full but still, this is a bit of a critical state to be in so I immediately investigated.

The first step was to see what the damage was, in this case using df -h:

[james@eastlight ~]$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda9              26G   26G   51K 100% /
/dev/sda5             236M  202M   30M  88% /boot
/dev/sda7             332G  311G  4.6G  99% /home
/dev/sdb2             363G  277G   68G  81% /backups

As you can see, the root partition was indeed full so I tried to investigate where the large files were:

Read more...Published on 24th November 2011.

Recovering lost files on Linux

I have recently had to try and recover a file deleted accidentally on a Linux EXT3 partition. This is more complicated than it is on a file system such as NTFS where commercial and free software can easily recover any file provided that the physical location of the file on the disk hasn't been overwritten.

I was successful in the end using a couple of open source tools and here I show you how I did it.

Read more...Published on 30th May 2011.

Powerpoint 'Smoothzoom' technique

The problem

For better or worse, Powerpoint is almost a defacto standard amongst people giving presentations today. Unfortunately, Powerpoint is a crude tool and has many shortcomings. A lot of these shortcomings relate to Powerpoint's handling of graphics. One of the major limitations, in my opinion, regards Powerpoint's handling of graphics that are being shrunk or expanded. These often end up pixelated or poor quality when there is no need.

Let's consider an example from a recent presentation I gave. It's a schematic image of a man. Here's a close-up of the large head next to a full size image of the small body. You can see that both the large and small images are clear and not pixelated at all.

Full size. Click for zoom

Images before zooming. They are full size at 100% zoom. Click for the complete image at 100% zoom.

Read more...First published on 27th February 2011 and last modified on 21st March 2011.

Linking to PDF files within JabRef

JabRef is a reference manager based upon the BibTeX system and has many useful and powerful features. One of these features is to link any reference to any arbitraty file. This means, for example, that you can click on an icon by each reference and be immediately shown the relevant source file; a very handy feature. The problem is that is is not immediately obvious how to set up the program to detect these files automatically. That is what this article is about.

PDF icons in JabRef

The PDF icons by each reference load the relevant file

Read more...First published on 5th February 2011 and last modified on 21st March 2011.

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