Utilities

Understanding the “improved” in VIM

March 6, 2012 by ninefingers. 6 comments

Sometimes, every once in a while, a programmer feels like I do. VIM should be more efficient, more effective for editing text files yet I find myself reverting to the modern mouse-based approach more often than not.

A rather famous question on Stack Overflow asked for tips on how to be more productive with VIM – and he got one of the best answers I’ve ever seen. Not a list of tips but a working, detailed explanation from Stack Overflow user Jim Dennis. It’s so good, I am copying his answer’s raw source here, running it through the Markdown parser and copied it here.

So, without further ado, over to Jim’ amazing answer.

more »

FFmpeg: The ultimate Video and Audio Manipulation Tool

February 24, 2012 by slhck. 17 comments

What is FFmpeg?

Chances are you’ve probably heard of FFmpeg already. It’s a set of tools dedicated to decoding, encoding and transcoding video and audio. FFmpeg is based on the popular libavcodec and libavformat libraries that can be found in many other video conversion applications, like Handbrake.

So why would you need FFmpeg? Got a video in an obscure format that every other player couldn’t recognize? Transcode it with FFmpeg. Want to automate cutting video segments out of movies? Write a short batch script that uses FFmpeg. Where I work, I constantly have to encode and process video material, and I’d never want to go back to using a GUI tool for doing this.

This post is a follow-up on Video Conversion done right: Codecs and Software, where I discussed the various codecs and containers that you can find these days. For a quick overview, I’d suggest to read this one as well, because it covers some important basics.

Now, let’s dive into the more practical aspects.

more »

What is DNS and which Server do I choose?

February 16, 2012 by Tom Wijsman. 3 comments

Some have heard about DNS and perhaps once configured in a router without knowing what it is or how it works. Others might know it, but haven’t considered to use another DNS server than the one of their ISP. This is what I will go through in this blog post.

DNS simply stands for Domain Name System, which is a hierarchy of Name Servers that have the intent to translate host names into IP addresses on a global scale. A name server hosts and/or caches these translations. In the case where they are at least hosted, the name server is often called a “DNS Server”. If you gave the host name superuser.com to a DNS server, it would give you an IP back. In our case, that would be something like 64.34.119.12.

more »

A Super User’s Toolbox

October 5, 2011 by music2myear. 3 comments

For the last 10 years I have been fortunate enough to experience many perspectives on IT support. From the early days cutting my tech teeth on my own first computer running Windows 98 and then Windows 2000 and being too poor to pay somebody else to upgrade the system or repair it for me when my own (or my brother’s) stupidity or clumsiness crashed the thing, to being the on-site technical presence as an office assistant in a small not-for-profit, to getting my first “real” IT job for a large-ish not-for-profit doing end user support for 150 on-site users and another 50 remote users, to fixing computer problems for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who came to the service desk at a large electronics retailor, to the white-collar office jobs of the last few years; it has been an engaging, illuminating, educating, frustrating, and ultimately worthwhile pursuit.

While it’s not the most glamorous position nor the best paid, end-user IT support occurs at the confluence of two great passions of mine: people and computers, For me it is an incredibly fulfilling job.

But I’d be nowhere without my tools.

I assume every geek has a list like mine: a list of tools, utilities, tricks, gimmicks, black- and white-magik spells that allow you to tame the raging beasts threatening to consume users. Like others, probably, I don’t hold my list too tightly. If another tool does a better job, it may easily replace an existing tool. However, even if it does a better job, if it doesn’t work the way I want to work or need to work, whichever the case may be, an arguably superior product is not guaranteed inclusion in my toolbox. more »

Confused by the output of ‘du’ in Linux?

April 16, 2011 by flibs. 0 comments

One of the questions on Super User that really hasn’t had the exposure it deserves is this one asked by Jason:

I am confused with the output of command ‘du’ in Linux.

Actually, it’s not so much a question and trying to understand some confusion, so let’s take a look at what he’s confused over and pull it all apart shall we?

I create a file named file.o, i want to check the size of the file.o file.
du -h file.o ====> 4.0K
du -b file.o ====> 1120
according to ‘du -b file.o’, i get to know file.o is 1120bytes large. But why ‘du -h file.o’ outputs 4.0K(means 4*1024 bytes)?

So when he creates a file that is 1120 bytes in size and looks at it with ‘du‘, if he gets the ‘Human Readable’ form of the result, -h, it claims the file is about 4 times the size that it actually is. But, if he requests the number of bytes, -b, it shows the real size. What is going on here?

more »

Portable USB Flash Drive Toolkit

January 11, 2011 by kronos. 0 comments

alt

This Super User question posed by Kronos:

How do I create a bootable USB flash PcRepair Kit?

Prompts us to consider the use of a Flash drive for as a bootable medium for PC repair.  Whether you work for the IT department of a major corporation, repair PC’s on the side, or even just work on your own PC, having such a powerful tool can be one of the greatest investments you have.  With a single USB flash drive, mulitple boot disks and OS’s can be operated from a single drive.  To simplify the process, PenDriveLinux has put together a very useful program that can easily create a multi-boot USB drive.

alt

Some of the products that PenDriveLinux supports are:

  • Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu NetBook Remix
  • Ubuntu Rescue Remix
  • Fedora 14
  • Redo Backup and Recovery
  • GParted
  • PartedMagic
  • DBAN (Hard Disk Nuker)
  • Ultimate Boot CD
  • Ophcrack XP
  • Clonezilla
  • System Rescue CD  (another Linux Rescue System)
  • Trinity Rescue Kit
  • System Rescue CD
  • Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10
  • Memtest86+ (Memory Diagnostics)
  • Offline NT Password + Reg Editor
  • Avira AntiVir Rescue CD (AntiVirus Scanner)
  • AVG Rescue CD (Antivirus Scanner)
  • BitDefender Rescue CD (Antivirus Scanner)
  • Windows Vista/7 Install Disk | Create the ISO from your DVD
  • more »