Category Archives: software

iClicker under GNU/Linux

Electronic “clickers” are personal wireless transceivers carried by every student in a lecture hall and are used for in-class feedback and assessment in teaching. At McGill, we have just switched to a new clicker system that is all about integration with … Continue reading


Posted in GNU/linux, McGill University, Microsoft, software | 2 Comments

How-to: Alpine and maildir (and offlineimap (and GMail)) — no more maildir patches!

Abstract If you think non-graphical email clients are  efficient or otherwise desirable, and want offline access to your email, this post describes a step forward.  In particular, it describes the set-up of offline-accessible mail through the Alpine (formerly Pine, shortly … Continue reading

Posted in Alpine, GNU/linux, software, Ubuntu | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

McGill University firmly embedded with Microsoft

This is the nearly incredible story of how one of Canada’s great universities has become such a buttress of the Microsoft monopoly that it cannot even provide for a new faculty member the normal ability to send and receive email. … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, GNU/linux, McGill University, Microsoft, software | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Annotating PDFs in GNU/Linux

After years of waiting for a top-quality open source PDF editor/markup tool, and being baffled why they don’t exist… I’ve given up.  What I’ve settled on for the moment performs rather well: At a command line, I type pdfedit <pdffilename> … Continue reading

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Bounties for Gnome (Compiz?) window behaviour improvements

Back in 1993 on the student computer network at MIT  it seems we had window managers (I used vtwm.gamma) and broadcast instant message systems (zephyr, ridiculously customisable)  running on Unix(es) that still compete  very favourably with features offered today by … Continue reading

Posted in Gnome, GNU/linux, software, Ubuntu | Leave a comment

Tied selling of Windows O/S with computer hardware in Canada: a complaint to the Competition Bureau

To follow up on my recent victimization by the “Microsoft Tax”, I filed a complaint with the Canadian Competition Bureau, the federal agency charged with investigating anti-competitive behaviour. I think I understand their response, which I’m including below, but there … Continue reading

Posted in GNU/linux, Microsoft, software | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lenovo Thinkpad T410s and Ubuntu 10.10

This is a review, of sorts, though it will grow as I need/test features. I received my T410s and recorded a video of myself rejecting the Microsoft EULA, and erasing the harddrive. Good riddance, Windows 7. The keyboard feels really … Continue reading

Posted in GNU/linux, hardware, Lenovo T410s, software, Ubuntu | Tagged | 8 Comments

The Microsoft tax and Windows refund in Canada: Lenovo

I am one of those (quietly) rabid Microsoft opponents. I believe Microsoft represents a collossal market failure, in that it has added very little in innovation  towards making better software. Instead, its innovation has nearly entirely been in capturing and … Continue reading

Posted in GNU/linux, Microsoft, software | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

UBC thesis under LyX; manuscript-based thesis under LaTeX

A year ago when I finished my dissertation at UBC I posted a complete set of LaTeX files for generating a manuscript-based thesis (bibliographies separate for each chapter, etc) in which each chapter is a separate file in LaTeX. (This … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, LaTeX, LaTeX, LyX, software | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments

GNU/Linux on HP Mini 1116NR

I got an HP Mini 1116NR. It has a solid state drive (16GB), so I hope I can commute more easily with it, even if I’m cycling or even running (it fits snugly in my very small camelbak-like pocket!). It … Continue reading

Posted in GNU/linux | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments