Check out my victory dance!
Jul 18th, 2008 by teragram

Many thanks to whoever wrote this page: We now have a working Samba server, set up by little old me! C did a very good job of deflecting me towards man pages and so on, rather than answering my questions directly, so I feel pretty chuffed with myself for getting it done!

In other news: I’m still waiting to hear from my PhD examiners. The bound thesis has to be submitted by next Friday, so it’s getting fairly urgent. I sure hope they’re not on their holidays or something.


P.S. I know this isn’t a terribly exciting post after such a long hiatus, but that’s all you’re getting for the moment. I bet you can’t wait for all the “the baby burped today, and it was sooooo cute” posts.

Ubuntu – Linux for Human Beings!
Mar 17th, 2007 by teragram

I have finally managed to move from Windows to Linux. I’ve been very frustrated lately with software providers trying to control my desktop (Apple at least equals Microsoft in irritating control tactics). Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that explicitly aims to make Linux accessible to normal people (“Linux for Human Beings” is their phrase, not mine), and they are well on their way to success. The one issue I had with installing it was that my wireless card didn’t automatically work (imagine, a Linux installation where the *only* thing that didn’t work automatically was my wireless card!).

My biggest problem in finding a solution is that a lot of the information that’s out there is quite outdated. I spent quite a bit of time following how-tos written for old versions of Ubuntu. But I did eventually find a solution, a very simple one at that, and I want to share it with y’all 🙂

Details here:

Ubuntu Edgy Eft – Dell Latitude D600 Wireless
Mar 17th, 2007 by teragram

Ubuntu does now (Edgy Eft) come with the Intel(R) PRO/Wireless drivers by default but, from what I gather, they don’t work with WPA encryption by default. Here are the steps I took to get my Dell Latitude D600 connected to my home WPA wireless network. (This works when starting from a clean, updated install, which you probably don’t have if you’ve been following the various how-tos that are out there to fix wireless access in previous versions of Ubuntu.)

  • The first thing to try is hitting Fn-F2. This turns your wireless radio on/off (there doesn’t seem to be any easy way to detect which state it’s in). To be honest, this may be what fixed my connection, but the first time I tried it I had already been wading through the aforementioned how-tos, so who knows what state my system was in? 🙂
  1. Install network-manager-gnome (or if you’re using Kubuntu – knetworkmanager). I did this via the Synaptic Package Manager (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager, search for network-manager-gnome). This package depends on several others, most importantly network-manager, which will all be automatically installed with it.
  2. Turn off all network connections in System -> Administration -> Networking
  3. Restart
  4. Left-click on the Network Manager icon in the Notification Area (top right of your screen). Any wireless networks in range should be visible.
  5. (optional) There’s another network icon in the Notification Area. You can right-click it and hit “remove from panel” to get rid of it.

If you try this and it is/isn’t helpful, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.


If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you
Jul 17th, 2006 by teragram

If you don’t know what a PERL script is, or what bibtex is, you should probably stop reading now 🙂

I’ve written a little script that converts a bibtex file into HTML. You can copy and paste entries from the HTML, but you can also link to a specific entry using an anchor. So, for example, my evoting bibliography page contains the following entry, about half way down:

@ARTICLE{ Lillington02,
author = {Karlin Lillington},
title = {Electronic vote poses big security risk},
journal = {The Irish Times},
note = {Fri, Oct 18, 02},

If you click on this link:, it’ll take you straight there.

The script assumes that the bibtex file is well formed. For that purpose, I can’t recommend JabRef highly enough. A graphical interface for editing bibtex files. Genius!

Anyway here’s my script. Feel free to copy/modify/correct it.

#! /cygdrive/c/Perl/bin/perl
# A PERL script that takes a bibtex file as input and creates a file called
# .bib.html which should be a html file that can be copied and
# pasted into a bib file.
# Written by Margaret McGaley ( in an afternoon.
# No guarantees or even promises.
# WARNING: If the file
.bib.html already exists, this will overwrite
# it
# Feel free to copy and/or modify.

# Take the first argument to be the filename we want to htmlise
$filename = $ARGV[0];

# If it's not called .bib, exit with an error
if (!($filename =~ /\w+\.bib/)) {
die "Please specify a bibtex file.";

# Try to open the file
open $infile, $filename or die "Can't find file $filename. Quitting ...";

open $outfile, ">$filename.html" or die "Failed to open output file. Quitting.";

print "Printing html to $filename.html";

print $outfile "< !DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC \"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN\">\n";
print $outfile "$filename.html\n";
print $outfile "\n";
print $outfile "\n";
print $outfile "\n\n";
print $outfile "

This HTML was created from $filename using Each bibentry can be linked with #key.


while (< $infile>) {
# This is attempting to match
# @ { ,
if (/(\s*@\w+\{)([\w:]+),/) {
print $outfile "

$1 $2,\n";
# This should match
# =
elsif (/\s*\w+\s*=\s*[\w{}]\s*,?\s*/) {
print $outfile "
    ", $_;
# Closing brace
elsif (/\s*}\s*/) {
print $outfile "

else {
print $outfile "

", $_, "


print $outfile "\n\n";

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