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Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.



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Host ID: 106
episodes: 15

hpr1556 :: Screenplay Writing On Linux and Chromebooks

Released on 2014-07-21 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Writing screenplays for TV or movies is a very precise thing. The industry expects a standardised style and format. ThistleWeb explores a couple of dedicated screenplay writing solutions. Both are dedicated applications that do one job and do it very well. The first is Trelby. It's a GPL cross platform application. It has lots of additional features such as auto completion of character names, summaries and stats.

The second application is a cloud service called Raw Scripts. It's a Chrome extension although I think that's just a link to the site. You log in with a Google or Yahoo account. It's like a dedicated Google Docs web app. It does most of the things Trelby does. It also exports to Google if you want. You can share and collaborate with Raw Scripts. It's hosted on their server, although it's AGPL going forward, so it shouldn't be long before you can host it on your own server.

I've just started to explore screenplay writing as a writing skillset. Both of these applications make the styling and formating incredibly easy, allowing me to concentrate on the actual story.


hpr1195 :: Distractionless Writing

Released on 2013-03-01 under a CC-BY-SA license.

ThistleWeb explains the advantages of a distractionless writing environment for fiction writers or aspiring fiction writers. A physical space of sanctuary is only the first part of the concept, but that's undone if your screen around your text is full of distractions. A distractionless writing application covers the entire screen, separating you from updates, notifications and editing options. ThistleWeb's distractionless environment of choice is Focuswriter, although there's quite a few to choose from.

hpr0811 :: creative commons torrent tracker

Released on 2011-09-11 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Klaatu and Thistleweb talk about the creative commons torrent tracker project Thistleweb and Cobra2 have embarked upon.

hpr0771 :: Mischief Managed

Released on 2011-07-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.

With Customs in various countries acting as Copyright Cops, using any excuse to rifle through your personal and private data not only for threats, but copyright infringement. Wouldn't it be great to have invisible ink? You can get your private data through Customs, under the scrutiny of the Copyright Cops while also being a fully cooperative model citizen.

ThistleWeb discusses three ways to do this with the drawbacks of each.

  • Using a Cloud service of some sort to store your data on as you travel, where you upload then download after going through Customs.
  • Using a decoy user account on your regular installed distro
  • Using a decoy distro as a dual boot

Harry Potter got the Marauders Map in book three, which transforms to blank parchment with a tap of the wand the words "mischief managed" so nobody knows it's a dynamic map of Hogwarts and it's inhabitants. Now your laptop or netbook can have the same invisible ink qualities.

So repeat after me "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!"

Just like the GPL, use at your own risk.

hpr0617 :: So You Wanna Start A Band?

Released on 2010-12-14 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Many people only think about it from the fans perspective, without realizing the different steps it's taken to get to them. ThistleWeb talks about the current copyright cartel thinking in how it affects musicians. The same people who claim to speak on behalf of artists, lobby to enshrine laws supposedly for the artists. He talks through the process of starting a band and how often these laws crop up forcing the next generation of musicians to spend a LOT of money to stay legal, or be criminalized. Staying legal means coughing up to maintain the status quo.

He ends with a brief comparison of how things can work under a Creative Commons license.

He forgot to mention the parallels with the Musicians Guild in Discworld by Terry Pratchett, who send the assassins in to deal with people who think they can play music without being paid members of the Guild.

hpr0485 :: Newsbeuter

Released on 2009-11-19 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

ThistleWeb talks about the cli RSS reader called Newsbeuter, and it's podcatching abilities. He also gives an overview of the concept and advantages of RSS as he found many PC literate people he met had no clue about them or how they could be of use.

The accompanying blog post which gives much more detail can be found here.

hpr0461 :: Mibbit

Released on 2009-10-08 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

ThistleWeb discusses why you should have an embedded Mibbit client on your projects home page.

  • Users needn't know about IRC or have a client installed.
  • Users can connect from any PC, regardless of restrictions with only a web browser.
  • Real time language translation allows you to vault over the langauge barrier and be properly international, regardless of the size of your userbase.
  • Pastebin is only a click away, for those times where you need to share or see code / logfiles etc

hpr0444 :: Cherokee And Asyncronous Servers

Released on 2009-09-14 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

ThistleWeb discusses the difference between process based and asynchronous servers, then goes on to talk about Cherokee server and a few flat file PHP applications.

The Admin process:

  • sudo cherokee-admin
  • localhost:9090
  • Copy and paste the temprary password.
  • You can bind it (or a virtual server) to if it's meant to be a private server.

I kept refering to "spawn-cgi" in the recording. This is supposed to be "spawn-fcgi". I also inferred that it didn't use config files, it does; it just generates them via the admin web GUI and will overwrite any changes made manually.

My new blog is, my new email is gordon (at) thistleweb (dot) co (dot) uk.

hpr0422 :: Comfortably Numblock'd

Released on 2009-08-13 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

ThistleWeb explains 2 tips with the keypad / numblock function. First is numblockx, a simple app which remembers the status of the numblock key across reboots. This is already installed and running in many distros but if it's not it can be added. Second is CTRL+ALT+NUMLOCK which toggles the keypad into a different mode, allowing you to move the pointer with the keypad.


Keyboard Pointer Control

  • Penguin Pete's Blog
  • CTRL+ALT+NUMBLOCK to toggle mode on and off, there should be a beep each time you toggle
  • 1-9 = moving pointer around the points of the compass
  • 0 = right click
  • enter (on keypad) = enter a menu
  • backspace = back to previous menu

hpr0417 :: Mozilla Addon usability

Released on 2009-08-06 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
ThistleWeb discusses usability issues and potential improvements to Mozilla's add-on functionality in Firefox & Thunderbird. FAO the Mozilla community; developers & users. Screencast available here . Running time 45mins approx.

hpr0345 :: Editing the auto-generated menu in Linux

Released on 2009-04-27 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Locations Menu files (requires root to edit)

  • /usr/shar/applications
Icon files
  • /usr/share/pixmaps
  • /usr/share/icons/foo

Edit files in plain text editor like GEdit

Ellements pointed out in episode (there are plenty more, they vary per app, & distro)
  • Name : the name it will display on the menu (may need to change Name[foo] to reflect your language)
  • Language : speaks for itself
  • Comment : the rollover text
  • Exec : the command it will execute when clicked
  • Icon : the path to the icon shown in the menu
  • OnlyShowIn : useful when trying to find why an application may not be showing the menu
  • Terminal : runs the command in a terminal
  • Categories : (I think) this is the submenu groups where it'll appear on the menu

Changes sometimes take a little while to update, restarting X or rebooting will force it to re-read that folder and apply the changes.

  • Right click to edit menu. Click on something like a separator, move it up, then down to it's original place. Save.

hpr0327 :: Mozilla Profiles

Released on 2009-04-01 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.


  • firefox -P : opens Firefox at profile prompt
  • firefox -P "Foo" : opens Firefox with Foo profile

Change "firefox" for "thunderbird" to do the same for email profiles.

Locations (on Linux), these are hidden .folders.

  • Firefox : /home/foo/.mozilla/firefox/profiles.ini
  • Thunderbird : /home/foo/.mozilla-thunderbird/profiles.ini

Locations for Windows & Mac users.

Profiles.ini settings

  • Name : name used in profile
  • Path : path to profile folder
  • Default : default profile used when just "firefox" or "thunderbird" are exectuted

Firefox Extensions

  • FEBE : Firefox Environment Backup Extension
  • OPIE : Ordered Preference Import/Export
  • CLEO : Compact Library Extension Organizer

Thunderbird Extensions

hpr0320 :: Audacious

Released on 2009-03-23 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Running Order

Little dogs

  • XMMS
Winamp similarities
  • Layout (3 magnetic windows)
  • Compatible skins
  • System tray icon & control
  • Status icon
  • Global hotkeys
  • Audio compressor
Big dogs
  • Multi section windows
  • Podcatchers
  • Syncing of media folders & MP3 players

hpr0285 :: Hacker

Released on 2009-02-02 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Definitions taken from different dictionaries, with non-IT related definitions removed for relevance.

"Hacker" :n

  1. A programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism [syn: cyber-terrorist, cyberpunk]
  2. A programmer for whom computing is its own reward; may enjoy the challenge of breaking into other computers but does no harm; "true hackers subscribe to a code of ethics and look down upon crackers"
  3. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.
  4. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming.
  5. A person capable of appreciating hack value.
  6. A person who is good at programming quickly.
  7. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a Unix hacker'. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.)
  8. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example.
  9. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.
  10. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker', `network hacker'. The correct term for this sense is cracker.

hpr0274 :: TiddlyWiki

Released on 2009-01-16 under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.
Show Notes & Running Order (More Or Less)

What it is / what it's not
What people expect a wiki to be
	Server based
	Database storage
	Multiple users
	Revision control
Where TiddlyWiki is best suited
	Start a new clean wiki each month / year and tar.gz the previous one to be archived
	Personal wiki you can take with you on a thumbdrive
	A scratch pad for ideas on a project, ideal to zip and send to a client
JavaScript & CSS
Platform Neutral
	Gecko based
	Opera etc require additional TiddlySaver.jar file
GTD Variants (b3cubed)
Alternates (didiwiki, woas)
No install needed
	Installing plugins
	Blackicity theme from
	Installing themes - Importing themes
	Installing themes - Empty file, importing tiddlers
No passwords, encryption or theme switching by default
A wiki for each project
	Separate folders for each TiddlyWiki
	Backups created by default
	Rename your empty-tiddlywiki.html file anything you want
	Some config info kept in cookies
Syncing with a version of TiddlyWiki on a different PC
Free TiddlyWiki hosting at, can be private
Every wiki uses it's own syntax
Why I needed something like TiddlyWiki
DidiWiki requires a port opened to work

The main project site
The official wiki
Themes for TiddlyWiki
Guides for TiddlyWiki
A free hosted TiddlyWiki site.
DCubed GTD TiddlyWiki
Monkey GTD TiddlyWiki

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