Cerebro, a Spotlight-like launcher for Linux alvin February 21, 2017 - 11:29am

I recently “made the switch” from MacOS to Linux Mint, and was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have Alfred on Mint. But then this morning I learned about Cerebro, which, if it’s not Alfred yet, at least it’s Spotlight for Linux. has this good intro article on Cerebro.

Cerebro is written as an Electron app, and as a result it’s available not only for Linux, but Windows and MacOS as well.

Linux Mint (and Ubuntu): Suspend vs Hibernate (meaning) alvin February 16, 2017 - 2:05pm

When I put Linux Mint on a few of my computers recently I quickly encountered the words “suspend” and “hibernate” when attempting to put a laptop to sleep:

LInux Mint, Suspend vs Hibernate

“What the heck is the difference between Suspend and Hibernate,” I wondered. “I’m used to just having a ‘Sleep’ option on my MacBook Pro.”

Hints for writing Unix tools alvin January 31, 2017 - 1:34pm

Marius Eriksen has a good article titled Hints for writing Unix tools. Some key points: a) consume input from stdin, produce output to stdout; b) output should be free from headers or other decoration; c) output should be simple to parse and compose. There’s much more to it than that, and it’s a good read (or reminder).

An ArchLinux page on Improving Performance alvin January 21, 2017 - 12:25pm

Ubuntu is running great on my old 2008 iMac, but if you’re having Linux performance issues, here’s an ArchLinux page titled “Improving performance.”

Optimizing Linux for slow computers alvin January 20, 2017 - 7:30pm

This is a link to an article titled, “Optimizing Linux for slow computers.” Note that this article links to this more thorough resource on

Here are a couple of paragraphs from it:

When tuning a server, you'll really want to tweak for performance and high throughput. That's where most Linux configurations really shine over the competition: they come better tuned to get the most out of server configurations.

How to type smart quotes on Ubuntu Linux alvin January 20, 2017 - 6:34pm
Table of Contents1 - Background: Switching from MacOS to Ubuntu2 - Background: AltGr and Compose keys3 - Step 1: Figure out what the Compose key is4 - How to type smart quotes on Ubuntu (the hard way)5 - Note: You can stop here6 - Using Ubuntu macros to make it easier7 - Mapping keystrokes to xdotool commands8 - Summary

There seem to be a few different ways to type “smart quotes” on Ubuntu Linux, including using keys (keystrokes) like AltGr and Compose. In this tutorial I’ll document an approach that works best for me: creating simple macros I can assign to simple keystrokes rather than having to use more-complicated keystrokes.

An Ubuntu screensaver shell script to rotate images alvin January 16, 2017 - 8:35am

This is a Bash shell script written for Ubuntu (Linux). I just switched from Mac/MacOS to Ubuntu, and I don't like the default blank screensaver in Ubuntu. I just want a screensaver to rotate my collection of images, so I'm considering using this rather than Xscreensaver. The script comes from

Customizing Ubuntu with themes alvin January 12, 2017 - 10:31am

This image is from an article about Ubuntu named, How to make your desktop look like my desktop. has another article on customizing the Ubuntu UI with themes.

The best Linux laptops of 2016 alvin January 11, 2017 - 7:09pm

This is a nice article on the best Linux laptops of 2016, including what to look out for in graphics chips and other hardware issues. As I become more disgruntled with Apple and the direction of Macs and MacOS, I thought I’d start looking for a Linux laptop.

Scala/Akka scalability alvin December 8, 2016 - 8:01am

Hopefully at some point this will come out as an article, but right now it’s this tweet with some Q&A afterwards.