debian Uncategorized

fill out and sign a PDF on debian

  1. fill out form with xournal and export pdf.  (oowriter didn’t read xournal’s output even with the libreoffice pdf import extension, but the xournal’d pdf did print, gimp was able to read it, and it was emailable)
  2. edit a photo of signature in gimp (nice video
    1. layer/transparency/add alpha channel.  like writing on an overhead slide, the checkerboard represents the background through the slide
    2. use fuzzy select tool from toolbox to select the background from the photo
    3. delete the background, should see checkerboard.  delete within loops for O, Q, etc.
    4. from brushes, select the largest black brush and set mode to overlay.  brush over the signature to darken it  to a uniform black, otherwise it looks grayish like a photo when printed.
    5. open the pdf from gimp and select the page which needs the signature
    6. use the rectangle select tool to select the area where the signature should go.  note the height and/or width of the field.
    7. go to the signature image and image/scale image.  enter either the height or width to scale to, then`edit/copy visible.
    8. go back to the pdf and right click on the rectangle and paste.
    9. export the page to pdf
  3. use pdfshuffler to replace the unsigned page with the signed page in the PDF in order.  may need pdfshuffler orig sign orig (wasn’t able to move later pages to earlier ones, but was able to delete pages).

ALSA and Flash

I’ve long wanted to do this, and I don’t know how it was so simple all along. I have 2 external USB DACs, which go to 2 amps for 2 rooms. there’s also the multichannel audio on the Dell 9300 itself, and for a while I was trying to get Skype working (I’ve given up, though it would be nice to run off of Linux it just doesn’t work reliably enough so I’ve gotten the Belkin Desktop Internet Phone which is working out rather nicely for now.

So I’ve had to learn how to identify and select the various audio devices that pop in and out over time, along with the random cruft that keeps changing things every few weeks. The biggest problem in all of it was getting Flash, and Youtube, to work. It just selects the default ALSA device. I had seen the ALSA wiki a few times, but somehow I just never saw that one part where they tell you how to redirect the default ALSA sound device.

All you do is run aplay -L, and find the device you want for default. it will look like:

Burr-Brown Japan PCM2702, USB Audio
IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output
USB Audio CODEC , USB Audio
Default Audio Device

so the Burr-Brown, by the way, is a FUBAR II DAC which is nice.. and the USB Audio CODEC is the other DAC I have. I don’t know why the label is “default”, but to get it to be the default ALSA device, all i did was make an .asoundrc file with the single line:

pcm.!default front:default

(default would be PCM2702 to get the other one probably) and that’s it. Flash is running through the DAC into the amp and out the speakers in my room. Because the device name is “default” I’m pretty sure I’ll have to muck with the .asoundrc file when I reboot, since I don’t think that’s its permanent designation, but atleast it’s playing through the speakers I want it to play through.


irssi, skype, pulseaudio, and wacom on vista

did a few things today. found irssi again, for some reason it wasn’t in aptitude for a while. now it is. great, i can ask questions on again. by the way i tried logging into that and irssi was failing ,and i found it was about clearing the hostname. googleable whatever it was.

then i was having a problem since skype wasn’t working with pulseaudio which somehow installed itself. i was worried that maybe squeeze had standardized on pulseaudio. asked (using irssi) and got the helpful advice to aptitude purge pulseaudio. with a little hesitation i did it, it had a bunch of dependencies all with “pulse” in their names so i purged all of them. and then ALSA and skype were back, and i was glad. i need skype a lot more than i need pulseaudio.

finally got to the vista laptop and the wacom bamboo was not moving the cursor. did another 15min of goofing and found that you can remove the “preference” file which resets the driver. (i dl’d and reinstalled the driver and it didn’t help.) and now the wacom is working. whew.


Wireless on Fujitsu Lifebook P7230 under Debian Squeeze

Finally got wireless working on the Fujitsu Lifebook P 7230 under Debian squeeze (testing).

  • First, for a long time, I’d get errors regarding missing firmware and ucode missing errors in dmesg.
    [ 75.707413] iwl3945 0000:03:00.0: iwlwifi-3945-1.ucode firmware file req failed: -2 
    [ 75.707522] iwl3945 0000:03:00.0: Could not read microcode: -2

    business_kid on suggested finding a firmware package, and I found it was the missing package firmware-iwlwifi. After this I still didn’t see the wireless networks on wicd, pixellany next suggested trying iwconfig wlan0 up; iwlist wlan0 scan. This was the first I’d seen of wlan0, I’d always used eth1 before. After running these commands I saw an ESSID of a network that the other computers here were using, so I knew the card was working and wicd wasn’t.

  • I found a box under wicd’s Preferences for wireless interface and entered wlan0, and then wicd saw the network.
  • I now needed the WEP key — no Internet yet , and I tried looking in the Windows network configuration screens on the windows computers here, but it was greyed or blocked out. Then I tried the DSL wireless router at since that’s what it said in the manual, didn’t work. After a while I found it at, and got the WEP key. It went in the Hex key, not the WEP passphrase.
  • But still no Internet, I powercycled the router and then all the computers lost the Internet. Turns out you have to powercycle the router and plug and unplug the DSL filter at the phone jack.
  • Also I had to comment out the various scripts I had in /etc/network/interfaces other than lo for eth0

I used to enjoy this kind of thing, but now I don’t really enjoy tinkering with Linux anymore. I think it’s because Linux used to be new and interesting and different, but now I use it for real stuff and I need it to work without me tinkering with it. And years of tinkering has gotten old. It’s just not that much fun anymore, it’s something that I don’t look forward to with Linux. But I still can’t live without Linux’s interfaces (ion and wmii window managers), flexibility, stability, and all that other stuff. I’d probably spend as much time fighting Windows as I do Linux, just in different ways.