Markdown

Markdown is a type of computer language… hold it, don’t switch off just yet, it’s not that dull. Those of us who write blogs sometimes have to deal with HTML, and that’s ugly and a whole lot more typing than we really need to do to say what we want to say. Markdown lets you avoid _most_ of the HTML you are likely to need to type. Let me explain…

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vi – keyboard navigation

vi, the unix text editor, is an incredibly useful and powerful piece of software. It is daunting to learn at first, but it’s the one piece of software that you can be 99.9% certain of finding on any *nix type system. And if the machine isn’t working right, it may be the only tool you have to fix it, so it’s useful to know how to use it.

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Installing Debian on an Intel Mac Mini

I found installing Debian on a Mac Mini very difficult, but it needn’t be. There are many instructions and suggestions around the web, but I couldn’t find all the information in one place, and when things went wrong I could find no help. So, now that I’ve got a working install I thought I’d blog it in the hope to help other avoid the problems I had.

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Time sink

I’ve not posted much for a while, there’s a lot of stuff, a **lot** of stuff, in draft, I’ve just to organise my notes and get around to posting… if only I could get away from…

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Backups – backing up your data, is it worth it?

Real back-up is expensive, whether it be media or time. How much you spend on back-up (time or money) should be based on the value of your data, and the cost of the time that the data may be off-line (or the value of that data in some other measure).

When specifying a server for a small company I’ve been told that the price looks expensive. I explain the hardware in the server and it’s cost, and when I get to the back-up device that’s when they choke. No one ever *expects* their hardware to fail, that is a user’s biggest error. On a long enough time-line hardware *always* fails. What I say to the bean counters is this: All of your data, details of everything anyone owes you is gone, you could get no income from any debt that you currently have, and you wouldn’t know that you should how do you recover? *This* back-up device will ensure that that doesn’t happen…. That tends to persuade most people.

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Text editing the intelligent way

For the majority of us, most of our time spent on a computer (when not surfing) involves entering data of some kind. If you’re one of those ‘graphics’ types, then this won’t affect you, but if you spend time (even a small amount) typing, then this affects you.

Text input isn’t hard, we either spend time learning how to touch-type, or we become very adept hunt-and-peck-ers. It’s managing the text once it’s *in* that it becomes difficult, sure, cut, copy, and paste are simple to do, but what about that bulleted list, where you need to indent a few lines again because you realise that they could have their own section? If you select the lines and hit the tab then all the text disappears and is replaced by a tab! Really helpful.

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Setting up my blog

What a trial it is setting up blogging software, especially if you want to host it yourself. Sure, you can have it hosted elsewhere, but you’re either restricted on setup and configuration, or you have to pay. I’m not technically illiterate, and I have the hardware to hand, so I wanted to host the blog myself.
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