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Ubuntu tips

Ubuntu is great, but here are some tips to fix some issues that I regularly encounter.

Mouse doesn't seem quite right

If its a logitech mouse, install solaar with Unity/gnome extensions, sudo apt-get install solaar-gnome3. Then unplug the mouse and restart the system. Or try lomoco to manually configure.



Wget is a handy commandline utility for grabbing stuff off the web. It is built into most UNIX systems. If you are on windows, install Git for Windows which comes packaged with Git Bash, a very handy UNIX terminal emulator (note: check if Git Bash has wget installed by typing wget --version. If it is not installed, check this Gist). Another handy windows option is MobaXterm.

Check all the commands by typing wget --help in your terminal.


Handy OpenRefine Functions to Remember

OpenRefine Cross function

Use cross to retrieve columns from other OpenRefine projects based on a common column.

  1. Open the two projects you want to join

PocketCHIP stuff


build in calculator: xcalc

use the built in browser: surf (need help, man surf)

get a text browser: sudo apt-get install lynx

evanwill /
Created Jul 20, 2016
update grub boot order

How to update Grub boot order on multi boot system

When logged into Ubuntu, open terminal:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Change GRUB_DEFAULT= to the value you want, based on its position on the GRUB menu when your computer starts up (the top OS is 0). You can use the number or use the exact label like GRUB_DEFAULT="Ubuntu 15"

evanwill /
Last active Jul 1, 2016
installing OpenRefine on Mac

Install OpenRefine on Mac

Mac seems to have a few issues when trying to install OpenRefine. The official instructions are on the OpenRefine wiki, but this list brings together resources to trouble shoot some common issues.

  1. Open Refine needs Java JRE. OS X has a few issues with Java, many are documented at Oracle Java on Mac OS X. Older versions of Java are automatically disabled by OS X. Its best to go to the Java page and just download and install the most up-to-date version for Mac.
evanwill /
Last active Jun 9, 2016
set up etherpad on a cloud vm

How to set up Etherpad in a cloud VM

Set up an Ubuntu server, then follow these directions to get an instance of Etherpad up and running! For full documentation check out the Etherpad-lite wiki.

Install dependencies

sudo apt-get install gzip git-core curl python libssl-dev pkg-config build-essential apache2
evanwill /
Created Jun 3, 2016
add more kernels to python 3 jupyter notebooks with anaconda

this assumes you have installed Python 3 via Anaconda distribution.

Make Python 2 kernel available to Jupyter Notebook

  1. open a terminal and create a new python 2 environment: conda create -n py27 python=2.7
  2. activate the environment: linux source activate py27 or windows activate py27
  3. install the kernel in the env: conda install notebook ipykernel
  4. install the kernel for outside the env: ipython kernel install --user
  5. close the env: source deactivate
evanwill /
Last active Oct 19, 2019
how to add more utilities to git bash for windows, wget, make

How to add more to Git Bash on Windows

Git for Windows comes bundled with the "Git Bash" terminal which is incredibly handy for unix-like commands on a windows machine. It is missing a few standard linux utilities, but it is easy to add ones that have a windows binary available.

The basic idea is that C:\Program Files\Git\mingw64\ is your / directory according to Git Bash (note: depending on how you installed it, the directory might be different. from the start menu, right click on the Git Bash icon and open file location. It might be something like C:\Users\name\AppData\Local\Programs\Git, the mingw64 in this directory is your root. Find it by using pwd -W). If you go to that directory, you will find the typical linux root folder structure (bin, etc, lib and so on).

If you are missing a utility, such as wget, track down a binary for windows and copy the files to the corresponding directories. Sometimes the windows binary have funny prefixes, so

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