QuickTip: whois

November 25, 2007

I regularly need to do whois lookups as part of my work, and one of the best tools for doing this quickly is the tiny whois package which is used from bash – I don’t know how many people here ever need to look up whois data, but, this way is considerably better than trawling through various ISP’s websites, and even easier than DNSStuff’s utility.

You can install the application by using:

sudo apt-get install whois

(The package came out of the xnv4.xandros.com etch/main repo, so you’ll need to have this configured in /etc/apt/sources.list, and potentially pinned as well.)

Usage of the tool is dead easy:

whois [domain name]

For example:

whois google.co.uk

QuickTip: command concatenation

November 25, 2007

If you are using terminal / bash, and you want to perform multiple operations, you can consider concatenating them. For example, if you wanted to listthe contents of a directory (Desktop, in the example), you would want to do the following:

cd /home/user/Desktop

This will set your shell location to Desktop. Then, run the application “ls” to list the contents of the folder:


Your output will be whatever folders you have in your Desktop directory (in my case, the reference to my Home directory, and my text file “tips.txt”:

Home.desktop tips

However, you can concatenate the commands by using the | symbol (which is obtained by pressing Shift + Function + Z (it must be in that order)) . As such, the two commands above become:

cd /home/user/Desktop | ls

The output is the same.

You can perform multiple concatenations as well – take, for example, the search function “grep”. If you have a lot of files in a directory, simply listing them may not be particularly useful, as you then have to look for the particular file name – and a computer is much better at matching text strings than you are 😉 As such, why not search the output of the listing?

cd /home/user/Desktop | ls | grep tips

(note that you do not have to use the complete name- you could grep “ti” or even “ip”. It simply looks for a matching of the order of the letters, anywhere in the strings)

The output will be all the matches- if there is no output, you will see nothing.

Edit: Claude has been very quick off the mark which an excellent tip, pointing out that you could also concatenate as follows:

cd /home/user/Desktop;ls / grep tips

Thanks, Claude!


No Proporta Portable Laptop Battery :(

November 25, 2007

Proporta Portable Laptop BatteryAfter playing with the EEE for a while, I remembered that I have a Proporta Portable Laptop Battery (“PLB”) sitting in the back of a cupboard, unused since I discovered it didn’t have the right tips for my Samsuny laptop, and wondered whether it would work with the EEE. It was more hoping that wondering, really – the PLB is a great accessory, which, when I was travelling with my work laptop, made a huge difference to the amount of work I was able to get done on the flight, and the ability to power the EEE off the mains for even longer seemed a fantastic proposition.

It was then that I realised that the PLB puts out 16/19v, and the EEE requires 9.5v, so it wasn’t going to work, which is a shame… Oh well!

Welcome to the EeeUser Wiki!

November 25, 2007

The EeeUser Wiki is the ideal place to start for new Linux/ Eee owners and has already taght me a lot in the first few minutes- “The EeeUser Wiki is a community documentation project for the Eee PC. It contains everything from basic product information to advanced tips and how-to articles, all added by community members like you. Think of it as a giant, constantly-updated Eee guidebook that anyone can contribute to!

Want to help? One way to get started is by seeking out useful information from the EeeUser Forums and reformatting it for inclusion here, either within an existing article or in a brand new one. Want to start a new article?”

3G on the Eee PC

November 25, 2007

So, 3G is easily possible on the Eee. Just need to find a way to connect my smartphone to it for true mobile browsing. “I just nipped down to the 3 shop and picked up a Huawei USB 3G modem. I literally popped it into the Eee and setup a new connection in “Network”. No extra drivers, no complicated configuration. It even found all the “3” setting for me.

This could not have been any easier, and will work with any provider using the Huawei E220 USB modem (Most).” More at STA.

Custom designed EEE PC interface

November 25, 2007

The Custom designed EEE PC interface is a quick, easy and free way to add more life to your Eee. “Thank you for your interest in my custom designed EEE PC interface. This file is completely free, however I ask that you please not distribute it. Instead please link to this page so that interested users may download the latest version of the skin.

Currently Beta 2.0 has been released, which includes a complete design of each of the four interface themes. In the next release, a complete set of icons that coordinate with each of the themes will be released.”

So what am I running…?

November 25, 2007

A couple of people have emailed me to ask about my current setup on the EEE, so, here goes:

  • I have enabled the KDE desktop (“full desktop” mode), so that I can get a proper PC experience. It still boots into Easy Mode first, though, so a few edits there were in order…
  • I have edited the Easy Mode tabs to show what I want- in particular, I have created a tab  with my own most-used applications. This is done by editing the text file responsible for the interface, simpleui.rc,
  • Using the Synaptic Packet Manager, in conjunction with adept (“apt-get” at bash), I’ve removed the applications which I do not need- in particular, I’ve stripped out the Chinese language packs, along with Acrobat Reader (acroread) as this takes up a huge amount of space for it’s size, especially as there’s another application which will do the same job.
  • I’ve updated Skype to v2.0 beta, to allow video calling – this works very well indeed, and the sound quality from the integrated speakers is actually quite impressive!
  • I’ve added my usual complement of add-ons to FireFox (AdBlock Plud, TabMixPlus), but, also, something called AutoHide, which conceals the toolbars when running FireFox in full screen mode, which is preferable to make the most of the screen space.

It’s all gone very well, and the EEE is a joy to use. I still have plans for some other tweaks, but, overall, considering I’ve had the machine for about 30 hours, I am very pleased with it indeed, and it is working like a proper laptop for me! (Having said that, it generates not insignificant heat, so, I avoid actually using it on my lap!)