Rodney Gedda's piece of the Web

July 31, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

New house, new beginning

We finally moved into our new house we have been building for the past 18 months. As you can imagine it was a bit of a (err, BIG) nightmare, but it’s rewarding when it’s all over and you move in.

I could write a book about the whole saga, but I’d really rather get on with my life.

The only thing I’ll write now – in case I never jot another word about it again – is to offer a few simple words of advice. If you do ever build your own house try to take as much control over the project as you can. Be an owner-builder and manage the trades yourself. No builder is ever going to care about your house project as much as you.

Using a builder is seen as the “safe” choice, but that means nothing if you end up spending as much time catching, and then fixing, the builder’s mistakes. Quality controls are almost non-existent in the building industry and this is no doubt a symptom of demand infinitely exceeding supply in the housing market. The builder simply wants to get each project done and move into the next one.

Anyway, live and learn. If I ever do build another house I know who will be managing the project.


June 30, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

It’s good to be back on Chakra

I installed Chakra Linux on an old notebook after a few years away from it. I now have Kubuntu, Korora (Fedora) and Chakra systems on the go.

Out of those it seems Kubuntu has the least direction. It seems to be just plodding along, forever in the shadow of its misspent older sibling.

There is an effort to make an integrated, single-option KDE distribution in The project is similar to Chakra, but is eyeing a move to Illumos instead of Linux for the kernel which is kinda scary.



Let’s hope Chakra matures to be the user-friendly, Linux and KDE-based OS for everyone.

May 30, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

Watch those default power saving settings

If you’re using a KDE-based Linux distro inside a VirtualBox VM keep an eye on the default energy saving settings as you can get caught out with an unusable system that needs to be shutdown, possibly losing data.

KDE power settings can be disabled when run as a virtual machine

KDE power settings can be disabled when run as a virtual machine

The “on battery” power profile will trigger a suspend state after a number of minutes of inactivity. That’s fine if you’re on a laptop, but inside a VM you get a blank screen not receptive to any input – not good.

I just disabled the events and use the VM manager’s pause feature when I want to disable the guest OS.

April 30, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

TV chef Adam Liaw stumbles into an Hoffice

On his culinary journey through Scandinavia, Adam Liaw shed some light on the “Hoffice” trend in Sweden where people gather at a house to telework in a group. Any in Australia? Well, there’s two in Sydney, and one in Melbourne and Perth which is a start.

There's one Hoffice in the Sydney CBD

There’s one Hoffice in the Sydney CBD

Will Hoffice join the digital disruptor ranks of Airbnb and Uber? What will something like Hoffice mean for office leasing, particularly within knowledge worker industries? In these cases the “disruption” is simply overlaying a portal or social network on top of infrastructure that is already there – cars, dwellings, etc.

The whole concept of teleworking is itself a disruptive trend, but looking at Hoffice it see a lot of synergy with incubation hubs and shared office spaces popular with tech startups.

March 31, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

More Markdown madness

After my previous adventure of Markdown editing with Kate, I took another look around for a cross-platform editor which can provide a similar outcome. Yes, I am aware Kate runs on non-Linux platforms, but that’s the topic of another blog (or 10).

I was gravitating towards JEdit which is a fine open source project and very mature. But I thought I might as well keep looking for something new which led me to Atom – a relatively new open source project from GitHub.

Markdown editing and previewing with Atom on Windows 10

Markdown editing and previewing with Atom on Windows 10

Atom not only has Markdown syntax highlighting but a module for previewing the HTML output right in the editor – nice!

Atom is one of those fancy new cross-platform apps.


February 28, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

How to create an editor account in WordPress

If you would like someone to make changes to your WordPress site content without allowing full administration privileges then create an “editor” account for them.

Start by adding a new user account. Go to “Users” -> “Add New” in the dashboard navigation menu. There you will see all the requirements and options for adding a new user account.

Fill in the form and where you see the “Role” drop-down list at the bottom, select “Editor” (change it from the default “Subscriber”).

That’s it! Your new editor can create and edit content, hopefully without breaking anything. The WordPress Codex has the full list of permissions afforded to the “Editor” role.

Creating an editor role in WordPress

Creating an editor role in WordPress

Tip: WordPress will generate a strong password for the new user and this password can be emailed to them, so it’s probably a good idea to ask you new editor to log in and change it and keep the password in a safe place (i.e. not an email inbox).

January 17, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

Messing with Markdown

A few forums I’m on – most notably Github – support Markdown so I thought I’d take a look at how i can work with it.

There’s a great little how to on that shows how to generate the HTML output right from the Kate text editor. Kate supports build profiles (which can just be a shell command) to make the code-to-build process seamless.

First, install Pandoc to convert the Markdown markup to HTML and create a build profile to run a command to convert the working text file into a HTML one.

pandoc -r markdown -w html -o %f.html %f

Then hit your keybinding (in my case Ctrl+Alt+B) and voilĂ  the html file will be generated. You can also go a step further and spawn Firefox (or any other browser) to open the file so you can check the HTML output immediately.

pandoc -r markdown -w html -o %f.html %f && /usr/bin/firefox -new-window %f.html

Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that Kate supports Markdown syntax highlighting too.


December 29, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

New notebook

So I finally get around to purchasing a new notebook as a functional alternative to the one I’ve been relying on for the past four years.

Nothing fancy – 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 2G GPU – which makes it a definite step up, but not a 2-in-1 if you know what I mean. It shipped with Windows 8.1 and the upgrade to Windows 10 went smooth enough. Yet to install Linux on it, but looks like a good opportunity to try something new.

Now I’m left with an old-old notebook that’s well past it for me, but could be useful to someone else. It’s free to a good home if anyone wants it.

What’s a “good home”?

  • Charity
  • Student
  • Open source project
  • Etc…

Ping me if you want to suggest something.

November 29, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

Bridging the desktop-mobile development gap

It seems Google’s Chrome browser is making waves in write-once, run on all desktops development environments. Projects like NW.js and Electron (renamed from Atom Shell earlier this year) provide an environment to use Web technologies for native apps on Windows, Mac and Linux desktops. And in the mobile space there is no shortage of cross platform frameworks like Apache Cordova and NativeScript that connect the code between Android, iOS and Windows Phone-based devices.

Apache Cordova for open source mobile development

Apache Cordova for open source mobile development

Is there a need for a toolkit that targets the six main desktop and mobile platforms? There is the Haxe project, but that’s its own environment and not “Web technologies” as the others are big on promoting.

This could be a focal point for 2016, including support for larger screens like smart TVs, etc.

October 31, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

AsteroidOS: An open smartwatch platform

Last week I came across an interesting open source project in AsteriodOS. It’s a free and open-source smartwatch platform based on OpenEmbedded, libhybris and Qt5.

AsteroidOS: A free smartwatch platform.

AsteroidOS: A free smartwatch platform.

I have a Samsung Tizen-based smartwatch so it’s great to see a community project in this space.

Hack your wrist!