Convert ODT to PDF

Use LibreOffice (OpenOffice.org) in command line mode to convert all of the ODT files in the directory to PDF files in subdirectory PDF:

  • libreoffice --headless --convert-to pdf --outdir PDF ./*.odt

P.S.

Use ./*.odt instead of simply *.odt, because otherwise the program will consider file names beginning with “-” to be an argument and will fail.


Monitor directory with inotify

You can use inotifywait to watch a directory (or a file for that matter) for changes and run some action when they happen.

A sample script, which watches for a new file to be created and prints only its name:

#!/bin/bash

inotifywait -m -e create --format %f /tmp/mytestdir | while read FILE
do
  echo "$FILE"
done

Send message to system log

Send a message to the Linux system log from the command line:

  • logger "Hello World!"

P.S.

You can follow the messages logged to the system log by running:

  • tail -f /var/log/syslog

Bluetooth device added successfully but failed to connect

Trying to connect to Bluetooth headphones on Linux Mint 17.
The device is detected and paired, but fails to operate.

In blueman:
Using “Setup…” for the device:
Connect to: A2DP Sink (Send Audio)

Fails with message: “device added successfully but failed to connect”

THE REASON:
A bug in the software. Pulse audio module module-bluetooth-discover is not properly loaded. The blueman utility itself is said to unload the module.

THE SOLUTION:
Run manually from the command line:

  • pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover

(Should the blueman be runing while doing it?)

Don’t forget to switch “Output” in “Sound Preferences” to your Bluetooth headphones.

It may not always work straightforward. Be patient and experiment a bit.


Silencing DSC PC1565-2P alarm after power loss

Given: DSC Classic PC1565H-2P alarm system with PC1555RKZ PowerSeries 8-Zone LED keypad. The battery is many years old.
Power supply to the building is lost. After it is restored, the alarm begins to howl. Various key combinations you normally use do not help to silence it.
Solution: Trip the fuses off and back on again. Then run to the unit and enter your password. You might need to enter it twice.
The solution actually worked but the details are not fully clear, as it was a unique case.

If after a while it starts beeping on motion, try entering *4 followed twice by the code.


Removing price stickers

Those paper price stickers can really drive you mad. They get glued onto the goods you buy in the most unusual places and generally are very hard to remove. They tear when you try to peel them off and leave their underlayer of glue stuck to the object.

An easy way to get rid of them completely is to use kitchen paper towels and cooking oil. If the surface of the object can’t get damaged by oil, of course. This generally works well on metal and plastic, but it is your responsibility to decide if you can apply it to the particular object.

  • Take the object, peel off as much of the sticker as you can. Your main objective is to expose the soft interior paper layers of the sticker to the oil.
  • Apply some oil.
  • Gently rub the torn sticker with your finger. Particles of torn paper will get mixed with the glue residue and oil into an easely removable mass. Oil prevents glue from binding to the surface again, which would happen if you would just try to rub it off.
  • Use clean paper towels to lift the dirty mass off the surface.
  • Repeat until done.

Touch up paint with a match

For touching up a small area of painted surface, e.g. for hiding a small scratch, do not use a brush.

If the scratch is at most few mm in size, the best tool for the job is the ordinary match.

If you use a brush, you may, and you almost definitely will, accidentally apply excessive amount of paint, as the large blob of paint contained in the brush will suddenly flood the area.

Instead, take a match and sharpen its tip flat and thin. You may lightly split it, if you want it to hold a little bit more paint, but that is not required. Basically, what you are doing is you are making a tiny wooden quill.

Then dip your “match quill” into the  paint, wipe any excess paint off against walls of the paint container, and very slowly and carefully touch the scratch, letting some of the paint stay on the surface. Several carefull touches, leaving microscopic droplets of paint, may bee needed for larger scratches. Don’t overdo it!

Notes:

  1. You can use paint from a spray. Shake the bottle well, then spray some paint into the bottle’s plastic cap. Dip your quill into it.
  2. Apply some rust converter before painting metal surface, if needed.
  3. For touching up a very small area of very dark blue car paint job, glossy black primer can do, unless you have paint of exactly the same color. Human eye can’t precisely distinguish colors of very small objects.

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