Monthly Archives: December 2014

Holiday Break Time

Family and holiday obligations for the rest of the year, but we’ll be back with more Linux goodness, on January 5th Thanks for the visit.

If it’s your first visit, why not start from the beginning and page through our posts for the year. You can find them HERE

Tools: Python Screen Capture

If like me, you do a lot of screen captures, one of the things you’ll find with the normal ALT-PrntScreen capture method is that you can’t capture context menus.  When you try and do a print-screen of an open context menu, it just closes before the screen grab is made.

Enter Pyvnc2swf, which will uses the VNC protocol to grab your desktop and record it to a .flv flash file!

Open your Software Manager and search for  Pyvnc2swf and install it. Note that you will need the Python engine installed in your computer to run this Python script. More on that is available HERE

Software Manager

Software Manager

To run the script, just open a Terminal window, and type: vnc2swf

pyvnc2swf User Interface

pyvnc2swf User Interface

This will open a small user interface, where you can select the type of output file. I recommend Flash. Then it’s just a matter of hitting the Start button, making your screen moves, then hitting the Stop button. Next, save the file to whatever directory you wish.

The resulting flash video file can then be played in your media player of choice, and the frame you wish to show can be grabbed for use.


Games: NeverPutt Mini Golf

Like miniature golf but can’t get to the local course? Then head over to your Software Manager, and search for NeverPutt!

Software Manager

Software Manager

Neverputt is a silly mini golf game for your desktop. The 3D graphics and sound effects make a fun game to play when you want to waste some time. Several courses are offered, and the game is fun way to work on your mouse skills!



You aim your putter by dragging your mouse left or right, and determine the strength of the put by pulling back on the mouse, then clicking to make the hit.

Sometimes it’s the silly games available that can help relieve some of life’s stresses!


Firefox Version 34 Search-Bar Rant

I happily upgraded my machines to Firefox 34, and found the new search bar to be very frustrating! There seemed to be no way to change the default search engine unless you entered the Preferences menu to make the change.

Turns out that if you have nothing in the search bar, you don’t get the option of choosing your search engine, as seen below:

Firefox Search Bar

Firefox Search Bar

In the above, the only way to change search engines is to click the Change Search Settings button presented, and then choose your desired search engine.

It was by chance that I figured out that if you actually have your search term in the bar, then and only then are you presented with a menu of available search engines:

Firefox Search Bar

Firefox Search Bar

Frankly, the old way they did it was much handier, and I really wish they would stop fixing things that are not broken!

Most of my searches are done from highlighted text in a web page, and this makes it a rough go. I was able to solve this irritation by installing the Firefox Add-On called Quick Context Search

This lets me choose the search engine directly from the Right Click context menu after I have highlighted the search term.

We love Firefox here on the farm, but gosh guys, it it works, don’t change it!


New Tools For My Lone WIndows Box

We only have one Windows computer on the farm. It’s used to stream our goat channel to ustream and youtube. In an effort to make life a little bit easier for ourselves, I’ve installed a new tool  called AutoHotkey.

When you watch television, you will notice at the top of the hour, a small graphic in the lower left corner of your screen. The ABC television network puts up a little ABC in a circle, CBS has their CBS Eyeball, and etc. This little graphic is called a Bug.

We use a small logo for our bug. and have been putting it in and out manually the last 5 years. With AutoHotkey and some clever scripting, it’s now inserted automatically at the top and bottom of the hour!

I’m also using AutoHotkey to change to a specific camera, and insert a custom graphic when I’m giving the goats their morning and afternoon cookies. I can fire off the script right from my Android cell phone!

So if you’re running Windows, and want some automation for about any task, give AutoHotkey a try!