My New Userscript

After spending so much time on fandom-specific sites with much better search systems (like Twisting the Hellmouth),’s search system feels really constricting.

As such, I’ve started to hack together a little userscript to make up for that. As of this writing, it hides slash and stories which involve a list of fandoms I’m not interested in. (So I can formulate searches like “All Harry Potter crossovers except series X, Y, and Z”)

You can find it (and instructions for customizing it screenshots) over on GreasyFork. Unwanted Result Filter

UPDATE: No instructions necessary anymore. It now has a nice configuration GUI.

UPDATE 2: And I now also have another little script for setting custom default values for’s own limited result filters system.

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Script to open in default web search provider

Inspired by this post for Windows on Raymond Chen’s blog, detailing how to make a best-effort attempt to open a query in the user’s default browser and search provider, I decided to write a Linux equivalent.

Since Raymond used C# for Windows (what could be more Windows?), I decided to use Bourne shell script for the Linux version (what could be more UNIXy?). Of course, me being me, I couldn’t help but add more error handling than Raymond does for his little programs.


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Desktop-spanning backgrounds in KDE 4.x

One of the simplest ways to make a multi-monitor system look more impressive is to set a desktop background which spans across all of the monitors. Just scale the image up to the smallest size that fills all of the visible desktop space, then cut out monitor-shaped pieces to display.

Every system (even lightweight, older Linux desktops) supports this… every system except one. When KDE went from 3.5.x to 4.x, they dropped support for spanning a background across all desktops and, to this day, they still haven’t brought it back.

…and since everything more lightweight has bugs with the desktop layout I’m currently dealing with while I wait for the new monitor bracket I ordered, that’s a problem. (Even worse, there’s no API I could find to programmatically set a background either!)

The solution I settled on was to write a little Python script which uses maybe half a dozen lines of PyQt 4.x/5.x calls (before line-wrapping and boilerplate) to do what KDE should have, then spits out image files to be set as per-monitor backgrounds.

I also implemented a --randomize option which can be used with cron to produce input for KDE’s slideshow mode. (Basically, you set each monitor background to be a single-entry slideshow that the script updates)

Just give it an image (or --randomize and a list of files and/or folders) and an output directory. (See --help for more details)

UPDATE: It now also gives more control over how the background is matched to the desktop’s aspect ratio via --gravity and I included, as an example, the .desktop file I use to integrate it with Geeqie via Zenity. (KDialog’s equivalent to zenity --list is inferior.)

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Extracting The Soundtrack From Your Copy of Desktop Dungeons

As I mentioned on previous occasions, I don’t take too kindly to people trying to make me pay once for a game and again for its soundtrack and, as a matter of principle, I rip my soundtracks straight from the data files I paid for rather than pirating the officially separated versions.

This time, it’s Desktop Dungeons. Unfortunately, this is a relatively recent Unity Engine game, so the only tool I’ve found which will extract the audio is Unity Assets Explorer.

Thankfully, it’ll run just fine inside Wine, so I wrote a script similar to what I did for Cave Story+.

So, here are the Linux instructions for extracting your Desktop Dungeons soundtrack from the game you bought:

  1. Download Unity Assets Explorer 1.2 or newer
  2. Use it to open DesktopDungeons_Data/resources.assets
  3. Extract all of the .ogg files
  4. Load them all in your music player and manually delete the ones which are sound effects. (You should be left with pairs of Intro and Loop files.)
  5. Download the following script and install the packages listed in the Requirements section
  6. Place the script in the same folder as your .ogg files, run it, and wait.
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Simple CD-Ripping Wrapper

Not much to report over the last few days. I was mainly busy ripping old CDs so I could store them in the closet.

cdparanoia -B and ddrescue (instructions) are essential for damaged audio tracks and CD-Rs. However, for old DOS/Win3.1-era CD-ROM games which use Redbook audio, they don’t really produce something that DOSBox or CDEmu+Wine can mount and play.

As such, I whipped up a quick little script for generating BIN/CUE pairs based on advice for ripping Playstation games under Linux. Here it is in case anyone wants it (you’ll also want my script that works but is long overdue for a rewrite):

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How to easily jekyll-import a WordPress site hosted on NearlyFreeSpeech.NET

In the time since I last tried migrating my blog to Jekyll, it has gained an official WordPress importer. Unfortunately, that importer requires direct database access and NearlyFreeSpeech.NET doesn’t have the requisite Ruby dependencies.

…so I decided to hack around that. It’s much easier to run the importer locally, but NFSN doesn’t expose their database servers to the world at large… SSH port forwarding to the rescue.

  1. Install the development headers for libmysqlclient
  2. gem install jekyll-import sequel mysql2 unidecode`
    Note: Make sure it does complain about `htmlentities` being missing or you’ll get a broken import with things like the / in </a> escaped.
  3. Open up two terminal windows
  4. In one terminal, adjust this SSH command and run it to forward the MySQL client port
    ssh -L 3306:YOUR_DSN_HERE:3306
  5. In the other terminal, adjust and run this jekyll-import command to dump the blog
        ruby -rubygems -e 'require "jekyll-import";
              "dbname"   => "___________",
              "user"     => "___________",
              "password" => "___________",
              "host"     => "",
              "socket"   => "",
              "table_prefix"   => "wp_",
              "clean_entities" => true,
              "comments"       => true,
              "categories"     => true,
              "tags"           => true,
              "more_excerpt"   => true,
              "more_anchor"    => true,
              "status"         => ["publish"]

    Note: Make sure `host` is set to If you use localhost, it will try to use a UNIX domain socket rather than a TCP socket and fail.

  6. Exit the ssh connection to close the tunnel and start fine-tuning the exported content.

Unfortunately, I found jekyll-import insufficient (eg. it made no attempt to preserve permalinks) so I started investigating alternatives. I discovered that Pelican (a Python alternative to Jekyll) has some very appealing plugins¬†(eg. [1] [2] [3] [4]), so I’ll probably use that instead.

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“Tasks Due Today” popup for TaskWarrior

I generally like using TaskWarrior to manage my tasks but I’ve found that, for daily recurring stuff, it just doesn’t feel quite right.

As such, I’ve put together a little tasklib-based glue script, runnable as a user cronjob if you set DISPLAY, which presents tasks due before the end of today (defined as 1:00:01 AM, local time, to work around a quirk caused by TiddlyWiki’s ignorance of daylight saving’s time) in a zenity checklist dialog.

It looks like this:


Clicking OK will commit the changes and then redisplay the dialog with refreshed content while clicking Cancel will quit the tool. The redisplay behaviour, window size, warning period, and zenity command can be customized by editing constants at the top of the file.

It’s available on GitHub Gist, as embedded below and here’s the download link. A requirements.txt is included which will install all of the dependencies except zenity.

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