Madhav Kobal's Blog

This blog will be dedicated to Linux, Open Source and Technology news, affairs, how-tos and virtually EVERYTHING in these domains.

Record a Terminal Session with TermRecord

Posted by madhavkobal on 07/05/2014

There are several online services (e.g., or which allow you to record and share your terminal sessions on the web. But if you want to save recording locally, the answer is TermRecord.

Install and Run TermRecord on Ubuntu Linux

You may install TermRecord from GIT repository. Or TermRecord is available as a Python package, so you can install the package with pip command.

Lets install pip on Linux system.

$sudo pip install TermRecord

Once installation of pip is done successfully, simply run the command below to start recording.

$TermRecord -o /home/USER_HOME/session1.html

Then any subsequent commands that are typed from the terminal will be saved to the output HTML file. The output file will also store timing information, so that the whole terminal session can be replayed in the same speed as you are typing.

If you want to stop the recording, simply type “exit” and press ENTER.

If you open up the HTML output on a web browser, you can play, pause or restart the stored session. You can also adjust the replay speed, i.e., speed up or slow down the session replay as you like.


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Add a Grammar Checker to using the AtD (After the Deadline) Extension

Posted by madhavkobal on 09/08/2010

The lack of a grammar checker is a pet peeve of many users. But there is a solution for those who are in desperate need of grammar checking capabilities in the productivity suite. The After the Deadline (AtD) extension adds a grammar checking feature based on the open source language checking server developed and maintained by Automattic (the company behind the popular WordPress software). The AtD server uses a combination of artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to find writing errors and offer smart suggestions.

To make use of the AtD extension, you need 3.2 or later and Sun Java Runtime Environment 1.5 or higher. Installing the AtD extension is a pretty straightforward affair. Grab the latest version of the extension. In, choose Tools | Extension Manager, press the Add button, select the downloaded .oxt file, and press Open. Restart, and you are done. Before you start using AtD, you have to specify what kind of grammatical and style issues it should detect. To do this, choose Tools | Extension Manager, select the AtD extension, and press the Options button. Enable then the desired options by ticking the appropriate check boxes. Press OK when done. That’s it, AtD is ready to go. Start typing, and when AtD detects a grammatical issue, it highlights it using a blue wavy line. Right-click on the highlighted fragment to view a brief description of the issue and its possible solution.

By default, the AtD extension uses the official AtD server, which requires an Internet connection. But you can also deploy the AtD server on your machine, which lets you use the service even when you are offline. To install the AtD server, download the latest AtD distribution from the project’s Web site, unpack the downloaded archive, switch to the resulting directory in the terminal, and run the ./ command (or ./ command if your machine has no more than 1.5GB RAM). Next, choose Tools | Extension Manager, select the AtD extension, press the Options button, and replace the default URL in the Proofreading Service section with Press OK, and you are done.

Source by : Dmitri Popov

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DeVeDe 3.16.8, create DVDs from video files

Posted by madhavkobal on 24/07/2010

DeVeDe Screenshot

DeVeDe is an application that converts various video file formats into a disc that can be played in a DVD player. Other applications and tool chains can be coaxed into doing this but DeVeDe has the advantage of being a dedicated utility that has been designed for a single function.

What DeVeDe can’t do is convert video files into other arbitrary formats or distill the contents of a video DVD into a single video file. As you might have guessed, there are no facilities for actual video editing within the program. However, you could team DeVeDe up with a dedicated video editor if you need to make changes to the source material.

When you first launch DeVeDe you are presented with a menu that allows you to choose between output formats. Apart from the ability to create standard DVDs, you can also make video CDs and DVDs with DivX files for players that support it.

Next up, you are taken to the main interface that allows you to add video files and titles to the disk. Each project is made up of a series of titles that are selectable from the main menu of the finished DVD. These titles, listed on the left of the screen, are associated with one or more video files, listed on the right. The source video files can be any video format that the system can understand and you can mix different formats within the same project. There is a submenu that allows you to adjust settings such as quality and aspect ratio for each video file. The DVD menu itself can be customized to some extent by selecting a background image, a font and a music file.

A bar in the middle of the main window shows you how much space you have left on the DVD. If the bar exceeds 100%, click on adjust and the program will automatically lower the quality settings to fit all of the video files onto the medium.

When you have the project arranged you can begin rendering the DVD image. This can take a long time, and thankfully, there is an option to render a short preview to test your settings. The finished file is output as a .iso file, ready for burning to disk.


Although the options aren’t as comprehensive as some other programs, I don’t think that there any absent features that 90% of people will actually need. In contrast, a lot of applications of this sort force the user to become of a bit of an expert in video standards and container file formats. It’s also worth mentioning that the help file is complete and details every part of the program. All in all, it’s a great little utility that does everything that it should. Recommended.

The DeVeDe website.

Original post by By Michael Reed

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Google Images Gets A New Look!

Posted by madhavkobal on 24/07/2010

Google has redesigned its popular image search service, adding a series of tweaks to make it easy to look at more images at once. Launched in 2001, the service has grown quite a bit, from a tiny index of some 250 million images to more than 10 billion today. The new interface displays up to 1,000 images on a single scrollable page.

“The quantity and variety of images on the Web has ballooned since 2001, and images have become one of the most popular types of content people search for. So over the next few days we’re rolling out an update to Google Images to match the scope and beauty of this fast-growing visual Web, and to bring to the surface some of the powerful technology behind Images,” Google explains in a blog post.

Here’s what’s new in the refreshed design of Google Images:
• Dense tiled layout designed to make it easy to look at lots of images at once.
• Instant scrolling between pages, without letting you get lost in the images. You can now get up to 1,000 images, all in one scrolling page. Google’ll show small, unobtrusive page numbers so you don’t lose track of where you are.
• Larger thumbnail previews on the results page, designed for modern browsers and high-res screens.
• A hover pane that appears when you mouse over a given thumbnail image, giving you a larger preview, more info about the image and other image-specific features such as “Similar images.”
• Once you click on an image, you’re taken to a new landing page that displays a large image in context, with the website it’s hosted on visible right behind it. Click anywhere outside the image, and you’re right in the original page where you can learn more about the source and context.
• Optimised keyboard navigation for faster scrolling through many pages, taking advantage of standard Web keyboard shortcuts such as Page Up/Page Down. It’s all about getting you to the info you need quickly, so you can get on with actually building that treehouse or buying those flowers.

Google further adds, “These upgrades are rolling out in most of our local interfaces worldwide over the next few days. We hope they not only make it easier to search for images, but also contribute to a better aesthetic experience.”

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Centrify Express Connects Macs, Linux To Active Directory

Posted by madhavkobal on 23/07/2010

The new, free software from the identity and access management vendor gives Mac and Linux users single sign-on to Microsoft Active Directory services.

Centrify is a founding member of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, formed to promote interoperability between Macs and Windows. The company already offers the Centrify Suite of Active Directory-based access and identity management software. But for organizations with “just a few non-critical Linux systems or Macs” (in Centrify’s words), Centrify Express offers a simple route to single sign-on and password policy enforcement.

The Express product provides a subset of the features of the entire suite. In includes DirectControl Express, which provides the single sign-on capability and also lets OS X and Windows servers be part of an Active Directory domain; DirectManage Express, which discovers and validates non-Windows systems on a network; a group of Centrify-enabled open source tools and utilities; and Centrify Express Community, for supporting best practices through forums, how-to videos, and so on.

“Cross-platform identity and access management solutions have traditionally been too costly and complex for smaller to medium sized businesses, but they often have some of the same security and compliance requirements such as PCI as larger organizations,” said Frank Cabri, vice president of marketing at Centrify. “Centrify’s approach of leveraging Active Directory combined with our free Express offering will now allow those organizations to easily improve security and compliance for their systems and layer on additional capabilities as their business evolves.” The free software can be downloaded here.

Original post by  Jake Widman

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DuckDuckGo – A Worthy Google Search Alternative(?)

Posted by madhavkobal on 14/07/2010



Does the name “DuckDuckGo” ring a bell? Unless you are a Redditor or a HackerNews reader, you can be forgiven for thinking that it is the name of a kids cartoon show. DuckDuckGo is actually a little known search engine. Don’t let the queer name turn you off, because it is actually pretty good.

I have been using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine for the past couple of months. While my initial intention was to simply try it for a week or so, review it and then be done with it, I have started to grow a fondness for it.

As I understand it, DDG is maintained by a single guy – Gabriel Weinberg. Its results are fetched from multiple sources including Bing, Yahoo! BOSS and the DuckDuck bot (DDG’s own webcrawler). DDG has loads of unique features to keep you interested. Some of my favourite ones are:

Arrow Zero-click info: This is somewhat similar to the onebox Google has been experimenting with, but is often more useful. It basically provides a quick snippet, which gives you an idea about your query without having to navigate away from DuckDuckGo.


Arrow Information Search: If you are looking for information on a specific topic, Information Search can be a real timesaver. Just have a look at the screenshot below to grasp what DDG’s information search has to offer.


Arrow !Bang: This is probably the best feature of DDG. You can directly search dozens of popular sites from DDG. For example, if you want to search for WinRAR, just type “!download WinRAR”. DDG will directly take you to the appropriate page on The full list of supported queries is available here.

Arrow Loads of goodies: If you thought Google has some nifty tricks, you should really check out DuckDuckGo. Want to generate a random password? No problem just type “pw”. Want to check your ip address? Once again, DDG can take care of it. Everything from weather reports and time zone conversions to complex calculations and unit conversion is supported.

Arrow Disambiguation pages: DDG automatically offers disambiguation pages for terms with multiple meanings in Wikipedia style.


Arrow Privacy Aware: Not only does DDG have a secure mode (https), but it is also more privacy conscious. Your ip address isn’t stored, neither is your full user agent. In fact, DDG doesn’t even pass on your query string to the referred website. Although I don’t like the later feature (since if it becomes popular among search engines, it would paralyse web analytics), there is little doubt that DuckDuckGo takes privacy seriously.

Arrow Infinite Scrolling: While there are userjs/greasemonkey scripts to achieve the same with Google, DDG supports it out of the box. DDG automatically loads additional results as your scroll down the page.

Arrow Keyboard Navigation: Once again, most pro users would appreciate the advanced keyboard navigation supported by DDG.

Arrow Relevant Search: Of course none of these fancy features would matter, if the results delivered by DDG weren’t accurate. Fortunately, I have found them to be really good. In fact, there have been occasions when I was better served by DDG than Google.

In the end, is DDG a perfect search engine? No. Its biggest disadvantage is that it has a learning curve. While computer savvy users would appreciate the advanced functionalities offered by DDG, most users would simply fail to grasp some of DDG’s best features. I am also not a big fan of the website’s visual appearance. I understand that DDG doesn’t want to take itself too seriously, but that’s no excuse for looking like a website from the late 90s. Another area where DDG can improve upon is speed. Most of the time I am stuck on a pathetic Tata Photon Whiz connection. Unfortunately, the JS heavy DDG doesn’t fare too well on slower connections.

In spite of all the shortcomings, DDG is the best Google search alternative I have seen in recent times. It’s amazing how a single guy has managed to make super hyped start-ups like Cuil look outright dumb.

Original Post by Pallab De


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Read your e-mail via terminal

Posted by madhavkobal on 08/07/2010

Alpine is a free software e-mail client developed at the University of Washington.

Alpine 1.0 was publicly released on December 20, 2007.

Alpine is a rewrite of the Pine Message System that adds support for Unicode and other features. Alpine is meant to be suitable for both inexperienced email users and the most demanding of power users. Alpine is developed at the University of Washington, as was Pine before it. Alpine can be learned by exploration and the use of context-sensitive help. The user interface can be customized.


Alpine shares a lot of common feature of console applications, like a rich set of shortcut keys, using keyboard instead of mouse to do all navigation and operation. In fact all operations in Alpine have corresponding shortcut keys.

Unlike other console applications targeting developers and experienced users, which often require users to edit a configuration file, Alpine allows the user to change most configuration options within the software. This makes alpine one of the most easy to learn console-based email clients.

Alpine supports IMAP, POP, SMTP and LDAP protocol natively. Although it does not support composing HTML email, it can display emails that only have HTML content as text.

After the installation, you can access alpine by typing “alpine” (without double code) inside your terminal.

Furthermore, here is the configuration of gmail client:

Lets say your e-mail is:

Personal name=User1



Inbox path={}INBOX

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FBI can’t crack open source security

Posted by madhavkobal on 02/07/2010

Sleuths at the FBI have admitted their attempts to crack the open source encryption software TrueCrypt have come to nowt.

America’s finest have been banging away at hard drives seized by Brazilian police during a 2008 investigation of dodgy banker Daniel Dantas.

Brazil’s own National Institute of Criminology called in the FBI after its own attempts to break the encryption were foiled. It seems the FBI was no more successful.

According to Brazilian media reports, two programs were used to encrypt the drives, one the free open source program TrueCrypt. Snoops in Brazil spent five months throwing a dictionary at the drives and got nowhere.

They then passed the drives to the FBI whose experts spend a year trying exactly the same tactic before giving up and sending the unlocked drives back to Brazil

Daniel Dantas meanwhile was sent to prison for ten years in December 2008 for attempting to bribe a police officer. Whatever information he stored on his hard drives remains secret.

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K3b 2.0 burner software with Blu-ray support arrives

Posted by madhavkobal on 01/07/2010

The K3B  development team has released version 2.0 of its CD and DVD creator for Linux. With this version, the developers have almost fully ported the popular burner software to KDE 4 by, for example, using solid for hardware detection.

As an added feature, the program now supports the burning of Blu-ray media via cdrecord. The developers have also combined various dialogues and given the program new icons to match the Oxygen theme. The rest of the program’s visual appearance – a direct port of its KDE3 predecessor – remains intact, so users will not need to re-familiarise themselves with the latest release.

More details about the release can be found in the changelog. K3b 2.0 source code is available to download from the project’s site. The K3B CD/DVD creator for Linux is licensed under the GPL.

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5 Bash Resources

Posted by madhavkobal on 22/06/2010

1. The Bash Man Page
Yeah, I know.  I spent nearly half a page in my book trashing the bash man page for its impenetrable style and its lack of any trace of user-friendliness, but nothing beats typing “man bash” when you’re already working in a terminal.  The trick is finding what you want in its enormous length.  This can sometimes be a significant problem, but once you find what you are looking for, the information is always concise and authoritative though not always easy to understand.  Still, this is the resource I use most often.
Perhaps in response to the usability issues found in the bash man page, the GNU Project produced the Bash Reference Manual.  You can think of it as the bash man page translated into human readable form.  While it lacks a tutorial focus and contains no usage examples, it is much easier to read and is more usefully organized than the bash man page.
The bash man page and the Bash Reference Manual both extensively document the features found in bash.  However, when we need a description of bash behavior, different resources are needed.  The best by far is Greg’s Wiki.  This site covers a variety of topics, but of particular interest to us are the Bash FAQ which contains over one hundred frequently asked questions about bash, the Bash Pitfalls which describes many of the common problems script writers encounter with bash, and the Bash Guide, a useful set of tutorials for bash users.  There are also several fun to read rants.
Like Greg’s Wiki, the Bash Hackers Wiki provides many different articles relating to bash, its features, and its behavior.  Included are some useful tutorials on various programming techniques and issues with scripting with bash.  While the writing is, at times, a little chaotic, it does contain useful information.  Heck, they even trash my Writing Shell Scripts tutorial (Hmmm…I really ought to fix some of that stuff).

Chet Ramey is the current maintainer of bash and he has his own page.  On this page, you can find version information, latest news, and other things.  The most useful document on the Bash Page is its version of the Bash FAQ.  The NEWS file contains a concise list of features that have been added to each version of bash.

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