Boots No. 7 Highlights Illuminating Lotion

Of course because I love this stuff, it’s nearly impossible to find anywhere and I’m hoping my bottle will last me for a long time! I think it will though, as I only use a little tiny bit on my cheekbones and a tiny bit under my eyebrow- maybe twice a week. But it’s just lovely- adds a wonderful pale pink shimmer and glow to my skin which is very much needed. It’s a little pricey, which is another downside to not being able to find it anywhere! As all you girls know- if you find a product that works for you and makes you feel glowy and good- they usually discontinue it. Ha! So I say, if you can find this on the shelf drop me an email and pick some up for yourself and your best friend.

Embedded Terminal on Gnome 3 Desktop

This should work on any number of Linux distributions and window managers (ie. FluxBox, OpenBox, WindowMaker, Gnome 3, KDE). For this guide, we will be working in Debian 7 Wheezy, using Gnome 3.

An embedded rxvt terminal on the Gnome 3 Desktop, using devilspie. (Also featuring Conky)

An embedded rxvt terminal on the Gnome 3 Desktop, using devilspie. (Also featuring Conky)


Normally, I keep my desktop pretty clean. No icons, no volumes, nothing. One day I thought that I should look for a way to utilize that space. Since I normally dedicate one of my workspaces to a full screen terminal, I decided I should add one to my desktop. Now that I’ve done this, I can hit my “show desktop” key binding and have the terminal available. Not only does it make the terminal quicker to get to but it looks awesome too! Lets get started!

Requirements

This should work on pretty much any window manager and any distribution. The following packages are required and can most likely be installed using your package manager.

Configure to Your Liking

Once we have rxvt and Devil’s Pie installed, we need to change some of the options as well as make each of them talk to each other. Both rxvt and Devil’s Pie are very flexible, lightweight and extremely customizable. With the configuration below, the terminal will look just like the one in the picture above.

First, you will probably need to make a text file called .Xresources in your home directory. Some distros use .Xdefault. To create this file, use the following command in the terminal. It will open a text editor and create the file. If you’re not comfortable using nano, then change nano to which ever text editor you like.


nano ~/.Xresources && xrdb -merge .Xresources

Note that whenever you use ~/ in a terminal that means your home directory. Also, xrdb is telling X to make the changes without you having to restart X. Now that you are editing the file, copy and paste the code below.


URxvt*transparent: true
URxvt*shading: 100
URxvt*scrollBar: false
!
! THE FOLLOWING LINES ARE OPTIONAL... I JUST DIDN'T LIKE THE DEFAULT TEXT
! FONT
URxvt*foreground: #708090
URxvt.font: xft:Free Sans:size=11

Save the file and close it. We now have a configured urxvt terminal. Now we need to configure Devil’s Pie. Devil’s Pie lets you customize how any window opens and looks. By default Devil’s Pie will look for scripts in ~/.devilspie. So, lets go to that directory and create a script. In the terminal enter the following code (again replacing nano with your text editor of choice).


cd ~/.devilspie && nano DesktopConsole.ds

You should now be editing another text file. Copy and paste the code below, then save the file.


(if
        (matches (window_name) "DesktopConsole")
        (begin
                (pin)
                (below)
                (undecorate)
                (skip_pager)
                (skip_tasklist)
                (wintype "desktop")
                (geometry "+50+50")
                (geometry "1165x545")
        )
)

Before we continue, we should test to make sure it works and that the dimensions and colors are to your liking. Open two terminals. In the first one, enter devilspie and hit enter. Devil’s Pie needs to start first. Then in the second window enter rxvt -name DesktopConsole and hit enter. You should now have a terminal waiting on your desktop! Check it out!

To find out where the terminal begins and ends I usually try to fill the screen with text by typing dmesg. If you find that the screen is too big or too small, then I suggest changing the line in DesktopConsole.ds that says (geometry "1165x545").

Setting it to Open at Start Up

To make this appear at startup without having to enter the commands yourself. To do this, we will create a startup script and add it to the Startup Applications. Begin by creating a directory in your home folder called .startup and begin editing it using the code below.

mkdir ~/.startup && nano ~/.startup/devilspie.sh

You will now be editing a new text file. Copy and paste the following code into this file.


#!/bin/sh
sleep 4; # wait for a moment so everything starts properly
devilspie &
rxvt -name DesktopConsole

Save the file and make it executable by running the following command in the terminal.

chmod +x ~/.startup/devilspie.sh

Now that everything is in place. We need to add this script to the startup applications for your window manager. In Gnome it is called “Startup Applications Preferences”.

  1. Open “Startup Applications Preferences” and click the “Add” button.
  2. Name it “Desktop Console”
  3. For the command, enter sh /home/USER_NAME/.startup/devilspie.sh (replacing USER_NAME with your username for logging into the computer).
  4. Click the “Add” button and then close Startup Applications Preferences.

You are ready to go! Now the next time you login, you will have an embedded terminal on your desktop! As I mentioned before, both rxvt and Devil’s Pie are very customizable. If you’re interested in making your own customizations, I suggest reading some of the docs found on the official websites. I would love to see what you’ve come up with. If you got this working in other distributions or other window manager, please let me know by posting below!

Automotive OBD-II On-Board Diagnostics Reader for Smart Phone Users

Torque OBD Reader for AndroidSince I’ve been using this for several months now, I’ve decided I should share it. Last year, I brought my car to a mechanic to have it re-aligned and also asked him to run the diagnostics on it since the check engine light was coming on constantly. I was charged $60 just for them to run the diagnostics! I thought to myself, “I should get my own diagnostics reader to avoid this in the future.” I also do most of the work on my cars so I thought it would be a good thing to have around.

OBD-II or On-Board Diagnostics 2 is an automotive term referring to a vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability. OBD-II was required to be on every petrol vehicle manufactured after 1996 and every diesle vehicle manufactured after 2004. In most vehicles, it is located in the driver’s area inside the vehicle, usually under the dash or sometimes in the dash. Just take a peak down there, you’ll probably see it. Refer to your vehicle’s manual or do a Google search on where it is located in your vehicle if you have trouble finding it.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Android Smart Phone or Tablet
  • Bluetooth OBD-II Reader

Using your android smart phone or tablet, you can read the codes which cause your check engine light to turn on. They are called trouble codes. These codes tell you why your check engine light is on. Then you can clear the codes, to turn off/reset your check engine light. It is suprisingly easy! All you have to do is get what is called a Bluetooth ELM327 OBD-II Reader. This device will transmit the information from your car to your Android device. These devices can easily be purchased for around $10 to $15 on eBay or Amazon. That is all you will need to pay for.

Once you have everything you need, just follow the steps below and you will be ready to tell your mechanic what is wrong with your car or fix it yourself!

Prepairing your Device

  1. On your phone, goto the Google Play store and install Torque Lite for free (QR Code Below).
    Some vehicles will have the OBD port visible. Some are hidden behind the dash.

    Some vehicles will have the OBD port visible. Some are hidden behind the dash.

  2. Plug your OBD-II reader into the port on your car (Usually to the left, below your steering wheel) and make sure the LED lights on the OBD reader turn on.
  3. If the lights do not turn on, try turning your car key to the running position or accessory position.
  4. Now make sure Bluetooth is enabled on you phone.
    • Go to Under Settings > Wireless & networks
    • Touch Bluetooth. Your phone scans for and displays the IDs of all available Bluetooth devices in range.
    • Touch the ID of the Bluetooth device in the list to pair with it.

      Follow the instructions to complete the pairing. If you’re prompted to enter a passcode, try entering 0000 or 1234 (the most common passcodes), or consult the documentation that came with the device.

      If the pairing is successful, your phone connects to the device.

Setting Up the Torque Android App

  1. Open Torque on your Android phone.
  2. Launch Torque, and go into the applications settings menu
  3. Select the “OBD2 Bluetooth Settings” settings option
  4. Scroll down the list of items until you see ‘Connection Type’ in the list. Make sure this is set to ‘Bluetooth’
  5. Scroll down to the bluetooth preferences section, select ‘Choose Bluetooth Device’ and select the adapter you paired with earlier.
  6. Torque is now setup, and should connect to the adapter. To speed things up you might want to quit the app and restart it.

Using Torque to Read Codes

Torque will display the codes as well as a brief description of what the code means.

Torque will display the codes as well as a brief description of what the code means.

Each time I have used Torque, it has provided the error code as well as the description of what the error code means. With your OBD-II read already plugged in, use the following steps to read any trouble codes that are causing your check engine light to come on.

  1. Open Torque on your Android device.
  2. Open the menu and select “Actions”
  3. A menu will pop up with some actions you can perform. Choose “Show logged faults”.

Using Torque to Clear Codes/Reset the Check Engine Light

  1. Open Torgue ony your Android device.
  2. Open the menu and select “Actions”
  3. A menu will pop up with some actions you can perform. Choose “Clear logged fault(s)”. Your check engine light should no longer be lit.

Downloads

Scan the code below to install Torque.
torque_QR