Tech Tips from Another Lifetime

July 7, 2018

The following is mostly for my own personal reference. About 5 years ago, I worked as a technical support agent for a fairly large webhosting company that used to be located in Utah, and at the time I kept a small Wordpress site with some tips or code snippets that often came in handy. I was cleaning out soem old files, and came across the SQL dump of that site when I left that job. I’m turning them all into a post here for future reference.

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Home backup strategy

July 4, 2018

TL;DR: CrashPlan died in May 2018, so I switched my family over to using Duplicati, restic, and rclone to sync backups both locally and in the cloud. As a bonus, we’re doing for free for the next year with Google Cloud Storage due to their 12 month, $300 free trial.

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Example for LaTeX Funeral or Memorial Program

June 6, 2018

Another quick post, but something that I hope might be useful to others. Within the past couple weeks, my grandmother of 83 years passed away and my family held a memorial service in her honor. I was asked if I could help out in creating a program booklet or pamphlet that could be given out to the attendees, something that would describe the service itself as well as share a piece of my grandmother’s life with them as we gathered to remember her. Grandma Arlene was a classy lady and I wanted to help her leave a lasting impression on all of those who could make it out to honor her life. As a graduate student in Computer Science, I felt like using LaTeX would be a great way to do so, though my Internet searches fell somewhat short of what I was looking for. We wanted a simple layout consisting of four “pages”, two of which would be printed on a single side of standard sized US letter paper, and then folded into a four page pamphlet after printing. This could also serve well for someone looking for a LaTeX template for religious or other services where a 4 page booklet is desired.

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Dynamic weight tracking form and dashboard

February 26, 2018

This is a quick post, but if you want a quick way to track body weight, or any metric you choose, and have an automatically updating dashboard, this is it. I used Google Forms to easy record the information and then this information is read by a Google Apps Script that generates a chart with Chart.js.

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Dynamically updating Matplotlib figures in Jupyter notebooks

February 24, 2018

Updating matplotlib figures dynamically seems to be a bit of a hassle, but the code below seems to do the trick. This is an example that outputs a figure with multiple subplots, each with multiple plots. Oddly enough, at the time of writing the image will be smaller than the figure until the Jupyter cells stops running, but this can be fixed but generating the figure in one cell, and then updating the image in a subsequent cell 1.

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Setting up a new Python virtual environment for Jupyter notebooks

February 23, 2018

A lot of my lab work and course work involved the use of Jupyter notebooks, though the Python dependencies needed conflict with other areas. I’ve been using virtualenvwrapper to isolate these, and other project, environments from each other. This post goes through the process of installing everything needed to get up and running with a clean Python environment for Jupyter notebooks with separate kernels for each environment, including the installation of jupyter_contrib_nbextensions which adds community developed features.

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Installing Arch Linux on a Microsoft Surface 3

January 26, 2018

A few years ago, I was given a Microsoft Surface 3 tablet that has since fallen into disuse. I was appreciative of the gift, though to be honest the Intel Atom CPU it came with is fairly underpowered when it comes to running Windows 10, so I decided to install a light Linux distro on it to get the tablet back into running order. I came across the blog post Running Arch Linux on a Surface 3 by Chad Voegele, which was fairly useful in getting started, and I wanted to write a post of my own to share some addition details and places where I diverged from Chad’s post along the way.

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El Cuarto Misionero por el Élder Lawrence Corbridge

October 12, 2017

This post is not about technology, computer science, or programming. Instead it’s a call back to my time as an LDS missionary in Paraguay. During my time there, I came across a talk given by an Elder Lawrence Corbridge that I really enjoyed. Some friends of mine were asking about it, and I wanted to make a copy in English and Spanish easily accessible. Please find the links to copies below.

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Send a fax from the command line with Python and Phaxio

August 30, 2017

If you want to send a simple fax quickly, cheaply, and painlessly, Phaxio and Python make a nice combo. Below is a litte script that I wrote, based on this Ruby script by Pete Keen that is slightly out of date. There are Phaxios Python libraries, but I ran into a couple issues, and this seems to be the most brain-dead simple solution. Pros: No external dependencies. Cons: It uses the shell=True parameter for, but that shouldn’t be an issue since you’re only using this to send a quick fax at 2 AM and you don’t want to pay UPS/FedEx/whomever too much money for that privilege tomorrow, right?

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Review of the International version of the 4th edition of Probability and Statistics by DeGroot and Schervish

May 27, 2017

As a computer science graduate student at Brigham Young University, I am taking CS 677: Bayesian Methods in Computer Science, which covers some aspects of using probability within computer science, as you probably guessed from its title. The required textbook for the course is Morris DeGroot’s 4th edition of Probability and Statistics, which at the time of writing this post is selling for about $170 new, $112 used on Between being a graduate student and having a family of my own, I am not exactly swimming in funds for expensive textbooks, and my classmates had already checked out all of the available copies at the excellent Harold B. Lee Library already, so I looked for some alternatives.

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