by Steve Dondley

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Tutorials, Guides and other Miscellany

Unofficial Rex Tips, Tricks, and Advice


This post is about the Rex framework, a suite of modules written in Perl, for automating the remote control of one or more computers.

Rex is a great time saver. Unfortunately, its documentation is rather disjointed and a bit cryptic. This post tries to flatten the learning curve a bit by offering some big picture ideas and fine-grained recipes to get you productively using the Rex framework faster than you would otherwise.

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Setting Up Multiple Project Areas with Taskwarrior



Taskwarrior (TW) is an open source task management platform built for those who prefer to work on the command line. Like most command line tools with any sophistication, it has a learning curve that, at first, requires a fairly significant investment of time in order take advantage of its best features. But like any serious tool, once mastered, your time invested will pay off in spades with much increased efficiency and much less agony dealing with a GUI that slows you down and makes you want to scratch your eyeballs out.

The Problem

Out of the box, TW dumps all of your projects into one list. Yes, there are ways you can filter these lists. But there are cases where you may want to have a separate project area dedicated to certain types of projects. For example, you may have one task list that you share with others and another that you’d prefer to keep private.

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Change the name of current directory from the command line


Here is a simple bash function for renaming the current directory you are in from the command line:

rename_current_dir() {
cd ..
mv $cd $1
cd $1

Create an alias of your choice to this command so it's easier to type:

alias rncd='rename_current_dir'
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Setting up a "split DNS" configuration on a Synology NAS for hosting websites


A Quick Primer on DNS

Here's a very quick primer on the Domain Name System (DNS), a giant database distributed over millions of computers across the globe. It's primary job is to "resolve," or look up, the IP address for a given human-readable internet address. For example, the "" address meant for humans resolves to the IP address of "," the number that computers use to "dial" google's website up. This makes the internet much more convenient to use. Typing in long and not very memorable IP addresses is much more of a hassle than typing in an address made up of common letters and words.

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Stop & Shop Strike Continues


Over 30,000 New England Stop & Shop grocery store workers continue their fight against Ahold Delhaize, the giant Dutch conglomerate which owns the chain. They have been on strike for about a week now.

Today, I took a trip to the strike line on Liberty St. in Springfield. As my photos attest, the strike has been very effective. The store is a ghost town.

However, Ahold is a multi-multi-muti-billion dollar business. They can afford to lose millions of dollars per week in their attempt to destroy the union. The workers on strike will be stretched far more thin than the company.

Thanks to the Stop & Shop workers for fighting the good fight for workers taking a stand. And thanks to everyone supporting these workers by refusing to shop at Stop & Shop.

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Super Guide to the split-window tmux Subcommand (and Beyond)


I spent the last few days writing a beginner's guide for tmux users. It currently weighs in at about 22 printed pages.

tmux is a tool mostly used by developers to help them work across several documents at the same time. It's very useful, but hard to master without sinking a lot of time into it.

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