How to get “useless gaps” between windows in Awesome window manager.

Maybe the title is best explained in pictures. This blog post will show you how to get the gaps between windows as shown below. These are called “useless gaps”.



To do this we’ll need a module for awesome called Lain. It provides a set of new layouts and widgets, and among the layouts are the “useless” layouts, that is, layouts which provide windows with useless gaps. I also recommend Lain for it’s widgets for weather and file system size. Really really cool. Anyways, follow these steps to get the useless gap layouts.

  • Click here for instructions on how to install and use Lain. If you use Arch, then you can find Lain in the AUR. For other distros, you’ll need to clone the git repo.
  • Once cloning is done, you can find instructions on how to use the use the useless gap layouts here.

After updating to awesome 3.5.6, I would get a compile error which would say “attempt to perform n%0”, everytime I used to use uselessgap layours. Then the windows would refuse to tile, and would instead spawn one on top of another. One fix was to not use useless gap layouts, but then useless gaps are so pretty! So I looked for another fix, and found one too. To fix this, I followed this code change.


Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry pi is a tiny credit card sized computer which can run a whole variety of Linux distributions on it. The latest model, the Raspberry Pi 2 comes with a quad core ARM CPU and 1 GB of RAM, and is extremely low on power consumption. Very very impressive.

The Pi also has a series of pins called the GPIO pins which can interact with real life electronics. This is one reason for the craze around it. This feature makes it applicabile in a myriad of different real life projects.

I bought my Raspberry Pi in March, and have had installed the standard Raspbian (a flavour of Debian GNU/Linux) on it. As I was very busy for the next few months, I really didn’t do much with it. It was quite recently that I set it up again and have been tinkering with it.

Here are a few things I’ve done with it. The list shall hopefully increase in size and I’ll keep adding more stuff to it as I tinker more.

  1. Installed Raspbian, and accessed the Pi over my local network from my laptop via SSH. The first time I bought the Pi, I thought one needed a keyboard to work with it, but it was only after I installed it that I realized that Raspbian sets up an SSH server on the pi upon the first boot. The default username is “pi” and the password is “raspberry“. So this eliminates the need for a keyboard and mouse completely, (although having them would make things easier)
  2. Accessed the Pi from work. This was one thing I struggled to do many times. Essentially I found that there were two ways to do this. The difficult way was to first assign a static IP address to the Pi, set up an SSH server on the Pi, install a dynamic DNS client (I used No IP), and finally go to your router and set up port forwarding so that the router will pass any incoming SSH request on the specified port to the Pi. I did all of these things, yet I couldn’t access it from work. The easy way was to use an application called Weaved, which made things very very simple. But the downside was that Weaved only allows for 30 minute connections, which is bumped up to 2 hours if you use the Weaved iOS app. I personally liked Weaved, but then I still was facing the annoying “Connection closed by host” problem when I was trying to use it.
  3. Woke up and annoyed my sleeping brother at home from office. This was super fun. I used Weaved to SSH into my Pi, downloaded and installed mps-youtube, and played some mean techinical death metal. This played over a speaker which I attached to the Pi and hid from sight.
  4. I also used espeak to creep the same brother out.

I’ve got a lot of other stuff planned. I’ll keep updating stuff as I do them.

Oneko, the cat that chases the cursor.

Today while browsing another desktop thread on /g/, I saw a user who had a cat roam around his cursor. After googling a bit I found out that this was the name of a package called Neko.

The wikipedia link describes it best.

…[Once run] the pointer could be modified to various cat toys such as a mouse, fish, or bird. When Neko caught up with the pointer, it would stare at the screen for a few seconds, scratch an itch on its body, yawn, and fall asleep until the pointer was disturbed. In windowed mode, Neko would stop at window boundaries and scratch at the edge of the window.

I downloaded the package and now Neko is happily sleeping at the corner of my screen. Note that oneko isnt in the official repositories, and I downloaded it from the Arch User Repository.

$ yaourt -S oneko


Very very cute!

My experiences with Arch – Introduction

This is the first of a few blog posts which I’m going to use to document all that I tweak on my laptop and raspberry pi.

I have a Dell Inspiron 15 which has an intel core i5 processor with a 5GB RAM. It’s about 5 years old, and hence obsolete. About a year back, after consistent Windows use (and abuse), my laptop crashed and I took that oppurtunity to test linux. First I ran Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, and I wasn’t that impressed with it either. After that I moved to Arch Linux, and haven’t looked back since.

On my Arch system I run a tiling window manager called Awesome Window Manager, and have been following various ricing guides online. Here is what my desktop looks like now. 2015-06-13-100548_1366x768_scrot2015-06-13-100709_1366x768_scrot

Here are a few resources online which I used to set this up.

  1. The /g/ wiki of 4chan.
  2. This YouTube user‘s videos.
  3. Quite obviously, the god-like Arch Wiki and also the wiki for awesome window manager.

I’ve mostly tried to stick to the ricing configuration which has been mentioned in the /g/-wiki under the section “What does /g/ use?”

I’ve tweaked with it so much that I have forgetten how I’ve gotten to where I am now. So I’ve decided to document whatever I do from now so that I can keep a track of it.

The see-saw.

” “I am sick man. I am a spiteful man…”,  and so starts Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella, “Notes from Underground“, a breathtaking and morbidly beautiful analysis of the existential angst of a government clerk in 19th century Russia. Dostoyevsky’s Underground Man is a man who is, as he puts it, “excessively conscious”, by which he means that he is self-aware to the point of paralysis, and, ironically, he is aware of this.

Although I identify with the Underground Man (I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that I haven’t identified with any other literary character as much), and Notes has had an enormous impact on my thinking, this isn’t the sole reason for me recalling the first lines of the book.

I recollected these lines as I have accidentally thought them myself, about myself, in a way, I guess, that would make Pierre Menard, the author of Quixote, proud. These lines were followed by  epiphanic realization, one which I wish to elaborate on, and that would be the raison d’être of this note.

You see, in a relationship with a person, be it romantic or professional, one always encounters situations in which one person tries always to gain a feeling of superiority, a sort of leverage over the other person, and, at the same time, situations when the opposite happens. A metaphorical see-saw, if you will. Whenever an imbalance of this sort occurs, unless the balance is shifted, unpleasant feelings shall crop up, and this ultimately will result in a permanent souring of the relationship. Time usually plays a role in bringing the balance back, provided the involved parties are patient enough.

A general example illustrating this fails me, because I realize that it depends upon the character and personality traits unique to the person involved. But allow me to tell you, in abstract terms, the incident which prompted this note. Maybe that will shed more light on this.

My wife is the most beautiful and the purest person I have met in my whole life. She works in another run-of-the-mill company of the modern age, like any other person nowadays. And like any other working wife, finding a balance between her personal and professional life is tough for her, mainly because of assholes like me. The other day she was working late, and she sent me a message telling me that she might be back home at half-past eleven. Now I didn’t like that one bit. She was gaining leverage in our relationship. She, by coming late, has made me insecure, jealous and so ultimately shifts the emotional weights towards my end of the see-saw, holding me down.

Now I naturally have to shift the weights because I cannot stand being low. So, being extremely rude, I told her I didn’t care when she came home, and I told her that I was feeling tired and that I had to sleep because I had a long and tiring day (of doing nothing).

The balance now shifted, I rose up into the air. And felt light as a feather. ”