Tux update: black and white vector line-art

Many months ago, I released a high-quality vector version of Tux that I made in Inkscape as SVG and PNG.

Tux - color PNG previewSomewhat recently, I needed to make a black and white version for a project.

You can get both the color and black and white versions in both SVG and high-res PNG at the Tux github repository.

These versions of Tux are licensed under the public domain, but if anyone asks, Larry Ewing made the Tux mascot in the Gimp and I made these versions in Inkscape.

Compose for typography

Often, us artist-types need advanced typography when making artwork, laying out text, and fun things like that. How do you usually do it? For me, it’s either been launching a stupidly hard to find (and annoying to use) character picker or searching for some character on the Internet and copy/pasting it in. (Once in a while, I’ll make a really simple HTML page which has contains not much more than » or — or © — then open it up in Firefox and copy the resulting character).

Well, friends, there’s a better way! In discovering the compose key (thanks to many awesome volunteers) a couple weeks ago, I’ve been happily typing not just German characters, but some advanced typographical ones, too! It’s great for applications like Inkscape, which ordinarily seems to lack support for typing these sorts of things.

A quick primer (hit the compose key, then…):

  • or = ®
  • oc = ©
  • < < = «
  • TM (shift-tm) = ™
  • - - - = —
  • 12 = ½
  • ^2 = ²
  • c= = €
  • c/ = ¢
  • Y= = ¥
  • xx = ×
  • ?? = ¿
  • !! = ¡
  • <” = “
  • >” = ”
  • <´ = ‘
  • >´ = ’
  • -: = ÷
  • .< = ‹
  • .> = ›

These are just a few. In general, think of what the symbol looks like when combined with something else, and that’s probably what you need to type, after hitting the compose key.

To set this up in GNOME, open up keyboard preferences and go to the “layout options” tab and select “compose key position”. (I have mine set up for the “menu key”.)

(Update: Remapping keys in GNOME 3.2+ has since been moved to System SettingsRegion and LanguageLayoutsOptions…Compose key position → [select the key(s) you want for compose key])

(Update 2: Remapping keys in GNOME 3.6+ has since been moved to System SettingsKeyboardShortcutsTypingCompose key → [click and hold, and select the key you want for compose key from the dropdown])

In KDE, go to the keyboard layout in the KDE control center, click on the “Xkb options” tab, enable the “Enable Xkb options” option, then scroll through the list until you see the second “Compose Key Position” (the one with options under it in the tree). Enable it and the the key you wish to use.

For vanilla X, you can edit Xorg.conf and follow a mini-howto.

Anyway, when you use the compose key, you can instantly start typing various characters all over the place… not just in Inkscape (where it’s quite useful), but in Firefox, XChat, in IM conversations, etc.

Squiggles and dots

Dear “lazyweb“,

How do I type all those funny European squiggles and dots on the mere 26-letter US keyboard on my Lenovo X61 laptop in Linux? Searching Google and copy-pasting found characters is getting old pretty quickly. The correct way to type these characters is not obvious.

If it involves special scripts and downloading configuration files, I am not interested. How would one of those normal, non-geek user do this? I’d like to know the proper way.

(For “bonus points”, typing a Euro sign would be great too.)

Thanks in advance,
Umlautless in Deutschland

Recommendations for a PCMCIA wireless card for an old Linux laptop?

Can anyone suggest a good PCMCIA wireless network card that “just works” with Linux? Ideally, the driver would be open source and included upstream (and in all the major Linux distros).

This is for a very old laptop running Linux, so the cheaper the better. It just has to be something that works and is purchasable (as in, available in stores).

Thanks!

locate your files!

This is just a quick set of tips about the super-duper-handy locate command at, well, the command line.

First off, it’s called locate. If you don’t have it installed, it may be contained in a package called findutils-locate (a “shout-out” to all my fellow SUSE distro users)

Secondly, to manually update the locate command’s database (it automatically runs each night), you type (as root): updatedb …and wait for a while.

Thirdly, in your shell of choice, alias locate='locate -i' …and you’ll get case-insensitive locate! Combined with grep (especially grep -i; i also happens to be its case-insensitive flag too), you’ll be finding files in your hard drive quite easy from now on…

I use locate all the time, especially whenever I’m looking for a quick path to find a graphic I of which know the filename (or part of a filename). For example:

locate information | grep png | grep 48

Will return something like (depending on your distribution):

/opt/gnome/share/icons/Tango/48x48/status/dialog-information.png

VMware in SUSE Linux 10

Joe, when I first tried to set up VMware on my SUSE 10 machine last week, it bombed out in a similar manner. I then searched a bit and found an interesting link in one of the support forums that referenced a Novell “Cool Solution” which, if step through, made the installation sort of “easy”.

Even though I installed VMware last week, I haven’t actually done anything with it yet, however.