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The Two Cable Desktop

It's not pret­ty yet, but it's func­tion­al­ly com­plete.

For a long time it has pissed me off the num­ber of things I have to plug in­to my note­book when I use it on my desk­top. Af­ter putting some thought in­to it, I have re­duced it to two ca­bles to plug ev­ery­thing I wan­t.

How is it se­tup?

Cable 1: USB Hub

Yes, you need a large one. I got a 7-­port Belkin pow­ered USB Hub, be­cause the ASUS Zen­book has on­ly two USB port­s.

Cable 2: Power

I got two pow­er adapter­s, one is per­ma­nent­ly on the desk­top, so that I can throw the ca­ble down the back and not have it cross in fron­t. The oth­er lives in my back­pack, so I don't have to crawl un­der the desk to plug/un­plug it.


A 2.1 speak­er set. These speak­ers have a vol­ume wheel, which is nice, and they are rather loud, even if I know they are not all that good, they are good enough for me.

To avoid plug­ging them in­to the note­book, they are plugged in­to a blue­tooth au­dio adapter (the white don­gle in the USB Hub) which I got out of dx.­com for cheap.

I al­so have a Blue­tooth head­set (charg­ing in the im­age), which I can use for phonecall­s, hang­out­s, etc with­out be­ing tied to the com­put­er.


The com­bined key­board­/­track­pad shown, by Log­itech, works with a tiny don­gle that's plugged in the hub, so when I plug the hub it "just work­s", no pair­ing need­ed.

It's not re­al­ly all that much bet­ter than the Zen­book's key­board, but:

  • Hav­ing the pad on the right means I don't brush it while typ­ing

  • Hav­ing it in the shelf with the Zen­­book on the ta­ble makes for bet­ter er­­go­nomic­s.


This is ac­tu­al­ly a wired net­work. There is a US­B/Eth­er­net adapter plugged in the hub. That lets me use the high pri­or­i­ty port in my router. Plus I don't lose the adapter.

Device Charging

I can charge up to 4 de­vices. The head­set has a weird ca­ble, so it's plugged to the hub. When not charg­ing, it drops be­hind the ta­ble.

The red ex­ten­si­ble ca­bles, I got from dx.­com (they are, very cheap) and they are awe­some.

  • They re­­trac­t, so when not in use they don't tan­­gle.

  • They are both mi­ni and mi­cro USB ca­bles, be­­cause the head has both con­nec­­tors. They were al­­so 30-pin old iPhone ca­bles, but I did­n't need that, so I re­­moved the con­nec­­tors.

Since the hub is pow­ered, I can charge all the de­vices even when the note­book is not there.

Random Devices

I still have the right-­side USB port free, so I can plug ran­dom things there, like the gold­en 200x USB mi­cro­scope shown in the im­age, or a USB plas­ma bal­l.


Noth­ing very strange, but I think I achieved a very clean se­tup, where I can plug my note­book in­to all the pe­riph­er­als in 10 sec­onds and turn it in­to a "desk­top" with a min­i­mum of an­noy­ance.

MinCSS is amazing

I had this is­sue open in the bug track­er for Niko­la (my stat­ic site gen­er­a­tor) for a long time: "Add minc­ss sup­port­".

Well, no, it does­n't have it yet, but I did some re­search on whether it would be worth adding. And boy, minc­ss im­pressed the heck out of me.

You see, Niko­la's themes tend to use unadul­tered boot­strap, which means they car­ry a large num­ber of things that are not used in their CSS. Be­sides, it us­es sev­er­al stylesheets from do­cu­til­s, pyg­ments, and more.

What minc­ss does is ex­am­ine your HTML and your CSS, and re­move all the un­used CSS. So, I wrote a script that ex­am­ines the Niko­la out­put and over­writes the CSS files with the min­i­mal things that are ac­tu­al­ly need­ed there.

And the re­sult?

Here is the be­fore/after for each CSS file in Niko­la's de­mo site:

bootstrap-responsive.min.css  16849  3251
bootstrap.min.css            106059 14737
code.css                       3670  2114
colorbox.css                   6457   774
rst.css                        6559  2581
theme.css                      1287  1061
                             140881 24518

But wait, Niko­la sup­ports bundling all those files in­to a sin­gle large CSS file to avoid net­work re­quests (us­ing we­bas­sets). Does it work in that case too?

Well yes:

all-nocdn.css                167457 29496

But that is not al­l. The minc­ss files are not mini­fied. Pass­ing al­l-nocd­n.c­ss through Yui-­com­pres­sor shrinks it fur­ther to 20599 bytes. Which, gzipped, is a pal­try 4801 bytes. That means the com­plete styling of the whole site is a sin­gle CSS file less than 5KB in size.

That, is im­pres­sive.

Red Country

Cover for Red Country


Good end for the pen­ta­l­o­gy.

Deploying Django Into My Cheap VPS

I am pre­par­ing to open my cheap site-and-blog-host­ing ser­vice to the pub­lic at some point, so I need­ed to do some ground­work in­to de­ploy­men­t. Con­sid­er that the host that will run it will have very lim­it­ed re­sources, so I need­ed to find lean and cheap so­lu­tions when pos­si­ble, but at the same time, I want to achieve rea­son­able re­li­a­bil­i­ty and ease of de­ploy­men­t.

Since this is a test­ing server, I want it to have git mas­ter de­ployed. I don't want au­to­mat­ic de­ploy­men­t, but I want to de­ploy of­ten, mean­ing sev­er­al times dai­ly.

I pre­ferred sim­ple tools in­stead of com­plex tool­s, light­weight tools with just enough fea­tures in­stead of heav­ier, more ful­ly-fea­tured tool­s. Your choic­es on each step could and prob­a­bly should be dif­fer­ent than mine, de­pend­ing on your sit­u­a­tion, re­quire­ments and per­son­al pref­er­ences.

So, here's my notes from how it's done cur­rent­ly. This is not meant as a HOW­TO, just a de­scrip­tion of what seems to be work­ing well enough so far.

Read more…

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