There is a Debian package called apticron that will automatically send out emails notifying a sysadmin of the availability of new packages. This is useful for Debian Stable servers that mostly just sit there and work, but occasionally need security updates.

Here’s an article about it at debian-administration.org.


SVN for WordPress and Gallery2

I have grown tired of upgrading WordPress and Gallery2. It turns out they both offer their latest stable versions via SVN. That means an upgrade amounts to an `svn up`. Not bad.

The DirectoryMatch directive can keep the .svn files from making an appearance on the web.

# Prevent exposure of .svn files
< directorymatch "^/.*/\.svn/">
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
< /directorymatch>

Sort unique shell trickery

I wanted to know all the different kinds of symbols in a particular version of the Linux kernel’s System.map. I used the following:

$ cut -d ‘ ‘ -f 2 /boot/System.map-2.6.18-5-686 | sort | uniq

I was previously unaware of the `uniq` command, which is why I made this post.

Merging BibTeX files with duplicates

I use BibTeX when I write papers, and sometimes it is necessary to merge two .bib files into a single file. One cannot simply paste file A into file B if the files contain duplicates. The best solution I’ve found so far is a program called BibDesk for Apple OS X. It allows you to drag and drop the contents of entire .bib files. I’ve used it to combine all my files into one big file (which still contains duplicates), but then I can select Database : Select Duplicates or Database : Select Duplicates by Cite Key. At this point I manually delete the duplicates, which is slightly annoying since I have to unselect one of the duplicates lest I delete both copies of a particular entry. Hopefully I just haven’t discovered a better solution yet.