Converting Images to ASCII Art

I’ve been playing with Docker a lot lately. Docker is a tool for creating lightweight virtual environments based on Linux containers. They are extremely useful for running services, but you can also use them for running one-off tasks that you don’t want to run on the host system directly. Since a container shares the host machine’s kernel, startup is instantaneous and there’s no extra memory footprint. Think of Linux containers as generalized chroot environments or as extremely lightweight virtual machines.

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Maven: Discovering Dependency Conflicts

Among other things, Maven’s dependency plugin displays the result of Maven’s dependency resolution mechanism. The output of the dependency:tree goal makes it easy to see where transitive dependencies come from. This week I discovered that recent versions of the plugin also support a verbose flag that lists conflicts and shows how Maven resolved them.

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Testing equals() with Guava

I’ve long held the opinion that Guava belongs on every Java classpath because its design and the quality of its implementation surpass other comparable utility libraries (and sometimes even the JDK). Guava’s testlib is pretty cool, too, even though it’s not as widely known.

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Enabling Hibernate Support in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

In this article, I’ll show you how to enable hibernate support in Ubuntu 14.04 (“Trusty Tahr”) by making a “Hibernate” menu entry appear in Unity’s global system pulldown menu. The Ubuntu developers disabled this a couple of years ago because hibernate didn’t work reliably on all systems – proceed at your own risk!

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Google Music

My Nexus 4 and 7 devices don’t ship with an old school MP3 player anymore. After trying lots and lots of players (all of which I didn’t like), I ended up with Google Music, which is pre-installed on all Nexus devices. While its queue handling takes some getting used to, the player works well and looks really great if your MP3s have embedded album art. I had always wanted off-premises backup for my music, so when I read that you can upload 20,000 songs for free, I decided to give it a try with my own MP3s.

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Remote-Controlling a Sonos Device Using Python

I couple of months ago I bought a Sonos Play:1, a pretty cool wireless speaker that comes with free controller apps for major platforms (Android, Windows etc.). To give the speaker access to my music collection, I hooked up a USB drive to my home router and shared the music via SMB, which works great.

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A Template for Python Unix Utilities, Revisited

A long time ago, I posted a simple template for writing text-processing Unix utilities in Python. Since we’re not in 2009 anymore, I figured it’s time to port it to Python 3.

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