Mac scripts and Chromebook tips – hiding Mac applet

I’ve been thinking about adding some posts on here with tech tips.  Here’s a taste of what I’m thinking.

You’re all done creating a nice little applet for Mac OS, maybe using Apple’s built-in Script Editor.  Now you want it to run on a client computer in the background, completely hidden from view.  There are two things I always consider in this situation.  One is obvious, you want to hide the icon in the dock and menu bar.  The second consideration is to mask the identity via the process name.

Starting with the process name makes sense because it is also the easiest to change.  Simple adjust the name in the Bundle Info section, or manually adjust in the info.plist file.  Now if you open Activity monitor, instead of seeing something obvious like “Joe’s updater app” it could be more innocuous like “updagent”.  Quite frankly though, this name doesn’t matter unless you are trying to keep the end user from closing the application on purpose.

The one most people are concerned about is hiding the application from the dock and menu so it isn’t in the way during normal day-to-day activities.  This is done simply by adding a line in the info.plist file.  The line to add is:

Application is agent (UIElement) : YES

That’s it!  Now you have a hidden, and fairly covert, applet running in the background.

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Lubuntu – two finger right click emulation

I use Mac OS X all day at work, and Linux at home.  One thing I have come to miss was being able to use two fingers to click and have it come up as a right click.  Now I know how to do this in Lubuntu.

First you need to install synclient:
sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics

By default, two finger clicking should work now.  If you need two finger scrolling though, you’ll need to turn that on with these commands:
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1
synclient HorizTwoFingerScroll=1

If you are okay with scrolling “normal” you are done.  If you want it to scroll “natural” (like I do), then you have one more step.  You need to change the directional deltas to negative values.  Stock value is 73, so I set them to -73 to start with.  For my laptop this was to quick and I needed to slow it down with a larger valued delta.  I used -120 with these commands:  
synclient VertScrollDelta=-120
synclient HorizScrollDelta=-120

If you need to make more changes, you can see all values by just running the synclient command.

Some useful options are the TapButton1, TapButton2, and TapButton3.  These all control how many fingers are tapping.  If you want a 2 finger tap to do a right click you set it to TapButton2=2 etc.  ClickButton1, 2, 3 are the same concept but controlling what happens when X amount of fingers make a physical click.

It turns out I forgot an important step.  You need to make these active on login or the settings revert on reboot.   To do this, I made one long string and inserted it into an Autostart in Session Settings.  Mine looks like this:
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1 VertScrollDelta=-120 HorizTwoFingerScroll=1 HorizScrollDelta=-120

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Lubuntu – ignore power button press

There is only one thing that has irked me about my ASUS VivoBook, and it isn’t the laptop’s fault.  When I go to hit the “delete” key, it is right next to the power button.  The reason this matters is that default behavior in Ubuntu and all it’s flavor variants, is for this button to immediately shut the computer off…that’s right, no warning or popups etc, just slammed straight down.  To change this, you can edit logind.conf and set HandlePowerKey to “ignore”.

Here is the command you need:
sudo nano /etc/systemd/logind.conf

Then change HandlePowerKey=poweroff to HandlePowerKey=ignore

Do make sure that if it is commented out, you remove the comment.

Now the power button does nothing while the computer is running, and simply turns it on when the laptop is off.

A 10 second press of the power button does still successfully force the laptop down.

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My first Kickstarter is live!

I have been building electronics for over 15 years and designing for almost as long.  For the first time though I am hoping to start selling my project as a kit – under the brand

Enter the “Honey” amp, SSG-AMP-1.  Three knobs, two 1/8″ jacks, one input, all tone!

Controls: Gain, Tone, Master Volume
Inputs: Guitar, 1/8″ stereo aux
Outputs: Stereo headphone (from mono), Speaker 4-16 ohm
Input voltage required: 6-18v DC

Here’s the Kickstarter:

Check it out!

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Load Arduino / avr bootloader using Raspberry Pi

This is more notes for me than anything else, but maybe someone else interested in using a Pi to program their Arduino would be interested.

It can be done:

sudo avrdude -p atmega328p -C ~/avrdude_gpio.conf -c pi_1 -v -U flash:w:Blink.cpp.hex:i

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