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A screenshot of Ubuntu 9.04 with GNOME 2.26.

Screenshot of GNOME on Ubuntu - Image via Wikipedia

At times it may happen that your graphical session on ubuntu freezes and you find yourself unable to do anything else. As a MS Windows user, the first thing that comes to your mind is a reboot of your machine, isn’t it? Well, in ubuntu you might have some other options. Let’s see some of them.

Option 1
If your Ubuntu is prior to 10.04, you can try the ctrl+alt+backspace combination. (note that this will instantly kill your X-windows, with all the programs running within it, like the window manager, and probably everything else, and it won’t ask you for any confirmation)
If your Ubuntu is newer than 10.04, bear in mind that the keystroke ctrl+alt+backspace has been disabled and replaced with alt+print screen+k.

Option 2
Using the command line (tou can try and switch to another tty using the Alt+Fn keys like Alt+F1, Alt+F2, etc., or you can use ssh from another machine), kill your graphical interface using the following commands:

/etc/init.d/gdm restart

note: depending on what you chose as a session manager, you might have to use “/etc/init.d/xdm restart” or “/etc/init.d/kdm restart” or, if you have the 11.10 version, try

sudo service lightdm restart

Option 3
Always from a command line, use the following procedure:

1 – retrieve the PID of your X server

ps -e | grep X

2- kill it

(example: kill 856)

3- restart it

startx &


Leave a comment if you think I’ve missed some better procedures.


Well, I know, the post is old (dated dec.19th 2011) but I wanted to try the “Press this” feature to see how it works… 😉

WordPress for Android 2.0 Now Available.

Excel 2007 icon

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a nice feature in Excel (tested on Excel 2007 and 2010) that let’s the user directly copy some data (that can be cells, or a chart, or an object) and paste it as an image, whether in another Excel worksheet or in any other program. (n.d.r.: in previous versions of Excel, the same functionality could be achieved only using some lines of VBA code in a macro).

How to do that? Nothing easier:

  1. select the cells (or the chart or object) that you want to copy;
  2. in the Clipboard group of the Home tab, click the arrow below Paste, click As Picture, and then click Copy as Picture (you will be prompted to choose between some options, but I think they are quite straightforward to understand).
There you go, now your selection is in your clipboard, and you can use it wherever you want, on another Excel worksheet or in your favorite image editor program.


Reference: Microsoft online support: Create a picture from cells, a chart or an object

Recently one of my PuTTY sessions froze, and I decided to try and kill it using the command line, instead of simply closing the window.
This is the complete procedure:

  1. I opened another PuTTY session
  2. using the who command I found the name of the frozen TTY
    myuser@ubuntu:~$ w
    14:21:07 up 119 days, 12 min, 2 users, load average: 0.06, 0.05, 0.05
    user1 pts/0 192.168.x.x 13:02  1:36  1.81s 0.10s sshd: user1 [priv]
    user1 pts/2 192.168.x.x 14:21  0.00s 0.46s 0.00s w
  3. using ps and grep i found its PID
    ps -u root | grep -i pts/0
  4. finally, I killed the blocked session:
    kill -9

To backup a single mysql database, use the following command:

:~$ mysqldump -u my_user_name -p db_name > backup_of_my_db.sql

If compression is needed, the command changes like this:

:~$ mysqldump -u my_user_name -p db_name  | gzip -9 > backup_of_my_db.sql.gz

To extract the compressed .gz file, use the following gunzip command:

:~$ gunzip backup_of_my_db.sql.gz

The hardest thing

I never thought of being perfect.

But I was somehow convinced that I was walking on the right side of the street.
I was behaving correctly, my ability to judge things and people was mainly unaltered, my goals and choices were going in the best direction possible. Not that I thought I was faultless, oh no, I never really thought that, but I was still convinced that my overall direction was good.

But is it?

Are my choices really that good?

The parameters I use, when I judge something or someone, are correct and good enough?

I think the hardest thing of all is realizing AND admitting our own faults and limits, is admitting that, after all, I might not be that different from the people I consider “not-good-enough”, or admitting that I might be using my personal version of the truth to convince me I’m doing good…

I don’t know if my words have any sense for you… anyway, this is how I feel in these days.

The return of the Pink Panther Theme

The Pink Panther strikes back!!

This is the background story of my latest video.

As always, it all started with the audio. I began working on the vocal tracks back in January, but I soon encountered several issues: since I was singing without a written score, and the goal was achieving something that sounded a bit like Bobby-McFerrin-style, finding the right timing, key, and adapting the whole to my vocal range was no piece of cake.
So I had to make several attempts before I finally found some balance, and at the end I came out with a version I was (almost) satisfied with.

Then came the visual part of the project. The hardest, and longest, for me.
For the first time, I started putting down the ideas on paper before I even thought of opening any video editor. And I must say it proved to be a good decision. After finding a satisfying layout, and when I was finally convinced of the total foolishness of the plot, I took out my Panasonic FZ8, recorded a few video tracks, and then started editing.

So this is it. I must say it was quite fun to work on this, and maybe it has given me some more ideas I might develop in the future.


new video – Nada te turbe

I finally posted another video on my YouTube channel.
I was very involved in this project, and I was unsure about its public release, since the music is related to a “fallen angel”, a dear person that had to leave us way too soon…  I’m still missing him so much.

The music was originally written by Jacques Berthier, based on a spanish text by Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582).
I learned it without scores, simply playing along with people that went to Taizè with our “fallen angel”. One night, when I got back home, I started playing it, and I was so involved that I decided to record it, and add voices, some synth, and a second guitar.

Laying down the music was quite easy but… then came the video editing! Ouch!!
Due to technical problems (wrong codecs, wrong configuration, old ‘n’ slow pc…) and missing skills (I love editing, but I’m still deeply stuck in the learning process!), I must say that it took me soooooooo long to finish it!

Anyway, here’s the result.
Enjoy it

Musicians – Please Stop “Making It Big”.

I think that these words by Adam Rafferty are worth reading.
He made me ponder on a very important issue, that might be applied to all other aspects of our life as well: don’t concentrate on fame and fortune, but stick to your art, your skills, your passion.

It’s not where you’ll arrive that’s important, but moving along your path; focus on the journey, not on the destination (wow, don’t I sound like Yoda??)

new multitrack video on YT

Well, I uploaded it almost a month ago, so I guess I should be calling it “old”! You know, in this “digital era” we’re living in, things get old after a few days…  😉

Anyway, this is my latest multitrack video of a piece I discovered while working with the extraordinary choir I’m singing with, Coenobium Vocale.

I started working on the four vocal parts in april 2010, as a personal study, and the recordings remained there, unfinished, for quite a long time. Then, after a really long time, I decided I had to finish it, and release it with a video that suited the music.