Emacs tips and hacks

Suppress splash screen

Default behavior for emacs is to display the splash screen upon opening, even if you’re opening a file in it (which results in an annoying split screen). To force emacs to NOT show the splash screen, add this to ~/.emacs

(setq inhibit-splash-screen t)

Change default save directory (Windows)

To change the default save directory in Windows (ugh), simply edit your shortcut. Go to Properties>Shortcut> and change “Start in” to the directory of your choice.

Setting Custom Keybindings

C-c char is reserved for custom keybindings. You can set a keybinding for a long command with options by adding a new function and calling it.

(defun mycommand ()
  (interactive)
  (command_here)
  )
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c i") 'mycommand)

If it’s a single command with no options, you don’t need to create a new function and can call it as shown.

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Net Responsibility on Debian

I refuse to have a completely open, unaccountable internet connection.

While sparing you the monologue on the dangers of the internet (which anyone should know and understand) I will only connect if I’m using some kind of filtering or blocking software.

That’s why I’m excited about Net Repsonsibility. This project provides a program that reports all web activity on a given machine and flags suspicious sites. The reports are emailed to your specified accountability partner.

One thing I particularly like about this program as opposed to some is the option of reporting the user’s FULL browsing history is included, not just sites that the program flags. Perhaps I’m paranoid, but I’ve never been satisfied relying on someone else’s safety settings.

Since I’m trying out Debian these days (Wheezy-testing) I had to download the source code and compile it. There is a PPA available for Ubuntu users, which would make the process even easier.The instructions given at Net Responsibility’s website for source installation are clear and detailed. Even one unfamiliar with installing from source like your humble author was able to install without a hitch.

It requires libpcap and the Poco C++ libraries; the Poco libraries you’ll have to grab from Sourceforge. Libpcap is available from the repositories.

Once installed you DO need to create an account with Net Responsibility; averse as I am to creating random pointless “accounts” this is understandable, as it’s for accountability. You supply it with your email address and the address of your accountability partner, and can decide the frequency of reports, as well as whether to include all history or only flagged items.

Net Responsibility: 8 stars out of 10.