The Two Gimp Plugins I Can’t Live Without

gimp-plugins-i-cant-live-without

Every time I’m on a new machine I install Gimp for editing images. This is fairly straightforward with a simple onliner: sudo apt-get install gimp

Gimp is amazing, it can do some much and does it well. But there are two plugins for Gimp that I simply can’t live without. They are the Layer Effects plugin and the Arrows plugin. Unfortunately, every time I set up a new system I have to look up where to get the plugins and figure out how to install them. I’m putting here to have it all in one place once and for all.

Installing Layer Effects

layer-effects-example

This plugin is as old as the hills and still just as useful as the day it was published. Installation is quite easy:

  • download layerfx.2.8.py from the GIMP Plugin Registry. There are two other files there you won’t need
  • Save the file in your Gimp plugins directory: ~/.gimp-2.8/plug-ins/
  • Make the file executable: chmod +x layerfx.2.8.py
  • Close and relaunch Gimp for this to take effect
  • You will now have a new menu: Layer –> Layer Effects

Installing Arrows

arrows-example

If you want to point something out in an image, an arrow is a great way to do it. Although I’m not thrilled with the user-friendlyness of the Arrows plugin, it does the job if you mess with it enough and aren’t super picky.

  • Download arrow.scm from the GIMP Plugin Registry.
  • Save the file in your Gimp scripts directory: ~/.gimp-2.8/scripts
  • Close and relaunch Gimp for this to take effect
  • You will have a new entry “Arrow…” at the bottom of the Tools menu

That’s it, go forth and edit many images!

Quick Fix: Unity sidebar and panel are missing!

The jury is still out on the Unity desktop for me. I certainly didn’t need to switch away from Gnome, but I’m a long time supporter of Ubuntu so I’m giving it a go. But when I was messing around trying to get a PS3 SixAxis controller working with Portal 2 today I managed to make the sidebar and panel disappear. What’s more, Alt-F2 wasn’t bringing up the run command dialog. Luckily I had Guake running so I was able to use the virtual terminal.

Now if you search around, a lot of folks will tell you to run “unity –replace”. This made the windows jump around but didn’t fix the problem. On Lucid I would have restarted Gnome, calling the gdm daemon to restart. But there’s no gdm here. I searched around on that topic and found that gdm has been replaced by lightdm. So, if you hose your Ubuntu 11.10 desktop UI and need to reset it (without rebooting) use this new command:

sudo service lightdm restart

I hope this is helpful!

Quick Tip: Pause any process you want in Linux

 mike@krusty:~$ pidof ffmpeg
 22730
 mike@krusty:~$ sudo kill -STOP 22730
 [sudo] password for mike:
 mike@krusty:~$ sudo kill -CONT 22730

Holy crap, how come it took so long for me to figure out you can pause a running process in Linux and restart it later? I was looking at the manual page for the kill command (man kill) when I started wondering what the CONT option is used for. It turns out that it is paired with the STOP option (and a couple of others) which can be used to pause a running process. Here’s a quick rundown of the process:

  1. Find the PID of the process using the ‘pidof’ command
  2. Pause the process using that PID (22730 for example): sudo kill -STOP 22730
  3. Go about your business
  4. Restart the process when you’re ready: sudo kill -CONT 22730
What can you use this for? Well, if you’re doing something processor intensive, like transcoding video, you might want to regain your CPU power for a quick task. This lets you do that.

One terminal command puts your recipes on iPad

Amanda and I cook our own meals the vast majority of the time. She’s much better at it than I am, but I do well if I have a good recipe to follow. The problem is that our growing pile of printed-out recipes was getting out of control. The solution was to use a digital recipe system, and I figured out how all of my recipes can be on the iPad (or just about any other web-enabled device) with a simple terminal command. I’ll share how I did it after the break.

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