Rob's Useful Stuff

Thetford Parkrun Even Pacing Splits

I'm a regular at Thetford Parkrun, and occasionally I volunteer as a pacer. My GPS watch can mis-measure the distance and will sometimes mean I'm off my target time by ±20s or more at the end. To help make sure I finish at the right time I've created a spreadsheet with even split times at various key points along the route for different pacing targets. You can compare your offset from these to that shown on your watch, and adjust your pace accordingly.

Linux and LaTeX Tips and Tricks

I have a plain text unix tip of the day file, which you may find useful. I've also written a few LaTeX packages.

Firefox Quantum Configuration

Firefox Quantum marked a significant change in the web browser. Here is a list of the customisations and setting changes I made to return things to how I like them:


Right-click on a visible toobar, and select the following

Then remove various unwanted buttons from the toolbars via the "Customization" screen.

Firefox Preferences / Options

Find under "Edit ➡ Preferences" on Linux, or "Tools ➡ Options" on Windows. Select the following:

Classic Theme Restorer CSS Hacks

Use Classic CSS tweaks for Firefox Quantum, with the following changes to the default configuration in userChrome.css:

Note that these files will not update automatically, so you'll want to update them manually from time to time. In particular things may break when a new version of Firefox is released, so if something stops working properly, check if a new version of the css fixes things.

Addons / Extensions

Settings in about:config

Pine / Alpine Configuration Settings

If you are one of the enlightened geeks who use Alpine (formerly Pine) to read your email, there are many settings you can play with to enable advanced features, and change the behaviour of the client. Here is a list of some of the things that I've changed from my default setup.

For Hermes users, this can be altered from to just to user the latter domain with your user identifier.
Enter a string ('\n' for a newline) to be used as a signature at the bottom of your emails.
When replying puts your signature below the quoted text.
Allows better searching for messages in folder indexes, and allows commands to be applied to more than one message at once.
Allows the use of 'B' to bounce a message to another email address. This is similar to forwarding, but (apart form some extra header lines) the message will look to the new recipient as it did when you received it - i.e. from the original sender.
When selected, 'H' will toggle between the normal message view, and displaying the full text (including headers) of messages.
Enables (Unix-like) tab completion for folder names when saving messages or changing folders using 'G'. Just type the first few characters, then press 'tab' and the rest will be completed for you!
This setting controls those annoying messages asking you if you want to move old messages into another folder each month. To turn this function off completely, set the pruning rule to 'don't rename, don't delete'.
Enter a list of all the email addresses you have forwarding to this account. Then messages with one of these addresses in the 'to' field, will be marked with a '+' in the index view, and more importantly, Pine will recognise that if you're replying to all recipients, these addresses should not be included. In particular for a message sent just to one of these addresses, you will no longer be asked if you want to 'reply to all recipients'.

To make any of these changes, choose 'setup' from the Pine main menu, then hit 'C' for config. To jump to a particular setting, press 'W', then type a suitable search string and hit enter. For more information about these and other settings, Pine has an excellent online help facility. Just press '?' when you've got one of the options highlighted.

Ubuntu Linux Tweaks

Various tweaks and additional packages to make Ubuntu 18.04+ better