Felix Crux

Technology & Miscellanea 

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One of my favourite features of the Firefox web browser is surprisingly unknown and sadly underused. Keyword search bookmarks let you kick off a custom search of any site straight from the address bar (a.k.a. the “awesome bar”). For example, if you typed “w hedgehog”, you could go to the Wikipedia page for the little critters, or “img hedgehog” could show you a cute image search.


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...or at least the best one I've managed to come up with.

The venerable cron utility has some well-known shortcomings, chief among which is how difficult it is to monitor the health and output of scheduled tasks. The default setup tries to email output, but on a typical laptop, desktop workstation, or even on many servers, it's common to not have a working system-wide mailer configuration. Many users therefore set up “wrapper” scripts that handle logging, time­stamping, and so forth. This is the best one I've managed to come up with.


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One complex scenario that can cause accounting headaches is when you need to track money movements across a group of accounts that are divided between different parties, and need to be reported on both jointly and separately (for example, members of a household, or partners in a small business). Ideally, tricky things like joint accounts and inter-party transfers would be reported clearly and correctly.

Naturally, there's a way to make this work in Ledger, but it requires a bit of setup!

(This post is part of a series describing how I use the Ledger accounting system. For an introduction to Ledger and this series, or to see all the entries, have a look at the first post).


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I’ve finally, belatedly, put together the text transcript, slides, and video recording of my PyCon 2016 talk “What You Need To Know About Free & Open Source Software Licensing” and uploaded them. You can view everything here.

Thank you to the conference organizers for inviting me and providing the video recording; thank you to everyone who attended; and thank you to all the folks who provided feedback on it, whether in person or online.


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One of the big differences between how most people start out with accounting, and how professionals and big companies do it, lies in the distinction between cash basis and accrual basis accounting. Cash basis accounting is the simple, obvious, kind: we record transactions as they happen, and our ledger account balances reflect how much money is really present (or owed) right now in various accounts.

It might seem at first like this is the only possible or sensible way of tracking things, but accrual basis methods also have an intuitive appeal of their own, despite being rather different.

Consider, for example, a scenario where you complete some contract work but haven’t been paid yet; or are at a job a week before your latest pay-cheque is due. Naturally, you’d consider that you’re owed your wages, even if you don’t have anything written down in your cash basis accounting ledger. Or, to flip it around, if you receive a bill for this past month’s utilities, you know you owe that money even if it too isn’t in your ledger yet. Accrual basis accounting just means writing down these obligations at the time they’re incurred, rather than at the time they’re paid.

(This post is part of a series describing how I use the Ledger accounting system. For an introduction to ledger and this series, or to see all the entries, have a look at the first post).


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