Baltimore Catechism Flashcards

For anyone wanting to memorise the Baltimore Catechism.

First, install Anki – a nifty little open source program available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, FreeBSD and even Nintendo DS.

Next start up the program and go to File > Download > Shared Decks. Type Catechism in the search box and that should bring up “Baltimore Catechism”. Install that one and you are ready to go!

Anki defaults to introducing 20 new cards each day, but you can change this to 2 or 3 or whatever you’re more comfortable with. It aims to review each card just before you’re likely to forget it. It’s called a Spaced Repetition Learning System. You can read more about the theory in this Wikipedia article.

Baltimore Catechism No. 2The Baltimore Catechism No2 deck has 421 questions. You might be doing it bit by bit in another program such as the Classic Catechism course from CLAA. The cards are tagged by lesson and question number, so you can select which question numbers you wish to work on. Otherwise it just ploughs through from beginning to end.

The deck was made from the Project Gutenberg text of the Baltimore Catechism No 2 – etext #14552. The imprimatur is from 1885 but the fasting rules have been updated in accordance with the 1977 edition.

The text was converted using Vim with much reference to Vim Regular Expressions 101. It only took a few hours but if you find it useful, feel free to drop me a line. If you feel inclined to make a donation, consider Aid to the Church in Need or the Anki project itself.

UPDATE: ankiweb.net deletes accounts that haven’t been active, so I think the actual deck I made has been deleted, but this time I checked (July 2016) there’s a Baltimore Catechism No 3 available. Here’s my update with deck at Brandt Lab.

Eeepc console programs

This post is about a simpler side of computing. Eschewing the glitz of graphical user interfaces to better focus on the tasks at hand. Conserving resources by paring back the frills.

Before the netbooks came along I had an Atari Portfolio. A tiny little computer, famous for a brief appearance in one of the Terminator movies. Much of my New Book of Old Hymns was typed on its tiny keyboard and transferred via the serial port. It took 3 AA batteries. The LCD screen was readable in daylight. It had no backlight to sap the batteries. It also held addresses and phone numbers. There were games available. It was great, while it lasted.

The Portfolio was sold via eBay to someone in south east asia. Then came the Eeepc. It was a great idea, but the first one bought for me I ended up taking back to the shop. The special version of Linux was difficult to modify. The idea of paying full price for a new PC was too much. It was about a year later I bought a half price pink version on Oztion.

Now as the left touchpad button is flaking out another tiny computer is on the horizon. Here is a little of what I learned along the way.

Debian GNU/Linux has a long history as far as linux distributions go. Some of the programs go back to when RAM was measured in Mb or even further back. Some of these are still maintained and used today. When trying to fit a modern linux installation on a 4Gb solid state hard drive these can be a godsend.

C* music player

C* music player screenshot
Forget those shiny skins and tiny buttons on xine and mplayer. C* music player can organise playlists as well as help you find your way around recordings. It uses vi-type keyboard commands – a little off-putting for the uninitiated. There is a fair bit of learning to do before the program is comfortable to use – maybe if I had more mp3s on this little computer I would learn quicker. In this screenshot you might spot some files from the wonderful Audio Sancto.org.

The Mutt Email Client

Mutt mail reader screenshot
The famous email reader. It has been a reliable program over the years. There are lots of wonderful things you can get it to do. The Little Brother’s Database can be set up to keep track of email addresses for you through mutt.
The screenshot shows some saved emails from the Gregorio mailing list – handy for typesetting for gregorian chant.

GNU Midnight Commander

Midnight Commander screenshot
Midnight Commander – File browser. Actually, I don’t use this that much. Good old ls, cd, mv, cp are so much quicker. But on a big computer the file browser is very handy to have, so makes sense to have one on the console too. The screenshot shows my home directory on the left and the Desktop directory on the right. Always needs tidying up.

Jed text editor

Jed text editor screenshot
Of course, the thing I got the Eeepc for was editing text files. So here is the text editor I have gravitated towards over the years. A happy balance between functionality, usability and hard drive footprint. This screenshot shows a prayer for a marriage gleaned from Homeschool Freebie of the Day

W3m – web browser

w3m screenshot
A console web browser lets you see the text of webpages. For web designers it is handy to have a text based web browser to check if your page is still readable without the pictures. This screenshot shows the front page of Google.com.

Canto RSS reader

Canto feed reader screenshot
It was relatively recently I looked into rss feed agregators. Watching my mother go through the blogs she keeps up with got me thinking this was what I was missing. And yet, I still don’t find the time to read even the headlines!
Google reader really palls on a 7″ screen. Like mc, I don’t use canto much. But it is there. The screenshot shows a listing from my sister’s blog alexeclark.blogspot.com.

Other handy command line programs include

  • twidge – for using Twitter without getting distracted by the pretty colours.
  • bsdgames – which include console screensavers
  • cacaxine – the console version of the movie player xine – in ascii!
  • clive – a program for downloading youtube videos

These screenshots were taken using a terminal emulator in an x windows environment. I am also typing this entry in a graphical web browser called Midori. The graphical user interface is still very handy, especially for previewing pdf files made by LaTeX.

Mobile phone to computer under linux

Much of yesterday was spent trying to get my phone (Nokia 6020) talking to my computer via the CA-42 cable. In case this saves someone else some time, here is a summary of what I did.

First I investigated gnokii and got that almost working. I could get a listing of the filesystem but uploading or downloading proved elusive.

Further searching turned up a better program called gammu. It even had my specific phone tested and supported see this report. So I set to work, replacing “com8:” in the sample gammurc file with “/dev/ttyACM0” which had been tested and working under gnokii, but gammu kept saying the device didn’t exist. Frustrating! Then realised I had:


port = /dev/ttyACM0:
connection = dlr3

That little colon was the trouble maker! Once that was deleted it worked!

Then I tried working out the commands to access the filesystem on the mobile. The documentation is a little terse. This manpage was the best I could find. Working out exactly what the fileID was proved difficult. To cut a long story short:


gammu --getfilesystem -flatall
gave a listing something like a comma separated spreadsheet. The first item of each line was the fileID. Where I was expecting something short, in fact the fileID was quite long.

The next step was

gammu --getfiles "d:/predefgallery/predefphotos/Image000.jpg"
to download a photo taken with the camera.

The next job was to upload a few midi files to the phone

gammu --addfile "d:/predefgallery/predeftones/" Byrd.mid

which was gleaned from the wonderful MidiWorld along with some Bach, Tallis and anonymous Medieval things.

So now I am able to transfer phone photos to a computer and also change ringtones to anything in Midi format and all is happy and well.