Notes by Akhil Saji


Pelican markdown header snippet

Some of you may have noticed that the blog software I use is called Pelican- a static file based blog generator. Other similar pieces of software include Hugo and Jekyll. I prefer Pelican due to my preference for Python. One issue I encountered when writing articles in markdown for pelican was remembering the header for the markdown files. A simple fix for this is to use VSCode to write your articles and to create a vscode snippet for the header. I have put mine below as an example. Type pelhead to trigger the snippet.

"Pelican Header": {
    "prefix": "pelhead",
    "body": [
        "Authors: Your Name Here",
    "description": "Pelican header"


Authors: Your Name Here

Fast way to merge MP3 files together

This is a quick tutorial on merging mp3 files together. Like many seemingly trivial computing tasks that one would imagine are easy to perform in the year 2021 this is remarkably not easy to do. This is the fastest route I discovered and I hope it's helpful.

1. Brew
2. MacOS

Open terminal or iTerm and run brew install -v mp3wrap id3lib ffmpeg to install all the required packages

Run mp3wrap temp.mp3 combinedme1.mp3 combineme2.mp3 ... (... can include as many mp3 files as you need to combine)

Next run ffmpeg to copy the mp3s together into a single file ffmpeg -i temp.mp3 -acodec copy combined.mp3

Now copy your tags over from the first mp3 file id3cp combineme1.mp3 combined.mp3

Delete the temporary files rm temp.mp3

Now you have a neatly combined combined.mp3. If you wish to edit the metadata of the mp3 I recommend using Squeed.

The importance of VPN

The importance of having access to a VPN recently dawned on me as I noticed several of the WiFi networks I rely on (primarily at work) block access to several critical tools including e-mail, Google Drive and even certain academic websites that are likely deemed traffic hungry. One way to easily bypass this conundrum is to create your own VPN on a virtual private server of your choosing. I purchased a cheap KVM VPS at starting at $2.00/month. Next, load up your favorite Linux OS (I usually opt for Debian or Ubuntu) and use the PiVPN script to install OpenVPN or WireGuard.

The PiVPN script was designed for Raspiberry Pi's however; easily works on any x86 Linux box. Make sure you have curl installed and run curl -L | bash to run the script. If you opt for OpenVPN like I did, you can add VPN profiles using pivpn add. The location of the configuration file will be shown and you can download the VPN configuration file using SCP. For MacOS I recommend using Tunnelblick as a VPN client.