smartphone webcam

To use the camera of a smartphone for a video conference on a computer, first an app is needed, which provides the image of the camera as a http stream, for example IP Webcam.

For Linux we can use v4l2loopback and ffmpeg to use the stream as a virtual webcam (here for the case that the smartphone has the IP

sudo modprobe v4l2loopback
ffmpeg -i -map 0:v -vcodec rawvideo -vf format=yuv420p -fflags nobuffer -flags low_delay -fflags discardcorrupt -f v4l2 /dev/video2

Additionally, one can use any filter ffmpeg offers, for example a colorkey or chromakey, to use any image background.jpg as a virtual background. Here for the case that a white sheet is used as a “green screen”:

ffmpeg -i images/background.jpg -i -vcodec rawvideo -fflags nobuffer -flags low_delay -fflags discardcorrupt -filter_complex "[1:v]colorkey=0xbbbbbb:0.3:0.2[foregroud];[0:v][foregroud]overlay[composite];[composite]format=yuv420p[out]" -map "[out]:v" -f v4l2 /dev/video2

Similarly, one can use the microphone of the smartphone as audio input for the computer. Here using pulseaudio and gstreamer:

pactl load-module module-null-sink sink_name="ipwebcam"
pactl set-default-source "ipwebcam.monitor"
gst-launch-1.0 souphttpsrc location="" is-live=true ! audio/x-raw,format=S16LE,layout=interleaved,rate=44100,channels=1 ! queue ! pulsesink device="ipwebcam"

relay ssh

Connect via a server relay with target. Useful if target is behind a firewall, but reachable from relay.

ssh -J user1@relay user2@target

This can be combined with other options. This way a port forwarding can be established over which, e.g., sshfs can be used.

ssh -L 9999:localhost:22 -J user1@relay user2@target
sshfs user2@localhost:/path /mountpoint -C -p 9999

A combination with reverse-ssh could look like this:

ssh -L 9999:localhost:22 -J user1@relay -p 19999 user2@localhost


Visualize the differences between two Latex files.

latexdiff old.tex new.tex > diff.tex
pdflatex diff.tex

And if one is using git anyway, there is an even simpler way to compare a given commit with the current state.

latexdiff-vc -r 96deadbeef filename.tex --pdf