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Open Letter to the VancouFur Convention: Bravo!

March 10th, 2016 No comments

Independent recently ran an article about how Syrian refugees in Canada got housed in [the] same hotel as VancouFur furry convention and the children loved it; and I felt this was particularly noteworthy not because of the perhaps obscure nature of such a convention, but because of the children’s experiences in it.

There are many furries in my groups of friends, both on- and off-line. Suffice to say, I know only a little of the furry community, as it’s not something I am a part of; but it reminds me a lot of the Brony community (of which I certainly am part) in some key ways: Sure, at a glance it may seem weird, crazy, and perhaps even from a misguided perspective, just wrong. But it’s nothing of these sorts at all. When you get down to its core, it’s just a group of people with similar interests being themselves and wanting to spread a message of tolerance and welcomeness, not the ones of hatred and fear that so many other groups try to promote in the name of so-called “righteousness.”

Amidst the culture shock of moving their lives to the other side of the world, these refugees have been welcomed with open arms and friendly attitudes. Many of their first post-move memories will be of these characters, just wanting to be playful and funny and pose for photos and whatnot — even memories of hugs being offered. These memories will not be ones of being prejudiced for their beliefs or hated for where they came from.

And that is a message that I believe the world needs to hear so much more of: Why must we hate each other because we’re different? Let’s instead embrace those differences. Work together. Play together. Laugh together. Grow together. Learn together. In doing so, we can learn more about each other, more about our own world, and more about our place as a humanity within the rest of this endless universe.

So to all the conventioneers and those involved in this VancouFur convention, I say thank you. Thank you for being so warmhearted. I’d imagine it’s an understatement to say that it was probably a difficult line to walk for a while; but thank you for showing by example how wonderful it can be to accept cultural differences, understand them, and welcome them. And perhaps a bit ironically, thank you for showing through your fursonas the goodness that can come of humans simply being kind to one another, not because it produces any sort of gain, but just because it’s the right thing to do. Well done!

Categories: Life, Uncategorized Tags:

The Cost of Introversion

June 25th, 2014 No comments

Ask any good psychologist or neuroscientist to explain the contrast between introversion and extroversion, and you’re likely to be told something akin to this: Introverts expend energy in social interaction and recharge by having solitary downtime, while extroverts recharge by being social and lose energy when left alone or with little to do.

But what is this “energy”? Sure, it’s easy enough to intuit. Clearly, extroverts are always so outgoing, very talkative, and need to be with other people. They excel at group situations and meeting new people, and become antsy and frustrated when left alone for any length of time. Introverts, on the other hand, function much better in one-on-one situations or with small groups of people they know, and tend to dislike smalltalk when it’s just to “network” with new people. In addition, introverts love having solitude for periods of time to recharge their internal batteries.

This analogy of charging/expending energy, while a bit oversimplified, is an accurate one. So then, why are large social situations so “costly” to an introvert? And why can they still “recharge” even when in large groups of close friends/family?

Let’s take a step back from this for a moment and look at how we interact in this society. We all wear our proverbial masks every time we step into the real world: hiding the reality of who we are and letting everyone see only the selves we wish to show.

As an introvert myself, I’ve come to theory that this “energy” cost in social situations is merely the necessity to ourselves of maintaining these masks. As we wear the masks and keep our internal filters and censors active, we expend more and more of our mental energy.

At least for me, this is why I “recharge” by spending lots of times with my close friends: Even though I’m being very social and involving myself with other people, it is with friends to whom I’d trust unfalteringly. I don’t have to keep any of my internal filters going or some such. I can just be me. I don’t have to hide who or what I am.

My theory isn’t very good at explaining the other side of this analogy, though. If this is the case, then why do extroverts lose energy by being alone and recharge by being so social and active? This is already beyond my understanding, and something I’d be mildly interested in researching further…But that’s a topic for another day!

Categories: Life, Science, Uncategorized Tags:

Some moments will haunt you; the right ones will inspire…

April 4th, 2014 No comments

[Originally posted as a Facebook note on April 4; retroactively posted to this blog days later. Note to self: I should really use this instead of FB Notes…]

To those who rejoice every time I change my Facebook relationship status for April Fool’s, your wanting to celebrate my intrapersonal success is very much appreciated. So I mark this as a success in its own way.

I’m not normally sentimental about these things; but this is a one-time specialty. Today, April 4, 2014, marks the one-year anniversary of my first date. Ever.

While I don’t want to write a sappy romance novel here or anything, suffice to say that asking her out in the first place was so ridiculously far out of my comfort zone, and was only thanks to the encouragement of amazing friends. Even though the end result of that date may not have been what I ultimately hoped, it forced me to break free from my comfort zone to really try to find my own happiness, rather than waiting for it to find me as I had done for so much of my life. To this day, I am eternally grateful to my friends for their advice and encouragement (and not just in relationship matters); but moreso I am grateful to my date (nameless here, for her sake) for her acceptance.

We all wear our proverbial masks every time we step into the real world: hiding the reality of who we are and letting everyone see only the selves we wish to show. But with her, it was as though I was reconnecting with an old friend, and that quick rapport of common interests and passion for technology really made that mask unnecessary.

Maybe it started as a simple infatuation; but for so long I had been lost (and often still am) in my own internal dialogue: constantly interpreting, analyzing and over-thinking everything. Ration, logic, and reason seem to work so beautifully for everything else in life; but not for such as these. My choir director so often advises to “listen louder than you sing”; and this seems so apropos to matters of the heart as well. When I asked her out, it was the first time in forever that I had seriously listened to my feelings louder than that dialogue. I broke free of wondering about how the question would be taken, free of the worry of negative result, and just did.

That initial crush is gone; and I am uncertain of the feelings that remain (some emotions defy analysis) …but I do know this: I am, and want to be, a better person by her having been (being?) in my life.

I’ll end this introspection here; I won’t celebrate this anniversary any more than this simple post, because its significance will fade as I grow to understand and embrace these more intricate emotions, bit by bit.

Categories: Life Tags:

2013: The Year of One Blog Post

January 1st, 2014 No comments

“♫ 525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear…how do you measure a year?”

“Seasons of Love” (Rent)

As I begin writing this, 2013 will end within the hour. I suppose it’s only fitting to post something introspective on my blog, seeing as that’s how I am as a person. It’s hard not to be lost in my own thought sometimes. It’s comfortable in my own mind.

This past year has certainly had its ups and downs. I’ve sadly grown apart from some friends, but have made many new ones. Some of my friends have married or become engaged — and I couldn’t be happier for them! — and from my friends and the friendships we have I’ve learned so much more about others and about myself. I wish I could truly say everything I learned was good; but through good and bad I’ve become a stronger and better person. I’ve had successes which they have celebrated with me, and hardships which they’ve helped me through in more ways than they know. (It is here where I take another swig of this Smirnoff in toast to your awesomeness, friends!)

2013 has certainly had its milestones: first date, first time driving freeways, first metal concert, first time in Europe, first lucid dream, and so on. I could copy/paste so much more from my diary; but suffice to say I’ve made many significant choices about my life and the man I want to be….no, the man I am becoming. In the same vane, I’m sure 2014 will have its own torrent of emotions, insights, and personal growths. I venture into its unknown with an open mind and an eager heart.

So long, 2013 — It’s been a blast!

(Hey, it just ticked midnight! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!)

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Poem: Insomnia’s Caress

December 4th, 2012 No comments

Having trouble sleeping for whatever reason, so I wrote a short freeform poem to help my mind relax a bit. I call it “Insomnia’s Caress.”

Insomnia’s Caress
©2012 Peter Gordon

Rest betrays my weary soul;
Eyes shut, mind wandering.
Finding neither dream nor rest,
I wonder if it occurs at all.

Hours pass, until the dawn
When light breaks through the veil
I awake to the noise of day,
and rise from the embrace of sleep
to face the world, another time anew.

Creative Commons License
Insomnia’s Caress by Peter Gordon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Happy Equestrian New Year (And: Thank You, Lauren Faust & MLP:FiM Team)

October 10th, 2012 No comments

Dear Lauren Faust,

Two years ago today aired the series premiere of this show you created: a show that would forever unite millions of fans – both men and women, adults and children alike, myself included – and change their lives for the better. From the inspirational characters to the wonderful artistry, from its excellent musical numbers (thanks Daniel Ingram) to the brilliant voice acting work all around, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has touched the hearts of so many, so quickly. And I your fan, cannot thank you enough.

To be honest, if two years ago you’d have told me I’d today be a fan of My Little Pony, I’d probably have laughed and made some snide, sarcastic retort. But since then, these colorful and playful bunch of magic ponies have stolen this geek’s heart.

I must admit feel a bit like Twilight Sparkle in the “Winter Wrap Up” episode: I can’t draw or do anything artistic at all; I am not imaginative enough to make fanfiction; and I won’t even dare to attempt a Pony Music Video or any such feat, since it would probably just be a waste of bandwidth. So how do I be a productive brony? I hope in lieu of anything fancy or creative, these words will suffice to demonstrate some iota of that gratitude.

In closing: Thank you, Lauren Faust. And thank you to the wonderful team of artists, voice actors, musicians, and other staff behind My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It’s been an absolutely fantastic first two seasons, and I eagerly await many more. (Oh, lest I forget, and thank you to all the creative fans who make the wait pass by with amazing art, videos, stories, and other media!)

If you would please, a brohoof!

(Pinkie Pie brohoof)

Aleedye’s Brohoof by ~MacchiatoJolt on DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Yours,
Peter Gordon

Passion, Not a Ph.D., Makes the Professor

October 5th, 2012 No comments

It has been said more than once that a good teacher knows the subject matter, while a great teacher is passionate about it. And nowhere is this statement more true than at a university level, where things like high class sizes, tenure, publications in academic journals, and other research opportunities can often cause professors to become rather lackadaisical about their teaching.

For a lot of professors today, a significant majority of their teaching comes down to their lectures. And while a professor may be very knowledgeable about that subject, if he or she does not know how to lecture well, it is ultimately the students who suffer. I’ve had a physics professor, for example, with a Ph.D in his field and decades of experience under his belt. He’s certainly a well-learned expert; but when he gave lectures, he spoke in a very soft, monotonous voice. And with run-on sentences everywhere, it seemed like he never paused to even take a breath. Not to mention that English wasn’t his native tongue, so he spoke with a slight accent. (This one I can’t fault him for; but that doesn’t mean it detracted from his lectures any less.)

Even when I was sitting in the front and center of the class, it was a mental strain to pay attention. Not only that, but his lectures were almost entirely him simply reading from his Powerpoint presentation, which he would post online after each class meeting. So in addition to the effort required simply to pay attention, there was always the mental trap of just reading those presentations on my own, outside class. Combine all of this, and it’s clear to see to how 9 shots of espresso could not keep me awake in that class. In fact, I had to withdraw from it; and I ended up taking Chemistry instead, the following semesters.

On the other extreme, I’ve had professors who are obviously passionate about their classes — for example, asking questions of the students, providing real-world examples, inviting lots of discussion, and really just having fun talking about the coursework. (And for the more awesome engineering professors, this often involves quite a bit of hilarious puns.) This happens even in more extracurricular things, too.

For instance, as part of my university’s Men’s Chorus, I find myself grinning from ear to ear after every rehearsal. Our conductor is fantastic. He’s so emphatic about the music we sing, and so emotive about everything we do in rehearsals and in our performances, from proper vocal technique to really nailing those more obscure rhythms and lyrics, and sometimes even to life in general. He’s also very encouraging and approachable. He clearly enjoys being at each rehearsal. And he clearly wants us to be better singers, and certainly, better people both on- and off-stage. He sincerely wants our choir to be more than just the sum of its voices — and you can see it in his mannerisms, his energy, the determination of how he teaches. (I suppose that in some ways, it’s a bit of an irony that one of my all-time favorite teachers is in a subject far removed from my majors.)

I hope that my fellow students (and former students) have had professors on that better end of this spectrum. For now, I’ll just have to hope that those end-of-semester evaluations are given their due considerations…

Silence is NOT Golden!

October 13th, 2010 No comments

It’s been a long long while (6+ months! Eep.); but to quote the great Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I’m not dead yet!” – and neither is this blog.

So, what has this geek been up to recently? On the one hand, my search for a decent [part-time] job is…well, it’s still ongoing. On the other, I’ve been very busy with classwork, family obligations, and other real life duties.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on updates to several of my packages in addition to new goodies (such as the successor to the GNOME Music Applet, Panflute). I apologize for the rather lengthy delays in these! But, I should be able to get to all of them sometime within the next several days or so. (Git still puzzles me slightly, so please bare with me as I slowly resume my packaging duties.) And lastly, I would like to shout a huge THANK YOU to all those who have helped triage and maintain my packages during my brief hiatus. Now, to finish this Deluge update…

Slight E-Mail Hiccup

March 1st, 2010 No comments

Having grown more than a little bit tired of how slow Evolution is at filtering emails, I decided to try the new Thunderbird. (I say “new” because I have not used it since it was version 1.5-ish.)

Unfortunately, I accidentally decided to have them both open at the same time – my understanding being that IMAP is okay with multiple simultaneous connections. Apparently this is not the case between Thunderbird and Evolution, as I quickly discovered. Something clashed with something else somewhere along the code, and now much to my dismay my Inbox is empty. (Oops.)

Long story short, if you sent me an email since Saturday morning (which was the last time I thuroughly checked my email) that you need me to read and/or respond to, please resend it.  Thanks.

ThinkPad T500: Initial Fedora Report – Marvelous!

September 14th, 2009 3 comments

Well, after receiving my ThinkPad T500, I set about tweaking the pre-installed Windows Vista, and spent most of the weekend attempting to get it dual-booting Vista and Fedora nicely. For better or worse, neither Fedora’s GRUB nor Windows’ BCD bootloader would accept booting the other OS properly. I came to realize that I hadn’t used or needed to use Windows in over 5 years (even the server at work is CentOS), so It’s highly unlikely that I will need it in the foreseeable future. Just in case though, I can always run it in a VM. So, after burning the Product Recovery Discs, I wiped it all and installed Fedora on this wonderful machine. 🙂

I configured it with 4 partitions:

  1. /boot (about 500 MB)
  2. Swap (about 5 GB)
  3. / (FS root, about 35 GB)
  4. /home (the remaining ~210 GB)

As far as the hardware goes, everything appears to work out of the (quite literal) box. The processor’s throttling is automatically handled by cpuspeed and ACPI. The LCD was automatically detected at the appropriate resolution (WSXGA+, 1680×1050) and DPI (129), and graphics (integrated Intel GMA X4500HD) work very well – 3D, Compiz, and everything. Virtualization extensions (so-called “VT”) were disabled in the BIOS by default for whatever reason, but enabling them took only a few seconds and KVM works wonderfully (running an Ubuntu 9.04 virtual machine for a Linux class).

The TrackPoint(tm) and TouchPad both work splendidly, although the TrackPoint does take a lot of practice to get comfortable with. I’m tempted to disable the touchpad in the BIOS, since I don’t actually use it for pointing (and I often erroneously swipe it with my palm while using the so-called “nipple mouse” of the TrackPoint); but I do use it for the scrolling, so I’ve not yet found a happy medium. Suggestions appreciated.

The hard disk (Western Digital WDC WD2500BEVS-0) and DVD burner drive (HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-U20N) are surprisingly speedy. I’ve already burned two copies of the Fedora 11 LiveCD and several data discs (backups) with no problems. The Bluetooth works well, and I can easily send and receive files to and from my phone through the included Bluetooth stack. The wifi  (Intel WiFi Link 5300 [AGN]) works beautifully with the included iwlagn driver, enabled by default. Also, NetworkManager makes connectivity trivial. (Thanks, devs!)

The firewire and PC Card slot also seem to work – they are autodetected and drivers loaded. However, as I have no firewire- or PC Card-based devices, I cannot verify their functionality.

I have come to quickly love the GNOME Power Manager stack. According to it, the battery on a full charge should last me about 5 hours. It keeps track of how much charge the battery has, how quickly I’m consuming or charging it depending on if I am plugged into AC power, etc. It even shows me a graph of my recent power history! Wonderful little tool. With the help of Intel’s fantastic PowerTOP utility, I’ve increased that computed estimate to nearly 6 hours. (!)

With regards to multimedia, things worked beautifully without me even trying. The built-in webcam works perfectly with Cheese, and the built-in sound works for both playback (surprisingly loud at maximum volume!) and recording (not fantastic quality, but it’s very good at eliminating surrounding static and other noises). I can’t wait to try video-calling someone with the recent Empathy enhancements!

All of the hotkeys – brightness-switching, volume control, playback/navigation, etc.) work as expected, and ACPI (with GNOME Power Manager) even automatically suspends when I close the lid – wonderful!

I’ve also noticed that the machine stays colder in Fedora than it ever did while running the preinstalled Windows. Maybe this is only subjective though, as I never checked the actual temperatures in Windows. Or perhaps Linux/Fedora is better at staying in deeper C-states for longer intervals. In either case, I can work with it directly on my lap quite comfortably.

One of the main reasons I decided upon the T-series instead of a similar R-series laptop was weight. Even with the battery installed, it is only about 5.5 pounds. (That’s about 2.5 kilograms for the rest of the world who use a less-insane system of measurements.) This is quite comfortable to carry with me around school and work without tiring my shoulder.

The only thing which I’ve been unable to test, aside from the firewire and PC card slots, is the dual-screen capability. According to the included manual, it should be capable of using the DisplayPort interface to attach a secondary screen (such as a projector) and automatically resize appropriately, with [Fn]+[Spacebar]. I suppose that if this does not yet already Just Work(tm), it will be fixed by the time I need to worry about actually using it though.

Overall, I love this laptop, and am extremely happy with my purchase decision. In fact, the only qualm I have with this wonderful computer is that it’s not yet decorated! Oh great lazyweb, doe anyone know where I can get stickers for GNOME, Fedora, Linux/Tux, et al., to adorn it with? 😀

Also: A huge THANK YOU to all of the developers who helped make my first Linux-on-a-laptop experience an absolutely wonderful one. I love it when things work so simply and effectively!

My First Laptop: A ThinkPad

August 24th, 2009 3 comments

Another summer has passed me by, and I still haven’t learned how to ride a bike nor how to swim properly. Alas, I suppose I’ll get to these eventually. I have kept one of my resolutions though. I finally splurged and bought myself a ThinkPad (specifically, a T500). I decided upon the following specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8400 (2.26GHz 1066MHz 3MBL2) 25W
  • Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic (Will be used only to verify hardware functionality. Fedora will replace it thereafter.)
  • 15.4″ WSXGA+ TFT, w/ CCFL Backlight (137 DPI…sweet.)
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator x4500HD with vPro
  • 4 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
  • UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad)
  • 250 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
  • DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer, Ultrabay Slim (Serial ATA)
  • Integrated Bluetooth PAN
  • Intel WiFi Link 5300 (AGN) with My WiFi Technology
  • 9 cell Li-Ion Battery
  • 4 Year On Site Upgrade with 4 Year ThinkPad Protection

Thankfully, I found an excellent discount through the CPP (Contractor Purchase Program) which cut the cost from nearly $2,200 to just $1,400 (including shipping and taxes, state fees, et al.) – a savings of 40%! The 4-year protection plan was about 30% of the final cost. Well worth it, though.

As it is, this will be a life-safer, as I’ve been having a lot of intermittent hardware issues on my desktop: I get seemingly-random WiFi disconnects; DVD-burning often fails for no discernible reason, and my hard drive is on its last legs, so to speak. (In fact, just today I saw another 12 sectors go bad and need to be reallocated…its count is now at 177. The manufacturer maximum is 188!) – I’m all anxious and impatient now!

So, in the span of one month, I’ve spent almost $4,000 (tuition/registration fees, books/supplies, and ThinkPad). I think that’s quite enough for a while. 😮

Categories: Fedora, Life, Technology Tags: , ,

Today’s Spanish Lesson, and Inquiry

August 12th, 2009 7 comments

“Paying attention” is an English idiom which means “to focus one’s attention on” or “to be attentive to.” Like other idioms, it does not translate literally into other languages, especially Spanish. (That is to say, “pagar atención” – from pagar, “to pay,” and (la) atención, “attention,” is incorrect.)

However, there are two ways to say it depending on what it is to which is being paid attention. If paying attention to a person, the phrase is “prestar atención,” which in a literal word-for-word translation means “to lend (one’s) attention.” On the other hand, if paying attention to an idea or a thing, one would use “poner atención.” which if taken in a similar literal translation means “to put (or set) attention.”

  • Correct: Presten atención al maestro cuando les habla.
    (Pay attention to the teacher when he speaks to you.)
  • Incorrect: Pongan atención al maestro cuando les habla.

Note the different connotations in the following two similar requests made from a a speaker (in our example, a teacher):

  • Ésto es muy importante. Pongan atención por favor.
    (“This is very important. Pay attention [to this concept/thing], please.”  The teacher is explaining something to his/her students and does not want distractions.)
  • Ésto es muy importante. Presten atención por favor.
    (“This is very important. Pay attention [to me], please.”  The teacher is demonstrating something, and wants his/her students to watch closely.)

I suppose it’s similar, slightly, to how Japanese translate the verb “to have” (or “to be/to exist”) as 有る(ある, “aru”) for objects and concepts but as 居る(いる, “iru”)for living things. Peculiar…but very interesting. Is this difference in Spanish for similar separation of living and non-living things? I wonder…Thanks for the neat Spanish lesson, mom! 🙂

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

CSUs to Cut Spring 2010 Admissions

July 15th, 2009 2 comments

This is absolutely crazy. Someone just posted it to our Facebook group:

Lowering Enrollment: Budget Cuts Force California State University to Close 2010 Spring Admissions

As part of an overall strategy to address an unprecedented budget reduction of $584 million for 2009-10, California State University campuses will not accept student applications for the 2010 spring term – with very few exceptions.

In addition, quarter campuses that have been accepting admission applications for the 2010 winter term ceased accepting applications as of July 6.

“Only fully-eligible, first-time freshmen, upper-division undergraduate transfers or graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants who have applied for admission prior to July 6 may be offered admission to the 2010 winter term,” said Jeri Echeverria, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer.

In addition, no admission applications will be accepted for the 2010 spring term at either quarter or semester campuses, for any enrollment category. CSU has typically admitted more than 35,000 freshmen, undergraduate transfer and graduate students during the spring term.

This is just so unbelievably wrong. A strong education is the foundation of a prosperous workforce. I’m all for fixing the economy, but cutting off one of its roots is not the right way to do it! I’m stunned and quite speechless. 😮

Categories: Life Tags: , , ,

Backup Strategies

June 20th, 2009 11 comments

With my primary hard drive (a three-year old WD Raptor WD740) having been on life support, so to speak, for the last 3 months, I’ve been a lot more diligent about keeping backup copies of my data. Every couple of days, I log out entirely and run a simple rsync script to copy my entire /home directory to a specialized partition on my secondary disk, which I keep at /mnt/backup for simplicity sake.

While its parameter handling can be a bit quirky, I find that it is extremely useful for two reasons: The first more or less negates its quirky parameter handling: Clear and thorough documentation, with lots of example program calls  The second is that it saves me a lot of time in copying the files. Similar to the DeltaRPM feature I raved about with Fedora 11, it copies over only the changed content instead of the entire directory tree. With my home directory at nearly 20 GB, incrementally updating my backup like this prevents a good 90+% of the data from needing to be copied again.

In this way, I know that I have at least two copies of my data at any given time. A major plus to copying the directory tree as-is is that, once the drive does die and I replace it, I merely need to copy it over, without changing anything or unpacking huge tarballs and applying diffs, et al.

The disadvantage to this is that I only have one consistent backup copy of my data at a given time, and that backup is on a hard drive in the same computer. So, should there be a massive system failure of some sort (knock on wood!), then I would lose my data for certain. I also intend to purchase CD-RWs for this purpose – that is, as an additional backup medium – in the near future. But for right now, the second on-disk copy suffices. I also want to setup a RAID system in my next computer build…but that’ll have to wait. 🙂

So this simple rsync method, as with any storage decision, has its benefits and downfalls:
Pros:

  • Easy to configure;
  • Can be automatically run (e.g., in a cron job);
  • Updates occur via content deltas, not full copies;
  • Backup data is “as-is”, and can be used immediately after copying.

Cons:

  • Only one backup copy;
  • Physical proximity to original data;
  • Requires space for an entire duplicate of the directory tree.

For me, though, this method works out well. Do others have a similar system? Would you suggest any improvements/simplifications? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter! Thanks.

Recent Lack of Availability

May 27th, 2009 1 comment

Err. If you’ve tried to get in contact with me over the past week or so (email, bug report, IRC ping, et al.), please excuse my complete lack of response. Having just finished final exams, I’d been very unproductively relaxing – playing video games, watching lots of anime, taking a short trip with family, and just generally doing as little “work” as possible – which included Fedora hacking.

I really should have posted some sort of away message or “Offline for a while” email; but completely neglected to do so. Mea culpa. As I’m now officially on summer vacation (at least, until I can find a good job/internship), that will definitely change. 🙂

Categories: Fedora, Life, Technology Tags:

I’m…geekin’ out!

May 8th, 2009 No comments

Right, so I just got back from seeing the premier showing of the recent Star Trek film at the GardenWalk IMAX with a bunch of friends, and I’m completely geeking out. Yes, there were some plot flaws in it (such as the way Kirk defeated the Klingons in the “Kobayashi Maru” exam) but it was meant to be a bit of an alternate history, and I was thoroughly impressed with the movie as a whole. The actors played their roles amazingly well, but I especially liked McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg)  and Spock (Zachary Quinto).

I was also quite pleased in that, as the limelights dimmed for the movie to begin, at least two other people in the theater joined me in shouting Qapla’! (Klingonese: “success”). There were no Klingons in this film, but that made it no less fun!

On the other hand, I do apologize that schoolwork has taken up most of my free time recently, and will continue do so until the end of the semester (two more weeks), and because of this I’ve not been very active on the Fedora front. However, I hope to change that once classes let out for the summer. 🙂

Offline After Nearly 7 Billion Rotations

April 8th, 2009 1 comment

(That’s slightly more rotations than there people on Earth! :o)

With Spring Break giving me some much-needed time off from classes, I had some time to install and test the recently-released Fedora 11 Beta. While I do think there are many minor issues (such as Urban Terror having no sound and not being able to quit), there are many awesome improvements over Fedora 10 already. Among these are such niceties as DRI2 & Kernel Mode-Setting support for Intel video (enabled by default!), DeviceKit, and the obvious benefits of GNOME 2.26.

However, one thing that I noticed over the past weekend (looking through the awesome new Palimpsest disk utility) is that my secondary hard drive (a Western Digital WD740 Raptor) has begun to show its age after nearly 4 years of trusty service. The automatic block-reallocation and CRC error counts were already listing as “Failing” and just about everything else in the SMART self-test results are listed as “Pre-Fail.” Thankfully, it persisted long enough to backup my entire home directory to the primary disk (a 40GB Maxtor something-or-other). However, this backup has made that primary disk – which I have partitioned with everything else) almost full, with only about a gigabyte free. (That was close!) So, until I can get that replaced, I’m going to be getting my work done on my parents’ computers and those in the school labs – which means I’m not going to be able do anything Fedora-related other than simple bug-triaging for a while. With schoolwork and other duties now, it’ll probably take me about a week or so to order the new drive from NewEgg, have it shipped, and properly install it in my PC.

I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; but as I’ve said on prior occasions, hardware and I seem to have a very love/hate relationship.  :-/

The ‘E’s in “College” are for “Extra” and “Enjoyment”.

March 15th, 2009 No comments

(I will try to make this more regular in the future, honestly!)

In our previous College Survival Guide entry, we took a very brief look at the stark difference between life as a high school student and life as a college student. However, there is one thing that needs to remain a constant thoughout one’s entire student life, and that is something very simple, but often not very easy.

Have fun. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. (Seriously!)

Now, I know some of you are thinking at this, Fun, as a student? This geek’s been drinking far too much coffee. However, this is one of the best things I think one can do – especially in college. College is almost by definition a gigantic learning experience, but this learning should not be restricted to academic-only material. One of the biggest pieces of advice I give classmates when discussing scheduling for the following term is this: Always take a fun class – or more, if other life constraints allow!

There will always be times when you’ll be very stressed out with little or no control over the cause – too much homework, a difficult test coming up, group projects, et al. and the best way to relieve the stress is to enjoy oneself in something else entirely. I’ve found that very often while doing homework for a class that I do not like, I end up being bored and the homework then becomes a slow and tedious process. However, taking one or more fun classes, I can take a brief pause from doing the homework for that boring class and do the assignment for the fun classwork; and after that return to other work which now does not seem nearly as dreary. Also, if you make time for a fun class or two throughout your schedule, then you will actually want to go to school, and that can sometimes make the difference in not being truant to classes.

Now, there are many classes – especially the upper-division or major-specific courses – that will definitely be inherently enjoyable. For the most part though, especially during one’s early collegiate terms, it’s mostly General Education and other necessities which may be opposite of those wants. When I speak of “fun classes” that you should take, I’m referring to the classes that probably aren’t even required. These classes are one’s you should just take because you want to and for no other reason. One other benefit of these classes is that, due to the nature of your reason for taking the class, you are certainly going to put a lot of effort into it and get a good grade in the class, which can help keep or boost your GPA a little bit.

So, remember: Take some fun classes! College should NOT be a sleep-class-homework cycle! Well, that’s about it for this edition. Join us next time for another rousing post in this College Survival Guide!

Categories: College Survival Guide Tags:

Accidental Fixes

February 22nd, 2009 No comments

“If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.” (Edsger W. Dijkstra)

After fixing the notification-daemon bubbles (thanks, Martin!), I spent some time perusing through some of the other GConf settings and found another rather interesting gem: /desktop/gnome/interface/show_input_method_menu which is set to off (False) by default. Now, for the longest time I’ve had trouble in Xchat-GNOME (my IRC client of choice) with getting Japanese input to work properly. There was no preedit text or conversion from Romaji to Kana/Kanji. SCIM/Anthy just wasn’t being used at all! But changing this one item, it’s easy now to get SCIM working as it should, but selecting the “SCIM Bridge Input Method” from the context menu.

Granted, it’s definitely not a correct or long-term fix by any means; but at least now I’m not given the inconvenience of opening up gedit or some other application to switch back and forth when I want to IRC in Japanese. Yay!

I should probably go package up that new Midori release now. 🙂

Not Impossible, just a bit Unlikely!

February 17th, 2009 3 comments

Apparently I’ve become really bad at this whole “regularly blogging’ thing. *sigh*
I posted, a few weeks ago, about the cool new notification bubbles, but after updating yesterday and rebooting my computer, the beauty has vanished, just as quickly as it came. It saddens me ever so slightly; but it alas was just not meant to be.

No more sexy-time notification bubbles!

No more sexy-time notification bubbles!

On another note, we spent the entirety of tonight’s Kanji Study class doing calligraphy (called 書道, “shodou”) as a fun little break, with a visiting professor from UCLA. It was amazingly entertaining and we learned a lot about how much intricacy is often needed to draw the characters properly: angle and force of brush, amount of ink, proper stroke order etc., and how painstakingly detailed a seemingly simple character compound such as 先生¹ needs to be when drawn correctly. Near the end of our class session, he even went through several examples of how Hiragana and Katakana were derived from their respective 万葉仮名 (Man’yõgana), such as あ (Hiragana “a”, from 安 meaning “tranquil, quiet,” or in some contexts, “inexpensive”) and タ (Katakana “ta” from 多 meaning “much, many”). I found it quite intriguing; and our Sensei says that we’re going to go into this derivation in far more detail over the coming weeks. I can’t wait!

[1] Pronounced “sensei,” it is literally translated as “one who lived before” and used as an honorific title for teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,