a view into the sordid life i lead

Friday, June 30, 2006

More Ubuntu and k9copy

Ok, finally got k9copy working. This is what it took:

1. Install EasyUbuntu. This is an easier way to install dvdcss and some of the other transcode and dvdcss libraries.

2. Install KDE (I'm not sure that this is necessary, but it may help)

3. sudo apt-get install k9copy

I'm not sure which exactly was missing from the initial k9copy install, or why I could not build from source, but I don't really want to spend an inordinate amount of time on it right now since it works (duh). I suspect that EasyUbuntu was the secret ingredient.

Next step: get my printer working so that things actually print full size instead of bugshit size. Much as I love Linux when it works, it's a bit frustrating to get to that point. But the satisfaction of getting it working must be worth something, I guess.

Blogged with Flock

le tour

I met Eric Mueller at Church of Chai last Sunday, over croquet discussions. He's a friend of Belinda's and lives out in Colorado. Eric is working on a very interesting project called "Tour de Happiness". He's got a monster Harley cruiser, and is riding around the country for 2 months documenting how people define, find and create "happiness". What Eric told me is that he's basically tried to live his life with happiness as the objective. This tour is an exploration of what that objective means to different people.

One of the more profoundly engaging ideas that I received (indirectly) from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, (mostly by way of other peoples' interpretations of what he said), was that the purpose of life is to enjoy. That translates to "the meaning of life is to find your happiness". Simple and yet insanely tough. There are a lot of things that make me happy. To keep my life in the path of being happy, though, is really not very straight-forward. But I'm going to try documenting what makes me happy as a stake in the ground:

1. Cooking - and I don't mean looking up a recipe and following it: I mean the art-form of the culinary deviants. Take, for example, Saffron Sauce, which I created yesterday with some help from the Internet. And some Vodka and some hella good canned tomatos (I'll get to that in a bit). I may have to post the recipe sometime since I'll probably forget it in a week. Then there's the stuff that my friend Rafael comes up with which inspires me to no end. He's a artist (canvas sort) but also a culinary adventurer who's given me ideas that I could not possibly have come up with on my own. Like baked endives. And kimchi-arepas.

2. Writing - and I don't do too much of this, which is why this bullshit here stinks so. But that's where the croquet crap comes in.

3. Traveling - which is the only reason for me to have a job really, coz without The Man paying for my life I can't really go experience Nagaland and Lesotho and a million other places that I know are just changing faster than I can get there.

4. Cool coding - like ruby and perl. It's just great fun to get some code going that works, you know?!

So, here's an experiment - I'm going to try to figure out how to generate an income using the things that make me happy (which should have been the objective all along); rather than the things that I know will make money!

Blogged with Flock

Friday, June 23, 2006

Getting jiggy with stuff

I love open source stuff. Yup, just wish open-ness was the name of the game on every front. Imagine what a wonderful world it would be if societies were completely open. Ok, then again we'd have to deal with more frickin morons on a regular basis, but it's not like we're not plagued with them right now!

I got my Ubuntu box all hunky dory after a sleepless night of ./configure'ing and make-make test-make install'ing. My Ubuntu box is hella sweet, and even runs winbloze. Yup, you heard right. Actually I was pleasantly surprised today - after 2 days of beating my head against the wall getting Wine to work (for some reason it won't compile on amd64 due to some libc crapola that I've not had the patience to debug just yet) - to find that VMWare has released the Linux version FREE. As in Beer tho', not in speech. I suspect that there's some open source stuff in their latest offering, which is why they're doing this. Obviously I'm talking out of my ass, since I have not researched it - I should and will. Anyway, it's glorious to have, for the first time in my feeble existence, a Linux box as my primary, with Winbloze running inside it in a VM. It's so damn cool. Ok, the only cooler thing was to get my Powerbook (and Macbook which had to get returned but that's a painful story that has scarred me for life and my therapist is making way too much money off my trauma over that episode so it won't be repeated for some time). But it's so damn freaking cool that I have a wonderous Linux box, which acts so nice, and yet runs Windows inside it so I can do stupid things like learn my Italian and Mandarin since the language CDs with their interactive teaching tools are ONLY for windows. (Bastards)

I think I spent a grand total of 20 hours getting everything running just perfectly - my Acer Aspire E360 (hella el-cheapo box from is now connected to my 24" Dell 2405FPW and rocks like I can't describe. Actually I had serious buyers remorse right after I got the puppy and tried to put Ubuntu on it since the ATI video card gave me hell in setup. Fortunately it turns out that ATI has Linux drivers (whoda thunk) and they work! So i've now got 24 warm and fuzzy inches of pure bliss lit up with some Ubuntu loving. The buyers remorse was really about not getting hte mini mac (I had a massive lapse of reason when I purchased the machine). But it's all well since I've still got my wife's Powerbook to play with (and she's getting understandably edgy about all the love I've been giving it). I had doubts about my being able to run the crummy little Windows apps that I occassionally need to on Ubuntu. VMWare, however, makes all that grief moot.

Just in case the above was not clear enough: Ubuntu rocks. And so does Ruby on Rails, which is my newest favourite web-dev language/framework. It's brilliant. I'm thinking of making it my love slave. More on that later.

I guess I should put something down about my latest epiphanies about travel and global situations. I think Jon Stewart is doing an excellent job of that and I don't really have anything deep to add to that at this present moment. One interesting item in recent news is the whole Bill-Gates-goes-off-to-do-the-humanitarian-thing thing. I guess I should throw in my 3.5 cents into the opinion pot. I really wonder if we'll now have global health through philanthropy working in the same vein as M$'s software strategy. I can just see the news in 5 years saying "Malaria almost cured, but cure requires humans reboot after 100 hours of activity. Reboot may cause death.". Ok I'm a cynic, just shoot me now.

Blogged with Flock

Underwear pervets with balls and sticks

For anyone actually reading this blog, stop it - go do something better with your copious grey matter and time. No really!

Ok, I tried. Anyway, I should really mention the thing that keeps me going month after excrutiating month - the thing without which I may as well have become a hobo and starting eating out of the trash at the Taste of Chicago and living under an overpass: croquet! Yup, Baba's Croquet is having it's opening tourney, and anyone that is anyone will be there, in underpants. What does it all mean? Well, just check out the link and you'll know. Why the whole underpant thing? Well, who the hell doesn't want to see a bunch of people swatting colored balls in tight spandex?!

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, June 18, 2006

OLPC - one laptop per child project

$100 laptop prototypesA number of places are reporting the status of the OLPC project - particularly The pictures are on flickr.

You can pledge to support this project. The model is very cool as far as i'm concerned. You (rich person) pay $300 to own the same machine that the OLPC candidate would normally pay $100. This allows you to have a cool machine, the OLPC person to have a cool machine, and potentially provides another $100 into the research piggy bank. And $300 is a really not very much to pay for such a cool device. Think back to all the other trashy dotcom devices that came up for around this price (audrey, kerbango, etc., etc.,).

I'm ready to jump on this bandwagon immediately!

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

flock to flock

i have found a new messiah and he is named flock! the internet has made me an incredibly more insecure person than i ever could have been - what little confidence i gain in my skills at hacking are put to shame on a daily basis by the monumental brilliance of programmers who come out with such wonders as "flock". if you have not yet jumped on the bandwagon, do so NOW! it's the latest mozilla-based browser that does so much more. my flickr and blogger tasks are now so much easier, which may lead to more regular posts from me!

besides, i'm also inspired after my return from the latest trip to nyc, which may lead to a lot more documentation of pointless things.

A leap in time

I wanted to go back and edit my posts of several months back, so that things would be more chronological, and have more detail than they currently do. Instead I've opted to move forward. I may recount some of my experiences during the travel of the past few months, but i'm not putting any kind of timeline or pressure or promise on it. There are two reasons: i'm just monumentally lazy and procrastinative (huh?), so my making any kind of promise is really meaningless; and second i think it might be more interesting to leave this documenting process organic.

Today I read about the Aymara people of Peru and their non-conventional relationship to time. Most cultures in the world consider the past to be behind them and the future ahead - this is reflected in the obvious semantics of the statement. We tend to consider ourselves in a linear trajectory with the future up ahead of us. The Aymara consider this to be opposite. In thinking about this it's obvious that they're right. The future is what we're unaware of. What's ahead of us is what we can see. We are culturally hindsight-driven, rather than foresight driven. We're always told to consider our past actions carefully when dealing with potential future acts. But in terms of pure visibility, the future is what comes at us from behind - we can anticipate to some degree, in much the same way as we might mostly traverse a path going backwards. However, what's really visible to us in order to make our decisions is what's in front of us - our past. I wonder if this change in relationship to time will make a difference in any way, or if it's purely intellectual.

On the life front - I have finally decided that moving to nyc would be a nice thing to do. I feel more inspired to do something new after being there. I obviously will need a lot more money than I have, but then again, why should that be a stumbling block at all?! I think that there needs to be at least an initial foray into revenue generation in the near term (i.e., i need to go back to being a grunt for the Man). But in the not too distant future nyc beckons.