2013-05-31

[Technology] Cursor jumps around randomly

So I've had a problem a few times where my cursor has jumped into random corners, persistently and erratically.  It also occasionally "clicks", sometimes performing unintended actions or switching my focused window.  It's infuriating.

Each time it has happened, it's when the CPU has been very busy.  I thought their might be some bug where the driver was somehow receiving input from a specific program that was running.  One was a 3D game, Cube 2: Sauerbraten.  However, the others have just been while compiling large programs.  I think the only thing in common is the high CPU usage.

I ended up hoping I could at least workaround the problem by disabling the hardware associated with it.  First I tried disabling the touchpad on my computer (an HP Compaq tc4400), and that did not help.  Next I tried disabling the stylus (it's a tablet PC) and that worked.  In particular, I used

$ xinput list     # find my stylus
$ xinput disable <ID number of my stylus>     # mine was 12

One problem might be that my stylus is a third-party one that has been disintegrating since the day I unpacked it.  

This thread helped me understand what was probably going on, and has good advice for other HP tablets and machines.

2013-05-30

[Microblog] Transient Thought

Is anyone else pleased that Fedora 19 (Linux distribution) is code named "Schrödinger's cat"? :D

2013-05-24

[General] The things I like

A friend recently asked where violin and the piano landed on my prioritised list of things I like.  So, from top to bottom,
  • wandering
  • iaido and jodo
  • open source
  • friends
  • veganism
  • AI
  • languages
  • violin
  • Nintendo
  • kendo
  • piano
  • drawing
  • story writing
The things at the bottom I still really like, but I only have so much time in my life, and they do not get a large portion of it.  I thought I'd elaborate on a few.

Wandering

This refers to walks.  I love them, since Flesherton, since the Lord of the Rings, since Vancouver and New Zealand and everywhere.  It also refers to travel, again Vancouver and New Zealand, as well as Germany and Spain.  I hope to travel a lot in my life, and a spend a lot of it in nature.  That's a huge part of this, being able to climb mountains and run through woods and walk in rivers.  I like talking when walking, so fellow adventurers are welcome.

Iaido and Jodo

Particularly within my club, Sei Do Kai.  I love the control and interaction with the physical world around me and my body.  I love the people I do it with.  I love the life lessons it teaches me.  I love the attitude and the philosophy of our club.  I think this fills in a gap in my physical interacts with the world that wandering couldn't quite fill, and kendo could have but failed.  It helps motivate me to remain fit, which requires additional exercise outside of budo.

Open Source Programming

I really enjoy programming.  This fulfills a lot of my intellectual and creative urges that used to go towards drawing and writing.  It also makes me feel good as a person, because I can contribute to a larger community and help others.  I like the GNOME project in particular and its philosophy and product.

Friends

This used to rank higher on the list, but I've tried to become more singular in the past year, much more independent.  I am more cynical about others and for what they can be relied upon, which has been quite healthy.  Of course, I still love my friends and value the time I get to spend with them.  I go a bit less out of my way to attend to them, though, and claim more time for myself.

Veganism

Veganism is the best contributor to my ethical framework and moral compass.  It motivates me to be more involved in my health and more compassionate in the world around me.  This complements budo, which helps encourage fitness through exercise, by encouraging me to pay more attention to my diet, which requires it.  It also acts as a social platform, where I get to socialise with vegans (which is often very relaxing) and get to bring other friends together around food (someone's willingness to try my vegan cooking is a good litmus test for friendship).  I'm not strongly into animal rights activism, due to disputes over methods.

Artificial Intelligence

I really like the ideas behind artificial intelligence and the future potential for it.  Consequently, I'm doing my thesis in Natural Language Processing.  I'm not a huge fan of academia, but am glad to have an opportunity to work with AI.

This is the point in the list where I have run out of enough time, and the interests below are neglected.

Languages

I like language because I like meaning.  Communication of meaning is one part of that interest, so I enjoy learning languages.  So far I only have conversational German.  I would like to know French, some Japanese, and Chinese eventually.

Violin

It's my favourite instrument.  I like the fun of fiddling and the sophistication of the string sound.  I love the construction, and its portability.  I own one, but due to other priorities, have been waiting to find an economical teacher to pursue this.  (My iaido sensei's daughter is an experienced violinist, and may take up teaching me this summer!)

Nintendo! 

I loved video games growing up, and they would have typically topped a list then.  I took a long hiatus during my undergraduate, and have slowly been re-entering the world.  Sadly, I don't have a core friendsuite to enjoy Nintendo with any more.  Most of my old friends have taken a greater interest in PlayStation or Xbox.  I still haven't finished Skyward Sword despite loving the series.   I hope to be able to find someone local to share games with in the future.

Kendo

I really loved kendo when I was in high school, but I think that the Owen Sound Kendo Club was a significant part of that.  I haven't enjoyed another kendo club quite the same, excepting perhaps the UBC Kendo Club, back in Fall 2008.  My history runs like this
  • 2000-2003: Owen Sound Kendo Club :D
  • 2003-2004: Guelph Kendo Club  :|
  • 2008: UBC Kendo Club  :D
  • 2009: Invercargill Kendo Club  :|
  • 2011-2012: Guelph Kendo Club  :)
And yet I still don't own my own bogu, which is very discouraging.  (Two friends and my brother once conspired to fund bogu for me, but the purchase of a kendogi, hakama, shinai and sword bag all but exhausted that budget.)   I hope to practise kendo once more this fall.

Piano

I like the idea of playing the piano because I've enjoyed the company of pianists many times throughout my life.  I enjoyed playing simple songs on it when I had a tutor, but due to distance (she was in Korea) I haven't kept up.  I mostly was interested in the piano to learn some fundamentals of music before coming to the violin, though.

Drawing

I used to really enjoy drawing and still like the idea of bringing fantastic worlds to life in art.  However, I do not fantasise as much as I used to, so the compunction to draw is much less than it has been before.  I'd like to find time to improve my drawing of people, though, and do more little sketches.  I enjoy doodling and adding sketches to embellish other work, like signs and cover pages, etc.  And adorning my abode with little visuals.  I need to finish a story I started about viking teddy bears, but I haven't had the heart to continue on it in two years.

Writing

I have two stories in particular, G21 and the story of Afawnoly, that I would like to tell at some point.  I haven't felt equal to the task, and would need to do more reading and practise writing to acquire a suitable voice and taste for description.



So there you have it, a rough list of things that matter to me, with the most at the top.  There are many, many other things that I am interested in, but they are generally even less of a priority.  If you think something is conspicuously missing, though, let me know; maybe something important slipped my mind.

2013-05-23

[General] World Turtle Day

Happy World Turtle day!  My favourite creature is recognised this day in annual history.

[General] Miscellany

http://googledrive.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-smoother-drive-app-for-android.html
I like the new scan feature in Google Drive.  I already scan a lot of documents just using my camera.  Having them filed as PDFs will be much nicer.

Google+ Photos will let you search the photos themselves.  If you search "tulips" now, it will find photos containing tulips, and not just wants that have tulips noted in captions.  That's thrilling.

http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/51154938593/the-strategy-is-to-have-a-practice-and-what-it
Aaron Diaz quotes Seth Godin:
The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way.
[…]
The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.


2013-05-22

[General] Pruning

I've just pruned a bunch of sources from my Feedly subscription list (that's the RSS reader I replaced the terminally ill Google Reader with).  I need to focus more heavily on my research, on my iai and jo, on open source, and my languages.  Basically, if I claim to have these as passions or priorities, I should actually behave like that.

I've pruned Google Reader before, and it's always been a relief afterwards.  I need to remember to do it more regularly.  I don't want to stop using an RSS reader all together, but I do want to better moderate my usage of it.  I want to perhaps use it more just for friends or occasional and interesting sources.

So no more Engadget (feel free to send me interesting articles, as I might not hear about them elsewise), no more tumblrs for my favourite YouTubers (I'll have to live just watching you in video form), and fewer science sites (fascinating, but not applicable to my own fields of main interest).

2013-05-16

[Technology] Google Hangouts: no more XMPP, but yes to SMS

So, I'm disappointed to hear that Hangouts will replace Talk and not support XMPP.  I wonder whether there's a technical discussion available as to why.  I'm glad to see it support SMS.  Does iMessage already do that too?  I think BBM does.  Who knows.  I just want an end to running multiple redundant platforms.

[General] Apathy

Google+ Games is shutting down, and I'm not disappointed at that.  I wonder what usage was like, though.  I wonder what the usage within the G+ community was like compared to Facebook games.  I've always found games on Facebook to be very annoying, and remember back when I'd be blocking multiple games every week.

2013-05-15

[School] Notes on "Sudden and Swift", a presentation on fast motion in zoology

Here are some notes on a presentation I attended yesterday. It's about fast motion in zoology, specifically looking at creatures that use elastic energy to snap at things, like Mantis Shrimp and Trap-jaw ants. It was wonderful. The notes are not too well organised, but I am happy that taking them with org-mode in emacs let me easily export them to an HTML I could pretty simply embed. :D

Sudden and Swift

1 Sudden and Swift: Extreme Movements in Biology, with Sheila Patek

Dr. Sheila Patek, Zoology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Duke University

  • Mantis Shrimps
  • introduced by teacher of Invertebrate Zoology
    • isopod crustaceans underrepresented in his course, in favour of Mantis Shrimp
  • What is fast?
    • not about cheetahs or diving falcons, which are slower than MS
    • fast in physics, evolutionary history
  • research spectrum
    • basic research (fun and satisfying, building knowledge)
    • applied research
  • Catalina island
    • Rachel Carson, 1950, The Sea Around Us quote
      • "One of the most extraordinarily widespread sounds of the undersea is the crackling, sizzling sound, like dry twigs burning or fat frying, heard near beds of the snapping shrimp... The shrimp are forever clicking the two joints of this claw together."
      • snapping shrimp Alpheus heterochaelis

2 Snapping Shrimp

  • in 2000, they were able to watch at 40,500 frames per second, the snapping of the shrimp, creating a cavitation bubble
    • this is speed, underwater
  • the sound is the cavitation bubble collapsing, not claws snapping
  • how do fungal seeds get off of stem? e.g. jelly fungus Auricularia auricula
    • surface tension catapult propels ballistopores
    • spore + water droplet, theory of surface tension catapult
    • droplet fuses with spore
    • in yeast, 1000,000fps
    • energy from surface tension of water,
    • occurs <10us, 120,000 m/s2, ~300,000 occur within eye blink, average acceleration of missiles
    • related to microdrop technologies
      • engineers did a lot of physics to control inkjet printers
      • math from inkjet printers informed understanding of spore dispersal
  • includes photo of daughter because she wants her to
  • faster things, turtles, jely fish, etc.
  • basic research: how can we apply it? // missed something important here
  • organisms

3 Mantis Shrimp

  • Stomatopoda
  • Odontodactylus scyllarus, peacock mantis shrimp
  • Australia, Indonesia, size of cigar
  • durable snail destroyed with a single blow
  • Sheila works on sound production (not even caring about noise of impact)
    • you can hear the cavitation bubble's collapse, louder than the shell cracking
  • 1.8ms, 150 within a blink, acceleration 105 m/s2
  • mechanics of strike
    • muscle holds latch that prevents hammer from swinging; elastic energy stored
    • the effect is stronger than any muscle contraction known
    • same mechanism used across all 5000 known mantis shrimps (some using different things like spears)
  • Cavitation bubble kind of spreads out
    • mandibles degrade due to them, but molting replaces them
  • impact forces used to be hard to measure, new technology with piezoelectric crystals to record force and hydrophones to also record cavitation
    • measured over 400Newtons
    • two force peaks, limb impact and cavitation impact or second hit
      • had to record at 100,000 fps
      • appendage not hitting twice
      • pairing video with force sensor
      • cavitation bubble here is half as strong as the limb impact (typically, cavitation bubbles can be 2-3x stronger than original impact)
  • compared impacts against horn shark, Horn Shark has longer sustained force, and it's about the same force as a Mantis shrimp, latter working in a few microseconds, former in almost one second
    • but the horn shark is 3kg an the shrimp 40g
    • informs snail shell's evolution
  • Maya deVries looked at Lysiosquillina maculata, spearing strikes, longer reach, slower speeds, no cavitation
    • 25ms, 10 within a blink, 0.3m/s2
    • connected to other shrimps, co-evolved, same mechanism
    • not that fast, don't need to be super fast to hunt; need minimum speeds
      • so no cavitation
    • extreme speeds usually the byproduct of some other goal
      • evolved as early as ~300 million years ago

4 Speed

  • nematocysts, jelly fish, smallest duration action is 0.7us

Duration

Duration (us) Species
10 fungal spores
25 termite jaws
100-300 trap-jaw ants, dogwood spores, bladderworts
1-6ms mantis shrimp

Speed

Speed (m/s) Species
67 trap-jaw ants, termite jaws
58 gyrfalcon dive
28-29 cheetaw sprint

5 Trap-jaw Ants

  • Trap-jaw ant, Odontomachus bauri, trigger hairs, scale bars = 0.5mm for size of mandibles, trigger hairs near mouth bypass the brain and trigger jaws immediately.
  • truly fast movement requires spring+latch, can't just use muscles
  • latches block closing, latches moved away and jaws snap
  • these are slightly faster than things she studied, but they do it in air so it doesn't count
  • they have horrible stingers
  • can be viewed when slowed by 1000x, occur in <0.13ms, 2000 within an eyeblink
  • jump with their jaws, how much force can they produce?
    • each jaw generates 400x body weight of ant
    • Patek et al. 2006, PNAS
  • prey on prey that is defended, they get to knock out prey before being sprayed by acid
  • she studied these ants jumping
  • these jaws have evolved in 4 separate groups, two species have evolve jumping
    • Mystrium, Myrmoterus, Myrmecia, Strumigenys, Anochetus, Acanthognathus, Orectognathus
  • fast?
    • it's about producing high forces in hunting, speed is a by-product
  • basic research?
    • how are they produced? how do they evolve? multipl origins, similar selective regimes
  • applied research
    • strong, lightweight materials, store elastic energy, withstand high impacts; mineralisation strengthening
  • back to Mantis Shrimp

6 Cavitation

  • fast boat propellers were disintegrating
  • fast flow meeting slow flow, you get low pressure, bubbles form and collapse, generating heat 6700°C (sun surface), light, and sound
    • wears away boat propellers
    • wears away shrimp appendages, thank good for molting

7 Conclusions

basic research

  • mechanism used in a lot of different contexts, like Jelly Fish propulsion, poison stuff, etc.

application

  • Ninja Bot, robotic Mantis Shrimp, biomicicry, Susanna Cox; trying to replicate (e.g. to create more durable propellers)
  • why do shrimp hammers not break? Mollusk shells used to be thought of as the most fracture-resistant things, but Mantis Shrimps break them!
    • hammers have impact region and periodic region that help dissipate force
    • hard materials crack easily, but you need hard to generate hard impact
    • harder outer surface, layering dissipates it well, propagates crack energy into other areas to prevent cracking

philosophical

  • can kill things with single blows
  • need solution to not destroy themselves
  • they have tail plates (telson), that they can target instead of the body of another, so that they don't go off killing the rest of their species (found by Jennifer Taylor)
    • telson absorbs energy, like a punching bag

8 Questions

  • what do you think about Canada's refocus on research funding
  • plant exploding scene
  • relationship between water depth and probability of cavitation, harder in lower depths; no smashing mantis shrimp at 100m (close to the max depth for them)
  • are there smashers that don't cavitate?
    • all smashers cavitate
  • spring in Mantis Shrimp; what's the issue?
    • It's exoskeleton
  • energetic costs of this movement?
    • huge ones, you can see their gills moving; they can only do 10 in a row before they stop and you observe their gills flapping, panting
    • prey preference: bigger, more shell but more meat; smaller, less meat but less shell? middle
  • molting, after can they act right away?
    • they start pounding glass at her lab
    • gave her daughter nightmares for 6 months after banging glass in front of her
      • had to devise her antishrimp spray
    • so, eventually they are too soft pre-molting, and they can't stop all together, so instead of actually striking, they display and bluff, and it's effective
  • time to recharge?
    • muscle contraction takes over 100ms
    • now has a neurobiologist studying the neuro basis
    • longer sarcameres: more force to produce, longer to contract
      • smashers have really long ones, take a long time to load
      • spearers have can't contract so much, but reload faster; they hunt faster, evasive pray
  • how to house mantis shrimp
    • urban legend says you can't store them in glass tanks
    • has stored 1000s in glass tanks, and they've never broken them
      • they've broken other things, like Nalgene bottles
    • why?
  • size component to the amount of force in a cavitation bubble
    • doesn't know, but she should have measured it she says
    • guesses there isn't a scaling
  • actually, size of animal => size of force
    • yes!

Author: Richard Schwarting

Created: 2013-05-15 Mi 12:15

Emacs 24.2.1 (Org mode 8.0.2)

Validate XHTML 1.0

2013-05-14

[Technology] Don't Go!

This post originally contained thoughts critical of the language Go. Basically, I'm not fond of its syntax or style, or the degree to which it makes itself strange. It's probably a very good language, though.

[Technology] YouTube and grouping

I also wish that YouTube would do a better job of grouping together posts.  I mentioned in my last post that my iaido sensei had posted a bunch of videos to Google+.  There are perhaps a dozen, and unfortunately, each exist as their own post, consuming a large amount of space.

You could perhaps suggest that that is a user problem, that my sensei should create an album and include videos somehow through that.  I think that Google+ should detect a series of activity from the same person and group it more tightly, though. 

Generally if someone complains about a user error, I translate that to mean a design error. :)

[Technology] YouTube, Google+, Blogger, and comments

I really enjoy that Blogger and Google+ have merged commenting systems recently.  I now sort of wish that Google+ and YouTube would as well.  My iaido sensei uploaded a bunch of videos to YouTube and shared them on Google+ and I ended up +1ing a number of them and commenting on them.  But that positive feedback doesn't come back to the original YouTube videos.

It's possible that if he had written something along with the videos embedded in this Google+ posts , that I would +1 that and not just the video, in which case it should not necessarily propagate back, but I still dislike this disconnect.

2013-05-13

[School] What a mess

My written notes and draft pages for my thesis are a mess.  Now that I'm compiling everything into a final copy, I wish I'd kept better care of it.  I'm spending part of today learning how to use org-mode in Emacs.  Emacs is my favourite text editor.  I've had some qualms about relying on something so text- and short-cut-heavy.  My concern about things that rely on shortcuts is discoverability of features.  I feel as though good software's features should be easily discoverable, and should be intuitive, so you don't have to spend a lot of time learning and practising how to use it.  I actually like Bloggers' Compose view more than writing in HTML now (which wasn't always the case) (though I'd really appreciate more keyboard shortcuts).

Basically, I wanted something that was hyperlinked and efficient and didn't require a web-browser and let me write in LaTeX.  Annoyingly, org-mode has its own lightweight markup language (yet another...) but it's thankfully intuitive and pretty conventional (e.g. *bold*).

If you're interested, here's the elementary tutorial I'm using to introduce myself to it.

Some notes from me:
  • working with Todos, it says to use C-c C-v to just show a list of them
    • Instead, I have to use C-c / t,  (that is, typing '/' after C-c, then t).  This folds in all the other headers.  To unfold them, just use tab, or shift-tab for the whole document.
    • (Discovered by checking the ref card)
  • for the Agenda to work properly, follow the Activation section of the guide.  Elsewise, I get "C-c a is undefined"

[General] Commander Chris Hadfield performs David Bowie's Major Tom



This feels like one of the most important music videos ever to me.  Just this particular song being filmed in this actual context by an actual astronaut.  I shiver.

2013-05-11

[General] Thoughts on Infinity

Virtually infinite variety can be found within human potential, it seems.  The more people you accumulate together, as in a large city, the greater the diversity of people and niches that exist.  In some ways, it makes it much harder to be unique, to be alone.  There's almost certainly someone who's similar to you who's like you in so many ways and can relate to your experience.  But then there are so many people, how can you ever find them? 

I used to disdain Toronto due to shifts in my priorities that left me depressed by the Eaton Centre and its populace.  Eventually, though, I realised that I'm no snowflake, that there were necessarily more people who were like me here than there could be in my hometown of 700, or even in Guelph.  The matter was just finding out how to find them.

Where do they go?  Where do I go?  It's a culture, and it probably has focal points.  Places where people go, and go because people like them build homes away from homes.  In my case, small, individual shops on Queen street, Kensington Market, etc.  You can tell how unoriginal I am; these locations are hard to separate from what's trendy and hip.  Then there are more niche places, like today I discovered Bento Miso, a creative workspace in Toronto where TCAF's Bit Bazaar was held today.  And it was very comfortable.  Indie game makers presented small, beautiful and fun games, alongside related art.   It was relatively small, and the atmosphere was very welcoming.  I even made a random pseudofriend just by chatting.

But the larger the city, the more stimulation there is on everyone, and the greater the need to filter.  In Vancouver, I had complained a bit that the social atmosphere was cold.  In Guelph, I felt strangers were more friendly and welcoming.  In my hometown of 700, they're almost too welcoming, downright nosy.  But when you meet a new person no more than once a week, it's easy to find the meeting interesting and curious, as opposed to when you see a new face every 3 seconds.

It makes sense for people to be cold, to build up a barrier against the surrounding world, to control the input that they let in, and to be picky about it.  So their are more potential friends in a large city, but a larger barrier to both finding them and then warranting interaction with them.

Networks are so fundamental.  Nepotism has a bit of a bad reputation, but trust is important to keep yourself and your interests safe.  Lots of people can not help you in your life, and will instead be a source of friction, and it's important to limit that, and relying on friends as filters for new people is invaluable.

The next time I live in a large city, I hope to do it better.  Find contexts in which to exist, to be friendly and visible and helpful, and incrementally let people understand who I am and give them the choice to let me in.  I think that will be my gateway into new, exciting worlds. It's working in Guelph so far, and I look forward to exploring larger worlds, more infinite than I can imagine.

2013-05-08

[General] Website updates

I made two changes today. The font has been changed to Titillium Web and, if you're in a modern webkit browser, the stars are now multicoloured. :D (If you're not, e.g. you're in Firefox, they're all purple instead of black :D) I'm using the CSS hue-rotate filter, which isn't supported in Firefox yet, apparently.

[Technology] Update on Fedora Linux and MTP support

I use a Galaxy Nexus as my primary camera.  I love that it instantly uploads images to G+ for easy sharing.  However, I still like to keep copies on my local machine.

Linux support for MTP with Android on the Galaxy Nexus has gotten better but is still almost unusable.  Last year when I tried, I could not reliably navigate directories. Today, Nautilus was able to successfully navigate directories, and was able to thumbnail images in /sdcard/DCIM/Camera without blocking!  However, when I tried to cut and paste files onto my local hard drive, it would copy a few but then block interminably and I'd have to unplug the device.  I didn't lose any photos doing this, though.  (Hooray for software that copies first and then unlinks the source file.)  It was also very slow, with the transfer occurring at about 114kB/s on average.

I checked whether PTP worked any better than last year.  Last year, it worked better than MTP, but still had issues.  This time, I was able to initiate transfers at quite a fast speed, but invariably after about ten or so photos were copied, it too would stall.  Unlike with MTP, nautilus itself did not freeze.  I could re-initiate a cut-and-paste, but that would stall too.

So, for now, it's almost usable, but I'm still going to use the Android debugger (adb), as I mentioned last year.

Synopsis:
sudo adb start-server # after getting adb from android-sdk-linux/platform-tools
adb pull /sdcard/DCIM/photos/ ~/newpictures/
adb shell   # so I can delete them from the phone after import

[General] Not so Presto

Today I went from Mississauga to Guelph.  I chose to go by Go Transit from the Square One shopping centre, and I ran into a few issues.
  • the ticket centre sells only Mi transit tickets, but there is a Go booth near the highway
  • the ticket centre will direct you to the Go booth, even though the booth closes at 7PM and it is after that, stranding evening shoppers 
  • Go uses Presto cards
  • the Presto balance checker requires a lot of fiddling of the card to get it to read the balance
  • the balance disappears after appearing for only a second
  • you cannot add to your balance at a machine at Square One (as you can at Union and in Guelph)
  • you can add to your balance online by visiting Presto's website
  • the web interface for adding to your balance has many pages (fewer would be better)
  • payment by (visa) credit card requires a Verified by Visa password.  I don't remember when I even set that up, as I can't recall the last time a website wanted that, but I successfully guessed it (phew)
  • after adding $20, I was told that it could take up to 24 hours to process, and that I would receive an e-mail when that was complete; that prevents you from being able to add funds to your card in a timely fashion if you are short before a trip
  • I received an e-mail 5 minutes later indicating that it was processed (phew), but then I read that my balance may take 24 hours to be updated (what, still?!)
  • I checked my balance 10 minutes later and indeed it was still not up to date
  • I asked a Go bus driver how I could buy a ticket, he suggested the only way was to pay the driver with cash.  It's nice that they accept cash (whereas Greyhound does not)
  • I asked at the nearby Starbucks where the nearest ATM was.  They suggested Playdium (across the street) or Jack Astors (further away from my bus), so I went to the former.
  • The Playdium's ATM machine was out of funds
  • Jack Astors' ATM machine was busy, but eventually I had my turned and withdrew my money.
  • I ultimately paid in cash for my fare when my bus arrived.
So, in summary, I spent 30 minutes to determine how to pay for my bus trip.  There was no reliable way to purchase a ticket without cash.  Presto's website is complicated and does not allow you to add funds (pay for your ride that day) in a timely manner.

Sigh.  I look forward to the future when the likes of Google Wallet will see us just tapping our phones when we board. :D

[Technology] Dual-booting with Fedora 18

Well, that was mildly alarming.

I just installed Fedora 18 onto my housemate's laptop (at her request).  I downloaded a Live CD image, wrote it to a USB disk (using livecd-to-usb-disk), and booted from there.  I had to choose an EFI boot loader for the image, or it just sat with a blinking cursor.  That's fine, though.

When I went to install it to the hard disk, it announced that up to 87GB could be reclaimed from the hard drive for use by Linux but then proceeded to not give me any options to do so other than deleting existing partitions.  I don't want to lose existing data, I want to preserve it.  I wanted to shrink the existing ones.  Googling a little brought about references from others about resizing, and I was not sure why I did not have a "shrink" option.

Ultimately, I had to do it manually (which is a large usability failure).  I used ntfsresize, following its instructions to do a test run first, and then ran it for real.  It had to relocate a fair amount of data.  It seemed to work (and it did).  It gave me some vague instructions on how to resize the partition (using fdisk).  I had a look at cfdisk, which didn't seem to let me specify the starting sector if I deleted and replace the existing NTFS partition, so I used fdisk itself.  (I haven't had to do that in a while.)  The trickiest part was calculating the correct size to make the replacement partition because ntfsresize worked in with SI decimal prefixes (e.g. where 280GB = 280*1000*1000*1000 bytes), and fdisk works with IEC binary prefixes (e.g. 280GiB = 280*1024*1024*1024 bytes).  The difference is ultimately substantial.  Fortunately, I converted the number of bytes ntfsrezise reported into sectors and just set it using those.

I let chkdsk run from Windows and the file system checked out and I was able to boot it successfully.  (Everything is backed up in case something has gone wrong).  Then I ran the anaconda installer from the F18 live USB disk, and this time it automatically detected the newly freed space (only 20GB) and the installer worked smoothly from there on out.  Very smoothly, in fact. :)

2013-05-01

[General] Photographic Nostalgia

Kodak expects to leave bankruptcy and their future plans focus on their imaging business.  I wonder what's left, though.  I've seen them sell off large parts of their business, including photography aspects.  Will they be a hollowed shell?  Will there be any meaning left behind the name?  I've come by two Kodak cameras in my life, and if I got another camera, I'd sort of want it to be Kodak, because I somehow connect to the identity. I find it weird that previously I might have been critical of someone following a brand out of sentimental attachment when there was nothing particularly Goodly about it or great about its products, and yet here I am.  I know a potentially fly-by-night camera company acquired the rights to use the Kodak name for a new micro four-thirds camera, which I want to look at.

[General] "Vague, but exciting"

One of my favourite aspects of history is seeing how historically important events were perceived at the time.  Often, I feel like those events are today misrepresented, focus misplaced or overemphasised, but I don't imagine an easy way to more accurately represent them, and don't care.  What I love are things like Tim Berners-Lee's proposal for what would become the web being noted as "vague, but exciting":
In March 1989, British physicist Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal to develop a distributed information system for CERN physicists and engineers. It described a way of managing information about the accelerators and experiments at the laboratory using a system of documents linked together and accessible via the internet. His supervisor, Mike Sendall, wrote “vague, but exciting” on the cover of the proposal, and, with those words, gave the green light to an information revolution.

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I am aeronautical, vanship-style.  I am olympic and mythical.  I rest on my laurels.