[Microblog] Transient Tasties

Avocado with brown sugar.


[General] WIND Mobile is more awesme than I realised

I just realised how the WIND Tab works.  I used to think that they charged a portion of the phone's cost in addition to your monthly plan fee to slowly pay off the cost of the phone.  And then I thought that their payoff promise was me paying off the rest after two years.  I thought this was fair.  I should have paid more attention.

Now I realise that in reality it's actually the opposite.  They take a portion of my monthly plan fee and reduce the amount I owe on the phone from that (so I'm not paying anything extra, they're just cutting into their profit).  Then, if I stick with them and my phone for the two years, they forgive the rest of the tab(!), giving me a good opportunity to replace my phone.

Hopefully, WIND will still be around on January so I can start a new tab on a new phone for my birthday. :)

[Technology] quotes

Another good reason to encapsulate bash variables in quotes:

If you have multilined data that you're going to echo, the quotes will preserve the newlines.

$ DATA="foo
$ echo $DATA
foo bar
$ echo "$DATA"
The first reason I tend to think of is so spaces in file names aren't mistranslated as separators between arguments.
$ FILENAME="foo bar.txt"
$ ls -l $FILENAME
ls: cannot access foo: No such file or directory
ls: cannot access bar.txt: No such file or directory
$ ls -l "$FILENAME"
-rw-rw-r--. 1 user group 0 27. Jul 18:03 foo bar.txt

[Technology] GNOME, missing features, and screenshots

I have been taking a lot of screen shots for a  project recently and was wondering why they weren't going into my screenshots directory.  Now I know why.


Basically gnome-shell now handles it (which is fine) but doesn't provide an option for a directory other than your GNOME Pictures directory (not fine).   I'm not really sure why people would want to have their default images directory littered with screen shots, but whatever.

Over-riding Screenshot Keyboard Shortcuts

So, I went to Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts

Screenshot of windowgnome-screenshot -wAlt-PrtSc
Screenshot of regiongnome-screenshot -aShift-PrtSc

For reasons I haven't explored yet, pressing Shift-PrtSc once doesn't trigger it, but instead sounds a bell.  Holding shift and tapping PrtSc twice quickly does, though.

Changing the Default Save Directory for Gnome Screenshot

The second half is then to make gnome-screenshot save it where I'd like it to.  Running it in interactive mode (gnome-screenshot -i) doesn't seem to give me an option on where to save it.  So, instead, I turned to gsettings.

$ gsettings set org.gnome.gnome-screenshot auto-save-directory "/home/myuser/path/to/my/screenshot/dir"
$ gsettings set org.gnome.gnome-screenshot last-save-directory "/home/myuser/path/to/my/screenshot/dir"

I don't think I need to set the second one, but I did so out of laziness.

Write a script that lets me process my screenshots

A lot of my screenshots are fine as JPGs, and save me a lot of disk space that way, so I wrote a small bash script that uses ImageMagick's convert and my 'splitalbum' to further organise them.

In the interest of getting me to publish more of my work, I automated turning little projects into tarballs and web pages and uploading them.    Here is 'Process New Screenshots', quick and dirty.


[Microblog] Transient Tastes

Oatmeal has never tasted so good.

[Vegan] The Vancouver Aquarium

When I last went there, I was delighted by the creatures behind the glass walls.  Now remembering it, I'm always slightly horrified.




[Vegan] imagery


A friend shared this on Facebook.

It has many photos of animals with neat captions.

They are not all pleasant.


[Microblog] Summer evenings

Went to return a hard drive to Staples, ran into a friend B, sat on a hill and watched the sun set, ate watermelon sorbet at Menchies and looked at stars.

[Technology] More people access the Internet in China than on computers

I find that strange.

I like having a smart phone, because it helps liberate me.  I don't need to be tethered to my desk in a seated position, and I won't get super-involved in digital tasks, if I'm using my smart phone.  I can take it and just do a lot quickly and get it out of the way and resume enjoying the out doors.  Yay!

However, for doing almost anything particularly interesting with the Internet, I want a computer.  I want to be able to type efficiently.  I want to be able to see things at a larger scale.  I want to be able to be able to have multiple things open and go between them (I mean like two things for easy cross-referencing).

I'd rather get rid of my phone than my computer, I think.  The computer is a bit limiting geospatially, but he phone limits everything I could want to do digitally.

[General] The Salaries

"Until 1998, the six main actors were paid $30,000 per episode. In 1998 they were involved in a pay dispute with Fox. The company threatened to replace them with new actors, even going as far as preparing for casting of new voices, but series creator Groening supported the actors in their action.[40] The issue was soon resolved and, from 1998 to 2004, they were paid $125,000 per episode. The show's revenue continued to rise through syndication and DVD sales, and in April 2004 the main cast stopped appearing for script readings, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode.[41][42] The strike was resolved a month later[43] and their salaries were increased to something between $250,000[44] and $360,000 per episode.[45] In 2008, production for the twentieth season was put on hold due to new contract negotiations with the voice actors, who wanted a "healthy bump" in salary to an amount close to $500,000 per episode.[45] The negotiations were soon completed, and the actors' salary was raised to $400,000 per episode.[46] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, the cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[47]"

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simpsons

I can't even call them greedy, as the show makes so much money per episode that it is almost ridiculous for them to get less.

It's bizarre that massive distribution can drive so much money to so few people.


[Microblog] Denken

I would like to think I like to think but do I I do not know.


[General] Saying no more to fun

I am home before 11PM on a Tuesday.  Remarkable.  Why?

Because Tuesday nights are jodo, and while it makes sense to get home after midnight during the Fall and Winter semesters (when class goes from 10PM till 12AM), during the summer it ends at 9:30PM.  But then we go to second dojo (usually some pub where others drink and I eat fries).  It's a tradition, and it's a valuable part of our education.  Kim is a bastion of fascinating knowledge in budo and life, and it's hard to pass up.

But then there's so much to life, and I've let my other favourite hobby, computing, fall by the way side.  That more started due to a rejection of my fundamental self three years ago, where I felt like my own poison, but now I think is a good time to reinvest myself in perhaps my best skill.  So, priorities must be re-set, and learning to say "no more" to fun helps. 

I won't say no to fun, of course.  I'll still hang out with friends late in the evening, but perhaps I can get to bed before 3AM on a work night. :)  It's worthwhile.  Today alone I managed to:
  • exercise
  • work
  • meet a friend for lunch
  • make a real supper
  • ride my bike
  • make zucchini bread
  • go to the bike center and do maintenance (my left pedal was threatening to fall off)
  • go to jodo
    • teach someone double my age how to hurt me with a stick
  • go for beverages and hear heart-wrenching stories of life and death
  • home before 11PM? 
  • blog!
 And next, star gazing!

[General] Vindication in cooking: salt and water


Friends often tell me to add salt to make water boil faster.


As explained above,
  • salt has a very low specific heat capacity (amount of energy needed to raise temperature by 1°)
  • water has a much higher one (so salt's is insignificant)
  • If you have 1L of pure water and 1L of 20% salt water (20% salt, 80% water), then yes, the salt water will boil in 4/5 the time.
  •  You are not cooking with 20% salt water (which would probably be a bad idea) if you're sprinkling salt from a shaker in.  Perhaps at best you have 1% salt water.  
  • Amusingly, though, salt water has a higher boiling temperature, at 102°C instead of 100°C (for pure water), so 1% salt water won't speed you to boiling at all
  • Also, if you take 1L of pure water versus 1L of pure water where you've sprinkled salt, it will definitely not go faster, because even though you just added salt, you still have that 1L of water that needs to boil through.
So unless you want to have really salty food...

[General] Conservation

Specifically, the conservation of plastic bags.  Years ago in London, Ontario, I acquired some non-plastic fruit bags that Metro was selling, so you could bring them in, put your fruit in there, then have it weighed, without having to waste plastic.  I never really got into the hang of using them, because washing them was a hassle, and remembering them was too.  Really, remembering is just habit, so that shouldn't have been so horrible.  However, years later, I now wash my plastic bags and hang them to dry in my window blinds (works great!).  Oh how the years change me.

[Microblog] Special

The clouds think I'm special, as it rained just for my ten minute bike ride home, drops blinding me as I flew downhill sans traction.  They must know that I truly love dancing in the rain.

[Microblog] Nationalism

Celebrated my father's homeland's success at ball-kicking with (vegan) currywurst, (root) beer, and authentic German polka.  Thanks to Larissa and Shawna for supporting me in my patriotic duty.


[Budo] Praxis ohne Gedanken. Gedanken ohne Praxis.

Practise without thought.  Thought without practise.

Don't mind the title.  Just practising german.

I started writing this a week ago, and now I don't recall what I wanted to say.  I guess I wanted to share observations of mine on how often I've practised something aimlessly and garnered minimal growth, and how often I've dwelt on something without practising it, to gain an effectively useless understanding.

I need to think more about the iaido I practise.  I need to practise more of the kendo I think about.

This applies to everything else in my life.  Cooking, cycling, German, friendship.


[Budo] The Annual Spring Iaido and Jodo Seminar

Neat, my sensei was interviewed at the seminar.

I appear in this video 8 times!  (Well, in the background for 7 of those)


[Microblog] Facebook Fury

Some people are scandalised that Facebook conducted experiments on their algorithms to see how it would affect users behaviour.  Show users more negative posts, they'll write more negative posts.  Show them more positive posts, they'll write more positive posts. 

I don't have an objection because their existing algorithms are already blindly affecting users behaviour.  At least this way it's not blind.

[General] Reservations and Value

Last week I wrote this list of things I wanted to blog about:
  • Friends
  • Value Village
  • Finds
  • Money and meaning
  • Video games
  • Abundance of experience
  • Reserving people versus possession
I barely know what any of them meant.

I can guess at the last a bit though.  I know I would prefer to end up in a long-term relationship with an accomplice who I can share adventure with till old age and we're both decrepit, who will have a shared memory, someone I can lend my advantages to.  But often such relationships seem possessive.  Is it possession?  I suppose I see it a bit like reserving some access to a person.  You don't own them, but you'd like to agree that you'll intentionally make yourselves available to the other, so you have something you can rely on and plan around for mutual benefit.

And about finds and Value Village,
I finally own my own belt!  The first one in 15 years!

Replacing lost books

A nerdy shirt (source code?) with an NZ reference

Wii Fit board!  Now just need a game to use it with...

[General] Life, a Wonderful Thing

I don't have enough time to write these days, so here is some point form notes.  Don't read this if you are prone to jealousy.
  • went canoeing and it was nice
  • went to a friend's birthday at the ROM but I couldn't stay long
  • I played by and then in the Speed River
  • adventures at Value Village
  • practised kendo in London with my friend F from St. John's
    • I'm pretty awful
  • I need to re-evaluate my priorities, especially involving budo: Niten, Iaido, Jodo, Kendo...
  • work had a potluck BBQ and people loved my vegan cookies and people catered to my vegan needs. <3
  • Farmers' Markets are lots of fun and lots of friends every time.  Cupcakes.
  • Went to a Solstice potluck briefly, debated merrily and ate great food
  • Read poetry to a friend, Auguries of Innocence, Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, some Cthulhu and Tolkien
    • Love Song always reminds me of my high school English teacher Mr. Hincks whose favourite poem it was
  • Little Dragon playing in the background
  • Baking, eating, cycling
  • Mario Kart 8 with tea in Flesherton
  • New stories from my dad, raising German Short-haired Pointers, being a boy in the war
  • a friend's wedding, getting to witness
  • dinner with a friend leaving the country
  • napping in the park with chocolate covered strawberries and a friend
  • World Pride in Toronto
  • bike centre, bike fixing, replacing snapped rear brake cable, getting a rear bike rack; self-sufficiency!
  • Canada Day!
    • watching the sun rise over an Orthodox church
    • walking in the rain
    • wading in the Speed River and picking up plastic
    • riding the train and Merry Go Round and super fast spinning carney ride at Riverside Park
    • swimming in Guelph Lake and listening to a friend read Even Cowgirls Get the Blues while drying in the sun.

[General] Systemic variation in voice

I think people's voices typically don't sound like they think they do.  Let's pretend voices are typed with arbitrary numbers, and you think your voice sounds like voice #17 but to me it sounds like voice #25.  I like the sound of your voice as I grow up and while I'm figuring out what my own voice should sound like, it ends up like #27 (close to #25 but not quite the same).  However, to another person, mine actually sounds like #96.   The consequence is that even if we try to sound alike, we end up with different voices (except for those of us who become skilled at translating what we think we sound like and what we sound like to most others).  Thus, a diversity of voice always.  It's something I'd happily implement in software someday to induce variety.

The oversimplifications above shake me.

[General] World Pride 2014 in Toronto

On Sunday I had the pleasure of attending World Pride in Toronto with two friends.

Here is my album with 180 photos: World Pride 2014 in Toronto

I don't have enough time to write my thoughts here, but I continue to find Pride an important contribution to society.

World Pride Toronto

My favourite sign.  "You don't have to be gay to support gay rights"

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

TD Canada Trust

The Ontario Public Service

My friends S and E



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