Entries Tagged 'geek' ↓

A birthday gift

My friend Seth just bought me the domain ferrouswheel.com as a belated birthday present. Which is awesome, but is actually more than that, because once ferrouswheel.com came up I was offered the domain from Digital Caucus Inc for $US 99 a few weeks ago – a lot more than a normal registration. Although I’d heard about Domain Tasting and Kiting, I didn’t put 2+2 together because I was just excited about the potential of getting the domain (yeah, I’m a geek!). Seth, however, is far more on to it and he checked the domain out to find out that the domain was actually free now and registered it for me. Thank you!

And as a karmic return, I suggest you check out his company’s Firefox plugin Interclue. It’s been featured on the Firefox recommended plugins page and gives you a preview of links before you decide to click on them. It’s alot better than those web based pop-ups that try and preview pages for you.

Irssi and proxy

So I finally got around to setting up an IRC proxy on my server. I do all my OpenCog collaboration via email and IRC, and if I switch off my laptop or go travelling with it, I’ll often miss out on possibly important conversations. I’ve also been wanting to set up automatic uploads of the log to the OpenCog wiki so that others can checked what’s been mention too.

So, enter irssi a console based IRC client which is super configurable and awesome. Of course, because it’s console based and super-configurable, it takes a little bit of learning to understand how to use it properly, but it’s worth it (just like Vim). If you’re on Ubuntu/Debian it’s as easy as:

sudo apt-get install irssi irssi-scripts

irssi has a cool plugin called irssi-proxy, which sits in irssi and pretends to be an IRC server. You connect to it with whatever (and however many) IRC client you like, and it’ll route all IRC messages to you… and also messages from any clients connected. So, to the appearance of everyone else, there’s only one ferrouswheel connected 24/7, but locally I might be connecting to and from my proxy with laptop, work computer, phone.

There’s a reasonably nice guide to getting things set up over here, although I skipped the whole ssh tunnel thing, since I’m connecting over a locally secured wifi and it’s not like I’m discussing topics of national security (at least, not yet! ;-P)

Modafinil in Silicon Valley

Looks like I’m not the only one:

“Is someone you work with taking Provigil to give them an extra competitive edge? I’ve spoken with one executive who says he uses it regularly to work twenty hour days, and the buzz lately is that it’s the “entrepreneur’s drug of choice” around Silicon Valley. Over the last week two separate entrepreneurs have mentioned it casually in conversation, and one said he tried it once and loved it.”

An interesting conversation was had at a friend’s bday dinner about drug prohibition, and I meant to mention this kind of thing while dining. Another reason I think the whole recreational drug thing needs to change or be approached without a maxim of “drugs are bad” is because performance enhancement is going to become more common.

What’s so funny is that entrepreneurs apparently aren’t interested in typical drugs – instead they find the one that gives them a mental and stamina advantage.

“What’s so funny” about this statement is that I’m sure this is a completely false claim. It’s merely more socially accepted to take drugs to be a more productive member of society. Thus it’s easier to admit this to colleagues. Possibly it conveys “I’m a hard worker”, not that it really does (since you can still be unproductive even if you’re awake), but the dissonance between the reason behind taking drugs and the public’s perception of it is annoying.

I’ve personally talked to several entrepreneurs who’ve had the seeds of their business inspiration arrive while under the influence.

Note however I’m not saying innovation and new ideas can’t be arrived at without drugs, since that’s patently untrue.

Dell M1530

I just got myself this beautiful laptop.

However, I got the Sound Blaster Audigy upgrade – without reading the fine print. It’s only a software upgrade (what the hell??) which means it’s really not worth the extra cash… especially since I’ll be using Ubuntu most of the time. Damn it Dell, you were so close to getting a very happy customer. Now I just feel cheated.

Thus, happy with the hardware and build of the laptop, not so happy with deceptive marketing strategies.

OpenCog in 2008 Google Summer of Code

SIAI and OpenCog are recruiting people for Google Summer of Code. GSoC is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects.

Want to work on AI/language-processing over the Northern Hemisphere summer? Here are some of the ideas for projects proposed. Applications to Google open on the 24th of March.

“Artificialisation Of Culture: Challenges to and from Posthumanism”

Reading an interesting article by Kurmo Konsa, “Artificialisation Of Culture: Challenges to and from Posthumanism”. I particularly like the following quote, because it summarises a bit about me. I’ve always identified with being a transhumanist (even if the methods of improvement available right now are somewhat crude) but at the same time I’ve had flirtations with tattoos, piercings, body building, nootropics, crazy hair, acrobatics and other things…

In modern Western culture the view that the human body is a means of self-expression, and because of that the place for cultural experiments, is widespread. Body perforation, cosmetic surgery, physical training programs, etc., have been created to change the human body according to the requirements of the individual. This implies the objectification of the human body (in other words, the human body is turned into an object), but on the other hand individual human nature will be tied more closely to the body, and therefore what a person thinks and feels will be directly expressed in the body. Art, especially performance art, is actively engaged in defining the body and finding the borders of corporal existence.

BIL and TED’s excellent adventure

You’ve heard of TED talks right?

Well here’s BIL (Brilliance. Ingenuous. Lounge.) an event in a similar vein, an “open, self-organizing, emergent, and anarchic science and technology conference”. If you’ve heard of Foo/Bar camps, then it’s a similar kind of relation.

Only problem with all the cool conferences I see is that they are all in America, and often California. Hopefully I’ll get to time some of my trips later this year to coincide with some.

Amarok collection scan stalling

I’ve got a reasonable sized music collection (just over 300 gig when I last checked) and I’ve had trouble finding software that can really deal with it. It windows there is the awesome MediaMonkey, and although there are lots of promising candidates on Linux, nothing quite matches it. The closest, in terms of usability AND polish (I don’t have time to muck around fiddling with my music player anymore) is Amarok.

Recently however, my collection has lost some of it’s tidiness, and there are quite a few tracks that are broken. Some of these cause Amarok to stall while doing a collection scan. It took me ages to find a small mention of how to find more detail about what file is being scanned. In the end I found out that ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/collection_scan.log contains the file currently being scanned. Thus, if you run:

$ watch cat ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/collection_scan.log

You can keep an eye out for if a media file is taking an excessively long time to be processed. If it is, then you can either delete it (if it’s well and truly screwed) or move it or rename it to an extension that Amarok won’t scan. Unfortunately you have to rescan the collection from the start again, but eventually you’ll get there!

One day I’ll sit down, get a virtual machine running and use MediaMonkey everywhere. Either that or create my own client for XMMS2 that is on par with MediaMonkey.

Media library database design

What I’d really like to see is a standard database design for media libraries.

I use different media players for different purposes, and also different media players across platforms. It’s annoying as hell to have to refresh the database for each whenever there is a change, especially when your music collection is pushing 280 gigs. Lets just say it takes more than a couple of hours.

It’s be really nice if someone came up with a database design that suited the needs of the different applications, and if the developers making the media players would support it. That’s assuming there isn’t already one…

My ideal set-up would be my server running a Postgres database which could be connected to from my laptop/workstation/PDA with concurrent users. It’d also support play-lists, fields for BPM and harmonic analysis, and album covers, all saved in the database. Also, personalised tagging systems and last.fm integrated tagging.

Anybody heard of any initiatives like that? I know there are client/server based media software, but DBMSs are already designed with that purpose in mind and most hi-end media players use some kind of SQL database to store results, even if it’s SQLite.

Sex in space

I’m watching Earth to Mars: The Great Debate in my hotel room in Vancouver, because it’s horrible and rainy outside.

Anyhow one of the factoids they showed was that Nasa’s policy on sexual relations in space is that it’s fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with mission objectives. Good to know they’ve thought of these things. Although further reading online seems to indicate general ambivalence about it, with NASA wanting to leave it to an astronaut’s good judgement.

Also, further to the subject of online identities and open protocols, Google announced OpenSocial a while ago. I highly intend to integrate this into Amplify Me (site is really just a place holder at the moment).