october.end();

October 31, 2007

elend.jpg

[photo]

This morning Nature lavished us with all the surreal elements of a gothic novel: the absent sun on the dark gray sky, the yellow leaves above, the rotting ones beneath, the thick mist…

Wake up, make sure the world is still there…

PS. This is so awesome!

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The Magic SysRq Key

October 24, 2007

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One day I’ll stop apologizing for ignoring this blog for so long…

I’ve upgraded to Gutsy and it flies! I like Dolphin, the new file manager, and I’m sure it will get even better for KDE4.

There is one annoying glitch however. After waking up from STD (hibernate), all USB devices are dead. This has been fixed already in the latest kernel, and I’m just waiting for it to finally reach *Ubuntu repositories. Reading about the bug, I came across an interesting peculiarity of the Linux kernel. Sometimes I’m surprised at how much I don’t know ;)

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OK, here’s the deal. You can use the SysRq key to send requests directly to the Linux kernel. Why would you want to do that? Well, for starters, Linux may crash. WHAAAAT? Well, it may. Seldom, but it may. Especially if you mess around where you’re not supposed to :P

What can you ask the kernel to do using the SysRq key? Many things. One I find particularly useful is the Alt+SysRq+f. It kills the process which is using the most memory on your system. So when your system thrashes to death because of a runaway process, you don’t need to switch to the console (which may take ages) and use kill anymore. Just use the shortcut.

A few notes:

  • It’s Alt+SysRq and not just SysRq because the SysRq key shares a button with Print Screen, and without the Alt it would be interpreted as such.
  • IT DOESN’T WORK!! It may not work because you have a certain kernel option disabled. There’s not much you can do in that case, short of recompiling the kernel…
  • Be careful what you do. This is a gate directly into the kernel, and it allows you to do things like rebooting immediately without syncing disks, which could seriously screw up your file system.

Quotes from ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

October 11, 2007

I liked the tone of J. D. Salinger‘s book a lot: hilarious but full of insightful comments throughout. Holden Caulfield vividly reflects the teenage turmoil we’ve all been [being?] through. On par with George Carlin’s shows, the novel is a good example of using ‘bad’ language for a noble purpose. Thumbs up!

  • People never notice anything.
  • People never believe you.
  • That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.
  • That’s the whole trouble. When you’re feeling very depressed, you can’t even think.
  • People never give your message to anybody.
  • I’m psychic.
  • I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.
  • People are mostly hot to have a discussion when you’re not.
  • It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.
  • You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any.
  • She‘s a madman sometimes.
  • I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know?
  • Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

Some interesting (approximate) stats about the text itself:

  • the word ‘bastard’ appears 62 times.
  • the word ‘crazy’ appears 77 times.
  • the word ‘kill’ and its other forms appear 64 times.
  • the word ‘hell’ appears 281 times in the book!
  • the word ‘madman’ appears 16 times.
  • the word ‘crap’ appears 27 times.
  • the word ‘goddam’ appears 245 times!
  • and the word ‘damn’ another 125 times (‘darn’ 4 times)

Quotes from ‘Life of Pi’

October 9, 2007

First off, I didn’t like the book so much. It seemed to me like nothing more than a barely credible fairy tale tied with a bunch of religious rants. However, I did notice some interesting phrases:

  • Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it…
  • Life will defend itself no matter how small it is.
  • People move because of the wear and tear of anxiety. Because of the gnawing feeling that no matter how hard they work their efforts will yield nothing, that what they build up in one year will be torn down in one day by others. Because of the impression that the future is blocked up, that they might do all right but not their children. Because of the feeling that nothing will change, that happiness and prosperity are possible only somewhere else.
    (Note: He wrote about India but that’s exactly how I feel about Moldova)
  • He’s a shy man. Life has taught him not to show off what is most precious to him.
  • … for added authenticity.
  • Only fear can defeat life.
  • Time is an illusion that only makes us pant.
  • Only death consistently excites your emotions…
  • I concluded that I had gone mad. Sad but true. Misery loves company, and madness calls it forth.
    (Note: Could this be a Metallica reference?)
  • The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar.
  • “… Everything was normal and then…?”
    “Then normal sank.”

Trolleybus

October 3, 2007

I didn’t know that word even existed in English :P

Commuting back from the EAC, (good news — got the visa — going to sit the SAT on the 6th!!) I sort of ran into one of my ex-teachers. I never really liked him, but the funny thing is that he stood right before me and I didn’t notice him. He probably saw me instantly; I usually don’t ‘blend in’ with the crowd. So now I had a dilemma: do I admit my mistake and greet him, or do I go on acting as if I hadn’t recognized him?

If I told him ‘Good Afternoon,’ what would he think of me? That I was an arrogant snob who, until now, pretended not to notice him? Would he attempt to start a discussion? I certainly wouldn’t. And what would the fellow passengers think?

If I didn’t give him another glance, what would he think of me? That I was an arrogant snob who pretended not to notice him? [notice anything?]

He put an end to my anguish (that’s too harsh a word) by getting out at a station earlier than mine.

OK, I used the word ‘notice’ 4+1 times in this post — that’s enough.


7 Things I Didn’t Know Last Month… (September)

October 1, 2007

… about myself:

  1. My two favorite scents are that of rain and that of melons.
  2. I find it a lot easier to talk with people behind a wall of electronics than face-to-face. (bad bad bad!)
  3. I feel a certain amount of sadistic pleasure when saying ‘Bună ziua’ to neighbors of mine who speak Russian only.
  4. I like how British English sounds, but I never use it in written.

…and about the world:

  1. Telepathy _does_ work, but it only gives glimpses of someone else’s emotions. Full thoughts are impossible to discern with an untrained mind’s eye.
  2. Your teeth will go bad no matter how often you brush them or how often you visit the dentist.
  3. School bureaucracy is easy to fool.