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I'm not quite sure if I should start worrying, but I've had increasingly odd dreams lately.
Some time back I had a dream that we(?) were hiking on a path and came across a low hanging high-power powerline. To get past the powerline, one had to couch under it. At the time, this felt like the natural thing to do.. although I remember being worried that someone might get zapped. Later on in the dream I was living in an apartment which had the same(?) powerline going right through the kitchen in such a way that you had to crawl under them to get in and out of the apartment.
A few nights back I had a dream that we(?) were escorting a tractor (or something of the sorts) and all of a sudden there was this ball of fur coming out of my (or someone elses) pants, which was quickly identified as a raccoon, not to mention a flying raccoon. These nasty critters would destroy anything in their path. All of a sudden we were in a space shuttle heading to a space station and the outer hull was crawling with these raccoons. We made it to the space station and so did the raccoons. After getting out of the hangar and the (oh so classic) sliding doors closing behind us, the raccoons started eating through the (steel) door. Just as the raccoons got through some soldiers came around the corner and started shooting at the raccoons saying "Oh, not those nasty buggers again".
What strikes me as odd is that none of these situations felt odd at the time. Usually these kinds of dreams tend to be nightmares and you just keep running away..
Oh well. Now it's time to return to the normal unscheduled programming.
Yesterday I went out to map an unmapped area in Rauma for OSM. Mapping the area was less painful than what I expected. In part I expected to collapse on the street or something since I'm in terrible shape...
There were couple lessons that I learned from the trip and since it's all about sharing information, I decided to share the these pieces of information as well.
- First thing I realized while heading out was that you really need a proper GPS unit. Initially I planned on using an iPhone and a Garmin Colorado 300 to collect redundant tracks for the whole trip. Since GPS signal varies quite a bit due to various reasons, it's good to have 2 tracks so you can use the average of those tracks. The problem turned out to be the iPhone, which for some reason started acting up almost immediately as I headed out. I don't know if it was the heat or something else. But if it had been my only GPS for the trip, my whole day would have been ruined.
Get a map! Yes, even though you should never copy from other maps to OSM, it's a good idea to grab a map of the area and do some light planning on the order you are going to visit the streets. I didn't plan beforehand and I ended up running up and down streets twice or more. It's not a bad idea to draw out your planned route on a map, but keep your eyes open! Most maps lack areas and have streets that don't exist anymore. Those are the ones you are there to catch. That is what makes OSM so important.
Take a camera with you. Sure, this is something that most people say anyway, but even though I knew that a camera would be handy, I never expected it to be this handy. It's quite easy to snap pictures of the street signs even on the run. So instead of writing anything down or using any other method, try a camera.
- You should always carry something to drink. I didn't have anything and it was a hot day. In the end I was exhausted and rather dehydrated. I was planning on heading out to a nearby gas station to get something to drink, but never got there.
- Take a picture of your GPS with the time and date visible. This helps you synchronize the pictures on the track you created. I always forget to do this...
There you go. I had a good time and will most likely do this again, but first I need to fix my bike.
For quite some time now, I've neglected my desktop, I have become lazy. The default desktop has been sufficient in many ways and there really hasn't been any need to modify it.
Lately I've ran in to a few blog posts all around where various people discuss how certain items waste space and so on. Since I already tweaked my VIM installation, I started to look at my desktop and realized that there are a lot of things in the panels that I don't need. I started thinking about which items I use and just dropped the ones that I don't use. Next I minimized the space needed by various applets. Like the 'fast user switch applet', which by default looks like this got turned in to this . Which makes a lot more sense since I already know my own name.
I also switched from the window list applet to window selector applet. Which was a logical choice since I hardly ever use the window list and when I do, it's usually just random selection since the relevant parts of the window names are hidden. So insted of this:
I now have this:
A big improvement.
I also changed the theme from the original Human theme to DarkRoom, which is a nice change. As for the background, I dug up an old wallpaper I had put aside just for occasions like this. So after a quickly going through the files on my desktop (it was overdue), I ended up with this:
There are still certain items I should remove, but now that it all fits in to one panel, I'm in no rush
Last year we were visiting Sensation White 2007, which was a nice party but the music let me down. The event itself was well worth attending and spending a week in Amsterdam was great. So, about a week ago we decided to head out to Trance Energy 2009 with a friend. It's a ninja style trip, we head out there a bit before the party and leave shortly after it.
This time I have higher expectations about the music since there are a number of high profile DJs there. Also usually after the event there are mixes floating around the net that have some high quality trance in them. Sadly Sensation White has become too much of an event, it was almost instantly sold out even before any DJ listings were announced. I don't really expect such an event out of Trance Energy, but I do expect high quality music, fun party and a good time.
I also try to prepare better for the event. Last year my back gave up on me, those who were there saw it first hand. I had a hard time standing up at times. This year I'm coming prepared. I've started doing yoga again. And no, it's not the meditation type of yoga, but a variation of Hatha Yoga which puts emphasis on physical exercise. Hopefully I'll be able to party all night without any problems this year.
Sometimes you just can't avoid beating a dead horse. I know that this rant doesn't really change anything.
A few days back the admin of one of the best online radios announced that they will be dropping the torrent downloads for the shows. For me this was bad news, since I've been getting a valuable service from them through the downloadable files. I understand their reasoning and I'm not complaining about it, I did voice my concern, but other than that, I'll survive.
What caught my eye was the clear separation between the people who liked the service and who disliked it. I can understand the people who support the service, because like me, they depend on the service for certain reasons. But the reasoning of some of the people who supported the discontinuation made me think. The service users were quickly labeled as freeloaders who wanted everything for free. There was some hinting that downloading the shows is related to stealing the music.
While the download service is free, it made me think why the people who download the files are labeled as freeloaders. Of course I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but the fact that the downloads are free doesn't change anything for me. I could have easily listened to the same shows online, but instead I chose to use the service provided and downloaded the show to a medium that I was able to listen when it suited me best. It's analogous to timeshifting, it allows me to listen to the show when it's more convenient to me.
The common argument for most music industry representatives is that making music should be related to work and the people behind the music should get paid for their hard work. I definitely agree with them. The problem for me is that the music I want to listen is rather marginal around here, so I can't just go to a store and buy the music I want. I could order the music online and pay for the costs of shipping the music here. While music industry has been in a stand still for quite some time they are starting to move to the right direction. There are some labels that already offer their releases as digital downloads. The problem here is that usually it's either crippled (DRM protected) or bad quality.
I wish there was a service that allowed me to pay a (reasonable) monthly fee and granted me access to the music I like. The service would have to allow me to download the files and play them in my car or where ever. I'd also love to see a feature that would allow me to tip the artist, just to make sure that at least some of the money heads their way too.
PS. Afterhours is offering a replacement service for the torrents, which serves the same purpose. On-Demand listening, but the problem for me is that it's still online.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm not a millionaire... I keep having these odd strokes of luck.
Today the HD on my laptop broke. And I had such a good plan for backups. It should have been foolproof. I meant to run incremental backups every so often and put the data in to external drives, which are mirrored. It turns out there was a flaw in my backup plan: I forgot to implement it. Yes, my HD broke down and I had absolutely no backups of my HD contents. Since it's not the first time I've seen a HD failure, I immediately started making a clone of the disk. I didn't want to waste time looking for individual files, since a clone of the disk contains all the data that is accessible on the broken disk anyway.
I decided to try with clonezilla, because it's intelligent enough to backup the data I need but still has a decent GUI to work through the command line options. After all, I don't clone disks daily.
After starting the clone, it tried to access the data and after a while I saw a message from kernel saying that the disk froze. I almost gave up hope when the partitions showed up on screen. I gasped for air when I finally realized what happened. Apparently the swap partition was the only thing that was lost! Feeling hopeful I left clonezilla to do it's job and headed out the door. Once I got back all of the data had been backed up.
At this point I already had a new drive so it was time to do the reverse and restore the backup, which was an uneventful 2 hours of waiting. Before rebooting I ran mkswap on the swap partition and rebooted.
The system is now back up and running.
It's not the first time I had problems with HDs, recently I've lost 3-4 HDs due to various failures. Only once I've lost data, but the lost data wasn't anything that couldn't be regenerated. Maybe it's not luck, maybe I'm a cat in a human form. Maybe I just always land on my feet... Time will tell.
It was bound to happen sooner or later. I've been hosting my own services at home for quite some time now. It has a lot of benefits, like being able to access all services when connections are down and so on. Lately I've been thinking about what would happen if I lost the internet connection for some time. Maybe I should stop thinking.
On Monday at 11:00 my DSL went down. At first I assumed that something was wrong with the connection and it would come back after a while. After some 30 minute wait I decided to call about the problem. Thats when the whole horror revealed itself. The provider was unable to find a contract for my DSL. I called the office and then it hit me.
When I changed companies in the beginning of this year, I had a discussion at the old company that I wanted to move the connection to the new company. The asked for the details and I provided them. And I made a mistake. I never verified that the connection was actually moved over. So what happened? The old company didn't actually move the connection over and now after 5 months they figured out that they had a DSL for someone that wasn't working there and closed it. Even though it was their mistake for not moving the line, I can still blame only myself for it all. I should have checked and double checked that it had been moved.
Yesterday I was able to set up a secondary host for e-mail and today I'm fixing the website, it's not fully functional but it will be enough until I get a proper connection. Luckily I have access to all sorts of resources so I'm able to set up things like this quite easily. I wouldn't be hosting stuff at home if I wasn't.
It's been a while since last update here. There has been quite a bit happening since then. I'm not sure how all of this fares to my life but I expect that things will get a positive turn.
The major thing is that I resigned my job in favor of a more Linux oriented job. As usual I'm not naming any companies or any details on my departure. But I'm expecting an increase on motivation to do things on my spare time.
In a way I'm seeing a busy December, I have various projects that absolutely need finishing during December. So unless I manage to ease the job somehow I'm going to be working through Xmas.
Next I need to find myself a new phone. My Motorola v3x is apparently breaking down. I'm still not quite sure what I want from a phone at this point, but it's pretty obvious that I need to write down what I want before I start looking for a replacement. There are way too many different phones out there and looking at them just makes you want more than you need.
So I finally got myself a GPS, which has been on my list of things to get for quite some time. I also made my first baby steps as a geocacher and surprisingly found a few caches.
Geocaching is a world wide treasure hunt that anyone can take part of. All you need is a GPS (or a very accurate map) and a adventurous mind. The actual process is simple: you locate a cache you wish to find, go to the coordinates of the cache, find it (duh!) and log your find.
The first time I heard about geocaching was back in 2002 or so and I've visited the idea of starting to find caches quite often since then. Last week I finally got myself to order a GPS. I took the cheapest bluetooth model I could find after making sure that it had an mini-B USB connector for the charger. In fact it turned out to be a re-branded Holux GPSlim 236, which was a good thing since I had my eyes set on the 240 model as an alternative.
So far learning a new hobby has been loads of fun as well as frustrating. It turns out that there are 3 ways to represent a WGS 84 coordinates. And with my luck I had 2 applications that both used different notations and neither of them was the one given to me. Not to mention that there are other coordinates than the WGS 84 datum. After learning about multiple standards and notations it became a bit easier to locate the caches, since now we were looking from the right place.
The trouble doesn't stop there. The GPS I bought has a SiRFstar III chipset. Since there is a small changes in the signal and you in a worst case scenario you can get multiple coordinates just by standing still, this chipset has a feature to improve accuracy. The way it is implemented causes problems in geocaching because you don't get as accurate information from the device. There is a way to turn the feature off, but in the process it's apparently quite easy to temporarily brick your device. Luckily the device can be unbricked by allowing the internal battery to drain so that the device does a hardware reset. I'll see tomorrow if I'm able to disable the feature without bricking the device again.
So, a seemingly simple hobby turned out as a mess.. Again! It's not all bad though, we spent a nice day outside looking for some more caches today. It's just the push we needed to get moving and going outside. I just keep wondering what other problems lie ahead.
When I first heard about the talk I thought that it was a good idea. Now that I've actually seen the talk, I consider it even a better idea. The basic idea is to map all your mail in to actions.
Even though I've managed to dodge most of the caveats of e-mail management, I have a lot of work to do. The biggest problem for me is that I'm a packrat when it comes to my e-mail. I never discard my mail, I archive everything but spam. I have certain scheduled jobs that move the old mail out of my mailboxes in to archive so I'm not a lost cause when it comes to mailbox size.
Another thing that I need to start using more is a to do list. While watching that talk, I noticed that I tend to leave mails that need me to do something laying in my inbox. Usually those mails stay there until they rot.
All in all, even though the model doesn't fit all, it appears to fit me. I'll give it a shot and see if it really works.
You can find out more on the Inbox Zero website.