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Category: eating out

08/11/11 12:03- ID#54921

Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate

I don't know what was the %cocoa in the Lindt chocolate (e:Paul,54915) posted but I don't get why they decided to change their simple uncomplicated old recipe in all the other bars except the 85% (and possibly 90%) to include palm oil, soy lecithin etc. Why weren't the ingredients below that work SO well enough?

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Words: 56
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/11/11 01:52

Category: dance

08/08/11 08:38- ID#54907

Back from ballet

I needed a hardcore workout today to channel all that excess nervous energy. Quite luckily Kolleen emailed me right when I was thinking about going to her class.
I was soaking wet by the time we were done and far away from anything resembling graceful but I had a bunch of fun.

They have a African Movement Workshop on Wednesday. I know it conflicts with yoga, but is anyone interested in going with me? It's $12.50 for the evening if we turn up to the class together.
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Words: 89
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/08/11 08:42

Category: science

08/07/11 08:17- ID#54901

View from 9th Avenue

This classic cartoon by Steinberg could easily be titled:
"View with a limited dataset".

Or maybe.
Who cares?!

Words: 21
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/07/11 08:50

Category: the odes

08/07/11 04:24- ID#54900

Being intuitive


1. The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
2. A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.

Is it bad to require that people use their conscious reasoning at least some of the time? Or does having this requirement imply that the method put forward to explain things is not clear enough?

Conscious reasoning is clearly, more effort than intuition. Where do you draw the line at slaving over keeping everything super-easy and "intuitive" and requiring at least some effort on the part of your audience or end-user? Could not slaving over providing "intuitive understanding" to your audience a sign of laziness or worse, reflective of your imperfect understanding of the system or the subject matter? I wonder...

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Words: 141
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/07/11 04:26

Category: i-tech

08/07/11 11:41- ID#54895

Keyboard conclusions

I think I have learnt some keyboard lessons from all this keyboard shopping over the last couple months.
  • What is quiet and fast now will eventually turn noisy (logitech)
  • What is fast now will remain fast but will never be quiet (logitech)
  • What is quiet now can be fast depending upon your skills (Chiclet keyboards)
  • However, if you learn to type faster on the quieter keyboards, you are most likely doomed to finger fatigue and RSI.
  • Costlier keyboards are not necessarily exempt from the above rules.

The choice is basically between more noise or more pain. I think more noise is a better alternative if I want a healthier RSI/fatigue-free typing future. I am keeping all the three keyboards I got ((e:tinypliny,54877)) for now. Noisy for painful days and quiet for chaotic days.

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Words: 135
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/07/11 11:42

Category: linux

08/07/11 10:19- ID#54892

Learning about linux by dissecting packages

What makes a flawless efficient productive system? What goes into all those small things that make sticking to one OS easier than the other? What is behind those simple little tricks that you get used to in one OS that helps you work so much more faster than in another new system?

I want a system that will just stay out of my way and not make me think about it. But to not force people to think about anything requires careful thought into what works in the background silently and smoothly. There is of course the universal kernel and the efficiency of code of all bits and pieces of software. But an easier and more non-technical "everyone" way to dissect why one distro offers better productivity than the other is to look at the packages.

I am going to take a look at Crunchbang's packages and list them so that I can understand why that distro comes close to being one of the most perfect distros I have worked on. As usual, the easiest way is to just dissect the hard work already done by the experts. Omns (or Grant Galbraith) in his omns project blog puts together Debian systems all the time and writes post-install scripts for them. I am just going to extract commands from these scripts and put them down here. The difference will be I want to write my own descriptions for each package, why they are essential to the system and what they bring to the table in terms of making that distro a bit more "intuitive", all based on my limited understanding of linux systems.

I guess the goal is to learn not by building linux from scratch but by pulling apart a system that works well. And since I am working backwards, I am hoping to go from the superficial layers to the deep, first looking at the packages that form and work with the graphical interface and immediate enduser functions going down to what comprises the system itself. I probably won't be done in one day or even one year, but hopefully, this will be a useful exercise in understanding a bit more about linux systems that are better than others.

From part II: XFCE 4.8 on Debian Squeeze

  1. Set Repositories

mv /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.bak
cp sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list

I usually do:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

So what is his sources list...
(% means commented out since the # means something else on (e:strip))
deb squeeze main contrib non-free
% deb-src squeeze main contrib non-free

deb squeeze-updates main contrib non-free
% deb-src squeeze-updates main contrib non-free

deb testing main contrib non-free
% deb-src testing main contrib non-free

deb unstable main contrib non-free
% deb-src unstable main contrib non-free

% deb experimental main contrib non-free
% deb-src experimental main contrib non-free

% deb squeeze-backports iceweasel-4.0

deb squeeze/updates main non-free
% deb-src squeeze/updates main non-free

deb stable main non-free

deb squeeze-backports main contrib non-free

So I don't like firefox. Never have. I have always been an Opera or currently a Chrome fan. The Mozilla-ice-weasel needs to go in my set up.
  1. Setting up preferences

mv /etc/apt/preferences /etc/apt/preferences.bak
cp preferences /etc/apt/preferences

This is something I don't know about. Something called apt-pinning. Omns has done a post about it that I need to read about. For now these are the preferences in the file we just copied:

Package: *
Pin: release n=squeeze-backports
Pin-Priority: 1001

Package: *
Pin: release n=squeeze-updates
Pin-Priority: 950

Package: *
Pin: release n=squeeze
Pin-Priority: 900

Package: *
Pin: release n=stable
Pin-Priority: 800

Package: *
Pin: release a=testing
Pin-Priority: 700

Package: *
Pin: release a=unstable
Pin-Priority: 600

Package: *
Pin: release a=experimental
Pin-Priority: 200

  1. Add Keyrings
This is to prevent the system from whining about "uncertified" and "untrustworthy" sources.

dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2010.12.26_all.deb

  1. Update Repositories and Upgrade packages

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

I have noticed that an upgrade always breaks stuff in Crunchbang Statler. Probably an indication that that exact package collection only works with some older Debian components and not with the newer updates. I still haven't learnt how to pinpoint the source of the break.

  1. Base packages and applications.
sudo apt-get install
xorg --> the graphical interface.
gksu --> launches programs in graphical interface
gdebi --> enables double-click *.deb and install ability
file-roller --> an unzip/unrar/untar utility (does not play well with evince)
% why do I need all the compression programs under the sun?
lha --> lzh archiver
lzop --> fast compression program
rzip --> compression program for large files
unalz --> De-archiver for .alz files
zoo --> zoo archive extractor
xz-utils --> XZ-format compression utilities
p7zip-full --> extract 7zip archives
alsa-base --> sound server. Maybe replace with pulseaudio
vlc --> video lan player
audacity --> audio player. vlc is fine really.
libdvdcss2 --> ?
lame --> mp3 codec
gimp --> high end graphics program similar to Photoshop
ttf-freefont --> better fonts rendering. Absolutely essential!
ttf-mscorefonts-installer --> M$shit fonts that are not so shit.
gcolor2 --> ?
agave --> ?
gedit --> The "linux notepad" I like so much!
fortunes --> ?
fortune-mod --> ? (I have read this is important as a notification machine but I am not really sure.)
gedit-plugins --> ? Not sure which plugins these are, the ons that bring along different code highlighting and syntax highlighting maybe. I just need some eye-popping bright ones that may not necessarily belong to R but make error-spotting easier.
evince --> pdf reader. ver 3.0 has annotation support but still ages behind wine + pdf xchange viewer.
gcalctool --> ? calculator?
iceweasel --> weasel I hate (firefox).
gftp -->?
xchat --> irc client. useful for naggy questions in realtime.
transmission-gtk --> torrent client.
wicd --> I think network manager is better in terms of offering a bigger variety of connections. 3G, VPN etc
cups --> something to do with the printer?
cups-pdf --> pdf printing?
system-config-printer --> ?
hpijs --> ?
hplip --> ?
dmz-cursor-theme --> ?
gtk2-engines-murrine -- ?
tango-icon-theme -- ? do I need this eye candy?
gnome-colors --> ?
bash-completion -- ?
screen -- ?
cowsay -- ?
figlet -- ?
scrot -- ?
whois -- ?
rpl -- ?
conky-all --> system monitor. Don´t need this as I only use the clock, that xfce can provide.
zenity -- ?
gparted --> partition disks. Do I really need this?
xfsprogs --> ?
reiserfsprogs --> ?
reiser4progs --> ?
jfsutils --> ?
synaptic --> package installer. Useful sometimes when you don't want to mess around with command line.
ttf-bitstream-vera --> font
ttf-dejavu --> font
ntfs-3g --> ?
pcmciautils --> ?
parcellite --> clipboard manager. I this messes up gnumeric.
fontconfig-config --> ?
libcairo2 --> ?
firmware-linux --> drivers but not sure which ones
firmware-iwlwifi --> I need to compile and install my dear realtek here, this won't help. Atleast not in the current kernel where my wireless has not been integrated.
libreoffice --> current openoffice avatar. I don't need all of it. Maybe only writer, impress and math
libreoffice-gtk --> ?libreoffice related

  1. Clean up downloaded packages

sudo apt-get clean

  1. Install Xfce 4.8

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get -t testing install

  1. Clean up downloaded packages

sudo apt-get clean

Hmm.. quite a few question marks I need to fill out there.
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Words: 1359
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/08/11 11:08

Category: eating in

08/07/11 09:44- ID#54891

Learn the method. The method.

His closing words are perhaps the best words of advice in any scenario. Once you have the method down, endless variations and innovations are possible.
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Words: 27
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/07/11 09:44

Category: i-tech

08/06/11 09:09- ID#54887

Pringles Cantenna

What I really want to do is to be able to work from my building's rooftop. Unfortunately, my router's wireless signal is weak and pathetic. I am thinking...

Pringles Cantenna!


Now, I only have to pick the flavour of choice and mooch some copper wire from (e:paul).


Words: 70
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/06/11 09:11

Category: eating in

08/06/11 08:46- ID#54886

Secondary Fuel

I am trying to learn how to cook with just 3 - 4 ingredients as opposed to throwing the whole fridge in.


It's a tough ordeal for me because I am constantly tempted to throw in everything I spot. In the end, everything I make starts to resemble everything else. It's not good for the cooking soul.
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Words: 57
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/06/11 08:51

Category: eating out

08/06/11 05:29- ID#54884

Primary Fuel

Considering I just wiped off the entire shelf of the Lindt 85% at the store, I probably have the biggest stash in a mile radius now.

Wonder how many hours these will now drive me.
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Words: 36
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/06/11 08:48



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