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Category: goals

10/15/11 10:51 - ID#55304

Diffused Sunlight Simulation

The basic nature of sunlight indoors is that it is never direct most of the times. Almost all sunlight that filters through into rooms is reflected, diffuse and full spectrum (~5500 Kelvin). These three qualities set sunlight apart from artificial light.

The sunlight simulation lamps in the market are mainly high wattage, full spectrum and power consuming lamps. They are targeted at people with SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorders. While I am not convinced I have SAD and need the everyday intensive 1/2 hour to 1 hour therapy that these lamps are regularly recommended for, I am really interested in simulating sunlight at home especially when there is none outside.

I recently went to IKEA and saw this floor lamp, called "Tived".
The design is nothing spectacular. In fact, I would call it a bit ugly. But it has flexible arms that can be directed at various parts of the ceiling and walls. It looks like this flexibility could achieve that diffused reflected sunlight feel I want. I almost bought it but it comes with its own set of LED bulbs. I don't like that. I want to be able to readily replace the bulbs if they burn out. The only way to do this would be to get a lamp that holds regular full-spectrum CFLs. None of the more interesting IKEA lamps allow you to put your own bulbs in them.

If it had a few more flexible arms for some more bulbs and it took regular full-spectrum bulbs, it might come close to what I have in mind. IKEA also has a table lamp version of the "Tived" with more arms, but it could be tough to focus the light on the ceiling because of the lack of height. Even if I somehow succeeded in elevating the level of lamp, the bulbs are still the peculiar LED ones. image

I wonder where I can get such a lamp. It would be so cool to have one this winter.

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Permalink: Diffused_Sunlight_Simulation.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/15/11 11:16

Category: the odes

10/15/11 02:40 - ID#55302

Why go minimal?

And I thought.

What is the meaning of life? Why are we here anyway? Banal questions and the themes of several works of literary merit (or not). But unanswered nevertheless. Where do we go after this life is over? Heaven and Hell and "the great consciousness" seem rather medieval with all this technology surrounding us. It's hard to believe that anyone even gets punished or rewarded for what they do in life here. That sounds like the words of an atheist. But I am not an atheist. I have a TON of faith. Perhaps not in religion, but in people themselves.

I sincerely believe Science cannot exist without this faith in people, in methods, in what we do, faith in our spirit as humans, faith in a better but unknown future, faith that our work is making things better, faith that we are finding meaning in our lives, faith that we will someday be in a better place and faith that we are making progress.

But in the middle of all this hope, what if some of us give out? Sink into death, into the unknown oblivion? Will anyone care? Yeah, maybe. If you are Steve Jobs, people might even cover the walls of the nearest Apple store with post-its. But what if you are not Steve Jobs? What if you are one of the millions who feel impelled to write one of those post-its? Will someone write post-its for you? How many post-its will you get when you leave this life of yours? Will they be enough to cover a wall? Does it even matter?

The pain you will give people by leaving them behind will matter. How will they cope with this pain? Will it be tough for them to see things you lived with when you were... well alive? Was your life so complicated that along with the pain, you leave them with the tough ordeal of going through the complications and the sheer volume of personal effects you lived with. That each little belonging collects the grief and plunges it back into them as they remember you and then realize that you are now gone?

I am not sure what the point of all these morbid musings are. But I don't want people to suffer after I am gone. I want them to know that I lived happily and tried to do my part. It doesn't matter whether I got anywhere or not. It just matters that I lived most moments happily. I don't want so many belongings that people drown in them and need to hold an estate sale because they don't want any of it. I don't want trivial stuffed toys, knick knacks, I don't want heavily highlighted books and notes with the dried flowers and leaves in them, I don't want anything remotely sentimental and pain-inducing. I don't even want a bed. It does sound pretty clinical and detached but I want to wrap up this life as cleanly as possible, as minimally as possible and when its time to leave, I want leave quietly and completely at ease, and smiling. Because I am not sure I know entirely what the meaning of all this existence is, I just don't think it's worth the drama and pain we bring to people when we let it all go.

And no, I am not sad. I just want to break this chain linux based whingeing that I have been indulging in for the past so many posts with some free-writing on a very non-specific stream of thoughts that just came over and needed written expression.

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Permalink: Why_go_minimal_.html
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Last Modified: 10/15/11 03:41

Category: i-tech

10/14/11 10:19 - ID#55298

Gadgety Goodness

Woo Hoo!!
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Permalink: Gadgety_Goodness.html
Words: 4
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/14/11 10:19

Category: linux

10/14/11 06:30 - ID#55297

Fedora missing fonts for Gnumeric?

Why are the row and column numbers displaying as numeric placeholder skeletons in Gnumeric??


Does Gnumeric use some proprietary fonts that the mighty forces at Fedora have decided to outcast from the distro??

Aaargh. Can one thing be hitch-free for a change??! Apparently not.
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Permalink: Fedora_missing_fonts_for_Gnumeric_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/14/11 06:32

Category: linux

10/14/11 10:14 - ID#55295

Suse Suse Studio?

Okay, NOW I have tried everything except OpenSuse.

Though Debian has been my favourite in terms of usability and friendliness, there is something really wrong with how Debian systems interact with R and deal with numerical ordering.

For eg. you would expect intervals to be ordered as:
[ 7,11)

Instead Debian orders them as:
[ 7,11)

In a scenario where I have one-digit, two-digit and three-digit numbers, I get the weirdest possible ordering. In the example above, it compares 1 and 7, rather than 11 and 7. This number-by-number evaluation creates serious problems in trend testing and determination of direction of association between variables. It potentially distorts the category that is treated as the reference variable. I looked at R documentation to see if I could change something to make it right. However, after many trials, my windows machine and machines running Fedora were uniformly giving me the right answers while Debian derivatives were giving me the weird answers.

For now, this is a dealbreaker for me and I can't go back to Debian.

That leaves me with
-- CentOS
-- Scientific Linux
-- Fedora
-- OpenSuse

I tried installing CentOS and Scientific Linux on the brawny Toshiba this past weekend but first there were problems with permissions and then problems with the R repository in both CentOS and Scientific Linux. Though Scientific Linux claims to come with R, the DVD I downloaded did not have R! When I tried to install R, there was no R in the default repository. Adding the correct R repository was an unending nightmare that took up 2 hours. I gave up in frustration. Then there was a problem with permissions. CentOS and Scientific Linux don't set up a username to go with the root password in the installation sequence. Even though you might have given a name to your computer during installation, you start up with something like:


instead of


In addition, it doesn't automatically add you to the sudoers group. I know linux admins won't view this as a problem but end-users like me don't need to work out details about how to add themselves to sudoers, change the localhost name, set up root permissions once more after installation. Its a pain to be burdened with all these nitty grittys even before you start using the system.

CentOS and Scientific Linux are so similar in their installation setup and behaviour, they might as well be clones of each other. The permissions and repositories problem rears its ugly head at every possible software installation. It gets to be very tiring. And what is with the repositories anyway??! They have software from 2 years ago! I understand they are more stable than the newer ones, but come on, newer features that make life easier in the software I use are very important to me!

So no more RHEL derivatives for me.

Which leaves me with Fedora. Sigh. I don't know if I can deal with all the mess that I have been documenting.

So at this point, I am thinking Suse Studio with the software I need from the list below. It could be better than getting OpenSuse and then installing everything because adding software and repositories beforehand might reduce dependency conflicts.
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Permalink: Suse_Suse_Studio_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/14/11 10:20

Category: linux

10/14/11 05:34 - ID#55294

What do I need?

Things are not great in linux land. Maybe my particular combination of requirements breaks things? I can't believe it. This is my list of absolutely essential software for my linux machine. These are ones that I use on an hourly or a "minutely" basis.

Analyses Environment
- R
- RStudio
- Variable number of R packages

- Gnumeric

Writing Environment
- Texlive
- Texmaker Texstudio
- Texworks
- Gummi
- Geany
- Abiword: Yuck. Going to LibreOffice Writer. Compatibility is awful with MS Word.
- WriteType
- Zim desktop wiki
- LibreOffice Writer.

- Wireless
- Wired
- (Bluetooth would be nice, but seldom works, so I could let it go.)

- Some hassle-free media player that would play multiple formats. Not liking Rhythmbox so much. I am done even risking any media formats on the Satellite P750 till the issues with the intel/nvidia cards are resolved.

- Gimp
- Mypaint
- Pinta: This is just a pretty replica of Clicking on the buttons doesn't do ANYTHING on Fedora 15.

... to be continued as I think of more things I use.

EDIT: Turns out I need WAAY more things that this puny list, so I decided to attached my latest yum log as a text file here.

sudo geany /var/log/yum.log

And you will get this log with date and time details of every package you have ever updated, installed or erased in Fedora 15.
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Permalink: What_do_I_need_.html
Words: 248
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/08/11 02:15

Category: linux

10/14/11 03:55 - ID#55293

Worst luck indeed: Fedora 15 BSOD

Seriously? Behold Fedora 15's Black Screen of Death.


Transcript of Error:
[5.693915] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Invalid ROM contents
[5.825510] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Pointer to BIT loadval table invalid
[5.849874] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: 0XD518: i2c wr fail: -6
[5.964968] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: PGRAPH: unsupported chipset, please report!
[6.092104] [drm: intel_dsm_platform_mux_info] *ERROR* MUX INFO call failed

Looks like I might need a hard reboot. The wretched thing is not coming out of this error screen. And it goes into it at every boot and suspend.

Apparently, this is a known new bug:

With some insights from here:

Your issue is related to the optimus technology deployed in the m14x, it's a new piece of tech that allows switching between your nvidia card and intel sandy bridge. In short, your nvidia card does not work on Linux out-of-the-box. Read more about how you can either disable your nvidia card (I did that and saved 14 w (1½ hours of battery time) or try and enable it using some experimental tech called switcheroo. Read more here:
Posted by Magnus Glantz 2011-07-06 01:07:30

My brother's hacky solution:

Close the lid for 15-30 seconds and then open. If it doesn't work, repeat as many times as necessary.

I can only say... !!!

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Permalink: Worst_luck_indeed_Fedora_15_BSOD.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/14/11 11:45

Category: linux

10/13/11 09:54 - ID#55291

Fedora 15/Satellite P750 Bluetooth issue

Where on earth is the bluetooth??! According to:

systemctl status bluetooth.servicebluetooth.service

- Bluetooth Manager
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/bluetooth.service)
     Active: active (running) since Thu, 13 Oct 2011 21:06:35 -0400; 43min ago
    Main PID: 1027 (bluetoothd)
     CGroup: name=systemd:/system/bluetooth.service
         â”” 1027 /usr/sbin/bluetoothd -n

But the bluetooth gui says:

No Bluetooth adapters found

I am stumped. Is there a hardware switch to the bluetooth that is turned off?

rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no

The bluetooth is not even there.


lspci output

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Sandy Bridge DRAM Controller (rev 09)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Sandy Bridge PCI Express Root Port (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 0116 (rev 09)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Cougar Point HECI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation Cougar Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Cougar Point High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cougar Point PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev b4)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cougar Point PCI Express Root Port 2 (rev b4)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cougar Point PCI Express Root Port 4 (rev b4)
00:1c.5 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cougar Point PCI Express Root Port 6 (rev b4)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation Cougar Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Cougar Point LPC Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation Cougar Point 6 port SATA AHCI Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation Cougar Point SMBus Controller (rev 04)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0df4 (rev a1)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 06)
03:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device 8176 (rev 01)
04:00.0 System peripheral: JMicron Technology Corp. SD/MMC Host Controller (rev 30)
04:00.2 SD Host controller: JMicron Technology Corp. Standard SD Host Controller (rev 30)
04:00.3 System peripheral: JMicron Technology Corp. MS Host Controller (rev 30)
04:00.4 System peripheral: JMicron Technology Corp. xD Host Controller (rev 30)
05:00.0 USB Controller: NEC Corporation uPD720200 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 04)

Some googling lead to another bloke facing the exact problem

Oct 13 21:57:15 bluetoothd[1027]: Stopping SDP server
Oct 13 21:57:15 bluetoothd[1027]: Exit
Oct 13 21:57:15 bluetoothd[1027]: bluetoothd[1027]: Stopping SDP server
Oct 13 21:57:15 bluetoothd[1027]: bluetoothd[1027]: Exit
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: Bluetooth deamon 4.87
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: bluetoothd[2481]: Bluetooth deamon 4.87
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: Starting SDP server
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: bluetoothd[2481]: Starting SDP server
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: Parsing /etc/bluetooth/input.conf failed: No such file or directory
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: bluetoothd[2481]: Parsing /etc/bluetooth/input.conf failed: No such file or directory
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: Parsing /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf failed: No such file or directory
Oct 13 21:57:16 bluetoothd[2481]: bluetoothd[2481]: Parsing /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf failed: No such file or directory
Oct 13 21:57:16 NetworkManager[934]: bluez error getting default adapter: No such adapter

Some more googling lead to this thread:
Keany says:

before you start BT installation be sure WLAN LED is ON.

Hmm... so the WLAN LED is on, but the Bluetooth LED is not on and there is no function key to turn the bluetooth LED on!

Aarrrgh. Another unsolved mystery.
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Permalink: Fedora_15_Satellite_P750_Bluetooth_issue.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/13/11 10:22

Category: linux

10/13/11 09:27 - ID#55290

Texmaker error in Fedora 15

Escapist solution to ensuing mess:
The wrestling match with Texmaker on Fedora 15 got way too confusing. I found that Texmaker has a fork called Texstudio and I have installed it instead. The x86_64 version of Texstudio for Fedora 15 is available here:

My most useful LaTeX editor doesn't start in Fedora 15. I am getting this error message:

texmaker: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

But I do have!

whereis /usr/lib/

After some googling, I think the problem lies here:


To try and find out which one of these is "owned" or "required" by other packages, I used the syntax from this VERY helpful document:

rpm -qf /usr/lib/



rpm -qf /usr/lib64/



Just for kicks, I also queried rpm for everything containing qt

rpm -qa | grep -i qt


Hmm... so my system is x86_64. Do I need these i686 packages? Are these not being recognized by texmaker, perhaps? Should I be deleting these i686 packages (and their dependencies) and replacing them with the x86_64 versions?

See solution at the top. It's not worth my time to be wrestling with this level of hideous confusion.

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Permalink: Texmaker_error_in_Fedora_15.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/14/11 10:28

Category: linux

10/13/11 02:13 - ID#55287


Beefy Miracleator!

Totally inspired: But without the consummate V's.
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Permalink: Fedora_tor_.html
Words: 21
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/15/11 11:26



New Site Wide Comments

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...