Feb 022011

What a great day today in terms of Unix shell discoveries. Early in the morning, I bought iSSH for iPad and was blown away by how functional it was. The iPad is actually useful now besides being an overpriced e-reader. In the afternoon, someone pointed out ack to me instead of using grep. Faster search, here I come. Finally, just a few minutes ago, I discovered “cd -“, “pushd” and “popd”. No more need to set temporary aliases when I bounce back and forth between directories.

Jul 072010

Almost all Windows power users use the command prompt from time to time. cmd.exe can execute precision commands, browse, and filter very efficiently if used correctly. However, for Unix users, the command prompt is just plain weak, prompting many to install Cygwin. But just today, I discovered that cmd.exe has some awesome keyboard shortcuts. They have again made the daily experience of using Microsoft’s command prompt bearable again. Even interesting. Here’s a summary of my discoveries: F2: Pastes whatever is in the cmd buffer up until the character you type next, and advances the cursor there. F3: Pastes the rest of the buffer from the buffer’s cursor. F4: Deletes from the current cursor to the specified character you type next. [more . . .]

Aug 142009

I’m constantly annoyed with how difficult it is to schedule a meeting time with people outside of work. At a company or organization with a decent IT backbone, there’s usually Exchange or Google Apps or some other servers set up so that you can easily see other peoples’ busy/free schedules. However, outside of that company or organization, scheduling becomes a huge chore, especially if you have many people to invite. Sure, it’s possible to share busy/free information with Google Calendar, but that quickly overflows your “Other Calendars” section, and is annoying to navigate because many people tend to use the same generic calendar names–“committments,” “schedule,” “classes,” etc. There are three solutions to this that I have come to use regularly. [more . . .]

Jan 202009

This is an amazingly addictive video. It just shows one plain book cover after another, to a semi-computerized voice reading each title, and some semi-spooky music. It’s amazing!  If you can’t see the embedded video, the link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUgjlJ5hEbw The books “Bayesian Approach to Image Interpretation,” “Finite Commutative Rings and Their Applications,” and “Music Cognition” actually looks rather fascinating.

Jan 142009

A new WikiLeaks leak reveals “over 600 United Nations investigative reports, over 70 of which are classified ‘Strictly Confidential.’” These include anything from weapons trafficking, to rape of refugees by UN peacekeepers, to fraud, to corruption. See here. If you have not heard of WikiLeaks, it is a site dedicated to open information and anonymous whistleblowing. Hence, it serves as a safe place for individuals to share sensitive information with little fear of retaliation. It is censored in many countries, and has received numerous lawsuits in many countries, and was even shut down for a short time in the United States.

Dec 242008

The day I found out that the letters in SAT don’t officially stand for anything was a glorious one. It was, as one of my old high school teachers would call it, my “epiphany of the day.” The SAT used to be named the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but then renamed to the Scholastic Assessment test, but finally, in 1993, was renamed to “SAT I,” without any meaning for the letters. There are many other meaningless or ridiculous acronyms, many of them being the recursive acronyms used so often in technology. Any self-respecting Unix hacker knows that GNU stands for GNU’s not Unix. Those PNGs you work with just mean “PNG’s not GIF.” In fact there seems to be almost a [more . . .]

Nov 252008

When was the last time you said, “That was the coolest thing ever,” but didn’t mean it? When was the last time you said something was exciting, beautiful, inspirational, or genius, when you actually meant to convey much less than superlative? The next time you want to compliment something, think about whether or not you actually mean what you say. Save the superlative words for times that actually deserve them.