Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Amusing and Inspiring Quotes

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
Flannery O'Connor

"Work and struggle and never accept an evil that you can change."
Andre Gide

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
Anonymous Software Engineer

"The mind in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of a Heaven."
John Milton

"Good behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity."
Henry S. Haskins

"It takes less time to do a thing right than it does to explain why you did it wrong."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking."
John Maynard Keynes

"One change leaves the way open for the introduction of others."
Niccolo Machiavelli

"It is a costly wisdom that is bought by experience."
Roger Ascham

"Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail"

"We are paid for by our suspicions by finding what we suspected."
Henry David Thoreau

"Feel the fear and do it anyway."
Susan Jeffers

"What loneliness is more lonely than distrust"
George Eliot

"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your teeth."
Alan Watts

"Measure not the work until the day's out and the labor done."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together."
Francesco Petrarch

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
Babe Ruth

"Yield to all and you will soon have nothing to yield."

"Man is able to do what he is unable to imagine."
Rene Char

"No journey is too great if you find what you seek."

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
William Butler Yeats

"The first time I see a jogger smile, I'll consider it."
Joan Rivers

"Who is Wise? One who learns from every man."
Ben Zoma

"A great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage."
Sydney Smith

Saturday, January 07, 2012

How To Get A Google Voice Phone Number

1. Go to your Google Account settings

2. Under the heading "Email addresses and usernames", and next to your email address, click the "Edit" link

3. Set the Country to "United States" and click "Save"
4. Select "Language" and choose "English (United States)"

5. Go to the web page "":

6. Open Voice Settings

7. Click on "Get a Voice number"

8. Click "I want a new number"

9. Search for a number that you like
10. Choose a PIN and accept the terms

11. Enter a US number to associate with the account (this is mandatory to activate the Google Voice number, but can be removed once it is active, so you can use a friend's number if you don't have your own number in the USA).
12. Click "Call me now", answer the call and when prompted, enter the code
Once you've entered the code your new Google Voice number should be active.

It is also recommended to install the voice and video component for your web browser, so you can make and receive calls directly from within Gmail.  For Chrome, this component is called "Google Talk Plugin", and can be installed from within Gmail, using the Google Talk widgets.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Call Me with Google Voice

Below is my Google Voice "Call Me" Gadget. Enter your name and the number that you want to call me with. Google Voice will then call your number and put you in a call with me.

Friday, September 03, 2010

1000 Things I Hate About Windows

1. I hate the fact that every time I want to watch a video that I recorded with my JVC camcorder in the last 10 years, I have to dig up the old JVC Everio companion CD in order to install the required codec to watch it in Windows. In Ubuntu, all videos created by the two different versions of JVC Everio Camcorder that I have owned during the past 10 years play without the need to rummage through a box of old CDs in order to find one fricking codec.

2. I hate the fact that I have to rummage through a box of old CDs in order to find the right driver for my HP Photosmart 3-in-1 printer/scanner/copier. This printer is only 3 years old, and I am using Windows Vista. Ubuntu works with this printer as soon as I connect it, without prompting for any driver downloads. In Vista, I have to rummage for the CD or search the HP website for a compatible driver (of course nothing ever finds the right driver automatically).

3. I hate the fact that I have to start a whole new console window in order to do anything with Administrator rights, and in order to so, I have to type in the full name and password of the administrator's account. I cannot just simply use the "sudo" command, which temporarily grants root permissions, using the current user's password (no need to remember two different passwords), and also is smart enough to remember this for a period of time so I don't have to enter it on every single command. Indeed the Windows "runas" command tries to do what sudo does, but it still requires a lengthy list of command line parameters, making it extremely cumbersome, unintelligent and inflexible compared to sudo. All you need to run sudo is to put the word "sudo" in front of any command, and to remember your *own* password.

4. I hate the fact that Vista corrupted my recently bought new 2GB SD memory card, and put it in a state where it cannot be reformated, ie; unusable! I hate even more the fact that this happened after I tested it for 2 weeks and thought it would be safe to get rid of the receipt and packaging, but now Windows has destroyed it just after the end of Best Buy's 30 day no-questions-asked return policy. A recent Windows update apparently fixed this issue, but it was too late for me, and probably millions of other innocent victims around the world. Will there be an en masse compensation to all these people, now that M$ have admitted to causing all this damage?

5. I hate the fact that I have to pay for this crap, or at least my employer has to because they are the ones forcing me to use it.

Ok that's only 5, but I have more important things to do, and Windows certainly doesn't help me to get them done quickly... Feel free to add liberally to this list.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wow look, M$ invented this new thing called symbolic links!

You know, I get tired of seeing how the world thinks they need to make Bill Gates richer and richer so that they can experience the latest technological revolutions. If you want to see amazing stuff, just try a freely available operating system that's been doing high performance multitasking, windowing, INTER-networking and secure remote access since 20 years before the first anaemic little Windows version 3.0 bellyflopped onto the market. Yes, that's right, it took M$ three versions before anyone paid attention to them, and now 20 years later, not much has improved except for the transparency of the windows, and the security model which is slowly catching up with where Unix was 20 years ago, thanks mainly to pressure from frustrated Unix savvy people who are forced by their employers to allow Windows to embarrass them and keep wasting all their time, by frequent rebooting, waiting for stupid little animations, not to mention losing days and weeks from reinstalling applications and removing viruses that got in through gaping big obvious security holes. Oh, and those stupid "discovering" features. Why do you keep wasting my CPU cycles to discover things? I never told you to discover anything! I'm happy with what I have found by myself for now, you can go play later when I don't need my computer!!!

Read this email thread below for a laugh..., and note that the messages are in reverse order (like most email systems these days), so it might make more sense to start reading at the bottom.

Note also how this developer has all his/her source codes working copies on his/her operating system partition, great organization (NOT) ! Then again, (s)he has probably never set up a computer with more than one partition before.

I also like the way this programmer thinks that Shortcuts are a type of link ("Dragging the directory and holding ctrl-shift"), although he/she does recognize that they are not the same as actual symbolic links or junctions. Windows shortcuts are not, never have been, and never will be, a file-system feature in anyway whatsoever. They were an attempt by Microsoft to imitate Unix Symlinks when they brought out the abysmal Windows 95, but they require intelligence at the application level in order to work properly (so M$ can blame other software vendors for not following THEIR standards). Luckily, the standard file open dialog handles them reasonably well, but if you give an application the path of a shortcut, it will try to open the actual shortcut, not the target that it refers to.

From: <Me>
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 11:55 AM
To: <A Unix savvy friend of mine who's not on the ProductX development team>
Subject: RE: Using a link for Thirdparty

Thought you might enjoy this for a bit of a laugh. I was going to include the following two paragraphs as well, but thought that might be a bit much for a Monday :P Sorry to bother you with <ProductX> related stuff again :)


MS also did not invent virtual memory, disk compression or window snapping. I’m glad they finally do have Window snapping although it doesn’t work properly on multi-monitors and virtual machines, so I’m guessing it only works properly on hardware which pays kickbacks to MS (just kidding, but who knows), and I’m rolling my eyes that this is considered an add-on feature because it’s so “revolutionary”, although of course it still doesn’t work half as well as on Gnome.

I’ve been using Linux quite a bit recently as you may have guessed, and I have to say it’s the first time in my life that I’ve seen the CPU actually hit absolute 0% ... right now I’m in Windows and my CPU is bouncing between 4% and 40% with absolutely nothing happening on the screen. Why? Security by self-denial of service? And I have never seen Windows drop below 3% CPU in my life, nor have I seen and heard the hard disk light and disk head inactive for more than about a second. On Ubuntu, sometimes it’s so quiet that if you blank the screen and turn off all the other noisy Windows machines in the room, you would think it’s turned off ... But as soon as you move the mouse, everything pops back to life, ready in an instant to submit to your will, without needing to reload gigabytes of worthless junk from the paging file.


From: <Me>
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 11:49 AM
To: <All Members of the ProductX development team>
Subject: RE: Using a link for Thirdparty

I’ve been doing this ever since I figured out that <ProductX> required two copies of the same thing on the same physical disk, so I ended up finding the “Junction” utility from SysInternals, and I showed <Programmer2 of ProductX team> how to use this utility back in February. I realized about 3 months ago that Windows now has the “mklink” command built in, so I don’t need to download Junction anymore. Symbolic links are something I learned from Unix about 20 years ago, although Unix itself has probably had this feature for almost 40 years, just in case anybody thought MS invented them :-)

Hard links are even more fun, they make the same file appear in multiple places, and all of those “places” look exactly like an actual file, not like a link, and there is no quick and easy way to tell from where else a particular file is being linked. If you delete the file from one location while others remain, the file seems to get deleted, but disk usage doesn’t change, just like a reference counting pointer :-)

From: <Programmer1 of ProductX team>
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 6:59 AM
To: <All Members of the ProductX development team, including me>
Subject: Using a link for Thirdparty

To compile <ProductX> we need ThirdPartyBinaries and ThirdPartyBinariesX64, ThirdPartyBinariesX86.
ThirdPartyBinariesX64 and ThirdPartyBinariesX86 are provided via sourcecontrol, ThirdPartyBinary is not and must be generated by hand (something I always forget).
If you are using 64 bit then it is a copy of the X64 directory, for these 32 bit machines if we still have them then it is a copy of the X86 directory.

Now instead of a copy we can use a link.
There are 3 ways you can set up a link.
- Dragging the directory and holding ctrl-shift. This creates a file which links to the new directory. Whilst we can use this in explorer to browse, it is no good for the compiler.
- Using a dos window (run as admin!) use mklink as follows:

C:\Development\Net4>mklink /d ThirdPartyBinaries ThirdPartyBinariesX64
symbolic link created for ThirdPartyBinaries <<===>> ThirdPartyBinariesX64

Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is XXXX-9999

Directory of C:\Development\Net4

19/08/2010 11:44 <DIR> .
19/08/2010 11:44 <DIR> ..
19/08/2010 11:41 779 .hgignore
19/08/2010 11:30 <DIR> <ProductX>
19/08/2010 11:41 <DIR> Thirdparty
19/08/2010 11:44 <SYMLINKD> ThirdPartyBinaries [ThirdPartyBinariesX64]
19/08/2010 11:30 <DIR> ThirdPartyBinariesX64
19/08/2010 11:41 <DIR> ThirdPartyBinariesX86
1 File(s) 779 bytes
7 Dir(s) 285,707,583,488 bytes free

Notice how the directory knows that it is a symbolic link. And this works.
- You can also use the /j option in mklink which creates a junction, but this is not necessary...


<Programmer1 of ProductX team>

From: <Team Leader of ProductX team>
Sent: 19 August 2010 10:30
To: <Programmer1 of ProductX team>
Subject: Command is mklink.exe

Can you work out what to do and then email the <ProductX> developers

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Dedication!!

Matthew Breithaupt: Sheesh, all the sacrifices i make for my company... for example, this morning, when I arrived in the car park, Metallica's One was playing on the radio, and rather than sit through the entireity of this 9 minute masterpiece, i took my keys out of the ignition and went upstairs
Matthew Breithaupt: Naaah... i'm just kidding, I wouldn't do such a thing to Metallica!