Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hey, its been almost 1 year!

Coming up soon will be the 1 Year anniversary of my last blog post!! Wow, seems like only yesterday that I was gushing about the utility of delicious! I'll try to come up with something interesting to post to mark this momentous occasion!! If I can't think of something good, I can always default to my usual...such as current favorite Chinese movie, or top Japanese rock band.

I'll do my best. I don't want to disappoint my 0-2 faithful readers!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hey, that's Delicious!

I have just become informed of a very useful website. Its called Delicious!

Delicious is a website that saves your bookmarks for you, which is very nice for me. I have several computers that I use: a home desktop, office desktop (with dual boot, which makes it like 2 computers), home laptop, work laptop -- all of which contain web browsers that I use (for example Firefox, or in case of Linux, Opera seems to work better). I found myself emailing links/bookmarks to myself so that I can revisit those pages on another computer/browser and then bookmark it there if I want. I also noticed that I have hundreds of bookmarks that get lost in the shuffle. Delicious saved me from this bookmark/link hell!!

Since Delicious allows for quick access to my links from any browser, I don't see why I'll ever bookmark again! Hoooray!!

Another "benefit" is that you can share your links publicly. This is imagined to be a public service of information resource sharing. Each link can be tagged which allows for easier access. You can also specify some links as private if you just want to keep that info to yourself.

My Delicious is under the code-name "mjb888":

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hey, did you know Envy can be a good thing?

Just the facts please.

First: my current position requires some learning of several basic computing languages, of which I have little or no prior knowledge.

Second: computer programmers (a.k.a. geeks) prefer an operating system called Linux. This OS is open source and free. Its based on UNIX and so is more similar to Mac than PC. There are also seemingly hundreds of distribution types ("distros").

Third: I use Linux Mint as my distro (currently Mint 6: Felicia).

Fourth: computer "geeks" in my field also like having dual monitors. I like this too.

Fifth: A good thing about Linux is that since its all open-source, there is less "junk" in the OS. I'm sure all my fellow Windows users can attest to how XP or Vista likes to assume what we want and/or need. I'll add my Apple disclaimer now: Macs combine properties of PC and Linux...that, overall, make it worse than both...the "whole being less than the sum of its parts" so to speak. The details of this statement are not necessary for this post.

Sixth: referencing my 4th and 5th points, some of the proprietary drivers (e.g. for dual monitors) are not included and can be more of a hassle (than say in XP) to install and manual configuration is often necessary.

: OK. On to my real issue here. My dual monitor settings would reset to single monitor (simply turning one monitor off) after each restart of my computer. Very annoying!! The search for the solution began!!

Eight: I remember having this problem when using Mint 5 (Elyssa). Having just installed Mint 6, I had forgotten how I solved this monitor issue. All I could remember was that there was a download package that fixed it and it had a short one-word name that was somehow ironic or cute.

Nine: it took me several hours to find it in Linux forums (most of the "geeks" manually program the files themselves to fix it and so its much more complicated to do it their way...Linux users seem to really love doing things the more complicated way). But I found it!! And now I'm posting this info on my blog so if I need it again, I can find it fast! Maybe I will go back to all the Linux forums and post there too because its really a much simpler solution.

Ten: The solution is to download ENVY. its a program by an Italian dude. This is ironic/cute because the Italian word for "envy" is "invidia" and the video driver that this works with is the NVIDIA driver. Thank you Alberto Milone!! You rock!!!


*image created using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)...basically a free photoshop.


I spoke too soon! ENVY does not work with Mint 6! Therefore, I'm taking this opportunity to try out some other Linux distros. I will try PCLinux2007, PC-BSD, OpenSUSE 11.0, and Dreamlinux. I really like Mint though, so I might just revert to Mint 5 since I know it works. One final note: I have a dual-boot system, so my Windows is always ready!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hey, did you know good nutritional information isn't on the darkside of the moon?

My grandmother gave me a very old medical book (approx. 100 years old) and one of the chapters gives the cure for obesity. You may be surprised to know that the cure is: balanced diet and exercise. Believe it or not, through all the fads, that is still the best treatment.

Sometimes, we feel like we should try this "balanced diet" thing. But does the info on the side of the package really tell us all we need to know? What about things without packaging, like fruits and vegetables and raw meats? I found this website that gives a nice breakdown of food nutrients and has several tools to help you make sure you are getting what you need. In addition to the "raw" foods, it also has many popular brand name foods which contain the ingredient you search for. I haven't checked that part out yet. There seems to be several levels to check out here...including good foods to "match".

Check out: Nutrition Data*

*I am in no way compensated for directing you to this website, though I wish I was.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hey, did you ever imagine peace?

The Imagine Peace Tower is located in Iceland and contains the inscribed words "Imagine Peace" (想像和平) in 24 languages. The tower serves as a memorial to John Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) from widow Yoko Ono. The power for the lights is provided by Iceland's unique geo-thermal energy grid.

Imagine Peace Tower

Imagine Peace News
Strawberry Fields
Wish Trees

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hey, did you see that pomegranates are the answer?

Change you can believe in!

Shamelessly "borrowed" post by "nonny mouse" at Crooks and Liars.

James Brett is an Englishman who, in 1999 while on a business trip to Peshawar in the north west province of Pakistan, had his first glass of pomegranate juice, and fell in love with it. He founded the first pomegranate juice drink in the UK, Pomegreat (.pdf). Further research led him to Afghanistan, where the best pomegranates in the world are grown, particularly in the Kandahar region. A recovering substance abuser, Brett was also aware that Afghanistan was a major producer of heroin.

In 2007, Brett was invited to Kabul to talk to farmers from various regions of Afghanistan about growing pomegranates. He flew to Peshawar and drove through the Khyber Pass heading to Kabul While driving through the Nangarhar Province, he noticed a farmer in a field of opium poppies. After the seminar in Kabul, Brett bought a large piece of card and a blue marker pen, and wrote 'Pomegranate is the Answer'. On his return drive back to Peshawar, he saw the same farmer again in the field, jumped out of the car and ran toward the farmer with his makeshift sign. His horrified translator chased after this mad ginger-haired Brit, yelling, 'Don't go in there, you could be shot!' Undetered, Brett talked to the bewildered farmer through his translator, about the farmer's life, his family, his children, how he lived and why he grew opium, about Brett's own addiction to drugs. Brett explained that pomegranate was not only the best option as an alternative crop to opium poppies, but was the only feasible one for the Afghan climate and growing conditions, and promised to return to the farmer's land a couple months later with pomegranate saplings. He went home and set up a charity called Pom354.

Brett followed through on his promise, returning a few months later to find the farmer had discussed this idea with sixteen other families with land around his own; all of them wanted to become involved. From there, the plan snowballed – in January, 2008, Afghanistan Television interviewed him, and other farmers asked him for help in changing their fields from poppies to pomegranates. The local member of Parliament and a respected Elder in the Tribal system wanted to know more. A tribal meeting covering the entire Nangarhar Province was called, and 200 Tribal elders invited.

The tribal elders agreed to finish poppy cultivation and switch to growing pomegranates throughout the entire Nangarhar Province by next year, making the region of 1.3 million inhabitants opium poppy free for the first time in a hundred years. The elders told Brett that their decision was based not only on a desire to maintain a level of stability, but because he was the first person who had ever come to them as just an ordinary man rather than a member of a foreign government or a military advisor, someone who simply wanted to see positive change. The tribal elders and Brett then conducted the official opening ceremony in that first farmer's field, now cleared of poppies, and planted the first pomegranate tree sapling. A national meeting is now being planned to expand the pomegranate industry throughout Afghanistan, with the broad support of the Afghani tribal elders as well as the government.

If you'd like to listen to an interview with this remarkable, refreshingly mad Englishman, tune into this webcast on Radio New Zealand. You'll be glad you did. (h/t Sue Gee)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hey, did you see that sound?

Cymatics is the study of the physical effects of sound waves. Some have used this idea of the "shapes of sound" in interesting ways. For example, some feel this knowledge can be used to explain such things as psychosomatic illness and promote audio therapy. Thomas J. Mitchell has used the mysterious shapes found at Rosslyn Chapel (mentioned in Dan Brown's Best Seller "The Da Vinci Code") to create music:

Mitchell has used this music "code" as pseudo-supernatural sheet music to produce a CD, entitled the Rosslyn Motet. I have yet to hear the CD, but when I do, I will follow up.

The theories of cymatics are described HERE. The following video gives a better demonstration of the theory than the previous video: