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Old versus new Apr. 7th, 2014 @ 08:08 am
For a side project at $WORK I need to plot some data.

In the past I used gnuplot but as I wanted to interactively investigate the data I wrote a GUI browser in Clojure. This was relatively easy and fast enough.

But I've been told that I'm not with the new hotness and that I should investigate doing this in the browser. So I found the pretty impressive dygraphs javascript library.

The plots look fantastic and are really what I need. So I make my first html5 like page and tried it.

At first I thought that something was wrong. If I do this plot with gnuplot I get:

$ time gnuplot plot.gnuplot

real	0m0.818s
user	0m0.608s
sys	0m0.209s

In Safari it took 22 minutes, while showing a beachball all the time, to plot this data. Chrome and Firefox do it quite a bit better at only two minutes, but still... not subsecond is it? Using the 'canvas' html5 terminal in gnuplot produces 14M html file which only takes something lik 20 seconds to get drawn in all browsers.

But I must admit that the default look and interactivity of dygraph is lightyears ahead of my gnuplot settings...

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Vampires, I'm surrounded by vampires Jan. 13th, 2014 @ 10:43 am
So after working for a week in the Indian office with my (naturally) Indian colleagues I was finding the older 'all white American' motivational posters on the wall already jarring. The faces I see and value every day are not so pink ;). (it seems that this is going to get addressed soon)

In fact my only gut reaction on walking the street and the office was more of 'there are a lot of Indians here' (doh!). I seem to be pretty used to seeing Indians in the street in Antwerp, it's just the number which is surprising my unconscious mind.

The streets, and traffic chaos, remind me a lot of the more busy areas in Naples, I keep expecting to see a volcano on the horizon.

But a bigger shock for me was in store: Over the weekend I went shopping and while in Europe we seem to have 'tanned' models in adds, over here they go for the vampire look. All the adds seem to employ westerners, and very pale people at that, in fact most of them look sickly pale to me.

Who knew that the 'geek who shuns daylight' look would be fashionable over here ;)

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Current Location: Indian Office
Current Mood: contentcontent

Too long for twitter: dreaming about the culture Sep. 17th, 2013 @ 04:58 am
This morning while waking up I was dreaming about the culture.

It started off as a pretty normal dream involving a hidden base where we lived, with an alien space ship inside of it. The main part was that it was well protected about the rain ;). (It rained a lot here yesterday)

Then it went a bit Casablanca on me because another space ship case to visit the base. The avatar of that ship talked with the alien ship and after a while complained that they were discussing in 'greed'. The alien ship replied that 'greed' was an exact language leaving no ambiguities, like Marain. The avatar replied that indeed 'greed' was almost as exact and well specified as Marain, but that the core of 'greed' is about what you wanted and it limites the possibilities. Marain on the other hand talked about what was possible and the infinite possibilities out there.

Then I realised I was dreaming a Culture novel, and irritatingly woke up.

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Current Mood: sleepysleepy

Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed Jun. 26th, 2013 @ 09:00 am
This was a funny book, but too much 'fantasy' for me. It was also pretty much following the 'default' plot so it was a bit predictable. I also found it a bit not descriptive enough.

All in all not bad, certainly better then 2312 but technically not so good as Redshirts.

Now reading Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and it's gripping.

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2312, Kim Stanley Robinson Jun. 11th, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

The story did not capture me, I could frankly not care less about the characters. Finishing it was a chore. I was having the impression of reading a bad version of AADB but without the humor, joy and captivating story.

In Debian it would go below 'further discussion' :(.

Now reading Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, which even if it is more fantasy then SF for now caught me already and I really want to find out what happens next.

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Other entries
» Hugo 2013: Redshirts
As for the last few years I'm going to try to read the Hugo nominees and vote again.

I started with Redshirts from John Scalzi. Now I like Scalzi, I got Old Man's War in a previous Hugo voter packet and bought a few other books in that series.

However Redshirts is not doing much for me. It feels a bit like professional fanfick, which it is in some way. It is very funny to read and to find the references but in some way it left me unsatisfied.

Next up: 2312 were I am still waiting for it to hook me after ~30% read, which is not a good sign :(.

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» you seem...changed
Just to multicast the links I've been sending to quite a few people who noticed something changed about me.

For the people who have not seen me recently: I used to weigh 50% more 6 months ago, my cholesterol levels also went from 'Borderline high risk' to 'good'.

I'm almost at the magical BMI of 25, only a few more kilo's.

So what is my secret?

Well I did what our great leader showed us: I followed the pronokal diet.

To be honest the main advantage of this over Fitness for Geeks or the primal approach is that it is done under doctors supervision and with pre-packaged meals which make the break from your previous diet easier.

The main point is: sugar is bad very bad for you. All carbohydrates are not good, and cutting them to <100grams/day does wonders.

For the visually inclined there are nice and very funny videos like Bit Fat Fiasco or a faster intro is Tom Naughton talking why people ignore normal diets.

My main problem now is to replace my clothes as they all are several sizes too big now, even the ones I got a month or two ago. That and getting a new user icon and directory picture ;)

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» Moving
We moved to living downstairs as we are renovating the living. Just after the 25th we should move back upstairs again, according to the plan.

And this weekend we helped move the brother in law from Jette to the much more rural Pont-à-Celles, which given the old place was on the 5th floor was quite an enterprise.

Fitbit claims I walked 9.5 km, did 12800 steps and climbed 68 floors. My arms still hurt....

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» Exit stage left: FreeBSD
In the middle of February 2011 I installed FreeBSD 8.2 on our home server. Mostly to experiment with ZFS and a 'different' unix.

I tried hard to get into the FreeBSD way of things and I cannot complain about the stability of FreeBSD or ZFS for that matter. The problems mainly are:
  • the endless recompiles. The time to recompile is not the problem, the problem is that portmaster first stops the running daemons. Then it starts the recompilation of all needed programs. Which means that if a compilation of a random package needs manual intervention and I'm not watching the screen the DHCP leases of devices on my network expire and they lose internet connectivity...
  • the limited support for library updates. Updating means reading /usr/port/UPDATING every time and sometimes fixing stuff by hand. This is interesting as a learning exercise, but my aim is to spend as little time on maintaining my system as possible
  • overwriting my config. I've taken to putting /etc/ and /usr/local/etc in git because upgrades randomly seem to nuke my configuration
  • strange problems with a serial over USB card reader. The card would not read correctly, it works in Linux and OSX but on FreeBSD the data returned is just wrong. So that's running on the Raspberry Pi at the moment.
  • Some programs are not available for FreeBSD like Plex which I wanted to run.

All in all I think that Debian just fits my way of working much better. I like FreeBSD but I think the userspace needs significant work, so I think Debian GNU/kFreeBSD could be interesting for me, bar the problems with the hardware support and commercial software.

In short I hope to move to a Debian unstable setup using ZFS-on-linux to keep the fantastic advantages of ZFS. Maybe in a few years BTRFS will be stable and I'll move to that.

So in the next few days I hope to report how I moved my 2 disk ZFS mirror under FreeBSD to 2x2 disk ZFS mirror under Linux. Hopefully without backup-restore cycle.

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» solving ipod touch podcast problems in the E200
Ever since I had the Mercedes E200 ipod touch/iphone integration I had problems with the player jumping to the start of any podcast it had started. It simply forgot the location.

Which is rather irritating if you are 45 minutes into a 1 hour podcast.

In the last few days I found a solution:

- unlock the ipod touch
- go to the music player, select the podcast
- go back 30 seconds (to not lose a few seconds)
- click 'play'
- attach the ipod touch to the car

there will be a few seconds of silence and then it will continue to play via the car at the right position.


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