June 2005

Wahoo! iPod Photo

June 1, 2005 - Categories: emacs, linux

So much for not being a gadget freak. =)

Dad got me an iPod Photo (30GB). After I formatted it to FAT32 using Windows, it mounted easily under Linux.
I used the excellent bbdb-vcard-export.el to export my address book to lots and lots of VCF files, which I then copied into the iPod Photo.

I downloaded a couple of speeches and podcasts for my spiffy new iPod.
I’m looking for audio books and poetry. Would anyone have a freely
distributable archive of Shakespearean sonnets in MP3 form? If not,
I’ll probably try using a synthesizer to make instant e-books, or I
can record them a poem or two at a time…

Downside? Adding new photos requires iTunes, which means I need to use
either Windows or a Mac. I guess I’ll really be bringing the Vaio with
me.

Also, I’m really looking forward to
ipodlinux fully supporting the iPod
Photo. I’d love to run Linux on the device! I need to figure out how
to flash the bootloader on and how to recover from mistakes. If I get
that working, then I can help hack…

我々は問題解決と情報整理のためにコンピューターを使う。 We use computers to solve problems and to put information in order.

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Flash fiction: GLUTTONY – 55 words

June 2, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

GLUTTONY (55 words)
Flash fiction by Sacha Chua

“Gluttony is indecent and a catalyst for sin,” said his devoted
mother, measuring rice grains for the famished boy.

“But mom!”

“Forgiving it would be like sending you to hell. No.” She controlled
everything he ate and did.

Eventually she died, still dogmatic and unrepentant. Traumatized, he
satiated himself on junk food. He died obese.

E-Mail to flashxer@yahoogroups.com

コンピュータの操作の仕方を知ってますか。 Do you know how to operate a computer.

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Introducing the Hipster PDA

June 2, 2005 - Categories: organizer, planning, productivity

by Sacha Chua

(Sneak preview of m-ph entry for tomorrow)


“I’ve found the perfect PDA,” I gushed. My friends perked up. Knowing
how much of a geek I am, anything I was that crazy about was bound to
be interesting. They leaned over and watched as I reached into my bag
and brought out…

Hipster PDA
… my Hipster PDA.

“SACHA?!”


Introducing the Hipster PDA

One of the hottest topics in the productivity blogosphere right now is
the Hipster PDA, a surprisingly effective low-tech way to
organize your life. Grab a pack of 3″x5″ index cards and a fold-back
clip and you’re set to go!

What’s so cool about the Hipster PDA?

Here’s what you can do with your own Hipster PDA:

For more information, check out the following links:

43 Folders: Introducing the Hipster PDA

Technorati: Hipster PDA

Check back on Wednesday for tips on making the most of your Hipster PDA!

そのデザイン・ハウスにとって、コンピュータ製造にさらに急進的な色彩を導入することは適切な戦略であった。 For this design house it was an appropriate strategy to introduce even more radical colors into computer production.

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xtla and Gnus

June 2, 2005 - Categories: emacs

There is a feature in xtla.el to send/review patches via gnus.

To set it up, you need the following lines for your .emacs:

(tla-insinuate-gnus)
(setq tla-apply-patch-mapping
      '(((nil "planner" nil  nil nil) "~/work/planner-dev/")))

Replace ~/work/planner-dev/ with your planner working directory

The patches are sent as .tar.gz files.

When you receive such a patch (I will send one soon), You can hit

K t v to view the patch

K t a to apply the patch

I can even provide a log message in the mail.
You can insert the log message via C-c C-p in the tla-log-edit buffer.

E-Mail from Stefan Reichör

その限られた性能のために私はコンピユーターに幻滅を感じている。 Its limited capability has disenchanted me with computer.

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Productive day!

June 2, 2005 - Categories: emacs, writing

I had so much fun writing today. 500 words for my m-ph entry, 1000 for
the Linux Journal article on taming the todo (okay, I wrote maybe half
of that last week), and 55 for the short story “Gluttony”. I e-mailed
the people I was supposed to e-mail from the game journalists’ meet. I
also released another version of Planner (3.30) and started setting up
better version control.

WHEW!

_And_ I got to bond with my dad this morning, too. We looked for
music. Couldn’t find any decent musicals at Music One. They had the
movie soundtrack for Phantom of the Opera, but I want the Broadway
version because Raoul sounds like such a wuss in the movie. ;) Time to
look for Rent, Cats, and all of those other musicals…

私はこのコンピューターに精通している。 I am familiar with this computer.

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On teaching programming

June 2, 2005 - Categories: education

why do I have to write all this syntactic sugar to just do the canonical “Hello, world”?

I firmly believe that the canonical “Hello, world” program is one of
the worst ways to introduce Java, or even programming in general.

I like BlueJ. It’s a nice, clean, object-oriented environment that
immediately visualizes the difference between objects and classes and
allows students to interact with objects before they even see Java
code. I like the way BlueJ lets you interact with complex systems,
learning about control structures and logic along the way.

A popular Python tutorial starts with using Python as a calculator
instead of just getting it to print strings. Isn’t that a great way
for people to see how immediately useful a programming language can
be?

I wouldn’t start an Emacs Lisp tutorial with (print “Hello, world!”).
I would start it by taking a look at an existing function and
modifying it.

Languages should not all be taught the same way. Just because we might
have learned with “Hello, world” doesn’t mean that “Hello, world” is
the best way to learn how to program. I think there are better ways to
teach computer science, and I want to spend a fairly significant chunk
of my life looking for them.

You can, too. Just remember that you can improve on the way things
have always been done.

E-Mail to True Computer Science Mailing List

彼女は娘のためにパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

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Software Freedom Day

June 7, 2005 - Categories: opensource

1. Why Sept. 10? What’s the significance of that date?

Hehe… well, that wss the day that Open Minds (now the Opensource
Technology Association of the Philippines) declared “war” on
Microsoft in a press conference back in 2002.

Note that the Software Freedom Day, worldwide, strongly discourages
bashing of any companies or individuals. Including Microsoft.

It’s not about war. It’s about freedom.

For consumers, it could be as simple as the freedom to take advantage
of freely-available quality software that they might not know about.
Tell your friends about Mozilla Firefox, GAIM, GIMP, and other neat
programs that run on even Microsoft Windows.

For students and hobbyists, it could be the freedom to participate in
world-wide projects and make a difference not only through code but
also through equally valuable efforts like art, translation, and
documentation.

For companies, it could be the freedom to deploy best-of-breed
solutions without having to allocate budget for yearly licensing.

This is your opportunity to show people what they can do. Listen to
their needs and help them find answers.

Most people don’t care about being anti-Microsoft. If people think
that the best arguments we can make for Free software is that it’s not
Microsoft and it doesn’t cost a thing, then we’re even further from
Freedom than we thought.

その限られた性能のために私はコンピユーターに幻滅を感じている。 Its limited capability has disenchanted me with computer.

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Adding an arbitrary extension to your planner files

June 7, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

Do you want all of your planner files to have a TXT extension so that
they’ll be searched by tools such as Google Desktop or Apple Spotlight?

Use the ‘rename’ tool to add .txt extensions to all of your files, or
use the following code to rename all of your planner files from a
running Planner setup:

(defun my-rename-planner-files ()
  "Rename all my planner files to .txt if they don't have that extension yet."
  (interactive)
  (mapcar
   (lambda (file)
     (unless (string-match "\\.txt$" (cdr file))
       (rename-file (cdr file) (concat (cdr file) ".txt"))
       (message "%s" (cdr file))))
   (planner-file-alist))
  (with-planner
    (emacs-wiki-refresh-file-alist)))

Then add this to your ~/.emacs before you load Planner:

(setq emacs-wiki-ignored-extensions-regexp "\\.txt")

(defadvice emacs-wiki-find-file (around extension activate)
  "Open the Emacs Wiki page WIKI by name.
If COMMAND is non-nil, it is the function used to visit the file.
If DIRECTORY is non-nil, it is the directory in which the Wiki
page will be created if it does not already exist."
  (unless (interactive-p)
    (setq wiki (cons wiki
                     (cdr (assoc wiki (emacs-wiki-file-alist))))))
  ;; At this point, `wiki' is (GIVEN-PAGE FOUND-FILE).
  (if (cdr wiki)
      (let ((buffer (funcall (or command 'find-file) (cdr wiki))))
        (if (= (prefix-numeric-value current-prefix-arg) 16)
            (with-current-buffer buffer
              (set (make-variable-buffer-local 'emacs-wiki-directories)
                   (cons (file-name-directory (cdr wiki))
                         emacs-wiki-directories))
              (set (make-variable-buffer-local 'emacs-wiki-file-alist)
                   nil)))
        buffer)
    (let* ((dirname (or directory
                        (emacs-wiki-maybe t)
                        (car emacs-wiki-directories)))
           (filename (expand-file-name (car wiki) dirname)))
      (unless (file-exists-p dirname)
        (make-directory dirname t))
      (funcall (or command 'find-file) (concat filename ".txt")))))

新しいパソコンを買うつもりで金を溜めているんだ。 I am saving money in order to buy a new personal computer.

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Automatically scheduling tasks onto TaskPool

June 9, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner
(defadvice planner-create-task-from-buffer (before paul activate)
  "Automatically schedule task onto TaskPool as well as other projects."
  (if plan-page
      (unless (string-match plan-page "TaskPool")
        (setq plan-page (concat plan-page planner-multi-separator "TaskPool")))
    (setq plan-page "TaskPool")))

Here’s another snippet that will unschedule tasks from TaskPool when
you mark them completed with C-c C-x (planner-task-done). Nifty stuff,
huh?

(defadvice planner-task-done (after paul activate)
  "Remove completed tasks from the TaskPool if that still leaves them linked."
  (let ((info (planner-current-task-info)))
    (when (planner-task-link-text info)
      ;; If it is linked to TaskPool _and_ at least one other thing
      (if (string-match planner-multi-separator (planner-task-link-text info))
          (planner-multi-replan-task
           (planner-multi-make-link (planner-multi-filter-links "^TaskPool$" (planner-multi-task-link-as-list info) t)))
        ;; Else if it has a date and is linked to TaskPool
        (if (and (planner-task-date info)
                 (string= (planner-task-link info) "TaskPool"))
            (planner-replan-task nil))))))

原始的な計算機が、コンピューターの開発されるずっと以前に存在していた。 Primitive calculating machines existed long before computers were developed.

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Hipster PDA: Waste of paper?

June 16, 2005 - Categories: emacs

An insightful but anonymous person wrote in:

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but even though the
HipsterPDA is excellent for notetaking etc., it really is a waste of
paper!

“My notes and to dos are NOT a waste” I hear you cry. But that’s not
what I’m referring to. I’m referring to using ONE index card for
writing a phone number, or an address, or a task. When this
information is then transferred to the necessary electronic or paper
area, the card is thrown in the trash – what a waste!

I apologise to those of you who recycle your cards, but from the many
articles, comments I’ve read re: HipsterPDA, most people just trash
the card and that’s it.

I’m not a great fan of the digital world, but this disrespect for
paper (and ultimately the rainforests) is just not on.

Hmm. Good point. Index cards require more processing than cheap paper
notebooks do. I like the feel of heavy paper, and index cards require
more chemicals and raw material than paper notebooks do.

I use one index card for all my notes regarding a meeting (and
sometimes two if I need to segregate topics or spill over). I throw
the card away after I get the data into my Planner. I don’t really use
my index cards for keeping track of tasks, as most of my tasks so far
have been computer-related. My deck of index cards is really more for
jotting down notes, making quick sketches, or giving information to
other people.

I feel the trade-off is justified. I work better with index cards. A
pack of 100 or 500 index cards is a small price to pay if it helps me
keep track of things I should do or little nuggets of information I
should pass onto other people.

Even if you multiply that by all the billions of people in the world,
as long as they use their index cards to help themselves keep track of
things worth keeping track of, then I think that’s a net win for the
earth.

Conservation is important, but it is not enough to see the evil in
little things. We make a lot of choices that cost the environment.
Food. Clothes. Housing and furniture. Should we stop eating because
cooking by gas or electricity uses a lot of energy from non-renewable
sources and the amount of waste going on in fast food places and
restaurants is staggering? Should we stop patronizing bookstores
because the vast majority of books don’t get read and reused? Should
we take our fingers off our keyboards now in protest against the way
computers contribute to environmental problems? Should we take direct
steps to end the world’s population problem? We make choices.

In this case, I think my pack of index cards is certainly worth it. I
respect paper, which is why I write down things that are worth writing
down. I respect trees. I really, really like trees, and wish we had
more in the city.

After I fill up the card and store it somewhere, I won’t be able to
use it a lot. I could write on my cards with a pencil and erase my
writing until the card falls apart, but my time and the earth’s time
isn’t worth that.

It’s good to look for ways to save the environment. Reduce, reuse and
recycle. However, don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. Little
things matter, but if they help you do better things, then maybe it’s
worth it. You just need to make sure that what you’re doing is worth
the cost.

It’s one more thing to add to the pile of recyclable material (not
that garbage is really segregated in this country), one more problem
contributing to the death of the earth, but it’s something I choose to
use. Not that this is going to convince hard-core environmentalists
that I’m not a selfish, evil person, but at least I know and take
responsibility for my choice.

E-Mail from Richi’s server

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Emacs snippet for pmwiki attachments

June 16, 2005 - Categories: emacs
(defun sacha/dired-marked-images-as-attach ()
  "Return a list of images ready to be inserted into a pmwiki page."
  (interactive)
  (kill-new (mapconcat
             (lambda (item)
               (concat "Attach:" (file-name-nondirectory item)))
             (dired-get-marked-files)
             "\n")))

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Wireless wonders

June 17, 2005 - Categories: linux

I struggled with installing the DWL-650 wireless LAN card on my
Microsoft Windows XP partition for half an hour before I gave up and
booted to Linux. I suppose that if the operating system hadn’t been in
Japanese, I might’ve had a shot. What do you expect from Sony recovery
CDs for a unit primarily for the Japanese market?

On the other hand, Linux was a breeze with Ubuntu Linux, a
slick Debian-based distribution backed by
Canonical. My copy came from
Jerome Gotangco, Ubuntu documentation guy
for the Philippines.

Setting up wireless was just a matter of plugging my DWL-650 in.
D-Link really screwed up with that card by using the same model number
for cards using completely different chipsets, but Ubuntu
automatically found and loaded the module I needed.

Because we don’t want the next-door Internet cafe to sponge off our
wireless access, we protect our router with a simple MAC address
filter list. I couldn’t figure out where to find my MAC address in the
graphical network configuration tool, but a quick whiz through dmesg
turned up the magic numbers I needed to add to my router’s filters.
After I plugged that into the router’s web-based configuration tool,
set the ESSID in Ubuntu’s friendly network admin interface, and
activated the device, I was off and running.

Great stuff, huh? Now if I can just get it to work under stock Debian…

コンピューターは、たちえ緩慢にせよ大きな変化を引き起こした。 Computers caused a great if gradual change.

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Planner support for action-lock.el

June 18, 2005 - Categories: emacs

action-lock.el is part
of HOWM. The following code enables Planner-style links
_anywhere_. Add it to your ~/.emacs and use M-x action-lock-mode
to turn action locking on.

(add-to-list 'action-lock-default-rules
             (list (with-planner emacs-wiki-url-or-name-regexp)
                   'planner-action-lock-follow-name-at-point))
(setq action-lock-rules action-lock-default-rules)
(defvar planner-action-lock-default-directory planner-directory "Expand files relative to this directory.")
(defun planner-action-lock-follow-name-at-point (&optional other-window)
  (let ((link-name (match-string 0))
        (base-buffer (current-buffer))
        ;; the name of the buffer that contains the link.  check
        ;; whether buffer-name is a WikiName, else make it one
        (parent-name (or (emacs-wiki-page-name)
                         (concat "[[" (buffer-name) "]]")))
        (refresh-buffer nil))
    (with-planner
      (let ((link (emacs-wiki-wiki-link-target link-name)))
        (if (emacs-wiki-wiki-url-p link)
            (emacs-wiki-browse-url link other-window)
          ;; The name list is current since the last time the buffer was
          ;; highlighted
          (let* ((base (emacs-wiki-wiki-base link-name))
                 (file (emacs-wiki-page-file base))
                 (tag  (and (not (emacs-wiki-wiki-url-p link))
                            (emacs-wiki-wiki-tag link)))
                 (find-file-function (if other-window
                                         'find-file-other-window
                                       'find-file))
                 (parent-allowed-backlink-p
                  (not (string-match
                        emacs-wiki-exclude-backlink-parent-regexp
                        parent-name)))
                 (parent-backlink (and parent-allowed-backlink-p
				   (emacs-wiki-get-current-backlink)))
                 (newbuf
                  (funcall find-file-function
                           (or file
                               (expand-file-name
                                       base
                                       (or planner-action-lock-default-directory
                                           (and (buffer-file-name)
                                                (file-name-directory
                                                 (buffer-file-name)))
                                           default-directory)))))
                 (emacs-wiki-create-backlinks
                  (and emacs-wiki-create-backlinks parent-allowed-backlink-p))
                 (make-link-p (and emacs-wiki-create-backlinks
                                   ;; insert backlink only in new files
                                   (null file)
                                   (not (string-match
                                         emacs-wiki-exclude-backlink-regexp
                                         (emacs-wiki-page-name
                                          (buffer-file-name newbuf)))))))
            (when tag
              (goto-char (point-min))
              (re-search-forward (concat "^\\.?#" tag) nil t))
            (when refresh-buffer
              (when make-link-p
                (emacs-wiki-insert-backlink parent-name parent-backlink))
              ;; todo: is with-current-buffer necessary here?
              (with-current-buffer newbuf
                (add-hook 'after-save-hook
                          'emacs-wiki-refresh-buffers-once t t)
                ;; save the new file to avoid another backlink if the
                ;; buffer is visited again before being saved
                (when (or make-link-p
                          (and (null file)
                               (not parent-allowed-backlink-p)))
                  ;; set modified status to t: pages with excluded
                  ;; parents may not be modified, but we want to save
                  ;; anyway
                  (set-buffer-modified-p t)
                  (save-buffer))))))))))

コンピュータの知識はすべての科学」にとって基本である。 Knowledge of computers is basic to all sciences.

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Geek jewelry

June 21, 2005 - Categories: geek

http://www.zellestyle.com/catalog/index.htm

I want. Actually, I want to learn how to make something like that…

Think Rich, Pinoy

June 21, 2005 - Categories: !Uncategorized

Larry Gamboa

Seems to be a rehash of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, padded
out with anecdotes of personal success at real estate thanks to a
mentor who is named and praised effusively throughout the book. It
feels more like a “this is the magic formula” book than a level-headed
look at finances. I wouldn’t buy it or recommend it to others.

Love & Money: A Life Guide for Financial Success

June 21, 2005 - Categories: book, finance

Jeff Opdyke

I browsed through this book on a whim and ended up reading it cover to
cover. This John Wiley book is a great read if you’re looking for
sound advice on finances and relationships. Here’s the book blurb from
the publisher’s site:

Reviews: “The financial decisions we make in our lives are sometimes not the easiest to discuss but have long-lasting effects. [Opdyke’s advice] has opened the door in my relationship to conversations that were a long time coming.” – Josh, regular reader of Opdyke’s “Love & Money” column, Florida

Real answers to real questions about money and relationships:

  • I have too much debt and my credit isn’t very good. How can I fix my financial problems? And how do I break the news to my boyfriend?
  • How do I teach my kids the value of money, when my parents shower them with expensive gifts?
  • My wife makes more money than I do, does that give her a greater voice in our financial decisions? Are we still equal?
  • How much should I give my child in allowance? And will it really help him learn the value of a dollar?
  • We want to have our first baby, but we don’t know if we can afford it yet. How much money do we really need to have in the bank?

If you’re like most people, you’re struggling with questions like these. Whether we like it or not, money makes a big difference in the choices we make and the lives we lead. Unresolved questions about money can put unwanted stress on even the healthiest relationships–between spouses, between parents and children, and even between friends. In Love & Money, columnist Jeff Opdyke offers practical personal finance advice, as well as strategies for dealing with touchy financial topics–so that money doesn’t end up costing you something even more valuable.

Random notes:

Formative

Building a life together

Kids

Middle years

Retirement

彼女には2人の兄弟がいて、コンピューター業界で働いている。 She has two brothers, who work in the computer industry.

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

I have been browsing through Logsense
(http://www.logsense.com) — that blog also some various tips that are
helpful :) Thanks for sharing your notes. Finance – that is something
I am horrible at. The game last Saturday just made me realize how
clueless I am. I ought to get a grip on myself. Am not getting any
younger. And I ought to think of the future, not just the now! Thing
is that with things overwhelming me now, I forget about things for the
future.

コンピューター産業の発展は非常に急速である。 The development of the computer industry has been very rapid.

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Driving lessons: 1st hour — 2005.06.20

June 21, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

P: Pass, NI: Needs Improvement, F: Fail

1. IDENTIFICATION OF BLOWFATCH(tm) P
2. PRE-START ROUTINE .
Are all doors properly closed? P
Is your driving seat in the right position? P
Are the mirrors clean and properly adjusted? P
Have you and your passengers put on seat belts? P
3. IDENTIFICATION AND PROPER USE OF CONTROLS NEAR THE STEERING WHEEL .
turn signals P
wiper & washer P
window controls P
hazard P
horn P
4. HANDLING OF STEERING WHEEL .
proper handling (10:10 position) P
turning of steering wheel NI
5. IDENTIFICATION AND USES OF PEDALS .
clutch P
brake P
gas P
6. DIAGRAM ON GEAR SHIFTING LEVER AND ITS USES P
7. STARTING AND STOPPING PROCEDURES .
proper stepping on and controlling of pedals NI
footwork and working level of clutch NI
8. PROPER WAY OF SHIFTING GEARS P
9. OBSERVING SAFE DISTANCES .
safe following distance P
safe stopping distance P
10. LEFT AND RIGHT TURNING .
observing TLSL before turning NI
11. INSTRUMENTAL PANEL BOARD .
indicator lights P
gauges P

Remarks: FOCUS IN CONTROLLING OF PEDALS AND TURNING OF YOUR STEERING WHEEL. MORE RELAX!

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私はパソコンを修理してもらいました。 I had my personal computer repaired.

Driving lessons: 2nd hour — 2005.06.21

June 21, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized
1. REVIEW THE FOLLOWING .
PRE-START ROUTINE P
proper handling of steering wheel P
shifting of gears P
starting and stopping procedures P
left and right turning P
safe distances P
2. STRAIGHT DRIVING P
3. RESPONDING TO TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNALS .
traffic lights P
pedestrian lights P
traffic officer’s signals P
4. FOLLOWING ROADWAY SIGNS AND PAVEMENT MARKINGS P
5. TURNING TO THE CORRECT LANE AT AN INTERSECTION P

好むと好まざるとにかかわらず、コンピュータが、われわれの生活の中で重要な役割を果たしていることは確かである。 Computers are certainly playing an important role in our life, whether we like it or not.

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Driving lessons: 3rd hour — 2005.06.21

June 21, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized
1. PRE-START ROUTINE P
2. REVIEW THE FOLLOWING: .
starting and stopping procedures P
shifting gears P
safe distances P
3. BACKING PROCEDURES P
4. PARKING PROCEDURES .
entering and leaving perpendicular, diagonal and parallel parking spaces P

Remarks: PRACTICE.

(Uh oh. I know how to park now…)

データは、メインコンピューターから自分のものに転送できるし、またその逆もできる。 Data can be transmitted from the main computer to yours, and vice versa.

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Good presentation tips

June 22, 2005 - Categories: presentation

Five Rules for Better PowerPoint Presentations (from Working Smart) is a great post on presentation skills. Here are his five rules.

According to my students, my most memorable presentation was the one I did on computer history.

Right. Computer history.

I had one thought per slide. One line. Sometimes not even a line, just a picture.

The pictures were visual aids for the story I told about operating
systems. I couldn’t stand the bullet lists that all the other teachers
were using, so I made something very sparse but fun.

One of my students said it felt like a TV ad. <laugh>

Slides are a tool, not a crutch.

Working Smart – My Favorite Powerpoint Resources is a treasure-trove of links on presentation skills. Here are some nifty ones from that list:

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

*laugh!* Unix humor ;) But it is true. Gah! I hate
presentations that rely on the dratted slides… I avoid doing that as
well. But I still haven’t gotten the hang of it. However, stories are
something i enjoy telling and listening to. HMmmm. I guess that is why
I enjoyed my archival science electives! :) My prof used to tell
stories more often than lectures. I seem to absorb more that way. My
classmates don’t get it though. But that style works for me. Hmmmm.
When I do get to teach, I will remember this! ;)

今日この番組でハッカーの問題をクローズアップするんだって。 This program is going to focus on computer hacking issues today.

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Information Design

June 22, 2005 - Categories: plans, presentation

While reading about presentation skills, I stumbled across a page entitled “So where are all the Information Designers?”. I found a name for what I’m interested in! Information design is what I do with wikis. I should learn more about this.

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

I have seen some courses aside from the one you showed me. :) It looks very interesting. Very similar to what librarians do! *laugh* I really must take a break and re-assess my life.

冗談を言うほど賢いコンピューターがありえるだろうか。 Can there be a computer intelligent enough to tell a joke?

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Geeks and soft stuff

June 22, 2005 - Categories: emacs, geek

Kathy Sierra (Creating Passionate Users) was surprised to
find that geeks are very interested in learning about “soft” topics like community.

I’m _crazy_ about my community of passionate users and co-developers. The personal information manager I maintain gives me so many opportunities to tailor it to fit people’s individual quirks. I love getting things to fit people. It’s about people, not code. I love helping people become more productive. Dominique says I’m wired differently. He hasn’t met a lot of maintainer-types; most open source developers he’s met are just happy to get something out there. Me, I get my kick out of the relationship I build with the other people throughout the years. I get my kick out of making people’s lives easier. I don’t write extremely clever code, but I learn so much from them about the ways people plan!

I’m also crazy about organizing information and collecting knowledge. “So where are all the Information Designers?” gave me a name for my interest in wikis and developing a culture of documentation in communities. Again, it’s about people! =) Sure, I have to know the technology to set up a good wiki and customize it to their needs, but I’m really more focused on the process and the culture.

Is it ungeeky to be interested in these things, to devour business and
psychology books even more avidly than I do technical books? I don’t
think so. To me, people and organizations have even more complex and
fascinating systems that I want to hack. They’re way, way, way cool.
I’ve come a long way since my “eewww, MIS!” days, and I look forward
to learning more about the way people work.

ジョーンズ先生はコンピュータを教えています。 Mrs. Jones is teaching computer science.

UPDATE: I’m not the only one! J. Alejandro Noli said: “Wow Sacha, I completely understand that point and let me tell you: I’m with you!”

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

I think that geeks would be more or less interested in communities
because geeks like being in communities *laugh* That is purely my
opinion though. But if you will observe the people into FOSS, we are
all interacting on a regular basis, sharing tips and new developments
or code. And if you think about it, if not for the community of geeks,
where would be FOSS now? ;) Maybe geeks aren’t the typical sociable
people but geeks seem to enjoy going together as groups :) I guess
it’s because geeks tend to have a certain focus on things we like in
common but I suppose that not all geeks are out and out very sociable.
But the sense of community is definitely there. (But as I already
mentioned earlier, this is purely my opinion, based on my
experiences.)

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Backpack

June 25, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

By popular demand we’ve implemented drag and drop
reordering of to-dos and notes in Backpack.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! http://backpackit.com is _so_ cool!

Hooray for Javascript wizards. They totally rock.

E-Mail from Jason Fried

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Open-Sourcing Conferences

June 26, 2005 - Categories: conference

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8392

Interesting idea: put the focus on the attendees…

それらの単語は彼のコンピュータ・スクリーンに現れたのだった。 The words would appear on his computer screen.

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Make a difference

June 27, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

You are all invited to attend the New Volunteers Orientation of Hands
On Manila on Tuesday, June 28th at the Powerbooks Megamall, Bldg. A,
beginning at 6pm. Hands On Manila is a non-profit organization that
coordinates a wide range of flexible volunteer opportunities around
the Mega Manila area. There are no skills required so whether you
want to do a feeding program with street children, teach some basic
baking skills, tutor Math and English, or conduct a badminton sports
clinic, there’s something for everyone.

For inquiries, please call dondon marquez or abby pacquing at 843-5231,
843-7044 or email homla@info.com.ph

コンピューターを使える人を探しています。 We are looking for somebody who can use a computer.

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ntfsresize

June 27, 2005 - Categories: linux, opensource

Marcelle’s laptop (a Compaq Presario 2500 with 60GB of hard disk
space) succumbed to malware. I’m helping him out so that I can play a
few days of Sims 2 on his laptop. ;) To avoid future problems with
Microsoft Windows reinstallations, we’d like to make separate
partitions for games and data. That way, the next time he has problems
with Windows, he can just wipe C: and scan the other two drives.

Unfortunately, Compaq’s QuickRestore System Recovery CD makes one
NTFS partition that occupies all of the space on the hard disk.
PartitionMagic would’ve done the trick, but its hefty price-tag
just isn’t worth this one-time use.

Linux to the rescue. I’ll be installing Ubuntu on Marcelle’s laptop
anyway so that he has a relatively safer system for browsing the Web
and posting blog entries. When he’s in a strange network, he can use
Linux to protect himself from the worms and malware that would just
love to reinfect his computer.

Ubuntu’s based on the popular Debian GNU/Linux distribution, and among
other things, it contains a tool for resizing NTFS partitions without
losing any data. You don’t even need to defragment your hard disk
before resizing it. I had to run chkdsk from the Windows recovery CD
to take care of a persistent error in the filesystem before I could
use ntfsresize, but resizing it was easy after I took care of that
problem. I followed the suggested usage in
http://mlf.linux.rulez.org/mlf/ezaz/ntfsresize.html and set up the
partitions just the way I wanted them.

Hooray for Linux! Microsoft Windows might not anticipate my need to
organize data the way _I_ want to, but free software gives me the
tools I need to do what I want.

今やノート型コンピューターは弁当箱と同じくらいが一般的だ。 Now note computers are as common as lunch boxes.

John Sturdy writes:

If only I had known about Ubuntu being able to do the resize for you
— I’ve just spent a rather sore week setting up an uncooperative
Windows machine as dual-boot, using a variety of tools including
Partition Magic, parted, and others!

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Cool, another Emacs geekette

June 27, 2005 - Categories: emacs

Svaksha is another Emacs geekette. She passed
by my blog and left an encouraging note about voicing one’s thoughts.
=)

コンピューターは、たちえ緩慢にせよ大きな変化を引き起こした。 Computers caused a great if gradual change.

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Forms

June 27, 2005 - Categories: family, plans

My mom’s amazing. Her interest in organizing information helped
professionalize the advertising photography industry here in the
Philippines. She told me how they exchanged forms with other
photographers, sharing with them the format for the cost estimates so
that clients would be able to find information easily.

Many of the forms we use haven’t been shared with other people in the
industry. I wonder when they’re going to do another forms exchange to
help other photographers learn how to manage their work? I really
admire the way my mom keeps looking for ways to improve the workflow.
Now we’re getting client call reports from the account executives. Way
cool!

I want to get into that sort of stuff. I want to learn how to identify
the kind of information we need to capture and design the forms to
make it easier for people to write things down. My mom’s still working
on finding a balance between asking for too little and too much
information. People skip fields if the form asks for too much
information. Hmm…

US laws say that blank forms aren’t protected by copyright because the
forms do not contain information in themselves. I wonder what our laws
say? Anyway, this is cool stuff. I want to do things like the D.I.Y. Hipster PDA templates

何社製のコンピューターをお使いですか。 What make of computer do you use?

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Geeksta rap

June 27, 2005 - Categories: geek

Wired: Rap Marketing Comes to Nerdcore

Well, whaddaya know. =)

優れたコンピュータでもチェスではあなたを負かせない。 Even a good computer can’t beat you at chess.

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Really funky Planner sorting

June 29, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

The following code sorts completed tasks in reverse-chronological
order and incomplete tasks in chronological order. This makes it
easier to see the next action (top of list) and the last action (first
completed task).

(defun sacha/planner-sort-tasks-by-date ()
  "Sort tasks by date, status and priority."
  (skip-chars-forward "#ABC")
  (let ((ch (char-before))
        status)
    (skip-chars-forward "0123456789 ")
    (setq status (char-after))
    (goto-char (line-end-position))
    (skip-chars-backward "]) ")
    (format "%1c%1c%10s"
            (cond
             ((= status ?o) ?1)
             ((= status ?X) ?3)
             ((= status ?C) ?4)
             (t ?2))
            ch
            (let ((date (or (planner-task-date (planner-current-task-info))
                            planner-sort-undated-tasks-equivalent)))
              (if (or (= status ?X)
                      (= status ?C))
                  (sacha/planner-invert-date date)
                date)))))

(defun sacha/planner-invert-date (date)
  "Reverse the date in the sorting order."
  (mapconcat (lambda (ch)
               (if (string= ch ".")
                   ch
                 (number-to-string
                  (- 9 (string-to-number ch)))))
             (split-string date "" t) ""))

pos://../emacs/planner-config.el#35188

ここのパソコンはシステムを変えることができないので何もできない。 Because the personal computer here cannot change the system, anything cannot be done.

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Template for Debriefing

June 30, 2005 - Categories: business

Based on Open Loops: Post-Project Analysis: A Strategy for Performance Improvement:

During a debriefing, participants should be nameless and rankless.

Review the Objective

Self-analysis

Facilitator should continue questioning until detailed positive and
negative points emerge. Improvement comes by dealing with the
negatives and remembering the positives.

Revisit original project plan

- Were the outcomes and success criteria clear?
- Were there any miscommunications?
- Was the project too complex for the team?

Analyze what happened

- Review the data. Highlight and discuss mistakes.

Review the project outcomes

- Which success criteria were met or not met?

Lessons Learned

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Feedburner rocks

June 30, 2005 - Categories: blogging

If you haven’t signed up for the awesome RSS/Atom feed processor
called FeedBurner because you’re afraid there’s no going back, relax.
Those FeedBurner guys aren’t out to steal your traffic or enslave your
users. In fact, they care so much about you and your subscribers that
they’ve created an easy way to help your subscribers transition if you
decide to stop using FeedBurner.

So go ahead, take advantage of FeedBurner’s many features. I like the
way it makes my RSS feed browser-friendly. It also splices in my
del.icio.us links for hassle-free bookmark publishing. Great stuff!

Let me plug my own feed here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/sachac . Try
it out!

私は父からコンピューターゲームを与えられた。 I was given a computer game by my father.

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Teaching an old dog new tricks ;)

June 30, 2005 - Categories: geek

My dad is a Mac whiz, but adding new pictures to his portfolio on
the Adphoto website is something he
needs his youngest daughter to do.

Or so he thought. When he asked me to add a couple of pictures to the
website, I laughed and told him to do it himself.

He looked at me skeptically. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,”
he said. Having just heard G-nie Arambulo’s stories about all that
code in the Dreamweaver class she took, my dad wasn’t keen on mucking
about with all of that geek stuff.

“No, no, it’s simple! Here, let me show you.” I showed him how to log
on and edit his page. The other photographers perked up and hurried
over, jotting down notes.

“How do I remove images?”

“Do you know their filenames? Delete those lines.”

“How do I upload a new image?”

“Make a small version of your portfolio shot first. Maybe 77 pixels
like everything else? Then add an Attach: line over there, save, click
on the link, choose the file and upload. Tada!”

“Can I have categories?”

“Sure! Just add a little text. Then you can copy and paste things. You
can drag-and-drop, or you can use the keyboard to copy and paste like
this: Shift-down, Command-x, move, then Command-v…”

“Can I select separate lines?”

“Ummm, no, I don’t thi… HEY! Wow. The Mac’s way cool. What’s that?
Command- and then select?”

My dad set to work, saying, “We’re going to have food brought in.
You’re not leaving until we get this done.” He sounded stern, but I
could tell that he was excited. “Can I add something about my
interests?”

“Sure! Here, let’s write something about Mali. Just edit the page and
add your text before your featured photos.”

John K. Chua has over 30 years of experience in advertising
photography. In his spare time, he takes care of an elephant.

“In fact, you can give Mali her own page. Just add double brackets
around ‘elephant’.”

“Okay. Now walk me through this website, step by step.”

We went through all the pages. He added more detail to the About Us
page, listing cool equipment I couldn’t make heads or tails of. Seeing
him engrossed in organizing and adding to his portfolio, I snuck
back upstairs.

“Sacha, please come down to the main office.” Caught!

“The images are still too big.”

“Hmm, let’s see what we can do…” I remembered that Adobe Photoshop
has a “Save for Web” feature. It suggested saving the picture as GIF
instead of JPEG. GIF’s color limitations weren’t obvious at that size,
and the image quality was acceptable. A few clicks later, we got it
down to 12 KB: just a few seconds on any Internet connection.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?” said my dad,
mock-annoyed. “Now I’m going to have to do all of the pictures again.”

I grinned sheepishly. “Oops, forgot about it.”

When he turned back to the rest of the files, I bounced back upstairs.
Now the website’s in the hands of the people who know the most about
the business. Yay! Technology to the rescue! Wikis totally rock!

Further resources:

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Forms, forms, forms…

June 30, 2005 - Categories: organizer

I have to confess: I’m crazy about forms. When a post like a million monkeys typing: The Crossroads Form turns up in my RSS aggregator, I can’t help but print out a copy and give it a whirl.
I drool over the subtle shades of Douglas Johnston‘s templates and the clean curves of John Norris‘ work. I am Sacha Chua, and I am a forms addict.

I’m fascinated by the way people organize information. Forms and
diagrams are scaffolds for our ideas, giving structure and support.
They make information easy to understand months or even years
afterwards. Forms make it _fun_ to explore thoughts and share them
with others.

Even doodles on a napkin are enriched by a judiciously chosen diagram.
Clusters. Fishbones. Mindmaps. Names roll off my tongue like old
friends who’ve seen me through problems time and again. I even diagram
my way out of stuckness, pausing in the middle of a fit to sketch the
causes of my difficulties and finding ways to deal with them.

I want to learn how to design good forms. I want to learn about the
different designs people use and when each one is appropriate. I want
to listen to people’s information needs and pull just the right
template out of a vast library of forms, checklists and diagrams. I
want to design information.

コンピュータがこの会社に導入されつつあります。 Computers are being introduced into this company.

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Public speaking and mentoring

June 30, 2005 - Categories: speaking, toastmasters

Steve Pavlina wanted to become a professional speaker. He didn’t know much about the business side of speaking, but he found a mentor who helped him get the hang of things.

I WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL SPEAKER.

I love sharing ideas with people. I love bringing my enthusiasm and my
passion to a hall and infecting as many people as I can. I love
learning about presentation techniques and fascinating ideas. I love
getting people to think. Besides, speaking is a great way to get to
meet other fascinating people. I’ve made friends and learned about
opportunities at post-conference dinners.

I love attending workshops and conferences, even for things that I
don’t immediately need. My conference notes focus more on speakers’
delivery styles than actual technical content. My books aren’t about
programming in Java or writing HTML, but business and public speaking.

I love the challenge of providing value to a whole hall of people. As
a wet-behind-the-ears teacher, I’ve presented alternative teaching
techniques in front of veteran educators. I’ve talked about technology
in front of students and professionals. I’ve survived the scrutiny of
a college classroom.

I’ve had my bad days. Unresponsive audiences. Technical problems.
Lackluster content. All of those things just keep pushing me to learn
more, practice more, be better.

I’ve been giving presentations for four years. I’ve turned talks into
articles and blog posts into presentations. I want to learn more. I
want to entertain people the way
Dean Alfar made hundreds of people
laugh during the iblog.ph summit. I want to teach and inspire people
the way Zig Ziglar and other business speakers do.

I want to share what other people and I have learned. I want to talk
about education. Productivity. Technology. I want to raise questions.
I want to provoke thought and action.

I can learn by watching people at conferences. I can learn by
listening to audiobooks. I can learn by reading transcripts, artciles
and books. But if I could find someone to mentor me, who knows how
much faster I’ll learn and how much more value I can give right away?

Who are the best speakers you know? Would they be willing to mentor a
geek more than willing to swap technical knowhow for presentation
mentoring?

そのコンピュータは大変役にたった。 The computer was very useful.

Renan says:

there’s always the toastmaster’s club. there should be one in the
philippines; since you’re moving to canada, there should be one too.
find one that suites your needs. some are topical; for example, some
talk of nothing but politics, others are free-form and tackle whatever
topic the member brings in. i attended a couple of these, and it did
help. bucause of schedule conflict, though, i had to quit.

it toastmaster’s international (toastmasters.org) is not for you,
there’s always the speech class. i have a friend who was a
communications major in college and he told me they had a class on
public speaking where each one of them give a speech on different
topics—-impromptu, extemporaneous, a eulogy, acceptance speech, etc.

of course, as you said, you can learn a lot by listening to people,
especially charismatic speakers, and learn about the psychology of it.

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I can move in after office hours

June 30, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Yay! I don’t have to worry about not being able to make it to office
hours! I can move into the Graduate House in the evening!

That’s a relief. Now I just need to get that darn visa and sort the
rest of the stuff out…

E-Mail from Tara Bunting

コンピューター業界は景気がいい。 The computer industry is enjoying a boom.

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