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Parenting the mark of a civilized society?

I have been following Twitter a bit too much lately that my blog has been ignored a little bit. Then again it doesn’t take that much effort for me to ignore my blog on ‘other reasons’.

Speaking of Twitter stuff… I found an interesting ‘conversation’ [1] between Tim OReilly and Mark Littlewood on a BBC article summarizing a report on how inattentive parents are causing more difficulties for present day children.

While it would be nice to believe that parenting can become the mark of a civilized society, it would be interesting to see some more specifics. From what I see at the ground level it is not that easy to achieve. As a parent you only have a limited control of the overall environment a child grows up in. Some of the suggestions by the report are good though. Having more ‘family-oriented’ spaces is a good thing. I am not sure about other countries but in the U.S. and Japan it can be non-trivial to find family-oriented spaces in urban environments. Finding ways to make these available and more accessible to busy parents is overall a good thing.

Some things I could think of off the top of my head that might be nice:

  • More restaurants that are suited to family where parents don’t have to be embarrassed if their children decide to cause a scene
  • Try to be more understanding of the parent with the kid that is causing a scene at the you name it area (grocery store, department store, etc). In general kids, cry for a reason (not always the greatest ones). While jamming a pacifier works as a stopgap. Better solutions revolve around trying to understand the root cause. This of course takes time.

Footnotes

[1] I guess these are conversations in Twitter parlance but it seems more like drive-by thought blurb and commenting to me. Either way some of them can be interesting depending on who is talking

References

Read the BBC article

The anatomy of a daily checklist for an awesome day at work

I don’t know about other people but my daily checklist aspires to be something like this…

1. Come in
2. Kick serious ass
3. Go home

For some reason steps 2 and 3 can be quite troublesome… luckily today was one of those days that the checklist went well!

Writely, years in the making, months in execution

A nice back story on Writely (what is now known as Google Docs) via HN. I particularly like this snippet

[The creators] have been in the application software business for nearly 20 years… they understand the user problem so deeply that they can blend the advantages of each new platform with ‘document authoring problem’ to really build a platform-native solution, not a clone of someone else’s work.

Read more

Zoorasia and the Yokohama Greenery Foundation. It’s not all Dogs & Demons

If you have ever heard of Alex Kerr and have read his book Dogs & Demonsyou would think much less of Japan as a country. Some of the things in that book refer to many pork-barrel politic government projects that include such monstrosities as huge concrete damns in the middle of nowhere. From personal experience, I have seen a couple of these concrete machinations when I did some hiking just outside of the Tokyo area. Very mind boggling indeed.

However, not all government projects are pork-barrel political showcases (I hope). One interesting project located in Yokohama is called Zoorasia. Zoorasia is a large zoo with a multitude of animals from around the planet. The Zoo itself is divided into 7 areas at present that match certain geographic areas of the world. In each area are a set of representative animals from that region. For example there is an Oceanian Grassland area and one of the prominent animals there are kangaroos.

The zoo is run by the Yokohama Greenery Foundation which was established as far back in the mid 70s. Back then it originally called itself the (sorry if I mistranslate here…) The Yokohama City Park Foundation (Nin-idantai Yokohama-shi Kouen Kyoukai – 任意団体横浜市公園協会) however renamed itself to the Yokohama Greenery Foundation in 1984.

The zoo itself is a little inconvenient to reach by public transportation (aka it takes awhile by bus and train). But from what I have seen the park is extremely nice with a very reasonable entrance fee (600Y). One thing I do wonder is whether Zoorasia can support itself in the long run since it is a great resource for families around the area. It would be a shame if maintaining such a nice zoo is actually not sustainable with the budget that they have. But it does seem that Zoorasia’s parent organization has some backing by the Yokohama government which I hope is a good thing. (At least I can feel some of the tax I pay is going to something interesting)

References (In Japanese)

Luke describes a nice methodology for using Mercurial as a way to track patches from a subversion checkout. This type of workflow stuff is very cool imo because it has the following:

  1. Shows a concrete example of how to use a not so trivia tool
  2. Works within constraints (in this example, playing with a subversion checkout)
  3. Fills a need (Managing non-trivial changes to a centralized SCM model without sending tons of commits)

Read More

On the origins of the name Akihabara

Akihabara as many people in Japan know was originally the home for buying electronic goods in the Tokyo area. It still holds that reputation however the Anime Otaku crowd have changed the face of Akihabara to also accomodate their needs and desires.

One thing that is interesting is the origin of place name Akihabara. A friend of mine has an excellent post here

Read more!

Getting X working again after swapping hardware on Open Solaris nv100

After having dain bramaged myself for years with Linux usage. I had gotten spoiled into believing an OS should make it simple to do the following:

1. Shutdown computer
2. Swap around hardware components
3. Restart
4. Life is good

However any techie should tell you this is a pipe dream on Windows. Mac users probably have no clue since they never change hardware components and just buy new Macs to solve their problems. Which leaves the lucky OSS *nix variants to try stunts like this.

Being the stubborn person I am, I attempted this with OpenSolaris by swapping out my motherboard. I wanted to do this in order to take advantage of the E7400 Core 2 Duo that I bought awhile back. Things almost worked however on reboot I was given the dreaded console login screen with a useless keyboard. The following as far as I know don´t work…

1. CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE
2. CTRL-ALT-Fn
3. CTRL-ALT-DEL

Your best bet is to ssh somehow and try to look for clues. Here is what I did…

1. Swap motherboard and stare at dark screen
2. Find out how to boot into single user mode and make sure the kernel isn’t PO-ed or something and find my IP address
3. Move away the X11 configuration that I configured (dual-display) and try rebooting
4. Reboot and find out it isn’t working
5. ssh in and realize it still isn’t working. Move the old dual display X11 config back to /etc/X11/xorg.conf
6. Try restarting gdm with svcadm restart gdm and watch it fail
7. Scritch head some more
8. Try starting X from the SSH session and whoah it works
9. Restart gdm (svcadm restart gdm) and now I get a login screen
10. Realize that I disconnected the left monitor (VGA) to help debug and want it back
11. Logout and log back in. I now have dual screens and a working Solaris install again!

References

Understanding what an L2ARC is

I’ve been silently scanning some Solaris blogs and skimming some of the appropriate websites for documentation on some of the more interesting features of Solaris for awhile now. One thing that requires time to adjust to is the number of acronyms that the Solaris community has to describe their technologies. One of these is called L2ARC.

At first I thought it was some hardware device however after a bit more searching it turns out that it is part of the ZFS technology suite. L2ARC stands for second level ARC where ARC is a read cache system for ZFS that uses a system´s main memory for holding the cache. While ARC uses the hardware´s main memory, L2ARC is designed to take advantage of faster I/O media such as SSD devices to provide faster read throughput than what a typical hard drive can offer.

Brendan Gregg has an excellent overview explaining what the L2ARC is and some of the benefits it can give in accelerating random reads.

Getting KDE 4.1.0 on a Fedora 8 machine when KDE 3 is already there

According to the Fedora FAQ one should be able to update with just this

sudo yum --enablerepo=updates-testing groupupdate "KDE (K Desktop Environment)"

However when I did, I ran into some icons from packages kdepim-3.5.9 and kdegraphics-4.1.0 conflicting with packages crystalsvg-icon-theme and libkipi. Here is a log…

  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/48x48/apps/kpalmdoc.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_contacts.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_date.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_journal.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_mail.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_news.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_notes.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_summary.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_summary_green.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/kontact_todo.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/crystalsvg/64x64/actions/rss_tag.png from install of kdepim-3.5.9-10.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package crystalsvg-icon-theme-4.0.4-1.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/apps/kipi.png from install of kdegraphics-4.1.0-3.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package libkipi-0.1.5-4.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/hicolor/22x22/apps/kipi.png from install of kdegraphics-4.1.0-3.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package libkipi-0.1.5-4.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/kipi.png from install of kdegraphics-4.1.0-3.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package libkipi-0.1.5-4.fc9.i386
  file /usr/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/kipi.png from install of kdegraphics-4.1.0-3.fc9.i386 conflicts with file from package libkipi-0.1.5-4.fc9.i386

Error Summary
-------------

I tried deleting these packages manually but that led into an even deeper’s rats nest of dependency hell. So one thing I tried was

$ sudo yum groupremove "KDE (K Desktop Environment)"
$ sudo yum --enablerepo=updates-testing groupinstall  "KDE (K Desktop Environment)"

However I still got conflcts so ran

$ sudo yum remove libkipi
$ sudo yum remove crystalsvg-icon-theme
$ sudo yum --enablerepo=updates-testing groupupdate  "KDE (K Desktop Environment)"

And finally I have got KDE 4.1.0 to install in way too many steps.

I can’t get no satisfying manpages

It seems that with most default UNIX-like installations outside of FreeBSD just include craptastic manpages.

This really puts a dent in RTFM. In Linux-land this has been a serious PITA for years (Yes, I know how to hunt around for the packages to install the manpages in Redhat-ish and Debian lang but it is still an irritation). It seems my forays with OpenSolaris mirror the fun of Linux. Ah well..

$  man ps
Reformatting page.  Please Wait... done

Miscellaneous                                          missing(x)

     missing - Missing Manual Page

DESCRIPTION
     Unfortunately, this OpenSolaris Developer Preview  does  not
     include  the  manual  page you are looking for.  We're sorry
     and hope to improve upon this situation in future releases.

     Online versions  of  many  manual  pages  are  available  at
     http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/coll/40.17.

SunOS 5.11            Last change: 07/10/25 

Japanese declining population rates? How come I can’t find a doctor?

少子化 is the term used to describe the shrinking population in Japan and the many hardships that will bring to the country economically. I remember hearing some analyses on why this is happening on a social standpoint. I’ve not heard (or really bothered that hard to search for) many proposals on how to fix the problem. However when I read stories like this.

It makes me wonder if some policy makers are out of touch with reality, sometimes.

Linux is a woman

I love this quote

It’s obvious that GNU/Linux is a woman. She’s high maintenance, expects
everything to be given to her for free, and no matter what goes wrong…
it’s your fault.

hgsubversion, finally a mercurial-subversion bridge that jfw?

iBanjo talks about hgsubversion which seems to be a good mercurial-subversion bridge at last.

I’m surprised it took this long to show up but I guess the Mercurial community had not prioritized ‘Build a better git-svn’ as something someone should roll out… until now.

Installation still looks a little painful (and requires lots subversion 1.5 libraries) but I am optimistic this will start gaining traction for those that need to integrate with a subversion world.

Handling user reviews on a website

Scott Ru gives us some insights on the process Amazon uses to handle user reviews on their site.

You start with some philosophical rules, and you try to make them stick. Providing guidelines is the only way to start.

References

When Despair.com meets Stackoverflow

Stack Overflow, none of us is as dumb as all of us

Via Kvardek-du through Planet Lisp