Tuesday, January 31, 2006

blender -- what to do?

apt-get is interesting thing to play with.

after browing debian's pkg directory, i tried 'blender'.

not sure what's to be done with it tho.

it looks super neat, but I'm no CAD/design expert.

let's see how I can learn it.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

not quiet at ubuntoo yet

just last year, I remember what a big deal it was to play with gentoo.
wonder if ubuntoo is this year's flavour, or if it's buzzness will stay.

well, i'm sticking with my 'stick to basics'. learning to make better use of debian's getapt. i've been with redhat/fedora long enough, and while it's convenient enough, i'm ready to explore.

this thing 'epiphany' browser, i've not heard much, so covered-over by mozilla/netscape and IE. and, am trying to download some pkg using getapt.

hope ubuntoo will be a big buzzword next year, and year after, until i'm ready to mess with it, too.


travel bug, and dawson-bug

it probably was more of my condition than the food quality, but i could not eat even half the breakfast provided around 8am before the plane landed SFO at 10am.

being in NZ during their summer month, whith newspapers hammering on beach scenes, my realization of excessive growing of waistline, did bother me a bit.
so i should've been watching what i eat, yet for some reason my digestive system seem to have taken a space-excelerator-program of a sort, and have been killing me with frequent trip to ever-so-unavailabe local restaurants of Dunedin during off-hours, and to toilets; i must confess i'm glad i wasn't worshipping toilets like some poor folks were, tho.

anyways, i was famished at Auckland airport, couldn't stop not eating for an hour without feeling sleepy and dizzy.

yet, airplane food just didn't work for me.

after chowing down sashimi-over-rice, which i usually divide the portion in half for two meals, i napped a few hours, and had the dinner.
yet i can't stop reaching out for chocolates and am getting a cup noodle prepared.

wonder if i've also got caught that stomache bug, from flight to Auckland. let's hope not. the desc. of it seem pretty gory and ugly. and one of the movies on-demand in flight was 'transporter 2' and it was about highly contageous virus injected to a little kid to inject his father who will in turn infect some government official in charge of drug cracking.

anyways, looking up planet linux, trying some simple c syntax, and boiling cup noodle, i got "Dawson's Creek Season 3" on DVD.

silly, but it's theme music, "I don't want to wait, for my life to be over, ..." really sticks to me. sorta weird, considering how i escaped this 'Beverley Hills 90210" frenzy when I was still in school. Up until this 'tomkat' business stirred up the whole media, I was into the DVD edition of the show and have watched first two seasons. Abruptly as it was, this whole media-frenzy made me a bit reserved to watch it. As of two weeks ago, somehow I was able to pick it up. The music makes me smile again. ^^

so it's eating binge, computer binge, and drama binge.

i so hope i wouldn't be sick w/ this stomache flue thing, it'll be so awful.


24 hrs journey home to a deep comma

Dunedin, NZ is about 21hrs ahead of CA, USA time, which allowed me a bit of luxury of loggin on to work machines and stay in touch with folks back in the office while seated at some conference sessions. It was almost like when I visit NYC, where midnight eastern time is only 9pm pacific time and everyone else around me are dead asleep while i'm wide awake and call to california bored, and can't get up at 10am when everybody else is done with breakfast and busy playing every-so-busy new yorker.

dedicated linux geeks poured into the town last sunday, even before official 'early registration' on monday to enroll early and meet the ones they worship. and almost 500 attendee crowd stayed on until the close of official conference late on saturday afternoon, and crowded local restaurants and bars on otherwise quiet summer saturday evening, still talking about how they want to move from cvs to another source control system, or to git, or how to incorporate what's discussed in one of session into their current design schema, ...

it seemed these geeks hardly noticed that they are only a few blocks away from downtown where Chinese New Year's parade was held on saturday evening followed by spectacular fireworks. as a non-drinker, i did get excused around 11pm, came back to the room for packing and stuffs.

waking up 7:30am for quick breakfast, going to campus for a ride to airport for 11:30am flight was pretty tough one. i'd gladly skip breakfast in favour of extra 10min sleep, and would've robbed a bank to fund for $60 taxi ride to the airport; though volunteer organizers at Otago University were just too nice to drive back and forth between university and airport all morning to get most of us to airport safely and for free.

half asleep in minivan, first thing acquired at the airport was a large 'not so de-caf' mocha, gulped down before noticing other attendees of LCA ready to leave. it was pretty shocking to learn that Marc Merlin (& few others) got up so early to go helicopter tour before getting to the airport at the same time as we did; guess i can't whine too much about tiredness and lost sleep.

having gotten least expensive flight, flight from Dunedin to Auckland wasn't non-stop, thus making 2hr flight into 3hr one, not that I minded knowing flight out from Auckland wasn't due for another 5-6hrs anyways.

it seems flight between Auckland, NZ and SFO from Air New Zealand is offered 1 per day, meaning if I somehow didn't make it to Auckland for the evening flight, I'd be staying a night over. NZ is nice and warm and all, but the thought was a bit scary, especially with airlines advertising so many non-stops between cities in US. A cold water poured over my head, to wake me up and make me realize the reality of distance. Our technology is advanced a lot, and makes what would have been 6months on ship into 12hr flight, but we are not at 'beep me Scottie' in Star Trek age yet.

Poor DaveM, with his beard & moustached donated over penguin dinner, and with such an early wakeup call after nightly beer sessions, he lost his fleece jacket at Dunedin airport just as we were boarding airplane.

Flying from the southern (east) part of the south island to the south tip of the north island, wellington was the first destination. Heavy fog surrounding the city didn't help much with landing.

Arriving at Auckland, moving from domestic terminal to international, ..., it was hectic. Not having to pickup luggates at Auckland to re-checkin was one of nicer part of the journey.

Attempt at data structure, playing with linked lists and sort algorithms, while killing 4hrs before boarding was a challenge.

after learning some of delegates caught some stomache flu/food poison sort of virus going on in Christchurch caused some major pain for those who caught the bug, I guess I can't complain too much about spending a whole day chasing planes.


even heavy bbq meal can't kill enthusiasm for best of the talk repeat sessions

so I spent the whole week trying to minimize the expense. with the penguin dinner free, at least in monetary sense, and having woken up a tid bit too late to go out for breakfast and still make it to Mark Shuttleworth's Keynote, which forced me to settle with continental breakfast offered at lodging, all of sudden I'm no longer scrooging away for every penny and dime. and, there goes announcement for free bbq along with 'shaving execution session' by link's lawn after Mark's session.

It's my first time down on the other side equator, but I'm pretty impressed with speaker choices the conference enjoys. Mark's well known for a few things in this community, for having been a civilian astronaut funding his way to orbital expedition including the training, and for sponsoring/leading ubuntoo project.

The shaving of 4 speakers's facial hair, and Jeff's balding session took much attention away from the full bbq event; made bbq look more like eating part of this shaving event when in reality it was the other way around. The rush of picking up plateful of bbq, breads, and veggies and gulp down before 4 'best of' talks repeat followed by lightening talk and panel followed.

it wasn't 'til at reprack talk at burns hall that I realized how full i was with bbq.

and also how good it was.

Conrad recommanded to go see RepRack talk. Van's talk on linux network improvement also made it to 'best of', as well as Andy's open source graphics talk. too many choices, and stomache busy digesting a heavy meal, i don't know to laugh or cry.


Friday, January 27, 2006

penguin dinner event -- price of facial hair

nope, not talking about shaving penguin of their hair.
it'd be illegal and cruel.
friday's evening event is 'penguin dinner' held at dunedin town hall in octagon.
the dinner began with lots of tables setup in town hall, with a bit of liquor here and there and bread piece and salmon dish i mistook for main meal, but ended up being an appetizer of full five course meal.
saw some speeches, saw rusty's wrench award being handed, then Maddog start giving a speech about John Lions, a professor at Australia's University of New South Wales.
It seems there's some fund raising event planned to raise a way to fund a chair in his name at the university at the event. There were Lion's book and a T-shirt signed at speaker's dinner, which in addition had other major Unix/C/BSD folks also signed. Maddog was rather unsuccessfully leading the fund raise when Rusty all of sudden jumped up to the podium and announced the auction will resume later that everyone should be encouraged to drink more.


god has spoken? - ripens with sessions by maddog and van jacobson

friday already...
can't believe time flew by so so fast.
thursday was began early at 9am in St. David 1 lecture room with almost all of 500 attendees turning up for the key note session.

unfaltered by nightly drinking sessions and intense sessions of four days, friday morning began with much enthusiasm and energy.

seeing how so many were standing in a rather spacious 'castle 2' lecture room, Maddog followed by Van Jacobson's sessions were highlight of the day.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

whirlpool turn of new proposals -- samba 4 presentation, and keith packard's session named 'Mouse Position Redirection in X'

the early registration began sunday and miniconf were successful monday and tuesday.
the official sessions began on wednesday, and two of the sessions i sat through were quiet packed with eager geeks, 'Samba4 status report' by Andrew Tridgell and 'Mouse Position Redirection in X' by Keith Packard.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

congested network and much eventful miniconfs

After less-than-excellent but completely free breakfast at 8am, we finally got kicked out of the room at 10am by cleaning staff. network-wise, that was good old day, as when I arrived link and hustle for laptop adapter's outlet, i realized that ssh to VPN takes a full minute, and worse yet downloading mail takes for ever until i get timeout. When 400-500 geeks don't take advantage of a fine weather outside, university's rather robust network was still suffering congestion worse than highway 101 around 6pm.


Monday, January 23, 2006

drama of larnarch castle and yellow eyed penguin tribe

New to the area, and having first of drinking binge to attend at 8pm, money was of less object in setting up tour of the city than money when visitng the information center.
It was already 10:40am, the information center was swamped with people, and the helper lady just told us there are penguin tour bus at 2:30pm and 3pm, returning at 6:30pm and 8pm respectively at hefty cost of $80 NZ dollar.

Far from Christchurch, the biggest town in south island, and Queenstown, where Lord of the Rings was shot at, I really wanted to go check out the country's only (possibly) castle, and the gangs were not going to miss a chance to view penguins. $40 for Castle and $80 for penguins, the sleepy town with low food cost and some 65% conversion rate just swallowed $120 NZ dollar (about $90 USD?) instantly.
It was worth the money, the convenience and a nice tour guides explaining history and some hidden details at both place.

I did find out later that local/city bus would run to both spots, probably slower and without the guides, for $6-a-day pass.

The morning tour to the castle was at 10:45am and as we were buying the tickets the bus was posted outside the city centre, ready to embark. 30minutes ride to the castle, the bus driver was acting both as driver and tour guide, and poured out his knowledge and opinions on local info. Through him I learned there are 3 cruise ships came in; that explains lots of old folks in town that don't seem to be penguin geeks. He also explained the suburbs we drove through, the local business and such as he climbed up the hill to the castle.

The peninsular was pretty slim, and as he drove up the hill I could see the bay toward Dunedin on my left and at some spots I could see pacific ocean on my right, making me quiet envious of locals living in a green pasture with sheeps and cows every where, with short 10min commute to the city centre. He also pointed out a monument of a small boy who went to fight world war.

As we were getting through the entrance gate, he gave us some brief history of how the house was built, by a successful banker & politician William Larnarch, who married three times, to 2 sisters then their cousin and had 5 children. He also made us all laugh when he said it was then passed down many hands including 'lunatic asylum' and hospital before bought by current owner who restored the building and opened for public admitance.

After dropping off some 20 of us, he parked the car while we toured the vast garden, returned and took us to the 3 story building ground up. It was interesting to see 'ladies room' and 'gentlemens room' separated by entrance hallway, and the guide was humorous about adding notes that each room had vent and fireplace, and that 'ladies room' had screen by fireplace to allow ladies to escape direct heat that would damage their carefully applied makeup. It was a bit odd in my mind, the fact that ladies tend to dress with more exposure in their dress and yet have to subject to less heat. It was sorta fascinating that Mr. Larnarch was so rich to the point he could chop up local tree, send it to London to be carved into piano, and be shipped back to be in his entertainment room. I was told building the house took 15yrs+, and it was believable, too, with all the detailed wood carving & painting on ceiling. As we climbed to 2nd & 3rd floor we saw each ladies' room, as Larnarch kep different room for each of his wives and yet a separate room for himself according to the customary of the time. The beds were tiny, suggesting how short and small people were back then. The guide wasn't shy to point that there's no shower nor tub other than the italian marble tub on 3rd floor, for this large sized family, and that there's no toilette and that there's bucket for it next to the bed. 3rd floor had nursery, sun room, and nanny's room, and both nursery and nanny's room were pretty tiny, which invoked many questiions from tour group folks; they had 5 kids and yet they have a tiny room with 2 cribs on 3rd floor? that's it? In his 3rd wife's room on 2nd floor we also saw wedding gown and other portraits, hiar brushes, other sample clothings. it was a bit eerie to see this figure hung on ceiling with ladies' underwear, i thought it could be better displayed than to be hung in a dark room like that.

The guide was telling us about how Larnarch, a well-to-do politician, changed law to marry half-sisters (either his 2 first wives were half-sisters to each other, or were his half-sister) and 1st cousin as his 3rd wife. I was keep hearing how his 3rd wife had an affair with douglas which lead william larnarch to shoot himself to death. i had to wonder why not kill douglas, instead of killing himself, but had no time to investigate it.

from evening's stop at the castle on the way to penguin farm, the mystery got solved; douglas was one of his elder son of 5 children from previous wives. his wife and son in an affair could be problematic, i guess.

After 15min stop at the castle for a garden tour, we finally headed up on peninsula, past portobello where penguin farm's headquarter is located. 4 of us got dropped off, joined by about 4-5 more people. first we were ushered into a hut with maps/photos, where the guide lady gave a brief history and current state of penguin raising. then she put us into penguin farm bus, drove us to the other side (east-coast) of peninsula, better known as 'penguin beach'.

the guide did warn us that yellow eyed penguins are territorial and that they don't stay in a large flock; only a couple with chicks in each territory. there are 64 of them in their farm, and each do swim back from ocean after day's fishing to feed chicks in turn, the other penguin would make fuss if coming on shore at the same time.

the guide & we were pleasantly surprise to spot a chic right away as we start walking the trail. what the folks at the farm have done is that they've built low forests around penguin beach with hidden viewing fortress bunks and built tiny wooden roofs for penguins to build next, making it look like some army training camp. we also were lucky to see a grown up couple feeding 2 chics. for summer the penguin chics are still young to be fed, and the adult penguin couples are supposed to take turn in fishing and feeding,, and not supposed to be in at early hour of 4:30pm while sun's still high in sky. we were lucky to view the whole family, and the guide who's seen the whole farm growing in family also shared with us some penguin scandals as well. that each penguins have name like ted, tim, angie, and the couple we saw actually weren't couple last season. inside one of viewing post, i saw charts of names, size, and birthing history as well. according to the guide, the female penguin was coupled with another male penguin, but they broke up and now she made a nest and have 2 cute chics with this another male penguin. she also said that not all penguins mate for successful chic rearing, some stay together year after year, some break up, and there's one female penguin not mating successfully for years. haha! what a penguin soap. we also saw another female penguin that is suppose not to have gone fishing, and the guide was slightly concerned as the female penguin's got 2 chics to feed; the guide said that penguin's male counterpart is a good fish hunter and if she goes out to sea the next day perhaps chics wouldn't go hungry. not so close up, but we got to see quiet a few grown up penguins and a few chics, including two sibling chics swiming by pond and playing with each other.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

inflight movies -- In Her Shoes

New Zealand Air's aircraft was pretty neat, with newly-designed overhead compartment that made the ceiling feel taller, and individual light that accomodated this new design, and remote control for individual video/audio-in-demand that works as a phone on one side, and remote/game console on the flip-side. there were plenty movies, tv shows and games available. 2 meals served, dinner about an hour after flight took off SFO and beakfast served 2hrs before landing were also pretty edible and services and humor of attendants were nice, too.

As I've not seen the movies at the local theatres in a while, I watched "In her shoes" and "40year old virgin" both recommanded by my sister. I particularl liked "In her shoes" and "40 year old virgin" also was a decent pick. If I wasn't sleepy I wanted to play some of arcade games as well, but never really got to it.

Shirley McLane in movie was pretty interesting, especially compare to Jane Fonda in "Monster in Law" another in-flight movie I watched a few months back. From the review I've seen Jane Fonda was pretty picky about how old she looked, and demanded some smoothening of her wrinkles during movie editing, whereas Shirley McLane seem pretty ok with being a grandmother with shabby look. Maybe she'd had more experience playing an old lady, but it was nice & cute role she got.

Most interesting aspect of the movie was the role play of two sisters. My sister doesn't like me being the uptight responsible one at times, and she's elder one. Interesting.... I thought.
Not that I think my sister is a glam like Cameron Diaz, and having her phD in engineering she's hardly a mentally challenged one. Contrary, I probably am more tangled up when it comes to complicated and boring stuffs. Should I be the clutz unable to hold onto job, and love to party all the time? Having a sister to compare to the two main characters in the movie makes the plot rather personal, I guess. I wondered if that's what went in my sister's head as she read the book and went to see the movie.

I like Cameron Diaz' performance as well as most other castings.
I wonder what it's like playing irresponsible young sister with life of fun, heh. Maybe I'm just like her. Maybe people are all complex and have a bit of both sisters' trait...
Either the role of elder sister or the younger one, it is pretty intriguing. And, the movie makers & actors have done a pretty good portrayal of emotional transitions and maturity of both.

It's like "Secret Sister-hood of Ya-ya" only this time the relationship between sisters instead of mother & daughter.

Maybe Amazon & Ebay will get my business for a book and DVD.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

safe journey to Dunedin, NZ

15+ hours of flight and some 3(?) timezone change, and 2 connecting flights, I'm finally in New Zealand. is still not fully setup, and no connection available yet. The registration booth was being setup today, and nice volunteers did come to pickup speakers at the airport in vans.
It's a small university town, out of session if not counting Summer session.
In a way it's odd, having summer in January. People driving on the opposite side than in America, green trees & small college town, and 12hrs flight, I was joking earlier that if we find good curry restaurants in downtown this trip will be a lot like trip to Swansea, UK for ukuug.
Its being sunday and in the middle of summer session, the town is very quiet, and finding a place open for lunch was not an easy task. I did make a note that there's a sushi/korean restaurant named 'Arirang'.... oh well, the town is alright after all. heh.
Campus is pretty, and I was told Queenstown is some 4hrs drive away.
More actions anticipated tomorrow, the big monday. ^^)


Friday, January 13, 2006

light at the end of cave

Originally uploaded by speattle.
looking at the photo I took last summer at SF Ocean Beach's cave area made me think of those miers in west virginia trapped & died in coal mine earlier this month.

were they in the dark like this, and were looking for a ray of light like this?

i've always viewed the light at the end of cave as cheerful image, but the incident change my view. maybe it's jazz i'm listening to, but the outline of cave and contrast of white light look so sad and cold.

may those miners rest in peace...