Category Archives: General

On being funny

I just heard about a project that uses WhatsUp, which is sort of an uptime server or network monitoring service. I couldn’t help but imagine how the SMS alerts would go.
“You wanna know what’s up? Not your server that’s what’s up.”

Weak, i know…Some more meaty posts on the way.

First of April

Tomorrow is the first of April…i had actually forgotten about that if it weren’t for the news interviewing a sample of people about lying.

The strange thing is that most people not only admitted to lying constantly, but also remarked that it is a necessity in this world. And also boldly claimed that “you have to lie to survive”. The most interesting perhaps is the person who challenged the interviewer to get another person who claims not to lie so that he can call him/her a lier to his/her face.

This is interesting because just the other day, someone was explaining to me that i don’t know anything about life and that i am an “idiot” because i believe that we should not lie and that we should try to be civil with each other. The story in question was later on revoked because i was able to do what i needed in the way that i thought to be correct and thus the “idiot” part is no longer valid.(they didn’t actually say “idiot” to my face, it takes big balls to do that but it was something along those lines)

Well, to the people who agree with the sample, you should consider listening to Steve Jobs amazing Stanford speech(youtube)…mainly the part that implies to live your life the way you see fit and don’t get stuck in dogma. For the people in the sample i say, What kind of world are you leaving behind for your children?(and for the previous generation, what the hell were you thinking?)

Too idealist? Perhaps…But there really is a lot of shit in this world, i would really prefer to not be yet another turd in the pile.

Resolution #3 fulfilled

My birthday was uneventful this time(it was in October). Partly because it wasn’t the best of times for a celebration and partly because i had a lot on my mind.

So like every year, i decided on some new year’s resolutions. I make mine on my birthday so it is my new year and not everybody else’s.

One of my resolution was a stronger commitment to my ideals and convictions. I already try to do my part in advocacy and evangelism, and so decided to put my money where my mouth is(sort of).

I have been a GNU/Linux user for over 7 years now. An incident took place 2 years ago that showed me the importance of the work that is being done by the Free Software Foundation(FSF) and so i became a convert and have been using GNU/Linux as my main system since then. As a programmer, I try to contribute to free software whenever i can. And as a contractor, i try to advocate it whenever possible.

So to further re-affirm my commitment, say hello to FSF member #6304. Or you can call me by my initials, “AKS”.
FSF Member emblem

P.S. In my mind, open source and free software movements are the same thing. In theory, they should be. While in practice, they’re not. Because the word “free” is ambiguous(free as in no price and free as in freedom), i use the term “Open Source” to actually refer to free software and try to explain whenever possible. RMS would kill me over this, but i think my reasoning is justified….

P.S.S What happened to resolution #2 and #1 you ask? Well, they actually also fulfilled and i will write about them soon.

I got my FSF shwag and GNUff(GNU stuff) today.
FSF Shwag

Funny TV Ad

I just saw a TV for a new Gilette product…apparently this shaving foam forms an “invisible” layer that offer protection from first blade stroke till the last…

Yeah right….like I’m gonna buy something that offers an invisible layer of protection…why not just sell me an empty canister and tell me that this the new “invisible” shaving foam…

Can you say Work-a-holic?

So its 2:16 am and i just finished work on one project and decided to do a little research on the other one instead of going to sleep. And suddenly i remembered that i have neglected this blog for far too long. Sorry about that.

Let me show you why my blog work has been on pause lately.

My day typically goes like this:
– wake up at about 10am or so
– go to the bathroom and read the newspaper headlines as well as the business pages
– check my email and respond to some urgent matters
– read some topics on reddit and TODO(as a verb) some interesting topics to check later( i have TODOs in there that are over a year old)
– have breakfast while watching the performance of the gulf financial markets on TV
– start working…i usually start about 12 o’clock with small breaks for food
– At about 6 or so, i sometimes take a 1 hour break for my power walk
– Continue working until 12 am or 1 am
– Power on the laptop and sit in bed reading some technical book or pages or working on some personal projects
– have trouble falling asleep because of the adrenaline rush

My weekends consists of a similar pace but in general i try to work on only one project on the weekends and dedicate some time to catch up on some open source projects.

I am not sure how long i can keep up this pace. But i have to admit, if i didn’t love what i do for a living(computers), i will probably never be able to pull this off.

One thing that does bother me is that i do not have time anymore for my non-technical reading. But i will try to fix that soon.

And now its 2:33am. So my www neighbors, how do you deal with your productivity and work life?

Ubuntu IRC Channels 40mins after Release

I actually forgot that i took these screenshots a few weeks ago. Been a little busy with work.

In case you don’t know what these are, these are screenshots of both ubuntu channels 40mins after Gutsy was released. Take a look at the numbers, one is 1541 and the other is 631 users. I’ve also been told that the number is much higher than that because some users only stayed a few mins.

Official Channel
Ubuntu Channel
Release Channel
Ubtuntu-Release Channel

I actually had the ISO from the daily image the night before…i somehow thought that some final changes would change that…turned out that they released the same image. I had it all along and i was stupidly waiting for its release.

I upgraded a few days after the release and although i scheduled some time for problems, it didn’t go very well. I fixed everything up in a weekend, but i had to resort to manual fixing. More on this later….

New and Updated Content

Its not all bad news these days, i updated and added some content to the website.

– I modified the TaskIt application and did some refactoring of the code. Ofcourse that won’t matter to the user, so i also added in a modifier flag(that little star that you see near the title when you modify a document or some other content). I also added in a few modifications to warn the user before doing any destructive actions such as saving and loading and exiting without saving.

– On a more artistic front, i added a new album to the photo gallery ( which covers a recent trip i made with some friends to the Kiroun Dam in the Bekaa Plain. Check it out and admire the pictures.

– I also added links to the blog on the side to take you directly to the homepage and gallery page to ease in user navigation.

Previous Hosting Problems

Suffering from coders’ block and feeling a little down(probably an oncoming cold), i thought I’d write a little.

These past few days, there has been no less than 4 people who came to our house all sick and germ-y. And suddenly i turned into Mr. popular where everybody wants to talk to me and hug me and kiss me…yes, even people i don’t know seem to want to do that. I mean that’s really bad. When i get sick, i make sure i don’t go anywhere or see anybody until i recuperate so that i wouldn’t get anyone else sick. I can just hear my immunity system right now saying “TO WARRRRRRR!!!!”

So going back to the technical stuff.

Every time i read about python related sites, i also read the term “Webfaction”. And after a recent issue with my previous host “Rails Playground”, i decided to move to “Webfaction” and see what the fuss is about.

“Rails Playground” is not a bad host, but there was an incident where some of my data was lost and the way that they handled the issue didn’t really scream professional. The server that i was one was unresponsive for over 24 hours which isn’t really a big deal for me. After investigation, it turned out that the entire RAID array was corrupt. I think that the probability for that array configuration to become corrupt is something like 10% or so. Yet it did go corrupt. problem…it happens. Obviously in a high stress environment such as a data center, the probability of hardware failure will rise significantly(i even read somewhere that google has to maintain about 10% of their 100,000+ computers each month)

So the “Rails Playground” people submitted a replace request and the array was replaced promptly. Only when trying to get back the customer’s data, they couldn’t. I am sure that they wouldn’t be dumb enough to store the backups on the same array, would they?

After i submitted a support ticket for my unresponsive website, they said something like “yeah, the server is down, please cooperate with us” and for the ticket about the data(which at the time was only a blog post but it is usually more), it went something like “yeah, we couldn’t read the backup data so you lost two days or so of data.” They weren’t lying mind you, but they were saying it like it was a very normal and usual thing. So after this incident, i decided to move hosts again having only been with “Rails Playground” for two months.

For my website i can usually tolerate such mistakes since i know that there is no guarantee for hardware stability and software security. But i expect that paying for a managed service really means that it is a managed service. Meaning the server is secured as much as possible, hardware is monitored and network is observed. And when a mistake does happen, and they also do. Mistakes are fixed and explained and something somewhere altered so that they don’t happen again.

By reputation, “Webfaction” seems great. And their support also seems friendly so far. Although they don’t offer a lot of resources, for the price it seems alright, and i will write back if i had any issue once i run some python apps on it. On thing to note is that everything seems faster after moving to their servers. My website, ssh access and even the mail but maybe that is just a placebo effect.

Like i said before, i have a few ideas and a few projects that i want share and i will execute them as the time allows. And after my wordpress problems(which should be fixed now), i was thinking of running on an all-python stack. But i am still considering my options short of writing my own CMS and blogging platform in python. So if anybody has any suggestions, contact me.

More later….

Change of Host

I have finally changed my hosting provider. I went from RailsPlayground to Webfaction.

I did a stupid mistake of canceling my account before the DNS has fully propagated….stupid…stupid…stupid. Ok, well anyway. There was some disruption in the service that oddly enough not everybody had. And then i had problems with the way Webfaction addresses the whole hosting applications thing. But the so-far-so-good people at Webfaction helped me right away.

I will later post some comments on both hosts and announce some new software that I’ve been working on(open source ofcourse, the commercial ones are still hush-hush).

Please let me know if you see any problems with the website.