Friday, October 15, 2010

Ubuntu command: strace


I recently found this Linux program called strace. Basically it monitors the OS API calls used by a particular application and shows them (in C format). It's great for debugging or just seeing what's going on in a program. It can attach to a running program as well.

I found great value in attaching an strace to a long-running rm command because hours of a blinking cursor will freak me out.

It's good stuff.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Intellij + Ubuntu = Win

It runs on just 256 max VM RAM! It needed 900+m on Windows!

My system is saved! (It was thrashing from Intellij before.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Getting Things Done - Voice Recorder


So during my reading of Making It All Work I stopped and seriously contemplated the very first "Capture" step. Realizing that I get a few TODOs into my head going to sleep, I sprang for a Voice Recorder ($35 on sale at Frys, Sony brand). It has helped so much.

In total I thought that I only had a few things on my mind but it amounted to HUNDREDS (300+ and counting). Furthermore I feel like I have my mind back again (clarity of thought), have the resources to be more proactive and am inspired to try this out at work. More specifically I'll make voice recordings of my ideas (some of them I've been kicking around for literally YEARS) and then transcribe them into Task Coach (a task management app).

Last weekend I started the next two phases "Clarify" and "Organize". Clarify means to tag a given item as Actionable, Archive, Trash and Decide Later. Everything that isn't actionable is basically done for now (Decide Later will be done later of course!) Actionable items (still in the hundreds for me) can be further grouped (Organized in Task Coach) and then we get down to lists of 10-30 items. Reasonably doable.

I got some stuff done around the house for the first time in months! I had the time before but not the cognition, and this helped me out tremendously.

In fact, I'm so pleased that I named my voice recorder. They say there are no silver bullets in engineering, but there is now; I named it "Silver Bullet".

So, take away point, GTD is effective and great with a voice recorder + Task Coach.

Monday, August 9, 2010

IronAHK = Win?

For me the WORST part of Ubuntu has been the lack of AutoHotKey. However it turns out there is a .NET port, IronAHK. As much as I hate everything MS (besides Win7) I'll have to give it a go since it will run on Ubuntu.

I should be able to copy and paste with my mouse all over again!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How many fragments? Over 9,000!!!!!!

Google Desktop's index file is in 327,680 fragments!

I just defragged two weeks ago! The drive is mostly free too (~60 GB free of a 230 GB drive). Frequent defrags are just a downside of using the software I guess.

Something has to give

Windows XP is intolerable. I've got to move to Linux or a hackintosh (Win7 isn't an option, unfortunately). XP performs terribly under a heavy load, ESPECIALLY under a heavy disk access load. Combine that with lots of page faults from the 3G RAM limitation and a lot of RAM intensive programs needed to do the job and you get mouse movements taking 30 seconds to register, or worse.

I feel like a Samurai with an old, chipped, rusty blade.

Hacker Hagakure

I'm getting increasingly picky about my primary work computer; I'm starting to treat it in the same way a Samurai treats his sword, or a sniper treats his rifle.

The proper relationship between a hacker and the IT department is the same as a Master Samurai and his sword-smith.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quotable Quote

Physical strength and vitality is the basis of all things, including a life of the mind.

Monday, March 1, 2010

AppQuest: Disk Space Fan

Greetings, today's AppQuest was introduced to me via LifeHacker. Disk Space Fan will analyze where all of your hard drive space is being used with an attractive, easy to understand interface.

Scanning for info can take a while though. So far it looks awesome.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Revert the Revert, brilliant

Greetings, Intellij IDEA9.0 has a great Local History feature. It keeps track of your changes, you can give a name to a change, and you can revert to an old change.

Even better it doesn't rewind everything, it adds a revert action as the last action, so that you can revert your revert!

It lets me send out a fix for review part 1 and then work on part 2 immediately w/o checking in.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Calendar for Computer Maintenance

Greetings, I realized that I never remember to defrag, chkdsk (see last post), backup, etc consistently. So I decided to add a bunch of events to my Outlook calendar to remind me. When I get sick of doing something or other every night I'll make it automatic.

My schedule is:
Monday - checkdisk (Don't want to do anything on a bad disk)
Tuesday- Uninstall old programs (they accumulate)
Wednesday - Disk Cleanup or CCleaner (they'll catch any old files from the uninstall)
Thursday - Defrag (now that we aren't messing with the file system this week anymore)
Friday - Backup (now that everything is as pristene as it'll get)

We'll see how it goes.

AppQuest: ChkDsk++

Greetings, today I tried out HD Tune ( as a replacement for chkdsk. The free version has benchmarking ("is the Raptor drive REALLY faster?") and an error scan that doesn't require a reboot like chkdsk. There is no "scan all drives" feature though, you have to start each scan yourself.

The Professional Edition has command line functionality, so it could be remedied with a script though.

TimeBridge / evaluation

I'm trying out It looks at your calendar (gmail or outlook, but NOT both) and creates a web page that just displays if you're busy or not. It may work out since I'm a busy guy, but it's $15/mo.! I'm not sure if it can deliver that much value, but if it lets me cram in one more friendship / social group into my life, it'll totally be cost effective.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Perl: "Can't find cmd.exe" worst error message ever

It turns out that it really means "The program that you specified with the system() command couldn't be found". It can be triggered with something like 'system("nonExistent.bat")'.

I spent hours fiddling with the PERL5SHELL variable to no avail before I Googled the answer.