Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pesky xulrunner

Thanks to this forum entry I found a solution to xulrunner-1.9.2 complaining that,
/usr/lib/xulrunner-1.9.2.28/xulrunner-bin: /usr/lib/i486-linux-gnu/cmov/libssl3.so: version `NSS_3.12.6' not found (required by /usr/lib/xulrunner-1.9.2.28/libxul.so)

sudo apt-get remove --purge  xulrunner-1.9.2

Friday, 25 May 2012

Baby Food why buy it?

So that happened to turn up in conversation. I wanted to try some human cheese, but it turns out that just as some people are taller than others, some women produce milk for longer after giving birth than others. As one of the many helpful aspects of society, it is possible for one woman to donate milk to another, (in some countries.) It turns out that this is hardly new, with wet-nursing having happened for a while, and even in my family in the last generation. So if any humans had spare milk that could be turned into cheese, then they really ought to be donating it, as I do with blood, (my own, I don't just give away anyone's.)

So the meme seems to be "breast feed as long as you can, and if you have to stop then no one is judging you." Personally I am in favour of breast feeding, but I guess I can step aside and give the little ones a fair chance. Actually I would rather see a baby being breast fed in public than have to watch almost any adult eat. Babies have no compulsion about food going in or coming out; Adults seem to have given up the Roman communal crappers, "hey can you pass me the moss_stick? I'm in the middle of blogging." so why don't they eat in little windowless rooms?

Jokes and rant over. I've been making baby food. Is is organic? Don't get me started, (that rant lives in another blog.) I am not a nutritionist or an expert so this is "try at your own risk/ask a Medical Doctor" situation.

It is so simple, (once you try the "progressive" (it is not) GFCD-50 food prep machine, break it, throw it out and buy a small electric food processor.) I ended up using a "Universal Electric Chopper" from Bifinett, (but I would suggest buying the cheapest professional food processor that you can get.) I think that Bifinett designed the little red device to chop basil into pesto, but I have put the two blades through beef, salmon, potatoes, pasta, and various green vegetables. I thought that it was designed to just chop, and it does that very well, but if you want purée, (baby food paste/mash) then it just takes a few more seconds, (no really 20-30 seconds and you are done!)

So what is my secret ingredients?


50 g of what ever meat that I am eating,
50 g any green vegetable or well cooked orange vegetable,
50 g of potato or pasta,
If you have it then 1 table spoon of (powdered) milk can help
0-50g H²O yup, just tap water.

I was worried that my little machine wasn't up to the job because things on the inside seemed to be moving too slowly. After unplugging and poking with a tiny rubber spatula I found that nothing could hide.
[ That was when I realised that the two blades turn the mixture into a dynamic flattened spiralling torus, but that has nothing to do with my point.] 

Why green vegetables? It is all going to be turned into mush so why not add some bell peppers? Because I find that the skin is a little tough on the digestion, (as seen later, like grape skins.)
 Courgettes are a perfect example. Peal them, boil them, and drop them into the mix. The 50:50:50 ratio seems to work out well and if it turns out a little thick then just chuck in a little water and zap it again, (you might like to boil the water first unless you are going to cook the mush later and are lazy.)

I would like to take a break to thank our sponsors and recommend that you look at the Nisbets website, (like the toyshop for chefs). [...and if Nisbets get enough referrals maybe my sponsors joke could become reality - you guys are great.] I have been buying from them for years and have yet to have a problem with a single product. (See my "Best kitchen grater ever!" post for more info.)

So where was I? Oh yes, "Where do I find the time?" Simple - just find one evening a month when there isn't anything on TV and play at cooking! (This plan was so good that I got rid of the TV and do awesome every night; I am happily uniformed rather than misinformed.) Try mixing and matching what ever you have in the freezer/garden. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Fried beefburger patty : boiled, (and then skinned) potato : peeled and boiled courgette
Smoked salmon off cuts from the bargain section of the shop : more potato : frozen spinach
Cooked ham : left over pasta that no one finished : broccoli purée from the freezer

I even managed an English breakfast version with bacon, potato, mushrooms and plum-tomatoes.

I like to take the frozen things out a few hours before so that I don't have to waste time or energy defrosting - this is the thing that I'm worst at remembering, but when I do I feel illogically happy that I'm postponing the heat death of the Universe, (rather than just saving on the oil/gas/electricity bill.)

This might sound a big commitment, but with the miracle of small plastic bags, (or any small food box type thing that you have); a scales; and a freezer once a month is all you need, (though it is so much fun you might just do it each morning, if you have the time.)

If you want to get serious then you can collect jars that have screw on lids with that button in the middle that you can only press once they have been opened. put the jars and lids into boiling water and then dry the jars in a medium oven, (don't drop the hot jars; The only thing worse then picking up broken glass is picking up hot broken glass.) Fill, (and I really do mean fill) the cooling jars with you latest creation while it is still hot, (I don't mean trendy, above 90 degrees Celsius type hot); add the lid by hand and then turn them upside down. If you have done it right, as they cool the button will be sucked in and then you can just store them in a dark cupboard or room. Try to use them so that you aren't using anything that is more than a year old, (but I had one from my 2005 vintage - seven years old - two days ago, and it was fine.)

What if your audience has a broader pallet or needs food to match their silly name or the media expectations of their ludicrous parents. Just add one pitted olive. Or two slices of gherkin. A few grams of freshly fried onions. A teaspoon of Bisto gravy granules. A gram of honey and three drops of lemon juice on the salmon.
 Don't go crazy - less is definitely more in this case, but search for flavours that you might not expect and add them in quantities so that your audience just can't quite tell what you have added.

If you happen to be a food processor designer, (processor professor?) then can I suggest that you always leave all of the metal in the blade spindle and none of it in the bowl - that way I can just chuck the bowl, (with or without its lit) straight into the microwave. Those of you that think that "microwaves are going to kill mankind by subtly altering our chi or energy body through the food that we eat until we are all sterile or something" can just put the mush into a pan or really show off by using a bain-marie.

So why the baby food? Have I recently been struck with the most human of afflictions? Nope - just needed something easy to eat when I had my wisdom teeth out and I've been making it every since for fun.
 Over the years I have found lots of uses for it, (spread for toast or sandwich filler; people with delicate stomachs; "instant" soup; baby food; [your idea here].)

If you find a magic recipe that we all need to try then please report it in the comments below.

With just a little planning all your food can be fast and cheap and last.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Use http://convergence.io/

I feel that I should port this Firefox add-on to Google Chrome, but I don't have time right now, (and secretly hope that someone else will do that... right... about...)

So, use http://convergence.io/

Hugs and kisses,

Just another Moxie-fan-boy

p.s. If you are an ISP then you should run a convergence server just as you would run a DNS server.

Mount .iso image on XP or Vista

So you end up with an iso image on a USB falsh drive. You don't have any blank CDs, (remember those?) and you have a program that throws a tantrum if it can't see its parent disk, (even if all the data is now on your hard-disk.)

There are probably a few solutions, but for me ImDisk wins.

  1. Given away by the very cool Olof Lagerkvist, (I have not had the pleasure of thanking him in person... yet.)
  2. No corporate cruft, (no pop-ups, no "look at how cool I am" in fact that threw me for a few seconds when nothing turned up in the Programs Folder or the start menu: Just install and then right-click on your iso image to mount it.
  3.  Did I mention how attractive all the Swedish people, (that I've met) are?

It just feels like this guy knows what he is doing; does it well and does not look for the credit. What a balanced human, (compared to some needy software, yes Adobe, HP, ${all anti-virus other than ClanWin} I am looking at you.. but I don't want to and that is my point here - you should be there for me, not the other way round!)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Lockin vs locked in

I remember the first time, well before I was old enough to be invited, that someone explained the concept of a lock-in. This is where the locking of a door converts a licensed public drinking establishment into a private venue.
  This seemed like a moment of heaven, to my imagination. Then I thought about being locked-in to software; Either because it has market share or because it has "tracksion", (where tracksion is that magical awareness that everyone has that "that one is better" - an example would be firefox. See, firefox has tracksion, but not being a vehicle is does not have traction.)
  I've started to feel a little locked-in with Ubuntu. I though that I would give up... until I tried 12.04. I admit that it took me a day to get used to, and this post is a list of the things that I found that could have helped me get through that faster.

  1. Do not fear the changes: Unity integrates things. This means that while using firefox, (obviously) the <title> of the page is loaded into the top bar. This threw me more than I expected. The thing that I really missed was being able to right click on the bar and add things, (I like to have my system-load-indicator.) So I opened, "Ubuntu Software Centre", (which, along with Google Play seems far too frivilous and scary at the same time - I sort-of trusted yum and apt-get but my paranoid "something sinister" alarm goes off when something looks too inviting. I'm sure someone has taken the GP logo and changed it to "Google Pay".) That said, System Load Indicator was easy to install and complies with my own desire for as many things as possible to be optional.
  2. The few things that have been dropped from 12.04 CAN still be installed - for example: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/precise/+package/aircrack-ng might be helpful. If you can only find an .rpm then grab that and run  
  sudo alien blah.rpm

to get the .deb that you need.

bonzini  gave a very good walk-thu of how to resize the launcher icons, and along with ubuntu-tweak I was able to set up the OS how I wanted it, and

 gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.session suppress-logout-restart-shutdown true

Will disable the shutdown, restart or logout confirmation prompt.

I find the windows in Unity a real pain to resize, (the mouse pointer never seems to find the magic location in the corner), thankfully, while searching the blogs I found, (sorry, can't remember where) that:

"Alt + middle-click will resize windows"
which goes nicely with what I already new that,
"Alt + left-click will grab any window and let you move it." Which I use automatically now. This just goes to reinforce me belief that learning one short-cut a day will drastically improve your computing experience.

I had a bit of a problem getting wireless to work, but

  aptitude install miredo wpasupplicant

seems to have fixed that for now. Once firefox sync had installed http://convergence.io/ for me and I got my backups down from the cloud everything was ready to get back to work... which is where I should be now.

[Update]
I noticed that tab completion of

ls ~alexx

produced

"ls /home/alexx " (notice the trailing space.)

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find the solution via blog/forums.

"editing /etc/bash_completion line 1587, change default to filenames "

[Update]
I'm still having wireless network stability issues, (packet throughput drops to zero, even for icmp to the first hop, i.e. my base-station/router), even though:

watch "iwconfig wlan0; ifconfig wlan0"

still shows a connection:

wlan0     IEEE 802.11bgn  ESSID:"home"
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.432 GHz  Access Point:
00:1D:BA:06:37:64          
          Bit Rate=54 Mb/s   Tx-Power=20 dBm
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr=2347 B   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=65/70  Signal level=-45 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:32111   Missed beacon:0

wlan0     Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:be:ef:be:ef:01
          inet addr:10.10.10.2  Bcast:10.10.10.255  Mask:255.255.0.0
          inet6 addr: 2001:DB8::1/32 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:1519072 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:1566529 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:1520004007 (1.5 GB)  TX bytes:299019413 (299.0 MB)


I'm trying:

sudo echo "net.core.rmem_max=4194304\nnet.core.wmem_max=1048576" >> /etc/sysctl.conf

in the hope that this might help.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Upgrade now!

There is an old Unix saying: Do one thing and do it well.

I was at a friends house when they asked me, "Its asking me if I want to upgrade?" So I looked at the alert. It was a bittorrent client and it said something like:

New version 3.1.3, (you have 3.1.2):
  • Built-in HD media player
  • Stability improvements
  • Anti-virus 
I expect that most people would think that this sounds like three good reasons to upgrade. I can see that it is two reasons NOT to "upgrade" and stability that is improved, (bug fixes) will probably pale in comparison to this client trying to muscle into two alien arenas.

Yes I can see why they are doing it. Yes I can even see the connections but they should NOT. If they have to justify their existence with "More! because MORE" then they should write optional Modules.

I do not care how good the HD media player is - VLC and mplayer have spent decades of man-hours creating really good products, (and they are free). ClamWin is a perfectly acceptable anti-virus. In both of these arenas there are lots of opensource groups that would be willing to let their program accept API calls from another program, (or already do.)

If you want to improve your product then fix the bugs. If you want to use your market position to offer other functions or services, then create optional modules. I still do not know why, the moment that a piece of software starts to be developed in a corporate way it becomes bloated with features that I DO NOT want.

So thanks to this there is another Transmission users.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Where do we go from here?

Additional legislation will only force the creation of dark-nets, (private encrypted virtual networks). The reason that all the legislation is futile is that, right now the cryptographers are winning in the fight against the cryptanalysts.
 The UK blocks thepiratebay and within hours there are proxy portals all over the Internet. Even if all of those were blocked then it would be possible to tunnel, (openVPN, openSSH, freeSwan) using free software, and even if those are hard for the average user to apply, by passing laws that criminalise the average citizen/netizen it only encourages the more talented programmers to facilitate the use of these existing protocols.
  Old media, just like the old post colonial societies are caught up in a revolution that is beyond their control, and thought we can not predict exactly how the future is going to be, I know that I want it to be a friendlier place to live with fewer laws and more sharing.

p.s. The next big thing will be centralised encrypted personal medical records. Locked using ssh keys and accessible to a quorum of relatives using their own keys and Shamir's Secret Sharing.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

2012 week 19

The drink of the week is black tea with bergamot and jasmine, (which the marketing guys seems to have called Oriental Earl Grey.)

Though it is out of season, last months indulgence turned out to be speculoos biscuits, (and even if you think of yourself as a Buddhist, try going beyond the lotus.)

About this blog

Sort of a test blog... until it isn't