Epoch countdown

Epoch countdown

Terribly geeky, i know! Many modern computers count their time in the number of seconds since Unix Time, an epoch beginning on 1st January 1970.

In about 8 minutes it is going to reach 1,234,567,890 – something which i find oddly exciting! Keep up with it on coolepochcountdown.com

Update: GOT IT!!

My little ruby program recorded it for me!

Also, coolepochcountdown.com started doing fireworks and playing “Celebration” at 1234567890 o’clock! It was excellent!! :D

Also, there are many geeky celebrations on Flickr!


Gitk on a netbook

Further to yesterday’s post, “Rails on a netbook”, i found everything went well except Gitk. The fonts were too big to be useful, and the settings dialog box was too big for me to change it. But look now:

Gitk now useable on a netbook!

(Yes, that is the MyChores repository, now cloned on to my netbook! Yey!)

I plugged into an external monitor in order to access the settings, but for anyone who does not have that option, i’ve since found out you can edit ~/.gitk configuration file. My font settings are thus:

set mainfont {helvetica 7}
set textfont {courier 6}
set uifont {helvetica 7 bold}

There are also many other settings that you could tweak if you wanted to.

Rails on a netbook?

I am here today to ask a question and then answer it. The question is: Can you run Ruby on Rails on a netbook? Specifically, an Acer Aspire One. My motivation is … since buying my netbook, i have completely fallen in love with it, and much prefer it to the desktop computer. I want to do as much as possible on the netbook. I don’t think i’d spend a whole day coding on it, but just for quick little things it could be wonderful!

Now that MyChores is open source i really like this idea of code anywhere. Wherever i have my netbook and an internet connection, i can code! If there’s an emergency bug needs fixing on MyChores, i could make the fix and push it. Or if i’m feeling lazy one Saturday morning there can surely be nothing better than a cup of coffee and coding in bed! ;)

So without further ado, let’s see if you can put Rails on a netbook …

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At my parents' home

Just a quick post to say, hello, and celebrate the fact that i’m on my netbook at my parents’ home! :)

Predictably, they didn’t know the password for the wireless internet. I thought it would be written down on a piece of paper somewhere, but no, it’s worse than that … only my uncle in Yorkshire knows the password! Happily i managed to poach a network cable and use that. It’s nice to have my own machine, with my email and calendar, and internet preferences and keyboard and everything just the way i like it! :)

This has been a tough week at work, and i was feeling rather overwhelmed yesterday, but several things all came together nicely today. It was a good day. I’m also very happy and relieved to say that my brother, who has been very ill for some time, is significantly better now.

I’m going to bed in a minute … i’ve been given some Nytol sleeping tablets which will hopefully help me to sleep better. I’ve had a lot of nightmares and sleepwalking lately. I can feel the tablets kick in as i type this (or maybe that’s just psychological?!) … i think this is going to be a nice relaxing weekend.

My glorious netbook!

I must say, this is one of the best impulse buys i have ever made! I am at my aunt and uncle’s house, connected on their wifi. It is so nice to have my own computer, with all my settings, and my email and calendar, just ready to take around with me wherever i go. It picks up wireless networks effortlessly.

I had a nice evening with my cousins, playing with their gogos and reading stories. My plan for the rest of the evening is to write a few blog posts, watch Heroes on the iPlayer, and maybe read a bit of “The Pragmatic Programmer” which i’m intending to finish by the end of the month.

Church was quite fun on Sunday. There was over an hour of singing and worship at the beginning – wonderful for me! :D It felt good to be in an environment where i could contemplate God much more than i have done for a long time. I had a nice chat with a few people, and i was impressed by how many people there were of all ages – loads of kids, some young people, teenagers, young parents, middle aged and elderly people. There was also a nice diversity of nationalities represented there … though about half of them are South African! :)

I even went to a home group last night. It was convenient – just across the road from me. If nothing else, it feels good to be getting to know a few more people locally. They were friendly and tolerated my questions. They answered from their hearts, thinking about what was true for them, rather than giving me any standard drilled-in “Christian” answers. I admire that. I shall probably go again, both to the church and to the homegroup. It seems a good time in my life to be getting involved with a church again. Whether or not i will call myself a Christian remains to be seen. I might just be an agnostic who goes to church!

The thing that got me was this: okay so maybe there are many routes to God. Maybe every religion has something to offer. But that doesn’t mean i shouldn’t follow any religion. If i find one religion particularly beneficial, by all means i should follow it. I like many aspects of many religions, but after all, Christianity still feels the most comfortable to me, since it’s what i’m used to. Yes, i have my problems with a few of its followers – the ones with the more extreme beliefs – but in its essence, Christianity itself is not such a bad religion.

And then i thought – What if it’s all true? Obviously i can’t make myself believe something, but maybe if i hang around with these people for a while, if i go to church and take part in the worship and the customs … perhaps i’ll learn to lose some of my doubts, and let it sink in a bit. Maybe then it will become true for me personally, and maybe i’ll find my peace with God. We’ll see.

Oh very good!!

You know what – church was alright! :) The music was good, the people were friendly-but-not-too-pushy. Most of them seem to be from South Africa, heh! :) I might talk a little more about the church experience later … but for now …

My ‘reward’ for going to church, hahaha!

My gorgeous new Acer netbook

I love it!! I am sitting in the living room right now, connected to the wireless network, surfing the internet. It’s easy to type on, especially now i switched the keyboard layout to Dvorak. I’m glad i thought to buy a little mouse because i don’t get on too well with trackpads. I have enabled the XFCE advanced settings, downloaded Firefox 3, installed the Gimp … all is very, very good! :)

It is so cool how i can just take the SD card out of the camera, slot it into the Acer and it reads the pictures straight away, no fuss. Delightful! :)

It has a web cam, which may mean i can do Skype video calls. That would be cool! As a machine it works very nicely, makes a very faint hum, the screen is bright and clear, and the keyboard is perfectly responsive. The Linpus Linux it comes with is perfectly useable. I might be tempted to switch to Ubuntu, but i know this is designed to be fast and energy efficient, so i think i’ll stick with it for now. I managed to get rid of the XP-imitation title bar buttons, so i’m happy! :)


Two exciting things might happen today. One, i might go to church, if i don’t chicken out! I just feel like i want to. So i will! I can always leave if they start trying to pull any funny business on me.

Two, i might buy one of these little beauties:

Acer Aspire One A110 Acer Aspire One A110

Acer Aspire One A110. It’s a gorgeous, tiny little netbook, comes with a special lightweight, fast response, low power consumption version of Linux, plus Firefox, OpenOffice and a chat utility. It’s big strength (as far as i’m concerned) is the ability to find and use wireless networks. Useful for travelling! We have wireless at home now but i haven’t yet managed to make my computer recognise it.

I feel this would be a perfect solution to when i come home at night and just want to check emails and browse the Internet a little bit. It’s a waste of electricity to turn on the big computer and leave it on all evening. It would be great to have one of these that i can use from the living room, just turn it on briefly when i want it.

All reviews are very good – display is good, keyboard is a good size, it’s very quiet, style-wise it looks awesome! The only negative point anyone had to say was the battery life is only 3 hours. But that sounds sufficient for me. I had a go on one in town yesterday and i was impressed. I love the idea of taking it away with me, using it on the train, and at my parents house.

I was initally attracted to the Eee PC, which was great in its day – cheap, fast, light, portable. But competition is a wonderful thing. The Eee PC burst their own bubble by releasing a much better version but pricing it much higher. As soon as i saw the 900 series i no longer wanted a 700, but i didn’t feel the price justified the larger screen.

I have also been tempted by the Advent 4211, but after i had a go on it, i found that two of the keys were too close together. Plus it’s Windows by default. The most exciting thing about the Eee PC initally was that it came with Linux. So does the Acer Aspire! :)

At £199 i definitely think this is worth the money. Okay, i could get it on Amazon for £4 cheaper … but i think i might just spend that extra £4 and get it today! :) So long as they have the seashell white … then it satisfies my mac envy too! :D

In my mind, these events have become strongly linked. Go to church, then buy an Acer Aspire A110. Well – there’s motivation for me!