Categories
Experiences Tech

No Windows, No QWERTY

After more than a decade of computing experience, and being stuck with Microsoft Windows along with the QWERTY keyboard layout, my non-conforming self just wanted to be different.

I’ve learned about Linux[1] years ago (ca. late 1990s), but, even though I was interested to see one running, I was hesitant to try because I was neither a programmer, nor a techie back then. So, open-source applications you compile before you execute, command line interfaces, and gzipped tarballs, among others, were still some things I fear to tinker with.

Now that easy-to-use Linux distros, such as Ubuntu, have been available, nothing could stop me anymore. Besides, with a more secure system, a much cooler desktop environment, and a free[2] license, who could ask for more?

The transition to Ubuntu was painless, except for the loss of my favorite text editor, EditPlus, which probably is the only software besides Mozilla Firefox I’d die without. But, I’m trying to learn GNU Emacs anyway. Hopefully, I’d feel more geeky using it. I’ve also tried command line installation of some software,[3] but I must admit Synaptic Package Manager is easier even compared to Windows installers.

On the other hand, I couldn’t remember when I’ve learned about the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout since I love reading about a wide range of information almost anytime I am not busy with anything. I didn’t care much about it back then, because I thought I did not have the proper hardware. After reading much about health, world records, language, and technological history, as well as software developers (all those topics are related, btw), I became interested with the DSK.

When I said those topics are related, I meant it. On the subject of health and RSIs, DSK has been said to minimize, if not eliminate, hand discomfort by incorporating a layout designed to lessen hand/wrist movements, which I hopefully experience once I get used to it. World records show that the fastest typing speed of 212 wpm is being held by Barbara Blackburn on a DSK. I’ve measured my peak on a QWERTY at 59 wpm,[4] and I aim to reach higher speeds. Dr. August Dvorak, the inventor, researched letter frequency on the English language to make a more efficient keyboard layout. History proved the (almost) one and a half century old typing layout, QWERTY, difficult to displace, but two famous software developers, Matt Mullenweg and Bram Cohen, whose products I use and love,[5] use DSK.

So, I made mine DSK, as well. And, it’s hunt-and-peck all over again! Oh, I so love challenging myself.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ And, Tux, its cute penguin mascot.
  2. ^ As in freedom.
  3. ^ Just for experience, and the fun of it.
  4. ^ Measured using Typeonline Speed test without mistakes.
  5. ^ WordPress and the BitTorrent protocol, respectively.

P.S.:

I actually tried to remember my own history with computers as I write this blog entry. Though it remains unclear, I still remember using the Norton Commander text user interface to play DOS-based games probably even before I’ve been to Windows 3.1x—and that was a long, long time ago. I typed this entry using DSK within the span of 48 hours. Tedious, but I’m starting to forget QWERTY, which I don’t know whether it is a good or a bad thing. Heh.

Categories
Experiences Tech

Do-it-Yourself Snack Bowl

Have you ever had problems eating chips with friends who doesn’t seem to think they’re not the only one eating from the bag? Or do you prefer eating chips on a bowl, but hate cleaning up after? But, maybe you’re just outside, and you just can’t find that bowl to eat comfortably from? Or you just hate digging into the bag with cheese and barbecue stuck on the sides, consequently making the back of your hand so sticky. Then, this post’s for you!

I’ve learned this nifty little trick from my sister, but she told me this was taught to her by her friends. So, the credit goes to them.

Step 1 of 8

Preparation: Get yourself the best bag of chips you’ll want to try the neatest trick you will be doing in your whole snack-life. I’ve got here a bag of Jack ‘n Jill Roller Coaster, whose Cheese flavor is my favorite. But, I just have to try this new Ham and Cheese flavor. Step one: Just set it lying down on a table.

Step 2 of 8

Tools: Get a clean or stainless cutter, or anything sharp for that matter as long as it could cut through a thin piece of aluminum and plastic—even a safety pin would do! Just be careful! Step two: Punch a small slit about 10 millimeters long through the center of the lying bag.

Step 3 of 8

Opening: Starting from the center, work your way through the bag and open a hole following a spiral direction. This ensures a clean and organized result compared to just tearing out large chunks of plastic and aluminum from the bag of chips. And, that was step number three.

Step 4 of 8

The Spiral: The fourth step continues from the spiral motion as directed from the previous one, opening a hole big enough for at least two persons to get something simultaneously—the objective here is to share the bag of chips.

Step 5 of 8

Warning: It is possible, however, that you would really get addicted to spiraling aluminum and plastic out of the package—just remember to stop before you ran out of bag. Here, you would see the result of such spiraling. Step five: Oh, look at that beautiful bowl.

Step 6 of 8

The Bowl: Now, you have a bowl. Something easily disposable—no cleaning after, no messy and sticky backs of the hands, and no digging. You just have to eat everything. Remember our objective—to share with friends and family. Step number six: Eat your share of the chips.

Step 7 of 8

The Drawback: If you’re eating chips all by yourself—time comes you just have no one to share it with. This exposes the only drawback to this method: You have to eat all three or more servings of this fat-full carbohydrate-rich snack food. Good luck on your weight. Step seven: Eat [again?] … all that’s left.

Step 8 of 8

The End: Remember: flatten before throwing, and segregate recyclable from biodegradable and non-recyclable materials. The end is just another beginning—want another bag of chips? Go get one yourself! 😛

Disclaimer: This was not a paid advertisement by Jack ‘n Jill or any company for that matter.

Categories
Calamities Dreams Experiences Rants School Tech

Back to School

It isn’t the start of the semester or the academic year, but it sure feels like it as numerous school activities, weather mis-forecasts, and just the regular weekends got packed into one hell of a vacation I might as well call a weekendless. Our class of 3ECEA wouldn’t even have our laboratory instructor for tomorrow—though lectures still would take place. But, counting the days since the suspension of classes, it totals to six days of no classes all in all.

But, I guess I just have to rant some things that I have to get out of my system:

  • The first one would be the devastating effect of the Super Typhoon Reming especially in the provinces. While I was busy having fun because of little rainfall with the suspension of classes, I sadly realized many have been hardly hit by the raging typhoon resulting to many casualties. Let us pray for them.
  • I still haven’t learned much this late in the semester! All those class suspensions and school activities—with examples including but are not limited to the recollection early this morning and NECES week last, last week, with activities almost every morning conflicting with our schedule—consumed class time.
  • All these absent professors/instructors keep me justifying myself for lack of self-discipline finishing certain school work.

Anyway, I still can’t feel the Christmas spirit. When I was a kid we used to setup the tree within the range of October-November (whenever there’s semester break or before the All Souls’ Day vacation ends), but it’s now December and not even one decoration is up yet. But, hey: For those thinking about what to give me this coming Holidays, I wouldn’t give you much of a hard time trying to find out what to give me—even if you didn’t even greet me on My Birthday Entry. *tee-hee*

  • Computer case: white, ATX form factor, HDD bays in front of a 120-mm noiseless intake fan, and front-panel USB ports as minimum specs 😉
  • Digital SLR camera
  • Apple iPod USB power adapter
  • Better-sounding earphones [or maybe even better-sounding lanyard earphones for 1st gen nano]
  • Internal DVD±R/RW drive, white; and
  • Maybe some original Evanescence CDs 😛

Yes, yes … I know I could keep on dreaming. LOL

BTW, I have migrated the formerly Blogger-platformed quote log located at /special, to a WordPress installation in this server. Please visit: x22. The Qlog will be updated soon. 🙂

Categories
Experiences School Tech

Scrap Metal

One day, I thought I heard a distant explosion—one you could think of as a failing transformer on an outdoor electrical post. My computer’s power flickered but It came back just nanoseconds later. But I was wrong. My computer wouldn’t turn on anymore. I realized what I heard was a discreet boom from the power supply.

My whitebox computer exploded Monday last week as I was about to print a document for our Electronics I report. It felt like the sky fell on top of my head. Panic struck me, though I came up with a way to retrieve the data. Besides, only the power supply really blew up. I just removed the hard disk drive from the system unit and plugged it into the external hard disk enclosure bought with our 250-gigabyte hard disk. I made a mess in my room trying to fix things. But, I wasn’t able to print it right away as our notebook doesn’t have a parallel port. Oh well, at least the data wasn’t lost.

My uncle gave [or lent] me a spare power supply unit from an unused computer to replace that scrap metal I had been using since 2002. I’ve just finished replacing it yesterday along with a busted floppy disk drive and the much larger hard disk drive [the one bought with the enclosure]. I could really describe my computer as katay, which is Tagalog for butchered—a rather exaggerated term for something taken apart [then replaced] piece by piece.

If you could remember my past article, my desktop computer had its motherboard and CPU replaced. Now, I’ve just replaced the power supply, hard disk drive and floppy disk drive. Hmmm … I wonder when I could build my own computer from scratch with new parts.

Easy answer: Not today. *tee-hee*

Categories
Experiences Me School Thoughts

The Aftermath

Yes, I know this is a story long overdue. I’ve had three very long mornings of derangement and two evenings of sleepful nights—very, very unusual for me. Bagyong Milenyo made sure of that. We lost power the morning of September 28. By the morning of the 30th, we’ve used up all stored water for bathing (since our village relies on water pumps and we do not have a big water tank at home). After going to school, I immediately went to my grandparents’ house in Quezon City instead of going home since their power was brought back just a day after the storm. My mother brought me clothes enough to last me for the weekend, and though electricity came back to our house the night we were on my grandparents’ house, I stayed there for two nights since I haven’t been with my cousins for a long time. Four days without blog hopping and mail checking dented me internally. *exaggerating*

But that wasn’t the only aftermath I’ve encountered. Guess what the other one is …

Well, I currently am taking Differential Equations, a Math subject, this semester. After Math? I would still take Differential Equations. Yes, I failed it this sem; my *curses* professor announced it right after the last class of the semester. T_T

Hmmm … looking at the bright side. I am exempted from taking the final exams since I would still fail anyway. No need to bother studying that right now. *tee-hee*