Dolphins on the R44

On Sunday, April 10, 2016, as if the day was not already perfect enough, we were super fortunate to see a pod of dolphins speeding along in the sea right next to the R44 coastal road.

The sight was so spectacular, that we could not spare a second to get our cameras out, so you’re going to have to be satisfied with this photo of me and GOU #1 admiring the pod as they swam out of sight.

dolphins_on_the_r44

(The level and amount of human excitement on the sides of the road was also something to experience.)

The photo still includes its EXIF GPS information, but here’s a map showing the exact location of the sighting for your interest:

Weekly Head Voices #105: There will be tears.

Congratulations, you have successfully completed the week of Monday February 8 to Sunday February 14, 2016!

About 4 seconds after posting previous edition WHV #104 to Facebook with the “When you’re a vegan <boy with bulging veins> and haven’t told anyone in 10 minutes” meme image included, friend Ivo T. zinged me with this reply:

12651073_10153234132252035_804640390912092906_n

So much truth. I have been put back in my place. Sorry vegans. Sorry MBA students. Not sorry Ayn Randers.

This is currently my favourite lager ever (at least until next week):

Jack Black Brewers Lager

It is indeed a craft beer. If we’ve ever chatted more than 10 minutes in the past (or in the future), you’ll know everything about my braai, and you probably also know that I find craft beer to be one of the greatest inventions ever, along with fire, and the internet.

Here’s a another beer which I recently had the pleasure of enjoying, at a secret networking meeting (yes, we have secret meetings where we in fact do manage a large number of aspects of your daily life, and where we also orchestrate it so you’ll never suspect that we are behind everything, subtly manipulating reality) where, when the beer arrived at the table, everyone who looked vaguely hipster-like claimed vocally not in fact to be even remotely hipster-like:

Tears of the Hipster Beer

META-HIPSTER CRAFT BEER! At first I was confused, but then I realised it was just another case of WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

(By the way, I stripped the EXIF GPS data from the Jack Black photo, because privacy, but I left it hidden in the tears of the hipster. First one who tells me in the comments where the secret meeting was held gets a free craft beer!)

Nerd tip of the week: It’s somehow not prominent enough on their site, but GitLab, the open source GitHub alternative, also offer free hosting of an unlimited number of private repositories with an unlimited number of private collaborators. In other words, if you’re on a budget, you can host your commercial and proprietary project git repositories (and bug tracking and wikis) there at no cost. This is cheaper than github ($7 for the smallest subscription for 5 private repos) and better than bitbucket (private repos for free, but if you have more than 5 team members you have to pay). I pay quite gladly for the online services I use, but in this particular case, such a level of free is hard not to like.

Nerd tip #2 of the week: The Clang static C++ analyser is brilliant. If you program in C++, and you need to up your game, integrating this into your workflow is a solid step in the right direction. I’ve been using this via the scan-build method. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to know more about this!

After some professional ethernet cabling down to the sort-of basement of our new house, I have checked off another item from my non-existent bucket list: We now have a lab at our house. So far there are computers, all kinds of DIY supplies and art stuff for the genetic offspring units, and all of this to create. I spent some of the best times of my life in labs of some sort of another. It’s really great bringing some of that back home to my clan.

Have a great week kids, see you on the other side!

Weekly Head Voices #104: Let me update you.

This post is about things that I noticed in the week of Monday February 1 to Sunday February 7, 2016.

I dug up an email I wrote to Alex Stepanov and Meng Lee, authors of the C++ Standard Template Library on Monday August 3, 1998, to ask them if they would have written a matrix template, if they would have derived it from the vector template. Stepanov answered, the next day (!), that he had never found much use for inheritance. In those days, nerd celebrities mailed you back. Also, poor old C++ inheritance…

A few years later, but still back in the day, @gerwindehaan and I wrote a time management web-app which could automatically schedule all of your tasks. In other words, it would decide exactly what you needed to do when in order to hit all of your deadlines, your appointments and your priorities. It had an ugly UI (story of my life), but it worked (story of my life?). That whole adventure marked the start of our downward spiral away from academia and into the sea of money and debauchery we currently find ourselves in. In any case, I resurrected the old TimeScapers website and wrote a short little retrospective blog post if you’re interested.

I got tired of waiting for the OTA (over the air) update to Marshmallow (that’s Android 6.0) for my LG G3, so I booted into Windows 10 (yes, I have a partition with that also), and used LGUP with the 8974 DLL  (very important to use this and NOT the 8994, else you WILL FAIL) and the official LG G3 Marshmallow KDZ (1.3GB md5sum 711d91254f5e3e02536395b35e1d534f) to upgrade the phone. After one day I can say the following: Looks mildly prettier and feels slightly smoother, but battery life has improved phenomenally. Let me know in the comments if you need help with doing this on your own phone.

The graphical warning below is why I’m not ready to shave my beard quite yet (click for imgur source):

what happens when you shave

As you might or might not have heard, our currency has recently taken quite a serious knock. Fortunately, it’s still extremely good for exchanging for meaty pleasures, such as the almost 2.5kg of rib-eye and t-bone you see in the photo below. Prepared and enjoyed with good friends, this was as beautiful as it looks. The hand you see in the picture belongs to my friend, who is a giant.

rib-eye t-bone yum

Don’t worry, I don’t eat that much meat every day. Also, when I grow up, I want to be a vegan:

bmyBQBE - Imgur

(It’s almost just like when someone is doing their MBA! Have I offended enough people yet? I was also planning to insult people who manage to take Ayn Rand seriously, but they’re not very good with multi-syllabic words, or reading in general. Furthermore, my beef with vegans (I’m on the roll here) and with MBA students is actually just good-natured teasing, a tone I would prefer to maintain. For now.)

Have a great week kids, I hope to see you on the other side!

Weekly Head Voices #103: Chips!

I thought that I had nothing for the two weeks from Monday January 18 to Sunday January 31, 2016, but my notes begged to differ. They suggested the following items for your reading, listening and viewing pleasure:

Party trick

If you’re like me, you stop two to three chips short of finishing the packet so that you can explain to your conscience that you didn’t finish the whole thing. However, once or twice in my life, I’ve been faced with the terrifying conundrum of a partially finished packet of chips, but no way to seal the packet for later utilisation. Readers, agonise no more! Learn from this animated demonstration:

View post on imgur.com

Music

A musically inclined colleague recently suggested I try out In Colour, the 2015 studio album by Jamie XX. After multiple listens, I can only highly recommend that you too try this out on your favourite music source. I’m currently on Apple Music, because it is currently the best way for me and my whole family to get access to all the music we can eat. What a time to be alive! Below is one of my favourite tracks from the album:

Irrelevant miscellany, for my OCD

At Stone Three, as I have previously hinted, we have now switched to a self-hosted Mattermost. So far, this is going swimmingly, with some of the resident experts also getting the github integration going (when someone pushes to any of the linked github repos, we get a nicely formatted message on the relevant channels). If you’re curious about how exactly this compares to HipChat, Slack or Campfire (remember that?), let me know in the comments.

For the Saff Efricans reading this: When Afrihost announced that they were going to play MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), I jumped on them. Much more data, somewhat more airtime and contract-free for not very many peanuts sounded like a great deal to me. Let me know in the comments if you need more info.

Backyard linguistics

Millenials, or Generation Y, are humans that were born anywhere from the early 80s to the early 2000s. As a backyard anthropologist, one of my favourite articles about millenials is “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” by Tim Urban on the Wait but Why blog. However, I found this recent article by Jeff Guo titled “The totes amazesh way millennials are changing the English language” at the Washington Post even more fascinating.

It turns out that millenials have introduced new forms like totes delish (most delicious), abbreviash (abbreviation), appreesh (appreciate) and many more brilliant inventions into the English language. It’s fantastic seeing a language evolve like this, especially now that the internet and the hyper-connected humans on it are acting as such a powerful catalyst, and simultaneously as an instrument of observation, or should I say observash?

Inspiring quotes that you can repost if you want

This is from Soderbergh’s Solaris, which I thought was brilliant (I did read Lem’s book when I was much younger, could be that that did the trick). The quote was brought to my attention by @ckritzinger on the twitters as follows:

There are no answers. Only choices.

Let’s broaden the quote slightly. Remember, this is the dialogue between one of the last living characters on a space station, and a flesh-and-bones version of one of the other crew members that was resurrected (you know, from being completely dead) by the utterly strange planetary intelligence that is Solaris (you can also read this fine analysis):

If you keep thinking there’s a solution, you’ll die here. There are no answers. Only choices.

That sounds like an even more apt bit of advice for most of us here on Earth, except that it’s only going to make the difference between dying, or dying with the disappointing belief that there must have been a solution or final answer somewhere that you were just unable to find.

There is no why.

There is only how, and that’s awesome!

Fix the unusable window resize border in Gnome Flashback Metacity on Ubuntu

On Ubuntu I mostly use Gnome Flashback with Metacity, along with the brilliant Synapse app starter / file finder. I do this in spite of having a beefy NVIDIA GPU in this Core i7 workstation, because the OpenGL compositing on this 2560×1440 display makes video conferencing really slow, and because I do OpenGL development and need to have maximum performance for the app I’m working on.

However, it irritated me to no end that the window borders were so thin that I was not able to grab them for a resize. Adding insult to injury, there were only the four standard themes in Settings | Appearance, namely Adwaita, Ambiance, Radiance and High Contrast, none of which has usable borders.

The solution is to use the Gnome Tweak Tool (package gnome-tweak-tool) to change the Window theme to something with better borders. I used Watercolor (from the metacity-themes package), and set the rest up as follows on the appearance tab:

tweak-tool-theme

Once this is done, your window borders should look like this:

watercolor-window-borders

Now you can resize your windows again, AND you can enjoy the snappiness of Gnome Flashback with Metacity!