Cork City on a Saturday Night

This is a not-so flattering look at Cork City on a Saturday night, but it’s probably repeated most everywhere where drink is served.

I like the music though. Could this be a sneaky attempt to make a viral video for the musician? Bet there’ll be an exclusive interview with thejournal.ie or The Examiner in a few days time. Or, as one Reddit user said,

obvious propaganda from the government in Dublin who want to annex our republic.

Of course.

NASA + Google = SPHERES

This is quite amazing. Google and NASA are working on robots that will float around the International Space Station helping astronauts or perform maintenance activities independently on station. I love the zero G test of the SPHERE in the video. It looked like a lot of fun!

I found this video on Johnny Chung Lee’s blog post. I remember I started following after he blogged about hacking the Wii motion controller a few years ago. Now into space? Great!

Since the summer of 2013, the Project Tango team has been working closely with a team at the NASA Ames Research Center. The goal: to integrate a Project Tango prototype onto a robotic platform, called SPHERES, that flies inside the International Space Station. The SPHERES program aims to develop zero-gravity autonomous platforms that could act as robotic assistants for astronauts or perform maintenance activities independently on station. The 3D-tracking and mapping capabilities of Project Tango would allow SPHERES to reconstruct a 3D-map of the space station and, for the first time in history, enable autonomous navigation of a floating robotic platform 230 miles above the surface of the earth.

Project Tango and SPHERES are scheduled to be launched into orbit this summer. The future is awesome.

A Weekend at Cullintra House

CULLINTRA HOUSE

This was the view from our room in Cullintra House this weekend. It’s a guesthouse on a working farm. Patricia Cantlon, the owner, is an amazing cook and while dinner is late in the evening around 8pm the food is worth it. Over three nights we enjoyed trout, turkey & ham, and lamb. Each dish was better than the previous, topped off with delicious desserts.

If you’re used to hotel accommodation the rooms here may come as a surprise. There are rooms in the main house but we stayed in a beautifully converted barn where Patricia displays her paintings. A wood burning stove provides heat. The last time I lit a fire was probably in the 90′s so it was an education! Wood blocks come from her own farm and readily burned, warming the room quickly. Smoke did escape from the stove at times but the gallery is a large room and it dispersed.

Patricia is a no-nonsense woman who loves to talk. She’ll happily converse into the small hours of the morning I’m sure but each evening we went to bed shortly after dinner was over. If you look up “energy” in the dictionary you’ll find her name there!

I guarantee you won’t have a quiet weekend away if you stay in Cullintra House, but if you’re looking for something a little different and delicious food you really should give it a go. I’m still reeling from the experience.

I’ll be updating this post with more photos over the next few days.

Learning more about Vim

I mentioned in a tweet recently that I’ve been using some form of Vi for about twenty years. It all started in college where we had highly advanced green screen monitors attached to a large Unix box. I can’t remember what Unix it was ran on that machine (it may have been UnixWare) but it was a far cry from the nice GNU interface we’re used to on modern Unix systems. Vim certainly was not a part of the default install.

However, Vim has been my editor of choice all my working life. All this time I’ve known I’m only scratching the surface of it’s functionality but only recently has it become clear how much. I can navigate through it with ease, open numerous files in separate splits, search/replace and of course vimdiff was partly responsible for every single WordPress MU release as I used it to pull over changes from WordPress.

So, thanks to /r/vim I discovered the following today:

  1. /r/vim_magic is indeed full of magic.
  2. More Instantly Better Vim is a great talk on some insane things to do with Vim.
  3. I had no idea Vim had tabs but I still prefer splits.
  4. snipMate.vim is a snippet plugin for Vim based on the snippets in TextMate. Around the turn of the century I had messed with abbreviations but this is way better. Found that here where there’s plenty more tips to read.
  5. Coming home to Vim is the story of the return of a TextMate user to Vim. Why didn’t I know about daX and diX?
  6. Since I use split files, I’m always tapping CTRL-w w or CTRL-w UP/DOWN to switch between splits. It never occurred to me that I could map the TAB like this to switch split files. TAB switches to the next split file, SHIFT-TAB hops back.

    map <Tab> <C-W>w
    map <S-Tab> <C-W>p

  7. I am tentatively mapping ; to : with nnoremap ; : but I probably won’t use it. My fingers are too used to LSHIFT-; to stop now. I’ve never used the ; command, I had to look it up to see what it did!

From my tweet comes some productivity tips. I have never used the Leader key. The shame, the shame!

So much to learn. I’ll probably leave comments on this post linking to all the bits and pieces I find. Yes, I’m excited about a bloody text editor. Haha!

Linux: when the /boot is all full

I tried to install fdupes this morning on my Ubuntu Linux server but the install bombed out with this error, followed by a string of other warnings before dpkg rolled back everything:

gzip: stdout: No space left on device

What? I’d installed a 500GB drive in that machine recently. It was /boot/. A quick look in there revealed a number of old Linux kernels but luckily there’s an easy way to get rid of them.

This showed me a list of all my installed kernels, and “uname” told me the name of the current kernel which I shouldn’t remove.

dpkg -l linux-image-\* | grep ^ii

Removing them was as easy as this:

apt-get purge linux-image-3.8.0-29-generic linux-image-3.8.0-31-generic linux-image-3.8.0-32-generic linux-image-3.8.0-33-generic linux-image-3.8.0-34-generic linux-image-3.8.0-35-generic linux-image-3.8.0-36-generic

When I finally installed fdupes it kindly removed all the kernel headers saving me a further 505MB of space. I’m pretty sure this is the first time /boot has filled up on me.

fdupes is pretty nice too. It finds duplicate files by comparing file sizes first and then does MD5 checks.

Browser Overload

Too Many Tabs

I should probably close some browser tabs. I’ve tried various tab extensions, using Pocket, or even copying URLs into a text file but still I leave the same tabs open for days on end until Chrome crashes and I forget to recover them and, BOOM, they’re gone and I don’t care.

Rinse and repeat.

Happy 25th birthday WWW!

Carl Sagan: ‘Science Is a Way of Thinking’

In a few hours time Neil deGrasse Tyson will present the new series of Cosmos. We won’t see it in this part of the world for another week unfortunately. I never saw the original series and only know Carl Sagan by reputation as the only time I’ve heard him speak at length was in this 1996 Science Friday interview they rebroadcast in December. I still have it on my phone despite the fact I listened to it several weeks ago. It’s a great interview, you should listen to it too.

Thanks to Reddit here’s a short interview with a younger Neil deGrasse Tyson where he explains the influence Carl Sagan had on him and tells of first meeting him. It’s a lovely and charming story.