Satya's blog - 2005/

Dec 29 2005 21:48 LEGO Star Wars B-Wing
Yetsrday I was wandering around Target looking for a LEGO Star Destroyer (no one in this state has it, no Target in the US has it, Amazon does not have it, it's even backordered on when I found 3 B-Wing sets. The label under them said about $15, but I decided to wait and get home and see if there was a resale value for them on eBay or wherever. They're sweet, and I've always wanted a B-Wing, but it's not a big set and I don't want it that much. Build once, take pictures, re-sell.

I found it goes for anything from $20 to $50 on the auction site. I went back to Target today... looked closely at the price tag, which was for something else. Scanned the barcode, it turned out to be $35. I don't want it *that* much.

There are 3 LEGO B-Wings and an A-wing or two sitting in the West Ashley Target. And loads of Bionicles; apparently no one wants those.

Tag: starwars

Dec 28 2005 18:26 Bhgfbhepvat naq vzzvtengvba
(This article is ROT-13-encrypted due to potentially offensive content.)

Fb V'z urnevat gung ybgf bs crbcyr (v.r. arjf ercbegref) ner natel nobhg bhgfbhepvat bs wbof. Fb nz V. Jul ner wbof gung fubhyq tb gb crbcyr va zl fgngr tbvat gb crbcyr va bgure fgngrf? Urpx, jung nobhg zl pvgl, jul ner wbof urer orvat bhgfbheprq gb bgure gbjaf?

Naq juvyr jr'er ng vg, jul ner vyyrtny vzzvtenagf nyybjrq gb ebnz serr va gur HF creznaragyl juvyr rirel fpenc bs cncrejbex sebz zr vf fpehgvavmrq sbe lrnef ba raq?

Last updated: Dec 28 2005 18:31

Tag: rant

Dec 28 2005 14:30 LEGO Star Destroyer
I wish I had a LEGO Star Destroyer model 10030, that thing is awesome! Anyone have one for sale? (Not the Mini!! Do NOT send me messages about the Mini, I already have it!)

Tag: starwars model

Dec 26 2005 12:44 Blog optimisations
The blog software I use has been taking too long to generate my blog. So I optimised it a little.

Background: Each entry is kept as a text file. The files are kept in directories. The software runs through each directory and processes each file and produces HTML pages. At the end it also produces a database from which the tag directory works and the dynamic tag-based RSS feeds can be generated on demand.

Each file processed opens an HTML::Template instance which opens and processes a template from disk. This is resource-intensive. Reading the docs, I found several cache options one of which is blind_cache. Setting this option caches the parsed template in memory, so the template module doesn't re-open and re-parse the file for each blog entry.

At the end, the program creates a new SQLite database file and runs SQL INSERT statements -- a new query for each blog entry. Of course the statement handle is re-used but it still takes time. Googling (well, I used Amazon's A9 this time) for sqlite optimizations got me a recommendation to use BEGIN TRANSACTION and END TRANSACTION before and after my flurry of SQL.
Without transactions and blind_cache:
15 wallclock secs ( 6.25 usr + 0.21 sys = 6.46 CPU)

With transactions and HTML::Template's blind_cache:
3 wallclock secs ( 2.03 usr + 0.16 sys = 2.19 CPU)
Dec 19 2005 16:57 Snam
Snail mail spam = Snam
Or snamam? Snamalam? Snama lama ding dong? Or how about "cram"? Credit card spam.

Tag: geeky

Dec 14 2005 12:36 Power consumption
I have a wattmeter. Fear.

So here's some data:
gort's CRT50
wintermutex's LCD25
wintermutex's hard drive thrashing under load from opening openoffice 5-10
Printer, idle10
System, quiescent195

(Determined by turning stuff on and off and subtracting in my head.)

Maximum current draw: under 4 amps. Usually less than 3, 2 if quiescent. That is good.

Last updated: Dec 14 2005 12:44

Tag: geeky tech

Dec 12 2005 16:24 Capital One account closed
I've had a Capital One Visa credit card account for a while now, and I hardly ever use it. They keep sending me sleazy stuff like cash advance checks, but that's not why I closed the account -- I closed it because I don't use it.

Unexpectedly, it was relatively easy to close -- called the number, got through a couple of straightforward phone menus, talked to customer service who only bugged me a little bit about why I want to close it, which is reasonable. Then they read me my rights (too fast and mumbled) and said the account would be closed in two billing cycles. Cool.

Tag: corp

Dec 03 2005 22:45 Reducing XP scandisk timeout
A few months ago I had ranted about how XP sits there waiting for a keypress to *cancel* the automatic disk check on a bad boot. There's not keypress to skip the timeout and just run the check already. Well, according to there's a workaround:
chkntfs /?

(I won't tell you how to do that; if you don't know you shouldn't be doing it.)

Tag: tip

Dec 02 2005 17:30 More pictures
More pictures, these are from Mount Pleasant. The pictures link to my on-line albums which have such details as date, etc. and of course more pictures:

Reflected building
Fog on lake

They're both on the same lake next to my front door. The first is a reflection on a still night. The second is the fog on a cold morning.

After I did the USS Enterprise model pictures, and these two, I realised the Imagemagick options have changed, so these pictures have no captions as part of the image. The command was:
convert -density 100 -pointsize 12 -background '#00000066' -fill white \
label:"$1" \
composite -gravity northwest -quality $qual - $2 $3
but now I use:
convert -density 100 -pointsize 12 -background '#00000066' -fill white \
label:"$1" \
composite -compose atop -quality $qual - $2 $3

Update (2010-04-10): I use this now:

convert -density 100 -pointsize 12 -background '#00000066' -fill white \
label:" $1 " \
-strokewidth 8 \
-geometry "+10""+10" \
composite -compose atop -geometry "+10""+10" - "$2" $3

Last updated: Apr 20 2010 16:25

Tag: picture code

Nov 28 2005 09:57 Going from Windows shortcut .lnk to nix symlink
So I had a bunch of shortcuts to images on my Windows box. After scping them to Linux, I had a bunch of lnk files that had nothing to do with the original files. And binary. So I whipped up a short shell command:
for i in *.lnk
do echo ln -s `grep -ao [a-zA-Z0-9_]*.jpg $i` $i
piped the output of that to, edited it in vim to prepend ../ (if needed; my original images were in the parent directory) and remove the trailing .lnk from each line. Then I ran the shell script and voila, I have symlinks next to windows lnk files (in case I scp them back to a Windows box). These are archival files so there's no question of frequent updates.

The grep command works with an 'a' for text-mode, 'o' to return just the matched parts (the lnk file contains a full Windows-style path), and the regex matches the filename: any-case letters, number, underline. I know the filenames are limited to that.

Tag: geeky code

Nov 14 2005 20:44 A quote from _Going Postal_
A Quote from Terry Pratchett's _Going Postal_
Craftsmen. D'you know what that means? It means men with some pride, who get fed up and leave when they're told to do skimpy work in a rush, no matter what you pay them. So I'm employing people as "craftsmen" now who're barely fit to sweep out a workshop. But you don't care, because if they don't polish a chair with their arse all day you think a man who's done a seven-year apprenticeship is the same as some twerp who can't be trusted to hold a hammer by the right end.
-- not said aloud by Mr. Pony, chief engineer for the Grand Trunk clacks company.

Tag: book quote