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Learning is important. By learning I mean filling my mind with interesting things. In 2008, high on my list of things to learn about are Zen/meditation, environment, photography, Python (programing language) and SQL (database technology). If you are interested in any of these send me a message, maybe we could learn together.

The Omnivore's Dilemma

This is a wide ranging book about what we eat and where it comes from. It made me really think about food. If you're into food you'll probably like it. Its one of the best books I've ever read.

Backing up my files under Linux

For the longest time I haven't been in control of backing up. I've done it, haphazardly, usually before I do something risky. Each time I have to relearn everything. Now I want to make it semi automatic.

1.) I went out and bought a nice big 1 TB external hard drive.
2.) I don't intend to keep the drive connected all the time. So the first thing I do when I want to backup is connect the drive. I'll do this by UUID since its a more reliable method. First I connect the drive. Next I type:

sudo vol_id /dev/sda1

and copy the volume ID of the drive. Then I issue:

Configuring Grip

So now I have switched over to Ubuntu I have to redo lots of things with new applications. Here is my grip configuration for ripping music.

Rip file format:
~/mp3/%A/%d/%n.wav (default I think)

Encoder command line:
-V2 --vbr-new -q0 --lowpass 19.7 --add-id3v2 --pad-id3v2 --ta "%a" --tt "%n" --tl "%d" --ty "%y" --tn "%t" %w %m
I may not totally understand what I am doing here. But the sound quality is great. Variable bitrate files are created. id3v2 tags are in the encoding string. Not sure if I really need these.

Encoder file format:

Mounting Drives Under Linux

Modify the /etc/fstab file. Probably better make a backup first.

You can add an entry /dev/xxxxx. But in some cases that designation might change. For example if you remove a drive, one fails or even some changes in the BIOS could probably do it. So I identified the drive by UUID. You can check the UUID with:

sudo vol_id /dev/sda1

Then you can add a line like this to mount the drive at boot:

UUID=8d947571-b0eb-42ab-b482-d4bb093a17c6 /media/sdb1 ext3 defaults 0 0


using mysql

allow remote access on the mysql server if you want to connect from a remote client:
edit /etc/my.cnf
change bind-address = to bind-address =
comment out: skip-networking (didnt need doing on my system)

mysql -u root -p
mysql -u -h -p

list databases:
show databases;

new database:
create database contacts;

give access to database (I need to understand more on this):
GRANT ALL ON employees.* TO david@localhost IDENTIFIED BY "mypass";

use a database:
use contacts;

list the tables in the db:

Home Network

Server: is tiny: static IP address
samba: Homenet

Access tiny:
can't access truecrypt drive through nfs, use samba.
ssh to get shell access.

Globalization - George Soros

I should have read the summary of this book a bit more carefully. I was expecting to buy a book, written by a successful financier, about where the global economy is going. The plan was to get rich by moving our assets to where the future is. What I got was a book by philanthropist on how the global economy could be improved to the benefit of the disadvantaged on this planet. On second thoughts I'm glad I didn't carefully read the summary, because I wouldn't have bought the book if I had.

Neuromancer - William Gibson

Neuromancer is supposed to be a science fiction classic. It won all the awards and coined the term cyberspace long before it came into common usage.

For me it was a good, but not great read. Its a page turner and the action keeps up pretty much the whole way.

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