Thursday, 29 May 2008

I am a free man!

Hurray! The exams are finally over, and until august, I am basically a free man! No more school, no more boring stuff, no more nothing. Just me and the things I want to do. And THAT means programming.

But first, next week I'm going on a vacation with two friends of me. A camping trip of sorts. Our destination will most likely be Ameland. Or another of the Wadden Islands. We'll be leaving saturday, and I expect to be back sometime the week after that.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Linux: threats are enough to fix it

Firefox was locking up on me again. Mind you, this is not usually a problem with firefox, but Fedora 9 comes with the BETA of firefox 3, and since this is a still unfinished version, I have found it to be somewhat slow on me sometimes, even crashing a few times.

So as soon as I thought it had locked up again, I quickly opened a prompt and threateningly wrote out the following command:
ps aux | grep firefox | awk '{print $2;}' | xargs kill -9
Then, before the final press of the enter button, I switched back to firefox again, just to check. And what do you know? Without intervention, the scared little fox had decided to start running again. Good boy you! I was only midly sorry I never got to use that triple-pipe thing right there.

So there you go. In Linux, even the Beta's work. If you... coerce them, a little.

Brushing up on history

I just discovered phrack, and I find it endlessly fascinating to read up on old issues. Especially the phreak world news is really awesome. I don't understand half of what they're saying, but still all stories about old hacker groups and phone phreaks are enthralling. Just now I'm reading issue 3, and I quote:
Finally, after several months of promises, Brainstorm (ELITE)
now has a 10 Meg Hard-drive
To me, the idea of a 10 Meg hdd by itself is hilarious. But a group of people actually using it together is almost incomprehensible, despite the knowledge of 'ye olde days' I already have.

Other highlights are philes (articles) on how to make different types of bombs and pipe guns, in-depth information on long lost and obscure PDP-11 system variants, and informative articles on picking locks, tapping phones, and electrifying school lockers.
Issue 3 was released in 1986. So this all happened a bit more than twenty years ago, when internet barely existed. I'm looking forward to slightly more recent articles that I can actually relate to, but these old articles are fun purely for historic reasons.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Yay! Its weekend

Hurray! The first and hardest part of my exams is now over and done. I feel like it all went pretty well. Some better than others, but a good feeling across the board. Latin was without a doubt the worst, and left me mentally completely drained. I couldn't do anything for the rest of the day. Luckily, chemistry was scheduled for the day after that, so I didn't need a lot of preparation.

Three more things are coming up: Philosophy, English, and Math. I plan on finishing English in record time. My Philosophy marks always surprise me (in a good way). It just math that sounds like it could be tricky. However, if I keep going at my current pace, I shouldn't have a problem with any of these, given adequate preparations.

Lesson learned today: when using flite (speech synthesis) on Fedora 9, it crashes. Hard. It turns out the problem is actually pulse audio, so kill that to unfreeze your pc. Thank you and goodnight.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Exams on the way

I'm well into my exams now, and so far it's going pretty well. I've had two already, Dutch and Physics, and I didn't have any problems with either. Tomorrow is Latin, the hardest of all of them, so it's far from over.

Apart from that, there is chemistry on Friday, which shouldn't be a problem, and philosophy, English and math next week. Apparently, the math central exams are always a lot easier than the school exams, so I'm lucky there. I usually get ridiculously high marks for physics with no effort at all (seeming knowledgable and talking a lot seems te be enough), and I'm going for a straight A on English.

And then I'm finally done, free to do the things I like to do. It should be great. I'll see you guys then.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Crystal ball says it may be Wisconsin

Just before I got on vacation, I received a strange email from a Korean dude who is apparently from North Central Tech. As if that wasn't enough, he spoke to me about how excited he was I was coming to the same college as him, and how he wanted to meet me. The English was lacking in quality, littered with '^__^' symbols and the like, but the message was clear. He was convinced I was going to NTC, and he was excited about it. He was also a YFU exchanger.

Now I was quite surprised a Korean dude was emailing me, but even more surprised he knew where I was going before I did. I always assumed, that if the YFU had found suitable host parents, I would here it from them, not from a random student. I was, quite reasonably, a little wary of this excited stranger. However, he seems to know a considerable amount of details about me, such as the classes I will follow, and (not unimportant) my name and email address. So, while I remain cautious, I have drawn the conclusion that I will most likely go to North Central Technical College, Wausau, Wisconsin.

So, way up north, in a small town. It's not like the Florida vacation I just had. I did, however, indicate my hobby of ice skating (the going fast kind, not the dancing kind, mind you). And I expressed my wishes to continue pursueing this hobby in America. I stand by that wish now, and I'm on the whole content with my destination.

Of course, perhaps this was all a mistake of epic proportions, and Korean dude was never meant to email me. I don't know for certain, since I still haven't received word from the YFU about my destination. I will have to wait and see. But my crystal ball says it may be Wisconsin.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Back from vacation

I probably should have mentioned it somehow, right. I really meant to I swear. But I got mixed up in all the preparations. So, I've just come back from two weeks of vacation in Florida. It was really awesome. And no, we did not visit Disney. We visited Sea World, which is like, so a totally different thing. It has only ONE roller coaster, you know! And we only did it one day. It's 'educational'.

Yeah, anyway, we had a lot of fun. I fed a squirrel my apple in the park, which is something I've never done before. And I saw alligators in the Everglades, and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. It was pretty amazing, we were just sitting at the beach and suddenly we saw them drifting along the coast. I also tried to catch a salamander with my hands. I caught one by the tail once, then had only the tail in my hands moments later. It was still twisting in my hand.

One of the things that amazed us all is the amount of space there is in America. Three lane roads are common, a patch of grass separates the road from buildings, parking lots everywhere, huge stores that sell everything... It's so radically different from Europe's cramped streets. I guess it is because of the difference in how the cities developed. I think I prefer our cities. It's busier here, people on bicycles, walking on the sidewalks, nice small stores... If I want to see a movie, I just grab my bicycle and 40 minutes later I'm at the theater. Or I could take public transport. You can't really do that in the US. Of course, you're allowed to drive a car when your 16 instead of 18, but still...

I'll try to get you some of my pictures as soon as I can. We're not really picture-taking people and we tend to forget the camera a lot, but we should have some.