Carnivorous Plants

Travis Bradshaw and I ordered some carnivorous plants for our office and they are going to be amazing. Too bad right now we’re just embarking on the start of the process known as stratification which (in our situation) is totally crappy. Basically, it means we wait while the plants pretend it’s winter. I’m impatient. I want to watch plants eat things now, not in 8 weeks.

Well, I’ve created a new category for posts related to the raising of our precious carnivorous plants, so expect more posts later.

Video Game Woes

So, I heard from Amber that GameStop was trying to get rid of a lot of their used games and had a giant $10 and under display. Well, since most of the games I buy are under $10 I had to go give it a shot. I ended up buying 7 games. This isn’t unusual for me. Considering I walked out of the store with 7 games and only paid as much as one new game, I think I did pretty well, and actually, this happens quite often. Last weekend, Duncan and I did the same thing at Hastings. Anyways, on with the rant.

Duncan and I aren’t just gamers, we’re collectors. A lot my friends are this way, we really care about the condition of our games. So, when we pick out a used copy of our game, we look for a manual, original case and of course the condition of the disk or cartridge. Well, today I managed to find all non-greatest hits copies of the games I wanted. All of them had manuals and the cases were in great condition. However, when I went to checkout, the clerk there went under the counter and retrieved what I thought to be the disks for each game. It turns out, he didn’t just put the disks in the cases, he replaced the cases with whatever was in the drawer. Of course, he was just putting them in the bag as he goes and I didn’t check the bag until after I left the store. Well, Rygar, was replaced without a case at all, atleast, not an original case. It was one of there generic cases with the title written on it with a sharpie. Also, Smuggler’s Run and Devil May Cry were replaced with Greatest Hits versions of the cases and disks. And with Dynasty Warriors 4, he gave me a Greatest Hits disk and a non-Greatest Hits case.

The Greatest Hits switches don’t really bother me too much, if they hand’t of had the normal versions of the games, I still would’ve bought the Greatest Hits version. Since they had both versions though, I prefer to pick up the original, but like I said, this didn’t bother me so much. However, Rygar pissed me off quite a bit. I went through all those games and picked out the case in the nicest condition and everything, and he doesn’t even give me a case. I couldn’t believe it. I understand that the majority of their customers probably don’t care, but I go in all the time, and I’m always obsessing about the condition of everything I pick up, and it’s the same guy helping me every time. I guess I’m not that memorable or something. But next time I’ll know to make sure that I’m getting exactly what I picked out and not whatever the clerk feels like giving me.

Command Line Tip

So, today I had to transfer a large amount of data from a NetBSD box to a new Gentoo server and I ran into some issues. First, I had to move eight gigabytes of data. Well, first thing I did was try a recursive scp but it seems that the scp utility follows symlinks. So the eight gigabytes of data was getting copied multiple times because this filestructure happened to be heavy on the symlinks. Then I thought I could tar it up and send it but it turns out there wasn’t enough disk space locally and the machine was a little slow to wait around to gzip or bz2 compress the data. Well here’s the solution:

tar cf - directory_to_copy | ssh user@destination.machine "tar xf -"

This will tar up the directory and put it to STDOUT which gets piped to ssh. Then, on the remote machine we extract STDIN. Worked like a champ. Pretty fast and much better than setting up a network filesystem just to get a transfer done. So, with two of the most commonly used unix/bsd/linux/whatever commands, you’re able to transfer files securely. Now, if you don’t need a secure connection you could do this without an encrypted connection and it would be even faster, or you -C the ssh command and compress the connection. This could also be done with gzip or bz2 with the tar commands but I have no idea which would yield the most speed. I imagine bz2 would not be the fastest. ;)

NoteHack, Ruby on Rails and TextMate

So, I don’t update this blog very often. Mainly because I find that I just don’t really have time to sit down and write a nice long update all the time. And, I don’t really enjoy writing long posts. They always turn into rants and I find that most of the longer posts I write are pretty useless to everyone but me. However, I do like my short little “OMG THIS IS NEAT” posts so you may see this blog shift more to that end of the spectrum. Anyways, on with the real shit you want to read. :D

I play NetHack quite a bit as many of you are aware. Well, I find my memory isn’t quite up to the challenge sometimes, especially when my games span over an entire week. I’ve decided to write a website that would be a note-taking system designed to aid NetHack players. I call it NoteHack and you can find it at It’s a pretty fun project, and it will be continually improving. I’ve been really excited about working on it every night and don’t see myself dropping this project like the others. I’ve been using Ruby on Rails for this project, which brings me to the next topic.

Ruby on Rails is a rapid development framework that has been gaining attention very quickly the last couple years. I’ve used TurboGears, which is a similar framework for python, but found it a bit harder to jump into. However, this could just be because it was the first framework of the type I used, and so my TurboGears experience has probably helped me learn RoR. Also, RoR is quite a bit more mature than TurboGears, and has much more complete documentation, which is a huge plus. Anyways, if you have an idea for a neat little (or big) webapp, I recommend checking out Ruby on Rails, you won’t regret it.

And for my last little plug, we have TextMate, a graphical text editor geared towards web programming. I’ve been using it the entire time I’ve worked on NoteHack and it’s a pretty robust little application. I like that it has a single purpose and it does that well. It’s not trying to be a godly text editor that can syntax highlight the configuration file for the proprietary software your grandmother uses to make to-do lists. But, I’m a minimalist when it comes to software, so this may be an opinion only shared by me.

Sorry if you aren’t a coder, this post probably wasn’t very interesting to you. :(