Monthly Archives: October 2011

On to Chennai

My last night in Singapore. Today I went for a 4 hour walk which included a beautiful colonial park. It took me about 2 hours to traverse the area since I wanted to try and see as much there relating to the Singapore colonial period. This is my last night here and then off to the changi airport for my flight onwards to India. I’ll take off tomorrow on an old friend on Jet Airways flight 9W15. This is the same flight I have caught for years.

Tonight I’ll head over to Bugis Junction for dinner and perhaps a pint of man soda down the street.

Fast forward to 545am. I met a charming Japanese teacher last night and drank a few beers with her discussing Japan, teaching Japanese to singaporeans, and life in general. Now I’m drinking the usual choc full of nuts coffee and considering the next entry in my trip. On to Chennai and friends there for five days. I’ll eat and drink, spend some quiet times reading. I enjoyed that approach all the time I spent there. Wireless will cost a bit there too.

Now I sit here in my little room considering all that has past, what comes next. Relationship faux pas, game changing events. So much is so different except for the choc full of nuts java juice and my sitting in a room waiting for another step to things.

Next blog post from Mylapore!!

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Singapore days

I got into Singapore yesterday actually. I got to the room at about 1am after the usual 10 minutes of customs at changi airport. It’s really nice to be back here. I spent today walking for about 4 hours walking and only resorted to google maps once. Traveling and using the xoom for Internet is nice but singapore does not have free wifi so you end up signing up for singtel wireless as a tourist.

Today I get to see Chris for dinner which is nice. Then Monday I’m off to Chennai. More to come tomorrow!

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In Tokyo!

One of my favS. Next stop Singapore tonight at midnight

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Traveling Even Lighter

I’m a light traveler type. A few years ago I found this wonderful site about how to plan out business or even leisure travel to maximize the enjoyment of the trip rather than worrying whether checked baggage would arrive, how security would deal with the stuff, etc. One thing I have always traveled with is a laptop or netbook. The ideal OS for traveling to me is Linux so in the past I moved toward either Ubuntu or Debian on the beast. Linux is just far more forgiving around networks and updates than Windows I have found. But even the lightest laptop I own, a Asus EEEpc still weighs in at 2.5 pounds. Seems like a lot. Then it dawned on me. I have the perfect companion. My Motorola Xoom!

 

 

 

 

 

I read this Forbes article on how the Xoom is a great business traveler’s companion as well. So what recommends it over the standard fare for the somewhat road warrior? I’ve come up with a few things which I feel represent wins:

  1. Form factor. If I had a 7 or 8 inch android tablet I would pack it instead; but a 10.1 inch tablet seems to represent a good middle road of a form factor and weight to me. It fits into a much smaller bag so allows me to tone down the “under the seat” RedOxx gator bag I like to carry on flights.
  2. Battery life. Battery life is really good! I get loads of battery life on the Xoom and the AC adaptor is rated from 110 to 240 which is another win.
  3. Games, Apps. The android app scene on tablets has gone way up and I have about 20 games specifically made for the slate. I also have a very nice office application which also reads my Dropbox share which is very handy. Combine that with the Amazon and Google Reader apps and Skype or Google Talk and I have everything needed. I also loaded up a number of secondary applications I use a lot like ConnectBot and a KeepassX android application to read my encrytped keepass file. Very handy!
  4. Travel Ease. A tablet does not need to be taken out when traversing security in the US while a laptop does. It makes for an easier and faster customs and security traverse.
  5. Durability. I think tablets are pretty durable all in all. They use industry standard WiFi technology so getting email and casual web surfing is easily done. Updating this here blog is not so difficult either.

There are a few downsides as well.

  1. Keyboards. There is no physical keyboard by default unless you have the Asus Transformer. The soft keyboard I use is good but it ain’t no real keyboard.
  2. Headset. There is no headset by default for video calls and conferencing. You have to add in a supported bluetooth device for this.
  3. Space for Large Music Collection. No real space for a large music collection so I will carry my smaller little Archos A5it 160gb player, movie thing, everything in one device. Its rooted and does a nice job now of presenting my music and movies to me in a very portable size.

Verdict for a Traveler?

I think the verdict is that a tablet “can be” a good companion for travels. It has a form factor and approach which will just work in places like airplanes and buses where space is at a premium. It has good battery life. Just don’t expect laptop performance on it. Heck; I am only wanting email and casual web and perhaps editing a resume or two though. I read some websites where folks used iPads as well for generic device but Apple ™ threatened to sue to me for reading them on a cheap copy of the iPad :-)

So, this trip I go for the first time laptop free. This will mean even faster jaunts in airports here, in Singapore, India, Japan. I am still carrying my little Asus Travel Router because its so handy to use on a variety of hotel networks and it runs DD-WRT which is even nicer. I think if this sticks; I will really look at a second generation Android tablet like the Asus Transformer Prime next.

Next blog report will be on the road!

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Saturday Morning Yet Again

On Saturday mornings, I roam the house alone for the most part. This weekend is rather special though. I pull the plug on this whole dys-functional thing and move to other realities I really enjoy. I searched the other day on google for things to do on long airplane trips. Happily, most of the things the so-called experts suggest are things I do. Since buying a Kindle a few years ago, the entire travel experience has become so simple. Before I remember carrying pounds of books to consume because I love reading. Right now, I’m reading this interesting mix of fact and fiction about Doc Holliday now. The Kindle thing so simplifies the act of carrying a large and diverse library and having Amazon manage the digital content means they are available on the web, my Xoom, wherever.

I also am looking over maps of Kyoto since I have never been there and am reading this historic account of Kyoto on Google books to test out how it works on my Linux laptop and on my devices. On the Xoom, reading is quite nice by the way. I am also looking at maps for my three days there to ascertain directions of my walks, temples and parks to visit, and other things to do. It looks like I picked the perfect hotel there that is central to the city and the sites to visit. I planned out the last bit of transit to take me from Narita to Kyoto which will include riding the fabled and fun Shinkansen Bullet Trains for about three hours. 

After three days of visiting places and almost three weeks of road travel, I get back here. Back to the alternate reality and hopefully a position which seems to have an interesting mix of things for me. But now, its Saturday here in the UC. Its foggy and its my no-walk day today. I drank a few beers last night and stayed up watching these rather stupid Science Fiction movies on Turner Classic Movies. Sometimes stupid movies with no real plots that seem stitched together with scenes that don’t add up can be fun. Even at the most serious of turns in the movies like when these people were stealing people’s bodies it was humorous because of the way it was done.

I count three more days to go here. Three more days of kids and caring. Wednesday morning when I hit the road, I won’t be demanding a plan. Because now I know what I need to do next. Its not a popular decision but a few friends have told me repeatedly I owe it to myself.

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Recapping Android’s Arrival and Brilliance

In 2009, I wrote this blog post dear readers. I prognosticated that by 2012 Android would be pre-eminent as a mobile powerhouse. Back then I had a HTC Magic and would soon move to a HTC Hero. I’ve been a HTC boy for quite some time. Every HTC phone I have owned has been rooted. The G2 Vision was a tough one but it got done. My current fav is the HTC Sensation. Its a fun and funky little device. That one took some time and a few people left before we got an elegant and simple root mechanism. This is not about what HTC gave us. Unlocking a boot loader and giving us S-OFF is not the same can of beans. ┬áThe most useful is Radio S-OFF though. Then you truly own the phone and can do anything to it you want. Do not give in and use the htcdev website to manipulate your phone. You will be sorry. Wait and it will come.

I keep track with how Apple seems to just litigate against anything which threatens it with dismay. Its really not going to matter in the long run. In two year’s time, there will be so many handsets, tablets, and other media devices and Apple will have completely played itself out with suits and infringements. It would work if there were a Android, Inc. Much like Linux, Inc. But it simply don’t exist.

I’ll restate that by 2012, Android will be dominant. I said it in 2009. By 2011, what I said has mostly come true. There is a snowball effect that no one phone maker, media maker, tablet maker can stand against. Let the competition flow equally. Best device wins out. People say, “well, the android tablets are out and iPad is still dominant”. Remember it took almost three years to get to the point we are at now. The real tablets like the Xoom, the Asus Transformer, the Samsung 10.1 have only been out scant months. Wait another year or two. Different picture then.

Just so everyone knows. Android continues to take bites out of Apple turf…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure tastes good :-)

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Sunday Disclaimers

Here it is Sunday the 16th of October. I have 10 days before leaving on my trip. Last night I found this minor issue with what I believe was the mistaken use of the command “apt-get autoremove”. I wanted to install the latest iceweasel (firefox thang) on debian testing but it reported as uninstallable due to a missing dependency which could not be installed. It basically wanted a library named “libnotify1″ which is not in the testing repositories.
But it was on a few of my systems so the upgrade happened on those. Other systems could not upgrade and packages were “held back” pending satisfaction of the dependency issue. I could not find the libnotify1 package in the testing repo’s. I downloaded the libnotify1 from the stable source and installed it by hand. Now it all works again. Really strange but I’ve seen this before on Debian. If you are gonna run Debian Testing, it helps to be a bit of a detective I guess.

Android This and That…

In other news, I’ve been following the news a lot lately with the new Android Phones Tmobile has. One is the HTC Amaze 4g and the other is the ultimately powerful Samsung Galaxy S 2. Neither of these super phones have root and Samsung changed the guts of the Galaxy S 2 on tmobile.

I also have been going back and forth on buying the Amazon Fire tablet. I use my Kindle a lot but only want something to read ebooks. I have a tablet already which I’m satisfied with. The Xoom Wifi is a nice little portable computer to me. Not sure if the Fire would be the same or be a media center thing instead. I don’t think the media software works in other countries so the usefulness of the tablet to be a media center seems limited. So, it becomes a glorified kindle to me then when I travel out of the US. That’s less useful given the fact I can have the content already on my Xoom I want. I want amazon music and books and that’s it. The compelling reasons for purchase seem very low on the spectrum. As far as cloud goes, I have it all already. Documents, music, books are all on the Xoom.

Ubuntu 11.10 Reflections

I tried Ubuntu 11.10 twice now. Once on real hardware and once in VirtualBox. On my rather old ThinkPad T60 it was slow. Windows opening were painful even. In VirtualBox it was faster. I don’t think I will be using either the classic gnome experience or Unity or Ubuntu 11.10. Debian Testing is almost twice as fast at doing common things on the T60.

Work and Home Stuff

I’ve given up on the work thing before leaving on the trip. Not going to look or do any resume dispatching. Not worth explaining to recruiters and potential employers how I cannot start for three more weeks or so. Instead, I’m taking care of stuff around the house.

I wanted to thank the folks that take the time to read this thing. I realize that the blog is a mixed bag of personal crap, Linux and Android stuff, a smattering of other things which strike my fancy. I’ve never meant this weblog to be anything else though. Its not about me being some entrepreneur or Linux sleuth. Its about me and my travels. My thoughts. Hence the title. I do appreciate people reading here though. I just wanted to let people know that this weblog is not meant to be some concise view of all things Linux and Android or Anthropology. Its meant to be what it is. I do rant on things and I try to publish my travels a bit. I’ve been here and there and I enjoy the act of travel more than just about anything else. Its not the destination to me. Its the physical act of not being here or there. Its a release. Travel is a drug.

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My Newest Travel Router

I wanted a small, portable, USB and AC powered travel router for awhile. The no antenna sticking out option seemed good too but it had to be able to take DD-wrt as a replacement firmware. Awhile ago, I found the Asus WL-330Ge router which does not do “N” but everything else is there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The regular Asus firmware does it all but I don’t particularly care for how it does it. I want the travel router to be easier to use and share the same interface as my home Buffalo router. The primary function I enjoy that a lot of the competition does not do is the wireless repeating. Here’s the scenario. You are in a hotel which does wireless only but you want to share the wireless connection to other devices. I have a tablet, phone, laptop. I’d like to not be limited by some silly MAC address or piling on the charges. With DD-wrt you setup a virtual interface that “pairs” with the wireless interface and allows you to repeat the wireless connection in the hotel.

This router is a good one but its not perfect. One has to make a change to make the ethernet port work. Its not a huge deal because I have the configuration trapped in a link and you simply change a network setup by logging in to the router. Making it work in AP mode is a breeze and by default you just switch on the eth0 port in DD-wrt and off you go. My friend Dave provided a great set of instructions for how to “multiply” the port to allow wireless repeating here. The forum at DD-wrt is a good resource as welll for configuration issues and how to work around the few issues with the router. I trapped most of the pertinent details on my dropbox share so I can always reach the details on how to make a few changes to the default for the router.

With this handy little device, I get the power stuff I require on the road in place. I also get decent DD-wrt goodness with a minimum of hassle and the form factor simply rules. My goal when traveling internationally is to have a set of electrical infrastructure which comes off a single plug adaptor to a 4 port surge. Everything comes off the 4 port surge/adaptor. This includes the laptop, chargepod for charging multiple USB devices, and my router. I’ve found in a few years of travel to Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and India that this approach works the best. I want my devices to power from the chargepod but my kindle does not seem to get enough juice from it so I have to carry its adaptor and plug. Luckily, the kindle does not require charging all that often.

That brings me to the magic 4 things from a single power outlet, packed in my RedOxx AirBoss carry-on bag. In about 1.5 weeks, I hit the road again for Japan, Singapore, and India. I pretty much know that if the hotel has wired ethernet, I can repeat it. If it has wireless, I can repeat it. I’m not a road warrior by any stretch; but after moving around for years internationally, I know the plugs and devices that work for me.

The Asus WL-330Ge fulfills the requirement for a AC and USB powered device which takes DD-wrt firmware.

Ready to go!

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Five Things to Do at My Next Job

There is always a next job. Like buying a car and for some buying a house or perhaps a laptop or smartphone…

  1. Remind the new CEO everyday that his sh*t don’t stink and he gets it all. I mean afterall CEOs got to where they are by being overly bright, perceptive, and entrepreneurial. Right?
  2. Tell my coworkers that they rule. Of course they rule. They all have been at the place longer than I have. They know you cannot use facebook and twitter because they are blocked. And no P2P networking either.
  3. Forget being so critical about things. Well, this will be difficult for me. I was born that way. Perhaps it comes from gently accepting things before and believing the BS I’ve heard like “we have your best interests at heart” or “don’t worry;be happy”. Well, the second one is okay I guess…
  4. Work as many hours as they want me to work without complaining. Well, of course I will work 80 hours per week and only get paid for 40 and not feel incented to complain.
  5. Be selfless in my acceptance of company guidelines and rules. I ain’t selfless. Rule 5 sucks big.

So, in short, next job I take I will be sure to interview them just as much as they interview me because a few of these just ain’t me. I’ll leave it up to your ideas about which ones are which. These are not listed in order of importance or significance so don’t go looking for any subliminal meaning in their ordering. If you do that, you will next go listen to the Beatles White Album backwards at 50% speed.

Perhaps the next job will be different. There are some interesting factors on the horizon. Suffice to say, I ain’t looking until I get back from India, Singapore,and Japan. By then, who knows. Perhaps the rules will have all changed and I will havea different 5 reasons and I’ll be doing just like RWR told me when I got accepted to graduate school.

Lick Boot!

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SCALEing Linux by 10s

I’m really glad to have been a part of the Southern California Linux Expo down in Los Angeles almost since the first show. The first time I went it was not even called that and DK and I had a great time. The venue then moved to one of my favorite places down there;the Westin LAX Hotel for some years. What made the Westin special was the feeling from staff, restaurant, hotel thatt we were family there. The show venue got too big though so they moved it along to the LAX Hilton in the last years.

Call this a poke if you are interested in open source and particularly Linux to attend this show! It features a great combination of user groups, non-profits, and corporate/enterprise attendees. Conversation and papers wildly vary and I’ve enjoyed the show every year. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the show and the 20th of Linux. I’ve been around Linux since 1998 when I joined Linuxcare. Back then I used SuSE Linux. Soon though, I became enlightened by a number of folks and shifted to Debian. I moved off of Debian to Ubuntu for some years but now I’m back. I came back because I don’t agree with the move to Unity. I can always choose the classic look on Ubuntu; but plain old Debian with Gnome is at least twice as fast. I run Debian testing on everything because its truly a “rolling distribution”. You never have to change a single line in the sources.list file and you stay relevant whenever a new release happens. I never run the public releases of Debian but if I maintained servers I definitely would.

Anyways, consider this a shameless plug to attend the show. If you want to know what’s happening in the wondrous, wacky, and sometimes strange world of Linux, give it a shot. Hell, come down and buy us a beer at the Hilton. We’ll tell you the story of the high priced lady of the night we met last year in the bar. Or come down to hear amazing stories of the continued inroads of Linux in a variety of markets.

Your choice :-)

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