Archive for June, 2010

Increasingly, as programming becomes a national past-time, and the human interface with the machine produces, ever greater information processing yet less time to enjoy the fruits of our “labour saving devices” while our unmediated communications amongst each other erodes and begins to play a secondary role to the communication which is now mediated online and via computers. there arise various problems in expressing ourselves, which persist in our daily lives and which cannot be ignored.

Firstly, machines do not cope with all the qualities that make human language what it is —  human commmunication is the result of an organic world in which the inate logic of syntactical structures are not immediately obvious. We do not all speak like we think, or think like we speak. Furthermore, we are often wrong, deploy private logic, non-general semantics and create irrational categories based upon first hand experience, not official text-books or dictionaries.

The inevitable clash arises. Suppose one expresses the desire to frag somebody. Next thing you are being locked up for wanting to “kill a process”.*
( *I have a brother who did exactly that, and still believes the world is one large teenage paint-ball game)

Enter Lojban, an attempt to create an entirely logical language

Lojban is a carefully constructed spoken language designed in the hope of removing a large portion of the ambiguity from human communication. It was made well-known by a Scientific American article and references in science fiction(external link) Lojban has been built over five decades by dozens of workers and hundreds of supporters.

Lojban has a number of features which make it unique:

  • Lojban is designed to be used by people in communication with each other, and possibly in the future with computers.
  • Lojban is designed to be culturally neutral.
  • Lojban has an unambiguous grammar, which is based on the principles of logic.
  • Lojban has phonetic spelling, and unambiguous resolution of sounds into words.
  • Lojban is simple compared to natural languages; it is easy to learn.
  • Lojban’s 1300 root words can be easily combined to form a vocabulary of millions of words.
  • Lojban is regular; the rules of the language are without exception.
  • Lojban attempts to remove restrictions on creative and clear thought and communication.
  • Lojban has a variety of uses, ranging from the creative to the scientific, from the theoretical to the practical.

Interested? See and hear an example of spoken Lojban(external link). You can also see this page written in Lojban.

Lojban software in Ubuntu

jbofihe — A Lojban parser

This is available in Debian simply by installing the jbofihe package through apt-get. Ubuntu users might first need to enable universe. Google knows how.

lojban-common – Lojban word-lists

This package installs the standard Lojban word lists into /usr/share/lojban-common. It’s available about the same way as jbofihe above.

camxes — A better Lojban parser, written in Java

This package isn’t yet available from Debian/Ubuntu.

However, it is available via apt.

Add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list: deb http://www.lojban.org/debian/ custom main deb-src http://www.lojban.org/debian/ custom main

Then apt-get update and install away.

Note: That apt-repository is signed by Ted Reed’s GnuPG key. You may get warnings about it.

In order to tell apt that you trust Ted, do the following: gpg –recv-key D18C1C64 –keyserver wwwkeys.pgp.net gpg -a –export D18C1C64 | sudo apt-key add –


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Java is not my cup of tea, but its nice to see Linux mentioned.

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Tyler Mulligan comes up with some of the more left-field tips and tricks south of Ubuntu. I really enjoy his blog. This tip  was preened from a posting on Ubuntu Forum’s and raises questions about exactly where Ubuntu osd-notify is heading. Surely not just a blinking irritation in which the only hack available is changing the colour, position, shape and timing of the damn thing.

More humanised and personalised information would be a start. Different levels of information from techies to casual users, would be a bonus. But if you want the power to click through, using the notification system to excute programes,  scripts, and whatever, you’ll have to “reinstall” the default gnome notifications system. Which means osd-notify is really just a diversion from the real thing. Nevertheless a sign of healthy competition and development going on in Linux


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Canonical, the sponsor company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux OS  have become the first member to sign up to the Open Invention Network’s new associate membership program. According to OSnews, The Open Invention Network exists to acquire patents and license them royalty free to entities which, in turn, “agree not to assert their own patents against Linux or Linux-related applications.” Current well-known companies involved with the OIN include Sony, IBM and Novell.

Not sure what to think about this very un-GPL move, but there’s bound to be a lot of conversation in the ensuing days as the community gets to grip with reality. In a patent war, its sue or be sued.

Perhaps, Canonical should rather be putting more efforts to bolster the work of the Free Software Foundation, since this really just acts to legitimise  patent law as far as computer software is concerned. Then again, you probably know the ham sandwhich was patented by the Earl of Sandwhich, and you owe somebody a lot of money for school lunches, don’t you?

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The cool cd terminal hack

Method One: Navigate up the directory using “..n”

In the example below, ..4 is used to go up 4 directory level, ..3 to go up 3 directory level, ..2 to go up 2 directory level.

Add the following alias to your ~/.bashrc and re-login.

alias ..=”cd ..”

alias ..2=”cd ../..”

alias ..3=”cd ../../..”

alias ..4=”cd ../../../..”

alias ..5=”cd ../../../../..”

Method Two: Navigate up the directory using only dots

In the example below, ….. (five dots) is used to go up 4 directory level. Typing 5 dots to go up 4 directory structure is really easy to remember, as when you type the first two dots, you are thinking “going up one directory”, after that every additional dot, is to go one level up. So, use …. (four dots) to go up 3 directory level and .. (two dots) to go up 1 directory level.

Add the following alias to your ~/.bashrc and re-login for the ….. (five dots) to work properly.

alias ..=”cd ..”

alias …=”cd ../..”

alias ….=”cd ../../..”

alias …..=”cd ../../../..”

alias ……=”cd ../../../../..”

THANKS: Linux Tips & The Geek Stuff

(For two other methods, check out The Geek Stuff, and while you at it, read the best posting yet on RTFM)

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Last time I checked Eternal lands was failing under Karmic, so it was a huge surprise to find the bugs had been ironed out (I filed a few of them;) and the game is now rocking in Lucid. Yes, yes, I booted up the MMORG last night and it did everything it was supposed to do —  pretty impressive for the kind of system I am running (1.8ghz Celeron, 8 series NVIDIA, and 1Gb Ram). Eternal Lands is a splendid fantasy filled arena, not a shoot ‘m up,  which is seriously going to entertain boys and girls when they are not rummaging around the slightly higher definition, but slower environments of Second Life and OSgrid

Here are instructions from Ubuntu wiki

Wish Dragon Oath would get itself ported to linux somehow.

If you really need a surregate life, then install Snow Globe, the Ubuntu Second Life client:

Add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/openmetaverse/ppa/ubuntu lucid main

You can then :-

apt-get update
apt-get install snowglobe
(or) apt-get install snowglobe2

For some extra entertainment, I played  the Linux demo of the world’s best game of 2009, Machinarium. Here is the download.

Still a little slow considering my set-up. Guess its time to upgrade my CPU.

$100 donation anyone?

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Found this a week ago, and forgot to note down who did it. It is hilerious because of the juxtoposition of authority figure forcing us to use FOSS.

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