John Scalzi, “Old Man’s War”

John Scalzi. Old Mans WarI happened to come across an interesting title, as it happens to me sometimes, and I did not feel sorry a bit for reading the “Old Man’s War” by Jouh Scalzi. It was so good, I actually went on and read the sequel, “The Ghost Brigades”. Strangely, that did not disappoint me either. The writer is surprisingly good and I was not able to predict the turns of the plot, which makes for a very exciting reading. Well, sometimes you do go “oh, damn, I wish he didn’t do that” but it’s the author’s cruel world and he is the king.

The writing style is very much reminiscent of that of Robert Heinlein, whom I love to read. Author even acknowledges pretty much that Robert Heinlein was an inspiration to him. The last sentence reads “Thank you, Robert A. Heinlein, for debts that have … become obvious.” I have to say John Scalzi lives up to the expectations, albeit being far more cautious and less provocative than Heinlein. All in all, a highly recommended, very entertaining reading in the Sci-Fi genre with plenty of interesting ideas interspersed with action.

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George Carlin. I’m a modern man…

george-carlinI’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond!
I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive.

Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I’ve got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial!

I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers.

I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail.

But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing– a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant.

I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore–no soft porn.

I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity.

I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!

— George Carlin

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Today is the day…

Today is the day that we must spend in sorrow about the future that did not happen. Back in 1989, when the “Back to the Future II” came out, we all knew that the future of 2015 will be just like what we see in the movie. Or at least similar. Automation, flying cars, holography, hover boards, self-drying and self-adjusting clothes – all of that was just a small step away.


Great Scott! It’s October 21, 2015! Welcome to the future.

None of the things that we were waiting for actually happened! What happened instead of them? The bloody Internet! The Internet that replaced all of those really cool things and plunged us all into the virtual world of virtual reality while decaying the world outside. Our dreams were deceived and destroyed.


The day of sorrow. Today. The future has come. No time left. We failed.

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My favorite kimono gets fifth place!

Kimono Salone organized a kimono exhibition in Coredo Muromachi in the weekend. They had a poll of visitors to determine which kimono ends up as an overall favorite. My personal favorite was number 65 that discreetly exhibited a musical theme and the kimono ended up as number five in the overall competition. I am proud I have acquired a bit of taste in the Japanese sense of beauty :)


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You are the sum of your experiences…

601houseThe psychiatrist treating Dr. House in the sixth season of “House, MD” quite suddenly revealed the fundamental truth about human personality. He said literally:

“You are the sum of all of your experiences…”

This truth is apparently known, it is not even hidden in any way. Any psychiatrist can tell you what your person is, literally. Why is it so difficult to make the connection and think about myself in these terms?

I am the sum of all of my experiences. My personality is just that – a bunch of interactions with other people that left an imprint on me. I am simply a piece of clay on which thousands of footprints are left by people passing me by daily. There isn’t really anything else. There is no “real me” in the sense that most people, religions and secret teachings talk about. The psychology has figured it all out already, it seems. We just fail to appreciate and apply this knowledge.

That single phrase set off a chain reaction in my head. I realized that while I was hooked on watching “House, M.D.” for the last year or so, I automatically took up Greg House as a role model and started copying him. I crippled myself to the point where it became really painful to walk, took up drinking and became extremely cynical in my speech. My personality is absorbing accessible traits from the personality I watch on the screen. Unfortunately, it cannot absorb the ability to play piano, the beautiful apartment or the cool job of the role model, so I end up worse than I was.

This process is completely automatic. My personality is just that – a machine that copies anything it sees. All my thoughts are a copy of thoughts of others. All my ideas are ideas of others. My behavior is a mashed up heap of traits of others. There is nothing else. Not at this level.

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Sync Android contacts with CardDAV-Sync – disappearing contacts

addressbookI had to reset my phone over suspicious behavior. Either some bug has surfaced, or my telephone was broken into, but the camera started to say that it is “in use by another program”. To avoid unnecessary doubts, I simply erased the whole thing and started all over.

I can do that because my contacts are synchronized to DAV server using CardDAV-Sync free address book synchronization tool. It works well and synchronizes my contacts fairly well. When I need to start all over, I install it again and it pulls my contacts from the server. Nice.

This time, I set it up as usual and it synchronized, apparently, at least it did something for a long time… but no contacts appeared in the address book. Well, so I deleted the CardDAV-Sync, reinstalled it and configured again, with the same result half an hour later.

So, now I went to the server to check the logs. Everything looked normal, no errors. Reconfigured it all again, restarted the sync and watched in amazement how the phone pulled the address records but they were not appearing in the address book. After a very long search on the Internet and desperate walk through all possible and impossible settings in the phone I finally found what the problem was.

Address book has a filter accessible through Settings->Filter in the Address Book. Somehow, the filter was set not to show the entries from the CardDAV account. Once I switched on the contacts filter for the CardDAV, the address book was there. Several hours filled with desperation over a simple setting that got set wrong. But, next time I’ll know where to look.

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Broken events in ownCloud calendar

owncloud-square-logoSuddenly the synchronization with the ownCloud calendar stopped working. It gave me a strange message in the logs:

{“reqId”:”epU4rqrz1maFuP9hBxmu”,”remoteAddr”:”″,”app”:”calendar”,”message”:”Event (20150807T141714Z-27435_7a94261e27f2b60.ics) contains invalid data: End of document reached prematurely”,”level”:2,”time”:”2015-09-03T06:00:26+00:00″}

The interesting part here is the error message that says “Event contains invalid data: End of document reached prematurely”. Looking around I found out that there are some reports of broken VCalendar events stored in the database. So, using the mighty SQL statement

mysql -u owncloud -p ownclouddb -e “SELECT * FROM oc_clndr_objects WHERE calendardata NOT LIKE ‘%END:VCALENDAR%’;”

I found that the database contains 218 events without a closing END:VCALENDAR statement. All of the events were for the same event that I created recently mercilessly duplicated. And the event was not showing on the calendar, of course.

As soon as I deleted all of those broken entries from the database, everything came back to normal. Sync works again. My guess for the reason? Graphical smileys in the title. Try to stick to the pure ASCII there next time, I guess.

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She’s Funny That Way

shes_funny_that_wayWatched suddenly the “She’s Funny That Way” and did not feel sorry at all. The movie grips you from the beginning with its story and keeps you involved until the end. Yes, there is a couple of obvious moments where you go like “yeah, of course”, but otherwise it’s a lovely little entertainment piece.

Unfortunately, the movie lacks any sort of coherent idea, meaning that there isn’t really anything that you will learn from it, for better or worse. So it remains simply a light entertainment piece for a lazy summer evening. That absence of some higher idea or education in the movie was a bit disappointing at the end since I kept waiting for the punchline and it never came. Still, it remained a thoroughly enjoyable movie right through the end.

Overall, recommended, a good comedy with an interesting plot and a few twists.

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Being a manager would never have worked anyway…

Ah, now I finally know the reason why I cannot be a manager: a manager is supposed to hire people smarter than himself. That works for most management but where would I get people smarter than me? I am with Dilbert on this one :)

Dilbert - manager hires people smarter - dt150119

But, as we like to say, there is a grain of joke in every joke :)

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