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2017 Reading Challenge

In January I decided I would try a GoodReads reading challenge, 50 books.  I figured 50 books wouldn't be too bad, although it 10x more than I normally read in a year.
When you consider it, it's only a book a week, with a chance to skip two weeks if something comes up.
A typical book take less than 8 hours to read. That's a little more than an hour a day to get 1 book a week.  Even if I'm a little busy during the week, I can easily pick up the slack on the weekend by reading 4 hours a day.
In March I was already pretty far ahead, it looked like 50 books in a year would be a cake walk. I prefer a challenge and decided to go for the much more ambitious 100 books in one year. Unfortunately, now I was very far behind. I would need to read 3 to 4 books a week in order to catch up. I had to start changing things in order to make it:

Stop reading novels like the 1050 page opus Reamde, by Neal Stephenson or even the 613 page New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson. Stick to boo…

Technology is accelerating

As Ray Kurzweil says, (information) technology is accelerating.  This is great but increasingly we are seeing devices turning obsolete faster than ever.

Who want's to get CRT tv, anymore - even if it was free?Why would I want to buy a motorcycle that doesn't have fuel injection?Would you want a 3 year old cell phone? When you watched a movie on TV, for the longest time, it was difficult to tell which decade it was filmed in.  You sometimes noticed when there were k-cars on the road and the movie wasn't trying to be set in the 80's.  But once computers and cell phone started appearing then you could tell quite quickly what decade, even what year the movie was probably made. What worries me is the change of more expensive technologies in the future: My car is obsolete because it doesn't have fulltime internet access or because it doesn't self drive.My house is obsolete because it isn't smart or is too far in the countryside for high speed internet.My city is ob…

Forusers.com homepage back up

My old web page forusers.com had been down for more than a year.

It had used an old version of TurboGears which eventually my provider stopped supporting and then finally last month my account expired and I didn't renew.
So it was really without a home.  This weekend I decided that I should put it back up.  It's been pretty good to me, it got me this great job because they found my resume on my site.

As I got the old files I found that I actually had more than 3 versions of the site.  The very first one was using Microsoft FrontPage.  My backup was littered with .htm files.

Later I had used PHP, and quite a bit. It's interesting how I used PHP more as programming language and less as a templating language.  It was difficult to understand how the site looked, it was all code and functions.  I had to use the Wayback Machine to find out what it really looked like.

Finally I had used Python and TurboGears.  After that I pretty much left alone, until now.

Since I like learning …

Hello Streetview

Hello streetview, how are you doing?

Vanity URL

Finally decided to buy scottkirkwood.com for my vanity URL, why not?

It points to my blog.instead of the less memorable scottkirkwood.blogspot.com and paying for 5 years is relatively cheap.

Key-Train Launched

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In the spirit of "Release Early/Release Often" I've shipped the first version of key-train (key-train-0.1.0.zip).

Here's a screenshot:

Features include: Training for all the lowercase keys on the main part of the keyboard in two languages (English/Brazilian Portuguese) and two keyboards (qwerty/ABTN).  More languages and keyboards should be easy to add.Easy for others to contribute better lessons and new keyboards.Easy for others to translate the software using the standard gettext package (I recommend using poedit). The key-train.pot file is created automatically - so don't edit it.  For your language, you would create a .po file like, this one.A reasonable progression of keys and training (27 lessons).Speed and accuracy training by typing in parts of Wikipedia articles.Only one lesson file is required for different languages and keyboards.But the program isn't complete, here's a list of the biggest problems: The package is way too big, I have to split out …

fsck'd my drive

After a few power failures during a week of storms I rebooted my Ubuntu Linux computer and fsck found some errors. Next time I booted it found (and corrected) even more errors, until, eventually I wasn't able to boot anymore (couldn't find grub).

I have a good backup system* so I wasn't too concerned (although this was my first real test).  I had run smartctl on the first sign of trouble and it didn't give any errors, so it didn't appear to be a hard disk failure. I figure this is an opportunity for me to setup 64bit version of Ubunt and I've also been thinking about dual booting to Windows® because Steam looks like an easy and cheap way to install games.

I put an old version of Windows XP in the drive and... it blue screened.  It just didn't want to install.  I tried two other versions and it also failed.  I then got the Ubuntu disk and it installed with no problems.  I tried Windows again, again it failed to install even though I had reformatted the disk …