Tailoring My Clothes

Posted in Life in General, Quixotic by aliencam | No Comments »

I decided a couple of months ago that I need a new wardrobe.  Most of my clothes are between four and six years old (that puts them at me having purchased them in middle school or freshman year of high school), so they are fraying and old and frankly never fit me well to begin with.  The last one is something I’ve always had trouble with, clothes never seem to fit me properly…

Anyway, until I can afford the the time and monetary cost that  are associated with an entire new set of clothes (hopefully sometime this summer), I decided to take another look at what I do have.   One thing I found was that I have a more than a few clothes that I never wear just because of how terribly they fit.

The most logical solution for this is simply, to make those clothes fit me. Since using a tailor invokes costs that I am ill-prepared to deal with (and also because I don’t know any that I trust), this will have to involve me learning how to adjust my own clothes. I am fairly confident is my sewing abilities, although I haven’t used a sewing machine in… quite awhile, but I hope I can make up for that in precision and caution (for great justice).

So, after spending quite a long time on the internet reading just about everything I can about the art of shirt-making and adjusting and tailoring (I really mean quite awhile, and I really mean “everything.” be warned when I get interested in something, it gets intense.), I decided to pin and measure a few of my shirts for adjusting.  (ridiculously-long sentence that somehow works when read out loud–check.)

So here is one of the shirts that does not fit (as a consequence I only wear this when it is the only thing clean) which was pinned and measured today to see if/how it would work.

This is what the shirt looks like on me unmodified.

So, I turned the shirt inside-out and started pinning it, when I realized that I only have three pins and two sewing needles in my dorm (this will have to be rectified when I move into the apartment…). I ended up using binder clips, then ran out of those, and had to resort to paperclips.  I ended up using four paperclips on each side (I did not want to mix pinning methods, although in hindsight that seems kind of silly) so this is not as clean as the real stitch will look (or even as it will look pinned properly), and there is a large fold visible on the side.

Much better, right? Then next time we can work on me getting some proper lighting for photographs (I will be moved out of this bat cave in one week!).

Now, I am seriously planning on doing this as soon as I get home for the summer (Friday), but for now, this is just another one of my crazy ideas and as such, it affords the “Quixotic” tag.  Anyone who reads this, hold me to my intentions so I can remove that accursed tag.


Things I Want to Learn in College

Posted in Dreams, Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

So I’ve been in college for  three years already, but there are still lots of classes I have not been able to take, and may never get a chance to take.  I am going to stay and get at least a PhD, so I don’t think that I’m completely out of time yet, but I definitely do not have time to complete all of these during my undergraduate years.  Here is a short list of things that I have not yet learned.

  1. Math
  2. Photography
  3. Jewelry design/manufacture
  4. Web Design (PHP/CSS)
  5. Programming (Python, Perl, or another interpreted language)
  6. Cryptography
  7. Wilderness Survival
  8. Natural Materials (wood, stone)
  9. Glass-blowing

Not really things for me to learn in college, but I also need to learn an instrument, and some form of art…

This is an old post, from March 7 that I have no clue why I did not post. I changed “almost 2.5 years” to “three years” in the first sentence, and added glass-blowing (there is a class on that here!)

Blag Updates & Rules for "Strip Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma"

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

I have recently been annoyed by all of the twitter posts showing up on the main page of this blog, it makes it look like all this is for is digesting my tweets.  These posts also show up as “notes” on my facebook page, which is unnecessary because each tweet updates my facebook status anyway.   So, I have removed the “twitter” category from being displayed on the main page (if you reeeeally want to see all my weekly tweet digests, on the right side under “categories” you can select “twitter”) , and I have removed those twitter posts from the main feedburner RSS feed.  (again, if you want to subscribe to the “full” feed, you can move your subscription to http://blog.aliencam.net/feed/ , but that’s a little weird, you could just follow me on twitter or something).

Anyway,  today’s XKCD is another stroke of genius, analysing the ratios of google searches for games with their “strip” counterparts.


(image credit Randall Munroe of xkcd.)

After getting over the initial hilarity of it all, I went through and actually read the list.  Really, out of these games, the best options for a “strip” alternative  (yes, including poker) I find to be Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chess, Tennis, and Poohsticks. That particular order is due to the high likelihood of being arrested for public indecency with the last two ( although if you have a private tennis court or bridge…), and I have chosen to disregard beer pong because it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the list.  Anyway, I realise the likelihood that many people have not heard of Prisoner’s Dilemma, so here is a quick description.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

This is an exercise/game used in game theory, psychology, and statistics, and is surprisingly fun to play.  The situation is this: two criminal partners are being questioned (independently) by the police.  The police offer each prisoner a deal if they co-operate and betray their partner.   The rest is best explained by this consequence matrix (how long each prisoner goes to prison):

X Defects X Stays Silent
Y Defects 5 years each x:10 years, y:0 years
Y Stays Silent x:0 years y:10 years No consequences

In a game of “Iterated Prisoner’s Dillema”, multiple turns are played (hence the word “iterated”). A prisoner who stays silent is usually allowed to punish one who betrays the other after each turn.

The game is played by each player having two cards, one marked “defect” and the other “stay loyal”.  Players each place one card face-down, then they are turned up at the same time. The optimal situation would be for each player to stay loyal to their partner, but if either defects, the other will have to deal with the large consequence. Because of this, if a player always defects, they will be “safer.”

If you don’t remember Poohsticks (shame), it was a game that Winnie the Pooh invented, all players drop sticks into the water off the side of a bridge, then run to the other side to see whose stick reaches the other side first. (I imagine this would be easiest if you tied a coloured string to each stick).


another ridiculous dream

Posted in Dreams, Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

this one is fairly incoherent, it took me awhile to put what happened in the right order when I woke up, and it still doesn’t make much sense.  Here is what I wrote down right when I woke up:

another crazy dream

I was working in an NSA retail store (?) on a busy street in a large city (NY?) high cielings, nondescript carpet, a few conference tables around the room, and sometimes we sold clothes.  A few stores down was a CIA store where a bunch of gadget nerds (like Q in bond movies?) worked one  guy with glasses, short curly black hair was named robert or patrick.  NSA & CIA constantly played tricks on each other, stealing things, etc, but were still friends.  a weird gypsey came in to buy clothes (?) and we gave her a job.  she freaked out about something, so they fired her.  I was over at the CIA store to play a prank on them once, tried to steal a fiberoptic camera, but the security alarm went off.  I hung out there for awhile chatting with them, and the gypsey lady came in. she was browsing the clothes, and I thought she might steal something. She had elaborate long gold scisors, and I thought she would stab me with them, they said yeah probably because I was sometimes a smug/prick, and was always too nice/happy about everything (citing the time I once gave everyone I consiter my friend a penny).  she snuck a brown scarf with beige tassles onto my shoulders (I wouldn’t set off the alarms if I walked out with this?) but I noticed and threw it to robert and told her she would ring him up (after I passed the sensors). she got crazy mad, pulled out her scisors and chased me, so I ran out of the store and she chased me back toward the NSA store on a fairly uncrowded sidewalk (cloudy or hazy day). that is all.

This was after some pretty fitful sleep, I went to bed at  midnight, but my roomates kept me up past 2 with loud TV, then my roomate came into the room and watched family guy on his iPod even later, and then it was my typical sleeping problems, I woke up at 4:00AM, couldn’t get back to sleep, and eventually just decided to write this down at 6:00 (waking up my roomate with my laptop screen’s light and typing noise lol, I totally did not mean to do that).

Wacom CPL Config in Karmic

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

to stylus > tool buttons > then set “button 2” to “right” and “button 3” to middle.

The wacom control panel setup in Ubuntu 9.10 is, of course, different from what it was in 9.04, moving closer to what it was in 8.10…

anyway, wacomcpl is a very useful tool for changing settings and recalibrating your wacom tablet, and the “touch” is miscalibrated by default with a karmic install, so this is necessary to get much use of “touch”.

start by installing wacomcpl:
sudo apt-get install wacom-tool

now, create the wacom configuration file:

sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/wacom.fdi

and paste in the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!-- -*- SGML -*- -->
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
<match key="input.x11_driver" contains="wacom">
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="stylus">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">stylus</merge>
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="eraser">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">eraser</merge>
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="touch">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">touch</merge>

save and close, reboot your computer, and run wacomcpl by hitting alt-f2 and entering “wacomcpl”. From here you can change settings or calibrate as you wish.

Now, I like the button on the side of the stylus to be right-click, so go to stylus > tool buttons > then set “button 2” to “right” and “button 3” to middle.

sorry if this isn’t as coherent, wrote this entry really quick as a response to a comment. let me know if anything needs clarification, or if it doesn’t work.

lol weird dream.

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | 1 Comment »

What a ridiculous dream… Jonathan, Coby, and a couple friends I can’t remember went back in time as some team in the 1920s. Fun until we remember that the FBI assaults and massacres this exact team and bus trying to get rid of some gangsters who aren’t even there. The bus gets to the parking garage, the driver says something innocuous, puts the bus on autopilot, asks us to stand, and leaves the bus. The bus then drives itself up to the second floor where the assault is to take place. We remember this from history, or maybe a movie, dive to the sides, and hide in the troughs between the seats and the sides of the bus (why are these here? lol. maybe the bus had seats filling the center and really small walkways on either side instead.) We saw them break the front window, throw in a flashbang, then a real grenade, and then tore up the bus with machine guns. Somebody lost an arm or leg or something, so we “reset” (was it a simulation?) at the bottom of the parking garage, where we jumped out and hid under the garage’s bridge. Somebody else didn’t jump out of the bus in time, so we “reset” again, way back in some developing suburban area. For some reason, the bus driver was already gone somehow, so we jumped out of the bus walked for awhile and found a (fully furnished? hmm weird) home that nobody had moved into yet. Lived there for awhile, some neighbors came by, and they believed us even though we didn’t know each other’s fake names, they left, and that is all I remember.

nanorant: Tech Support

Posted in Life in General, Stupidity by aliencam | No Comments »

Because this wouldn’t all fit on twitter…

awesome… I spent all weekend setting up all the computers to the network printer, including at least 6 hours hacking the stupid HP scanning program to get normal filesize (it was 1MB+ per page when scanning 30 page documents with the lowest available settings… that wasn’t working out for my dad emailing real estate documents…) Then on Monday, the qwest guy came and disassembled our network in order to upgrade us to 7MBPS FIOS, and they unhooked our router/network and want us to use their set top box as the WAP… (which broke the connection to the printers/xbox/direct tv/ everything) (they also have strange ideas like “only one wired device may be connected” which doesn’t work for our Direct TV, old desktops, Xbox360, and videophone, so who knows how or what is even hooked up to the network now)
So Monday night, my dad freaked out that the printer didn’t work, and called HP tech support (instead of me) and spent 4 hours reinstalling the printer (wtf it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes) and the nice HP tech support people disabled my hacks. Next time he has to scan and email a document I am going to get a frantic phone call and I will have to walk my dad through the fairly difficult process of the hack…

ugh my life.

Raw Configuration Logs 1

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

I was very disappointed in my post release schedule for the previous version of Ubuntu (9.04 Jaunty). I didn’t get most of my posts done until 3 or 4 months after the OS had been out… I vow not to do that again. Part of the way I’m going to do this is to post my raw daily configuration logs. Seasoned linux users, and even some novices, should be able to follow these if they really need to get something done, but now nobody will have to wait for me to get my act together and write a real post.

Here is what I have done as of 3:00PM on Saturday, Oct 31, 2009 (approaching 24 hours after I started the install).

Programs Installed:


deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
install the key (hightlight, right-click, use fireGPG to import the key)


CTRL-ALT-Backspace: ————–

Select “System”->”Preferences”->”Keyboard”
Select the “Layouts” tab and click on the “Layout Options” button.
Select “Key sequence to kill the X server” and enable “Control + Alt + Backspace”.

Gnome-Do: ———————–
open do (win-space), click arrow key in top right> preferences
General > check “start Gnome Do at Login” and “Hide Window on First Launch (quiet mode)”.
Appearence > Theme > select “mini”
Plugins > select (addtionally to the defaults) “files and folders”


system>preferences>appearence>interface check “show icons in menus”

system>preferences>appearence>fonts select “best contrast” rendering

system>preferences>appearence>fonts >details change “resolution: 96” to “72 dpi”

right-click on panel >properties>size> change 24px to 19 px.


sudo apt-get install window-picker-applet maximus
startup applicatoins: “maximus -m”
add “window picker” to panel
right-click window picker (the lines on the left) preferences, uncheck “show windows from all workspaces”.
in “startup applications, edit “maximus” and change the command to be “maximus -m”

remove bottom panel remove menu bar, add main menu, trash bin, cpu frequency monitor, workspace switcher, remove firefox and help shortcut icons

sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi
paste in and remove the spaces after the < : < match key="info.product" string="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint">
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheel" type="string">true< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton" type="string">2< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.YAxisMapping" type="string">4 5< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.ZAxsisMapping" type="string"> 4 5< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.XAxisMapping" type="string">6 7< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.Emulate3Buttons" type="string">true< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelTimeout" type="string">200< /merge>
< /match>



adblock plus (select the default filter)

about:config broswer.search.openintab > true
middemouse.paste > false

right-click, uncheck “bookmarks tookbar”

Restored Items:

encryption keys (just drag into seahorse program)

FSPOT RESTORE:———————————————
restore “photos” folder
overwrite the ~/.config/fspot folder (that has the fspot.db in it)

To Do:

investigate AppArmor Firefox (ubuntu technichal overview)
try: http://tpctl.sourceforge.net/configure-trackpoint.html

Installing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 14 Comments »

I just installed the newest version of Ubuntu, Karmic Koala. The website said that an install should only be about 20 minutes, so I wanted to time it. I started at 3:52, and by 4:00, the installation was “configuring apt” with the option to “skip” (I did not skip until 7 minutes later, after it had been “downloading language packs” for 5 minutes ( I only want english) :P. The installation had completed by 4:10, and I was browsing the internet by 4:12.

Computer: Thinkpad x61 Tablet with Multi-Touch (7764).

Works OOTB:
Volume keys
Tablet buttons (the “lock” button, arrow keys, and power button)
All applicable FN key combinations
“Back” and “Forward” web browsing buttons
Tablet with stylus
Tablet with touch (!) (needs to be calibrated at the edges)
Suspend/Hibernate (Hibernate is a little slow still, but much faster than it was in 9.04)
…and most everything else

Doesn’t Works OOTB:
Middle-mouse-scrolling (ugh.)

Anyway, it is great to have a nice clean computer to use, and I really like the new boot screens (they should have put that as the default desktop background).

Ubuntu Setup Guide Part IX.Shortcut keys

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

This is a really short section, and should be put in the “customizing Gnome’s Look & Feel” area.

The Gnome “Keyboard Shortcuts” editor does not always work, for example, you cannot set any Super+___ shortcut keys using that, so unfortunately, we must once again use the Compiz Commands Plugin.

Open “compiz control settings manager” (if you don’t already have it installed do: sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager)

click the “Commands” plugin (it should be at the very top) and enable it if it is not already enabled.

Now in the “Commands” tab, enter whatever command you want to launch (pick any unused number, it does not matter which)

Now, switch to the “Key Bindings” tab. Here is where you will record what key combination you want to launch the command. Click the word “Disabled” then check the “Enabled” checkbox on the window that comes up. Once you click “Grab Key Combination,” the next key combination you press will be recorded.

The combinations that I have set both launch an open terminal window, but since I have two different terminal profiles (one with a transparent background, and another with green text on black background for high-contrast), I want one shortcut to launch each profile.

In the “Key Bindings” I have “XF86Launch1” (ThinkVantage button) as “Command 0” and “Super_L+Tab” (windows key+ tab) as “Command 2”.

In “Command” I have Command 0 set to:
gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Terminal
(the word “Terminal” being the name of my high-contrast terminal profile)
and Command 1 is set to:
gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Transparent
(“Transparent” is the name of my transparent profile)

That’s all, as soon as you close out of CompizConfig the settings should take place.

Setting the Windows (Super) Key to open the Main Menu:

If you want the Windows (or Super) key to open the main menu, you can set it up, but the problem with this is once the shortcut key is set, you can’t use any other shortcuts with the Super key (I use it for lots of things already, so when I realized this, I had to disable it).

For this one, you actually have to use the gnome “Keyboard Shortcuts” editor (correct me if I’m wrong please). So, first (and only!) step is to open that up (System> Preferences> (Input>) Keyboard Shortcuts)
Under the “Desktop” header, find “Show the Panel’s Main Menu” click on the “Alt+F1” on the right, then hit the Super key.

Unfortunately, this removes the alt-f1 shortcut that many people are used to… I don’t know how to have both set at the same time.


UPDATE: 08.29.2009 I have moved this into the “customizing Gnome’s Look and feel” post in the full setup guide.

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