Tokyotribeca

10,863 kilometres between Tokyo and Tribeca

Unforgettable Monologues from The Blacklist and Blade Runner

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Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) Monologue from The Blacklist S01E09 (2013)

“Have you ever sailed across an ocean Donald? On a sail boat surrounded by sea with no land in sight. Without even the possibility of sighting land for days to come. To stand at the helm of your destiny. I want that, one more time.

I want to be in the Piazza Del Campo in Sienna. To feel the surge as ten race horses go thundering by. I want another meal in Paris, at L’Ambroisie in the Place Des Vosges. I want another bottle of wine. And then another. I want the warmth of a woman in a cool set of sheets. One more night of Jazz at the Vanguard. I want to stand on summits and smoke cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can.

Walk on the wall again. Climb the tower. Ride the river. Stare at the frescoes. I want to sit in the garden and read one more good book.

Most of all I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy. Give me that. Just one time. That’s why I won’t allow that punk out there to get the best of me. Let alone the last of me.”

Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) “Tears in Rain” Monologue from Blade Runner (1982)

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”

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Written by tokyotribe

December 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Movies, TeeVee

Blogging from Command Line

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For anyone interested in trying out blogging from the command line, I recommend blogpost.py, a python script by Stuart Rackham, which lets you create, update, list and delete posts for your WordPress blog from command line.

It’s super easy to install and configure. The instructions are here, although you’ll need to install Mercurial, a code repository manager, first to grab the code. The full manual for blogpost is here, and it took all of five minutes to grab, install, configure and start using.

Once you’ve got it working, you can write a function in your .bash_profile to make it easier to pass parameters to blogpost like this:

function blog(){
~/blogpost/blogpost.py post “$1” -d html -t “$2” -c “$3”;
}

(Sample usage: blog samplepost.html “Title of blogpost” sample_category)

Or you can use this shell script by Raam Dev

And if you’re using Blogger instead, try GoogleCL, a bunch of command line tools for Google APIs, including Blogger. Very nice!

Written by tokyotribe

June 5, 2011 at 4:32 am

Posted in Tech

Funny how the Z-Boys turned out

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Tony Alva in a Pass the Bucket video (2011)

Jay Adams released from prison (2008)

New York Times article on Jay Adams post-release

From whence they came

Skateboard Kings (1978)

See the rest of the film here

Dogtown & Z Boys documentary film teaser

Lords of Dogtown film teaser

Written by tokyotribe

May 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A few things I learnt about the GUI and the command line.

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This post was inspired by the following Unix koan:

Master Foo Discourses on the Graphical User Interface

With the GUI, we’re trying to use a graphical metaphor to describe to the computer what we want it to do. This graphical metaphor – a series of actons depicted on the screen – is translated into commands that the computer can understand, after which the commands are executed and the computer is deemed to have done what we’ve asked.

With the command line, we tell the computer directly, in commands that it understands (or closer to what it’s able to execute), and it executes them directly. There is still a layer of abstraction and translation between the text-based interface and what the computer executes, but it’s certainly closer than the GUI.

Aside from the speed of execution (which isn’t really noticeable these days), there’s a conceptual delay as well. In the command line, we learn to speak the computer’s language and tell it what to do. In the GUI, we’re trying to show the computer what we want it to do via graphical metaphor, and we ourselves must learn these graphical metaphors. The metaphors are supposed to mimic the actions we take in real life, but we describe them not by performing these actions as we normally do (e.g. throwing a document into a trash bin), but through the use of a mouse and moving graphical elements around a screen (e.g. moving a mouse on the table, which moves a small arrow on the screen onto an image of a piece of paper representing a document titled “my_document.doc”, clicking the mouse button, holding it down and moving the mouse again, which drags the image of the piece of paper towards the corner of the screen, and releasing the mouse button when the image of the piece of paper lies on top of the image of a trash bin, representing the act of deleting the document.*)

What a roundabout way of deleting a file, as compared to typing ‘rm my_document.doc’ in the command line.

That said, it’s understandable that the graphical metaphor may be easier to learn (through demonstration and remembering a series of actions) than text-based commands. So we trade off brevity (both in mental concept and physical execution) for ease of learning.

* The above description still doesn’t actually delete the file. You’ll still need to right-click on the mouse with the mouse pointer on the trash icon and select “Empty trash” from the pop-up menu in order to properly delete the file. That’s when you fall off the edge of the graphical metaphor and still have to issue some kind of text-based instruction (albeit selected from a menu) to the computer. Something isn’t right here.

Written by tokyotribe

May 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Tech

Facebook beats Twitter during the Singapore General Election

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It did for me, at least.

I used to use a Twitter list compiling feeds from Singapore- and Singapore-politics-related blogs and tweeters, but during the 2011 General Election, I found myself relying on Facebook much more than on Twitter, referring to Facebook pages by the Straits Times, The Online Citizen and a handful of other page owners for live updates of the elections. Being able to view updates on different pages provided a more organised experience than seeing everything in one feed, because I wouldn’t end up missing an update if my main feed (with everyone’s updates) filled up with new information. And when I wanted to see what my friends thought about what was happening, I’d look at my main feed.

What was most useful about Facebook was the notifications I got when my friends commented on my updates (which might have been my own comments or stuff I’d shared from other friends or pages), which let me zoom into and carry on the conversations easily, even many simultaneously. This is an experience I wasn’t able to duplicate on Twitter easily.

When it came to expressing my own views about the election, I realised that I wasn’t interested in just broadcasting my views to the ether and getting my views heard (or hoping that someone “following” me would pick it up), but I was also in who would be hearing my views, and that it wasn’t some bot who would start following me because my update mentioned “election”.

That made the fact that only friends receive my updates of Facebook more relevant. The corollary here is to choose one’s friends wisely.

Twitter probably still has its uses. It will likely remain my RSS reader for technology, political and other news when 2-way conversations are not important, but I certainly see myself broadcasting a lot less on it, and also using it less as a means of 2-way communication.

Has Twitter become just a feedreader for blogs and tweets from interesting commentators for me?

Written by tokyotribe

May 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Posted in Tech

Testing blogpost.py

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Trying out blogpost.py

Testing out blogpost.py to post from command line.

Written by tokyotribe

May 29, 2011 at 5:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

How to manage your e-book library without a Kindle

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I’ve given up on the Kindle until Amazon comes up with something better that doesn’t feel like a Casio Digital Diary. In the meantime, here’s how I’m managing my e-book library across devices and formats.

I primarily use ePub for reading e-books on devices because it offers decent formatting and font sizes for comfortable reading on smaller screens.

Calibre provides a great way to convert e-books from just about any format (including PDF) to ePub, and does a pretty good job of maintaining the formatting. Page breaks might not always be preserved, but at least chapter headings are obvious and paragraphs are properly formatted. Calibre also has pretty good library management features and I generally delete the source format once I’ve converted to ePub to keep things lightweight.

Both iBooks and Stanza provide a great reading experience on the iPhone (which is my primary e-book reading device now). Despite the small screen, they both handle font sizes well and do a good job of maintaining readability.

But I prefer Stanza because it’s faster, allows screen rotation locking, and most of all – allows you to load e-books into your device library over the air (via the same wi-fi network).

The Calibre-Stanza pair comes into its own when you turn on the content server in Calibre (click the “Connect/Share” icon and select “Start content server”), and then in Stanza, tap “Get books”, look under the “Shared” tab, and tap “Books on calibre (on your computer)”. This lets you access and download books from your Calibre library directly into Stanza on your device via wi-fi. You just need both your computer and your device to be on the same wi-fi network.

That’s way less troublesome than dragging books into iTunes and syncing your iPhone (which can take a while if you’ve got lots of apps) just to transfer a few books, and you also don’t end up with duplicate books on iTunes and Calibre.

Unfortunately for Android users, Stanza isn’t available on Android, but here are a few possible alternatives.

Written by tokyotribe

April 23, 2011 at 7:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized