Monday, 29 December 2014

My two favourite Gnome Shell extensions

Once upon a time I enjoyed building Linux from Scratch systems, tweaking my kernel, and messing around with tiling window managers. Oh the memories of youth! ;) Now I just want my system to work out-of-the-box so I can get to work a.s.a.p.

For at least 3 years now Ubuntu Gnome has been my distribution of choice. It works fairly well out-of-the-box and I don't have to use the mouse too much. However,  a few things annoyed me enough to make me look for a solution and about 4 months I found them. I've been using a couple of extensions for Gnome Shell that simply makes it just that little bit better, and installing them takes less than a minute.

Maximus Two

Removes the title bar on maximised windows. It gives you at least one more line in a maximised terminal window and makes gVim look like it should. Rejoice!

No Topleft Hot Corner

Why this isn't a build-in extension beats me. Actually why hot corners even exist when running Ubuntu Gnome on a desktop PC or laptop is a mystery to me. It is quite simply annoying and having multiple monitor turns the feature into a pure irritation trigger. No need for that silly top-left hot corner, just press your Meta key when you need that functionality. Do you ever? You have multiple desktops, use them! :P

Saturday, 20 December 2014

G+ as a blog. Please!

Dear Google. Will you please revise your definition of "Public"? I mean, think about it: If a public Google+ post was truly public then anyone who goes to my Google+ profile could see it. Even if they were not themselves Google+ members. That way I could just stop using by Blogger blog entirely (this one). Which btw. is owned by you, Google, as well. So dear Google: Please help put a stop to this silly social ecosystem war that you, Facebook, and other sites have going on. Let me just use Google+ and LinkedIn, and be done with it. I am tired of all the re-sharing and what-not. I just want to rant on the internet without having to rant about how annoying ranting on the internet actually is :P

The Google+ interface is so much better than the Blogger interface. I do just as long Google+ posts as blog posts anyways. Google, please, you pretty much dominate anyway. Just be cooler than the rest and don't give a shit. Less restrictions, cross site integration... Just make sure that all the privacy levels are optional and opt-in, not opt-out. Thank you :)

Camp Takota

Just finished watching Camp Takota. That was a really sweet and wonderful feel-good movie. It made be think back on my own childhood. Both my years as a boy scout and all the nature outings with my parents. Even über geeks need to know how to unplug, and kids especially. They should have all the technology their parents can afford, it is after all, the future, but they should also be taught the value of real life friendship and the joy of experiencing the outdoors. If not, they will probably die of a stress before they reach 40.

Three of my favourite internet personalities together in one movie. All showing really good acting skills and at the same time showing quite a lot of themselves (or at least of their YouTube-selves. That is after all the only way most of us know them). I love this new world of media where people get popular for being themselves and use that popularity to create and inspire. I hate the fact that idiots get popular as well, but hey, we can't have it all ;) I can warmly recommend the movie. It will make you smile :) ... and really want to party with those three crazies! :)

Nuclear Power

I never understood the rage against nuclear power. Probably because I found it fascinating and researched it all they way back when I was a teenager. Though I find fusion so much cooler than fission but we don't really have that properly working yet.

Just watched the documentary Pandora's Promise ( It is a pro-nuclear documentary. If you are afraid of nuclear power plants then just watch that. It's on Netflix. Checking up on the facts they mention is also really easy.

Unfortunately I found the documentary rather boring. Only the last 30 minutes were interesting to me. That is where they actually talk about modern reactor designs, the nuclear waste problem (that doesn't really exist), etc. Isn't it kind of sad to think that we could have 100% green energy already? Globally?

There are still a lot of old nuclear power plants that I personally think should be shut down and replaced with newer and safer ones. But apart from that, why oh why do people blinded by fear nearly always refuse to educate themselves about that which they fear? Or maybe not refuse but certainly don't consider it without being pushed in that direction. That is a really stupid way to respond to fear.

I want research and development in every kind of energy source, and I want to see production of clean and safe power plants. It is controversial but nuclear power is a green and safe energy source.

A nice little quote from the documentary, that might wake up some of the anti nuclear Danes: "France which is powered 80% by nuclear power is more green than green Denmark and more green than green Germany" (quoted from memory). I mean, Wikipedia says 75% percent, not 80% but that stills makes them the greenest country in the world when it comes to power from power plants.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Two useful features in Google Business you might have overlooked.

Today I had a very nice chat with Google Business tech. support. I was completely blown away by their excellent service. My technical issue quickly got sorted and afterwards the friendly Google techie asked if I had any other questions regarding the Google Business apps. No rush, so a few things came to mind and I asked away. Ten minutes later I had learned some new tricks for managing my company with Google Business. My original issue required a fair portion of techno babble to get it explained, but no problem either. The solution I was offered was furthermore so simple that I felt like a complete idiot for not thinking of it myself. I could have handled it all myself without any tech. support. Oh well, I got a nice chat out of it and learned two really useful new things :)

"So what is point to all of this?... Is there a point? Let's make a point" --- Bill Hicks
Indeed Bill, let's. I thought this was worth a post for the following two reasons:

  1. Just as inspiration and a kind reminder to other business professionals. From my personal experience I would say that about 80% of the calls I make to customer service centres (both tech. and non-tech.) ends up being horrifyingly frustrating experiences. Especially Danish companies let me down time after time. Being of service to their customers should be the top concern of any business. They are the reason they exist.
  2. The two things I learned, obviously! They are up next!

Managing your multiple Google+ profiles

I started using Google Business some years go. In fact, as soon as I learned about I wanted it, because who doesn't want Gmail, Google Calendar, etc. at the work place? I have never liked the Microsoft Office products and Lotus Notes makes we want to hang myself. So Google Business it is, and it is dirt cheap! I love the Google services (at least from a geeky/efficiency/convenience point of view), and I use them every day, all day. Multiple Google accounts, that is, multiple e-mail addresses and calendars are fine. That makes sense. One for work, one for private, for instance. I actually have three Google accounts (two work, one personal). But then Google+ was launched... I sat down and made my personal profile, with all my circles, and that serves as my single personal G+ profile. But I have two more profiles! Google+ for Business is an awesome collaboration tool and good social community tool inside companies, but why did they force those business profiles to be publicly available!? I constantly have people adding my business accounts to their circles but I never share outside the company with them, and why would I? And I don't follow them on my phone, just like I don't have work mail on my private phone because that is stress suicide. I work all the time but I don't need to stress about it as well. So I really don't feel like maintaining three profiles with three sets of circles. Well, good news. You can now prevent that! If you are an administrator you can log in and prevent the company G+ profiles from being listed in public G+ searches.

Here's the link (courtesy of the excellent Google techie):

The individual employees can still contact people outside your domain, which is practical for video conferencing, customer service, and so on. Each employee can also choose to be listed publicly, if they so wish, and if someone has your company G+ profile URL or your work e-mail they can still directly add you. I still wish that I could could make my other two profiles completely invisible to the outside world and that I would have to e-mail a one-time URL in meeting invitations for on-line conference calls. But the biggest problem for me is now solved.

This feature did not exist when I signed up and configured my company account, and I never noticed that it was added. So now I am free from future G+ profile confusion! :) Hopefully this will please others just as much as it pleases me.

Secondary domains beats aliases.

Also, back when I started using the services you could not add multiple domains to your company account unless they were to all function as aliases for your primary account. That is still a great feature since you often have multiple domains (.com, .net, national extensions, etc.) but all for the same company, website, e-mail, etc.. However, large corporations will need more than aliases and secondary domains might be just what they need. Instead of creating your other domains as aliases of the primary domain you can add them completely separated from it. Now you can create individual users on different domains but also still add all domains to certain users if that is what you want. I can see many practical applications for this for large international corporation but without adding any complexity at all.

Here is the link to the configuration guide:

Many large companies probably wont need secondary domains because they have their own servers and IT departments, but that is changing, and quickly. Get your company cloud based! It is so much cheaper, more convenient and the customer service is apparently great! :)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Processed Food vs. Real Food

Darya Rose (Summer Tomato) has done a really nice blog post about processed food vs. "real" food. I myself try to stay away from processed foods, but as I also suffer from unstoppable hedonistic urges, I do tend to binge once every two weeks. It just feels good eating pizza and candy until I feel sick :P Go read the Summer Tomato article here: Even though we don't know for sure why real foods seems to keep us healthier then processed foods, there is enough evidence to show that if we care about our health we should eat real food. Or we could just go crazy with processed foods, suffer the deaths, and hope we evolve to better handle that kind of living... riiiiight.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Cassandra Complex

I recently rediscovered The Cassandra Complex... how on earth I forgot about these guys for almost two years is unfathomable! I can especially recommend their album Cyberpunx. Thanks goes to Google Music's excellent radio functionality for throwing them back my way.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Stella Polaris 2014

Aaah yes, the best summer Denmark has had in many years and next weekend it is time for Stella Polaris here in Århus... It's a chill out festival, it is free, and it is wonderful!

So come and chill out with us on a hot summer's day and perhaps drink a handful of ice cold beers :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

That's Life

My all time favourite by Frank Sinatra. This is the optimist's ultimate theme song :)

Now if only I could sing like that I would sing this every day!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Supernormal Stimuli

An interesting article about supernormal stimuli:

To what degree we are affected by supernormal stimuli and whether or not different people are affected differently is rather irrelevant to me. What I find relevant is the information itself. That we are in fact being stimulated, all the time, and that we should me mindful of this. Concious control of ourselves instead of just following the flow of habits. Fascinating.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tim Tim Talk Talk

Tim Ferriss started doing a podcast recently. I have now listened to the first 3 episodes and I am hooked!

If you are interested in lifestyle hacking then give the podcast a listen. It is very good, and also very cosy. I listen to it while coding or when I am just doing stuff around the apartment.

Pro tip: Keep your smartphone or a notebook on your body at all times so it is easy to take notes when something truly interesting is mentioned.

All the stuff I buy from amazon and other web shops because of +Tim Ferriss! Oh well :)

And yes, the podcast most definitely should be called Tim Tim Talk Talk, as +Kevin Rose so brilliantly suggested in the last episode of The Random Show.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

How to Cure Anxiety

I follow the 4 Hour Blog by Tim Ferris. Tim always has some interesting stories, and for anyone into lifestyle design you wont regret reading his books and his blog posts. The latest post is about curing anxiety (the article is written by an acquaintance of Tim). A really good read with some very good techniques to reduce anxiety and stress. The article can be found here:

Here follows my thoughts and comments.

First of all, the part about Trauma Release Exercises I must admit sounds very interesting! I just ordered the book. Looking forward to trying it. Sounds crazy (but harmless) and therefore it must be tried ;)

There is however one of the techniques in the article I think should come with a serious warning: "Consistent bedtime". It is absolutely true that sleep is important. I know from personal experience that a consistent bedtime combined with the right amount of sleep (not too little, not too much) lowers stress levels and greatly improves metabolism and muscle recovery (the latter two are important for fitness geeks like me). However, if you force yourself to go to sleep you might actually increase anxiety.

If you lie down, but can't sleep, then stop trying! The idea of a consistent bedtime is good, but only works once you are doing other things to keep anxiety and stress levels low. One technique I use to fall a sleep is simple meditation. When done lying in your bed you have a tendency to fall a sleep once fully relaxed, and in this case that is the point, whereas normally you want to stay awake while meditating ;) An important thing to remember about sleep is that you cannot force yourself to sleep, ever. So if you lie down at your scheduled bedtime but cannot sleep then mediate a bit, read a book, or get back up and do something you love but that makes you relax (i.e. not work).

I often work in the evening, right until bedtime. A trick I use for relaxing myself is doing the dishes. That is, after dinner I quickly rinse the dishes and leave them neatly on the left side of my kitchen sink, then when I am done working I do the dishes, brush my teeth and go to bed. Going for a walk is another good trick. Fresh air helps you relax. A final tip on sleeping is that you should make sure you have enough fresh air in your bedroom. I have a Withings body analyser (it is a fancy internet connect bathroom scale that also measures the air CO² level) and it made me aware of the poor air quality in my bedroom at night. I was already a sound sleeper but now I sleep even better! So remember to let fresh air in before you go to sleep, and if you do not have ventilation in your bedroom then sleep with the door open.

On a final note, regarding the unplugging from all news sources: Really, just do it! I did this years ago and I do not regret it. Once in a while, maybe every third month, you can catch up on things if you need to. If "news" is in your work, then even the more reason not to read it when you are off the clock! I get very anxious when I read the news, or especially when I watch it on TV. So I stopped.

Let us take politics as a quick example. When does new about politics affect you? Every day? No! Only when you act upon it, that is, vote. So when election time comes, then look into your options and actually read up on the different parties. What they stand for, what they plan to do, and what their track record is when it comes to actually doing what they say they will. Unless the things you read in the news are so bad that they will make you take to the streets in the name of your personal liberties, then do not worry yourself. You, sitting around the kitchen table yelling in agreement with your family about how stupid the current government is will not make any difference now will it? It will only make your adrenalin start pumping and increase stress and anxiety.

I do not mean that you should stop caring about what is important for you. Just be mindful of how your news reading habits affect your. It should enrich your life, if not, then stop.

I will end this blog post with the same quote as was used in the last section of the article. A quote from my all time favourite comedian:
"Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question, “Is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and they say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” --- Bill Hicks

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Hammer of the Gods

Just watched Hammer of the Gods... or "yet another movie with a completely wrong and misunderstood idea of who and what the vikings were"... but not only that... I went all "Apocalypse now" in a celtic kind of way... and metal while the subtitles rolled... Oh, and apparently viking kings can be atheists and have a fighting babe for a wife... yeeeeaaaa... this movie is beyond ridiculous, and therefore: GO WATCH IT! It's on Netflix... Do it! I actually like the different characters in it, and the movie is pretty nicely shot and the I like how gritty it is. It's bad in a good way. It's been a while since I've seen a movie with that vibe. Huzzah for that.. at least. Enjoy :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Crystal Method

This band is brilliantly brilliant!

If you like this track then go get the entire album Divided By Night. It is extremely good.