Archive for October, 2011

It’s always the same commands you tend to forget?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 | Linux, Tech-savvy | 2 Comments

It used to be the command for untaring a tar.gz file (xvzf is pretty easy to remember after all), but today I know that I am having the hardest time to remember the Linux find in files command. I always do it wrong and have to ask Google. This sucks. I hope by blogging about this (reverse psychology) I will never forget this find/xargs/grep expression again.

find . -name filename | xargs grep 'string'

If you don’t need a recursive search a simple grep string filename will do as well. Writing this I am wondering if there is a recursive option for this simple command as well. Turns out there is one. How could I ever question this in the first place? I fell like a complete idiot now. 😯

grep -r string filename

This will do the job just fine and is far more easy to remember. Even if the first command looks kewler 🙂

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Spelling quirk: one vs. two “l”

Friday, October 21st, 2011 | Language, Quirks | 4 Comments

I always do the same spelling mistakes. I cannot spell “interesting” or its German equivalent. In German it’s “interessant” – and I tend to mix up the double “s” – sometimes I write double “r” instead – I guess because I think it’s an aggregation of “inter” and “resse”. Makes no sense at all, but confuses me so hard that even in English – where there is no problem whatsoever with “interesting” – I tend to foobar this word from time to time. (… but I can spell beautiful despite some New Zealand folks I talked to 🙂 )

There is one thing that puzzles me on a regular basis. Let’s call it the “l”-case. I never figured out when to use one or two “l”s. There may be a rule, but how come these words are written as they are:

stateful vs. beautiful vs. awful vs. full
until vs till

Why do you describe something that is aware of its state (so full of state) as stateful? Why something that is full of beauty as beautiful??

One more term that does not fit directly is “already”. Hmm, “already” vs … well, not “allready”, but still – already looks like an aggregation of “all” and “ready”. I could try to Google the origin of this – maybe there is even an easy explanation or mnemonic trick. Yet, I guess it could be a tedious thing to look up. Ah, grammar …

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Shrinking a bloated VirtualBox disk image

Sunday, October 9th, 2011 | Misc, Tech-savvy | No Comments

I like to keep my house clean. I was always puzzled by ever growing vdis (VirtualBox disk images). Just today I did a clean install of WinXP Home SP1 and installed SP3 afterwards (a pity the online photo printing software my wife uses is only available for Windoze). After getting rid of everything that bloated my VM in the first place I was still sitting on a 2.6 Gig image. Seemed a tiny bit too much, so I looked for a way to make sure the vdi only holds real data, not “empty” space.

The trick I am about to show you made me decrease the real size of my vdi from 2.6 to 1.5 Gig. That’s pretty neat and you should be able to free up even more space if you already used your VM quite heavily (more fragmented thus more space available to optimize).

It’s simple: first defrag your virtual host’s file system, second make sure the empty space is really empty (I used nullfile 1.2). After that, use VirtualBox‘s command line tool VBoxManage to recompress the image:

VirtualBox 3.x:

VBoxManage modifyvdi WinXP.vdi compact

VirtualBox 4.x:

VBoxManage modifyhd --compact WinXP.vdi

That’s it. This trick may be rather old, yet helped me save some bytes. Not that I actually needed that extra Gig, but hey, why should I waste it? 🙂


90° biking – Höhscheid to Frankfurter Damm

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 | Activities | No Comments

Inspired by my recent 90° biking experience (check the previous post) I drove from Höhscheid to Wald’s McD (2 chicken burgers and an apple spritzer to my name – I needed to get something into me before cheering for Solingen’s pretty awesome rugby team, the Zebras!)

Anyway, I think I could revise my invention’s name to just straight driving, but that doesn’t make it sound so kewl. 🙂

Again, this route is completely nonsensical in terms of exhaustion and speed, yet also again I’ve learned something about my home town’s not so well-known infrastructure. A few more of these trips and I am becoming a pro scout for Solingen’s soil.

These bike trips, that lead you directly to your destination, can also be guided by your smartphone’s navigation app. Just use directions meant for walking – and this will pretty much always result in a route someone on a bike (let alone car) wouldn’t normally take. Have phun experimenting!

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90° biking – cycling off the beaten track

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 | Activities | No Comments

Today I decided to enjoy the nice weather and go for a bike ride. I did not want to ride a well-known route so I decided to do something quite daring: 90° biking.

I just made that term up of course, but it describes pretty good what I did. Normally, you take a route that is either short or easy to get to your destination. Now take that route and drive somewhere else in a 90° angle. You will find shortcuts and places you have never seen before 😎

Solingen has a layout that resembles a corrugated sheet. Vertically (north/south in a 2D map context) it’s almost constantly going either up or down. So normally you take routes that mainly go horizontally (west/east respectively). This means trying to get from Höhscheid to Ittertal in a straight line by bike is a pretty insane thing, normally I’d suggest a longer route that surpasses all the hills and valleys in between. God bless the Korkenziehertrasse! 🙂

I experienced a wonderful trip (details @RunKeeper). I especially liked the moments when I popped out of the bushes just to realize where I was and I also drove past some places I haven’t been to in years like Nümmen. Hmm, childhood memories …

So go get your bikes out while you still can and practice some 90° biking – you might learn something new about the place you live. 28° on October 1st should also be considered a compensation for the @!*# summer of 2011.

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