I installed Debian Wheezy on my netbook a couple of days ago and forgot to install the Broadcom wifi drivers, while I still had wired access. Now, this morning in the comfort of my bed I wanted to get online from my netbook and realized I have no working wifi on it. Luckily, I happened to have a second laptop with working wireless with me to use as the package downloader, downloaded the required packages to USB drive and copied them to my netbook.

These instructions are for the Broadcom BCM4312 driver, and these are the files you need to download:

1. b43-fwcutter (https://packages.debian.org/search?keywords=b43-fwcutter)
2. broadcom-wl-4.178.10.4.tar.bz2 (http://downloads.openwrt.org/sources/)

Keep in mind the broadcom-wl version is obviously going to change over time.

Once you have copied both files to your wireless-less computer, do the following:

$ sudo dpkg -i b43-fwcutter_XXXXXX_.deb
The XXXXXX depends on your version of the b43-fwcutter package

$ export FIRMWARE_INSTALL_DIR=”/lib/firmware”

$ tar xvjf broadcom-wl-4.178.10.4.tar.bz2

$ cd broadcom-wl-4.178.10.4

$ sudo b43-fwcutter -w “$FIRMWARE_INSTALL_DIR” ./linux/wl_apsta.o

If everything completed without errors, reboot your system and then enjoy your wifi. :)


There is a daring wonder and imaginative outlook that powers the mind of a child, or a childlike mind. There are things in this world that are only visible to children. Things that can only be perceived through the unadulterated, unconditioned, uninhibited eyes of a child. If you cast your mind back to your childhood, everything seemed so much bigger. So much more intense. Years later, if you came back and visited your old school, everything seemed so much smaller and duller than you remember. Uninteresting. Almost embarrassing. It all seemed so huge back then.

And it’s not the perspective of different body height at play here. No, I don’t think so. It’s the loss of innocence. The foundation for that daringly wondering gaze into a world of the fantastical is innocence. When we grow up we lose our innocence. When we become adults we find ourselves inhabiting the wrong side of the childhood-adulthood dichotomy. We become those whom as children we looked on as nay-saying authoritarian spoil sports. As kids we frown upon those party pooper grownups designated to the administration of our development. Then we grow up and become the party pooper ourselves.

We have become the enemy. Now we have blood on our hands. And suddenly we find ourselves incapable of seeing through the eyes of our own childhood. We are locked out of an entire universe. A universe without bills, or work or obligations. A universe with far more important problems.

Problems of discovering questions to which adults seem to chronically lack adequate answers. The human brain is probably the most powerful tool we have out our disposal. And it’s wasted on adults. There is a single minded dogmatic conformism perpetrated by years worth of academic indoctrination, that goes all the way back to the first day of kindergarten and culminates in what is colloquially referred to as “being a productive member of society”. This dogma is what mutilates our mind, clips the wings of our own creativity and aligns us with a very very narrow spectrum of what is referred to as acceptable behaviour.

“Grow up!”. What do you think happened to the monsters under your bed? Or the ones in your closet? Where did your imaginary friends go to? The creepy things that lived in the dark corner of your childhood room and only came out at night when the lights were switched off? Gone? Never even existed? Then why are children still seeing them?

Most adult people I ask say they don’t dream much or don’t dream of anything interesting, or just can’t remember what they dreamt of the night before. Locked out. Blinded by responsibility. Productivity. Conformity. Tradition. These same people probably love watching Game of Thrones. Or Avengers. Battlestar Galactica. Why?

Why? Because somewhere deep within the forgotten and forgettable recesses of your reconfigured soul, in a cold and dark dungeon, is a cell that holds a political prisoner. The real you. The real you is captive to the now you. You can’t kill it without killing yourself in the process. So you lock it away and you don’t talk about it in polite company. Some of you keep them chained in the dungeons of your self-repression, this real you. And the rest of the world gets the prescribed and pre-approved and authorized now you. But you can’t let the real you die without dying yourself. So you feed it. You feed it with stories that try to imitate that other bigger universe. The one you can’t seem to see anymore.

Some of you will not turn your backs on that universe. You refuse to abandon the universe with a sun behind the sun. The universe with the Witch Moon. The universe with the living trees that have dead things living in them. The universe where in your dreams at night you fly from treetop to treetop and the leaves speak to you. Where the fantastical is every day and every day’s an adventure.

And so you make a deal with the monster under your bed. It agrees to move over a bit, to make room for the real you. To make room for all the wonder and enchantment. After all, who would ever think to look for them there?

At night you fly into the universe. And by day you go out into the world and play their game. After all, playing is what you do best.

Grow up? Sure thing. Anything you say. ;-)

Soundtrack: iLs ft. Jewels Lindt – “Still Crazy” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MnUTSTNCmzk


Have we met?

01Mar14

When someone you don’t seem to know greets you like they know you… is it awkward to say “I have no clue who you are or why you just said hi. Have we met?” Ever since I moved to Rwanda, I have noticed that a lot of people know me. Many of whom I’m sure I’ve never met before, and some of whom I have probably ran into briefly.  I’m terrible at remembering names and often faces of people I just met. I’m always embarrassed to tell people I don’t remember them. A lot of people take it personally and then things get even more awkward than they already are by default. Most times, when people are being introduced to me, their names go in through one ear and then right out the other ear. That’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I am trying hard to memorize your face so I can remember you next time.

This has strange side effects. For example. I might know someone for a couple weeks or longer and not remember their name, and be too ashamed to ask. So I ask other people or wait for someone else to call that person by their name.

Majority of our students I don’t know their names. And some I don’t even seem to remember their faces. A month ago or so, one of our students came asking for wifi access. I was confused and asked “Errr, where are from?” You know? Like, who are you with? State your purpose. He tells me he’s a student. From the 2014 graduating set, even. Wow. Sorry, dude. Sure you can access the wifi.

Ironically, I love to give people nicknames. And most times other people will adopt the use of these nicknames, too.

I guess it’s like that old saying, if you can’t beat them, make them join you. Right?


I love Python. These days, I do almost all of my coding in Python, and what little I don’t, I do in Bash. Since I started hosting my python scripts on GitHub I got a bit more conscious about the way my code looks. I pay more attention to descriptive naming and proper commenting, but I think I still have some work ahead of me, before my code become PEP-8 compliant. In the meantime, I have a command-line python script called pytemplate that generates a new python file containing pre-configured information like file name, author name, email, license, etc. Optionally, pytemplate will also create a git repository for your script. Read the Readme for details on how to use pytemplate.


I’m old enough (37) to have known what it was like to use snail mail (handwritten pages, envelopes and stamps) as the default mode of personal long-distance communication. It seems archaic now, but I used to love writing/reading sending/receiving letters. There was joy in it for me, to get sheets of paper, find a pen, sit down and start writing a letter. Writing a six-page letter (A4 paper), front and back, was my usual “Hey, just wanted to say hi” length of letter, and people loved it. They said it was fun reading my long letters. Other times when I had more to say, things on my mind that need expressing, a letter from me could easily become twice to three times that long. I enjoyed writing. And then folding the papers and putting them in an envelope. Writing my friend’s/brother’s/sister’s/mother’s name and address on the envelope. Taking the envelope to the post office and paying for a stamp(s) to be affixed to the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. Watching the stamp(s) get rubberstamped, and seeing my letter being tossed in the outbound bin.

I loved it. Every step of it. Now with emails, I can barely find the time or inclination to reply emails, let alone initiate one. Putting together a 2-line email to friends or family feels like a chore now, yet here I am writing this multi-paragraph post to complete strangers on the internet. I’m all keyboard now, and only ever use a pen to sign stuff or scribble notes or a quick flowchart. I don’t know why this is so. Do you?

And speaking of emails, I’m told that’s becoming dated too, in terms of preferred mode of communication. I’m told, most of the “youth” today are not even old enough to have used email in their everyday communication. Can it be true? Is it all SMS, IM, tweet and chat now? Is that the way of it? Well, consider someone who was born on 9/11 would be 11 years old this year. Are my grandkids (assuming I manage to pull of finding someone to make *kids* with, first) going to ask me “Grandpa, did you used to write emails? What was it like, having to do all that typing?”

The other day, a colleague asked me if I was watching the second season of A Game of Thrones. I told her I had read books 1-5, and found the second season of the TV series had heavily deviated from the original story, so much so that I refused to watch that nonsense, and instead decided to just wait for books 6 and 7. She said she didn’t read. I love libraries. Deeply. I’ve always loved reading. As a kid I would easily read a 700-page novel in 3 days. Take down 2-3 of those in a week, depending on how riveted I was by the stories. But books seem to be disappearing and everything is going tablet/phone/e-reader. I love the new book smell. The old book smell. The textures of different types of pages. I might have become less verbose with my emails, but at least I still find it in me to ramble endlessly on the internets.

And I still read, though not anywhere near as much and as fast as I used to. Less time. Shorter attention span. So many bits and snippets to read on the web today. Skip lines, breeze through, get the gist of it, then move on. (TL;DR!) RSS feed backed up to three weeks ago.All those open browser tabs. The unread emails. Mark Folder Read. And none of it smells like adventure, or intergalactic battle, or dark mystery. It’s all 1s and 0s now. Digital information deluge at the speed of thought. Variable font styles encased in banner ads, drowning in pagination horror.

What am I going to tell my grandkids. Will they even be able to relate?


Mighty Mouse

20Apr12

Logitech Trackball(Click to for large version)

My mouse, the Logitech Trackman Marble. I’ve had this device for two years now and it has vastly improved my pointing device UX. It stays completely out of the way, no pick-up-and-shift-pick-up-and-shift clack-clack-clack, no distracting red laser. Just silent efficiency. I love it. Picture taken with my Nokia N900 using Solarize effect (installed BlessN900).


CrunchBang Linux (with the Openbox window manager) comes with a wallpaper browser and setter called nitrogen. I won’t go into any detail of how to use nitrogen, because I feel its menu is straightforward enough for even a beginner to use without any difficulty. Instead, what I want to talk about is how to use alphabetic sorting with nitrogen.

Continue reading ‘Getting nitrogen to sort the image listing alphabetically’




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.