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Archive for July, 2009

I made it last time, and I just made it again yesterday. But, that’s not enough is it? We have to turn up the heat if we’re gonna get over this fear don’t we?

Yes we do.

I went in a store. Me, the agoraphobic, afraid of people, afraid of heights, messed-up-in-the-head person, went inside a store. A Wal-Mart Supercenter, to be exact.

I still had trouble (if I can’t see the exit I panic, etc.), but I pretty much looked like a normal person. I hope.

We’re making it 😀

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You know that feeling you get when you say a word over and over again and it starts to sound like it’s not a word anymore? Or you stare at it and you suddenly think “What? That doesn’t look like a word..”?

This is jamais vu.

I always thought I was a bit crazy when I had this feeling in school writing out lists of spelling words, when the words is repeated and crammed so much that you start feeling weirded out.

Basically, from what I can glean (via this study by Dr. Chris Moulin), it’s essentially induced by a specific type of brain fatigue. The brain gets weary of repetition and stops paying attention, causing the object of focus (like a word) to lose its meaning.

As it pertains to linguistics, a word has form, function, and meaning. But taken alone and out of context, the word loses both its function and meaning, leaving only the form to be repeated. Repetition will eventually cause the word’s form (usually unobserved) to supercede its meaning and function (usually expected), and this is what makes it sound so weird (so says Wikipedia..mostly :P)

That’s why spelling lists are prone for jamais vu. Since the words are taken out of context, they lose meaning and function. And obviously since the focus of such a list is to learn how to spell the words, the only thing left to focus on is their form.

It’s a pretty cool phenomenon. At least I’m not alone.

And yes, I did happen to discover all this on the always-awesome Reviewing the Kanji forums; specifically, this thread.

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Looking for the HOWTO? Feel free to go right to it.

If you use Vista’s sidebar gadgets, you already know the essence of Screenlets. If you use OSX’s widgets or Yahoo! widgets, you already know the essence of Screenlets. Can you guess what it is yet?

Screenlets is a framework for such gadgets and gizmos on, you guessed it, Linux. It’s not the only framework available but according to the site  it’s “… possibly the best open-source widget framework out there”. Considering I never got it to work before today * (some still don’t), I can’t say for sure that’s true.

sc0

When first installed,  there are quite a few ready-to-go gadgets. The usual clocks, calendars, system montitors, and the like. But there are also a couple widgets that struck me as incredibly unique and useful.

I personally never understood the use for gadgets like a system or drive space montitor, but I shouldn’t talk because I took interest in one of the most pointless, yet charming, gadgets yet: A flower.

sc1

The goal is to make it grow from bare dirt into a blossoming flower by remembering to water it daily. Over- or under-water it, and it’ll die. Quirky? You bet. I can’t get it to work though.. :/

There are all sorts of media players available, so what makes this next one so cool might not be obvious. It looks like a normal, unassuming media player, right?

sc2

Right. But it’s for streaming radio. What makes it useful is the ability to create custom stations and store them in the “right-click” list of stations to choose from. It also includes prelisted stations from around North and South America and Europe. It may not look like much, but it’s a boon for me. The radio station in the pic (Frequence3) is what made me stop hating French. Pretty good find, if you ask me.

Finally, the reason I installed Screenlets:  a desktop wallpaper clock. Yes, a desktop wallpaper clock. It doesn’t come out-of-the-box with Screenlets, so it’ll have to be downloaded separately, such as from here, and installed. It looks a bit like this, depending on the chosen wallpaper:

sc3

I’d imagine something like this could be accomplished with an animated wallpaper (yes that is available, at least for Compiz on GNOME. Check gnome-look.org), and it may look a bit cheesy, but the art it would take to both program and design the styles for this widget makes it AWESOME! 😀

I never have been much of one for extraneous eye candy, but hey.

*And now, the mini HOWTO.

I believe the reason I had trouble using Screenlets before was simply that the Screenlets folder wasn’t writable by normal users. I found out through opening screenlets-manager in a terminal and then starting a widget that none of them would start; and all the ones I tried errored out because permission was denied to the install folder.

Since I just learned today that ‘chmod’ doesn’t work for folders, I had to figure out another way. I’m using GNOME, so this may be different for you, but I fixed this by doing the following (GNOME on Ubuntu 8.10):

  • Open Nautilus as root: gksudo nautilus
  • Go to your home folder, and turn on “View Hidden Files” either through the “View” menu or using Ctrl+H
  • Find the “.config” folder, and then locate the “Screenlets” folder
  • Right-click the “Screenlets” folder, choose “Properties”
  • On the “Permissions” tab, under the “Others” label, change the permissions to “Create and delete files”
  • Next time you try to open a widget, it should open.

Now see, I’m single-user so this may not be secure enough for other computers. But I don’t know a lot about Linux permission hierarchy, and this worked for me.

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Wanted: Self-Discipline

On second thought, that’s probably not the best title for this post.

Something was brought to my attention yesterday, and it’s something I already knew, but it’s something I really need to fix.

I am atheist. Mostly. But, see, I’ve never even read the Bible 😐 . Nor have I ever been to a church service. Right there tells you how hypocritical that makes me. I mean I should give it a fair chance but frankly I don’t think I could stomach it.

But, I know what’s in there. I know from experience, from other people, without even reading, that what’s in there is something I’d rather not see.

Self-discipline is actually important here. Should I or should I not force myself to try to see things from another side? It’s only fair. It’s what I’d want people who aren’t atheist to try.

And I’ll be honest: I don’t like having my thoughts challenged. Not many people do. I’m also very easily tempered. I know it won’t be “pleasure reading” and I’ll be very likely to get infuriated. I’d rather just not try.

I hate being in this situation where I just profess for or against something without any validity behind it. It’s a very awkward place because everybody expects you to back it up with something. It’s not fair for me to just hate the religion.

Maybe this will help to explain my situation better: I’m not specificially atheist, I’m just not Christian and I don’t follow any other religion. Agnostic? Perhaps.

If people would get less worked up about it, I wouldn’t care as much. The fact that anyone takes any of it seriously is both amazing and hilarious (yes, that includes me, because if I didn’t take it seriously I wouldn’t be against it). The believers or the non, both are in the same boat.

If there is a god in the Christian sense, then I’m going to hell. The lowest level of hell.

This is where ‘reality expansion’ techniques come into play. In order to learn more about myself and the rest of the world, I need to be self-disciplined enough to actually want to study it. I need to give everything in the world a fair chance, so my eyes can open a little bit more. I’m not nearly as open-minded as I wish I was. So, if I want to change that, I have to try to change that.

Poorly written post? You bet. Eh, it’s an off day. Didn’t sleep well, etc.

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What’s an agoraphobic to do?

How about…something like this:

madeit

It may not look like much, but this is the farthest me and my thumb have been in 6 years. It’s probably…a bit over half an hour from my house.

The reason I didn’t get a full-body shot? I was too scared to get out of the car and look like an idiot having my picuture taken. And my thumb was the only part of my body I could aim the camera toward.

You could say I was excited. I was. But today, afterwards, it really doesn’t feel all that remarkable. I kind of wish I felt better about it. Frankly I expected more of an emotional high than I’m getting.

Maybe I’m just depressed that I haven’t tried it before now?

But I still managed to do it. Getting there was all the trouble. I kept putting my head down, trying to do deep breathing, and everything else. My whole lower abdomen came into my throat.

But I fought it. Chances are I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for my dad. I didn’t want to waste his time.

That’s how you finish a goal list. 😀

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I’d been meaning to post about this for a while but I never got around to it.

 

One random, lonely, boring day (really every day) I started digging through some files and happened upon something like this in IE’s Program Files folder:

ie1

“No,” I thought, “surely not.” Surely so, it turns out. That’s not just an old IE icon, that’s the old Internet Explorer. No I don’t know how I ended up with duplicates.

 

I check the “About” box and get this:

ie2

Hmm..”Side-by-Side Mode” you say? You kid, you kid.

 

ie3

Oh you were serious weren’t you?

 

I thought it was pretty cool that there’s still a workaround method. I guarantee this is stupid old news, but hey I found it myself 😀

I’d imagine this would only work if you had IE6 installed and then upgraded to 7. I’m not sure how IE8 handles it yet because I’ve not installed it for XP (I got the shared computer bluuuuuues yeah)

Heck I didn’t know they even produced IE8 for XP until a little while ago.

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