Archive for June 2010

I installed an early development release of Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 on my new Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t. While the interface is rather smooth, and more usable than Windows, I found the Ubuntu One feature slow and wasteful. I don’t use Ubuntu One because of its lack of cross-platform compatibility options, and it takes up a nice chunk of screen real-estate in Nautilus just to remind me that “Ubuntu One [is] disabled.” It also tends to slow down the file manager.

To remove it, I simply issued

sudo apt-get autoremove ubuntuone* python-ubuntuone* --purge

… and it stopped bothering me after I logged out and logged back in. Launchpad has a page on this as well.

I guess I smile a lot. Almost everyone whom I met and worked with this month mentioned that I almost always had the hint of a smile on my face, even when I was under a lot of stress. In hindsight, I recall being ridiculed by my elementary school classmates for my positive attitude. They bullied me for it; and even in retaliation, I did not lose my smile. I was victorious, I thought, because they could not make me frown.

My folks say that I’m a simple guy — too much so for my own good. I like to see the best in everyone. And if, God forbid, I had a reason to be upset, I didn’t see the need to actually be upset and compound the problem.

With experience, it would be increasingly difficult to maintain this attitude. I would hate to have to live with anger.

Well, not really. I started hosting on a VPS when my needs outgrew shared hosting, but I still hosted some of my experiments with 110mb. Since the new administration took over, my 110mb-hosted material mysteriously disappeared. Until today, I had assumed that the whole server was down. I guess my account was misplaced during the transition. At any rate, I won’t be creating another account there, not because I expect this to keep happening, but because of my specific needs. I still recommend 110mb Hosting to beginners for whom shared hosting should be more than enough. And I would continue helping out on the support forum, as long as I’m needed and I have the time.

I’d like to mention that it is partly because of 110mb that I had gained so much experience with Web development, and that I now know so many worthy individuals. Thanks.

<Sagacious> * Cannot join ##christianity (Channel is invite only).
<Sagacious> Fuck you, Christianity.

The new Kindle firmware seems to be all the rage these days, though the manual installation package for early adopters had been quite elusive until now. While the new features are quite neat, early adopters found themselves unable to apply any of the previously-established hacks. Firmware hacking is popular because it enables extensive customization options. I was impatient to install the new firmware, but I didn’t want to lock down my Kindle or wait for new hacks. What now?

Why, I simply installed the usbNetwork hack before upgrading to 2.5.2. The usbNetwork hack installs a Telnet daemon and a SSH server on the Kindle, while allowing the Kindle to be controlled over USB. It is a simple way to gain a root terminal, and it still works after the new firmware is installed. Hopefully, this paves the way for further hackery.

It should be noted that users who already have the new firmware cannot apply the usbNetwork hack (the process terminates with error code U004). If you’re interested in using it, install it while you still have the 2.3.* firmware.

So how exactly do you get a root console on the Kindle, with the usbNetwork hack? First, you put the Kindle into debug mode (in general, to issue any command, just follow these five steps and change what you type during the fourth step):

  1. press [Home] to go to the home screen
  2. type any key on the keyboard to enter search mode
  3. press [←] to blank the line
  4. type ;debugOn (the ; character, and many others, is available in the [SYM] menu)
  5. press [↵] to issue the command

Next, issue the `usbNetwork command on the Kindle, and plug it in. It should appear as a “RNDIS/Ethernet Gadget” rather than the usual mass storage device. By default, the interface should be configured with IP address, and the Kindle could be accessed at How you go about setting up the interface depends on the operating system on your desktop. Telnet and SSH should be running at this point, either of which would give you a root shell.

Users have reported the interface dying after a couple of minutes. Through the console, it is possible to disable the daemon that periodically resets network connections as the Kindle goes to sleep:

/etc/init.d/netwatchd stop

/etc/init.d/Netwatchd stop

Healthcare professionals have traditionally kept records in paper charts. As a clinic expanded, so did its patient base, and record-keeping rapidly became a bottleneck hindering further development. Hospitals had entire rooms and stacks dedicated to archiving old records. Clearly, the healthcare system needs to take advantage of electronic mechanisms that have already been demonstrated to be useful in other fields. A number of companies provide electronic health record and practice management functionality to help doctors switch to computer systems, and the United States government even offers incentives for meaningful use of such mechanisms. A number of obstacles remain, however.

Read on »