Flying away

I’m going to Japan for a while. Please stay tuned: I will post as soon as I get settled. I need to resolve a wedding! In the meantime, I’m reading you 🙂


macOS and Mac annoyance list

Because not everything out there is Linux. This is a collection of solutions to problems I found while using the bitten apple products.

One important issue is always how to write files on an NTFS drive. You can read them but you can’t write them. Download the FUSE dmg file, give it access, install it and follow the instructions. It worked like a charm, but it’s a lot of work just to write on a disk. I prefer to copy the few files I’m interested via scp or some other remote copying tool like that, from the origin to the NTFS drive. And mount the drive on a computer able to write it. On this line, remember that there’s a procedure to transfer files from your mac to your Android phone using ES File Explorer. Of course, you will not be interested on it if you have an iPhone, right? But I don’t.

To install software from third parties is very tricky. Apple doesn’t want you to mess up with their carefully customised product. Here you have the how to get the security option Allow apps from anywhere on OSX. Which reminds me, it is useful to know how to recover your system using macOS Recovery. Option-Command-R is your friend. Since you want to install it again from scratch, you may get the -1006f disk error. But let’s say you manage to get a clean OSX on a new disk. Next step is to get the Applications and Accounts from your backup or external drive using the Migration Assistant. Then you can be unlucky as I was and get the External Hard Drive Error Code: -50. Be warned.

Let’s say you don’t have a mac or iPhone but you want to have, for some reason, an AppleID. Or you want to have an additional one. You can get it on the appleid web. I have several, one of them because I wanted to be an OSX developer. Really. Without leaving the subject, I had problems running Matlab on a mac, when I access via ssh to our Matlab server. This seems to be with font settings. Just type

export LC_ALL="en_US.utf8"

before starting it, and it will work. Or it worked in my case.

By the way, did you know that there are several solutions similar to yum and rpm to install programs via command line for macOS? One of them is called macports. The other is brew or homebrew. I hit this stone when trying to install FFTW for OSX. I still remember it as a not so easy thing to do. Why you want to do this, it’s not my problem.

To finish this list of annoyances, let me tell you how to flash OS images to SD cards and pen drives. You can do it with Etcher. It can be handy at one point, if you only have your poor MacBook pro with touchbar to work with.

That’s all for today, folks. I hope you enjoy your macOS as much as I do. The power of linux on a windows body 😀

The water wedding (XVIII)

– Do you see that hill? – The light is very scarce now. The moon started to rise but the sun is still there, resisting to disappear. The landscape is bathed on a bloody crepuscular light and a milky white one. The first stars start to shine over the horizon, over the irregular contour of the faraway jungle.

– Yes. I think so. Are you bringing me to another secret govermental facility?

– He he, very funny. No. – His negation is categorical. – I did do this road before, as you already found out, and I know that that hill marks the beginning of the Forest. We have been driving the whole day, I mean, you have been driving the whole day, so it’s time to make a break. Agree? Besides, I want to try the wine and the sausages we brought!

– Agree. – I slow down the speed. But let’s go in the Forest first. I have the impression we are naked if we stop here. Didn’t they teach you that at the Academy?

– They did, my love. So I agree with your agreement amend. – Hakim laughs. – The problem is, the Forest of the Tree Men is filled with Tree Men, so maybe to go in in the dark is also not the best idea in the world.

– Did you meet them? I mean, the Tree People. – We are there. The bushes give way to the first twisted trees around the road, but we can still see around. If only it is not getting darker, I could have enjoyed checking the local species… the Forest itself seems to be an amalgam of very varied woods. Close to the “road” we have the olive trees, beyond them, the nut trees and the yellow flower trees start to take over, until the mixture seems to reach the consistency of a wall. All of that I observe without moving my eyes from the path, that looks perfectly cleared up and straight. As if done recently.

– Not really. But I read about them. Interesting tribes. They do not like us tourists, but they are not a match for the Imperial Guard. Ha! Ho! – Hakim does some hand passes in the air, mimicking fighting without weapons. – You should not be scared, but also, you should not be as stupid as to think they are worthless.

– So since you have experience on this road, where do we park?

– Mmmm.. whatever place you like for a picnic will be fine. But be aware! The locals may be interested on us, so we will need to organize shifts. Or can you set your nanobots to check around while we sleep?

– Is that even possible? – Hakim doesn’t answer immediately. We cross now a clear, partially covered by a vegetal canopy. The sun is finally gone, replaced by our white satellite. I must be driving at walking speed. The circle we are is quite bucolic, and mysterious. Maybe even romantic, if you forget about the jungle inhabitants. Before leaving it, I turn right, break the car, and I jump out of it. – This is the place. – I state, before walking around. – Ahhhh…. nice, I can now extend my legs. – I use the opportunity to pee at the other side of the car.

– I don’t know. – He finally speaks.- As I told you, the little monsters are not under my control. What you can do with them strongly depends on your symbiotic solution. Let’s say in a compromise solution, they take care of me and I take care of them. Still, they do amazing things if I ask them properly. – Hakim is now down also and digging out the goods for our dinner. – Will you ask them gently, so that I know if I can really disconnect? – He agitates one bottle in front of my eyes. It’s the wine from the Dead Tree Hill.

– I will try. Maybe I need a little bit of motivation before?

Wakata. Here you have your motivation! – He hands me the wine, just opened. I give it a big gulp, because I feel I need it, therefore, maybe they need it. Automatically I feel better, all my energy back. I think I will trust them tonight, my new little robotic friends.

Deployment Management Tools


I’m trying to grasp PXE booting from the professional point of view. Not that I need it: I can afford the luxury of installing a client by hand. But after having use cobbler and foreman, I feel like I need to know more. The article:

What are the pros and cons of Chef, Puppet, Ansible, SaltStack and Fabric?

is answering a lot of my questions about, so I will not rewrite what is written. Check it out if you need. My choice, so far, is foreman. And it matches what the article says. Anyway, don’t worry, I will let you know if I change my mind 🙂

The water wedding (XVII)

Our car is now, somehow, more familiar to me than before. I have its schematics floating on the corner of my eye, so to say, and I gained the ability to predict its movement. Like now, bump. And here, bump. So I can correct what I do better than before being transformed. Also, like some kind of racial memory from the world before the Empire, I remember something called highways. Our car is somehow softer when I remember it also. Highways: smooth roads going ahead forever, covered on a dark, plastic-looking material, going from here to the eternity, with dashed lines painted over. Very different stuff from the path we now follow, barely horizontal (more with a gentle slope), roughly levelled (filled with rocks) and barely signalled.

I don’t know why we follow this path. It looks like Hakim trusts my sixth sense, and he lets me drive as I like. Maybe I’m communicating our destination to our auto, something seems to tell me such a thing was possible for a short time before the war, and was definitely available for the militia. “My nanobodies interact at a basic level” I seem to hear Hakim. I know it’s not him in my head, but from now on, all the thoughts that I can’t call my own are coming with his voice.

We did experiments, right after leaving the Dead Tree Hill. I actually had fun. To test if your mind walls were up and strong enough to keep undesired visitors away was very similar to play riddle games as a kid. Like “I see something, can you guess what it eth? what’s the colour? ” and so on. Oddly enough, I did managed to read his mind once, without his consent, I think. Fortunately, I like what I saw. Not a monster, neither an enemy. I saw love. For me. And a great, great, great, feeling of hope.

– Next bump and we’ll be there! I’m so happy I brought you with me, my dear Kris… and I’m more happy to think that now you are like me. – He doesn’t even look at me when he says that. I try to enter again on his mind, but I can’t. Is he being sarcastic? Why?

– I’m not like you. – I reply. – I’m more of a shadow of you. Don’t you think so? – We shared a lot. But this is not meaning I have his life experience. That one I need to live by myself.

– I don’t, actually. You got a great gift, my love, and I understand you’re passing though the negation phase. I can explain it. You do think this is common, but it is not.

– Right. -It’s the only word I manage to say. – What is common, anyway. I thought our life was common, it turns out it is not. It turns out the Emperor is a friend of my mate, so to say. And it turns out he’s a hundred years old, or more. All completely normal.

– Are you not happy with what you became? – I don’t want to look at his face, so I try to focus on the road. – I think you are, I feel you are. So please, Kris, try to enjoy this as much as possible, since despite of all our gadgets, our happiness, this that you know we feel when we are together, can be blown away by something unexpected…and completely irrelevant, if I can add.

C++ time operations

It’s not that I’m programming now, but I’m somehow reviewing old techniques that I don’t use since my PhD. You can play with them. To create a delay of 20 seconds:

// time delay
#include <time.h>
    time_t      startTime;
    startTime = time(NULL);
    // The loop will quit after 20 seconds
    while( time(NULL)<startTime+20 ) {

To measure the time since the start of the clock.

//time measurement
#include <stdio.h>
#include <time.h>
int main ()
  time_t seconds;
  seconds = time (NULL);
  printf ("%ld hours since January 1, 1970", seconds/3600);
  return 0;

Note that this is old stuff, so it may be that is no more useful. More snippets to come!

The water wedding (XVI)

– Nice to have you back, my love. – I try to focus, and for a moment, I see just a moving skeleton in front of me, surrounding by blue and shinny straight lines that look like a cartoon drawing of the room. I blink once and it’s gone. – Are you here on Earth?

– I think so. – I stand in an easy jump, and I look at my open palms in front of my eyes. They don’t become bones, as for a moment I thought.  They do look the same, but now I feel like I can crush a rock with my left. I flex my legs and I jump tentatively on the floor. – I think your nanothings worked.

– Definitely.  – Hakim looks at me. I’m standing naked, I find out, but that’s not new for him. He doesn’t look at me on this way I know what it means, he’s checking the differences, he’s like scanning every piece of me looking for something wrong. I relax and smile to him. He taps my back and passes me the clothes. No time for games. I dress in silence. I wonder if my mind-to-mind communication is working. It looks like it is not, since he doesn’t com…

– Good, you managed to cancel it. – Did I? He goes to the table where the breakfast, or lunch, or something, is waiting us. We sit. – Now some quick advices. I could give you rules, but nobody’s going to chase you if you break them, so I will call them advices. – He sip his tea. I do the same.- One, never underestimate the power of human stupidity. If you do so, you die. I saw very good ones think they had the situation under control, just to find out that their enemies were ready to give up everything to win, even their petty lives. – Sarcastic smile here. – Two, always think before acting, or assume the consequences. If you are on a battle mode, the nanobots may take control of some of your basic functions, like breathing. Or thinking, as far as I know. So plan before doing something stupid, if you want to be you all the time. Three, and this one may sound weird, listen to your heart. If your heart is saying you need to lay under the sun for half an hour, do so: if your heart is asking you to drink more water, do so. The nanocites in principle communicate through the parasympathetic system. This means they don’t have control of your brain, but they could. Also it means their signals come scrambled, like a dream, or in a dream. – I eat my sausages and salad, trying to fix as much information as I can of this weird talk. Hakim just finished his toast in two bites. He stops then and stares at my eyes. – It looks like you have a special talent with them. You managed to go very far right after the conversion. I mean, that orbital trip, that was weird, wasn’t it? – Hakim does this thing with the hands that I know it means “fantastic but already it is the past”. – So, do you have any questions before we leave and go to our next appointment?

– Yes. How do I switch them off? It’s not that I want to, I mean, I feel great, but …

– Ah, my dear Kris. I’m afraid to switch them off is impossible. – He does a zap with is hand, a sudden movement from left to the right, to remark the expression.- As far as I know, they are solar. But they could equally feed the way you feed, via chemical processing of food. Theoretically, an EMP will random them useless…

– An EMP?

– An Electro Magnetic Pulse. Our nanofriends, they are still machines and they’re sensible to fields. Don’t worry anyway, an EMP needs an energy source, and we don’t have of those in the neighbourhood. If you go to the System, maybe you need to care, but…

– Right, I get it. No EMPs. What else? Should I…I don’t know…check them from time to time? – Hakim looks like a very old person after hearing my question Then I remember. He is a very old person. He moves down his head. His bun is perfectly greased, but it looks artificial to me for a moment. Like some attachment to his head. Then he lifts his chin to me and gifts me one of his shinny smiles. His business card, so to say.

– Let’s go out of here. You will learn more on the way to the Cave. Next stop, the Forest of the Tree Men. Depending on the traffic, if we start now, tonight we will be reaching the Golden Towers, and by the morning, the Cave!