Life Codecs Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

September 20, 2010

A Tribute to Vajra

Filed under: general,personal,poetry — Tags: , , , — Kamal Advani @ 22:03

I just gave away my laptop of some 8 years. Its hostname was “vajra“, a Sanskrit multi-semantic word – some meanings rather less subtle than others, but that’s a tale for another rainy day. The meaning I first encountered for it however was ‘diamond’. That is the name I gave to it.

I do not know if I can confer this name on to an equally worthy machine in the future – whether I do, or do not – equality in this case will never replace Vajra’s intrinsic identity.

The Vajra that just left was truly a diamond, it stuck with me through thick and thin, all throughout my university and personal life – the whole of my time in Melbourne. A most resilient machine. It was sad seeing it go having been a significant part of my life for so long. Yet it is well that it went to someone who wanted to reuse it as a small mail server, as my main use for it has, sadly, since dissolved.

While a university student with a tight budget, it gave me no trouble. Many days it ran at least 10-15 hours a day, compiling code, browsing the net, playing music, yapping on IRC. It has been a companion for the longest time.

I remember that on the way to Melbourne, the first time, I managed to lose its original power adapter due to tardiness at the airport security check. I found an original, new, and cheap replacement not long after though. Truly it was Divine synchronicity. Even when I messed up, it remained kind to me.

2-3 years ago, the one thing that died was its hard drive. I replaced it the next day, and it was buzzing with life once more.

Vajra – a Compaq Presario 1700 AP – has the following featureset:

  • Pentium 3 (Coppermine), 750 MHz
  • 384 MB RAM
  • 110 GB HDD (the original was 40GB I believe)
  • NIC
  • Built-in (soft-)modem
  • Floppy drive-bay

It has accomodated several OS spirits during its time with me:

  • Linux: Mandrake, Redhat 7.2, Debian, and most recently Ubuntu Karmic
  • Windows: WinME, WinXP

I wish it well, and when the time comes – may its various elements evolve further: the minerals powering its chipsets, the metals of its frame, the luminous atoms of its LCD.

May the spirit of Vajra,
the diamond,
be forever.
In one form
or another.

Walking Down (Virtual) Memory Lane

Filed under: general,personal — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 00:34

I’ve been gathering up my old machines to either give away, or recycle. As part of this I’ve had to look at contents of old hard drives to decide what needs to stay, and what can go. It has been a rather emotional process – not a very easy one at times. So much lies in those bits and bytes. Chunks of life from days gone by. People, names, places, items. Some which test old wounds (dang, how deep). A timescale quite close to a decade for me.

Much of the material was not well-organised – so there was a lot of grepping for patterns of files that I might want to keep. I did not find a heap to keep, but those that I did find – they would be in the calibre of things, which, if I did suddenly remember about them, and realised that I had deleted them – well let’s just say it would not be a great feeling. At some point, one perhaps has to let go of it all – but for now I was glad to find those files.

In Indonesian, we have this interesting phrase, ‘napak tilas’, I don’t actually know what it means literally – but metaphorically, it’s an act of reflection – to revisit places (sometimes very much physically revisit places), or things, and reflect on the values gained from those, how one has changed or not changed, what one has learnt or not learnt, etc. – much like a deep, psycho-emotional XP retrospective for the Agile software-development-inclined.

I can’t help but think that so much ‘napak tilas’ must occur in the digital world these days – photos, music, writings, even code. This is of course in addition to ongoing life in the physical world. One lives, quite literally, in a multidimensional world today.

Night, (multidimensional) world.

August 28, 2010

Daffodils

Filed under: general,personal — Tags: — Kamal Advani @ 03:34

Australia has this thing called Daffodil Day. It is essentially an annual initiative by the Cancer Council to raise money for cancer research by selling bright yellow merchandise – daffodils obviously being one prominent item. I’ve always wanted to participate (that is, donate) on Daffodil Day (I know I can donate any other day, but Daffodil Day sounds so much cooler) – so today – Daffodil Day 2010-08-27 – I went ahead and got some daffodils (oh and a teddy bear in a yellow tee which is now placed in the centre table of our work pod).

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them really… so on reaching home, I emulated what femmes and flower lovers usually do, put the flowers in a vase with water. I know, brilliant.

My first problem made itself known — I do not have a vase.

I could not just wait and let the flowers without water, they were already in my backpack for most of the day :-(. So using my high IQ (the same IQ that thought of emulating well-known procedures), I emulated a vase. I had an empty tin can of Astor Wafer Sticks – good stuff that, highly recommended – washed it up, filled it with cold water, and placed the daffodils in them.

A couple of hours later in the middle of the night, these amazing flowers just bloomed… quite surreal. As ruby2shoes (gotta love handles) once told me – paraphrasing a bit – “daffodils are hardy flowers, like ‘whee! we’re here!! hi hi!'”.

I am glad I got them now :-).

March 11, 2010

Decisions

Filed under: general,personal,philosophy — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 20:08

As often happens during quiet periods, one has time to consider future directions as well as past decisions. In Agile Software-speak, a retrospective (aka retro) if you will. My retro this time has been about decisions. Life seems to have impressed upon me the need for correct and careful decisions – taken with mind, heart, and conscience.

Decisions wrongly made have a lasting impact – not days, not months, but years and beyond. Were this limited only on the decision-maker perhaps it would not be so bad, yet decisions more often than not affect at least two people, usually many more in the long term directly and indirectly. If one subscribes to the idea of Systems thinking, one will agree that nothing stands in isolation – everything is connected – context is always there. Only the Divine knows when that profound impact will be erased, and things return to ‘normal’. Perhaps they never will of their own accord (though they say Time heals all, though more accurately the Divine heals all), and making things right will involve the decision-maker to basically live with, learn from, and persist post that decision, hard as it may be. And to those ever affected by any dodgy decisions I’ve made – you have my sincerest apologies.

Ah retros – sometimes they leave me unmotivated. *Stretch*

December 15, 2009

Jazz’ing Diana Krall Style

Filed under: arts,general,personal — Tags: — Kamal Advani @ 23:59

A few renditions by Krall (live videos):

So Nice – playful.
Walk On By – favourite.
Look of Love – jazzzzyyy.
Cry Me a River – I first heard this song (not sure who sang it though) in the movie “V for Vendetta”, sad but hey, with songs you gotta learn to detach it of associations, and enjoy it for what it is, a great song :-).

Enjoy!

December 5, 2009

Bon Jovi Unplugged

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: — Kamal Advani @ 16:51

Some beautiful unplugged (acoustic) versions of Bon Jovi – definitely not as jump-and-head-banging-rock as the regular versions (then again, I don’t think Bon Jovi counts as head-banging-rock, just jumping :P) – but beautiful chill out music. Videos:

It’s my Life
Hallelujah (cover)
Living on a Prayer

Enjoy!

March 15, 2009

“Send me an Angel”, The Scorpions

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 06:10

Most stuff by Scorpions would make my all-time favourite list, however this particular version of “Send me an angel” (lyrics) is awesome. Enjoy :-).

“Nessun Dorma”, Vanessa Mae’s Violin Rendition

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 04:54

Here’s the video – it’s just some background images for the piece really, not a “real” video. Definitely makes it to my all-time favourite list. Here’s more info on the piece itself. You might also like the more opera-friendly version sung by the 3 tenors. For completeness, I like Andrea Bocelli’s version too.

Beautiful stuff. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

– Kamal, bumming and unemployed at 1.55am :-).

February 23, 2009

Blog Name Change

Filed under: general,personal,philosophy — Tags: , , , — Kamal Advani @ 23:09

So I googled “lifeflow”, my God I am embarrassed – that turned up a heap of hits – could I be part of the hive mind that is the world. No, that can’t be, I attribute it to a quirk of fate :P. So here’s the new name, the tagline has “Code” added to it. In a sense the original intent of this web log has not changed, and I think figuring life out takes some encoding and decoding, and I do enjoy writing code, and and ‘codex’ is a book or manuscript – very log-y – so ‘Life Codecs’ sounds rather apropos. And googling this, as expected a lot of results turned up on audio/video codecs, but that’s okay – at least I am not some quick fix to gain enlightenment. I mean, I wish I was – like for real – but I’m not :P.

Let’s hope I don’t have to change it again.

February 22, 2009

Website!!

Filed under: general,personal,software dev — Tags: , , — Kamal Advani @ 16:26

I have some semblance of a website! And I finally put some code on, yeah baby! This being a bum business is kinda fun, hmm now if only I could bring in money while staying at home without methods mentioned in scammy ads. Anyway, check it out :D.

– Kamal

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