Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Banned books!

Great article on Forbes: Five Banned Books That You Should Read (That You Probably Haven't). I had not read any of the five, but now am planning to do so. Fortunately, the two recent books are available at my local library, so I've ordered them. And the classics Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei, Zhuangzi and The Epic of Gilgamesh are all available free for download. I just searched for the title plus free ebook.

I just love my old Kindle for reading stuff like that, and the free application Calibre for managing the downloaded files. It can even be used as a reader, although usually I only use that function to check that the files are readable. (Calibre is available as a package for most linux distros, including Kubuntu)

Over and over, I've been surprised by old classics. They seem to be fusty and boring, until I get into the rhythm of the older language. At that point, it's easy to appreciate why they have become classics. And my recent podcast listen to the History of English has given me a renewed sense of the sweep of history and our modern world's place in that history.

Read the classics! Read banned books, and open your mind!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

History of the English Language (and further adventures in the CLI)

Language and history geeks, I want to tell you about a wonderful podcast called History of English. Unfortunately for us FOSS types, it is only available via iTunes (according to the podcast. However, the website gives an RSS feed url). But the author, lawyer Kevin Stroud, allows download of the episodes. In order to listen to them in Amarok, rather than relying on flash on the website, I used wget on all of the episodes to present.

* Fortunately, I waited a day to publish this! I've always used Amarok to fetch and store my podcasts automatically, as well as to play them. I wanted to try out the gPodder service as well, which is needlessly complicated on the website. Fortunately, I decided to just add it via Amarok, and the plugin works flawlessly. So all the wgetting is only necessary if you want to fetch and listen to the episodes outside of Amarok, etc. RSS feed url: http://historyofenglishpodcast.com/feed/podcast/ *

Please visit the podcast website for maps and to leave comments, even if you download: http://historyofenglishpodcast.com

If you want to copy all the episides, first create a directory (put it in your ~/Music directory if you want it in your Music collection): mkdir HistoryofEnglishPodcast && cd HistoryofEnglishPodcast, then do the wgetting from that dir.

Since all the eps are individually named, I copied my commands from the terminal by giving the command history and copying them! Thanks to http://tech.karbassi.com/2007/01/14/view-and-change-bash-history/ for that useful command.

wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep01-Introduction.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep02-Indo-European-Discovery.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep03-TheIndo-EuropeanFamilyTree.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep04-Grimm-Brother-Resurrects-the-Dead.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep05-Centum-Satem-and-Letter-C.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep06Indo-European-Words.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep07-More-Indo-European-Words.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Bonus-Episode-1.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep08-Indo-European-Grammar.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep09Who-Were-The-Indo-Europeans.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep10Early-Indo-European-Migrations.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep11Germanic-Ancestors.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep12Early-Greek-Hittite-and-Trojan-War.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep13Greece-Phoenicia-and-the-Alphabet.mp3
 2009  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep14Greek-Word-Horde.mp3
 2010  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep15Etruscans-Romans-and-Modified-Alphabet.mp3
 2011  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep16Rise-of-Rome-and-Latin.mp3
 2012  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep17Ancient-Celts-and-Latin-Invasion-Gaul.mp3
 2013  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep18Keeping-Time-With-Romans.mp3
 2014  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep19-Romanization-of-Britain.mp3
 2015  wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep20-Early-Germanic-Tribes.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Bonus-Episode-2-History-of-Alphabet2.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep21-Early-Germanic-Words.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep22-Early-Germanic-Grammar.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep23-Tacitus-and-Germanic-Society.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep24-Germanic-Mythology.mp3
 wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep25-Germanic-Markings-and-Runes.mp3
 wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep26-Imperial-Crisis-and-Goths.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep27-Broken-Empire.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep28-Angles-Saxons.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep29-Anglo-Saxon-Invasion.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Bonus-Episode-3.mp3
wget http://media.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/p/content.blubrry.com/historyofenglish/Ep30-Celtic-Legacy.mp3


The wonderful book The Decipherment of Linear B is also a great look at language and history, which I recently wrote about.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Coffee and Doctorow

KDE Planet often has some thought-provoking blogs, whether or not they are "strictly" speaking, about the KDE community or our software. For example, Jeff blogged about how to make cold-brewed coffee. When I read that, I remembered that we used to have a toddy kit, like this one listed on Amazon.

When I was looking for a light book to read, Adityab suggested Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow. Since it's available for download for my kindle, yes! It is light as in 'short and YA,' but rather serious in considering the consequences of the increasing use of government surveillance, and where that can lead. Fortunately, the young hero of the book creatively fights back. Also, it is set in San Francisco, a city I love. Highly recommended.

I found out that Doctorow has recently followed up Little Brother with Homeland. The first section of the book takes place at Burning Man, which was really cool. The up-to-the-minute timeliness is alternately delightful and scary. So what did our heroes bring to Burning Man to share around? Cold-brewed coffee! The 'desert process' was even more relaxed than Jeff describes. With this second reminder, I dug around in the cupboard over the refrigerator, found the toddy, and brewed up some coffee.

Now I've gotten into a rhythm with it. No measuring, and I usually steep it a couple of days, since as soon as I empty the carafe, I bring out the steeping grounds, filter them, clean out the grounds and felted filter, and start the process again. It takes me a few days to drink the delicious coffee, and letting it steep longer just seems to make it better. I just use pre-ground coffee for now, but I'm going to investigate getting a grinder, since I do love the aroma of fresh-ground coffee.

Why did we ever stop using the toddy? I wish I could remember, but I think we are using it from here on out. Even my husband who loves the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, is switching to the toddy coffee on weekends. Give it a try, and enjoy! And snap up some Doctorow. He might just re-inspire you to do some more free software work. Individual people are the ones who make the difference.