The Author of Life

I am an author. I write both fiction and non-fiction works.

When I write fiction stories, I make and write my own characters. These characters are people who live in my fictional world, fictional universe, oblivious to the fact that they are all fictitious. For them, everything that happens in their world is as real as it could be.

Now, of course, those characters I have created: they are not independent of me. They exist because of me, they exist in me. Eventually, I do get to decide that they see, that they hear, what they feel, what they do. I determine their fate, their destiny. I set how life is going to be for them, and what revolves in their world.

But they are not just characters, or puppets. In my mind, they are alive, and I'm only writing part of their life that I happen to see. Not only that, I love my characters, and I care about what happens to them. Certain characters are lovable, and some are detestable - but I certainly care about all of them.

I wish - if it were ever possible - to actually meet my characters, in their own universe. See how they live, how they feel. Feel their joy, and suffer their sadness. Be one of them. And tell them, how much I care and love all of them. That all of their life has meaning to me, their author.

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If you are an author, or an artist of any kind that loves your own created arts, it is easy to see that you, too, is a work of art of an omnipotent Author, that is, God.

When God paints, you see the flowers, country side, and the star constellations.
When God sculpts, you see the mountains and the Laniakea supercluster.
When God builds, you see the quarks self-assembling to atoms and the visible universe.
When God engineers, you see protein machines and solar systems and life.

And when God writes, you see yourself.

You exist because of Him, your Author.

He cares about you, more than you care about your own creation.

He loves you so much that He gives you life, and more: something that you can never give to your own creation: a free and independent mind to decide what you want to do about Him - whether to love Him back, or to reject and deny Him.

He loves you so much that He came into this world, to feel its joy and suffering, and to tell you that He love you, and to tell you that your life is meaningful, and that there are more to your life than just this world; He showed the way to Himself.

I thank my Author for giving me life.
I thank my Author for loving me more than I love myself.
I thank you, Lord Jesus, and I long to see you face-to-face when the time comes.

Posted on 30 Jul 2019, 13:43 - Categories: General
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Life is like a harddisk ...

With every new day, we savour new experience... keeping it in our memory. As time passes, we buried our moments deeper in the hierarchy of directories. Over time, we forget what we know.

Sometime, we feel that life is too much for us - that's when it's time to dig into our repositories and delete unnecessary files and folders, so that new experience can come in.

There are times that we still feel burning anger and hatred or sick to the stomach of somebody or something, though we thought we have forgotten it... it's because the file is still in you, in the recycled bin or trash folder. You need to really empty it to let go, and life will begin a fresh.

The only thing is, we cannot buy a new life like we replace a damaged harddisk or upgrade its capacity... but then, who needs to upgrade? Unlike a harddisk that comes with a predefined storage size, our capacity to absorb experience and live to the fullest is unbounded - provided we know how to not keep the bad stuff.
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Originally posted 18 August 2006, before the advent of SSD.

Posted on 24 Jun 2019, 12:28 - Categories: General
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What is reality

What’s reality, he thinks. Alone, in this world, he can no longer differentiate between dreams and reality. He has no reference to compare things with, and when this happens, there is no way to weight any evidence against any standard. He shouts, and echoes comes back to him, and he does not know whether someone hears his shout or not. But he cannot be sure whether he just thinks he shouts or he actually does shout. Nothing to check against. It’s the point of when and where reality blurs with dreams and nightmares.
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The Book of Ten Children, Reunion:4. Originally posted in 11 November 2006.

Posted on 24 Jun 2019, 12:20 - Categories: General
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Tomorrow is promised to no one

“I am still making peace with them, every single day,” she said softly. “That’s why I don’t want you to go when you were still upset with me. If bad things happen to you – perhaps you lose concentration in your battle against the bad guys, because of me – then really, I’m not sure I can live with it. It’s already difficult with my parents. I can’t let it happen to another person that I really care about. At least, before you go, I want to have peace between us. I can’t wait until the next time you come again, because tomorrow is promised to no-one.” she said with trembling voice.
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The Book of Ten Children, 5:5

Posted on 24 Jun 2019, 12:02 - Categories: General
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Fatdog64 801 is Released

It is a rolled-up updates, containing bugfixes and minor feature updates.

Release Notes and Forum announcements

Get it from the usual locations:
Primary site - ibiblio.org (US)
nluug.nl - European mirror
aarnet.edu - Australian mirror
uoc.gr - European mirror

ISO Builder: Get it from here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso/builder/ and choose the builder dated 2019.05 and the package list for 801.

Enjoy.

Posted on 4 May 2019, 22:20 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Today is Ash Wednesday

Count your blessings!

Posted on 7 Mar 2019, 01:04 - Categories: General
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Fatdog64 800 Final released

Just two weeks ago we released 800RC. Based on the feedback and our own day-to-day usage, we feel that it is now stable enough and can used to replace the last stable version of Fatdog 721, hence the final release.

The list of changes from 800RC isn't many, and you can check them out in the Release Notes. Forum Announcement is here.

You can get it from ibiblio and the usual mirrors:

Get it from the usual locations:
Primary site - ibiblio.org (US)
nluug.nl - European mirror
aarnet.edu - Australian mirror
uoc.gr - European mirror

In this release we also publish the ISO builder suitable for making your own custom versions of Fatdog64 800. Get it from here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso/builder/ and choose the builder dated 2019.02 and the package list for 800.

Enjoy.

Posted on 2 Mar 2019, 00:24 - Categories: Fatdog64
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Fatdog64 800RC Release

About two and half months after the initial 800 Alpha release, we finally release the first Release Candidate (RC). There is one beta release in between on 20 December which I didn't get to announce here (Christmas time - busy days).

As usual it's package updates and bug fixes - but mainly bug fixes. Not only regressions caused by new packages, but also long-standing bug fixes from earlier version. Hence the recommendation to update. On my last test, I could still run this release on a 1GB Intel Atom N450 Acer eMachines netbook from ca. 2012; so if your machine is similar or more powerful than that, you can run it too.

If things are going to plan and there is no embarassing bugs, this release will become final.

This is the Release Notes; and this is the Forum Announcement; but if you're not familiar with the Alpha or Beta release I would suggest you read a little bit on both. We will probably copy and consolidate all the changes for the Final release, but not until then.

You can get it from ibiblio and the usual mirrors:

Get it from the usual locations:
Primary site - ibiblio.org (US)
nluug.nl - European mirror
aarnet.edu - Australian mirror
uoc.gr - European mirror

In this release we also publish the ISO builder suitable for making your own custom versions of Fatdog. Get it from here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso/builder/ and choose the builder dated 2019.02 and the package list for 800rc.

Enjoy.

Posted on 28 Feb 2019, 23:55 - Categories: Fatdog64
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How to destroy FOSS from within - Part 5

This is the fifth and final installment of this article.
In case you missed it, the these are part one, part two, part three and part four.

The last time I wrote about this was the beginning of 2018, where the outlook was bleak with Spectre etc. Well here we are in early 2019. The world didn't collapse, so there is still hope; so I too would end this series with a hopeful note.




Part V: Can we do anything about it?

The article was originally a four-parter. But I don't want to end it with a depressing note, so here is the final part, and hopefully more uplifting that the previous parts.

Let's start by observing that "only in democracy the people can vote to elect a dictator". Yet, we don't see hordes of democracies tumbling into dictatorships. So there is still hope for democracy.

Which, I hope, also means that there are still hopes for FOSS.

One way I can see, is to have independent talents that oversees the project; as well as independent talents that actually contribute to the project. (Being an independent leader is meaningless if all the do-ers are against you - remember this is do-ocracy right?).

FOSS flourishes when there is a constant flow of talents going into the community. People don't become expert overnight, but those with enough motivation and effort can always start at the bottom of the ladder and acquire the skills as they continue to participate over time, with mentoring from the older guys.

Alternatively, when a project becomes too unwieldy; perhaps it is a better idea to start with a new codebase, clear from "legacy" stuff and therefore easier to understand - but with still remembering the lessons learnt from that legacy code (or else the new code will be doomed to repeat the same bugs are the legacy code ...).

How can we keep the independent talents coming into FOSS?

I don't have an answer. I can only say that hope springs eternal. Everyone has an itch to scratch: I have seen people take up impossible projects or coming up with impossible replacement projects. New FOSS software coming out from research projects or from student thesis are still happening. So things still does happen. But the trend isn't healthy. And perhaps we all should think of what we can do to help.

THE END




After-note 1
Some FOSS projects are originally closed-up products opened up by the original company owner. Also, some companies open-sources their products for the "community" and changes for "premium" or "enterprise" version, which is not FOSS (the "freemium" business model). I have nothing against this; and instead applaud those companies who have chosen to open source their products.

In this situation it is normal and fair to expect that the direction of these projects continue to be dictated by the original owner, especially when most of the development are still done by the company's own employees.

The FOSS projects that I'm concerned with are those original grass-root community projects (or once-closed-but-now-opened projects that are no longer controlled by the original authoring entities) that have risen to the top of the mindshare, but are no longer recognisable as such due to these undue influences.


After-note 2:
One must not conclude from these articles that corporate contribution (in terms of money or employee time) into an FOSS project is automatically bad and unwanted. It is not; and in fact many projects won't be as successful or survive without them.

We welcome contributions from anyone in any form, but what we need to ensure is independence from external influences.




Posted on 28 Feb 2019, 23:56 - Categories: General
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World map stat counter update

It was over five years ago I wrote this stat counter (here and here).

The world has since moved on, IP addressed have changed hands (and locations), and even the database format has changed. If you still have a copy of the old MaxMind GeoLite database, the old program would still work but if you don't - well, MaxMind has deprecated the old database format as of January 2019 and you cannot get a copy of it anymore.

However, MaxMind still offers freely downloadable geo-IP database, in a slightly different format (GeoLite2). I have now updated the world map stat counter to work with this format.

You can get the updated sources (along with 32-bit statically compiled binary), here. The GeoLite2 database is here and you need a "converter" (to convert the CSV file from network format to integer-range format) here. Then read the original articles and you should be good to go. The v4 has "2" appended to all the programs - ipgeocode2, preprocess2, etc so they can co-exist with the older version if you so wish.

Posted on 8 Feb 2019, 12:32 - Categories: General
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