Life Codecs @ NamingCrisis.net

Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

Nov 13, 2010 - arts

“New Butterfly”, by Ade ISHS

New Butterfly” is Ade’s second album. You can find my review of his first album, “Visions“, here. The same disclaimer in that post applies to this review.

As before, the album is contemporary instrumental piano. The music is simply beautiful. Both relaxing and deeply contemplative. Ade’s in no rush to finish a song, the timing is just right. The notes feel a lot more harmonious, diverse, confident. My favourites include “Jakarta at Night 3“, “Go on 2“, “I Saw Happiness“, and “Moving Ashburton“. “Jakarta at Night 3” – well if you have spent a night in Jakarta – the faintly cool night breeze in a city named after a prince, you’ll get the connection. Tracks average 6-8 minutes in length. One contrast (in both feel, and length) is “Unity in Diversity“, a short (1:35!), light piece.

Highly recommended, awe-some. 1010 stars. Still DRM-free (yay!).

Oct 23, 2010 - arts general philosophy

Garudas, Phoeni[xes|ces], Eagles

_Disclaimer: Some of these views are my own, they may not be accurate, they may be downright wrong in fact – they are opinions. Please research accordingly. This article is not meant to be a historical thesis of any sort, just observations and personal inferences.

With the disclaimer out of the way, I can go crazy with fiction or non-fiction as I please, whee.

I got into a discussion about ancient history today with a senior teacher of mine. It reminded me of how much I used to like stories, myths, legends, and associated symbolism. Anyway one link led to another, and I began reading about Prambanan12 – a temple in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia built around the 9th or 10th century. One of the depicted major gods in Prambanan is Vishnu, one of the 3 major Hindu Gods3, whose consort/vehicle is the Garuda[4.1]5 – a mythical powerful bird.

In Indonesia, the Garuda is used as a national symbol, a symbol for the Pancasila6 – the 5 unifying cross-cultural, cross-religious, tenets of Indonesia.

A part of article 2 and article 5 tell of Garuda as being the son of a mighty sage Kasyapa and his wife Vinata. Paraphrasing 5, in short, Garuda had a brother, Aruna, who was born misshapen. Aruna was forced out of an egg (like a real egg, think chickens, not wombs) by Vinata’s (his mother) impatience and overexcitement.

Aruna was angry that he suffered this and cursed his mother. The details of this curse are unclear – 5 says that the mother became a slave to Naga, I’ll let you read up on it. Essentially, the fix to this situation was for Garuda to steal some heavenly ambrosia – a non-trivial feat (we’ll need to trust the myths on this) – guarded by various beings. Garuda was able to do this and save his mother. This virtuous quality of being able to save one from a disaster underlies (among several other things I suspect) the choice of using Garuda as a national symbol.

Article [4.2] depicts various uses of Garuda as symbols in an organisational or governmental setting. Article 5 gives an overview of the use of Garuda in Thailand.

The Greeks (and Romans) revered the Phoenix[7.1] “as a symbol of rebirth, immortality, and renewal”[7.1]. USA uses the Bald Eagle[8.1] as their national symbol. According to [8.1], “The founders of the United States were fond of comparing their new republic with the Roman Republic, in which eagle imagery was prominent”. I suspect that the eagle in turn was inspired by the phoenix in those circles. A phoenix is also most closely associated as being the European mythological counterpart to the Eastern Garuda[7.2].

Furthermore, [8.2] speaks of the role of eagles in Native American culture, an ancient culture with their own series of mythology and belief systems. It is highly likely this also factored into the decision to use the Bald Eagle as a US national symbol.

It’s fascinating (to me anyway) that so many places come to similar symbolism, in spite of the vast diversity, and physical proximities between the lands.

Something to munch on on a Saturday. Speaking of munching, I am starved. Exeunt.

References

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prambanan

2 http://my.opera.com/akbar_taksisman/blog/2009/03/30/candi-prambanan (in Bahasa Indonesia unfortunately)

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trimurti – Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer, Brahma the Creator. Hinduism is considered to be a polytheistic religion, however, I believe this to be a superficial classification. In fact, many of the older Yoga-based philosophies are very monotheistic. The various divinities and deities being almost individual aspects of the One. In that, it is both monotheistic and polytheistic – the many from the One, and eventually back to the One. It is my personal view, that many of the “modern” groups have, perhaps accidentally, muddled the core essence.

[4.1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda

[4.2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda#As_a_cultural_and_national_symbol

5 http://tudtu.tripod.com/garuda.htm – use of Garuda in Thailand.

6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancasila_(politics)

[7.1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)

[7.2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)#Specific_legends

[8.1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#The_national_bird_of_the_United_States

[8.2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#Role_in_Native_American_culture

Sep 25, 2010 - software dev

Indonesia Linux Conference (ILC) Oktober 2010

    Jika anda seorang antusias Linux di Indonesia, mungkin tertarik dengan konferensi ILC! Sayang saya lagi di luar negeri.

    If you’re a Linux enthusiast in Indonesia, you may be interested in the ILC! Too bad I’m not in the country.

banner ilc2010

Sep 20, 2010 - general personal poetry

A Tribute to Vajra

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.

Sep 19, 2010 - general personal

Walking Down (Virtual) Memory Lane

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.

Aug 27, 2010 - general personal

Daffodils

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 :-).