Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Uncreative Writing"?

I heard a discussion on "Uncreative writing" from the "On the Media" fro NPR. Host Brooke Gladstone and her guest Kenneth Goldsmith discusses plagiarism. What interests me is what Kenneth Goldsmith's experiments, that includes the "Uncreative Writing" course he has been teaching. See the course description on his website at

The radio episode I was listening is
that also includes the transcript of the program.

Goldsmith has a book bearing the name of "Uncreative Writing".

Find more  of Goldsmith's work at his website at,

Story Told in Photos ... "Faces of Addiction"

I heard the story about Chris Arnade's photographic work, called "Faces of Addiction". I checked it out when I got back to my computer. It was an indeed powerful story. His photographic work has been actually widely reported. Check his work out at Flickr. 

Several related ...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Octave Complains About Termnial ...

When I ran most recent version of octave after the compilation and installation on an Ubuntu host, I observe the following problem,

octave:99> set terminal aqua enhanced title "Figure 1"  font "*,6"
     `line 0: unknown or ambiguous terminal type; type just 'set terminal' 
for a list`

Web searches directed me either to add setenv('GNUTERM', 'x11') to $HOME/.octaverc or do add the environment variable in shell, e.g., export GNUTERM=x11. Unfortunately, it did not solve my problem. It turns out the message comes from gnuplot since octave uses gnuplot to plot. To fix the problem, we can install the gnuplot-x11 package, i.e.,
sudo apt-get install gnuplot-x11 

Monday, December 9, 2013

VMWare Tools Failed to Load on Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy)

I am running a Ubuntu guest OS using VMWare Player. I upgraded my guest Ubuntu to Ubuntu 13.10 through "do-release-upgrade" and upgraded my VMWare player to 6.01. When I was upgrading the VMWare Tools, I encountered a problem that the VMWare Tools cannot be loaded. I did a quite a few web searches and many suggested to disable the vmware-tools-thinprint service. On my guest, it did not help by disabling the vmware-tools-thinprint service. What actually helped was to upgrade vmxnet to vmxnet3, which can be accomplished by directly editing the virtual machine's configuration file. To edit the configuration file, in my case the Ubuntu.vmx file, add a line to the file, e.g.,

ethernet0.virtualDev = "vmxnet3"

The solution was hinted by the error message when I ran vmware-install.pl,

The vmxnet driver is no longer supported on kernels 3.3 and greater. Please 
upgrade to a newer virtual NIC. (e.g., vmxnet3 or e1000e)

In some case, as indicated by the comment below, you may also need to uninstall (by running vmware-uninstall-tools.pl that should have been installed, by default at the /usr/bin directory) and reinstall VMWare tools.