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Ubuntu and Japanese Input

This is more a note to myself, but to easily type japanese on Ubuntu, install ibus-anthy (sudo apt-get install ibus-anthy), make sure ibus-daemon is running.

Then you can add Japanese in Anthy's 'Input Method' tab, make sure to select 'Japanese - Anthy'. If you use dvorak like me, also make sure 'Use system keyboard layout' in the Advanced tab is checked.


Cooking Recommendation: Serious Eats

If you like cooking (or eating), I recommend Serious Eatscache. They have many great recipes that are easy to follow as well as delicious - for most of the new dishes I've tried recently, I've followed recipes from Serious Eats.

Two of my favorite dishes for a lazy day are Gyudoncache, a simple rice bowl heaped with beef and onion simmered in a mix of soy sauce, sake and dashi:

Gyudon

And Salmon Teriyakicache, another rice bowl with seared salmon on top of a bed of cucumber and avocado:

Salmon Teriyaki

Both are easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Despite the …


Breaking the Rules to Improve Society

Recently, I was talking with some friends about the increasing power of technology, and how it is being applied to ever more accurately enforce laws. In just one example, facial recognition is now used in China to automatically identify and fine jaywalkerscache.

One common concern is that these technologies are easily abused for more sinister purposes - mass surveillance, identification of political dissidents, etc.

However, I think there's an even more direct danger: Too rigid enforcement of laws stops society from improving. Until 1967cache, homosexuality was punishable by imprisonment in the UK. If it had been possible to always …


fitbit v3

Good news! My attempts with wearing the fitbit in reverse, i.e. with the sensor at the underside of my arm, were successful:

Chart showing heart rate as measured by Polar H10 vs fitbit alta HR

This time the fitbit alta HR and the Polar H10 agreed much more closely, even during an hour of running! It also correctly detected the drop in heart rate in the middle of my run when I stopped for a bit.

So while not accurate enough for serious heart rate tracking during exercise (for that I still recommend a chest strap like the Polar H10), the fitbit is definitely good enough for 24/7 monitoring and more …


fitbit v2

As promised in the previous post, I made another attempt at getting more accurate readings from the fitbit. The good news is that wearing it tighter does seem to improve the sensor readings. The bad news is that I'm not sure if this tightness is comfortable in the long run, we'll see.

The following was recorded while grocery shopping, cooking and eating Salmon Teriyaki bowls and some reading:

Chart showing heart rate as measured by Polar H10 vs fitbit alta HR

The two peaks in heart rate correspond to me walking to and from the grocery shop. Curiously the fitbit once again exaggerated my actual pulse; this time though there was definitely no …


Heart Rate Trackers

Recently I acquired one of the new fitbit alta HR bands, mainly because it promised to track my heart rate 24/7 without the need to wear any chest strap.

I always expected this to be less accurate than a chest strap, but how much less? I also happen to have a Polar H10 chest strap (which I use when running), so I decided to record with both for an extended period today.

The results are below (click for the full image):

Chart showing heart rate as measured by Polar H10 vs fitbit alta HR

The fitbit is in blue, the Polar strap in green. There are a few gaps in the data …


Linux on the Alienware 13 R3 (2017)

I recently bought a new laptop because my trusty old Thinkpad (x230) finally got a bit too old for my taste (apart from the battery it still works perfectly though!).

After a lot of searching around and gnashing of teeth - how can current laptops be barely faster than my 4 year old Thinkpad?! And what do you mean, the laptop comes with at most 16 GB of RAM and I can't even upgrade it?!

Finally, I settled on the Alienware 13.

As a gaming laptop, it has a quad core i7 - 7th gen Kaby Lake - and a great GPU, the …


Error handling with Status(Or)

I just read an article linked on Hacker News advocating the use of Either<L, R> to signal errors in functions. While I think this is a good start, in my experience Either is too general, the lack of standardizing of the error value makes error handling abstractions hard. How did that file function signal again that a file was not found?

What works a lot better in my experience is a more specialized type Status, with a standardized enum of error codes and a free form error message.

Here's an excerpt from the Status type we use at Google …


Tea

Tea has become my favorite beverage, bar none.

With flavors stretching from light and sweet white and yellow teas all the way to dark and earthy pu-erh, no other drink can match its variety of flavor.

Best enjoyed freshly brewed from whole leaves in a small pot, you need very little to start drinking great tea.

  1. Some hot water, from a kettle or pot, doesn't matter.
  2. A tea pot or infuser with lots of space for your tea to expand, see mine as an example: my tea pot
  3. Loose leaf tea!

Some of my favorite tea includes:


Usability Testing on 10 Cents a Day

I just read Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think and while I really liked the whole book, what especially stuck out was the chapter on usability testing as often as possible.

It doesn't need to be an expensive or time intensive process - just grab 3 people for 45 minutes each, pay them 50$, show them your website or app and ask them to use it while thinking aloud. Maybe give them a few simples tasks to do.

Repeat this process regularly - say once a month - and you should be able to catch a significant fraction of the usability problems on …

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