Friday, April 25, 2008

OpenSSH Public Key Authorization on Linux

To find out whether a user exists or not in a Linux machine:
*    grep username /etc/passwd
or
*    id username

To give a new user access to Linux machine:
1. Login as root user
2. Run this:
    $ /usr/sbin/adduser new_user
3. Set a new password:
    $ passwd new_user
    (and put the password when prompted)

To give them root access:
4. Edit the /etc/sudoers file
    $ vi /etc/sudoers
    User_Alias YOUR_GROUP = new_user
    YOUR_GROUP ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

To test whether the new_user has been granted root access, run these two commands:
    $ su new_user (user should be 'new_user' now)
    $ sudo su (user should be 'root' now)
If the conditions above met, then new_user has root access.

If the new_user want to use public/private key gen authorization:
5. Change your user to be the new_user
    $ su new_user
6. Create ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file if it doesn't exist yet
    $ mkdir ~/.ssh
    $ chmod 700 ~/.ssh
7. Insert the public key on the authorized_keys file
    $ vi ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
    (insert the public key entry)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Life Around Food

My time in Indonesia seems to be full of food and wedding-related activities. Obviously, since my main purpose is the wedding, I do lots of preparations for it.

The thing is, for the wedding, I need to lose weight (always!). But the culture dictates that people offer food to whomever they happen to meet. So whenever I meet my future parents-in-law, lunch or dinner or snacking is sure to follow. My cousins would tell me all about the delicious food at a place they have just visited. Yesterday, my mom and I went to a jeweler's store, and he treated us to ice cream!

We talk about what's for lunch every morning. After lunch, we plan our teatime snack and/or dinner. After dinner, there is a late-night snack talk. And of course, what's for breakfast.

Ahhh... Life revolves around food during vacation. What a (yummy) life! ^_^

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finally Home!!!

20 hours of flights in a 24-hour span, and I survived it!
48 hours without internet, and I survived it!

Now, it's time for bed... Zzzz....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Free Tax Software

A friend of mine found out that I always did my own taxes manually every year. He then pointed me to StudioTax, a free tax preparation software for Canadian.

This software is really powerful and convenient. When you run the program, it asks for your province of residence and the kind of claims you will make. If you study, you will claim T22. Workers claim T4. If you have savings or investments, you will receive form T5 from the bank. There are also selections for charity, RRSP, etc.

Once you have made your claim choices, the screens you need to fill are very simple. It is basically copy-and-paste from your forms to the screens. The software will put the informations on the correct columns. If you make mistake, it will give you warnings before you generate the NETFILE file.

It usually takes me about 30 minutes to fill one form. But with StudioTax, I was done in about 15 minutes or so. And that was my first time using it. If I have to do it again, I am sure it would take me less time.

Oh, you can only save and generate at most 20 returns using StudioTax. I guess it's not for professionals. Well, they have more information on their website. Overall, I am very pleased with this software and would recommend it to you if you have not-very-complicated returns.

I am sure it can do much more than what I said here, but since I didn't use it, I wouldn't comment on it. You can download and use it for free on their website.

Friday, April 18, 2008

In Hong Kong

Waaaaaahhhh...

The moment I stepped out of the plane, I knew I was in Asia. The air is more humid, and have this after-rain smell. It's nice..

1 more hour till my flight to Indonesia...

Flying Out

Finally... today I am flying out of Vancouver. It is a long-anticipated day. Strangely enough, I still have lots of things to do before my flight out.

In any case, I can't wait to see my family again. It's been such a long time. We are all going to there to celebrate my younger brother's 15th birthday. I think the last time we did that was when he turned 2.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Done with Tax Return!

Ha! I am finally done with my tax return.

Next on the list:
  • preparing my sisters' tax return
  • vacuuming my room
  • arranging a mountain full of sheet music

Bridal Shower

Yesterday after church, my friends threw me a bridal shower! I didn't expect it at all and I was taken completely by surprise. Every female members and friends (and girls) were there.

Cik Anita organized the whole thing. She prepared some games where my friends did my evil make-up. Then they tied my hair into lots of small bundles and put a tiara and veil over it. The young adult females made this overall that looked like a Hawaiian skirt, with the duster incorporated in it. I still do not know how I looked, but it must have been pretty terrible, because the little girls were staring, and the teenage girls were giggling and pointing. I was thankful that nobody cried though.. so there is hope still...

Then I had to identify 14 cleaning products in a story that cik Anita read. If I got less than 10, I would be 'punished'. Although I hate cleaning, the hours spent in front of TV pay off... I managed to identify 12. Hehehe.. I think cik Anita was pretty disappointed that I got most of them.

For another game, I had to answer some questions about Chris. I admitted that he was the romantic one who loved sop konro bakar. Hahaha.. those were easy one. But apparently I didn't know his shoe size or his favorite song. Oh well.. And cik Anita had asked Chris previously about his impression of me. I read what Chris wrote, and it was beautiful.

Words of Thoughts from Chris
Olivia, despite of her strength and superior ability in handling her daily routine,
I will always see her as a weak girl
whom I will protect with all my strength,
whom I will take care of all the time,
whom I will grow old with,
whom I will love forever
till death do us part
See, I told you he is the more romantic one!

It was a very memorable bridal shower. Thank you, my friends, for giving me such a wonderful gift to celebrate my happy day!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pre-Wedding Pictures

Some of my friends have been asking us to post some pre-wedding pictures. Well.. Chris has posted some on our wedding website and some more on Flickr. Without further ado.. here they are!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Done with the Laundry!

Ha! Finally.. after postponing putting away the laundry for several weeks, yesterday night I hardened my resolve and spent 3 hours taking care of the laundry.

Who knew I had so much clothes? Who knew I had so much too-small jeans? Must... lose... weight... (but love food too much to stop eating.. ). Hhh...

Next up, filing tax returns. I am starting to dread the process and wondering if it worths paying $80 for a consultant service. Hmm....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Procrastinating

Procrastinating.. Ah... You would think that a word starting with "pro" would have a positive meaning. Proactive, professional, protein.. They are all good. But this one pro is not good for health.

Currently I have lots of things to do before leaving for Indonesia. Let's see.. I need to go to Costco and buy medicines for mom. I need to find more clothes as well. And arranging my room. And packing my baggage. Oh, and filing tax. Whew.. lots of things to do. And yet, every night I still sit in front of TV and watch these cool Japanese guys sing, act, talk, and play games.

Procrastinating.. I have master this one art that I definitely can use without.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Third Visit to the Dentist

So I am back from yet another dentist appointment. And the dentist discovered new problem with my teeth. I need several fillings and root canals. Which means yet more appointments to come. Arrgghhhh!! I hate it when this happens. At this rate, I will know every inch of the dentist office by the end of Summer.

Now I wish I do not like chocolate and go to dentist regularly. Then perhaps I won't be in this much trouble.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Transposer 2.0

Earlier today, worshipmusic.com sent me a newsletter today regarding the release of Transposer 2.0. Here is the full announcements:
NEW: Transposer 2.0, pitch and tempo changing software!

Singers, musicians, worship leaders- ever wanted to change the key of a song instantly, so you could hear the audio file in the best key for you? Changing the sheet music or chord chart was always something you could do, but how could you change an actual audio file with your favorite recording on it? The answer is Transposer 2.0.

Transposer 2.0 allows you to raise or lower the pitch of any MP3 song without changing the tempo. You can also change the tempo of an MP3 song without changing the pitch. The quality of the recording remains the same, within reasonable limits (pitch changes between 4-5 semitones, and tempo changes of 25% or less).

This program can be very useful to someone trying to learn a certain track of a song.Transposer 2.0 Some applications of Transposer 2.0 include:
  • Practice or play in your key- by raising or lowering the pitch of a song you can practice in your ideal key!

  • Learning a song - lowering the speed makes it easier to write down each note of an arrangement or instrument solo part.
Runs on all these Windows/PC platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98/SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP.
If you want to try it out, there is a free shareware version that you can download.
You can now try out Transposer 2.0, by downloading a free demo of the software and trying it out! The demo version will let you try the software before you buy and will help you see if this software tool is right for you! Select HERE to download the software now.

This demo download is completely free, and includes no spyware, or any other programs. It is simply a demo version of the Transposer 2.0. The demo will operate exactly at the fully licensed version of the software, except that it will not allow you to save the transposed song files to your computer, until you acquire a valid license key. This allows you to try out the software on the song files you want, and allows you to hear the results for yourself before purchasing the software.
I tried it for a song, and it sounds pretty good. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think!

Me, the Complex Potential, and the Ideal Fluid Flow

Graduating from university a few years back, I got my degree in both Mathematics and Computing Science. I have passed the classes for ODE, PDE, BVP, and other abbreviated principles of Maths.

So how come I can't remember anything about Complex Potential and Ideal Fluid Flow? (Actually, anything with "fluid flow" in it spells trouble for me). Hhh...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Wedding Shoes - part 2

Some friends found out about my shoes dilemma. Advices from those who saw the pictures are for the gold one. When I wore them though, the gold one actually looked worse (and less stable) than the white one. So I returned the gold one already.

My friends told me an alternative I have never thought about before -- flat or lower shoes. Since I am short, I like high platforms. Apparently though, for the wedding, I will be wearing a tiara, which would add to my height. So lower shoes are better (plus, nobody look at your shoes anyway).

I'll try browsing around more for lower shoes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Things I Learn from One Piece

When I was growing up, my mother always told me that fictions were not the best choice for reading. I should be learning piano or Chinese instead, she would go on. Or improve mathematics skills and do some physics experiments that would be beneficial to my study. Being a kid, I disobeyed her and enjoyed novels very much. I read almost everything from short stories in magazines to detective stories (The Famous Five, The Three Investigators, The Secret Seven) to adventures stories to school-life stories (Malory Towers, St. Clare's). Oh, and of course, fairy tales too.

In my junior high school year, Japanese Comic (manga) entered the country (Candy Candy). Along with it, the first anime also came (Doraemon).

We have come a long way since Candy Candy and Doraemon, but anime and manga are still enjoyable today. One of the series I like very much is One Piece. And this might sound weird, but One Piece has really good advices and life values that I admire.

One, Luffy is always loyal to his friends (or nakama). He never leaves his nakama behind, even though it means he has to fight in a "hopeless" battle. Once, he charges through the strongest fort of his enemy to get his nakama back. Nobody has ever survived that experience, but he is ready to risk it all for his friends. This kind of friendship is rare in real life. We might have our own ideals and think that we will everything for our friends, but once the price gets real high, our economic sense prevails.

Two, every member of the Straw-hat's Pirates has an obvious flaw. Luffy is dumb and hungry all the time. Nami loves money too much. Chopper is scared of everything. Usopp lies. Zoro is always lost. Sanji is weak against women. Robin is calculating. I don't know Franky's weakness yet, but it will show in time. But despite the flaws, Luffy always focuses on his team's strength. He never asks Zoro to learn the directions more, for example. He leaves it all on Nami's hand. It will be all too easy for him to ask Usopp to stop lying, but he takes it as a fact of life instead. Luffy knows he is only good at fighting, so he learns new techniques to become stronger. We should always try to improve ourselves, but insisting it on someone else is probably not a good idea.

Three, every member looks out for each other, even without being asked for. Among the 8 members in the team, 3 have the Devil Fruit ability. Which means they cannot swim. For a pirate, this flaw is very serious. They are on a ship most of the time. They fight with other pirates on the ship too. And what will happen if the ship sinks? The 3 members would be in grave danger. And yet, every time something happens, another member always remember to look after these three. No agreement has ever been made before. The three do not even yell for help. The others are probably in pretty serious situation too (being thrown into the sea is no laughing matter). But no matter the danger the put themselves in, the members would always help these three. I envy this relationship. In North America, we have been taught to be independent and self-sufficient, so that help can be seen as an insult. As a result, no help is ever given that is not asked for. "Mind your own business" seems to be the theme of social life here.

I am sure there are some more lessons I learn just from One Piece. But I will reserve them for another day.

PS: If you haven't seen One Piece before, I highly recommend you watching the Japanese version with English subtitles, not the English-dubbed one. The Japanese version is far superior to the English one.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Japanese, Observed

In my spare time, I love watching anime (Detective Conan, One Piece, etc) and Japanese drama (Liar Game, Hana Kimi, etc). After watching lots of Japanese shows, I started noticing how Japanese market their products. It is very different than how Western does it.

Their advertisements are embedded within the drama. So while the character does something boring or routine (such as driving or locking the apartment door), big letters would appear and names of sponsors would be displayed. Audiences will sit through all the sponsor names for sure, because the drama is still playing in the background.

They also market their actors differently. Some actors are dedicated to acting only (Oguri Shun, for example). Some do modeling on top of acting (Shibue Joji). Most, though, are also singers (Yamashita Tomohisa). If the actor is a male singer/actor (also referred to as idols), then chances are, he "belongs" to Johnny's.

I don't really know the details since I don't speak Japanese, but as far as I know, Johnny's Entertainment recruits boys to be idols. The boys start at a young age and they are taught dancing and singing. If they get better at performing (usually in their teens), then they will make a debut as a member of newly created boy's band. An actor can even belong to two or more groups at the same time. I don't know if it has rivals, but as far as I know, most (all?) boy's bands are managed by Johnny's. Hence, during the variety shows or performances, the idols can perform other groups' songs. No need to worry about copyright. And since they are under Johnny's, the different groups get along quite well. The seniors freely offer advices to their juniors.

Anyway, back to the singers/actors themselves. The first time they starts acting, the singers usually have very weak acting skills (in my opinion, their debut characters usually closely resemble their own personalities). But people still watch the drama. Partly because of the story. But mostly because they want to support their idols. And once they fall in love with the idol, they would search for other dramas the actors are cast for. The more popular the idol, it's more likely that their movies will be watched.

The fans know about their personalities and their lives. There are shows where they describe what they do in their spare time or for special occasion, how they interact with other groups, etc. But in spite of this, they still can go to regular school. I don't know how their life is at school, but apparently even the most famous idols attend regular university, take the regular train everywhere, and can take vacation without having to reserve the whole ocean for themselves (again, this is from what I know via watching TV etc).

I have this impression that Japanese like their idols to behave well. When an idol got caught underage-drinking, he would be reprimanded and penalized. He would not be allowed to go on stage or release an album. Although he had a lot of fans who wanted him to perform again, he could not escape the penalty of his actions.

In North America, scandals sell. Even with all the drugs, partying, and underage drinking, an actor/actress who is popular will never be punished. It's weird that people here seems to like the story of celebrity mess-ups.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Second Dentist Visit

So I am back from my second dentist visit of the year. It was 2 hours long, and my mouth is numb from all the freeze they injected. I still have to go back just for cleaning. I am starting to feel that the tooth fairy hates me.

Anyway, while I was sitting on the dentist chair and trying to think about anything but the drill that was in my mouth, I imagined what would happen if our teeth can grow indefinitely all our lives (just like crocodile). If it hurts, we can just pull it out (gently, of course), and it will grow again. There will be no need for hygienist and dentist (or limited need for this profession as we know it now). No drilling in the teeth and no freezing anymore.

Instead, there might be field for teeth-polishing, teeth-coloring, and teeth-shaping. Much like what we have for our hair and nails.

Come to think of it.. I am so thankful that hair keeps on growing and nails grow back after we cut it. If I have to go through the drilling thing with my nails, I would absolutely go crazy. Aaaargghhh!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wedding Shoes Dilemma

In my culture, people have big weddings. Everyone the parents know gets invited. The friends of the bride and the groom also get invited, of course, but they usually make up only about 5% of the total guests. My husband-to-be is a first son in his family. More reason that we will have a big wedding.

Anyway, big wedding means standing up for a long time. Which means that I would be needing a comfortable shoes that I can stand in (and walk around with) for hours at end. The shoes must make me taller (since I am short). But it can't be too angled (it would be too tiring for me). I want it to be white (or at least mostly white), and above all, comfortable.

I thought that with all these shoes stores, there must be tons of choices that I wouldn't know which one to buy. Boy, was I wrong! It's really hard to find shoes that match those requirements. I walked around for 2 hours with no luck. Fortunately, at the end, I visited Aldo store and managed to find 2 pair that more or less fulfill my requirements.

The first one is mostly white, with wide black straps. It means that it won't fall off easily. It's about 4-5 inches tall. It hugs my feet perfectly. I fell in love with this one and seriously consider buying this, if I didn't see the second choice.


It is a pair of mute gold sandals. The height is the same as the white one, but with less angle, because the front part is raised more. I am not a big fan of how it looks, but it is very comfortable.

So basically, now I am torn between looking good and feeling comfortable. Ugh...

Dodging the Dentist Chair

If I have my way, I would never ever have to go to the dentist. My tooth hurts at the thought of dentist. I fast-forwarded "The Little Shop of Horrors" on all dentist's scenes. That's all because of my first visit to the dentist when I was small. He worked on my tooth without anesthetic. I was in pain for a day or two. Ouch!

Anyway, after running out of excuses not to go to the dentist, yesterday I finally mustered up the courage to visit one. It was a painful experience. My teeth and gum were very sensitive to touch and cold water, so they need to be frozen first. It turned out that I was hard to freeze. The hygienist must have injected my gums several times with little luck. So she only worked on 1/4 of my mouth's section. Yup, it means that I have to go back to the dentist at least 2 more times!!

The good news, though, is that after I got it all cleaned, the gum will start healing itself, and hopefully next year's experience won't be as painful. But until then, I need to visit the dentist numerous times to fix all the problems that have accumulated over the years.

Thank God my work covers the dental insurance!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Friend is Leaving the Country

My day started as usual: driving to work, getting stuck in traffic, having coffee (water, actually), checking emails, coding. But today, I got pinged my a friend who told me that he would be leaving the country for good this weekend. I knew he had had problems staying here, but I thought he found a way to finish his study. So his news saddens me.

I asked him the reason he suddenly was unable to stay anymore. And he said, "because... it's April Fools' Day!"

He got me. I hope your day was full of more pleasant surprise from those around you.

Today, a blog I am following, Free Money Finance posted several interesting April Fools' stories. Check them out if you have time.
And more April Fools' stuff from around the web: