Sufis: The True Name of God

It so happened that Rota Fortunae had me come across this little book bursting with Sufi wisdom. One cannot (and really should not) go properly mujahideen before showing significant prudence with regard to Sufi insight.

Leafing through Idries Shah's The Way of the Sufi, I shall, with highest regard to how idiotic the whole of copyright is, plainly transcribe the best passages for you. In the name of knowledge and spiritual growth! These will be, I hereby promise, so well curated that, once all gathered here in posts, you will needn't buy the book if even for a penny.

The first batch, the one you are moments away from proof-reading for the first time, is bashing Christians, particularly their narrow view of God.

If you consider yourself a Christian (by faith, not necessarily by name), I'm sure you are aware of the fact that your God, namely Allah, is the same god that the Jews call Yahveh, and who is the undisputed father of whom you praise as Jesus of Nazareth. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all stem from roughly the same geographical area (call it The Middle East), were devised by roughly the same ethnological groups (with exception of modern Christianity), and share an undeniably significant portion of cultural heritage. They are termed the Abrahamic religions. So if you're a Christian, a dimwit, or if you are easily offended, you should really just continue reading this post. You might learn something.

As might anyone else. Without further ado, these are really easy to grasp:

The Prayer and the Nose

I saw a man prostrating himself in prayer, and exclaimed:
'You lay the burden of your nose on the ground on the excuse that it is a requirement of prayer.'
Hakim Jami

Seeds like These

In cell and cloister, in monastery and synagogue;
Some fear hell and others dream of Paradise.
But no man who really knows the secrets of his God
Has planted seeds like this within his heart.
Omar Khayyam

The Heart

Someone went up to a madman who was weeping in the bitterest possible way.
  He said:
  'Why do you cry?'
  The madman answered:
  'I am crying to attract the pity of His heart.'
  The other told him:
  'Your words are nonsense, for He has no physical heart.'
  The madman answered:
  'It is you who are wrong, for He is the owner of all the hearts which exist. Through the heart you can make your connection with God.'
Attar of Nishapur


Man passes through three stages.
First he worships anything: man, woman, money, children, earth and stones.
Then, when he has progressed a little further, he worships God.
Finally, he does not say: 'I worship God'; nor: 'I do not worship God.'
He has passed from the first two stages into the last.

Praying for Oneself

Sa'ad son of Wakas was a companion of the Prophet. In the last years he became blind and settled in Mecca, where he was always surrounded by people seeking his blessing. He did not bless everyone, but those whom he did always found the way smoothed for them.
Abdallah Ibn-Sa'ad reports: 'I went to see him, and he was good to me and give me his blessing. As I was only a curious child, I asked him: "Your prayers for others always seem to be answered. Why, then, do you not pray for your blindness to be removed?"
The ancient replied: "Submission to the Will of God is far better than the personal pleasure of being able to see."'


She has confused all the learned of Islam,
Everyone who has studied the Psalms,
Every Jewish Rabbi,
Every Christian priest.
Ibn El-Arabi

Surely, you are soaking wet between your legs for the joy you were experiencing while reading this. The next batch, themed of life and death, is in the works. By Sufis.


Recipe: Vanilla / Chocolate / Fruit-Jello Pudding (4-in-1 combo)

So I was amazed to see today how easy it is to make a delicious homemade pudding from scratch (as to avoid pre-made mixture bags with shitloads of stabilizers, flavor-enhancers, and GMO starch), and how generally the procedure applies to just any type of pudding (vanilla, chocolate, coconut, peanutbutter, you name it!), including fruit jello, which you can make from your favourite kompot.

As they often say how computer algorithms are similar to culinary recipes, I decided to write this recipe in Pythonic dialect of English. You should have no trouble understanding it.


Parsing package dependencies

So I'm dealing with package dependencies such as Debian's, where , delimits AND dependencies (i.e. all of these) and | OR dependencies (i.e. any of these). I have some naive code that works, but inspired with wisdom from Norvig's CS212, I spark to refactoring it.


Collage #1: Single victim, major loss

Google embraced openness long enough to build their platform's popularity. Now they are filling the moat and raising the draw bridge.

Hangouts is a crippled piece of GARBAGE! It's a major anti-feature which destroys the freedoms I used to have with Google products!!!


Open-Source vs. Turnkey House Analogy

The other day in a roundtable discussion at Cyberpipe, a prominent hackspace in Ljubljana, I heard this interesting analogy on why companies should be mindful of what IT architecture they vest themselves in.

Consider this: You order a new house for your family for the next generation to live in. As you are a shoes salesman by profession and don't know a thing about construction, you don't want the building process to take any of your effort (save for the expressed preference of where the fireplace should lie). You let the house be built by builders. You want a turnkey solution.

When the building is finished and you are ready to take over possession of your new acquisition, do you wish to get handed-over the keys to the house?

Or do you wish to get handed-over the keys to the house, along with all construction plans?

In the first case, you should know that after 5, 10, 20 years, without plans, even the most professional servicer will tear half of your wall down to accommodate you in extending, fixing, or updating your infrastructure.

Contemplating this, remember that open-source comes with open plans. It's an analogy.

Share and build upon the ideas and labours of others. It lowers the time, effort, and cost of innovation, allowing for best practices and design patterns to develop and mature. By choice, preference, and on principle.


Connecting to public WiFi hotspot in Linux: Server not found

The fancy hotel I was in at a conference was using a captive portal to enforce login for their free WiFi hotspot. For some unknown reason, likely a configuration mess-up in their inherently-broken Microsoft-based architecture, my browser couldn't present me with a login screen but instead reported a connection reset, usually indicative of a firewall reject rule.
It worked perfectly on Macs and Windows, so poor me running Linux, eh?

I fixed it, albeit perhaps suboptimally, with the following 1-minute hack:
Knowing a bit of networking, I needed to find the gateway's IP. One can either use ip, route, or even ifconfig for that. My IP was and the gateway's, as provided by ip route command, I put the gateway IP in the browser and was redirected to hotspot.plaza.local, which this time resulted in standard server-not-found error, indicative of a DNS failure. I didn't do much digging, but I figured hotspot.plaza.local and were the same machine, but as is normally so, the server was configured to only answer on its virtual hostname, not the IP.
So I added the following entry to /etc/hosts file:    hotspot.plaza.local

Afterwards, everything worked out as it was supposed to, except my relationship with Google Academy. Apparently, they don't necessarily greet an advantage-taking hacker in their ranks. :(


As later thoroughly diagnosed, the problem was coorchestrated by:
The solving fix is to
$ sudo service avahi-daemon stop
and, if running NoScript, temporarily disable ABE.


Recipe: Ginger chews, candied ginger, syrup, and tea

The other day, a friendly servant in Ljubljana's only falafel outlet gave me a ginger bonbon. I immediately fell in love with the candy that with its 7% ginger content striked me surprisingly hard with its depth. I loved it! Decided that I need more.

Around our parts, an eight-pack normally costs just under two standard units of money (which is not a lot, considering how good the candy is), but I decided to make my own even better.

I found the following two recipes on which I'm basing this report:
The recipe I am hereby proposing very efficiently produces, from 1 kg of fresh ginger root:
  1. 1 kg of candied crystallized ginger, 
  2. 1 kg arbitrarily-soft chewy ginger bonbons, 
  3. 2 liters of ginger syrup, and last but not least, 
  4. 50g of dried ginger pulp for tea.


On why having your OS 32-bit is better for desktop use

One should always care to install 32-bit OS only, unless the machine is intended for encoding/rendering work as part of a farm. Otherwise, you are just throwing half of your RAM out of the window.

Why is this so?

Assuming you are using a proper OS (a *nix like GNU/Linux) that doesn't artificially limit the amount of available system memory (Windows), you can let the OS use PAE, which is supported by all modern CPUs since at least Pentium II. That way you can have up to 64GB of RAM on any 32-bit system. Enough for today, tomorrow, and whole of next year.


Clubbing DJs, Do Lower Your Bass!

So I was in a club the other night, and I asked the technician about the equalizer on his sound board.
"These three knobs here. Low, mid, and high tones."
That's it? I would assume, a board with so many knobs, sliders and buttons surely has a prominent 10-level equalizer.
"Why? There's no need. The music has already been remastered when recorded." The idea that he should tweak the sound further seemed preposterous to him, and my question echoed dumb and amateur.

Let me tell you, guy, that the process of remastering includes "equalization" of frequency levels only for the benefit of perceived improved sound, subject to the acoustic properties of the anticipated playback medium and environment.