Posts filed under 'London Bound 2008'

Putty, Screen, Finch

I’ve recently been introduced to the program “screen”. It allows you to open mulitple terminal sessions once you are logged into a machine. It’s similar to the idea of having multiple tabs in a Firefox browser. You only need to open one xterm/putty/ssh session, run screen, and you have multiple (excuse the direct reference) screens through a single login.

Why would I want to do this? Convenience and also safeguarding.

Convenience: While working from my Windows machine I used to open multiple putty windows for multi-tasking on my server, but this now allows me to open as many command line session as I need without cluttering up Winows’s task bar. It’s also incredibly quick to have a fresh screen without even touching the mouse.

Safeguarding: Residential high-speed internet is great, but far from 100% reliable. If you loose your internet connection while working on a file or running a compile, it is a huge pain to get your sessions back up and running. If you were running your commands from within screen, all you have to do is log back in and re-connect to your screen session. All of your work is sitting there as if you never left. This also is fantastic if you have a session started from one machine and have to move to a different one and pickup where you left off. Brilliant!

I ran into a small hiccup using Finch from within a screen session. This may only apply to users running Finch within a screen session while logged into a server with PuTTy. 

Symptoms: Finch runs great before you invoke screen. The textual graphics/borders render properly. Once you run screen and launch Finch within, the graphics/borders become a bunch of annoying characters instead.

Solution: This one is done completely from PuTTy. In your running session click the upper leftPuTTy icon and select “Change settings…”. Navigate to Window -> translation and select UTF-8 from the drop down. Click Apply. Then from your screen window force a refresh/redraw by hitting Ctrl-A and the L. You should now see a properly rendered Finch.

3 comments June 13th, 2008

London Update 1

London BoundThis last week and a half have been a blur. Colleen rode the bus with me to O’Hare. It was so hard to leave her cute, loving, encouraging face. I don’t know what I would do without her support in chasing this dream of mine. The bus ride was great with her. Traffic unfortunately was not. Thankfully I still had enough time to make it through security and check my bags. Turns out you can only have 50lbs in each checked bag now. I was forced to redistribute some weight between my two bags right in the middle of the airport. That or pay $50. Seeing as though I was only 6 pounds off the mark, I couldn’t really justify the cost. That’s like 25 quid! I’ll need that later!

IMG_5550I flew on Air Canada. The flight leaving from O’Hare was very smooth and short. Arrival in Ottawa wasn’t all that great though. Despite it being a registered connection flight, we were all required to retrieve our bags and then re-check them in. Maybe this cuts down on baggage lost? Or maybe it’s just another security check. I was a little worried it would cause too much delay between flights, but our flight out from Ottawa was delayed about 30 minutes before we could actually board. Things were looking just fine.

When I had originally booked my flight, I was able to pick out a nice window seat. 29A or something like that, but upon receiving my boarding passes I realized they switched my seat and put me in 39K – the absolute last seat right next to the airplane bathrooms. I was a bit bummed about this so I nicely explained my situation and asked the check-in attendant if there was anything she could do. Right in the middle of explaining to me how there was a last minute, unscheduled plane change and how booked the flight was, something must have gone off on the screen because she quickly asked if 24A would be alright, and not to be rude and rush me but it would probably be gone in a matter of seconds. Unhesitatingly I said “Yes please!” and I was back in action. This seat landed me next to a Canadian guy named Lee. He was pretty excited as it would be his first trip out of the country. In true Canadian form, he was incredibly friendly and incredibly chatty.

Our flight delay didn’t stop there, however. One of the passengers went missing despite her bags being checked and on the plane. This resulted in about an hour and a half of searching for her, removing her baggage from the plane, and then finding her in the terminal lost but ready to go. Her bags were then stowed again and we were finally off.

IMG_5539As our plane made its way around the tarmac I peered out the window at a bizarre scene. One of the terminals was in shambles. Wires hanging out everywhere, construction vehicles cleaning up. It definitely looked like something went terribly wrong at that terminal no more than a day ago. Further along on the side of the runway lay a carcass of a plane. The windows were covered over and it looked as though the engines had been shorn straight off the back. I can’t say for sure, but it makes me wonder if all of this doesn’t add up to the unscheduled plane change the check-in attendant had briefly mentioned. I was suddenly even more thrilled that I was not sitting in seat 29A on the mystery plane.

The plane change also meant more leg room. Instead of an AirBus, we were on a newer Boeing with in-seat entertainment and head supports. (This is something I may have to get installed in my car back home… hehe)

LondonBound-1After arriving completely jet lagged in London at 8AM (2 hours late) I made my groggy way to Dan’s flat. I had enough time to catch a nap. That night we went out for dinner at one of his friend’s places. He made us some sort of Shepard’s Pie. It was really good! Some sort of ground turkey baked with mashed potatoes on top with a thin top layer of cheese. Halfway through eating his two sons arrived and immediately asked if Dan and I could do the Fargo Wisconsin accent. I can’t say I’ve ever been requested to speak in an exaggerated Wisconsin (Minnesota/Canadian) accent in my life. They were laughing pretty hard at the interaction and even called the act “brilliant!”. I was thrilled hehe.

The session that night, at least what I remember of it, was really fun. I had a chance to play a mandola, mandolin, and banjo. Jet lag got the best of me though and I found myself nodding. It felt good to finally get some proper sleep that night.

3 comments April 12th, 2008


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