Ninja Tricks

November 1, 2008

Limiting Shower Fungi . . .

Filed under: clean, S — Tags: , — thelaziestninja @ 1:36 pm

This is a rather odd hack, but it might be useful to some of you who don’t mind function over form.

Background:

When I first moved into this apartment, the landlord had been kind enough (maybe ‘civil’ enough) to stock the bathroom shower with a nice, fabric exterior curtain and a waterproof, plastic interior curtain. Alright, that’s a bit misleading. The last owner of this apartment, who, I assume, bathed regularly, had this double-curtain setup and my landlord left it for me. As a shower is a generally cleanly place, I really didn’t mind the hand-me-down; it functioned quite well . . . with just a bit of a sanitary problem.

Mildew is a generic term for fungi that tend to grow on flat surfaces, in moist environments. Mildew isn’t particularly harmful and rather easy to get rid if it hasn’t burrowed too deep. In fact, spraying a flat surface with water will generally flush away any growing mildew if you spray early enough. For this reason, mildew doesn’t tend to develop on the tiles of a shower or in the tub. Rather it takes hold in the cracks of the tiling, which is easier to burrow into and more difficult to clean.

In my case, however, the mildew had grown on the shower curtain as it had not been used in weeks, if not months. Moreover, due to this curtain’s large width (as with most), it would scrunch together even when I stretched it to cover the shower’s entire entrance. The pockets that formed by this scrunching served as hot-spots of mildew, where they could be guaranteed a moist environment for much longer than the aerated cusps of the folds. Even if the shower were frequently used, these pockets would still produce mildew as they trap moisture while protecting the fungi from blasts of water.

What to do:

You first will need to clean the curtain. Take it down and wash it with bleach, baking-soda, oxyclean, or what have you. I didn’t like the curtains opacity, so I chose to go buy a cheap, transparent curtain. These are likely available at the dollar store.

Now for the weird part. You need to cut the curtain vertically, down the center so that there are an even number of holes on either side. We’ll be stretching the two halves across the curtain rings so the curtain’s surface will be relatively flat.

From one end of the shower rod, place one half of the curtain, skipping every other curtain ring. If you have a standard number of curtain rings (12), you will end one short of the final ring. Do the same for the other half, beginning on the other side of the curtain. Your goal is to hit as many of the rings that we missed with the first half as possible. This should result in two, largely-overlapping strips of straight curtain with none-to-little folds.

A word of caution: by doing this, you are potentially creating a large pocket for moisture and mildew to settle between the two curtains. Make sure to press the curtains together to create a tight seal, which should limit this potential problem.

November 11, 2006

BC

Filed under: B, Mathematics — thelaziestninja @ 1:37 pm

Ever want to use a simple calculator while programming? Mathematica cost too much money? Xcalc look too goofy, and gcalctool too difficult to remember? Well, have I got a simple program for you! As far as I am aware, most major Posix distributions come with a command-line calculator called “BC.” It’s great for simple number crunching and can deal with n-digit floating point operations. It’s similar to mathematica, matlab, etc. in that it can store temporary variables, write functions, and work with arrays. Reading through the man page again, bc’s actually a simplified version of C, allowing for loops, comments, and so on. Of course, I’ve never used it to these capacities, but maybe you will find it more interesting! So far, I know that bc comes standard with Debian, Ubuntu, and FreeBsd.

$ bc – run bc from terminal
3+1 – type in an expression
> 4 – get your answer

4.3333 – 2.22 – I have noticed that decimal operations do not work if we are dividing

> 2.1133

(55 % 9) – 3 – The percent sign is the operator for “modular,” which, more or less means “give the remainder”

> -2

x=46; x+2 – As described before, you can define variables. Also, as with bash, a colon separates statements.

> 48

Shutdown

Filed under: OS, S — thelaziestninja @ 9:13 am

Terminals are my favorite means of communication with a computer. Consequently, I really hate being forced to find a start menu/gnome menu/k menu/apple menu/other nonsense when performing simpke tasks. In particular, I found that it would be extremely useful if I can shutdown a computer from a command line, rather than through said annoying menu. Hey, maybe I’m just not a mouse kind’a guy.
Posix
The command for Posix systems is pretty simple. The command “shutdown” takes at least two parameters, one being the time that you wish to shutdown the computer. Generally, this is set to “now,” but should you want to warn users logged in to the system, or at least give them some time to save their work, giving another time frame may be best. The first parameter, a flag, must indicate what sort of shutdown you wish to perform. For example, -h halts the computer, i.e. turns it off, while -r restarts said computer. The shutdown program requires super user privileges, however, so, unless you change permissions, you will need to use sudo in Ubuntu, Debian, etc. or su root in non-sudo environments.

sudo shutdown -h now

Shuts the computer down immediately.

Windows

Though one might not expect the average Windows user to have a command.exe window running at all times, I know I do. Windows asks for similar parameters, requiring a /s flag for shutdown or a /r flag for restart. By default, Windows gives users about thirty seconds, during which a message will be displayed on their screen, and, should there be a problem, you can abort (/a flag). If you’d rather not wait, you can give a time parameter that will tell Windows to shutdown in a different time period. Unlike Posix, users do not need special privileges (though I haven’t tested this from a “guest” account).

shutdown /s /t 0

Shuts the computer down, beginning in zero seconds

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