On TMPFS on the Acer Aspire One

I’ve found FireFox3 to be rather slow on mouse and a bit of reading shows that it’s primarily due to how disk i/o heavy FF3 is. SQLite backed this and that, it’s more than the poor little SSD can take. However with 1.5gb of ram there is a solution. TMPFS!

I’ve mounted a ram-backed TMPFS and run Firefox, Thunderbird, Liferea and Pidgin out of there. It’s made a huge difference. I started with the instructions from here, and have since modified the setup over the last week.

Step by step, this is what it would take to recreate what I’ve done. As your regular, browsing user:
$ mkdir ~/.tmpfs

Then as root add the following to /etc/fstab, modifying it for your username, uid, and gid:
my-tmpfs /home/$USERNAME/.tmpfs tmpfs size=200M,noauto,user,exec,uid=1000,gid=100 0 0

With that done I modified the shell script to read as follows:
# Change this to match your correct profile

cd "${HOME}/.tmpfs_backup"
if test -z "$(mount | grep -F "${HOME}/.tmpfs" )"
mount "${HOME}/.tmpfs"

if test -f "${HOME}/.tmpfs/.unpacked"
rsync --exclude='Cache' --exclude='.unpacked' --exclude='lock' -r "${HOME}/.tmpfs/" .
cd "${HOME}/.tmpfs"
cp -r ${HOME}/.tmpfs_backup/* . && touch .unpacked

I named it tmpfs_rsync and put it in ~/bin. That’s right, no more tar for this guy. I found that after adding Thunderbird, Liferea and Pidgin into the mix, I was creating a sufficiently large enough tarball that performance would drop through the floor every 5 minutes as it backed up the tmpfs. Speaking of every 5 minutes, the respective crontab line for my user:
*/5 * * * * ~/bin/tmpfs_rsync

Make the script executable, and execute it once to mount the tmpfs and create the .unpacked lock-file of sorts:
$ chmod u+x ~/bin/tmpfs_rsync
$ ~/bin/tmpfs_rsync

With that done, all that’s left is to copy what you want to the tmpfs, then symlink it back in place. In the case of Liferea:
$ mv .liferea_1.4 ~/.tmpfs/liferea
$ ln -s ~/.tmpfs/liferea_1.4 .liferea_1.4

I repeated the above for Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin and bob was my uncle. Make sure tmpfs_rsync executes once before shutdown and everything is backed up.

My god, it’s full of

useless shit.

My days, that is. It seems I can lose entire mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends to activities I really should know better than even starting. The problem is the guilty satisfaction I get from incessantly reloading fark and reading the comments. It’s a nasty habit I picked up on slashdot (though it’s usually worth it there) and it’s why I left digg. I now incessantly refresh fark and read the comments there as well. Usually it pays off but without the moderation system of slashdot you have to sift through a lot of chaff on fark. I lose an incredible amount of time to that sit, time that would be better spent doing a great many other things. Like sleeping. Or cooking. Or fixing my body. Or fixing my mind. Any of the outstanding projects I have could benefit from an influx of time.

The problem is this behavior I want to stop is so rewarding. Horrific puns, rare insight, even the trolls have something to offer. I feel like Henry when he walks into a library or bookstore full of books he hasn’t yet read. Unread threads mock me, they taunt me. Who knows what lulz are contained within. It’s so rewarding I keep coming back, day after day, week after week. I wouldn’t begrudge myself if I just stopped in on caturday, really I wouldn’t. But I can never stop at just caturday.

I guess I’d have thank the farkers for being so good at what they do. They never fail, they never disappoint.

I disappoint myself though. I get home and I lose myself to fark. I enjoy it, I learn, I get angry. It’s glorious, but then my night disappears, dinner hasn’t been made, dishes haven’t been done. I’ve neglected my blogs another day, another week, another month.

Though I obviously need to work on my ability to moderate my time in this regard, I’ve noticed two things.

1) This is worse in the winter, when the days are shorter and I’m less and less inclined to go outside. If it’s nice out I’ve no problem putting fark away. Even if I stay inside I have more energy, more initiative.

2) This is a downward spiral, I get less done so I get discouraged so I don’t bother to force myself to get up and do something so I don’t get anything done.

I know I’m a creature of habit. I’ve found I’ve always had the best success in changing my ways, in breaking out of ruts when I get back from an extended road trip for work. It just so happens I’m in the middle of one right now so it would be the best time to make the push. Get to bed on a regular schedule, get up earlier, get to the gym before work, better plan my meals. Read more, write more, think more, consume less.

As always, we’ll see what happens when I get back, but I have hope.

Regression by Self Image

I feel younger today than I did two years ago. It seems my self image is tightly intertwined with some notion of an expected linear life progression. A large step back has made me feel younger, less experienced and less ready to face the world.

I look at my contemporaries and feel dwarfed by their accomplishments. I feel ill suited to be compared to them. I feel there have been points in my life where I have had a more meaningful existence, a more focused purpose, and spent more time working towards that. This is not to say that I oppose where I am, just noting the difference.