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The imperial unit system, defined by the British in 1824, is still floating around everywhere, despite the International System of Units being a better system (well-defined, using only seven base units).

In some cases it makes sense, as the impact of error is quite high.

However, in other scenarios, such as the internet, it only makes it more difficult to put things into perspective if one is too lazy to make the calculation (e.g. "I ran 30 ft today!", or "I lifted 20 stone". Should I be impressed?).

Hence, I wrote a simple GreaseMonkey script, which looks for patterns of a number and an imperial unit, and adds the conversion (while also showing the original)

It is quite simple, and hence has some limitations: it will only convert upon page load (thus AJAXy pages won't benefit), looks for very specific patterns (hence "10 and 20 miles" will have only the latter replaced), it sometimes might not recognize some numbers, or sometimes it might convert too much. Another caveat is that the script assumes that thousands are separated by a comma (e.g. ten thousand is either 10000 or 10,000): the comma is removed alltogether from the string.

I've only run it so far in


Read the entire post to view the source. I've also added a simple HTML page with some units to have a quick look at the output.


2015-03-15 [E] [D]
books Comments 0
Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the Shore (2002)

Kafka on the Shore cover


2015-03-14 [E] [D]
books Comments 0

One of my New Year's resolutions was to read one book a month, alternating fiction with non-fiction.

So far, I've only finished one book :p To motivate myself, keep track of my progress and avoid forgetting what the book was about a month after finishing it, I'll write summaries here.

For January I had planned to read The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, February was Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore time, March became Weaving the Web month (from the hand of Sir Tim Berners-Lee the creator of the World Wide Web himself!), April, I don't know yet.

2014-12-23 [E] [D]
bash Comments 0

Just for quick reference: to take the md5sum of a cd one can not just do md5sum /dev/cdrom0, because the physical CD also includes trailing empty space, changing the hash.

This quick oneliner will calculate the md5sum of a cd at device $DEVICE (e.g. /dev/cdrom0) such that it can be used to compared with an ISO at location $ISO. You can ofcourse replace md5sum with something else like sha256sum.

DEVICE=/dev/cdrom0; ISO=/media/isos/archlinux.iso; dd if="${DEVICE}" bs=2048 count="$(expr $(stat -c '%s' "$ISO") / 2048)" | md5sum

A more userfriendly script which does this [and which is just copied from Ubuntu's help site, can be downloaded from

2014-11-24 [E] [D]
music Comments 0

Beautiful visualization of Brad Mehldau's song Don't Be Sad on the album Highway Rider, the melody of which keeps haunting me, and that's a good thing.

A transcription of the initial part can be found on this wordpress

2014-11-20 [E] [D]
bash,code Comments 0

For my research I often need to simulate video traffic. The obvious best way is to get a real video, and then "transfer" it in the simulated network. However, this needs a video parser that can handle all the video containers and compressions that are used.

A better method is to just use the data that we actually need. contains a nice collection of video traces, and even offers a tool to create the traces yourself. It is, however, a Windows only tool.

Therefore, I set out to create my own cross-platform tool.

The requirements are python, ffmpeg and youtube-dl (the latter only if you plan on downloading from youtube) You can download the script from

CLI usage is as follows: python [-h|--help] [--exclude-video] [--include-audio] [--limit-t t] (FILE_IN|--youtube url). It generates output similar to, except it does not contain the final columns relating to quality and such.


Aah, Rome, Caput Mundi! A friend asked me if I wanted to join in on a trip to Rome. As my Roman knowledge (of my Latin class which taught me a lot about ancient Rome and its customs), my long-ago visit to Rome were fading so horribly from memory and my Italian could use some practice, I decided Roma deserved another visit!

So, welcome to Italia!

Italia!  map

According to the legend, firstly written down by the Roman writer Virgil, the city was founded on 21st of April 753 BC. Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of god of war Mars and Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia, the twins were left to die in a reed basket on the river Tiber, after their mother was killed. However, they were really lucky, as they floated safely to the bank, where a wolf finds and feeds them for a while, until they are discovered by a shepherd. Much later, they decided to found a new city on the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, which form the heart of the city, and were very important in Roman mythology, religion and politics. And then, Romulus killed Remus, and became the first king of Rome.


2014-10-21 [E] [D]
music,live,record Comments 0

Tuesday 21st of October, I went to see the legendary Buena Vista Social Club in Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. As this was their farewell tour, it was a concert I had to see, given their amazing eponymous album.

Not many of the original members are left now (I counted three), but the other members sure brought out some vibes I couldn't stand still to :)

I didn't find much coverage of the concert.

I also made a crappy recording of this concert. If you're interested, you can download the MP3 with the corresponding cue file (or just stream it from! It's a 133MB download, as I couldn't re-encode the stereo to mono without lowering the quality even further :(

If you happen to recognize any unnamed songs, please tell me! :)

2014-08-30 [E] [D]
hardware Comments 0

Media player. Small, good life time, bit small screen. It works awesome with rockbox :)

A while ago, I got the offer to join a group of people that was going to travel to Iceland, during my university's closing week. An offer I couldn't refuse, as I had nothing planned (even if I had something planned, I might have skipped it :p), and this was just the perfect opportunity to explore this country whose beauty is often heard of, but probably only known for its elves, dóttirs and sons, its almost bankruptcy during the financial crash and that volcano that paralyzed air travel in large parts of Europe in 2010.

Our trip led us, a jolly group of 6, from our HQ and capital Reykjavik in the Capital Region to the Southern and Western Region in a Dodge 4WD!

Approximate itinerary

Let us first introduce Iceland a bit, but as this post already is quite long, I'll keep it down to one sentence!


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