Inspiration comes in many forms. Today I took a little moment to watch this amazing video of JK Rowling:

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

It's an interesting speech, with jokes sprinkled throughout, - "Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world’s largest Gryffindor reunion" - on the benefits of failure. This being something that I've been tackling recently, it really struck a chord. My favorite quotes?

"Poverty is only romanticized by fools."

"Ultimately we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it."

"Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was."

"It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you've failed by default."

"Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes."

[This following quote really reminds me of Voldemort and the Death Eaters. I understand the inspiration...]
"Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power."

[Again, here I can not only see references to Harry Potter but to history, the Nazis, Rwanda, Darfur.]
"And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know."

"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

What are your favorite quotes? Do you think you've had your big failure yet?
I know I'm way later than I should be, but at long last I'm learning all sorts of useful command line stuff. For instance, if you've ssh'ed to a machine and you're running ubuntu over a virtual machine, do you know how to shutdown? You type shutdown! I know, why didn't I think of that. It's actually:
sudo shutdown -h now

Another terribly useful thing I've finally learned about: MacPorts. It definitely gets added to my list of useful mac software. It's like synaptic but for macs. If there's something you want to install, for instance player, you type:
sudo port install player

Then, like magic it finds all the software that player relies on and installs them for you before installing player. Brilliant.

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