Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Using Rsync To Remotely Copy Files

If you're on a choppy, third world internet connection with frequent disconnects, transferring large files over the internet with scp leads to frustration as a disconnect ruins your upload or download before it's done (and it usually happens just as it's past 90%, making you want to tear your hair out).

You can save yourself the anguish by using rsync instead. It transfers files either individually, or it can copy entire directories. You can resume the transfer if you're disconnected. The following will copy the entire contents of the remote directory into /local/path:

rsync -avP --rsh=ssh --bwlimit=25 username@host.com:/path/to/files/ /local/path/

When invoked this way, rsync uses ssh to transfer files, and the options are archive mode (all symlinks and permissions are intact), verbosely, and with progress meter. You can replace the /path/to/files/ subdirectory name option with a single file if you want only that particular file.

The bwlimit switch is optional, as it limits the bandwidth usage (in kb/s) to the value specified. This is to make sure your download or upload doesn't saturate your connection. The rsync program needs to be on both source and destination for this to work.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Guillermo Del Toro To Direct 'The Hobbit'


It's official. Guillermo del Toro is going to direct The Hobbit. This is good news, as he's done some critically acclaimed stuff in fantasy filmmaking (El Laberinto del fauno or Pan's Labyrinth) and he's a versatile and talented director in general.

It's going to be two movies, which means they are either breaking up The Hobbit into two parts (good idea) or they are filming the 60 years of non-events that take place between the end of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings (bad idea). If it's the latter, they can call the movie The Lord of the Rings: Appendix B.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Owls With Webcams

My friend Michelle has gotten herself a job at Starr Ranch Sanctuary in California (a belated congratulations to her for that). It's a nature preserve that's 4,000 acres in size and they have an awesome bird research programme (yeah, I'm quite jealous of Michelle right now).

There's a cool webcam where you can see a barn owl nest. It's visible even at nights (using infrared vision). Right now, some owl chicks have just hatched. Also, check out their nature videos (with a nice selection of birds to watch).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Concerning Turtles

During the quiet hours of the mornings or evenings, you can catch a glimpse of turtles basking near the lake on campus.

You can see ripples in the water as drops of rain start to fall.

It's sad that people throw insecticide cans into the lake. In real life, toxic waste does not turn turtles into mutant ninjas, it just kills them. Don't pollute, folks. It's not cool.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Up Close And Personal With A Kingfisher

I think this may be the closest I've ever gotten to a white-throated kingfisher. The midday sun makes for some pretty harsh lighting, but I like how the details on its feathers are visible in some of these shots.