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Video games and learning new words

Just saw a great video from Pr. James Paul Gee from Arizona State University.

When learning new words we need to have an image, an action, something tangible to associate to that new word. If you have nothing but a synonym or a definition or even a translation, you don’t really grasp the meaning of that new word.

In order to understand this, go to a video game shop and buy a brand new video game. Go home and start reading the manual. See if it teaches you to play the game… You will most likely not understand anything this is about. It will like a sequence of unrelated words with no meaning whatsoever.

Then start playing the game for some time.

Take the manual again and start reading. You should be able to understand everything it says. That’s because you can now easily associate the words on the manual with the actions you’ve just been performing.

how to automatically blacklist unsubscribed emails on interspire email marketer

Simply create a trigger which will insert unsubscribed users in the blacklist after every update on the subscriber table.

(emailaddress, list, bandate)
SELECT emailaddress, ‘g’, UNIX_TIMESTAMP( ) 
FROM iem_list_subscribers
WHERE unsubscribed != ‘0’;

How to make a script sleep for a random amount of seconds

If you want to insert a sleep in a script for a random number of seconds, you can do the following:

        NUMBER=$[ ( $RANDOM % 60 )  + 1 ]
        sleep $NUMBER

Replace 60 with the interval chosen and you will get a random sleep between 1 and 60 seconds.

This can be useful if you are trying to fetch data from a server who’s monitoring the number of connections you are opening and tends to blacklist you if you do too much.

How to crash a linux server


You need to execute this as root.

First enable SysRq feature in the kernel
echo “1” > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq

Then crash the kernel (makes a kernel dump)
echo c > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Reboot with no conditions (no disk unmount, just like pressing reset button)
echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Shutdown all the processes gracefully except init
echo e > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Kill all the process brutally except init
echo i > /proc/sysrq-trigger

How to record almost like a pro

There is one very simple way to take your elearning module to the next level. Recording.

Recording almost like a pro means, several things:

– the right voice

– no noise

– the right pace

For the right pace, there is a lot to say but that is not the topic today. What I want is to give you a couple of tips you will find useful to create quality recording on the cheap.

– the right voice

Some people say I sound very well when I record myself. Truthfully I started to think so when people said it. I would have never started recording myself if nobody else would think my voice is good for recording.

I think most people can record themselve. I don’t think there is a bad voice and a good voice. It’s a matter of how you articulate, the noise, the technique. Not the texture of the voice. So if you sound like a screeching bird, keep faith, there is hope!

– no noise

That’s where there is usually room for improvment.

First, you really need a good microphone. I bought a Samson Meteor mic. It’s awesome. I just have one problem with it, the first time I showed it to my colleagues, they were wondering what I was doing with a dildo…

The sound of this mic is just fantastic and it costed me 100 euros.

When you are recording yourself you may have to hit the keyboard, if you do a screencast, you may have to click, etc. These little noise can be captured by the mic and it may even be necessary to give a sense of reality to your performance, but it can also create loud banging noise every time you hit a key.

So here a little piece of advise. Find another table and put the mic there. Or find something like a laptop pouch, a backpack, whatever soft and big you may have and put the mic on it.

That’s my setup and it works. You can also put a pullover under, a coat or whatever you have close by.

Also make sure the CPU fan is not blowing directly towards the mic. That would mean more noise to get rid off in post production.

– Microphone orientation

One of the most annoying thing in amateur audio recording is Ps and Bs popping. Some people will sell you expensive screens to prevent them Some other people will teach how to make one yourself. But the true real way to get rid of them without investing anything is to setup your mic properly.

Just make it point upwards and don’t speak directly towards it. Direct your speech slightly  to the side of it. that way you will not create bursts of air


How to forward a lot of emails with Mutt

Today I had to forward 2200 emails from a mailbox to another address. I looked around a bit to find a way to automate this process but all I could find was how to forward new messages.

That’s easy, just put a .forward file in your home dir with the email where you want to forward and it works.

But to forward already received email, it’s a bit trickier.

I was already using Mutt and I know it is a very powerful tool so I looked a bit more into it.

In order to solve my problem I found the following:

You can Tag many messages with this command:


Then execute one command on all the message tagged with this:


It will then ask you the email address where to bounce all this emails.

Fill it in and off you go. It took 3 minutes to send the 2200 mails. Cool 🙂

Then you can easily delete all these files with this:


Moodle installation problem

I just installed moodle on my server and got into a big mysql error complaining about binlog and other stuffs…

Cannot execute statement: impossible to write to binary log since 
BINLOG_FORMAT = STATEMENT and at least one table uses a storage engine 
limited to row-based logging. InnoDB is limited to row-logging when 
transaction isolation level is READ COMMITTED or READ UNCOMMITTED

After a bit of googling and understand what this was about I figured I should add the following in my my.cnf file and then restart mysql.

Bonne Idée

I finally decided to create my company (Bonne Idée: and do something with it. I am now involved in two projects. (french version of

Yaentrainement is an online sport team management platform which is having a huge success in Finland (170K+ users and 43M sign-ups as of may 2012).