The “joys” of IBS

About 7 or 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with IBS. If you don’t know what it is, it stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and it’s a functional gastrointestinal disorder that’s estimated to affect 10% to 15% of the world population.

In most cases, as far as I know, a simple change in diet allows one to keep the symptoms mostly at bay and have a normal life. For some unlucky few, it will fuck up their life in ways they can’t imagine. And I don’t mean quitting coffee like I had to do (I had an gigantic headache during the first two weeks after quitting) or develop a lactose intolerance (like I also did) that forced me to exclude even more food from my diet. I mean things like wanting to go out with your girlfriend and/or friends but choosing to stay at home because your bowl feels a little strange and that’s always a sign that acute pain or some other symptom is just around the corner. Or feeling outright tired for no reason other than being in pain.

The negative effect is not just in your social life. Your work will be affected and no employer wants to deal with that. If you’re unlucky and have severe and frequent symptoms, you’ll probably not be able to keep a job for too long, even if you work harder than anyone else.

But you know what’s the worst part? Those closest to you patronizing or antagonizing your pain. I’ve lost count of the times someone told me to take a pill when I’m in acute pain (most of the times, only strong painkillers work and sadly not that much) or to go to the bathroom. I wish it was that easy…

This causes stress. A lot of stress. And stress in one trigger for IBS. So, sometimes, the people closest to you make you and your life worst. If you happen to have someone like this in your life, cut him/her off. Your bowel and overall health will thank you.

It doesn’t help that most doctors either don’t know a thing about IBS or only know outdated and usually incorrect information. I’m including here so-called gastroenterologists . I’ve met a few that know way less than I do about this.

If all of this seems exacerbated to you, let me tell you: I’m with a sick leave, tried a ‘but load’ of different medications, fasting for two days so I could give my lower intestine some rest, did several exams (that, like always, show nothing wrong, a normal thing with IBS), and it’s 06:41am (at the time of writing) and I’m awake again, with pain, trying to write this for the last three or four hours in an attempt to distract me a bit from the cramps.

Yay for the shitshow that is IBS.

New laptop

A few days ago I bought a Lenovo Ideapad 320-15AST. I had a budget of €400 and, after browsing a few stores for a couple of hours, I found this one for a bit less than €350.

At the hardware level, the computer has reasonable specs. They are (retrieved from inxi):

CPU: AMD A9-9420 dual core (1397MHz/3000MHz | boost: 3600MHz)
GPU: AMD Radeon R7 M260/M265
HDD: 1000.2GB 5400RPM
RAM: 8GB DDR4

This is the first time I’m buying Lenovo. I’ve always had a preference for Asus that dates around two decades, either in laptops or in desktops and components. Also, I haven’t used AMD for probably 10 years or more, but I have good memories of their CPUs at the time, so let’s see how this goes. The expectations are high.

Somewhat sadly, it came with Windows 10 preinstalled and the store clerk said they wouldn’t refund me for the license. I wasn’t that much disappointed (although it would’ve been nice to save a few dozen euros) because this will come in hand in the situations I have to give support to computers with this OS installed.

After completing the initial Windows setup, I downloaded and installed Firefox, proceeded to transfer Manjaro and wrote the ISO file to a USB drive. Don’t know why, but it got a kernel panic everytime I tried to boot it.

Next in line was Ubuntu and everything went smoothly. It’s still going. The computer has a good performance with this OS, even when I’m playing Football Manager 2018, browsing the web and listening to music on Youtube, all at the same time.

I do notice, however, the lack of performance of the hard drive, compared to the SSD I have in the old laptop. I have to switch it soon and get a caddy.

How-to customize the Bash prompt

In order to adapt a bit more my Debian Stable installation to my workflow, I’ve been tweaking the bash prompt. Simplicity and small line width are key here, because I often have tmux running with several panes in the same window and small panes with large one-liner prompts suck a lot! Everything feels crammed and hard to read. Just take a look at the image below to get an idea.

crammed bash prompt

After running a few commands in each pane with this prompt configuration, everything gets really crowded and confuse. For sanity safeguarding reasons and workflow improvement, the only thing to do is customize the prompt.

The Debian Stable bash prompt, shown on the image above, default value is:

if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[3[01;32m\]\u@\h\[3[00m\]:\[3[01;34m\]\w\[3[00m\]$ '
else
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w$ '
fi
unset color_prompt force_color_prompt

To make it more useful, I changed the second line to this:

PS1="[3[00;32m]\u@\h[3[00m]:\w[3[00m]\n└─ [$(tput bold)]$(__git_ps1 '[%s] ')$: [$(tput sgr0)]"

All put together:

if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then
		PS1="\[3[00;32m\]\u@\h\[3[00m\]:\w\[3[00m\]\n└─ \[$(tput bold)\]$(__git_ps1 '[%s] ')$: \[$(tput sgr0)\]"
else
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w$ '
fi
unset color_prompt force_color_prompt

And this is the result:

readable bash prompt

Not only I get a more readable prompt (and with “more room to breathe”, if you may), but I get the name of the current branch if I’m in a Git repository folder. This is a convenient feature to have if you work with this version control system.

There are a lot more ways one can configure the prompt. Both How-To Geek and Boolean World websites have nice introductory guides to get you started. The Arch Linux wiki entry about this is also a good read. Oh, and RTFM (Read The … Fine … Manual).

“Queijo fresco (sem lactose) com atum enlatado”, a melhor playlist do Spotify

Não fazia ideia até ter tido a ideia de escrever este post, mas tenho conta no Spotify desde pelo menos Janeiro de 2013, que é a data do email mais antigo (do serviço) que encontro na minha caixa de correio. Só há uns meses, no entanto é que subscrevi a conta premium. Desde então, tenho aproveitado para criar algumas playlists na plataforma.

Isto não é algo exclusivo das contas pagas; estúpido seria se só os utilizadores pagantes pudessem criar listas de músicas. A verdade é que eu não utilizava assim tanto quanto isso o serviço até passar a ter conta paga e por isso não tinha dado a atenção devida às playlists. Para as lides musicais online, normalmente usava o Youtube, o Mixcloud, o Soundcloud e o Shoutcast.

Como pago, acabo por usar mais o serviço, até no carro. E uma das coisas para que eu o uso mais, porque é muito bom para isso, é para descobrir músicas novas. Algumas dessas descobertas têm sido tão agradáveis que há pouco mais de uma semana acabei por criar uma playlist dedicada a elas e a que podem aceder aqui ou ouvir no final do texto.

Não se assustem com o nome. “Queijo fresco (sem lactose) com atum enlatado” foi escolhido porque, tal como as músicas que figuram nesta playlist, também esta combinação de ingredientes (com uma pitada de coentros e sal fino, um fio de azeite e um pingo de vinagre) foi uma muito agradável surpresa.

Boas audições. E caso vos tenha dado a fome: o queijo fresco sem lactose do Lidl é muito bom.