Monday, June 19, 2006

Don't drink too much

Drink too much?

Miss the fun

Thursday, June 15, 2006

hot prompt action

Don't you wish you had a bash prompt just like me?

Its in my .bashrc

Thats hot with two w's.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Going to China?

Chinese security personnel may place foreign government officials, journalists, and business people with access to advanced proprietary technology under surveillance. Hotel rooms and personal computing devices for these categories of visitors may be subject to search without the consent or knowledge of the traveler.
So says: US Citizen Services - US Embassy Beijing China

I'm going to China in a few weeks. Neat huh? I'm going to get spied on. Cool!

Maemo 2.0

Maemo is the software platform the Nokia 770 runs on. It is based on Debian and gtk with lots of great modifications for a handheld device. Nokia just recently released a beta version of its new software on maemo.org. There are a great number of detailed reviews already written.

The most prominent new feature of OS2006 is the inclusion of IM and VoiP capabilies through jabber by way of Telepathy and Galago. This is old news to anyone who has followed the development of 2.0.

There are screenshots in the above links for people looking at seeing the apps in action.

I am very pleased to see how well integrated presence/IM is into the existing functionality of the n770. For starters, I think the presence interface in the menu was a stroke of genius. It has an easy factor, which will make signing in not a chore. Though, I would like to be able to set available ("On") messages though in addition to Away status messages.

I also like the integration of contact management into the side menu.

Having been using the IM client (haven't tried voice yet) for the past day I would have to say that the following are my most desired features.

Although maemo integrates all my jabber contacts into my contacts database it does not populate that data with vCard information, which would be amazing. Instead I have to manually type people's names into the contact window. When you have hundreds of contacts this becomes quite a burden. Additionally, the left hand column in the chat view should contain all contact details for that user, their status message and other pertinent information.

Snippets

-Worked . . . A LOT! -Bike Ride! Sunday I took a morning ride for a couple hours around the area I live. I've never really explored it before. -Maemo 2.0 . . . Starting futzing with my n770 again -Read: Started reading On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins. Cool insight about how the brain works! -Action Figures! I bought some!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fermat's Enigma

It's hard to imagine someone writing an interesting book about math. Everyone is used to dull text books, fall asleep lectures and the unending hatred of a subject so complex that no other topic in the world has more students screaming "I'm never going to need this in real life." (Please excuse me, the preceeding statement is incorrect; there are people who enjoy math and don't find it incredibly frustrating but ask just about anyone and they'll say they will never need it in real life. wink).

Two years ago, while on a trip to Virginia, I read "The Code Book". by Simon Singh. It was a fascinating read about cryptography through the ages. When you have subject matter covering ancient greece, war, esponiage, royalty, politics and the future, its not difficult to imagine someone injecting color into a subject generally discussed in terms of prime numbers, diffie hellman and keys.

Tonight I read another of Singh's books: "Fermat's Enigma". The book is a tale of dedication, history, mysticism and even some P.T. Barnum circus antics all leading up to the 20th century's most important mathematical theorem solving the 17th's century most intreging mathematical hypothesis.

I'll spare the details of Fermat's theorm a^n + b^n = c^n, n > 2: No Solution, and instead jump inside the book.

What I liked most about this book is its willingness to both simplify mathematical concepts that most people (including myself) will never fully understand while always provoking the reader to go examine things on his or her own at every chance. There are numerous appendicies elaborating on a number of tricky concepts including Pythagoras's Theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2) through the proof that there are an infinite number of triples satisifing the previous equation. Singh's carefully crafted explainations continuaully led me to diverge from the book and take a look at some of the things he presented in just enough detail to make me do a little thinking on my own. Like in "The Code Book," Singh engages his reader and succesfully implores them to go out and learn on their own.

Another strong element in "Fermat's Enigma" is history. Again, like the last book of his I read, Singh prints a good picture of history covering mathematics over the ages while always converging on Andrew Wiles' quest to resolve Fermat's taunting suggestion.

I will assume that like myself reading "Nudist on the Late Shift," or other internet history books, Mathematicians may find Singhs analysis not nearly stimulating enough and at times wrong but for me, reading "Fermat's Enigma" definatly broadened my understanding of math, made me appreciate the work those smart people do and expaned my understanding of history. I would definatly recommend this book to anyone even minimally interested in mathematics from either a numerical/theoretical aspect or as an interesting thread of human progress.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Lawrence Arms - Brickwall Views

all charades go on forever.
hands tied with fools pride.
in a slowly fleeing summer.
empty rooms don't have pictures to talk to.
brickwall views demand uninspired afternoons.
the days are flooding into months.
the nights are staring into centuries.
i've got some older pictures of people i see once every couple years.
intrigued or unamazed.
"you were so much different back in those days." and now this smile has a bitter curve.
now these eyes are unenchanted.
and all we see is a faded image of what we used to be.
how can we relate when we don't know a thing about each other anymore?
is there a gesture i could use to clearly express i'm at an utter loss for words.

I've frequently seen people post to their blogs, random lyrics to random song, by random artists. If anyone really wanted to have this information, I bet they could type "lyrics" into Google and waste tons of time. To you out there, that person who randomly posts song lyrics onto your web site I offer you two suggestions:

  1. STOP!
  2. Write why you're posting said lyrics. The lyrics mean nothing if you can't put up the effort to write about what they mean to you, why you like them or why the band who wrote them sucks.

With that said...

I was driving to work today and in my CD player where I have: three Lawrence Arms, one Nekromantics and one Benny Benassi CD, track six of The Lawrence Arm's "Apatthy and Exhaustion" album came on, excepted above. I felt it really captured a lot of what I was feeling in Chicago when I visited last.

Six years ago, we were all very different people. Some would say we weren't people, or that we're not very good people and even that we were terrible caricatures of grown ups. Thats what happens when you're a teenager. You're this funny looking creature created by a street artist taking aspects into your own of all sorts of messed up big nosed, giant forheaded, crazy eyed wierdness. We all were ignorant of this fact and went about our lives.

In this time we found in eachother companionship and compassion, as time progresses we all change and a lot of us have changed in vastly differing ways. We found solstace in our assocaites and friends. There are people who years ago I felt I couldn't live without whom today I feel absolutely disgusted with seeing. This is not a fault of those people . . . entirely, nor mine . . . entirely. We change, and as the story goes the glee from ages ago is being replaced by bitterness and anger. It sickens me to see things this way and I don't want anything to do with it. I won't even ask if "its too much," that people can spend time in the same universe as one another without bitterness, hatred and cruelty soaking up every last iota of worthwhile conversation, debate or discussion. There is no question about it. Sometimes people are human and those are the people I like to spend time with.

I don't want this to seem like a jab against anyone because all I am doing right now is writing about an observation I saw while spending 7 days in Illinois. This does not make anyone a "bad person," to anyone but me. Everyone can continue about their lives, unhappy or not and choose whether they want to let their lives be defined by the hours they spend holed up in a bitter, uninspired and unworthy corner or if they want to suck it up and find ways to enjoy life. When you'r enjoying life, that is when I'll want to see you, even if life isn't entirely happy as long as you have something besides the various forms of "I hate my life," I'll be happy to make conversation with you. Hell, if you want to grab a pint, a coke or a slushie and watch a movie I'm game.

Back to the Chicago trip.

Thanks to everyone who I had a chance to hang out with, too long or too short I'm quite sure it wasn't the ratio I wanted. To the people I didn't see, sorry about that. Next time! Next time! Thanks to everyone for taking time out of their schedules to see some crazy guy from Taiwan who was visiting Illinois for an odd spell. The movie was cool, not drinking at a pool hall was fun and man-o-man, I didn't think a not-a-picnic could be so awesome. By the way, there are still over sixty architecture tours in Chicago I haven't been on, so if you're interested feel free to sign me up as long as I'm in the state. De will attest that it is fun to walk around the city and look at interesting buildings! Special thanks goes out to my family for not minding too much when I spent too much time with my friends and not enough with my blood.

P.S. There is another song by The Lawrence Arms where they sing a haiku. It is quite clever and I dare you to find it out!

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Snippets

I skipped last week's snippets just as I did for work . . . What have I been up to the past two weeks?

  • Read 1/2 of "Nudist on the Late Shift," Not good, find something else to read
  • Started and finsihed "Fermat's Enigma"
  • Flew on a plane, landed in America . . . many action packed hours later found myself back on a plane, with a free Sinus infectin to go with it.
  • Worked hard (tonight is the second night since I got back to Taiwan where I left work before midnight)
Not too much hacking, mostly 1 liner fixes to some of my code, not published yet though.