Older blog entries for Phoon (starting at number 16)

12 Jan 2001 (updated 12 Jan 2001 at 04:29 UTC) »

school news

School has been in session for four days now. Whoopee. Spanish class is going well, it's easier than I thought; chemistry is going to be a pain, and calculus is just weird this time.

Calculus is a mixed telecourse this semester. That means, the professor is here for three days a week and at the other campus for two. No matter how hard they try, the 'other campus' always seems less involved. Not to mention the professor can't use her mad chalkboard technique. <g>

Interesting event happened yesterday. I was sitting in the TLCC (Teaching/Learning/Computing Center, my school's name for "computer lab". Yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but I didn't make it up.). Anyway, I'm sitting in the TLCC, sshed (using PuTTY) into my home box. I'm sitting at a computer with my back to the supervisor's desk, so she can see what I'm doing.

Said supervisor comes up behind me and asks, "What are you doing? Is that DOS?" Obviously, any window with white text on a black background is automatically a DOS box, no matter what it actually says.

Me: "No."

Supervisor: "What are you doing, then?"

Me: (How do I explain ssh to an intellect the envy of apes worldwide?) "Umm, telnetting into my home computer."

Supervisor: "Did you install any software on this computer?"

Me: "No." (Actually, a copy of PuTTY was sitting in My Documents, but I don't consider it "installed". Besides, I usually run it from a floppy.)

Supervisor: "Are you doing chat?"

Me: "No." A bald-faced lie, because I had a second PuTTY session minimized with BitchX running. (The one I was using was only running Emacs. No, I don't have the Emacs IRC client installed. Maybe I should.)

Supervisor: "OK." Moves on.

About ten minutes later, I repeat the scenario with a man in a suit who I later find out is a network manager. It seems the supervisor had to call in reinforcements.

Later still, I notice the supervisor hovering behind me. She was obviously seeing what I was doing, making sure I wasn't cracking the Pentagon, etc. I was still in Emacs, so I didn't worry. (I had closed out BitchX by then.)

Why are people so afraid of anyone with any knowledge? "Oh my $DEITY, he actually knows how to use a command line! Quick, call the FBI, we've got a hacker here!" (Yes, I know the difference. They don't.) I mean, I've never done anything like that (except that one time I put NetBus on a bunch of computers in a lab at my last school, and I paid my debt to society: my internet access was suspended for a month. That was because I intended no harm, as evidenced by the use of my real username.) I've never done anything malicious, anyway.

Let's just hope they didn't realize I printed about 200 pages of code, because, "Printing from the Internet is for Academic Use Only!" First of all, it wasn't from the Internet. It was from the lab computer. I downloaded it to the computer, and printed it from there. Second, it is academic. Just because I'm not enrolled in a class on a subject is no reason to say it isn't academic. (I'm learning how to use GTK. It's a learning activity.)

ithought news

We released alpha 3. It's still got some bugs, but it's usable. I'm posting with it now. You can post to Advogato and LiveJournal, with full Kuro5hin support soon to come.

I wish I could figure out how to debug a module loaded via g_module_open(), etc. gdb doesn't want to recognize it, so I can't debug it. Shame, since there's a strange error: for some reason, GTK thinks the label in the LiveJournal dialog is actually a ScrolledWindow, which it isn't.

life news

Are you kidding? You mean there's life outside of school?

8 Jan 2001 (updated 9 Jan 2001 at 18:11 UTC) »


Well, it's the first day back to school. 7:30 classes suck. I couldn't sleep last night, to boot.

Luckily, today's just the "hello, hello, hello, goodbye" day. Go in, get the syllabus, listen to the same stuff three times, and leave. I've also got to get my books today.


Changed the URL encoding in the Advogato module.

Pondering a complete rewrite of ui.[ch]. I'm still trying to figure out how I would do it, before I bring it up to voltron.

OK... got to shower and get ready for school.


Geez. Three full days and my legs are still in pain.

I guess maybe I shouldn't have walked so much New Year's Eve. Dancing was probably not such a good idea, either.

Anyway. I'm just posting to test the changes I made to ithought's Advogato posting module. Let's see if this works.

Morning. (Very morning.)

Well, I'm well again. Mostly.

Just bought a Logitech Wingman Extreme Digital 3D... couldn't be happier... except maybe if it worked well in most games...

On the project front, I've made a number of changes to ithought. The interface has been changed quite a bit, and the Advogato module is pretty stable. voltron finished up the LiveJournal module.

I've created my very own LiveJournal, you can access it here.

lilo: Yeah, I know how you feel about New Year's. Knowing full well that Christ was born between 4 and 6 BC, the "turn of the millenium" doesn't really hold much meaning.

(BTW, I do consider myself Christian, even if I don't act like it.)

Anyway, I'll probably be at Walt Disney World's Epcot for the big celebration. It's weird... the band sucked last year, it'll suck again this year, but it's almost worth it. (If you're interested, Tito Puente Junior is scheduled to perform. Not exactly my type of music, but it's got to be better than Menudo (last year's band).)

Seeing as how Sister Hazel and Vertical Horizon are performing next door at Disney/MGM Studios, it's obviously not beyond the power of Disney to get a decent band. At least the DJ was alright. And hopefully the fireworks will work this year. (Last year, a critical firework was mistakenly left unattached. Mr. Eisner was in the crowd; the responsible party was fired on the spot. This is a rumor, but the next week there was a memo circulating advertising a job in the pyrotechnics crew.)

I've got to get to bed. It's 6 AM and I'm supposed to get my ticket to Disney tomorrow. Glad I learned the art of "power-napping"... I can power-nap for hours on end. ;-)

Morning. (3:15 AM Christmas Day, Eastern Time)

Merry Christmas, to those of you who celebrate it.

I'm finally back from my vacation. Yes, I spent four fabulous days in northern Georgia, visiting friends and family. I had a small gift exchange with my parents and brother. I traveled the 40-mile round trip to Wal-mart three times. (Don't ask.)

I played chess against my mother. I won all three times.

I also learned how infectious colds can be.

So now, I'm sitting here in Florida with a bad cough, a runny nose, a headache, and a sore throat. At least the cold waited until the day I left to raise its ugly head.

And at least I've had a chance to sit (or lie) and concentrate on some projects I've been doing. Not that it's done any good; the most noticeable change I've made is commenting out two tabs in ithought, since they weren't implemented anyway. The results of that backbreaking effort have been committed to CVS.

(Oh, that reminds me. My account at SourceForge works fine now. Congrats and a million thanks to the fine folks there.)

I've been completely unable to find a decent online intro to functional programming. I don't know if it's my imperative-programming education, or my headache, but I simply can't wrap my head around some of the concepts.

I'll post more once I feel well enough. I've had some interesting ideas going through my head.


More about life.

I'm sitting here recovering from another semester of college. Thank God I don't have to deal with that C++ class anymore.

My dad keeps telling me, "Spanish is the reason most people don't get their degrees, and the ones that do take Spanish all by itself" and stuff like that. Is any of it true? It takes me a while to learn computer languages; is it that hard to learn a human language?

In other news, I'm a CipherKnight now. Check out http://ciphersaber.gurus.com and forge your own CipherSaber!

Visited a podiatrist today. Turns out the infection in my ingrown toenail has reached the bone, and getting the toenail removed will require a hospital visit. He clipped the ingrown part, so it doesn't hurt any more.

I'll be leaving for a vacation in a couple of days. I'll still be able to access email, but only sporadically. If I don't get back to you by Christmas, email me again.

Project news.

None to report; I haven't had much time to work on any projects (other than my CipherSaber.)

12 Dec 2000 (updated 12 Dec 2000 at 22:16 UTC) »

Life news.

Well, it's finals week. I'm getting ready to go to school to take my first final: Calculus. Yay. After this, the only finals are symbolic; I've already taken my "final" in Chemistry and I'm guaranteed an A in C++ class.

I've been trying to get my schedule set up for next term. It's almost funny; the courses I need always seem to conflict with the courses I'm required to be in.

Here's a good example: "Wellness Concepts", the college equivalent to gym class. It's listed at least 10 times on each campus. And there's none I can take.

Right now I can: 1. Take Spanish and wake up 2 hours earlier in the morning; 2. Take Spanish and drive a total of 160 extra miles a week (It's 40 miles each way to the other campus, with class twice a week), 3. Take a Journalism class (as you all can see, I'm not really that much of a writer), 4. Try to weasel into a "Cooperative Education Work Experience" (read: "Internship").

I say "weasel" because it's typically for students who have completed the entire "cert track", and I haven't, but I feel qualified because of my extracurricular experience. Besides, I'm just hoping the college can find me a computer-related job, something I've been unable to find on my own.

(Afternoon update: I'm taking the early-morning Spanish class. Buenos dias, my buttocks.)


I've really got to safety-check the "delete" button in ithought. I've accidentally deleted the first draft of this entry.

SourceForge still won't let me log in. Boo, hiss.


Real Life news.

I got the grade back from my last calculus test; I made 88%. It would have been much better if it weren't for stupid mistakes. Oh well, I still have a 94 average in the class.

In order to make an A in the class, I need 75% or better on the final. But the good news is, I can't fail this class. If I don't even go to the final, I still end up with a C.

My dad's painting the inside of the house, and the primer/sealer he's using smells strongly of ammonia. I've been spending a lot of time out of the house, and less time working on programs. At least I can study calculus outside.

U.S. Election news.

Supreme Court stops recounts; public yawns.

Project news.

I'm still not able to login as a developer at SourceForge. Bleh.

Actually, I got an email response from SourceForge. It's a form letter, explaining their situation. While I can certainly understand that updates would be "intermittent", it's been more than three days, with no change in my status. I'm sure I'm not the only person that's been added to a project recently.

What's stranger still is that my account page has me listed as having an account on shell1, even though my logins are rejected.

Still trying to figure out exactly what changes have to be made to the text passed to the Advogato module by ithought, when the user chooses "Convert to HTML". Currently, all it does is replace two consecutive newlines with <p>.

I would try to allow posting the entry title, but ithought doesn't pass the title to modules. I'll get with voltron on that one.

Other than that, no real news.


Musings on MSN Explorer.

I just got done helping the aforementioned friend's parents install MSN Explorer. For those of you who've never seen it, it's basically a drool-proof interface to "the everyday crash", and the prototype for the .NET interface, or so I'm told.

Isn't it interesting that Microsoft goes through all this effort creating user interface standards for Windows, then promptly throws them all out of the window when creating its own programs? "Rules for thee, but not for me." Does anyone remember MS Bob? Does anyone at Microsoft remember Bob?

Musings on Microsoft in general.

I realize now that Microsoft is really just following through on the plan popularized by Apple a decade or so ago: 'indoctrinate early and they'll be yours for life'. However, instead of reaching all the way back to elementary school, Microsoft is concentrating on high school and college. For example, I got MS Visual C++ 5.0 "Learning Edition" for free with a $50 college textbook, about a year and a half ago. I still have it, but it's collecting dust. (I sold the copy of MSVC++ 1.52 that was also included.)

Microsoft is also extremely effective at reaching out with the long arm of FUD and gripping the inexperienced users, especially the older folks. "If you use Linux / BSD / BeOS / MacOS / <anything else>, you won't be able to talk with your friends and family because they're all using Microsoft Windows! (And if those other operating systems *are* ever able to communicate with our stuff, we'll change! And the sheep, err, customers will buy more!)"

Musings on Quake III Arena.

id's recent analysis of Quake 3 for Linux isn't surprising. I admit, I have Quake 3 for WIndows, but that's because it was a gift. Besides, my TNT wouldn't work for OpenGL then anyway.

However, the problem still remains. My choices were: 1. Keep the gift and play in Windows, or 2. Return the gift and buy Quake 3 for Linux instead. If I had opted to buy the Linux version instead, I wouldn't be able to play Quake 3 at all, since at the time OpenGL support for TNTs in Linux was nearly nonexistant. Besides, I rebooted into Windows constantly to play Half-Life anyway, so what's the harm in having another Windows-only game?

Here's my idea. id should have included the Windows, Mac, and Linux binaries on the same CD, perhaps with notice that the Linux binary is officially unsupported, a la Unreal Tournament. I mean, when we buy a game, what are we paying for? We're paying for the game content, not the binaries. Binaries are replaceable.

Speaking of Unreal Tournament, why couldn't the manufacturer simply put the Linux binaries on that otherwise-useless second CD, anyway?

8 Dec 2000 (updated 8 Dec 2000 at 07:48 UTC) »

Well. Five calculus tests down, one to go. I either passed today's test with flying colors or failed miserably, because there were no places where I felt I had trouble.

voltron added me as an ithought developer. However, due to SourceForge's ongoing upgrade, I'm unable to commit sources. Right now I'm working on the "database not saved until exit" problem.

I would unlist myself from project amcl, because I haven't done anything to it for so long, but its creator, lobbin, isn't certified yet, and I don't know if the project page will be removed if no one's listed.

I'm going to go to a friend's parents's house and hopefully earn a couple of dollars teaching them to use (eww) Windows ME. Wish me luck.

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