Older blog entries for ajk (starting at number 33)

This week has been very unproductive. The Department is moving to a brand new building (called Agora) which is astoudingly beautiful but has lots of small problems. Anyway, I've been computerless in work since Tuesday.

Ted Nelson talked for 12 hours total in three days. A fair number of people attended. And the talks very very interesting.

Ted Nelson is here!

Also, the hyperstructure group has a new member, a woman from Vaasa studying - guess what - diaries on the net. It's my understanding that she'll be mostly user-documenting our dirty work.

When I was on my way home today on the bus, a car turned and hit the bus. No damage to the bus, but the other driver should be glad that the speeds were low at that time. Now there were no damages to people, but it could have been really serious.

Debian 2.2 is out. That meant a busy two hours for a guy like me: the Finnish translation coordinator; I translated the release announcement to Finnish and distributed the translation to selected places. Let's see what the result is.

The intensive course ended. And I agreed to be assistant teacher in the fall "introduction to programming" course.

I wrote up a plan about developing Clang (a cellular language for ZigZag) prototypes as a "Greek Clang" series.

Bought "Missä junat kääntyvät" (approx. "Where trains turn") by Pasi Jääskeläinen (who has won four times the Portti national sf short story contest and three times the Atorox prize for best Finnish sf short story, and is thus [one of?] the most rewarded Finnish sf authors). It turned out the copy I bought was the only one in the bookstore, and had been in the stand for ten minutes. They'll order more copies now, which is a good thing. (This was in Jyväskylä's "Suomalainen kirjakauppa", not the one in Torikeskus but the other one.)

Now I need to decide what I'll eat the rest of this weekend.

Ok, it's been an extremely busy week. I've even had to cut down on sleep in order to stay well prepared in the intensive course I'm giving at the Summer Secondary School here at university.

The course subject matter is functional and logic programming. I've got 30 supervised hours total for it and twenty high-school students. I've decided to go on about it from an unusual angle: I deliver 16 hours of theory about logic and functions, emphasis on programming but methodology certainly mathematical. That is, I teach them (informal) formal logic and (a hacked version of) lambda calculus. Six hours are used to check homework on the theory and six hours total on a computer putting the theory into practice. With careful (he says!) design of the lambda calculus notation, and with a heavy flavoring of it towards Haskell (including a Hindley-Milner style type system, but no type classes as of yet), the theory of functions turns into practice in Hugs quite easily. They seemed to digest even recursion quite easily today.

I am pleased.

And I need rest. Desperately.

Sleep.

rconover, I've actually sat in a room where it's hotter than 100 degrees Celsius. Several times. Am not dead yet. And it's a fun experience, as long as you don't spend too much time there.

Things I hate: ANSI C. Why is it that even Europeans must grovel on the feet of an American standardization organization? We have an international organization, ISO, you know. And ISO C (1990) is for all practical purposes equivalent to ANSI C (1989).

Thinks I like: ISO standard date format. Now is 2000-07-30T19:15Z. You all got that?

Continued preparing for the course. Did very little else.

A lot has happened since the last diary entry:

  • The programming course I was assisting teacher on has finished.
  • I've been employed as a research assistant by the Department of Mathematical Information Technology, in the Jyväskylä Hyperstructure Group led by Tuomas Lukka. I'm supposed to work on GZigZag, the Writer's Text Editor (as a GZigZag applitude) and PolyGlot (a modular parser framework), although mostly it's been about the first.
  • I'll be teaching a 30-hour course on 2000-08-01/10 about functional and logic programming for upper secondary school students as part of the Summer Secondardy School here at Jyväskylä. I'm preparing frantically.
So I've been busy. Deal with it.

Released catdvi 0.10, which includes a manpage thanks to Björn Brill.

What have I been doing the last several weeks, hiding behind an ignored journal? Mostly studying and teaching; they have taken most of my time. And I've been reading... It has not been a fertile ground for any hacking activities. Let's hope it'll change for the better.

I discovered the GPF and Waiting for Bob comic strips. And I purchased both User Friendly books. I have little difficulty to identify with UF's AJ (who - interestingly - shares a nickname with me) and GPF's Nick. Unfortunately they both have an advantage over me: they do not weigh as much :-(

Got a visit from an angry amanuensis (is that the correct English term?) that we should leave the office we had been given ASAP (it was on loan from another department, and they needed the room for a foreign visitor). With some interdepartmentary diplomacy I was able to get us a new office, which is bigger and spacier than the previous one and is directly attached to the computer lab where we teach. I think it went quite well in the final analysis. The problem is, our new office space was reserved by a professor who has not used it in the last year, and we were given that space without asking the professor. Oh well, we need that office only for a month or so anyway. And I got my own work computer, on which I immediately installed Debian potato (as of first test cycle). The install system has really improved.

No time to code today, I am sorry to report. But yesterday I finally settled on two random number sources for Winters: /dev/random for the top-security stuff (keys etc) and a /dev/random-seeded MD5-based PRNG for the workhorse random numbers. And it works too, although I may have to rewrite the MD5 implementation (stolen from dpkg) for increased portability.

struct block decrypt(void * sc, struct block const bl)
{
        struct block rv = { 0, NULL };
        return rv;
}

That's what caused the zero-size decryption result. I feel so damn dumb now.

Wrote some more of Winters networking code. For some strange reason the receiver decryption result for the packets have size zero. I need to investigate that.

My copy of Schneier came on Tuesday, have been reading it enthusiastically.

I am offering some Debian packages for adoption by registered Debian developers or sponsored prospective developers.

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