Older blog entries for ajk (starting at number 36)

We're hosting a small ZigZag workshop here in University in the weekend. There are some seven (eight?) people attending (limit was set at fifteen, for various reasons). It's a very hands-on workshop: six hours of computer time and five hours in a classroom for discussion and planning. And we had an informal dinner yesterday evening at a local pizza buffet place.

The dinner was fun but a little spooky. I cocreated the Finnish moderated newsgroup on programming, sfnet.atk.ohjelmointi.moderoitu with Rauli Ruohonen in the fall of 1998, and we are co-moderating it with three other volunteers. I had never met him personally, we knew each other mainly from news postings. It turned out, in a slightly embarrassing turn of events, that the guy from Helsinki University of Technology (where Rauli studies nowadays), sitting opposite to me in the table, was in fact - Rauli Ruohonen himself. Well, after the fact was uncovered, we had some very good time there.

The stable GZigZag 0.1 series was released on September 27, 2000. We're now at 0.1.3, which was released on October 10. This release engineering and arranging the workshop have taken most of my paid time since 15th of September. I hope that next week brings me time to start thinking about Clang once more (and about ZZ networking, which is another important and interesting subject).

Today it was discovered that I had the universal key to about a dozen rooms in the new Agora building. Exchanged it then to the correct key. I wonder what will happen next. A guy gets access to the whole building by accident?

Tuomas bought the domains gzigzag.net, gzigzag.com and gzigzag.org. We'll be using it mostly for serving the project homepages (hosted by Sourceforge) and allowing mail aliases. I've ended up being the hostmaster, which is quite fun.

That gave me the idea of registering my own domains. I already took zangelding.net and host it at home (I have some interesting ideas for it, but for now it http redirects to the official Zangelding page). Try it. I'm considering some others but won't publish the list yet in fear of domain speculators.

Tuomas came up with a supercool idea for a new clang. We'll probably write a paper about it later this year.

I've given up. I've started seriously learning Perl. I even have the Camel Book in mail.

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 :-(

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