Older blog entries for ajk (starting at number 41)

I just turned in my application for changing my major subject

19 Nov 2000 (updated 21 Nov 2000 at 11:05 UTC) »

I have a problem.

I have not been able to pass an exam since spring. And I've taken several.

My mother tells me it's probaly a motive conflict based on the fact that I major in mathematics but primarily study and work on computer science. Once I change my major subject, the problem would vanish.

I trust her on these things.

I still cowardly don't do anything about it. Maybe it's because I long thought that mathematics would be my life's work. I worked hard the last four-five years in school to get an excellent score on mathematics in the matriculation exam and to thus get easily to study maths. Well, it worked beatutifully my first year in university: I studied maths only, and got a perfect score in most courses I attended, and near perfect in the rest.

Then I got a summer job at the University Computing Centre, with the aim of writing and publishing a guide on LaTeX. At that time there were no up-to-date Finnish guides on LaTeX. I wrote the book, which had a length of 180 pages in the final version, and turned it in one month late. When I finished it, all the fall courses had already started and I missed most of them. The book was published in October 1998, and remains today as one of the best guides of LaTeX in Finnish (I'm told so, so it might be true:-)

I spent the better part of the fall of 1998 doing nothing to my studies. I would wake up at 1 or 2 pm and play computer card games and listen to radio for a couple of hours. Then I'd go to "Camelot", the University Computing Centre Linux lab and spend the evening reading email (especially Debian email: I put forth my developer application in September, 1998). I would then go to bed at 4 or 5 am.

It all started there.

Now I am unable to pass a course. And unable to resolve it. Hopefully I'll have enough courage to turn in the papers nxt week.

On Wednesday we had a memorable guest: President of the republic Tarja Halonen visited Central Finland, and one of her ports of call was Agora, our shiny new workplace. Tuomas even got to give a short talk to the president, and I passed by her in the hallway, almost by pure accident :-) Boy, didn't we experience something Really Grand(tm)? There are pictures of the visit and of the visit of President Martti Ahtisaari (in office 1994-2000) in Jyväskylä on the same day, one of them featuring Tuomas.

I discovered Alvin Maker. Reading "Heartfire" now. I also have "Dorsai!" ready for reading, and I got today Johanna Sinisalo's (one of the leading Finnish SF writers) first novel. It's amazing how books make you sleep late.

I have a dream: that is, to learn write good fiction. I think I have the theory already, but I'm missing a lot of practice, and usable story ideas that sound true to me.

There's a lot of exciting things happening now with GZigZag. Tuomas got virtual structures going, and I'm battling with a network-enabled CVS-like version management system for ZZ spaces. Cat has put out a incomplete but very good draft for the user's manual. We got an IPAQ and two Cassiopeias for porting GZZ into them.

Thanks to everyone who helped me survive my birth day :-)

I remembered yesterday the following exchange between Riker and Worf in the 2nd season TNG episode "Peak Performance":

- You're outmanned, and outgunned. What do you have left?
- Guile.

(Somebody should check the actual wording from the episode.)

It feels like that exchange makes a fun Guile ad.

I was born on 1977-11-02. Please make me happy tomorrow :-)

*wants virtual hugs*

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.

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