Older blog entries for andrei (starting at number 88)

My 25th birthday came and went. And this year I actually celebrated it properly, with a lively party and a big group of friends. Having something like that at my apartment would definitely result in a noise citation, so we held the party at my friend's basement. Great quantities of food and drinks were bought and prepared and the party started at about 8 pm with 20 people or so. The basement was outfitted with blinking lights, strobe lights, colored lights flashing to music, smoke machine and a cool laser light setup. Definitely better that most of the night clubs around here. So, an hour later everyone is grooving to the beat and consuming large quantities of alcohol. And more people showed up. With presents. Which prompted the presentation and toasting ceremony.

I ended up being driven home about 2 am feeling like I was in one of those full-body VR setups, because my body was trying to do something completely different from what I was telling it. Woke up the next morning just peachy though. Found out that people stayed around for an hour more. Then I looked at my camera and noticed that it had 22 frames shot, even though I put in a new film midway through through the party. Needless to say I haven't a slightest idea what might be on those frames. I guess the people at the photo lab might be in for a good time.

Pretty happy about my birthday though. Got some nice presents and also bought myself something too. A nice set of Infinity speakers, an Onkyo receiver, and a Toshiba DVD player. Finally, I'll be able to enjoy Police Academy in glorious surround sound. What, it's not available on DVD?! Aargh..

Not much news on PHP-GTK front. Markus did a talk at International PHP Conference on it, and it was well received. I will regroup and start on the build system soon.

rasmus, you mean if I want to explore artificial neural network and genetic algorithms for some DNA and protein analysis problem or weather pattern prediction, I'll find a way to hook it into PHP to make it "smarter"? <shudder>

Lately I've been getting an itch to work (probably from scratch) on a project that's separate from PHP and its subprojects (God knows I've been spending a lot of time on them). But when I try to figure out precisely what it is I want to do, I find that almost everything has already been written. Fifteen times over. Just take a look at Freshmeat. So, what's a developer to do? <preparing myself for an inevitable barrage of don't-start-new-projects-help-on-existing-ones replies>.

My workout routine has been going well. I take major portions of whey protein and 3 caps of L-Glutamine regularly, and in the last couple of weeks I started using Ripped Fuel before each workout to see how well it works. The feeling you get during and after weight lifting is great (all those endorphines), it charges you up for the whole day.

My brother has been discharged from the Uzbek army. Now I can breathe a bit easier.

jimw helped set up automated manual building for PHP-GTK, so now we have documentation being updated daily from CVS and also downloadable versions in different formats. Very nice.

After some discussion on the PHP-GTK development list, we came to the conclusion that it would be better to support dynamically loadable extensions for PHP-GTK, instead of linking them in statically. This became apparent after GtkScintilla and GtkSQPane support was added -- not everyone will need the whole caboodle compiled in. That means I have to redo the build system yet again, and this time really learn libtool. <sigh> I despaired to find a person who could help with that.

Have not got too much time lately to read, as I've been concentrating on tech editing a PHP book and writing a chapter for another one. The deadline is a week away, so hopefully after I will be able to take a short break and maybe even go on a short vacation somewhere. Canada sounds good, and that'll allow me to have my visa restamped in the passport.

Caught a trailer on TV for The One with Jet Li. It looked badass, like a Matrix on steroids. Comes out on my birthday too, and so does Monsters, Inc. - how nice. Reminds me, need to update my wishlist on Amazon.

A whole lot has happened since I last posted, and I am not talking about my personal life. What scares me the most right now is that my brother is in the army back in Uzbekistan and he's supposed to get out on October 20, but Uzbekistan, alas, has been appearing on the front pages again, which is usually not a good thing. So, I've been praying for his safety.

Finished The Gunslinger and almost finished House of Leaves. That last one has a reputation of a very scary book, and I can imagine someone being affected by it in that sense, but to me it just seemed very disjointed, due to the way it is written. But then again, the first first page in the book says This is not for you, so there.

Haven't had too much time for PHP-GTK lately, which is a shame as it's really taking off and people are starting to develop extensions for it independently. And I won't be able to present the talk on it at the PHP Conference in Germany due to stupid issues with my passport and visa. Argh. Oh well, there's plenty of other stuff to keep me busy.

I succumbed to easy thrills of pulp novels and read Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler. It's the kind of novel that requires turning off your brain for the duration, but it's exactly what I needed. He is not a bad author, but some portions are written with evident ham-fistedness. Also, while the novels of this type are bound to feature stereotypical archtypes (a dashing rogue, a trusty sidekick, a damsel in distress), this one doesn't really develop them into interesting characters. Well, at least the main ones are adequate. I understand that this book is only one of 18 based on the adventures of the same character, so I will probably make an attempt at another one in the series, and then decide whether to continue or not.

Also started reading Stephen King's The Gunslinger and Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves. That last one lives up to reputation as one scary book.

I must be one of the last few people who don't have a DVD player. I realized this after a friend wanted to come over with a movie to watch and after I asked if it was VHS or DVD, he looked at me strangely and said, "Funny."

And I also haven't turned my TV on in six weeks.

I am supposed to give a talk on PHP-GTK at the PHP International Conference in Frankfurt in November, but I'm waiting to see how soon my passport/visa situation gets resolved, because both of them expire at about the same time in November and I don't want to be denied entry back into the USA if I travel. The whole INS thing is really ticking me off -- so many rules and bureaucratic junk, I've been here for 9 years and I still have over a year to wait for my green card. And now I read that Mexican president wants Bush to make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay here, where is the justice I ask you?

The Russian group that I'm involved in is producing a weekly radio show that's broadcast on Sundays. Last couple of times I was sitting behind the controls and directing the show. Fun.

rasmus: Why is it that the only time I am ever able to do anything interesting is on planes? Because you spend most of your waking hours on the planes? :-)

I've been running into struct marshalling problems with PHP-GTK. It can't marshal GTK_TYPE_POINTER because there is no way to find out what kind of structure it points to, so each such signal has to be manually marshalled apparently. Hopefully, Gtk+ 2.0 will provide type definitions for all structs that can be passed to signal callbacks.

This weekend I get to be part of a greeting party for a group of new Russian students that are arriving to USA for the first time to attend UNL for a year. I will have to exert my corrupting influence right away, bwahahah..

Looks like I'll need to release next version of PHP-GTK pretty soon, because the GDK keysym constants were screwed up, plus I added support for GtkScintilla and fixed a few bugs. The php-gtk.so is growing in size, and I'm starting to wonder whether I should compile the php-gtk extensions as .so files themselves and have them loaded dynamically by the user. My only concern is how well does dlopen() work from an already dlopen'ed .so?

Turns out I'm reading three books at once: Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor, Stephen Baxter's Raft, and Greg Egan's Quarantine. The last two were bought from half.com from next to nothing -- I love shopping on the Internet.

I see that there is an effort to turn Perl and Python into .NET languages, but there is an issue that I don't quite understand -- how will the C-based extensions for those languages be called from the resulting MSIL code? Using PInvoke? Somehow else?

Released PHP-GTK 0.1. It should be pretty stable now. Now I have to come up with a creative project to use it on.. :-)

Saw Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes. Mediocre effort at best -- the weak and confusing storyline undermines everything. The sets, makeup, and FX are pretty good as expected, though.

This year's OSCon was my first one and I enjoyed it a lot. Of course it helped that it was in San Diego which I haven't visited before, but now that I have, I'm in love with it. Especially the weather. It'll have to go on my list of potential places to live. Anyway, I wish I could have gone to a few more very interesting talks but I had to spend some time hacking on my own presentation. Next year I'd better prepare it upfront.

Do not partake excessively of spirits on a night before work lest your tongue feel hairy in the morning and your head resonate with the movement of air molecules.

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