Older blog entries for dancer (starting at number 84)

Still here. Chugging away at code. Not much to tell, really.

Let's get out there and kick some shell, Commander - The Arturo War, Season 2, Episode 4: The Battle for Nova Londinum

Dreaming strangely and long. The above quote from last night's efforts. They're starting to come with titles, credits, soundtracks, and occasionally commercial breaks. Unfortunately, most of my dreams appear to be made in the 70's with cheap special effects (and awful haircuts). It's not freaky yet. If one of these films or series ever appears in the external world, then I shall be duly freaked...but not today.

ARGH! Looks like Deus Ex 2 and Thief 3 just got the 'Microsoft Xbox Kiss Of Death'. Change them to suit a console, and they just won't be the games we want to play. Don't change them to suit a console, and they won't make enough dollars to get a PC port after the 6 or 12 months that the Kiss requires. I am bummed.

Cabled and wired and moved appliances between here and Preston. Results are more than satisfactory. Now, I just have to acquire a particular Akai remote.

Thought about EMP cannons. Delivery of a focused EM pulse to a target is easy (at least over short distances of say, 20 or 30 metres). Detaching a coherent fluid magnetic matrix from the point of generation and handing over to the delivery guide seems trickier. Oh...wait. No, I have it now. Duh. I should have thought of that two days ago. That brings us back to the power requirement again, but that was to be expected. Not a toy to be operated from a car cigarette lighter.

Can discriminator-bridged backpropagation be applied to a self-organising Kohonen network? I mean if I track input and output sets in a sequential short-term memory buffer with an applied discriminator, then apply backpropagation techniques to the Kohonen network, will I have guided organisation between circumstantial inputs and actualised outputs? Has anyone tried it? Do any of you actually lay awake nights thinking about that sort of thing?

P2P developers: MD5 is both order and length dependent. Think about it. C'mon guys...the secret is to bang the rocks together.

Is there any current real-world analogue to myomer (other than kelp or actual muscle tissue)? You know, the whole contractile-response-to-electricity thing.

Entropy is just another statistic.

Some days I don't much have to wonder why it is that most folks don't seem to understand half of what I'm talking about.

"I prefer to think of you as my witless foil..."

The last few weeks have made me a little crazy. Let's leave friends and family out of the equation for the moment. Lessee...Microsoft declares war on Open Source and the GPL; AOL, HP and Compaq declare war on Microsoft (ooo...digitally signed theme files); the DMCA apparently overriding free-speech (so long as the speaker hasn't got a lot of money); and so on...

I spent about an hour chatting with a friend on IRC (don't even ask me how much I loathe IRC) and realised at the end of that time that if echelon-like systems are listening, some poor bastard will have to go through the transcript and figure out which box to file us in. Seems like you can't even talk about current IT industry news without using a lot of terrorist keywords at the moment.

Code. Coding. Coding quietly away. There's a lot of $OPEN_SOURCE stuff to build, and little time to actually do the building. $WORK proceeds quite well, though there's a curious anomaly that I'm chasing down. One of those intriguing things.

Sleepy. Most of the time. Well....we shall see what we shall see, right? The world has me on edge right now because it finally crossed the line between 'stupid' over into 'crazy'. I wonder just how long it will be before my mind simply reinterprets that as 'normal', and we start the cycle again.

4 May 2001 (updated 4 May 2001 at 06:37 UTC) »
Not policy

Well, wandered into the local EB looking for stuff. (Stuff that they have in the warehouse, but not yet in the store, as it turned out). On impulse, I asked the store's Steve if they were planning to get Tribes 2 for Linux in.

No, it's our policy only to stock the Windows version, if there are multiple versions available.

I see, says I, Well, it's my policy never to buy the Windows version if it's available for multiple formats. I'll just grab it in town.

I probed a little about another game that had been conspicuous by never appearing on the store shelves: Terminus. Windows, Mac, and Linux versions in the one box. Oho, they didn't stock it because of their 'no-linux' policy.

Despite their comfortable proximity, and normally helpful staff, I am thinking about taking my software shopping elsewhere....Just as a matter of policy, you understand.

Afterthought - Microsoft vs Open Source

If they're bashing Open Source so hard, why don't they stop using it?

$ strings FTP.EXE | fgrep -i copyright
@(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.

There's other examples if you want to go looking.

I'll be damned if I know what day it is, but whichever one it is, it includes a nice new Duron 750 and an AOpen AK73- 1394 mobo for Jenn. Spiffy.

Just gone through a crunch period. Don't go through crunch- mode at home. If you do, you will discover:

  • Your countenance is best not viewed. Be careful around mirrors, as you may accidentally catch sight of the bruised rings under your eyes. This can give rise to shocked cries of alarm, if you happen to glance in a mirror at 3am.
  • You will work too long. You will either not eat, or eat too much. Probably you will do both, alternately, which just makes things worse.
  • Sunrise hurts the eyes and the knees (* knees only if you've been awake for 22+ hours when the sun comes up. Trust me on this)
  • You hover between getting the work done, and impending verbal strangulation, and light beatings with a cat from your SO who knows that you will suffer without more sleep. But you know it too...and are you sleeping? Of course not.
  • You lose track of what day it is.

The bags under my eyes are recovering. What day is it?

Heading home

Just finished my last working day here. Now I veg in front of cable in the hotel tonight, do the same until about noon, check out then bum around the airport until 5pm or so. Then it's a glorious 25.5 hours till I'm home.

No more net connectivity till I get back. Ah, well.

I've hacked code until my brain's melted and had a lot of fun doing it.

Staying in San Mateo

Many squirrels out-and-about today. Delightful to watch. Also an owl decided to perch outside the window of my hotel suite, and hoot a bit this morning. I've never seen or heard one before. A very pleasant sound.

Feeling adventurous, I left my hotel room on saturday night for two reasons. One, I was tired of flopping in my room watching cable, and decided to go for drinks at a bar in the shopping center on the other side of the I-92. More on that in a moment. Second, there's been a skunk rooting around at one corner of the hotel compound (the corner nearest me), and I wanted to get a better look at it. Armed with a piece of bread, and a careful eye for warning signals, I got close to it, and fed it a bit of bread. Unexpected things: I didn't expect them to be cat-soft, nor to be cat-affectionate either. Friendly little thing. Spent about five minutes talking to it and stroking it, and feeding it the rest of the bread.

Went to the bar. It's some kind of sports bar. There are video screens everywhere, showing assorted sporting things, many tables for food, and a long bar. Not feeling hungry, I just settled for the bar. The barman had a generous pouring arm, the more so because I think he was surprised that anyone ever drank apple schnapps straight. It was a very nice brand. He may have poured rather over-generously, because by the time I finished the bottle, I hadn't spent enough to have bought one off the shelf, I am sure ($15USD).

Normally, I don't drink alone, but the bar staff provided good enough company, and they were showing my favourite sport: People having a good time. I people-watched and chatted, then wandered back to my room. Slept and then watched cable the whole day sunday.

Monday, now, and I'm counting the days to being back home...but I'm feeling a sharper dread of the actual journey. I like being in planes, and airports are interesting and entertaining places....but not when you're stuck in them for 24+ hours.

Staying in San Mateo

Still haven't seen any stars here, although the moon last night was nice...but also odd. I spent a while looking at it, while I walked back to the hotel wondering what it was that was wrong with it, with (for some reason, the old Jetson's titles and theme running in the cinema of my head). Then I realised. It's upside-down, from what I'm used to. For the first time, the patterning actually matches the television of my youth.

Two squirrels were occupied outside my room this-morning, and deigned to acknowledge my existance. Unusual, but attractive little creatures. The other day (at a distance of about 50 yards) I saw something longer (perhaps a ferret) poinging around a grassy area on the other side of Fashion Island blvd. I watched it for a while. Poinging is the only word to describe it.

It's friday today, and my week's supplies have diminished. I'm probably going to head out a little earlier and pick some stuff up for the weekend and the week to follow. The Residence Inn is nice. The suite is large enough for a bunch of people, with a fully equipped kitchen. Pricey, but the company is paying for it.

I wonder about maybe meeting some SF-area geeks, but I'm in a Strange Land(tm), and not unlikely to go much further than I can on foot (about 10 miles seems to be about my general roaming distance). A week from tomorrow, I'll be on my way home again. I'm not looking forward to the journey, but I am looking forward to being home again.

Last night was one of those nights....I got back to my suite from the office and settled down in front of the television, and soaked some cable (no...I don't have a laptop). Within an hour I was more than three-quarters asleep. I came to my senses again and watched a little more, over a glass of port, then took myself to bed. Sleep was elusive. It continued to elude me for hours. Instead, I got action replays of all the bits of my life so far that I didn't like, or otherwise regret. When the alarm hit, it played spanish radio at me for about an hour and three quarters before I could finally motivate myself to move. So...not feeling so pumped today.

For want of anything better, I'll soak a lot more cable over the weekend, and get some emails read and written before the end of the day, since I'll have no access over the weekend. On the whole, I'm enjoying myself, but I'm not the out-and-about type, I'm far from home, and there's not really anyone to visit me. This is not to say that I'm not enjoying myself...I'm just not doing it in a particularly active way.

Flying...

A few delays getting off the ground in Melbourne. Flight and cabin crews were conspicuous by their absence until a scant 30 minutes before scheduled take-off. Not a crowded flight this time. I had three seats I could lay down on (curled up, of course). Consequently the trip was somewhat better than last time.

My connecting flight got cancelled, again. Between two very nice ladies (one at LAX and the other at Oakland), I wound up being diverted to Oakland, and in possession of an open cab voucher that got me delivered to the office in San Mateo. Crossed the Bay for the first time (that wasn't in an aircraft, I mean) and was impressed by the bridges.

Hotelling...

The Residence Inn, San Mateo. Nice. Fireplace, full kitchen, good selection of cable-channels, soft bed. Spacious. A scant five minute stroll to the office, and about ten minutes to Safeway. Was approached politely by ladies in the Safeway three times in order to reach high-shelves for them, or products otherwise placed well above their reach. Grabbed some stuff to last me the weekend.

Eating...

What's the travelling geek feeding on? Stouffe's Meatloaf In Gravy, eggs (where do eggs with shells this white, and the bright yellow yolks come from? I've never seen eggs like these before), low-fat turkey-bacon (yum!), Nescafe french vanilla (instant), a box of Girl Scout Peanut Butter Cremes [sic] (Highly recommended btw) and a bottle of Dow's Fine Ruby Port (which makes a decent nightcap for helping to adjust timezones). Add a loaf of bread, a couple litres of coke, a couple litres of milk (or whatever measurment it comes in) and a big bag of Ruffles to round out breakfast and evening snacks through the week to come.

Television and American Society

Once again, I am pleased with the polite and civilised behaviour of the people in San Mateo. I've encountered many smiling people, and chatted with them briefly. An enjoyable experience. Courteous drivers, also. I thought there was rather a worldwide shortage of those...or perhaps I am just encountering them at their best.

Cartoon Network is ever so much cooler here than back home. Much more variety, and runs the full 24 hours rather than the measly 12 back home. Caught some new episodes of some things, including things I didn't know existed (eg: Tenchi Universe), and some things I didn't think had happened (eg: Sailor Moon...there are many more episodes than I thought had been translated by DIC).

BTW, is it just my ear? Everytime I hear an american say craft (or Kraft), it sounds to me like 'Crap'. This causes some sporadic moments of humour and occasional cognitive dissonance.

Cable television kept me amused through the weekend, despite the poorly spelled closed captioning....Unless there's some weird data-glitch that causes extra letters to get jammed into words, or syllables to be lettered back-asswards. Also, I got bombarded by AOL 6.0 advertising. Hmm. There's something funny, there...Funny strange, not funny ha-ha. The AOL ads leave me...well... frightened, actually, and a touch queasy in the stomach. I have no idea why this might be. Start of my busy two-week stint here, now. Must get on...

Yawn...

Operating on four hours sleep and coffee. Teleconference this-morning. I've still got 2.5 hours before it starts, but I need to soak more caffiene before it happens. Neanderthal grunting on the speakerphone is never good.

Whirlwind of preparations this week. I'm off to San Mateo, California again in three days, for another two weeks. I like being there, but the actual travelling part sucks.

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