Older blog entries for msevior (starting at number 17)

Running

In my youth I used to play a lot of team sports. Especially Australian Football and Basketball. I loved playing football but I hated training for it. We used to have to do sprints. Go into deep anaerobic debt, recover, start again. It was all very painfull.

Consequently I never liked exercise for the sake of exercise. When I heard that there were people who used to run for no purpose other to run I couldn't understand it all. Why would someone put themselves though all that pain and not even have the fun of playing team sport?

When my father died a few years ago I started thinking about mortality and health seriously. At my church there are many older people. Many of whom I came to know and care about. Very sadly many of these great people have also passed away. Many of these people had heart trouble.

I had a friend who I used to go drinking with in my early twenties. He was a bit portly back then but as time went on he kept on putting more weight. He kept on drinking to. He was a great person to drink with. A couple of years ago he died of a heart attack.

I had not done any serious exercise for about 10 years. I was putting on weight. I want to live for a lot longer than I have already. So I started to go for runs. I did it even though I thought I didn't have time. I just decided that it has to be done. It was more important to do this than all the other things I felt I should do.

It was total hell for the first 1.5 months. My personality is such that I found it very hard to run slowly at first. But my body was in such bad condition I couldn't run for more than 300 meters in a row anyway. But I stuck at it. Forced myself to jog slowly. To at least walk when I could not jog. Then to keep jogging when I wanted to walk. Then to maintain the jog up a hill. Then to complete 1 circuit of some parks near my house (about 1.5 km). Then complete two circuits. Then to increase my tempo and go for longer runs.

Now I find I look forward to my runs. I run at night because I'm not a morning person and because I want to spend time with daughter before she goes to bed. Running at night around the parks near my house is really special. At the top the hill is a playing field open to the night sky. There are no street lights. On nights like tonight the schene was bathed in moonlight. I could see the city of Melbourne streched out around me, glowing and shimmering in the distance. I could see all the way to distant hills at King Lake and Mount Dandenong.

As I run past the Eucalypts on the way down from the hill I often disturb fruit bats who silently fly away from their night-time feasts on the flowering gum trees. The air tonoght was just pleasantly cool. In the summer and later in the spring the air develops a warmth that surrounds and caresses as I run. I feel enveloped by nature even as I listen to Heavy Rock raging through my mp3 player. Distracting me from the pain of pushing myself.

As I run my mind wanders between enjoying the song, feeling the air, enjoying night-time vistas and thinking of interesting problems. I feel empowered that my body has spare capacity to burn as a run. I can easily run 4 km and finish with a fast sprint now. This thought has struck me many times recently. My mother has recently had open heart surgery. No matter what doctors might say about this being a routine operation, the person getting the surgery is just a blown fuse away from death. Recovering from the operation is a long process. The heart has to learn how to beat by itself. The body has to repair the ribs split open. The mind has to recover from the confrontation with its mortality.

So as I run I feel keenly alive. I savour the moments. Feel the feelings. Think the thoughts. Solve the ineresting problems. I look forward to the fun times and interesting challenges ahead but at the back of my mind is the knowledge that one day there won't be a new day for me.

22 Sep 2004 (updated 22 Sep 2004 at 21:26 UTC) »
Clueless Executives?

I can't believe a person as smart as Michael Tiemann would write such drivel on his blog.

http://blogs.redhat.com/executive/archives/000134.html

Talk about being amazingly clueless. Looks like the stuff one their marketing flaks who believes his own spiel would write.

Update

Mr Tiemann has ammended his blog and now sounds like the smart person he is. I agree with him now and if you followed the link above you won't have the smallest idea as to what I was talking about before.

I feel empowered :-)

Video Captures

I finally satisfied all the dependencies and got gvidcap going.

http://xvidcap.sourceforge.net/

This allows you to make mpeg movies of your screen. I've been wanting something like this for a while so I can show off some of AbiWord's cool interactive features. Here's the first of these:

http://www.ph.unimelb.edu.au/~msevior/abiword/VisualDragAndDrop.mpeg

Showing off visual Drag and Drop of text. (mplayer does a great job with this. Other players may not. YMMV)

It's occured to me that now broadband is more prevelent, that these sort of movies of software in action may well become as popular as screenshots are now. Frankly they show off our new features better than words or screenshots do. I expect we'll use them them a lot when release AbiWord-2.2

Hooray! Hooray! Hub's OK :-)

AbiWord
Lots and lots of bug fixes. sum1 is so cool. Tomas is so cool. New developers are so cool. uwog is so cool. AbiWord-2.2 will be fantastic.
Physics beyond the Standard Model?


Our first results from the Belle 2003 - 2004 data set were announced to the World last week at the ICHEP conference in Beijing along with our competitors/collaborators measurements from BaBar at SLAC.

The combined results from Belle and BaBar find a 3.5 sigma deviation from what is expected averaging over a variety of CP violation measurements. If we (Belle and BaBar) have estimated our uncertainties correctly this would mean that our measurment has less than one chance in 500 of being a downward fluctuation of the Standard Model. Which would mean we have discovered an effect of New Physics (a new type of particle or force) not in the Stardard Model of Physics.

However Particle Physics is littered with results where the investigators under-estimated their errors (both experiment and theory) so the bar for discovering "new Physics" has been raised to requiring a 5 sigma deviation.

So we'll just have to keep on collecting more data, refining our experimental techniques and and keep measuring to reveal what is happening in Nature.

AbiWord

Lots and lots of bug fixes.

Life
My mother has made excellent progress since her heart valve operation. She is in excellent spirits and will go back to her house in a couple of days.

I'm really impressed at the progress of medical science. This incredibally invasive surgery is now considered rather routine.

My mother will no whave new lease of life. Without the surgery things would have gone downhill rapidly for her.

AbiWord
I've spent the last week implementing text wrapping around positioned objects. I was going to wait until after 2.2 to do this but once I saw the solution I couldn't help going for it.

It was all done in less than about 500 additional LOC I think. I reuse all the cool code we already have and it all just works nicely now.

Here a screenshot for posterity :-)

http://www.ph.unimelb.edu.au/~msevior/abiword/wordWrap.png

I'll fix some more of those bugs sum1 has presented me with next.

AbiWord
Just when I thought I was safe from bug fixing for a while, sum1 produces about 12 extremely well explained bugs.

Ah the benefits of the really good QA guys :-)

AbiWord
Tomas Frydrych committed a bunch of fixes for Revision Marks. It's great to have his help again. I hope we can get this stabilized in time for 2.2. Im particular his work with document histories and merging of versions is really cool and innovative. With luck we'll get the issues sorted out and available for 2.2.

I committed some more fixes for Ms Word import of tables that cleared up a long standing annoynances I had with it. I kept thinking "I'd better fix that one day". Finally one day arrived :-)

The result is that now Microsoft's MS Word doccument describing the RTF specifications loads very nicely indeed.

I still have to make some tweaks to the Table of Contents import though. One day Real Soon Now I'll do it :-)

Damm I'm finding I'm pasting word from AbiWord to epiphany so I can spellcheck this blog. I gotta get that AbiBlog plugin written too :-)

Work
So much to read and criticize...

AbiWord
I love our users and QA guys. Yesterday I got this great bug report.

ttp://bugzilla.abisource.com/show_bug.cgi?id=7155

A nasty bug that came and went until he nailed it down for us.

Fixing this fixed the same bug manifest in totally different way that I was stealing myself to tackle.

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