Older blog entries for nullity (starting at number 30)

I had a fairly bad sunburn today and hence didn't feel like doing anything outside. Plus it was hot. I stayed inside and watch Brian play FreeCraft (Warcraft II clone - if you haven't seen it its pretty amazing, I had no clue that they had a playable game!). I'm going to spend the rest of this evening trying to get cross-compilation going for HURD so I can finish porting GNOME to it. Wheee!
 
Maybe I'll write some and forget to go to sleep....but probably not. That made me a wreck last week.

Whew! My ass is grass. I went riding today with Mike Flemming (from Eazel). The ride itself was fairly short, but a particular ascent feels like it took an eternity. I ended up unable to make the entire ascent, and had to end up walking part of the way. SIGH. I suppose there's a tiny chance I could have made it the last little leg (it was actually quite short...) to the "Country Store" (read yuppie bike refreshment mini-mart - soooo glad it was there for us yuppie bikers!) Better luck next time.
 
The great part was the descent though! It was fairly steep and twisted through a dark forest. There were some very classic "dark forrest scenes" there, like the deep creek surrounded by tall straight trees fading into the mist, etc. Very cool!
 
The story is a little more intricate, beginning with me checking my bike into the bike shop around 9am, and being told it would be ready by noon (it wasn't of course). So Mike came by and noon and we went and had lunch. Fortunately after a leisurely lunch it was finished. Too bad they didn't bother to fix the thing I brought it in for...sigh! Better luck on monday. Then, lets see, I forgot to bring along water and my spare tube. The water was immediately a problem, the tube became a problem on the descent when it punctured. It took two rounds of patching (seperated by like a third of a mile) to get it back into working shape. I suppose I'll actually have it replaced because I'm suspicious of patches, and I need a new rear tire anyway.
 
My two sisters, whom I haven't seen for some time owing to them being not within reasonable proximity, are in town. My father and mother too, but I saw them previously. That leaves Drew, my brother, left to come. I look forward to his arrival, though I have no idea when it will be (rumours are that it will be later rather than sooner?). Anyway, I haven't seen them yet, and I'm most gruelingly tired from the bike ride, and they're on their way to pick me up...soooo..... I'm going to go shower!
Writing
 
I have been dissapointed in the lack of response to the first chapter of my book (which I will shamelessly plug again!) Its not that I expected rave reviews and heaps of praise - what I really wanted to solicit was constructive criticism. I want to clean this thing up, because I know it needs work! Instead I have heard almost -nothing-. I begin to wonder if hackers are barbarians? ;-) It is odd, because within a few hours of putting my Nautilus theme up on my web site I was receiving lots of comments, even lots from people I had never interacted with. hmmmm.... (update: heaps of thanks to those of you who have begun writing me...more! more! :-)
 
Life and living
 
I am annoyed because Advogato ate my first entry today when it was already completed. This one won't be as comprehensive, because its always hard to get up the gumption to rewrite a longish segment...grrrrr!
 
Basically my family is returning to the US from the Philippines - and they've decided to move into this area. My father has taken a research position at Xerox PARC, and they are now embroiled in looking for a house. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this, but I think I'm very glad on the whole. There are obviously downsides, the most noticable of which is friction I'm recently experiencing with my father.


 
The long and short is that I've recently become acutely aware of all his failings and idiosynchratic behavior. Maybe you're protected from seeing a lot of this as a child, but it has begun to bother me immensely (probably because I fear seeing it in myself). Comments that others have had the grace to make to me (if nobody tells me its hard to change....) I see applying 10x to him. So what's happened is that I have grown immensely over the past year being young and malleable while he has staid set in his ways, of course. Which means that I have trouble just accepting all the things that I've tried to prune from myself that I see in him. Maybe this is good, because it suggests that I've grown somewhat myself....
 
Hacking
 
#$%&**!!!! I'm sooooo tired of the symoblic link code. Gnome-VFS is incredibly imalleable in some ways, and I'm having to deal with all of them it seems :-) Its like I do one thing and the library just slaps me back. I'm making progress but its tedious and slow. In other fronts I did some trivial work that enabled the simple search bar in Nautilus. Hopefully when the symbolic link stuff is off my plate I'll take a crack at writing the unescape/escape code in Nautilus once and for all - just put that stuff to rest! I like that sort of coding because I tend to be working in environments where I can just write code - the interfaces to the functions are very well defined and narrow. I like architecture better, but if I'm just going to code this is what I want to do.
 
In other news, I'll now be moving into spending most of my time labouring over purify. I hate C. Its final. It seems ironic that the person most supportive of garbage collection and not having to do memory management will be tasked with cleaning up the memory leaks ;-) Of course, I knew this would be coming when I signed on but that doesn't make it any more fun now that its hapenning. The upside to this is that I hope to drastically improve my ability to read other's code. I have oft respected that in Darin and Pavel (and Maciej to a lesser extent, it probably develops with years in the field) and I hope to develop some of that in myself.<shrug>

Harumph! Advogato seems to have decided it didn't want to post this diary entry. Thanks, it was a long one that took a while to write.

I did some polishing work on the first section of my first chapter. Whee. What I've got so far is up at http://null.stanford.edu/book.html, including a cover design that I couldn't but help trying. Sorry, I just feel dumb putting out a page with only text, it needs some sort of visual introduction, even one that was slapped together ;-) I'm sorry if the first section is a little confusing, its meant to be. The next section should clearly things up a *lot*, at least I hope so, but that probably won't be coming for several days at least. Its 7am and this is hot off AbiWord so please forgive any spelling mistakes, grammar, or if I'm really tired and I ramble and suck in places ;-) I've written some amazingly bad papers late at night, I hope the stuff I've written tonight doesn't stick out like a sore thumb! (update: I've read it over again and it doesn't seem too bad, please send me any fixes)
 
In hacking news Maciej and I beat out a gnome-vfs module that interfaces with Medusa a couple nights ago. We were pretty pleased to finish the bulk of the code in one night. Granted, it mostly doesn't work (it does partly....cough), but... :-)
 
I've put "write advogato entry" in my Palm now, so lets see if I remember better! You'll notice I was really consistent for 3 or 4 weeks, but that was because I didn't have other things to do!
 
You might also be interested in my nautilus theme, which is at: http://null.stanford.edu/icons.html"

Ah... It has been far too long. :-) I'm not entirely disillusioned with the art of the public diary, though I have realized that I must compensate for the lack of physical and description and life-story narration with more of the ecletic jumble contending with reality for my mind in fragile equilibrium. Oh yes! I am indeed teetering on the edge of insanity.
 
And in the land of dark hackery I have little of note to report, being caught in the doldrums of bug fixing. Upon the distant horizon I see hopes of spending meager amounts of time on a drag bar (e.g. an alternative to cut-n-paste), but we shall have to see. A lot of what I am doing is writing testing tools to verify others', erm, less than perfect implementations. Not the most terribly exciting stuff in the world, but it does engage my time :-)
 

This was a while back, but it does have some reflection on directions my life may be heading in the near future. I talked with Rebecka Schulman (sp?) for quite a while one night while we both worked late at Eazel. It was somewhat disheartening for I found that she has shockingly similar interests to mine...but developed several more years (e.g. I am at the beginning of my undergraduate experience, and she has already done graduate studies for a while). So the more I discovered similar interests and goals the more I became disheartened by her apparent disillisionment with much of computer science. This is not to say that I was merely depressed by her lack of enthusiasm, because she is doing many very interesting things with Medusa in great earnest. Rather her perspectives as somebody who has sampled my dreams already was worrisome - simply because it robbed me of some measure of foolish idealism. The issues she raised I have already heard, they are obvious. But hearing "myself" in a sense uttering them, or rather somebody who I sense would have similar views as myself with a great deal more experience (eg Rebecka), I was forced to actually consider them, and I found much of it to be true.
 

Computers are a rather trivial pursuit. If you are not doing something with them that makes them work towards other more worthy ends - you must acknowledge that what you are doing with your life is playing. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but in my particular case it is difficult to accept. I think this may mean that I need to find out why I'm doing what I'm doing. Part of it...is because I do derive pleasure out of architecting elegant solutions, yes. But is immediate pleasure sufficient impetus to purse something as my life? I don't know, but I think not. So now I am left with either attempting to deduce a meaningful rational for pursuing computer science theory, or I must supplement it with other pursuits...or I must shallow myself and accept it as is. I doubt I can do the latter, or rather I wish not to and so choose not to consider it a viable option.
 
Being therefore disillusioned concerning the nature of computers by talking too much with Rebecka...I have decided to pursue other venues of expression and general temporal consumption. Perhaps the most easily doable for personal edification is to write. Now I have engaged myself quite thorougly this summer in writing poetry, but as I am not exactly an epic poet :-)... this is a disjunctious process. So I have the grain of a novel and intend to start work on it. It is rather frustrating for beautiful sections of writing pass fleetingly through my mind as I work upon the mechanisms of the world itself...frustrating because I rather suspect myself to be at a loss for such passages once I apply myself to the pen (I don't much relish writing fiction at a computer for some odd reason, yes I know its silly but...I am a beast of whimsy and it makes me feel more, oh I don't know, more...poetic? to write in such a primitive fashion :-).

We (Nick Wei, and my roommate, and yes me) walked to Palo Alto tonight. Then we rented a movie, and found an unlocked projection room on campus and watched theatre style...but there were only three of us there. The sound wasn't quite as good, but the screen was really quite large, and the room was nice. Then we played Starcraft for an hour and ate pizza. Fun! Even though I'd seen the preview for True Lies like 20 times I'd never actually seen the movie ... which was really as funny as the preview made it out to be :-) We also watched Star Trek IV, which wasn't quite so exciting... Seen it too many times, and it really isn't all that great.
 
Actually took the day off other than helping some people on IRC :-) You should be proud of me! It took immense restraint...

Helped situate computers in their new home at Eazel's new office. The new office is really nice...except for strange purple/violet squares of carpeting every so often ... and the bathroom. the bathroom is freaky. Its a combined effect brought upon by small gleaming checkerboard black & white tiles, above which is placed a brilliant 4ft strip of purple paint. Then the mirror is perfectly round and placed in such a way that you are surrounded by this checkerboard/purple theme. Its freaky. Lesser things have driven men mad, enter at your own risk. :-)
 
I'm sleepy, so I'll probably be getting a good 10hrs of sleep tonight (wow!).
 
Eskil has plans for a game-room including a pinball machine, a foosball table, and pool (and the obligatory non-dart dartboard). The new office gives room for such amenities ;-) Hats off to Rick, Scott, and Jurgen for making the transition (computer wise) so smooth!

Put some dovetails and detail into my Java-based, multi-machine, multi-processing system. Or at least that's how it started... Flipped everything around to try a new model of remote messaging which seems to have some significant performance gains. Too bad...but this is no longer a "look mommy how amazing Java is, I only wrote 200 lines and I have a multiprocessing system" project. Instead I'll try driving it the point of being useful. Ah well ;-) Practicality will snag all of us sooner or later.
 
Feeling much better in other areas. Particularly nice is that I will get to move from my current place in the outback into the same cubicle as Ramiro, Gene, and Pavel. Let the learning continue!

So I finally finished my symlink support code... Now working on remaining bugs, and then probably adding support to Nautilus. The move is hapenning tomorrow, so I'm scrambling to get a working build setup at home.
 
I'm once again mired in a situation where I can't tell if everyone is just laughing behind my back...or whether people who are really nice actually are. It was easier before people grew up and became political... You know, like maybe I annoy everyone. Maybe everyone sort of mutually agreed that I sould be banished to the corner of Eazel in the new building. I don't know, I have to guess because people don't give me hard feedback. I'm getting tired of people rapidly again. It was so much simplet over IRC.
 
Eric and Anthony stood us up! Brian and I are wondering if they forgot or...(?) Maybe we had the dates wrong :) Brian's computer (well, HD) just bit the dust so we lost a bunch of contact information.
 
In further news...my wallet was taken. The story will come later, but basically it disappeared in a span of about 50ft and 1 minute (!!!). YARGH! that makes a bike, a Newton...and now a wallet taken :-( There wasn't much money in it, but now I get to deal with the hassle of notifying two banks, getting a new Stanford ID card - and worse I hadn't taken my Social Security Card out after hauling it to eazel to prove my citizenship (!!!). Fortunately I'm fine on cash until I get my new ATM/credit card because I have a couple checks I need to cash.

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