Older blog entries for pcolijn (starting at number 135)

20 Feb 2006 (updated 20 Feb 2006 at 21:25 UTC) »

So I finally broke down and got a cell phone. It's a treo 650, per drheld's suggestion. I was thinking crackberry for a while, but all the wacky Palm software you can get for the treo finally won me over, and the email apparently works just as well as the crackberry email. Of course, here data costs 3c/KiB, so I won't be using it. (Seriously, 3c/KiB?!? How the hell can phone companies get away with this crap?)

Anyway, if you want the number just email me.. not too sure how brilliant it would be to stick my phone number in such an easily Googlable place.


mrwise and I are coming to lovely Montréal this weekend. I'd be down with seeing some Nitiots if anybody's interested...

Snow Day

Today's a snow day at Waterloo. So if you were planning to go classes, don't. They're cancelled.

mrwise was nice enough to alert me via Google Talk before I left the house. He came home and we went out for breakfast, and I'm now lying in bed with my laptop watching the snow blow outside. I also get to miss my super boring Thursday afternoon English tutorial. Yay! There's something so satisfying about eating a lazy breakfast and then spending the day in bed on a weekday...

As Usual

The University of Waterloo is screwing me as usual; I have an exam on the very last day. At least this is the last time they'll be able to do it (assuming, of course, that I do ok on my exams). That doesn't mean I'm not bitter though; it seems every term I'm the only person in my group of friends who has an exam on the last day.


Since I'm also one of the few people I know around here who's left-handed, I suspect this may be a case of discrimination against left-handed folk. drheld and I also suspect there may be discrimination at a certain popular employer of Waterloo students, as we're the only ones around here who haven't received our offers yet.

Google Talk

So Google Talk is finally available within Gmail. If it hasn't been activated on your account already, it will be within the next few weeks.

I really love this. I used it at Google and it was super useful. It's the best chat interface (better even than Meebo IMO) I've seen in a long time, very well integrated with email, and most importantly for me, no stinkin' pop-ups when stuff disconnects! The best thing, though, is that your chats can now be indexed if you want. Then when you search in Gmail you'll get chat results as well. This is incredibly useful for me, because I often have people's phone numbers or other important information in chat history that is only searchable on the machine where I actually had the chat. So I have to look on my laptop, then my desktop, and I don't always find it.

For people who are freaked out by having their chats indexed, this is a completely optional feature. But for me, it's totally worth it. It works no matter what client you use for Google Talk (the Google Windows client, Gaim, Gmail, whatever).

And anyone who has no clue what I'm talking about but would like to find out, feel free to hit me up for Gmail invites at pcolijn gmail com.

Google Video

guspaz: You can actually enable better interpolation on Google Video. It's near the bottom-right, the little thingy that lets you choose original size, double size, etc. Predictably, it makes things quite a bit slower.


I actually think a Google Video is a pretty appropriate use of flash. Usually I hate flash, but that's not really because of the technology itself but because it's almost always used for stupid banner ads that eat 100% of CPU and play freakin' music.. in a banner ad! But with videos is just makes so much sense; the quicktime and windows media plugins work so terribly and the flash video players work so well that it's hard to argue.

I briefly toyed with the idea of doing a video player in JS. I even mocked one up... and got a whopping 3fps! You could probably do it, but sound would be the major problem. I seem to remember some ghetto sound support involving .au files in ancient browsers back in the day, but even if that stuff still works these days, keep it synchronised would be near impossible.

More Tangent

I just came across this, which almost made me fall off my chair. Not for those who are easily offended, however...

ipw2200: teh suck?

So I got my ipw2200 miniPCI card the other day. I installed it and got it working pretty fast, but it appears to suck massively. I get super crappy throughput on it.

First, some of the wacky kernel parameters I was using to make ndiswrapper crash less made it somewhat slower. Turning those off made things a bit better; the connection was ok for casual web browsing, but an attempt to play a movie over NFS on my home network failed spectacularly.

Then Google told me that I should try disabling hardware crypto. Another (very marginal) improvement, and still no dice getting the movies to play over NFS.

More googling led to the suggestion that I try the "latest and greatest" ipw2200 1.0.10; again, slightly better but still no dice with NFS (BTW, the versions I've tried so far are 1.0.0 in, 1.0.8 in and 1.0.10 from outside the kernel).

So, uh, does anyone know how to make ipw not suck? I'd really like not to have to use ndiswrapper any more, but right now ipw2200 is next to useless for me...

Help me!

So I'm working on compilers. morethanreal and I are writing it in Scheme.

When you're working in Scheme, checking which ( matches which ) is of utmost importance. And if you know me, you know that I use vim. Vim has pretty minimalist paren-matching stuff by default; you can use '%' to see what matches the paren (or square bracket or brace or whatever) under the cursor.

I found some stuff using Google that makes vim briefly move the cursor over to the matching open paren when you type a close paren. While this helps, it's not perfect, in that it will match open parens in code when you type a close paren in a string or comment (but.. I could probably fix that).

Then I found some other stuff that does the emacs-y thing of highlighting the matching paren when your cursor is on a paren. This is super-helpful; unfortunately, the stuff I found was way too slow to actually use (where "too slow" is defined as follows: you hold down j/k to scroll through text, and the scrolling slows down, getting behind on keypress events, so that when you release the button, it keeps scrolling seemingly forever).

Does anybody know of some good vim scripts/plugins/whatever to do this? Suggestions welcome at pcolijn gmail com, unless your suggestion is of the form "use emacs you vim-loving weenie." I am in this to increase productivity; learning to use a new editor is too much overhead (at least in the short term; in the long term it is possible I could be brought over to the dark side, as some of vim's shortcomings (like this one) are starting to get to me).


<sarcasm degree="modest">

To those of you who are:

  • White
  • Male
  • Straight
  • Anglophone
  • Wealthy

Congratulations! The new government will be looking after you well!

To the other 90% of the country: I'm sorry. But some of you must have voted for the fuckers; WTF were you thinking? Hey here's a fantastic idea: in the next election, why don't we just bring Bush up here to run for the Cons? Apparently Canadians really like him, as demonstrated by their voting for his Canadian counterpart, so if we bring in the real deal it should be a landslide!


Sigh. At least it's only a minority. Hopefully everyone else in parliament can gang up on the Cons to prevent truly gruesome things from happening. But man, Harper for PM? We're gonna look like complete idiots internationally now. I guess we deserve it; it seems many of us are, indeed, complete idiots.

On a slightly more positive note, 29 (at last count) seats for the NDP ain't bad. And after Martin's departure, Belinda Stronach for Liberal leader anyone?

Bye-bye ndiswrapper

I bought my current laptop off of eBay, and in the eBay description it claimed the laptop came with the Intel PRO wireless (i.e. the one that has native Linux drivers). It did not. Since stuff worked with ndiswrapper and I didn't really want to go through all the trouble of returning it (especially since I bought it in the states and a replacement would have to go to Canada, so the customs crap would be annoying) I just let it be. Though I did give the eBay seller some bad feedback.

Recently, some persistent and motivated people have even begun releasing snapshots of an open-source Broadcom driver. I even tried them.. and they oops sometimes when you set the essid and couldn't manage to do anything more than associate for me.. but A+ for effort, and hopefully they'll work Real Soon Now.

But that's not actually what I'm writing about. I discovered that you can buy an Intel PRO Wireless miniPCI card for $30CAD on eBay! For $30 + shipping I get to kiss my random lockups goodbye and support a company that, you know, isn't completely braindead. Done deal. Had I known how easy and cheap it was before, I would have done it long ago. Anybody else stuck with craptacular Broadcom wireless should seriously consider doing the same. For $30, you can't really go wrong.

apenwarr: I basically agree with you the psychology of perks is strange and non-obvious. But all the perks you mention (with the possible exception of the foosball table) fall into what I would call "personal" perks. It's your vacation, your free t-shirt and your glasses insurance. The most beneficial (for the company) perks, I would argue, are those that make the workplace more attractive.

For example, at Google you can get all 3 meals for free at work each day. The result? Many people will show up rather early (8-9:30) to get breakfast or stay somewhat late (at least 7) to get dinner (or even better, both). The meals are probably therefore revenue-neutral or possibly revenue-positive for Google, since people both work longer and feel like they're getting a perk. Similarly with laundry. Why worry about gathering together a bunch of quarters and other random change on a Saturday when I could just go to work to do my laundry? And hey, while I'm waiting for my clothes to dry I might as well read email. And I still feel like it's a perk, despite the fact that they've gotten me to come in and catch up on email on a Saturday.

Pure genius. They've got me working harder and I feel like I'm totally privileged. And I know it. And I don't even care.

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