Older blog entries for ralfdog (starting at number 4)

appendix: software

having finished my rant, I am moving to the top of the journal entry to write about software, so that you can read this first.

python: began gre software today. must pick up schminderwender soon.

europa: wrote journal entry after thursday meeting. Spent 2 hours today researching large-number classes (like gmp) and methods of calculating pi.

web: I have been very happy to finally have a web page up and running. I am using the osuoss server. I think that it's very important to have one's own website.

community: I had a meeting with my mom aunt and brohter today about software and community. I taught my aunt some html.

Other: I began reading about databases in the WROX book by stones, (programming on the linux platform). I'm glad that I found that chapter, I have been trying to learn about data bases, and the friendly, tutorial style of this book means that I will only have to make time. I am spending too much time on software, and too little time on my courses. balls hurt -- laptop radiation? Who knows.

rant: I'm quite tired.

I let my roommate talk me into staying up to watch a movie on thursday night, and then I went to a kick-ass party on friday night.

The party I don't regret, except maybe that I could have left at 2:00 instead of 3:30. The party was at my friend Alejandra's house and it consisted of rooms full of latin and other international people dancing very much. Just another window into the imagined world.

I'm all confused for a bunch of reasons. reasons = [depression, health, ambition, girls, family/community structure, internet]

I just sat in front of the internet for three hours. It is unintuitive that the internet can ever be as disempowering as the tv, but you must be careful. It can suck you in.

The party had me thinking about community. It feels good when you socialize in the right way. Maybe socialize is not the right word, But certainly, for me, all of the joy of living comes from sharing and from being with other people. Yet I am with the people that I care about far too seldom, and I share with them far too little.

I am not trying to complain, and I'm happy enough, but I'm looking for solutions. We modern people, and americans in particular, live in a time of severe cultural displacement. We could think of this as a totally disempowering situation, or we could think of it as an opportunity.

If we could recognize the need and build a sense of community for ourselves, that would be quite an accomplishment.

So how can you start? a few ideas:

  • the three most important ideas for community, and for relationships in general are: communication, communication, and communication. It would be difficult to overemphasize this point.
  • Use all of the problem solving skills that you know from other areas, like business or art or math.
  • listen to as much music as you can get your hands on.
  • keep learning all of the semi-obvious shit that any good religion will tell you, like being humble, and being respectful and reverent. I'm not an expert on this one, but syntaxpolice is, if you need to ask somebody.

So I think that my journal entry turned into a rant again. Good enough.

other items of note:

  • puia called today
  • studying with isabela at Brennen's tomorrow.
  • parents visited today.
  • back hurts today
  • ran yesterday
  • reunited with old friend yesterday.
  • fell in and out of love. Turn-around time = 1 week.
    changed forever
  • made up with a girl whose feelings I hurt. happy now. </ul>

I am writing to respond to syntaxpolice's Jan 8 post about his emacs mode.

I will work to understand his elisp (i know only a little). I hope that I can make it work with my own, similar program written in python.

The way that I use mine is that I type ./journalEntry at the command line and it generates a directory for that day.

The main thing that I use in the directory is the tex file which is automatically generated by the journalEntry program.

It sure would be nice if I could do the whole job of creating the directory, opening the proper buffer, and placing the cursor with one emacs binding. Whew!

And I'm almost there!

The next thing I want to be able to do is say something like grocery_list.add{ oranges } or something. And have some program parse that and add oranges to my grocery list.

Problem is, I don't know how to use a database.

At all.

I can do it with python pickles, but I really want to use a database.

I'm convinced that syntaxpolice's frequent mention of rock climbing is a kaniving scheme to trick me into going. Let the record note that syntaxpolice is always trying to trick me into doing things which I want to do and which are good for me.

I haven't posted to advogato in a long time.

I have some code up at http://freedom.cis.ohio-state.edu/~ralf.

I am thinking that maybe the scope of this advogato diary is larger than what I need. I get the weird feeling that I am on stage talking into a microphone with a lot of feedback and there is just this big blackness in front of me. What I mean is that I don't know who's reading this and what my intended audience is.

I think that it's a good idea, but maybe it should have more structure. Like a tree instead of a list. There could be different websites for apprentices at different geographical locations. That way I would know that it's "Isaac" and "nick" and "joe" who are reading my journal, and I think that that would make more sense to me.

Then maybe representative entries could be posted up a level (at the parent node.)

I just had a conversation with Brent. I like to send an email to a person after we have a conversation. A reminder of what the topics were. Especially if I was excited about the conversation. Maybe because then we both have record of it. Or maybe just because I like to. It's kind of weird though, if everyone has record of everything. It makes me less free. I keep trying to articulate that feeling and inquire into why i have it. I try to challenge myself to explain things like that without using 1984-style rhetoric.

See it's exciting to know about computers and to think how much control we have over information. Like, I like to walk down high street and think about my phone bill, and to imagine all of the different questions that I can ask about it. Like, for example, how many phone calls were made in the last 5 minutes before 9:00? These were probably calls which I intended to make right at 9:00 (when the rates go down) but maybe my watch is different from theirs. It's just an example. There are many more. It's pretty rare for me, that I go ahead and answer them, but to me it's exciting to reason about information in this way.

It's also scary.

But I'm not sure why.

I thought that it was funny that syntaxpolice had a dream that evolution had full emacs bindings.

After I read that though, i had dreams about software too. I don't remember what they were exactly. I was going to write them in a journal entry this morning, and then i didn't and now it's night.

To exciting things that I did today as far as software was to work on my quiz program in python. Python is so easy that it's embarassing. I copied some dates from the "Venezuela timeline" from bbc.co.uk. Then I used my quiz program to help memorize them. It was really a lot of fun.

Another thing that I did was to program with gtk for the first time. Man, that's great.

This is my first journal entry.

I was encouraged to create an account here and to post journal entries by my friend syntaxpolice as an extention of his programming class.

right now I am learning gtk and python. My immediate reason for learning gtk is so that I can work on the interface to a program called xppaut. Xppaut is a program to help scientists view differential equations.

I am also interested in literate programming, although I have not produced any literate programs yet. Also, my friend dutch recommended that I learn how to use a database. I have been thinking about databases since then and would like to learn how to use one, but I have not done so yet.

I think that all human endeavors since fire have far reaching ethical considerations which are percieved by their human practitioners but which are difficult to articulate, and very difficult to talk about. Included among them is this wonderful website with which I am impressed, and which I believe will help syntaxpolice and myself help eachother to learn how to program.

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