Older blog entries for reenoo (starting at number 14)


This morning, my spontaneous response to a guy complaining about the first rainy day after weeks of sunshine and temperatures >25C was: "The day will come when you'll be very happy about every single raindrop."

A true but scary thought.

Nassler & Schneider

I saw Nassler & Schneider in concert on Thursday. It was just amazing. Two classical/latin guitars, some percussion elements, mild use of synthesizer and live recording/playback effects, and a unique mix of classical, spanish, latin and jazz influences.

If you ever get the chance to see these two masters of the guitar in concert, don't hesitate to go!

Kernel hacking for fun and credit points

...is one of the things I'll be doing at university this semester (although I don't actually need the credit points). There are various other interesting courses, but I haven't made a final decision on which of them to take. Anyways. Good times :)

Etch is out

Of course I'm a bit late to blog about this... Etch has been released. It's working well on several of my machines. Congratulations to the Debian project for a successful release!

"I just love it when a plan comes together!"

I finished implementing a bit of interesting infrastructure for the next major release of Familiar today. It's great to see stuff come together that started out as a rough plan devised at breakfast one day long ago. Arguably, early January wasn't long ago but it feels like forever given how busy I've been (with other stuff).

Anyways, there's more infrastructure waiting to be specified and implemented. On to more fun... :)

Evolution Annoyances

So, evolution is one of those applications that I don't altogether like but can't work without. It's simply the only application that handles my deeply nested folder structure on the load of IMAP accounts halfway well.

Recently, however, a number of annoyances started piling up. Today I got so annoyed that I downloaded the source code and patched the stupidities away. Most importantly there are a lot less confirmation dialogs now and the folder sorter order is sane again.

Now back to Familiar infrastructure...

Migration Complete (Almost)

I finally managed to migrate most services from the old (crashy) workstation to the new one. Migrating my pretty complex e-mail filtering setup took the most time. There are still a few things left on the old machine - mostly all sorts of random data. I will gradually move that stuff over when I need it and sort it while I'm at it.

Anyways. I'll be able to start with productive work again tomorrow. Good stuff :)

4 Apr 2007 (updated 4 Apr 2007 at 16:37 UTC) »

Spring Cleaning

The sun is shining, my room has received a good bit of spring cleaning, and the trash bin is full. What more can I say? I'm pleased with the result.

Now on to the car...

Update: The car is nice and clean again as well now :)

Dear author,

if you happen to be writing a scientific book and want me to enjoy reading it, the following hints might be helpful:

Get to the point. If you write a book on neural science and want to teach me about neurobiology, concentrate on the physical and/or bio chemistry involved. "equivalent electrical circuits" are nice and perhaps useful as a separate chapter but intermingled with the relevant content that just gets in the way. I need to finish reading the book in finite time after all.

Don't try to be funny. A scientific book is not a lecture, you don't need to add jokes or pull other stunts to keep your audience awake. Of course there are authors who manage to write entertaining books that still get the content across without wasting the reader's time, but that is a rare achievement.

Don't present guesswork as hard facts. Clearly stating that you "don't know" does not make your work look bad. Quite the opposite is the case. Readers will spot weak logic.

Try to anticipate the reader's doubts and address them. Often this involves doing the math involved. E.g., stating that complex behaviours are encoded in the genome of vertebrates makes me wonder whether the genome can hold that much information. I don't have the answer. In a similar case, however, it was long believed that cortical maps in the human brain (which sensory information is represented on which part of the cortex) were encoded in the human genome which later turned out to be fully explainable by self-organization of certain neural network structures (cf. Kohonen networks).




Reminded by Christopher Blizzard's blog entry on a video that takes a look behind the scenes and, to me most interestingly, introduces some of the people behind OLPC I somehow found myself reading up on Bitfrost.

Bitfrost is OLPC's security platform that is going to protect some several million machines all over the world once deployments start, and that is not a small task!

AFAICT the technical specification is not yet ready (or not yet public) but the informal description lists a number of very interesting problems and use cases. While other parts of the OLPC software platform are just usual software evolution in my view, Bitfrost is likely to change how we look at security. If it gets attention from the right people this might turn into a long needed revolution.

It remains to be seen how the concepts behind Bitfrost are implemented, but I'm looking forward to the detailed specification. It is definitely something we need to look into as Familiar gains support for cell phones.

Speaking of innovation, there's promising progress going on behind the scenes of Familiar. Currently, we are concentrating efforts on getting the infrastructure for the next major release right. As usual with infrastructural changes, visible results only come about when things are done, but I'm confident it will be well worth it in the long run.

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