Older blog entries for walters (starting at number 29)

Well, grad school is interesting. I was originally thinking about doing research on programming language macro systems (I wrote a paper on this topic). However, I had to attend this mandatory seminar class, which I thought was going to be really boring, like professors blathering on about their boring research. Some of the presentations were, in fact. However, some were interesting, and this one on data mining in particular was totally fascinating. I asked the professor the next day if he had any research positions available, and we're due to meet tomorrow. Hopefully something good will come of that.

It's unfortunately getting a bit cold to rollerblade, which is disappointing. I like the fall a lot otherwise.

Lately I've been hacking on the Debian GNOME 1 -> GNOME 2 transition scripts. Somewhat boring work, but someone's gotta do it. I think I'll be done in the next few days, and then after that GNOME 2 can move into sid. Woot!

Whee. Long time no diary entry. Well, I've been busy :) Since the job market sucked so bad, I took most of the summer since graduating off, and I've spent a lot of time hacking. I've really gotten back into GNOME, in a big way. I'm trying to get away from using Emacs for everything.

So what have I been hacking on? Well, my current favorite project is Rhythmbox, which kicks XMMS' ass all over town. I'm presently working on internet radio support, for which I've had to hack GStreamer. Let me just say that GStreamer is an amazing piece of software.

However, during the above project, I've been distracted by NetHack more than once. While playing using the GNOME frontend, I realized that it was one of the few remaining GNOME 1 apps left on my desktop. So I started porting it to GNOME 2, and I'm pretty much done.

Other than that I've been excercising a lot, especially skating. I got new detachable rollerskates that just totally rule. Many people on campus have asked me about them.

That's it for now. It's about 5am, and time to sleep....

So, I graduated. Hire me.

Gah. My todo list is getting insane. I have promised myself I will get a new version of browse-kill-ring.el out today.

I was reading this article on CNN about how they're using cloning to revive an extinct species. The thought of being able to bring an animal back into the world that hasn't existed for over 60 years, just based on a chemical encoding, gave me this weird vision of life as a swirling collection of information. That's all DNA is; coded information. And we're the result of that code. I of course have "known" this for a long time, but today was the first time it really hit me.

I've finally gotten back into going to the gym on a regular basis, and as I did some rollerblading around campus today, I noticed more girls looking at me. Now, I don't work out solely for that reason, but it is a nice bonus. What I finally realized is that people in general give more respect to someone who has some muscles. It's usually a fairly subtle effect, but it is extremely pervasive.

My dad convinced me to go the YMCA with him one day, and after I stepped outside again, tired and sore, I felt a lot better. That feeling has kept me going back pretty much every other day for the last three years. Before that, I used to think that bodybuilders and the like were just egotistic and stupid, and while that's true of a few, most people think of a toned body as a mark of self-respect. Your body reflects the state of your mind in many ways. Some people, when they're nervous, chew their fingernails. Shy people will probably tend to hunch over a bit. So when you take the time to excercise, it shows that you care about your body, and you're not going to let it go unmaintained. It shows that you have confidence and self-respect.

How much time do you spend doing system administration on your GNU/Linux or BSD machine? How long did it take you to set up RAID 5, upgrade your kernel, or to install the latest version of GNOME 2? Don't you think you should spend at least a fraction of that time (e.g. an hour every few days) doing "system administration" on your body, which keeps you alive? So stop reading this, and go apply for a membership at your local gym. You'll be glad you did.

13 May 2002 (updated 13 May 2002 at 08:01 UTC) »

(not free software related) I often read Wired News, and they liked to this article in the Economist which was pretty interesting. One sentence though particularly grabbed me:

Conditions such as these are the main reason why, every day, there are about 6,000 deaths around the world from water-borne diseases.
That is just crazy. I know there are also plenty of other nasty things which people die from every day, but water? It makes me feel quite strange, as I sit here and drink from my water bottle, which I filled with water from a drinking fountain. Sometimes I think about the relative merits of things. I spend quite a lot of volunteer time working on free software; shouldn't I be spending that volunteer time trying to save lives or something? In the end, though, I'm not sure what good I can do purifying water. But I do know how to program, so I guess I'll just content myself with trying to change the world that way.

Have a killer headache right now. I'm not sure exactly why this motivated me to write an advogato diary entry. :)

Played roller hockey for the first time today. I was rather useless to my teammates. I can skate pretty well, but there's a lot more to the game than being able to skate, that's for sure...

It rather sucks that the Evolution developers still haven't accepted my patch to optionally disable HTML rendering :(

So, I am getting paid to hack with METAFONT. This is a very cool thing. Basically I'm redoing this guy's logo in METAFONT so he can easily use it in LaTeX documents. Not a bad job at all, and it's lots of fun. The tricky part is getting the font to look exactly like the current .gif, at different levels of scaling.

Girls are frustrating.

23 Apr 2002 (updated 28 Apr 2002 at 20:32 UTC) »

Been sick recently, it's no fun. On the other hand, I did manage to squash a few items from my todo list.

I keep having doubts about Debian-CORBA. Sometimes I think that it might be easier to export the data via LDAP or something. On the other hand, though, that precludes doing any of the cooler stuff we could do with CORBA like modifying things.

Yay, one more of my Debian bugs (#135579) is squashed. Now I only have a few normal level bugs left; the one that really needs fixing is 112236, but I just haven't had time to debug it. The Crux GTK+ theme seems to make other GNOME applets go awry too.

Found a research topic for this quarter: advanced macro systems. Should be interesting.

I must say, not having class on Friday rocks!

Woo, first day of spring quarter classes here at OSU. This is when all the attractive women who went into hibernation for the winter quarter come out :)

Did a bit of Debian hacking today, nothing too interesting. Hm, it's really about time I squashed bug 135579...

I noticed SBCL got into Debian/powerpc; very cool.

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