29 June 2008

Ups and downs while the world goes round

When was the last time I blogged? Nothing keeps a student busy like the finals and then getting over the finals. And life doesn't exactly give us a break in this hard time, always with the ups and downs... here are those form last week.

I passed two more finals: correcting codes and concurrent programming. One is the well deserved result of hard work, the other the well deserved result of making the wise desicion of picking a mathematical class for computer science students and putting my knowledge of algebra to use.

I failed one final: artificial intelligence. Getting sick two days before the exam doesn't help, but those two days wouldn't make a difference if I was ready earlier.

I broke my new sunglasses. I guess carrying them in a backpack with the laptop wasn't a great idea.

I went to see the movie "Sex and the City". With Boyfriend. He survived.

A headhunter called. She was a bit rude and her company doesn't have a website, but it's nice to see I'm wanted and tell her twice what I earn to see what happens.

We almost finished the team project. The teamwork went great and now we're really good friends.

The presentation of the team project was a disaster.
Ubuntu 7.10 wouldn't cooperate with the projector, so all we got to show were the bits that we had on another laptop.

There must be something more, but that's all I remember for now.

25 June 2008

Man gets Windows Vista to work with printer

Man gets Windows Vista to work with printer! Seriously! (But not without some help from a Windows test manager.)

Full story here.

20 June 2008

Not everything is due at midnight.

Today has been another day of gaining life experience and wisdom.

I used to think everything was always due at midnight, unless otherwise stated. The operating systems assignement were due in the morning, which meant sleepless nights. Everything else is always due at midnight, as far as I know.

Today, an economy paper was due. Interdisciplinary and related to our studies. With the team project going like crazy and finals, let's just say that an economy paper is not exactly my main priority, nor has ever been in the 45 given days. (Yes, 45.) I sat to it tonight, at 10 p.m. (Yes, two hours, and it was 45 days.) Well, I did some work before: I chose a subject. Buying DRM-protected music made me wonder wether good protection of the kind can be done, which is crypto, which is related to my studies. So, subject: piracy, because it's so interdisciplinary (crypto, economy, sociology, ethics,...) So, 10 p.m., me logs to the platform and what do I see? It's due at 11 p.m.! Did I panick? Not at all, I didn't have time. I just started writing and produced 6500 characters in one hour. This is easier in Polish as the words are longer, but the thing that really helps is writing on a regular basis, which I do here. Anyway, I wrote my paper without sacrificing more time for it than it deserves (now I really really hope the teacher doesn't read this).

Today was way longer that this and way richer in experiences, but, tomorrow is the correcting codes final exam, so I have to go now. Sleep well and remember that not everything is due at midnight.

18 June 2008

Tolerance is intolerant.

Tolerance sounds nice, but personally, I think it sucks. Respect is much better. Go respect!

First, "tolerance" means that you think that what you tolerate is bad. With respect, it's the opposite. Tolerance is good for loud music totally incoherent with your taste. Or inappropriate behaviour. Can you tolerate inappropriate behaviour? You can, even though it's inappropriate. Can you respect it? No, because it's inappropriate. You can however respect people's freedom to choose to behave so, because freedom is good.

Second, tolerance is contradictive, as it doesn't tolerate intolerance. I just read an extremely expressive example of it today, in an article by Megan Carpentier about same-sex marriages:

(..) the opponents of gay marriage, those blind, blithering idiots who think that allowing people (...) to marry will hurt Marriage and religion and make the Baby Jesus cry and/or God smite us or whatever people like that use to justify their blind intolerance...
Nothing says "tolerance" like calling someone a blind, blithering idiot, making fun of his arguments and ending the article with "fuck that guy". I personally am an opponent of same-sex marriage. Still, I respect other's people freedom and privacy and do not deserve to be called an idiot. I'd really love my views to be respected as well, or at least tolerated.

17 June 2008

Thought of the day

(Note: if you happen to see a day where I didn't post anything entitled "thought of the day", it doesn't mean that I didn't think anything on that day, okay?)

Anyway, my words of wisdom for today are:

Nothing says "I put a lot of effort in that homework" like "\item $w_i - \alpha \frac{dE}{dw_i} = w_i - g(\alpha) \frac{dE}{dw_i/100} \cdot 100$\\".

14 June 2008

You know you're a geek when...

Well, you know you're a geek when it's written all over your blog, but besides that, there are many situations in life that prove you geek. I just had one again.

Boyfriend got an MacBook today and as I'm writing this, he's figuring everything out about this new computer. So I told him:

You know what I'd start with? I'd browse Lifehacker.com, they've got plenty of tips and software suggestions for Macs.

He liked my advice. So did I. A second later, I was browsing http://lifehacker.com/search/mac/ myself. There's a lot of cool stuff there, including:
I quickly found myself thinking:

Hey, it would be so cool to have a MacBook right know and discover a new OS and its possibilities and the tricks and the software and everything...

You know you're a geek when you feel a sudden desire of acquiring a new computer, not because of its parameters, not because of the marketing, but for the thrill of software discovery.

13 June 2008

Howard Webb dead on the web

Despite anything I said about TV being boring, and despite having the concurrent programming final exam today, I couldn't resist the temptation of watching the Football game yesterday evening. My country was playing against Austria.

We did great, scoring a goal in the first half, fair and square. But, in the second half, (actually, the the 92nd or third minute) when players were fighting for the ball, the referee, Howard Webb, gave Austria a penalty shot, and they scored, ending the game 1:1. Everyone in Poland is disgusted and frustrated about the injustice of the situation. More info on the game here.

Fortunately, in Poland, people have the excellent habit of openly expressing their anger in a sane and open way (I'm beging ironic here in case you're afraid I'm supporting agression). So, when I decided to google for Mr.Webb, one of the first results was a poem almost impossible to quote or translate due to the amount of obscene words (the ones with the dots). His English Wikipedia page is semi-protected due to vandalism, and so is the Polish discussion page.

Better yet, here's what Grono.net, one of Poland's biggest social networking webiste, looked like this morning (8 a.m.):
Again, the obscenity of many of those pictures make them unworth quoting, but this one is quite funny:

As for now, 9:30 a.m., more people have noticed the trend and there are now recursive pictures (and boy, do I love recursion):

The guy is dead. At least on the web.

12 June 2008

Betrayed about threads

I might be getting a little bit paranoid here... but people have been lying to me a lot recently, all about threads in Java.

Here's the deal: I have this team project, right? I'm writing a thingy that has a GUI and is supposed to check for new messages and display them to the user. It's a huge step for me, but humanity has done it already.

A teammate told me I needed an extra thread to do that. "Because you can't make the main thread check for messages, because the GUI would be irresponsive, because the GUI thread would be busy."

I told that to Boyfriend. He said it was untrue and that by scheduling work for the GUI thread, I could do the thing without a single thread.

Without a single thread. You gotta be kidding me, right? How can any work get done without a single thread?

Mmm, yeah, whatever, don't take that post too seriously, I'm just writing for the fun of writing, and here's the whole deal about threads in java explained if you care.

10 June 2008

You know you do it too much (yet again) when...

I recently had one of these "you know you do it too much when" moments.

I wanted to call one guy form the team project about the team project. I looked for his number in my address book in my cell phone - it wasn't there, as I had never called him before. I looked on my laptop for his number, but didn't fint it. Well, the hard drive had been formated. I looked on my Nokia 770, but it wasn't there either. Well, the memory had been cleaned several times.

The conclusion was: I format my drives more often than I call people. Not good. Geek, but not good.

We're setting a Guinness World Record!

Let's set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours!

All there is to do is to sign-up and then download Firefox 3 on Download Day.

I hope I'll see you all there! Spread the word!
Download Day 2008

09 June 2008

TV is dead because the web is way too cool

I almost don't watch TV. Sincerely, with all the great stuff the web has to offer nowadays, it's really hard to make time for something as primitive as TV.

First, I'm learing Java. So, both my Firefoxes (one under Windows and one under Ubuntu) have a dozen of tabs with Java documentation opened.

Second, I'm learing Spanish. I only spend about 10 minutes a day on Babbel, but I know that any other language course is close at hand (and I miss my dear Arabic).

I think you can see a pattern emerging here: I love learning. I think one ofn the greatest things to have is a cool skill. I wish I was able to do a cartwheel for example. Well, for skills like that, there's WikiHow.

I'm interested in security, but never had a class about it. My school now has a new program in computer science and there is a security course. Reason for jealousy? Absolutely not! There also is a new site with all the content of all the classes, so I just downloaded and printed some pdfs and here we are - the security knowledge is mine!

Still hungry for knowledge? Check this Metafilter thread for tons and tons of cool educative videos.

Now I'm set for at least a dozen of lifetimes of browsing the web. TV is dead.

06 June 2008

Three nuclear incidents in two days in Europe

Accidents happen, but when three similar accidents happen in two days in a part of the world, it starts to get strange.

The first incident took place on Tuesday and was just a rumor in Lublin, Poland, about higher radioactivity levels. Some people thought the cause was an accident in Ukraine. Nothing major happened, a few schools cancelled classes, it was just a rumor.

The second incident took also place on Tuesday, in the morning, and might have triggered the above rumor. In the Czech republic, the 35-year old Dukovany plant's automated safety system cut output from one of its four reactors after a worker mistakenly turned off coolant pipes.

The next day, however, a real thing happened: a water leak from the primary coolant unit in Slovenia's Krsko nuclear plant on Wednesday afternoon forced the 25-year old facility to shut down its single reactor for emergency repairs.

Here's the original article.

So many questions now. How come three incidents of the kind happen in two days when there weren't any of the kind in months? Where did the rumor come from? How come a rumor appears a day before an accident?

Another problem is the Polish society's attitude towards the nuclear energy. All most people know on the subject are legends about giant mutated rabbits in Tchernobyl. In their minds, nuclear power equals huge danger, when no matter how suspicious the above incidents were, no one has suffered, not even animals. However, only yesterday, four miners have died in a methane blast, and over 180 others died in mining accidents during the last 35 years. That's how safe the "good old ways" of obtaining energy are.

[Update] It turns out there was an incindent in Ukraine as well:

Ukraine's state nuclear power utility Energoatom has admitted that a small leak occurred at water-moderated reactor in the country's northwest on May 29, but said no radioactive materials were released.

This brings us down to three nuclear incidents in five days, still quite much and still very strange.

02 June 2008

Kitten to take

Someone has very graciously offered us a kitten, without even teling us, so we won't feel obliged to give anything in return. How lovely.

Well, the problem is we have two cats already and they absolutely do not want to share the house with a third one. Plus, the kitten is a female, wich means more and more kittens to come like in the Fibonacci sequence. So, we're taking care of this baby for a while, but we'd love to give it to someone, so if you are (or know someone who is) interested, contact me.

[Update] The kitten has found a new loving owner, and now I find myself missing it a lot, but Boyfriend told me not to be sad because there will be a new one next year. That's because last year, we were put in the exact same situation. We should start a rumor that we drown these kittens or something.