30 October 2008

Yet another math presentation

The geek life has been a bit harder lately. I spent an entire day and then an entire evening preparing a presentation about the Weil Pairing. Don't ask me what it is - I have been trying to understand it for two years! (Well, I have been trying other things as well during those years, but still, you get the idea.)

"Sweetie, I know you're busy, but I gotta ask you one thing: who's the long unseen friend from the previous post?" messaged me Boyfriend. The brief explanation of Long Unseen Friend being an ex of mine didn't really satisfy him, nor the fact that he missed our appointment and still I set a new one.

But let's not allow the boys to distract us from the Weil Pairing, because I have great news! After those two years, I have finally understood what the Weil Pairing is and how to evaluate it! There's a bad news too: I understood it fully during my presentation. I realized that the example I had picked was by far too simple and I still have a lot of work to do. But hey, I finally got it!

For those of you who speak Polish, know a bit of math and aren't easily scared (anyone still reading?), here are my slides:

29 October 2008

A lovely school day

Today was a totally lovely school day.

First I slept until nine. Ate breakfast watching "Lipstick Jungle", showered, read the daily portion of LifeHacker. Ran out of the house afraid to miss the train and had to wait ten minutes. You know, the usual.

School started for me at twelve with a geometry seminar. Just before, I had an "ooops, I forgot I had a blog again" moment and blogged. But back to the seminar, it was really good. The guy was well-prepared, had read a few different sources, understood the subject very well, published the notes... excellent work.

Then a break, during which I got a free coffee (with a mug) from Citibank. Grateful, I decided to honor them with my presence at a case study, which turned out to be a long talk about career opportunities that convinced me that I was already working at the right place, as they were looking for network people and not programmers. I also got a call from a long unseen friend and set up a meeting for tomorrow.

Next came a law class, where I was distracted by the thought of my coming-up presentation about the Weil Pairing. Whatever that is, the fact that I keep getting the n-th power of one instead of a root is highly disturbing. I'm still working on that now that I'm home - and that's how a typical geek day ends.

The video game industry sucks

I recently came across two things:

  1. an article in LA Times on how unfriendly to women, and people in general, the video game industry is
  2. a booklet by CD Project Red supposed to make people want to work in this industry.
Here are the scans of the first pages:

A picture says a thousand words, so I'll let these speak for themselves.

24 October 2008

The dilmena of updating Windows

Once again, I am confused by Windows. Where's the talking paperclip when you need him to share his wisdom with you?

Updating Windows has always been a tough decision. Once a friend updated Windows and then he could only have three explorer windows opened at the same time. Once a friend updated windows and then he had to recover his data with the help of a company specializing in burned drives. And of course, once you've updated, you'll be constantly nagged to reboot until you reboot.

While none of the above is pleasant, the alternative has just gotten unimaginably worse as a new vulnerability has seen the day:

On Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability without authentication to run arbitrary code.
See the Microsoft Security Bulletin for more details. And update your windows now. Or wait for arbitrary code to be executed on your computer. Or congratulate yourself having chosen a safer operating system.

16 October 2008

Time to set some goals

The good lazy days of holidays are over. School has started, it's just two days a week, but with three days of work, it's hard to catch me home. And it's at least imprudent for me to stay lazy. So it's time to get organized and set some goals.

First goal, of course, it to do all the required schoolwork. That's three exams, one lab and one master paper. School... I've done that ten times already.

Second, professional goals: get my salary up and get certificates. I got a raise recently, but my work speed is still very limited by the need of learning how to do something before actually doing it. Well, it's not like in this job you get to a point where you know everything, but you do get to a point where you know the given technology, you know the available tools, you know which to choose and all that kind of stuff I often have to ask my workmates or Boyfriend.

Third, a personal goal: get rid of as much stuff as possible. I will most probably be moving out next summer and I don't want my first adult flat to be as messy over-stuffed as my room is now. In our society, everyone owns too much stuff anyway. Lifehacker has a lot of advice about that and when I started reading it, I very quickly started watching more what I buy. I want to have control over everything that enters my personal space. I can't just leave a mess at my parent's place, so a lot of things have to go. So, this morning, two dozens of magazines are gone. I also got some ideas about some other stuff.

Things are going good, and I hope it stays that way.

09 October 2008

Preparing a math presentation with Zoho

I had to give a presentation yesterday. A math one. Filled with dirty little symbols, expressions, equations and geometrical figures.

I had done that quite a few times already, but this time, I wanted to try to make slides and see what tools are available out there.

I'm pretty sure there is a proper LaTeX template, but I wanted something more modern and colorful. I was thinking Google Docs, but they don't support any kind of math. There is however a better tool, Zoho, that does. Insert a whole paragraph of praising Zoho here.

Using LaTeX in Zoho is fast and easy: you click on "insert equation" and a little LaTeX editor shows up. Once your equation is ready, an image is inserted in your document. Image, but you can always right-click on it and edit it. All I can wish for is that those images were rendered a little faster.

Okay, I've been a little manipulative here. LaTeX works great, but only in Zoho Writer (the "Word") and not in Zoho Show, the presentation tool. At least officially. I did, however, manage to make a math presentation, not without issues, but I easily found workarounds:

  • First, prepare your whole presentation in Writer. You won't be able to edit much in Show.
  • To make a slide with math, pick a text slide. Put some text you might remove later, then paste your text with math. If it looks good, better not touch.
  • Do not use bullet lists, they don't work. Your text gets parsed and the equations disappear.
  • Sometimes a bug occurs: a slide stays on the screen and seems to overwrite all the others. Close the presentation and reopen it, it should work then.
I'd love to see LaTeX supported in Zoho Show soon, but still, I managed to prepare my presentation, so insert another paragraph of praising Zoho here.

Here's the result (in Polish):

04 October 2008

Hello Kitty releases "Hello World" album

Hell don't know my fury... Hello Kitty released an album called "Hello World" with a song called "Hello World" on it.

Why my fury? Because it was my idea! I released an album called "Programming tutorial" three years ago (in text mode) and it has a song called "Hello, World!" (just like any good programming tutorial should start).

Well, let's just say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But why, oh, why, Hello Kitty?

[Official site]

02 October 2008

Happy new year!

Academic year, that is.

School just started again. I am happily surprised to still see may friends here: many people have graduated, and those who have not only have a few classes so it's hard to meet them at school.

So I met a few good old friends. One lend me money when I lost my wallet (it turned out to be under my laptop) and I made his life better by enlightening him about the white-space css property. One friend gave me my beloved algebra notebook back and I lend her three calculus ones.

Friends are old, but classes are new: law, functional programming, geometry and again, my beloved number theory and cryptography. Next week, I'm having a presentation about the Minkowski addition.

School's cool, but since I started working, I prefer my job much more.