Content from 2009-04

Quick Music Post...
posted on 2009-04-25 15:51:31
Then back to working on a final CS project. Sorry if I haven't been around.

Jamie Lidell - All I Wanna Do
Found at

The Velvet Teen - Chimera Obscurant
Found at

Placeholder Post
posted on 2009-04-20 15:58:32
So another week has passed and apparently it's time for me to write another blog post. I have some interesting things I've been wanting to talk about but unfortunately I don't have the time to post right now. I may later on this week, say Friday, but finals and schoolwork is taking precedent for the time being.

I'll still say a few brief things here just so you know what's coming.

  • Dad has had some recent complications and we're still waiting for word from the doctors as to what can be done about them. More forthcoming.

  • I happened to remember and watch Fist of Legend over the weekend which got me thinking about Cross Training and reading modern martial arts history on Wikipedia.

  • I've been recognizing some things about why I like Smash Bros so much and why Street Fighter IV has been trying for me even though I find much to commend it.

  • Teresa and I are all set to move in to the Aventine at Ashford May 8th. There will be a goodbye Windsor house party/video game tourney/thing before then.

On Trunks
posted on 2009-04-14 04:25:27
I can't believe it's mid-April. That's just wrong. Everything is going really well but it's hard to believe how fast this semester has gone by. Last week was pretty good. It just seems like so much is happening. I'll say this, I have a really fantastic and interesting group of friends whom I deeply care about. It's good stuff. This morning was adventurous. No fewer than three trees came down in our yard. It was pretty epic.

One thing that helped a lot lately was a song...

John Hiatt - Have A Little Faith In Me
Found at

Things haven't been easy in a lot of ways and it's been hard to keep the faith. Then again, I don't seem to be the only one that's struggling right now. Also, this is going to be another rather linkpostish entry. Sorry.

UC Berkeley has a youtube channel. More and more institutions are doing this (The Obama Administration, anyone?) and I think it's a good thing. Stanford has some too but I'm more specifically interested in their CS Colloquia than anything else I've seen.

Speaking of the Obama Administration, I'm a bit frustrated with them and there are two primary reasons. One is that, apparently, Habeas Corpus is too good for some people even though we're shutting down Gitmo. I spoke to a friend today who remarked, "What on earth is there that two consecutive presidents would be afraid of releasing?". I hope it's not the will and fury of a fickle American public. The second is that they've actually STRENGTHENED the Bush Administration's position on Warrantless Wiretapping. I'm particularly livid about this because this is one of the biggest reasons I wanted Obama in office in the first place. The Consitution is increasingly in tatters and I'm pretty sure that counts as a broken campaign promise. The EFF's Kevin Bankston spoke about it on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Here's one link that just doesn't go anywhere else. It's a very interesting Wikipedia article about Math in the Sciences and relates to some of my ideas about math being "the Thing at the Bottom". I may write a little more about that later on but I've been thinking about it a little more often lately.

I've been a little interested in live coding lately but the available software is still not quite what I'm looking for. That said, Impromptu is the closest if only it wasn't OSX-only. I hate non-cross platform software in 200x. I even considered installing Hackintosh OSX on my X200 to get it going. I'll probably end up playing with Fluxus as it seems like the next best thing but it has to be built from source. *sigh* Gross! At least there's an AUR package.

Now that Kernel 2.6.29 and an updated X stack and Intel video card drivers are downstream, the software release I'm most looking forward to is Firefox 3.5. I spend a large portion of my life in that browser so any significant updates, especially those with performance improvements, are a big deal. Mozilla is already planning for Firefox 3.6 however and they seem to have quite ambitious plans indeed. Unfortunately, one other project I've been eyeing for quite some time seems to be struggling. OpenMoko, whom I was hoping would eventually produce a replacement for my aging Nokia phone, appear to be struggling mightily and the later models I was hoping for have been cancelled I'll together. I'll be crossing my fingers for their survival. They were indeed innovating but look like they might go the way of the OLPC project. Reinvention into obsolescence.

Beyond that, there have been a few cute things on Reddit of late. A Programmer Competency Matrix got put up recently and was, of course, lambasted for being bullshit. That said, it's cute and fun and for CS *students* it would serve as a pretty decent reminder for the things they ought to really have down by the time they enter the workforce. I'm talking about the log(n) column too not just the other stuff.

I'm a little confused about CPU Frequency Scaling. I've removed cpufreq from my Daemons array due to reasons I mentioned before. Namely, it wasn't doing anything and may have actually been causing problems. Now this guy is talking about how it's fail anyway. This is the same cpufrequtils we're talking about right? How did this get so widespread as good practice? Silly herd mentalities. Shame on me!

I hope to start exposing myself to new music a bit more regularly. Between's recommendation engine and the backlog of pirated songs spanning everything from Tapes 'n Tapes to Triosk I think I'll be busy for a while.

I'm still distracted by personal code but I'm doing an awful job spending time on it. There's a nice article here about using Lisp for shell scripting. I love that kind of small practical example, even if you get looked down upon for being a newb reading it. You've got to teach yourself somehow and bootstrap yourself somewhere, right? I'm also looking forward to trying out Urwid this week to work on a user interface for Pycooker. If I have problems I can always fall back on Curses. More on the abomination of my intended progress later.

Finally, I'd like to cook these Cream Cheese Wontons sometime in the near future but I don't know where I can get some wonton skins. Anybody have any ideas? That's all I can think of for tonight. Now if only I didn't have school in a few hours.
Apprehensive About April
posted on 2009-04-07 03:31:00
I sort of forgot that schoolwork all bunches together for a nice crunch towards the end of the semester. Consequently, I'm juggling a fair bit at the moment. Not least because I'm also sorting out Financial Aid and Housing for the next year. On the bright side, I've got some fun projects in the works and I'm not too worried about my classes. I can say I'll be very glad to be done with the semester, even though my summer classes start May 18th. Thankfully, they all are in the afternoon Monday through Thursday.

Here are a few other things that have been going on:

President Obama gave the Queen of England an iPod loaded with 40 Showtunes. And we don't know if that's legal. Think our Intellectual Property laws are messed up yet?

Apparently there's a pretty nice concrete skatepark near me. With any luck Burke and I will be regulars over the summer while he's here. :)

Unladen Swallow seems to be moving along nicely. I jumped in to check on their progress. Speaking of Python, Mark Pilgrim is working on Dive Into Python 3 and it's online. There are also a few fun articles on Functional Programming in Python. Oh, and Named Tuples kind of rock. You'll need Python 2.6 to use them though.

Arch Linux is planning an April release and they've got a fair amount slated to get done. I'm rather excited about it.

Some devs implemented a MapReduce framework in Bash over the weekend. I think it's awesome.

John Cowan has an endearing list of Essentialist Explanations about languages that's fun to peruse.

Last but not least, I've been on a real John Mayer streak lately but here are two other songs that I've really enjoyed. E.Z. L.A. by The Folk Implosion is simply awesome. That whole album is, so get that. No City by Aesop Rock is also quite excellent. I still prefer Labor Days though. In other news, Mayer and the Gorillaz have albums slated to come out in the near future. You're thrilled, right?

All Over Everywhere
posted on 2009-04-02 20:31:30
This week has ended up being pretty nice, if off the wall. Teresa and I were getting locked into an apartment over at the Aventine at Ashford. I'm also beginning to dig into Financial Aid applications for 2009-2010 and preparing for all the schoolwork I've got to do in April. Oh, and before I beat you with them I might as well warn you that this is another linkpost.

I'm planning on doing some hacking with a friend this weekend and was looking at data structures on Wikipedia, primarily Radix Trees and Tries(Prefix Trees).

Looking at which languages had libraries already, I found that Haskell's ByteString-Trie was written by a fellow named wren ng thorton. I chased a few links and stumbled on wren's livejournal where I read my favorite thing since the Minimal Social Compact. I may not be smart enough to follow every thread in there but I'm smart enough to know that his thoughts resonate and I wish wren the best of success. I really enjoyed Objects are a Big Pile of Fail too but for different reasons.

Speaking of Haskell, Conal Elliott's blog hosted a really good discussion on what portability means in terms of semantics, GHC 6.10.2 was released and the Haskell-Platform Mailing List put out a call for volunteers to help Duncan and Dons et al help get it out the door. You can say a lot of things about that language but you can't say it doesn't have momentum. Mmmm.

That other language I'm fond of has had some fun developments recently. It's not a huge deal necessarily but there's an interesting article by Slava Pestov on implementing a SmallTalk front end to Factor's VM. That's good fun.

Yesterday was eventful. I fixed some drywall and got a book in the mail. I'm rather excited about it. Its called The Elements of Computing Systems and between the book and companion web site (see: study plan), you'll build a computer from top to bottom out of NAND gates. A minimal Operating System implemented in a High Level Language, implemented on a VM, implemented on an Assembler, implemented on Machine Code, implemented on a specific Computer Architecture, implemented from Chips and Gates on whatever substrate proves suitable. Beneath that, of course, is Physics.

Also, it's been a long time since I was regularly checking Anandtech but when Anand keeps kicking out awesome articles about SSDs and the development of breakthrough graphics products I've gotta keep checking in for more. Keep it up, Anand! He's also managed to turn me into an OCZ Vertex fanboy.

Last but not least, it's important that somebody tell the Music Industry (and the Content Industry as a whole, actually) to bug off but I'm not sure that Charlie Nesson would be my first choice for the job. That said, it's important that somebody is trying to do it and I at least appreciate his goal of turning Copyright into a matter which people actually think about. We'll see what happens.

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