Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Advogato Entry 197

Haven't posted for a few days. Been somewhat busy with homework and, well, being lazy. Currently seeing if I can compile octave-mpi again or not.

Too bad `make -jN' doesn't always work. I suppose people don't like having to set up the proper dependency structures for it..

Stalled too much on homework this weekend. Got it mostly done, but not as good as I could have done. Something just seemed to be missing for me after a while.

I suppose James Randi could probably debunk it easily, but it's interesting that the Global Consciousness Project at Princeton apparently can see changes in the output of random number generators when big events happen, suggesting that thought or emotion can somehow affect the physical world.

I've wondered a lot about my place in the world. Probably any conscious being would do the same. There are the thoughts where you wonder about where, when, and why. Is the world real, or some sort of test for a soul or a mind?

Maybe I read too much sci-fi as a kid, though I think I just identified with it. But it probably had a negative impact, too.

I probably believe a little too much in fate. I just expect certain things to happen in my life. I'll get a girlfriend someday, and things will just happen, right? Unfortunately, it hasn't `just happened' yet. Which all probably just screws up my worldview and makes me feel like I got left out or something, somewhere didn't click when it was supposed to.

I tend to get like this after I've spent too much time sequestered in my room. I need to get out of the apartment more, see more people, and probably get out of town. Again, timing lands in my way. I was hoping to see Zoolander with friends this weekend, but it sounds like they'll be going next weekend, when I'm planning to go home for a few days.

Dammit dammit dammit dammit..

Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Advogato Entry 198

Went home for the weekend, a nice diversion. Sort of. Got some music: Coldplay - Parachutes, Third Eye Blind - Blue, and Weezer - The Green Album. Mellow stuff..

Also picked up copies of Linux Journal and LinuxFormat. LXF seems chock-full of goodies, but it's spendy since it comes with two CDs and it's from across the pond..

I was successful in my Automata test today. Either the tests are a lot easier this time around, or I'm actually understanding the subject matter. Third time's the charm, I guess.

Internet Programming is still an interesting class. I'm learning much more than I was initially expecting. Sometimes, it's good to have a good teacher tell you what's going on, rather than trying to figure it out by yourself from disparate sources. Certainly, the interactivity of classes is useful.

Feeling decidedly un-interactive with the government and people making decisions about what is going on in Afghanistan. I was somehow hoping we could take a moral high ground of some sort and focus on the humanitarian goal of helping these people out while learning to respect their points of view -- why they hate or dislike us.

Now that bombs have dropped and missiles have flown in, I'm hoping that it was just the opening move in an intricate chess game including many different aspects. We need to put people on the ground, whether they are military or aid workers of some kind. Throughout all of the actions taken, we need to work to uphold the ideals put forth in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and other foundational documents.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Democracy, equality, free speech, and free trade.

The US shouldn't be in the country-building `business,' but we appear to be falling into that role. This nation certainly has limits, and we can't be a global policeman or carpenter or whatever forever. It all takes time, money and energy that we don't have endless stores of. We can do a lot, certainly, but it shouldn't get out of hand, either.

Life is often about striking balances, finding the middle ground. Politicians may be a little too good at this sometimes (actually, they're not -- they're just vague enough to fake it). I know we can help build a stronger, more tolerant Afghanistan. Hell, how much money will it take to replace those bombs and missiles we sent in? I'd rather that money get spent on building rather than destroying.

Anyway..

Tried to get the shower flowing again, without much luck. Tried some off-brand de-gunking fluid that may have not been the best solution.. Flow rate may have improved slightly, but not much.

Time to empty the dishwasher, I think...

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Advogato Entry 199

The topic that won't die

Had a bit of a confrontation on IRC today, talking with someone from the LUG about the current wave of nationalism. He couldn't refrain from referring to our country as `ameriKKKa' all of the time. Got annoying after a while.

There is no doubt in my mind that there have been atrocities in this country, and that we've done un-good things in other parts of the world. However, I can't live if I think that the only direction this country is going is down.

Most of this country's founding fathers owned slaves. These people who promoted the ideals of freedom and justice had their dark sides. That can't be denied. However, they also knew that they were going to make mistakes when they wrote the Constitution that would bind the colonies together. The constitution can be amended. They strove to keep a balance between the different branches of government.

We have problems, but it's not like we haven't been working on them. It takes time, obviously, and there is that chance that we'll fail miserably at some point. However, at this point, I see a bright future for our country.

It's important to stay informed -- that's probably the biggest single problem we have. The media (mostly TV) is often sensationalistic, and can cause the public to be misinformed or uninformed. Then public opinion polls can be slanted in unusual ways, causing politicians to push ideas they may not believe in.

On a politics mailing list that I'm on, there has been recent discussion and praise for the `question time' that many European parliaments have. I saw the Canadian parliament doing it on C-SPAN a week or so ago. One hope I have is that this practice will come to the US in some form. Perhaps not a formal event in the halls of the Capitol, but any way we can get our congresscritters more animated is a good thing.

Of course, too much speed can be a bad thing. Knee-jerk legislation is an evil that we need to be watchful of. I wrote to one of my senators (at least I think I did -- I'm not sure if that web form actually did anything) and asked him to be careful about how he moved in this time. I requested that if he is not able to fully read proposed legislation before it is put up for vote, he should either not vote on it, or should vote against it.

I think I'm becoming more concerned about what's going on in Afghanistan. I'm just not sure what the military has as its goal. Obviously get rid of bin Laden, but what about promoting freedom?

Friday, October 12, 2001

Advogato Entry 200

Never knew how cool CGI.pm was. Doing some homework with it..

Wonder when I should update my homepage. It's been a while. I'd like to re-do it in PHP or CGI.pm. I wrote some really nasty routines for doing stuff in Perl the last time around. I'd really like to clean it up.

Of course, I probably won't get around to doing that until I leave college..

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Advogato Entry 201

Galeon rocks! I still don't like lots of stuff that went into Mozilal/Gecko (stupid to build cross-platform widgets, IMHO), but this interface is really nice. I even noticed that if you middle-click on a folder in a bookmark toolbar, you open the entire folder in new tabs (or windows, if you like that sort of thing). Very cool.

I don't think I'll be writing too much in this diary for a while. My emotions have been stirred up, probably due to many things, and I'm not sure if emotion stuff is good to write here.

Suffice it to say that I've been really looking for interpersonal contact much more lately. It's not something I'm good at, and writing much about it would probably only make me more frustrated, forcing me to re-live failures. Anyway, I'm in a tough place right now.

My roommate has a very beautiful girlfriend, and I can't help but think I have a chance with her (yeah, right). I have to work to find someone else, otherwise I'll just drive myself nuts pursuing someone I can't have.

On a completely different topic, I've noticed how Sci-Fi literature, movies, and TV has really been around to help us explore possibilities -- ones that have turned into reality in the last month and a half.. Perhaps that's why I see the technical community seeing these events in a different light..

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Advogato Entry 202

Thinking of hacking on `gv', just so that it will display right on my Xinerama desktop. All I want is for it to understand that my pixels are still roughly square.

Interesting that `xdpyinfo' reports

screen #0:
  dimensions:    2880x1200 pixels (330x252 millimeters)
  resolution:    222x121 dots per inch
  ...

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Advogato Entry 203

Yay! I submitted a Xinerama patch for gnome-gv (a.k.a. ggv) to the Debian bug tracking system. Now to try for gv.

Later

Got gv done before I headed to work (late) today.

Bug for gv. Bug for gnome-gv.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

Advogato Entry 204

Hmm. Mozilla has trouble picking font sizes on my computer. Appears to be an issue with the interaction of Mozilla, Xinerama, and the X font server. TrueType fonts seem to exacerbate the problem, but it's hard to be sure.

Hopefully I can find where the bug is, if there is one, this week during Mozilla's bugweek. I think, just like with gv and gnome-gv, it's calculating DPI of the screen incorrectly. If I specify the font size to be 14pt (what my normal font is set to in browser settings), I get a font much larger. Huge, in fact.

Even 8pt text is big. It's crazy.

Anyway..

Saw Iron Monkey. It's more bloody than the other Kung-Fu movies I've seen, so Quentin Tarantino supporting it isn't too surprising.

Driving back, I was reminded of the fluidity of life. I don't spend much time in cars, so I forget how driving can be like a dance, and how traffic has such interesting motions. In my life, where things are often measured in frames-per-second, it's good to be reminded that the real world is much more continuous.

I really wish I'd dated at least a girl or two in High School. I still don't know how this sort of thing works. Not that I have any opportunity to find out at the moment..

Dammit.

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Advogato Entry 205

Wow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Advogato Entry 206

Dealing with a crappy Internet connection in the apartment. The whole building is on a T1, which really isn't enough. I bet people have been sharing loads of stuff with Morpheus or something.

The connection to the outside is slowly getting better. Recent measurements indicate packet loss has finally dropped below 50%.

Very high quality Internet connectivity is definitely something I miss from my college dorm days.

Later

Crap.. it was my stupid hub the whole time.. well, I still have terrible ping times to the outside, but it's not dropping 90% of packets or anything..

Dammit dammit dammit..