Terminal screenshot

Since about age 5, I have come to grasp with the notion that staring at an oven timer doesn’t make it cook a cake faster.

And yet, I still seem to think that staring at the live output of my painstakingly slow linear optimization program is gonna make it spit its final value faster.

I just received notification of clearance for login access to the institute’s Super Computer Lab. I have the computing power of a few thousand CPUs laying at my fingertips, waiting for orders…

Can’t wait to see how fast Unreal Tournament runs on a cluster of CRAYs.

Now we’ll see who gets that top score on the SETI@Home project.

“This will greatly help me compute substrate cleavage point predictions for this new set of data in reasonable time, thanks.”

Update: Sold.

In the last installment of our Boring Geek Updates™ series for the year and as part of my general strategy of complete WordPress disengagement, I finally decided to do something with that long-neglected pet project of mine: WP-plugins.net

Namely: sell it.

As you can tell from the ‘beta’ sign and the outdated reference to an ongoing update process, to be completed ‘any time now’, this site has long shifted out of my personal field of interests. Don’t really have the motivation, definitely don’t have the time.

But, maybe you do!

It’s Saturday night, just past 4am.

Right now, I could be:

Instead: I am in the middle of an empty office lab overlooking deserted downtown-Tokyo, staring at a monitor, running Support Vector Machine simulations.

Something, somewhere, went very, very, horribly wrong with my life.

Pros and cons of loading a 120-ft scroll of tracing paper into my typewriter and going on a frenzied 48h non-stop benzedrine-fueled Masters thesis writing session:

Pros:

  1. It worked for Jack Kerouac.
  2. I’d be done 3 days earlier: more time to edit and correct typos.
  3. I’d be done 3 days earlier: more time to spend drunk in some seedy Golden Gai bar.

Cons:

  1. Actually, it took him three weeks to write it. I don’t have three weeks.
  2. Sleep deprivation-induced typos probably likely to include: entire paragraphs written in Urdu, random obscene expletives, obscure references to isomorphic transformations in alternate planes of reality…
  3. Comparability of Beat literature masterpiece with Natural Language Processing project involving Machine Learning parsing of Rhetorical Structure Trees: dubious.

It’s a toss, really…

Geek news warning: sane people and anybody for whom such acronyms as PHP or GPL merely evocate some brand new drugs the kids might be into these days: you are probably better off skipping this one.

I’ll try to keep it short.

Spam Karma 2 is now released as GPL v.2. This essentially means you can do anything you want to it, except claim you made it (copyright and attribution notice must remain there). You should also note that any attempt at deriving some ill-deserved profit from it through harebrained web marketing schemes will earn you both my long-standing scorn and a nut-shriveling decrease to your actual karma.

I suppose another angle to that post’s title could be:
Officially discontinuing Spam Karma’s development: so long and thanks for all the fish
as this is what this truly is about.

But, such a title would be slightly misleading (and no doubt heavily quoted out of context): Indeed, I am hereby officially announcing that I will no longer support, maintain or further develop Spam Karma (beside some very occasional, very limited poking, until the transition to a self-maintained project is completed). However, thanks to the magic of free software, all the unsung heroes of the Open Source world will soon rise to take over and bring you a stronger, better, more closely supported version of Spam Karma!

Okay, what’s more likely to happen is that nobody will really bother taking over, except perhaps a handful well-intentioned but utterly clueless beginner coders who will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the task and next be seen running away screaming at the top of their lungs. Hey, I’m not blaming anybody: I wouldn’t waste my time on a non-paying, open-source community project either…

But on the off-chance that you would (and trust me it won’t do anything to help you get laid either), I have set up a Google Code repository, which could become the jumping point to some magnificent community-based development effort (or not). If you are interested in participating in any way, contact me (mail or contact form) with a *brief* description of who you are, what you can do and what you wanna do. I don’t need a resume (I am not hiring), just a very quick idea of what level of responsibility you’d be willing to take on the project. I’ll put in the first couple people that seem to know what they are doing (and do not sound like they’ll be selling everything to Russian mafia-owned spam sites) as administrators of the project, and hopefully from there on, things will work by themselves…

If you think you’d like to tackle any aspect of SK2 development (including possibly porting it to other platforms), here is your chance. Speak now or go back to more fruitful and life-rewarding endeavours forever.

Oh, and as for the “reasons”, well, here they are:

One little-known feature of the Japanese Input tools on OS X is the ability to easily access a whole lot of unicode symbols without having to go dig through the Character Palette each and every time. If you enable Japanese Input (also known as Kotoeri) on your mac, hitting a keyboard shortcut (apple-space by default, I think) will toggle kana input on and off, whereby you can type japanese words in kanas and press the spacebar to pick a matching kanji (followed by ‘enter’ to validate the transliteration).
The nifty bit comes from the availability of UTF-8 characters that are not kanji, but nonetheless useful in a lot of situations. Just as any other kanji, typing a kana sequence (usually the name of the symbol in Japanese), followed by a press of the spacebar, will automatically let you insert the desired symbol.
Note: Apparently, most of these work equally well on Windows Japanese Input system, but I haven’t tested it.

For example, any Japanese girl knows all too well how to obtain the following cutesy icons:
おんぷ[onpu] → ♬♩♪♫
ほし[hoshi] → ☆★

On a more pragmatic note, you can also choose from a very complete set of arrows:
やじるし[yajirushi] → ↑↓☝⇔ etc.

And one of my personal favourite: european currency symbols that would otherwise take half an hour to find on a standard US keyboard:
ゆーろ[yuro] → €
ぽんど[pondo] → £

Another very cool set for your scientific paper-writing needs:
すうがく[suugaku]/えんざん[enzan] → √∃∀≠±∇

Not to mention the entire greek alphabet:
あるふぁ[arufa] α
べーた[be-ta] β
がんま[ganma] γ
でるた[deruta] δ
しぐま[siguma] σ

etc. etc.

You will find even more of these in this large (albeit probably not exhaustive) list of special character shortcuts.

Don’t you think?

I mean, the alcohol, the drugs, the neverending nights of feral sex, the uninspired blogging… it gets old, really.

Alright, so maybe not the booze, drugs and sex part. But the blogging part: definitely. I don’t mean the part about writing inane crap that nobody in their right mind should care about, in between two intense navel-staring sessions. I don’t think I’ll get tired of that part any time soon (I’m trying though). I mean, the sterile format that this blog has come to follow.

Oh, trust me, I am very aware of it. Sure, I have many excuses as to why my posting rate has dwindled to the levels of Bangladesh’s strawberry production on a bad monsoon year… Work, life, love (or pursuit thereof), happiness (idem) etc. But we all know there’s more to it. Truth be told, blogging here bores me, most of the time. There are a couple reasons for that, chiefly among them are:

  • This blog started out on the wrong foot.
    When I decided to open my first self-hosted online space, it started as a bastard mix of for-friends-only (“hey guys, long time no see”) news reports and travel-journal (“lookee all the whacky things they have here”)… Both rather boring genres in the long run, neither something I really felt like doing much. But I have been pulled toward these roots ever since.

  • It is read by all the wrong people.
    Quite expectedly (although I originally never intended it to be), this has become the place where all people who either have invested some DNA into me, or were court-ordered to stay at least a continent away, come to get their life update on Dave. Knowing that both your genitors (hi Mum! hi Dad!), extended family, past love interests (and potentiall future ones) are all reading this, puts a serious cap on any attempt at spontaneity.
  • And therefore… I write elsewhere.
    Yes, I know, it hurts, but I have been seeing other people. In other locales, other languages even. Usually with completely different style and contents. Don’t even try to search the web: believe me you won’t find it. Those other writings are all that this isn’t: personal, fun, hyperbolic, unauthentic, uncensored etc.

Then why bother?

Good question. I suppose because this still serves a purpose for some writings, in some contexts. Also because I hate giving up. And closing that blog before I turn 50 would feel like giving up.

But things need to change. Not sure what, but they do.

Still working on details. I technically have about 10 days before the official 5 year anniversary of this blog. Do not expect grand announcement or sudden changes, just be warned.

Sorta.

  • Vita
  • Academia
    • Finish all unfinished uni projects.
    • Get seriously started on my research.
    • Make up my mind on the whole PhD thing.
    • Pick a subject.
    • Pick a country.
    • Pick an advisor (not necessarily in the above order).
  • Technica
  • Et caetera
    • Sushi.
    • Beer.
    • Music.
    • Art.
    • Et alia caetera.