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Entries from January 2004
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Regular Reboot (30 Jan 2004 at 04:10)
It is uncharacteristically early in the semester for an all-nighter. There are almost four whole days until the paper is due! So, time for bed---it's just a half-nighter.
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Eloquent Speech (29 Jan 2004 at 13:24)
Here is an example of how to deliver your points with eloquence, courtesy of prime minister Tony Blair.

"This for me was a simple matter: An accusation that was a very serious one that was made that was a false accusation that Lord Hutton has found."
(4 comments)   [ comment ]
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NEW: AAD-17: GGGCAGGG (24 Jan 2004 at 22:49)
logo Album-a-day:
· about
· latest
As a stress relief exercise I made an album-a-day (my 17th solo and 23rd altogether). It's called GGGCAGGG. The levels are totally wack on this one, because I am seriously too lazy to turn down a track when it's too loud. Can you believe that?

As of now I am in a self-imposed ban on all projects until next week's LICS 2004 paper deadline. If you see an update here, give me a good kick!
Categories:  album a day  tom 7 music (2 comments)   [ comment ]
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and Greek (21 Jan 2004 at 10:22)
In trying to figure out once and for all how to pronounce "de Bruijn", I discovered that the dutch have a letter 'ij' that is called 'Griekse y,' meaning 'Greek y.' I finally understand why the spanish letter is called 'y griega' (or is it 'i griega'?)--I had always wondered why this one had such a bizarre name. Why don't they teach us this stuff in high school?
(16 comments)   [ comment ]
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Is Supergreg the Guy from Queen? (20 Jan 2004 at 21:29)
Is Supergreg the Guy from Queen?
Is "Supergreg" the Guy from "Queen"? This 1988 footage seems to answer in the affirmative.

For those who missed the boat in 2001, see the #1 Tribute Site.

For those who caught the boat, here's an update: It turns out Supergreg was just part of an ad campaign for lee jeans. (video) The site was created by some of the staff as a joke, and then turned into one of the most underutilized viral marketing campaigns of all time!
(11 comments — almost 11 years ago)   [ comment ]
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qmail hole (19 Jan 2004 at 18:56)
Thank goodness, the amazing Georgi Guninski has found a security hole in qmail. For years Dan Bernstein has terrorized the safe languages proponents by publishing his C software that, unlike almost all other C software in the world, is actually quite secure. (example terrorism by djb fanboy) This always worried me because there is little in his code that actually makes it different from typical C code (except for his string library and the fact that he understands security and is an excellent hacker), and infuriated me because nobody ever actually found any exploitable holes. Read the Qmail security guarantee for a flavor of his methodology and bravado. (For the record, I believe djb's practices and ideals are still much better than most C programmers, and his software is, too.)

The bug is an integer overflow, a sort of bug that is unfortunately very easy to make in C, even for superhackers, because C programmers often use integers to compute array indices and iterate through data. It does apparently require sending 2 gigabytes of data, so don't expect any worms based on this technique. ;) Of course, SML would be doubly immune: first because integers don't overflow, and second because array accesses are bounds-checked.

So, "secure C" programmers: even your prophet is not invincible!
(6 comments — almost 9 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Signwriting (16 Jan 2004 at 17:37)
This is pretty interesting: A pictographic language for writing down American Sign Language and other sign-based languages. They have some lessons which give the basic idea (start with lesson 2 or 3 and skip all the boring intro stuff). It seems like a pretty sound and rational system, which, knowing language, would also seem to destine it for failure.
(1 comment)   [ comment ]
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Jacko picture, part 2 (16 Jan 2004 at 16:55)
Jacko picture, part 2
Even in this photo, Jackson appears to be a life-size cardboard cutout held upright by a 2x4. No wonder everyone is trying to photograph him.
(1 comment)   [ comment ]
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Eat Poop, You Cat. (13 Jan 2004 at 11:00)
We played a game called (for real, this is the name it goes by on the Internet) "Eat Poop, You Cat" at a party last week. This game is a combination of pictionary and telephone, sort of. Basically, players pass a sheet of paper around in a circle (or, n-gon), and take turns either drawing a picture based on a caption that's on the page, or writing a caption for a picture that's on the page. You only get to look at the last picture or caption, so the ideas diverge quickly.

I made scans of our game; it was pretty hard to scan with our document feeder scanner at work, because the papers are all folded up to implement the reduced visibility rules. Also, we were inconsistent about flipping versus flipping and rotating, so some of the 2nd pages come out upside-down. Still, a fun read.

Category:  drawings (13 comments — 10 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Picture Day (10 Jan 2004 at 23:08)
Picture Day
Well, today must be picture day. Here's Tom 6 from Christmas.
(4 comments)   [ comment ]
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Glasses (10 Jan 2004 at 18:25)
Glasses
400×551 version
I got glasses over Thanksgiving, and I just realized that I never mentioned or showed this on my radar. Most of you who see me in "real life" have already seen them.

Keyword: Hipster
(10 comments — 5 years ago)   [ comment ]
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R.I.P. "Van 7" (10 Jan 2004 at 18:16)
R.I.P.
600×320 version
Well, Van 7 was totaled in the aforementioned accident. Did you know that airbags cost $2000-$3000 to replace? If it deploys in your 8 year-old car, it's done for.

Rest in Peace, dearly beloved.
(5 comments)   [ comment ]
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15-312 (09 Jan 2004 at 15:01)
It's likely that I'm TAing 15-312 this semester, again. CMU undergrads beware!
(3 comments)   [ comment ]
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Name of Author By Title of Book Book (09 Jan 2004 at 12:01)
After a disappointing first print, I got my replacement copy of my book from lulu, and this one looks great. I now heartily recommend them for printing up your, or my, book. Here's the order page (it costs about $10.00 total including shipping) and of course you can still read it online for free. (The reason I keep reminding you that I don't make any money off this is that CMU, like most schools, has a ban on using their network for personal profit.)
Category:  nanowrimo (6 comments)   [ comment ]
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Back! (09 Jan 2004 at 08:47)
I made it back to Pittsburgh! Everything is OK!
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Tasteless FVWM logos (05 Jan 2004 at 22:26)
Never ask a bunch of linux nerds to design logos for you.
(4 comments — almost 6 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Eyes (05 Jan 2004 at 20:12)
I saw the eye doctor today, and I do not have any serious stuff like retinal tears or detachment. All right! So, now, I just need to get a new car and bust back on down to Pittsburgh!
(5 comments)   [ comment ]
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Stuck! (03 Jan 2004 at 11:30)
Well, I had planned to be driving back to Pittsburgh today. But on New Year's eve, as I was driving my father to pick up his own car from the shop, an overzealous left turner smashed up my poor minivan! Now I am stuck in CT until we get the car repaired or figure something else out.

Here's what happened: I was in the right lane of a two-lane (in each direction) road, Whitney Avenue. I went straight through a green light at an intersection while, according to the other driver, the car in my left lane waved him on for his left turn. That same waving car, some kind of large SUV, was blocking our view of each other, and he attempted the turn (quite quickly) and wham! The police officer, who made it to the scene in like a minute and a half (!) says it was the other driver's fault. Here's a lesson: Never wave someone to make a left if the road is two lane and you're not looking at the other lane. Here's another lesson: Don't take another driver's word that a left turn is safe! (Of course, the waving SUV drove off right away...)

Amazingly, this accident was at the same intersection (perhaps a mile from our house) as the last two accidents our family has had, making three different drivers of three different cars in three different directions, all at that same place. From now on, I'll refer to it as the corner of Death and Dismemberment. (Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in any of those accidents.)

In fact, the most serious injury might be my own: The airbag deployed and hit my eye, which I saw the opthamologist about on new years' day. I sustained an injury to the retina; some swelling and bruising, and some blood in the vitreous humor that causes me to see some spots and floaters. That all should go away, but I need to see a retinal specialist on Monday to make sure that I don't have any retinal tears or detachment, which I would need laser surgery for.

This was my first accident driving. I learned a number of things:

- Airbag deployment is nothing like in the movies. The airbag is not a big soft and fluffy pillow: in my case it is a small and fairly coarse vinyl bag. When it explodes in your face it is not comfortable, basically, it is like getting punched. On the positive side, airbags do deflate right away, instead of puffing out and filling your car, making it impossible to see. On the other hand, the car fills with smoke (which smells like gunpowder, though I understand that newer cars use compressed nitrogen) from the blast used to deploy the airbag.

- If you get hit in the eye and see things, see the doctor right away. I didn't feel like I had been hit particularly hard, but apparently it doesn't take much to get a serious injury. What I saw (and still see today) is a flashbulb-like "afterimage" along the lower-left of my peripheral vision in my right eye (since I was struck in the upper right side of my eye, this makes sense) in dim light, and a small dark cobweb-like "floater" in that same region in regular light. Here's a cool page about the eye.

- Since the eye's tear ducts drain into the throat, you can taste eye drops. This is kind of sick.

- If you get in an accident, it's a good idea to inspect the scene, even if there's a policeman already doing this. Tips: get the make and model of the enemy car(s), make some rough measurements (in say, car lengths), remember the names of the streets in play and their speed limits. You'll be quizzed later in the form of a statement for your insurance company, which might be done over the phone (mine was).

- Do not hit my van. I killed the hell out of that other car, and mine had only a medium amount of damage to the body. Aside from the airbag spilling out of the steering wheel and the part of the body pressing up against the tire, my car is probably drivable. His looked like it was going to explode.

- Avoid the corner of Death and Dismemberment.
Category:  momentous (20 comments — almost 10 years ago)   [ comment ]
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