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Entries from December 2005
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UPD: Radar (31 Dec 2005 at 21:00)
I updated Tom 7 Radar (you're lookin' at it!) with some requested features and features that I had been meaning to add. I also made my first ever pop-up (click "ways to read" above)! Using Javascript and CSS is a lot more pleasant than it once was. Aren't you mildly pleased/disappointed that I didn't stick with this awesome design mistake?

Every time I make a minor change to one of my old web apps it means porting the code from Aphasia 1 to Aphasia 2—so it takes way longer than it otherwise would. (And sometimes that means adding some new feature or optimization to Aphasia 2, so it could be a whole weekend project just to add some little button somewhere...) But there's pretty much nothing I like better on New Year's eve than mindless porting jobs, at least if the destination language is my own lovely creation.
(9 comments — almost 12 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Go I-80 West, Young Men (31 Dec 2005 at 01:41)
We have completed our Christmas 2005 journey.

Keywords: running cramp-ons ♥ plum pierogies ♥ non-functioning replica ♥ gaylord mountain trail ♥ unicorn dance ♥ laser medical procedures ♥ dessert aisle ♥ persnickety ideologues ♥ 30 brazillion dollars ♥ wolaver oatmeal stout ♥ pile of giraffes ♥ power lips ♥ fish is meat ♥ i have the power ♥ esto no es ♥ why do you hate eggs so much ♥ ghostbusters ♥ stuff in the bowl ♥ klobb ♥ jackie o'nicklaus ♥ provocative assortment ♥ ceci n'est pas un time stopper or not ♥ boxing day ♥ e^{\pi * \sqrt{163}} ♥ evil robot tom ♥ terraced ziggurat ♥ ennui ♥ tron ♥ spoon collection ♥ friends who talk like teenage girls on aim ♥ no 9 ♥ butterfly in the sky ♥ we are luscious
(4 comments — almost 11 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Collage of Weird Things Seen XMAS'05 (30 Dec 2005 at 00:50)
Collage of Weird Things Seen XMAS'05
900×600 version
Here is a collage of weird things seen over Christmas '05. Tip for those who design the text on products: No product should ever have a word that sounds like "diarrhea" featured prominently on it, in any language, even if it claims to "moisturize" your hair. Especially if it claims to moisturize.
(12 comments — almost 12 years ago)   [ comment ]
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SERVER GREAT (29 Dec 2005 at 00:47)
Wow, I am in a super good mood today. First, I got a good night's sleep after getting to talk to some good friends, and I have been relaxed since sending out my proposal draft. Second, I got a nice e-mail from advisor Bob saying that the proposal looks good! So, supposing Karl also approves, that means on to the next stage, and soon, I'll be the kind of guy who is always talking about how he should be working on his thesis instead of just his thesis proposal. Third my mom and I made a nice vegetarian dinner together and then I totally won at family poker and had some delicious poker juice (Booker's) and now it is time for some sweet dreams. Ahhh.

Also, I finally installed AIM-compatible IM and I am "SERVER OK" there. Feel free to disturb me at will before the novelty wears off!
(12 comments)   [ comment ]
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It means, ''good appetite'' (27 Dec 2005 at 03:18)
Happy (slightly belated) boxing day, everyone! I decided that because my thesis proposal prominently features a "box" modality of its own (alongside the heart modality, now tastefully renamed to an upside-down and backwards G), that boxing day would be a good day to submit my best draft to my advisors. I hope it flies, because I sure spent a long time on it. Actually, you can read it too, if you like. Comments are appreciated, unless your comment is to rewrite the whole thing like last time!

In other boxing day news, I bought a piano. Ebay is great. This adds to the list of things making me eager to get back to Pittsburgh.

But first, some sleep and a few days spent relaxing with the family and the MP3s and the non-work projects. Ahhh.

PS. The blogosphere sure is boring on Christmas day, isn't it?

PPS. Oak Barrel Aging
(20 comments — 11 years ago)   [ comment ]
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The good kind of spam (23 Dec 2005 at 23:14)
The other day I got what appeared to be an unintelligible foreign-language spam mail, which I just happened to be absentmindedly staring at while I was talking to my officemate william. I was just about to delete it when the text "Tom7's world" somewhere in the body it caught my eye! It turns out this was an entirely topical e-mail alerting me to a Spanish magazine with an "article" about me. The magazine is called Y SIN EMBARGO and I think it is like a design magazine. This specific issue is about graffiti. Anyway, I think it is a really nice looking magazine, it has got my fonts all over it, and the article (which I can't understand, even with Babelfish) seems to be flattering. Some of the graffiti in there is pretty great, too. Their website is confusing and kind of fun to try to navigate, but a direct link to the zipped PDF/ebook may prove useful. (None of the linux PDF readers I had could read this, but Acrobat 6 on Windows seems to work.)

PS. Merry xolidays everyone!
Categories:  sightings  fonts (7 comments)   [ comment ]
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Provocative assortments (23 Dec 2005 at 12:33)
Provocative assortments
Mike and I made it back to Connecticut! The drive went really smoothly and I even got some work done. Today, some last minute editing, some last minute shopping, and some last minute Pepe's apizza.

Above is today's visual slice of middle Pennsylvania.
(4 comments)   [ comment ]
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Crystal, sir (21 Dec 2005 at 17:16)
This may sound kind of corny, but while writing the related work section of my proposal right now I had what I can only describe as a "clear thought." (My advisor is notorious for being highly critical of certain areas of computer science, and I recall him once characterizing someone as having "never had a clear thought in his life!") But I feel like I have now identified a very common confusion in distributed programming language practice, I think that my clear thought is novel, and I love that feeling. It makes me remember why research is fun, and made me spontaneously turn to my officemate and say, "I like my thesis." (Not a common phrase recently. ;))

Also this old album-a-day I recorded with Marc is sounding really good to me right now. Maybe I am just in a good mood!
(10 comments)   [ comment ]
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Apparently this erstwhile indie rocker has turned to like Christian bluegrass (20 Dec 2005 at 17:35)
It is nice when I am listening to a song (Doug Martsch's "Lift") whose refrain is relevant to a construct (lift) in the part of the thesis proposal I am editing at the same time. Such accidents (completely unjustifiably) make me feel like I am on the "right track." (ha)

More people need to write songs about the heart modality so that this happens more often. Get on this forthwith!

(OMG, just as I typed that, the song "Heart" on that same album, which I had forgotten about, came on. Perhaps I should be listing him as a coauthor!)
(3 comments)   [ comment ]
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Mein Gödel! I can walk! (20 Dec 2005 at 10:58)
Here is an amusing anecdote about Kurt Gödel—perhaps the greatest logician to ever live—at his citizenship hearing that I had never heard before. For maximum amusement, remember that Gödel was an extremely bizarre Austrian fellow who was morbidly afraid of refrigerator gases and being assassinated by other mathematicians [pic]. Think, say, Dr. Strangelove. Those of us wishing to be remembered as insane geniuses would do well to achieve like one tenth of what he did.
(15 comments)   [ comment ]
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Don't even think about... (19 Dec 2005 at 09:54)
Don't even think about...
Don't even think about taking credit for my cornbread jolly roger.

PS. 'skaweek'!
Category:  momentous (14 comments — almost 10 years ago)   [ comment ]
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You have been arrested (17 Dec 2005 at 01:43)
You have been arrested
Ahh, finally, a relaxing evening. I don't particularly have any less on my plate, but at least there isn't anything due tomorrow, so I am taking the evening off to catch up on some projects and stamina. Also, it was a good day for freedom with both the Patriot Act failing to be renewed and a bit of a shake-up over the kind of spying that everybody sort of already knew was going on (see above).

Now Playing: Mix CD in progress Now Eating: Nachos with 3yr. cheddar
(3 comments)   [ comment ]
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Thesis proposal is not optional (15 Dec 2005 at 05:39)
You know it's going to be, or already is, a long night when...
  • You start on your third double Americano at 4:30am
  • You're on page 24 but then you realize that something on page 24 invalidates the work from pages 19–23
  • You start thinking that ♥ would make a really good modal operator, and incorporate this modality as a solution the problem discovered in the previous bullet point
It doesn't look like I'm going to actually finish tonight, but I guess I already knew that, and already told my advisors that it would happen. Oh, well. Man, this stuff always takes so much longer than I think it will! I made a lot of progress on this thing, though, and I can probably finish it before heading home for break.

I did get a nice encouraging spam mail earlier, whose subject line was "your almost there." Thanks, I appreciate that, Account Supervisor for Mortgage Refinance! (Also, thanks to my actual friends for their encouragement, too. ;))
(7 comments — almost 6 years ago)   [ comment ]
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a leader in an exploding industry. (12 Dec 2005 at 15:07)
I had a great weekend! And now it is time to go back to work. I'm 12 pages into my thesis proposal, taking care to be as coherent as possible, and I expect to develop blistering callouses on my fingers from typing so hard over the next few days. I just served up my last Twelf tutorial for the week. This freelance logical framework tutor is now closed for the holidays (by which I mean CSD Black Friday).

In the current episode of Problems with the CS Facilities—a new weekly serial—Adam informed me that the CS mail servers are now listed in several spam blacklists, some of which are in use by the rest of CMU—so even some mail sent or forwarded within the university is getting spam filtered. This problem does not appear to affect me, at least when e-mailing my CMU buddies, perhaps because I am now a vegetarian. But it made me paranoid about reading through my spam folder, where I discovered the following gem:

"SOLD OUT - Cheap viagrna for sale"


I think this one is self-explanatory.
(5 comments)   [ comment ]
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Combo deal (10 Dec 2005 at 16:56)
It's like 4 blog posts in one!

Today is/was a beautiful day! Thank you, sky, for snowing on us. I took a few pictures of my treacherous staircase and the curious incident of the snow in the night-time and my refrigerator.

I promised someone a printed copy of my second novel but then I was embarrassed because I remembered all of the typos that people found and that the cover is a little bit washed out and the margins too narrow and there are some parts that needed a little tweaking, so I made a second edition of the book and attempted to expunge all traces of the first. I extend a similar offer to any of my Pittsburgh friends: If anyone actually wants to read my book, I will give you a nice printed copy gratis (which I then encourage you to pass on to others when you are done...)!

I didn't pay my phone bill for 11 months just because I am irresponsible, and then they sent me this funny cancellation notice that says, THIS IS YOUR FINAL NOTICE BEFORE BASIC SERVICE TERMINATION etc. and the whole thing is in capital letters. But it is printed on inviting stationery that says "Verizon: We never stop working for you." Except, like, if you don't pay your bill for 11 months.

Also, I found this amazing thing that is more creepy than any Quake level ever made, but it's real, and it's a Church made out of 40,000 human skeletons. Great gravy!
Category:  nanowrimo (10 comments)   [ comment ]
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Today's Radar Game (09 Dec 2005 at 12:25)
Today's radar game is one that exercises your powers of description. Sick of mere adjectives to describe the weather ("It is cold today"), hack weathermen and -women in 1992 turned to the use of flowery adverbs. How is the weather? It's bone-chillingly cold.

When I'm walking outside and it is at the extremes of hot or cold, the appropriate adverb "bone-chillingly" (for cold) or "oppressively" (for hot) always sets firmly in my brainpan, sort of like how some obsessive-compulsive persons count each step as they walk. But what if, some day, I'm thinking, Boy, today is bone-chillingly cold and then the next day it's twenty degrees colder? I don't even know any adverbs that imply more freezons per unit volume.

So here I solicit the help of my fine radar-readers, a fun game: Please respond with your most extreme adverbs for describing both hot and cold weather.

Your answer must be in the form of an adverb. Adjectives are too weak.

To get the snowball rolling, I will start with one: paint-strippingly cold.

The winner of the contest wins one life-time supply of entropy. Contest end date: End of universe. No purchase necessary or possible. Chance of winning: 0/∞
Category:  favorites (23 comments — almost 7 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Get back to work! (07 Dec 2005 at 16:45)
I am a bit more relaxed because the network is back and my thesis proposal is dried out, and I gave the introduction to my advisors (who have had really high standards as respects writing recently) who actually said that it was good. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but a bit less despair.

Here is my Christmas list:
  • Ice crampon attachments for running shoes
  • Snowshoe attachments for running shoes
  • Crossing guard outfit with hand-held STOP sign
  • Matter transporter beam
  • Spicy hommus
  • Constructive proof of P=NP
  • Martin Marquis 80/20 bronze medium gauge acoustic strings
  • a piano
  • Books that are very short or mostly pictures, or pictures of books
  • Time stopper beam
  • One of those portable roll-up FIDE chess sets with a chess clock with flags that fall pathetically when time runs out
  • and the chess set should have fairy pieces like a cardinal and rose and grasshopper
  • a banjo or any other instrument that is like a drum with strings
  • Canon BP-511 or equivalent battery
  • a sled that can have rockets attached to it
  • somebody should rewrite LaTeX and do it right
  • an ultrasonic humidifier
  • a crucible
  • blowtorching goggles but I don't want to look like a weird cartoon character with plastic skin
As always I gleefully accept non-functioning replicas or drawings of these objects, if made lovingly by hand.
(10 comments — almost 6 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Server not OK! (05 Dec 2005 at 13:14)
Two of my posters from last night turned out to be much more relevant (lets say—"poignant") than I anticipated! One is seen below, and the other is a picture of a rain cloud raining and going, "Gotcha!" Because apparently this morning around 9am one of the ice mains running under the CS mainframes burst and all of the computers everywhere are shut down. This would normally mean a relaxing mandatory vacation, except that this week is total crunch week (our "black friday" statements are due on friday) and I have got to finish my thesis proposal, and my thesis proposal is on one of those machines that is turned off and under water. I don't expect anything was lost, but I don't have access to it and that may be true for perhaps a few days! I can't even really slack off because I don't have internet access, and I can't send or receive e-mail either. (If anybody sent me anything good between 9am on Monday and whenever this comes back, better send again!) So I guess it's back to my place to see if I can find an old version on my laptop, or else work from memory...

Also: do they make ice crampons for running shoes? If not, then that is my new invention. Because, yikes.
(15 comments)   [ comment ]
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Some of the precious quota was preserved (05 Dec 2005 at 02:21)
Some of the precious quota was preserved
Poster Party 200X went really well. It took longer than I thought it would, as usual, but I made twelve different designs and posted them up around campus and if I am lucky, some people will actually see them before someone who does not believe in campus beautification through art tears them down for violating the Draconian poster policy or whatever. Jason also made a series of lovely nonsense/abstract designs. William pushed the limits of type theory / 90s pop crossover obscurity. Adam almost got a very nice vector version of Tutorial 5: Rough but its complexity was too high for Illustrator's tiny brain and our hungry stomachs.

Strangely, there seemed to be some kind of competing confusing-poster campaign going on at the same time... but our posters were in color. Ha!
Category:  drawings (2 comments)   [ comment ]
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Poster Party 200X (04 Dec 2005 at 13:09)
In what is becoming a bit of a radar cliche, I say again, "Wow, busy weekend!" I feel like a real socialite (that means socialist with 40% fewer calories) having been invited to so many events yesterday. In truth, I felt a little bit stretched thin (that means drawn and quartered) because there were so many people around that I wanted to interact with, but not enough time to actually do it. On the other hand, like I said when America Online was forced out of business permanently in 1998 because they had too many subscribers, if you're gonna have a problem, I guess this is a pretty good kind of problem to have.

The pasta we made at Spoons's house was also stretched thin! The cornbread at the Cottage was also quartered! The nog at Erika's had also 40% fewer calories!

Tonight around six some of us with print quotas burning holes in our virtual e-wallets are having a poster making and printing party on campus. If anybody from andrew.cmu.edu wants to join us, e-mail me and I will alert you to the location, once it is determined. Everyone else, keep an eye out for our delightful decorations early during the week...
(17 comments)   [ comment ]
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Artbus: Solidarity? (01 Dec 2005 at 12:40)
Artbus: Solidarity?
1200×448 version
Phew! Well, that took a long time, but here is my submission for the Pittsburgh "Art in Transit" project. Pittsburgh artists are having their work displayed in place of advertisements in buses around town. I'm not sure when they'll be displayed, but since I passed a qualifying round earlier, I understand that this is pretty much guaranteed to show up in buses around pittsburgh. Please let me know if you see it!

Click on the image for a bigger (but still not very big) version. If you want to zoom way in, you can also try this 7.7 mb TIFF (16,800 x 6,600), which will probably crash your computer or this 53kb flash file which looks better anyway.

(PS. Hint I'd like to send back to myself at 2:00am last night: Photoshop has dithering enabled by default when converting between color spaces. Dithered files are huge, and take a lot of memory! Turn it off under the advanced color management settings. Wow, look how you don't run out of memory and hard drive space any more, keeping you up all night!)
Categories:  favorites  drawings (28 comments — 7 years ago)   [ comment ]
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