December 30, 2003

Carrying an almanac considered a criminal/terrorist activity? :)

There is a story at the New York Times that starts like this:


FBI Issues Alert Against Almanac Carriers

Published: December 30, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.


Even though the New York Times requires a free subscription for access to their online content, you are strongly advised to read the full story: whether purely for entertainment value, or shaking your head wondering about what paranoia outbreak will come next, or putting on your dark sunglasses and organizing a neighbourhood watch for those beaded almanac-carrying terrorists seeking to destroy the world as we know it... is your choice, and yours only. Still, read it :)

This entry brought to you via Anne.

Posted by roam at 01:14 PM

A day of mourning

The Bulgarian government declared today, December 30th, 2003, an official day of mourning for the Bulgarian soldiers killed in the Iraqi city of Karbala on Saturday, December 27th. The five killed and more than twenty wounded soldiers were a result of a terrorist attack on three buildings - two Bulgarian military camps and the city's municipality building.

No matter what you or I think about the war in Iraq, no matter how you or I judge the decision of the Bulgarian government to send armed troops to support the coalition forces there during the post-war recovery period, the fact is that Svilen Kirov, Ivan Indzhov, Anton Petrov, Georgi Kachorin, and Nikolay Saruev, as well as the many wounded, were all volunteers. They were people who had chosen to try and help, to take a stance against the inevitable period of civil disorder and crime in post-war Iraq. They were all fully aware of the risks - the danger of injury or even death in both day-to-day guard duty, street infighting, and acts of terrorism. I can only look up with awe at those Bulgarian soldiers for consciously making that choice and standing by it.

I wish I could find better words to express my feelings. Suffice it to say that today is, indeed, a day of mourning for five men of honor.

Posted by roam at 12:42 PM

December 15, 2003

The sound of silence.. or not

I finally got around to porting my patch for the FreeBSD driver for Intel ICH chipsets to -CURRENT, and now I've got sound on my laptop again! For some reason, my 82801DB ICH4 chip does not want to play nice with FreeBSD's attempts to address its memory directly - could this be related to its being labeled as revision 2?

Anyway, if anyone else should stumble on the same problem, the patch I just sent to the mailing list may be found in my highly-unofficial patchsets in the src5 collection: here or here.

Next step: figure out why the USB drivers won't have anything to do with the USB serial port that I'm trying to plug in.

Posted by roam at 01:05 PM

December 14, 2003

Dictionaries (real, paper ones!)

Ever been in a bookshop, staring at the rows and rows of dictionaries (sometimes walls and walls of them), and wondering which one.. or two.. or.. dammit, I cannot possibly buy them all! Not today, probably not in this life, but then maybe someday...

Still, there seems to be some hope on the horizon: in this article, YiLing Chen-Josephson looks at a couple of dictionaries and takes her best shot at trying to categorize them in various ways. Although I don't agree with some of her conclusions, it's a great read anyway!

Thanks, anima! (warning: her blog has been mostly in Bulgarian lately)

Posted by roam at 10:29 PM

December 13, 2003

Symbolic refs in Perl

Heh.. learn something new every day, it seems.

The FreeBSD port of texi2html that I maintain was throwing weird fits on FreeBSD 4.x-STABLE with Perl 5.005. After a bit of poking through the error messages, the Perl docs managed to surprise me with a new way in which Perl tries to DWIM: sometimes you can use a string containing the name of a variable as a reference to the variable itself! Well, the port is fixed now, and the fix has been sent to the texi2html developers, just in case.

I guess part of the reason I've never come across this before is that it's become a kind of a habit to start all my Perl scripts with taint mode and use strict ;)

Posted by roam at 08:59 AM

An amazing billboard

Yet another reason for keeping up with kasia in a nutshell: now that is the mark of a company that's got style! First somebody clued enough to come up with the idea, then a marketing department clued enough to design the thing, then (apparently not-quite-)PHB's clued enough to actually authorize it... sounds like a dream!

For those readers who are not as obsessed with computer programming as I am, this is a C program fragment - the numbers actually spell out 'Now Hiring' in ASCII codes.

Posted by roam at 05:40 AM

Initiation (finally ;)

Hello world! :)

Well, well... To quote a favorite fiction character, "Sing ho - for the life of the"... no, not "bear", more like "blog". Anyway, took me long enough, but here it is, finally - my very own blog!

It is probably somewhere around this time that I should lay out some kind of a plan for the future - but I won't. Really. No, not even to tell you what kind of blogging this will be, for I have absolutely no idea :) Random thoughts, rants, and maybe even - if inspiration should strike - something really worth writing down... although that last point is highly doubtful.

Well, here it is. Make what you want of it. Or don't.


Posted by roam at 05:03 AM
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