March 31, 2004

A street named after me? Well, almost :)

I've known for a couple of years that one of the most respected professors at the Faculty of Machine Technology at the Technical University of Sofia was named Peter Pentchev. This could be easily checked via a Google search (well, the first link is about me, but the rest are not). However, I'd almost forgotten about it until a couple of days ago...

We were strolling through Pernik the other day, and decided to take a look at a map of the city to see where we were going. What should we see on the map but a street named Peter Pentchev! :) Of course, it is named after the metallurgy professor, not me, but still it was fun.

Update: Daniel Koev set me straight on the actual location of the street; see the gallery entry for real maps :) Just drop me an e-mail if I've not given you access to the gallery site - it's really open to everyone but mindless web crawlers.

Posted by roam at 02:01 PM

March 30, 2004

I've conquered my past, the future is here at last...

Jeremy waxes poetic about an 80's weekend on a radio station, and in a comment Nelson links to one of the best things I've stumbled across on the web lately - an 80's lyrics quiz.

Did great overall, although, just as Jeremy says, I'm now kicking myself for a couple of quotes that I got wrong... when I've been humming along at least 15 of those songs over the past week alone, not even mentioning the past 15 years. To steal a catchphrase, Just Do It!

Posted by roam at 12:03 PM

March 29, 2004

Si je t'aime, prends guarde à toi!

Went to see Carmen on Saturday at the National Opera and Ballet - Sofia. The performance was great, and not just because of the guest star, Dragana del Monaco - our own singers were wonderful, especially Radostina Nikolaeva as Michaela and Nasko (Niko) Isakov as Don Jose (yes, I know the Isakov picture is from another opera :)

For some of the people I went with, this was their first visit to the opera, and they were impressed - a lot of people think that opera is all about standing still, hands behind your back, and singing long and dreary arias, and tend to forget (or have never even considered) the acting and the dancing, which is all part and parcel of the performance.

And, as usual after going to a concert, theatre or opera, once again I got the urge to revive my piano playing... let's see if this urge will last longer and be more successful than the last dozen or so times :)

Posted by roam at 12:44 PM

March 27, 2004


Noticed the expiration date on a milk carton today - 04.04.04. Nice :)

Which kinda leads me to a question I've wondered about for some time: just how did people ever come up with the mm/dd/yy date format?! IMHO, it is the most illogical one in use - unless, of course, its logic is deeply entwined with some hysterical raisins, like people writing mm/dd for easier sorting and then thoughtlessly adding the year at the end. Okay, so mm/dd does sort better than dd/mm, but why not then make the next logical step and put the year in front, like the International Date Format (somewhat belatedly) did?

The year-in-two-digits rant is left as an exercise for the reader - and yes, there still are people who use mm/dd/yy (two digits for the year) to represent dates in official documents. The mind boggles.

Posted by roam at 02:14 PM


So I gave my laptop to Stemo for servicing after its power supply died a couple of days ago. Since I wasn't able to restore the contents of my home dir to another machine, they agreed to give me my HDD. After some surgery this morning, it was successfully transplanted into my old laptop (yeah, the one with the psychedelic display of colors on the b0rked LCD panel.. I really should take a picture some day).

So basically, now I no longer have an excuse for not answering e-mail or not doing some long-overdue changes to my FreeBSD ports :) Also, my AmphetaDesk aggregator is back.. there goes all hope for a quiet, relaxing weekend :P

Posted by roam at 02:06 PM

March 26, 2004

Fun with UFS

Oh great.

Since my laptop's out of commission for a while, and since I'd thoughtfully backed up a couple of its filesystems just a couple of days before this happened, I thought I'd just restore a couple of pieces of my home dir and go along with e-mail, ICQ, and all that jazz. Unfortunately, it turned out that things were not quite so simple.

My laptop currently (well, when it's working, I mean) quadruple-boots between FreeBSD 4.x-STABLE, FreeBSD 5.x-CURRENT, Debian Linux and Windows XP. Unfortunately, when I decided to do the backup, I did it via booting FreeBSD 5.x into single-user mode, then, for some stupid reason or other, had to mount the filesystem containing my home dir as read-write instead of read-only... and dump(8) decided that since it was dumping a live filesystem, it would just create a snapshot and make a backup of that. That's all fine and dandy, except that filesystem snapshots seem to be dumped as UFS2, *not* UFS1 - and now I have a big UFS2 dump which I cannot restore on a FreeBSD 4.x machine, since 4.x's dump(8) does not grok UFS2 :(

Guess it's really time to sacrifice another machine and find a way to connect the laptop's HDD to a "real" IDE controller, so I can use it again... and *then* make a real UFS1 dump for future reference.

And before anyone takes this entry the wrong way: no, I'm not blaming either FreeBSD 5.x for coming up with a better UFS format, or 5.x's dump(8) for making UFS2 dumps of snapshots. These are both great and logical decisions; the problem was yours truly, dumping a live filesystem for no good reason at all.

Posted by roam at 05:06 PM



bk-sheckley-godshome.jpg Robert Sheckley's Godshome is a quick, funny read - a witty satire on human religion, society, and people in general. While it does seem to occassionally lose focus and only lightly touch on original ideas that could be developed further, I still liked it a lot and I'll probably reread it a couple of times in the future.


Posted by roam at 09:29 AM

Out of touch or something

My laptop's power supply let out its share of magic smoke on Wednesday. If you've sent me e-mail or ICQ messages in the past couple of days, chances are good that they are still waiting on the server - I'll read them within a day or two more.

Posted by roam at 09:07 AM

March 23, 2004

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors


bk-sagan-shadows.gif I just realized that when I was talking about chimpanzees, what with them being the closest species to us humans, I plain forgot to draw the general public's attention to Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's wonderful book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Yeah, it's just another book on the origin of the human species and life in general, but one that is really good at it. Puzzling trivia, meandering hypotheses (sometimes bordering on guesses), biographies of famous scholars showing their human sides, too - all this told in an easy-going manner that will just keep you turning the pages.

bk-sagan-shadows-bg.jpg Update: Oh and, um, I almost forgot: of course it is available in Bulgarian too, from Bard :)


Posted by roam at 03:23 PM

"Hello... Is Chris Rock there?"

How would you feel if you just walked into a store, bought a phone right off the shelf, and then people started calling you, trying to reach a celebrity? Well, there's a girl who knows exactly what it feels like - and it sounds like fun.

I'd never actually considered that this could happen with a mobile phone number. I mean, sure, when you move into a new flat or office, it's perfectly normal that people would call, looking for the previous tenants, but a mobile? Well, come to think of it, now I do remember hearing about GSM operators recycling numbers that have not been used for an year or so, and it does sound like a shrewd, reasonable business policy... but it oughtta be fun having something like that happen to you :)

Link snarfed via Brandon Fuller.

Posted by roam at 02:46 PM

March 18, 2004

Open Source Business Conference 2004

At last, a real, serious, official conference addressing a subject that's been troubling a lot of people in the last couple of years: how do you write open-source software *and* make a living out of it?

For more information:
- the conference's website;
- the NewsForge article announcing it;
- another NewsForge article which covers Lawrence Lessig's keynote speech.

I'll try to update this entry with more links as I find them; feel free to post others. I sure hope that the participants or the organizers post some kind of presentations (slides, text, anything) from the speeches!

Posted by roam at 01:29 PM

The origin of the smiley :)

(or should this be filed under 'Computers' after all...)

If you've ever wondered just where the smiley character came from, who invented it, what alternatives were discussed at the time, then, thanks to anima, wonder no more :) Here's the original thread in which the smiley was proposed and some historical context, both on Prof. Scott E. Fahlman's page at CMU!

Posted by roam at 12:21 PM

March 16, 2004

LPI exam scores

Just for the record, since others have posted their scores on the certification exam held by the Linux Professional Institute at the WebDev / PHP 2004 conference earlier this month, here's mine, too :)

Total: 630 (on a scale of 200 - 800, 500 needed to pass)

By category:

Hardware & architecture100%
Linux Installation & Package Management92%
GNU & Unix Commands95%
Devices, Linux Filesystems, Filesystem Hierarchy Standard81%

Guess it shows that I haven't done much with Linux's relatively-new filesystems like ReiserFS or ext3, and that I do most of my work in the console or using classic wm's like AfterStep or Ion :)

Posted by roam at 09:54 AM
Valid XHTML 1.0!   Valid CSS!