April 30, 2004

I want a new duck!

Matt wants a new duck, and I want one of these, too!

On a side note - Matt got this from the journal of Neil Gaiman - yep, the writer... Wow! Never thought I'd come across this, but it looks like a Good Thing(tm) :)

Posted by roam at 12:59 PM

April 28, 2004

Saab prototype with Microsoft software

A Saab prototype car displaying a familiar dialog... Okay, so it isn't a real, production car, it's just a prototype with prototype software, it will most probably *not* run this software when it hits the streets - and it's still fun :)

Via Ask.

Posted by roam at 12:16 PM

April 27, 2004

More Google fun

An old IBM tech manual joke revived by Google.

Via Luke.

Posted by roam at 06:46 PM

April 23, 2004

A Brick Science Major

A Brick Science Major (via VarChars) is a *wonderful* essay on the mentality of some CS students, some CS graduates, and some of the people who hire them.

Once (about eight years ago) I complained about the quality of CS education at a certain university, and an acquaintance told me something which, in retrospect, sounds like a truism, but it was a revelation back then. I believe it would also be a revelation to most people who actually graduate from universities, any major, any department. It might also come as a surprise to some of the HR staff (or whoever it is that takes care of grilling new candidates). What he told me was, "a university's job is not to teach you CS - its job is to teach you how to learn, so you can later learn all the CS you need by yourself".

Posted by roam at 02:14 PM

The Ten Rules of Performance

Paul Vick has a nice discussion of why performance should be considered 1. in the design, 2. during coding, 3. during testing, 4. during fixing the bugs, and not only during the hectic chaos of final bugfixing in the week before the release. A definite must read for all programmers, both aspiring and experienced!

And since I'm pretty sure that there will be some who will react to the very first paragraph with a sarcastic laugh and a snide anti-Microsoft remark, allow me to remind you that some of the best books on software design - Writing Solid Code and Code Complete - have actually been written by Microsoft employees.

Via Tony Bowden.

Posted by roam at 12:07 PM


Loaf seems to be an interesting application of Bloom filters to build a hybrid between e-mail, social networking, and I'm-still-not-quite-sure-what-else :) The basic idea: send out a hashed copy of your addressbook with each e-mail message, so others can check whether you have been in contact with somebody else. The purpose: check first-time correspondents against the people who have sent you their Loaf databases, so you can come up with some kind of rating: "I have no idea who that is, but three of my friends have actually sent e-mail to them, so maybe it's not really a spammer".

I think I'll give it a test out Real Soon Now(tm).

Via Idle Words and Understanding Nothing.

Posted by roam at 10:32 AM

April 22, 2004

Quote of the day: router buoys

In a message from Kevin Stevens in a discussion of the recent alleged TCP vulnerability on the freebsd-security mailing list:

On Wed, 21 Apr 2004, Dag-Erling Smœrgrav wrote:
> I think the default ttl of 64 was an arbitrary choice. You would
> probably be fine using 32, but any lower than that and you would start
> having trouble crossing oceans.

?? Because of all the router buoys floating around??

Posted by roam at 01:39 AM

April 21, 2004


This probably belongs in the notes blog, but I just can't pass it up with just a note :)

It's been long since I've first heard of this mythical programming language, PERL. The search for PERL has been long and hard, and sometimes quite funny, but it seems to have come to an end.

I give you (or rather, John McNamara gives you)...


Via a comment in davorg's journal.

Posted by roam at 08:13 PM

The Google File System

A fascinating overview of the Google filesystem. Via John Batelle and Steve Neiderhauser.

Posted by roam at 03:21 PM

Yahoo! Soul Search

Okay, so maybe they've done it before, but this is the first time that I've seen Yahoo! give, um, "customized" results for specific search phrases: do a search on what is my destiny :)

Via John Batelle's Searchblog.

Posted by roam at 01:40 PM

April 15, 2004


Of course cats have been around for a long, long while, and of course they are much more intelligent (intelligent enough to *not* show it) than us, and try to run our lives ;)

Well, it turns out that they have condescended to keep humans as pets a bit earlier than we thought - in fact, about 9500 years ago! Can I have a Felis silvestris as a pet too?

Felis silvestris - a European wildcat

Meow via Ron, wildcat image courtesy of the Cat Specialist Group at the IUCN.

Posted by roam at 11:44 AM

April 13, 2004

Alter ego?

Well, the Easter weekend at and around Troyan is over, and yesterday we came back to Sofia. It turned out that not only is there a street named after me in Pernik, but that I have an alter ego - a renowned lawyer in Lovech! (For those who cannot read Bulgarian, the black plate on the wall on Targovska Street lists the names of lawyers, and the very last name on the list is "Peter Pentchev").

Talk about a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hide outlook... Not that I have anything against lawyers, mind - in fact, some of my best friends are lawyers (well, attorneys, actually, but it's close enough for government work ;)... still, it was a bit jarring :)

Posted by roam at 01:05 PM

April 10, 2004

An Easter weekend at Chiflik, Oreshak, Troyan

Some photos from the first day of our stay at the Diva hotel in the village of Chiflik, then at the village of Oreshak, and then at the Troyan monastery.

Update: and then we went back to Sofia...

Posted by roam at 11:20 PM

April 09, 2004

A complete tiered vector implementation in Ringlet.Collections

The new 1.0pre2 version of the Ringlet.Collections library (which I already mentioned yesterday) now contains a complete implementation of a tiered vector. The Ringlet.Collections.TieredVector class now has a Shrink() method, which no longer throws a NotImplementedException, but simply does its job when RemoveAt() invokes it as needed.

As mentioned in my FMI blog entry, you can find more information at the Ringlet.Collections distribution site or its online documentation.

Posted by roam at 04:58 PM

EuroBSDCon 2004 in October

EuroBSDCon 2004 is scheduled for October 29-31 in Karlsruhe, Germany. I hope I'll be able to attend this year, although it's still too early to tell...

Posted by roam at 01:11 PM

A programmer's working day


Change 'pot of coffee' to 'two-litre Coca Cola bottle', and kasia's description of a typical programmer's working day hits straight home!

Yes, it is that bad. Yes, it is that exciting. Yes, it is that disorganized.

Yes, I like it :)

Update: Also, do read the trackbacks from kasia's site, too - some of them will provide additional insight :)

Posted by roam at 11:57 AM

Camera Phones Fuel Mobile Diaries

I was feeling a bit guilty about continuously posting pictures taken by Iva's mobile phone at the Ringlet gallery. Well, I *was* - until coming across this PCWorld article via anima's blog.

Okay, so our gallery isn't quite a moblog - Iva e-mails me the pictures, true, but then I post them almost manually. Still, I don't feel so bad any more about posting pictures with less-than-perfect image quality :)

And yes, I *will* get a real camera one of these days. Most probably it will be a video camera, almost certainly a digital one, but we're still doing some research on that topic. Boyan's demonstration of the Sony DCR-TRV33E looks very promising.

Posted by roam at 11:47 AM

The Memespread Project

The Memespread Project (via anima) sounds like fun :) Quite intriguing, too - drop a meme into the blogosphere, then follow its progress - moving across the blogosphere, sometimes crawling, sometimes taking jumping leaps...

I just hope that Samuel Arbesman makes the results public, whatever they are. Also... here's hoping this does not become just another chain letter or something.

Posted by roam at 11:29 AM

April 08, 2004

Mourning the victims of the Lim bus crash


(inspired by anima)

Posted by roam at 04:06 PM

A tiered vector implementation - Ringlet.Collections

I just announced the Ringlet.Collections .NET class library over at my FMI/University-related blog (in Bulgarian). In short, a presentation by Krasi Dobrev at the Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms course kinda grabbed my attention, and seeing as there were no real tiered vector implementations that I could find, I decided to write my own (not that hard, as it turns out). However, I might have to finish it a bit later, after catching some Z's...

As mentioned in my FMI blog entry, there's a good chance that this .NET library will be followed up by C and C++ implementations, but this is definitely not going to start at 6am.

Update: the new version 1.0pre2 of the library contains a complete implementation of a tiered vector.

Posted by roam at 05:53 AM

April 07, 2004

calendar(1)-induced fun

Trying to catch up on blogs (gosh, do people write a lot these days or what ;)

Doncho asked a couple of days ago whether it was possible to have reminders for sending out greetings for holidays that do not have a fixed date. On most Unix-like OS's, that's what calendar(1) is for :)

While playing with calendar(1)'s options, I came across the following:

[roam@straylight ~]> env LANG=en_US.ISO8859-1 calendar -f calendar.all
Apr 8 Buddha born, 563 BC
Apr 7 IBM announces System/360, 1964
Apr 7 Albert Hofmann synthesizes LSD in Switzerland, 1943

I knew neither of those three, yet all of them are significant in one way or another :)

Posted by roam at 06:31 PM

April 05, 2004

Boyan Krosnov at extelligence :)

Welcome the move of Boyan Krosnov's blog at extelligence.ringlet.net from blogspot.com :)

Posted by roam at 12:01 PM

April 04, 2004

New life in the spring!

Just back from Chiprovci, where we saw a lot of newly-blossomed flowers and trees!

Posted by roam at 08:36 PM
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