OpenFest 2006 - Share the Freedom

March 07, 2011

E-mail outage

Due to a bad disk crash I have lost most of the e-mail received on March 4th and 5th. If any of the three people who are reading this has sent me anything on those dates, please re-send it; thanks.

Posted by roam at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2011

PGP key reflecting real-life changes

Earlier this week I made two changes to my PGP key - revoked the CNsys, Space.BG and Hoster user ID's and added a PacketScale one.

Thus ends an almost-seven-year period in my life, and, ostensibly, a new one begins. We'll see how this turns out :)

Posted by roam at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2008

Images out of a rainy night

There is something special, something warm in sitting in your car in front of your house with your eyes closed, listening to the rain tapping on the car's roof and windows, and thinking of one single person — and then picking up the phone and sharing the feeling…


Two minutes later I went up to my room and right there, on the desk, there were a dozen or so pictures that apparently my parents had dug up and left for me; pictures of an airport, a sending-off, a trip away from home — ten years ago… and the warmth kept flowing somewhere deep inside my soul.

Posted by roam at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2006

Time — what is time?

[на български]

“Night-time sharpens, heightens each sensation…”

Night-time. Driving home. Thoughts fluttering this way and that. Memories crowding each other, pushing past one another, all mixed up in a surreal collage of emotions. Every now and then, the memory of one single experience or another manages to float up, past all the others, and fill the mind completely for a moment or five. “So when did this happen — yesterday morning? The day before, just before lunch?”… A confuzzled moment of mixing and matching other events and experiences. “This morning?! Impossible!”… So much seems to have happened since then — is it possible that all of this did fit into a single day?…

Aye, it is. A long day. For very large values of “long”.

I think you've all had days like this.

But how many times in your life have there been five such days in a row?

It seems that today was the first “normal” day after those five — and I already wish it weren't.

Posted by roam at 10:49 PM | Comments (4)

September 23, 2006

Libya's travesty

The Nature journal published an article on the plight of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya: Libya's travesty. After all those years, I don't think there's anything more for me — or for anyone else — to say.

Posted by roam at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2006

Quote of the day

“The more people I meet, the better I like my cat.”
— Brian Kantor in the Scary Devil Monastery

Posted by roam at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2006

“Mrrrrowwwrrrr” — and proud of it!

[на български]

The Great Panther of the House strikes again!

Jack the cat chases black bear up tree

WEST MILFORD, N.J. - A black bear picked the wrong yard for a jaunt, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree — twice.

Jack, a 15-pound orange and white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey property on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes, the bear descended and tried to run away, but Jack chased it up another tree.

[full article]

Well then… the next time you hear a soft purring — it will have taken a couple of new tones, won't it now? :)

Posted by roam at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

Music with and without rain :)

"…but when you need me, be assured I won't be far away!"

Posted by roam at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2006


Yep, this disclaimer I like.

Posted by roam at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2006

Hallmarks of Felinity

Yeah, well, it's not easy being feline… :)

ObGeek:! Oh for the love of Eris…

Posted by roam at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2006

N O T   G U I L T Y !

N O T   G U I L T Y !

I just don't know what to say — there's no way to pour out all the whirlwind inside my soul right now, after the news that lightened up this day, the next couple of days, maybe even weeks ahead!

After all these months, after all the madness… the court in Thessaloniki has declared Nikolay Barovsky not guilty!

Relief… joy… quiet — and sometimes not so quiet — delight… no, I really cannot find the words to express it all. Just… as Spas said, many heartfelt congratulations to all of those who tried to help, to do anything, however small and insignificant, to show they cared — it seems there was a point after all!

Posted by roam at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2005


[на български]

I guess I'll just write this now, even though a bit early, but no matter — read it whenever y'all feel like it :)

Well, everyone, have a happy Saturday night — and as to the year afterwards, may it be as full of all kinds of surprises and experiences as this one was, and may at least as many of them be happy, merry, pleasant and worth remembering as there were in this year! :)

Posted by roam at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2005

Happy Students' Holiday!

[на български]
Okay, so it's a bit late — about a day late… For various reasons, I was unable to post this yesterday, but still, here goes.

At least in Bulgaria, university students, professors, and pretty much everyone related in some way to university-level education celebrate on December 8th. I'm not sure how far this tradition has spread through other countries — at least Wikipedia doesn't seem to think it has — but it is still a nice holiday :)

So… even a bit late, happy holiday, y'all who feel like celebrating! Carpe diem! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow… oh hell, who has the time to think about tomorrow?!
And here's a toast I picked up from some endless tales that I've been reading and rereading recently — dark tales of Desire and Despair and Delirium that was once Delight and Destruction that is long gone, dazzling tales of Dream and Death and Destiny, tales of humans and of Gods and of the Endless…
“To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and everyone of us always give the Devil his due!”

Posted by roam at 06:27 PM | Comments (2)

December 06, 2005


[на български]

Irfan and Balkandji inside the same night — that's more than a man ought to be subjected to… yet the feeling is beyond words! And… thank you again, you know who you are, for the tip-off about Irfan, although we didn't quite manage to actually meet! :) Well, maybe next time :)

PS. Should anybody object to the use of “inside” applied to “night”, please take your complaints to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Beethoven's Last Night :)

Posted by roam at 02:49 AM | Comments (2)

November 07, 2005

Pepsi Cola Flavoring Component

Yeah, most of the things at UrbanStyle are interesting and worth seeing, but every now and then, something really notable and thought-provoking will show up… It's not as if we didn't know it already — and before someone pipes in, not as if we didn't also know it for the competing product of the competing company — but still, there it is, pretty much black-on-white…

Posted by roam at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

Laziness and bliss

[на български]

It's nice to have a day like this every once in a while — on Saturday, I got home at midnight from my aunt's birthday party, then did some reading until about 2am and fell asleep… woke up at 9:30am, considered it much too early, went back to sleep… woke up at 2:30pm, did half an hour of reading, went back to sleep… woke up at 4:30pm, did an hour or so of reading, went back to sleep… and finally crawled off the bed at about 7:15pm.

Well, at least it seems I'm in a marginally better position than Vasil — if I'd only asked nicely, my mother would have even brought me breakfast in bed, but I was much too lazy even to eat :)

Posted by roam at 12:37 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2005

Music madness

This week is… crazy. Just… crazy. It started last Saturday and is apparently going to go on aaaall the way to next Wednesday at least. For various reasons, I'll probably write it up in one go after it's over. People are coming back to Sofia, Sofia is coming back to life, concerts, gigs and parties are in, and sleep is right out.

Posted by roam at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2005

Nikolay Barovsky - a full year in detainment away from his homeland - why?

[на български]

An year of detainment away from his homeland - why?

I think I have mentioned some time ago the incredible, grotesque, dreadful story of Nikolay Barovsky. The story of a young Bulgarian architect, musician, human being just like you and me, who has already lost - no, who has already had taken away from him a year of his life, a year of his youth, a year of his world - and, it seems, there will be more to come. The dreadful part about this story is that even though, at the seventh (or was it eighth?) month of his detainment things did really start moving along, they are still moving along at a horribly slow pace and in a horribly wrong direction - a direction that is horribly wrong from a humanitarian, heartfelt, just human point of view; Nikolay is still being detained, although he has now been formally charged and a law suit has been started. The court denied the request to let him out on bail, they digged up some reasons - no, pretexts - no, muttered excuses, which would have been funny and silly to the point of bringing out tears if they were not just astonishing to the point of a loss for words.

And as I've written before… For those who know what this is all about; for those who have not come across it yet; for those who know who Nikolay Barovsky is and what has happened to him, and think that this does not concern them; for those who have no idea who he is; for all Bulgarians - take a look at what this is all about, take a minute to understand what has befallen a Bulgarian who had been lingering in detainment for seven months before he was even charged with anything, and is still detained, as a result of a gross error (not to use much stronger words), find a way to help!

Posted by roam at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

Perfect numbers

[in Bulgarian]

From a certain point of view, I must admit that I don't have much experience with perfect numbers - I've only dealt with two of them so far. Still, even this kind of limited experience has been pretty much all pleasant :)

One is not exactly a perfect number, since it ought to be omitted from the list of its own divisors, but still - hmm, "but still" what... I don't seem to remember all that much from the first year of my life :P

Six is a perfect number - and the sixth year of my life, almost exactly in the middle (of the sixth year, not the life), brought me a wonderful sister :)

Twenty-eight is a perfect number - and the twenty-eighth year of my life brought me lots of things, most of them good; lots of changes - some of them much more serious, more significant, more startling than what other years have brought; many new experiences, many new acquaintances, many new friends. I'd like to once again say "thank you!" to all those who have somehow influenced me or my life - in most cases, for the best :) As "Yuvigi" sang recently, "It's a beautiful life!"

The next perfect number is somewhat bigger... and I'm not the kind of person who makes plans (at least not ones that actually come true) for more than a week ahead, never mind 468 years ahead :P

Posted by roam at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005


I must have been walking for half an hour this morning before I noticed that my backpack seemed to have developed yet another tail...


Posted by roam at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

With apologies to Tennessee Williams :)

Cat on a hot tin roof - 1

Cat on a hot tin roof - 2

Posted by roam at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005

Some days are better than others

[in Bulgarian]

Some days it all adds up
And what you've got is enough
Some days are better than others...

Thanks to several people in various situations, in various ways, my last few days have been better, happier, sunnier than most. Will it be too loud a call for trouble if I said that it seems that this will remain true of the next few days, too? :)

Posted by roam at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

He aten't dead yet!

Yep, so there's been Yet Another Lull in this blog. Nope, I aten't dead yet - just got kinda, I dunno, lazy in the summertime, and most of the things I write are in my blog in Bulgarian and the Ringlet gallery. One of these days I just might decide to translate some of them in English and post them here... but don't hold your breath.

Posted by roam at 06:27 PM

July 08, 2005

Lord of the stellar rings

[in Bulgarian]

Spot the differences:

sauron-movie.jpg" sauron-photo.jpg

Yes, the eye of Sauron. It's been discovered, it's been photographed - and it's actually quite close to home, around Fomalhaut, hardly an unknown star.

Now go back to sleep - and may your dreams be as sweet as they could be, after this piece of news :)

Posted by roam at 06:15 PM

July 01, 2005

July Morning

[in Bulgarian]

This time, this year, this July Morning, I did greet the sunrise - for the first time in more years than I care to admit.

Actually, I didn't mean to do it, I didn't think I'd make it, didn't think I'd manage to stay awake, didn't think I'd want to - but, well, one thing led to another, and what with Dr. Strangelove, with fire and ice (which I will probably translate into English and post here, too... but not right now), with another several hours spent in an almost friendly fight with Axis, with me finally going home and, instead of falling asleep, delving back into reading - The Burning City did, after all, turn out to be all that I expected from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and more, despite the somewhat slow beginning... suddenly I gave a start, reached up, turned off the lamp, found out that I could see just as well without it, rose up, opened the curtains, gazed at the faint colors of dawn upon the clouds over the silent city - and started singing...

At the sound of the first birds singing,
I was leaving for home
With the storm and the night behind me
And a road of my own

In the past few weeks it is much too often that I could hear "the sound of the first birds singing", although usually I'm home at the time - or at least, within the physical boundaries of my registered lodging. And in a conversation at a quiet walk about two weeks ago, which also took us to the light of the dawn, although there was no birdsong, and the "Linden" had not quite blossomed yet in that quiet part of Sofia, something else happened - it seems that I finally realized, accepted, confessed to myself, that I have actually found the road of my own - or at least I'd placed foot upon it, started along, even if with no inkling not just where it will take me, but also where it has taken others before me. But if we knew everything that was about to befall us in this life, wouldn't it then be ever so unbearably, indescribably boring?

Posted by roam at 07:11 PM

June 15, 2005

Just a couple of words...

Yep, just a couple of words in the other blog, which I don't think would be easy to translate. Not impossible, certainly - just not right now.

Posted by roam at 12:27 PM

June 08, 2005

Knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep...

Now every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin' what to keep.
'cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

When I woke up today, Kenny Rogers was singing "The Gambler" in my head, over and over again. No idea why - the last time I played that song must have been, oh, about 2002 or so, although me and that song, we've had a long, deep, meaningful relationship, that's for sure! It goes back to the time when, about 20 years ago, I dug into my father's vinyls that lived in my room simply because the gramophone was in my room; then there was a tape or two of Kenny Rogers found in various music stores; then there was the TV series that aired on Bulgarian TV around 1990; then a CD or two; then a pause of a couple of years, and today it comes back in full swing.

Well, okay, so maybe there is a reason for me to think of that song; maybe it's because this is pretty much the way I feel about the last couple of months of my life. Nope, this isn't about me feeling like jumping on a train to the Wild West and trying to establish, once and for all, whether a Smith & Wesson *always* beats four aces! It's more about the flurry of people, things, events, incidents, accidents, wrongdoings, rightdoings, plain ol' crazy doings - everything that seems to have rushed into my life once I opened the floodgates and let it all in. Old people coming to know me in new ways, new people coming to know me in old ways, many people (including myself) coming to know me in crazy ways... And of course, the other way 'round - finding new sides to people I thought I'd always known, getting to know people old and new, making friends, making enemies, making people sad, making people happy, making things up as I go, making mistakes, generally making whoopee - kinda making it sound like the Wild West after all, isn't it? :)

And just like the song goes, there are some things and people I've come across that I'd rather throw away; there are many more things, people, and lessons that I'd rather keep; but there are very, very few things that I actually regret doing. Again, I'm reminded of Richard Bach - his words about the world around us, the people around us being neither good nor bad, but just *being*, and the metaphor of every person's life as a movie with a single director, a single spectator, a single leading actor, a single playwright who chooses what kind of movie it will be - and for my life, it seems I'd choose a kind of fast-paced, illogical, unpredictable comedy of errors that could be so much fun at times it actually blows up and drags half a dozen innocent bystanders into the next crazy scheme - and that's the way I like it!

Oh, and, um, speaking of crazy schemes, here goes another one - say hi to my little new place for ranting, in Bulgarian this time.

Posted by roam at 03:42 PM

May 13, 2005

No need for a title...

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.

Have I mentioned Richard Bach's Illusions too many times already?

Posted by roam at 11:25 AM

May 01, 2005

Happy Easter!

It doesn't really matter whether you believe in the Trinity and recognize Jesus and the Resurrection; whether you are Christian; whether you recognize the Bible at all, or the Pentecost, or any part of what many people would consider Holy Writ. It doesn't even matter whether you subscribe to any religious teachings at all, or you are a raging atheist, or you never really think about those issues and spend your life in a happy state of only caring for the here-and-now. Wherever you may stand, a simple fact remains: in the Northern Hemisphere, the weeks at the end of April and the beginning of May are a time for celebration; and if you think there's nothing to celebrate, then pray let your eyes stray away from the monitor for just a couple of seconds, find the nearest window, take a second to raise the blinds if you need to, spare a look at the sun, the blossomed trees, the many-colored flowers carpeting the ground, the small furry animals of all sorts happily bouncing around - spare a look at that, and then come back and tell me with a straight face that this is not a time of resurrection for Nature, that this is not the time when it is obvious that the spring is here to stay, that "Here Comes The Sun" and "Good Day, Sunshine" are nothing but a bunch of tones randomly gathered together... May your Easter be as happy as it ought to be, and may the days and weeks around it bring you as much joy and gladness as they seem to have brought me, in so many ways!

Certainly, this world has a way of slyly slipping a stiletto or two along with the glorious presents sometimes, and this time of holidays and celebration, just as any other, has also brought pangs of sharp pain and suffering to some. But despair not - all things shall come to pass, and sometimes the light of a flickering ember as it bursts into sparks for the last time may serve to bring more light and warmth to those still burning around it, and be remembered long afterwards. As somebody sang once, "Life is there for living - just try and never give in" - and that is the purpose of the various holidays celebrating the return of life in the spring!

Posted by roam at 01:28 PM

April 20, 2005

If I'm telling you the truth right now, do you believe it?

Ain't gonna spend the rest of my life
Quietly fading away...

This entry brought to you by Richard Bach, Donald Shimoda's Illusions, and Alan Parsons' Games People Play.

Posted by roam at 09:55 AM

April 14, 2005

Singing in the rain

I'm singing in the rain,
   Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling -
   I'm happy again!

It *might* be that Gene Kelly has meant a slightly different shade of happiness in this timeless song, but, frankly, I don't care! When we walked out of the NetSec lecture today (technically, yesterday), it was straight into the fiercest downpour of rain Sofia has seen for the past six months or so. Everybody ran for cover - Buchvarov, desync, bu, Niki, Ivo, Lina, and Emerald, while I happily confirmed my reputation of a loonie par excellence by joyfully strolling up and down a puddle right in front of them, truly, honestly and sincerely enjoying the drops, the larger drops, then the rivulets of rain, splishin'-and-a-splashin' onto my head, down my hair, down my neck... The only reason I didn't break into a song right there and then was that I didn't care for all the explaining it would take - or rather, I didn't care much for all the evading maneuvers and funny looks just then :)

Sometimes, it's moments like that one - a dark and stormy night, thunder rolling across the sky; people huddled under a vewwy, vewwy narrow shed, trying to shoo away the water that is merely trying to find its way back to Mother Earth - sometimes, it's moments like that one, when, like the lightning striking every now and then, sometimes less than a klick away, it hits me - no, not the lightning, not yet at least! At times like this, I realize how many good things there are about my life - how many wonderful things come about, how many wonderful friends I've found through the years and keep finding still more, how much I've learned from each one of them and keep learning still more... There are other times when I wonder if it is fair, if I can ever possibly pay back - or pay forward - even a little bit of all the gifts from the soul, all the kindness, all the goodwill that has come my way at times when I hardly deserved it - but at moments like that, standing in a nice little puddle in the splashing rain, surrounded by good friends, wishing that even more friends could be there to share the feeling, it is all I can do to say a great big THANK YOU! A great Thank You to the deity that may or may not watch over us; a great Thank You to the Norns, the Furies, the Graces, the Morrigu, the Samodivi, or whoever else it might be that watches amusedly from a distance and every now and then touches a fiber of somebody's fate to their own inscrutable purposes; a great Thank You to all the people who have shaped my life with touches of kindness and love; a great Thank You to all the people who have shaped my life with touches of hostility and bad faith; a great Thank You to all the people who are there in times of need, or sometimes just in times of need of another beer; a great Thank You to all the people who are not exactly aware of my existence, but have led me along with the things they do or say; a great Thank You to all the people who made today (well, technically, yesterday) a Day of Great News of All Sorts; a great Thank You for the world at large for being so wonderful!

Let the stormy clouds chase
   Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
   I've a smile on my face

I walk down the lane
   With a happy refrain
Just singin',
   Singin' in the rain!

Posted by roam at 04:05 AM

April 13, 2005

Spring is here to stay!

Some time ago, I mentioned that spring had arrived; well, it was just a bit too hasty. Or rather, no, it wasn't hasty, it's just that now, spring is really here to stay - the lavish green grass and bushes, the warm sunlight that makes it well nigh impossible *not* to sit on a bench and just while away the time, the light wind, just enough to touch the face with coolness and raise the spirit, the blossoms in the martenitza-clad trees... The purrrrrrrfect time for a long, quiet walk in the park! And for those who think that I may or may not have shown up somewhere else for some talk over a beer - in the immortal words of Edith Piaf, "Non! Rien de rien... Non, je ne regrette rien!"

PS. As usual, if you follow the 'walk in the park' link and you have no idea what username/password will let you into the gallery, just drop me an e-mail.

Posted by roam at 06:35 PM

A feint within a feint within a feint...

Just a quote from Frank Herbert's Dune that has been firmly planted in my mind for the past, what, fourteen years? I've mentioned it several times in various conversations in the past couple of months, and it seems that it warrants an exact quotation already:

"Then why are we walking into this?"

"Paul!" The Duke frowned at his son. "Knowing where the trap is - that is the first step in evading it. This is like single combat, Son, only on a larger scale - a feint within a feint within a feint... seemingly without end."

Posted by roam at 11:09 AM

March 30, 2005

A couple more pictures

Or rather, a couple more entries in the gallery: Drumev's birthday, Life at a Sofia ISP, Lina's birthday, and a NetSec supper.

As usual, if someone wants to see these pictures and does not have the necessary secret incantations that the swerver will require, just drop me a note.

Posted by roam at 11:44 AM

March 25, 2005

The importance of being earnest

Nope, this is not about Oscar Wilde. It's just a quick note, mainly to myself, about the huge importance of a simple, earnest, face-to-face or maybe mind-to-mind talk every once in a while. The wonderful feeling of picking up a messy, tangled ball of yarn, then slowly, methodically unraveling it, inch by inch, thread by thread, and then seeing that it has nicely come apart into a few long, straight, shiny separate threads, none of them torn up, none of them damaged in any way. The breath of relief when you finally know where you stand, and the nagging doubts and ambiguities haunting more than one person for a couple of weeks are conjured away once and for all. The delight and more relief of having really managed to steer off a very improbable, but even so faintly possible in a very dark scenario, course that would wreck lives, a course that would end up with people walking in darkness as destruction lay around us. The warm feeling of having gained a true friend and lost... nothing really, nothing but a whole slew of dark thoughts and doubts in your own sanity.

Life is good again - it has been some kind of wonderful recently, but it is even better now. Well, okay, so it is not perfect - but then, if it were perfect, it would be no fun at all, right? Ask Dr. Faustus for a second opinion, if you won't take my word :) Once again, thanks, you know who you are, for actually bringing it up! And... thanks, you ought to know who you are, for the unbelievable patience, trust, and restraint!

Okay, now I'm really off to sleep, lest Vasil's anger strike me down for using nearly-terminal tiredness as an excuse for weaseling out of an invitation to his place, even flavored with an offer to sleep over ;)

Posted by roam at 01:51 AM

March 22, 2005

We will remember...

In the spirit of Dune:

Cameron was my friend. He may not have known it, but he was. He taught me that a life worth living is a life worth sharing with others - family, friends, acquaintances, perfect strangers. He taught me that a moment worth living is a moment worth giving to others - with no thought of ever receiving anything in return. He would not spare time or energy, he would devote more effort than anyone thought possible to just being there and helping other people along - even people he had never met, people he would never meet, people to whom he was just a name - we were all people to him, and he was there for us.

I will remember Cameron.

Posted by roam at 12:19 PM

March 20, 2005


Believe it or not, spring has arrived! There has been no snow for the past week, there have been pretty much no cold attacks in the past three or four days, there has been a lot of sun and days when you wished you didn't have to stick it out at the office, and longed to grab a couple of pals and run out into the green, into the wilderness, into the quiet realms of Nature... The winter frosts are over, it's time for the spring to bring along the merry shining of the joyful sun!

And while it's true that I may be writing this somewhat under the impression of the just-ended birthday party (nope, not mine, there's still quite some time till that one :), it's definitely not just that - I've seen quite a change in both Nature (weather, flowers, plants) and people's behavior in the past few days. Let's hope that March doesn't hold a whole lot of surprises still to be unleashed upon the unsuspecting world, much like the German April - "April, April der weiss night was er will" (April, he doesn't know what he wants). Or even if it does, the secret is out now - springtime is here, if only for a couple of days!

Posted by roam at 03:36 AM

February 14, 2005

Green things and salivations

Well, it's that time of the year again - and it's that day again. To my sister, if you're reading this - happy birthday, many kisses, and don't take it all too seriously! :) To my grandma, who is most likely not reading this - happy birthday anyway, see you later today!

To fellow Bulgarians - g'luck and cheers, no matter whether you decide to celebrate Valentine's Day or Trifon Zarezan - just try to make sure that you make it back to work by, oh, say, Thursday afternoon, alright? ;)

And to those poor folks who have never ever celebrated Trifon Zarezan and don't even have an inkling about what kind of holiday it is - well, all I can do is sigh, wish you a good time on Valentine's Day and hope that some day you'll learn ;)

Alright then, enough with the greetings and salutations (and thanks to a certain EFnet #c regular, who is almost certainly not reading this, for the pun)... I guess you've got the general idea by now - go forth and celebrate![1]

[1] And, uhm, no, that's not, repeat not, meant to mean anything like the polite representation of FOAD that it resembles!

Posted by roam at 01:11 AM

January 29, 2005

Enjoy the silence...

Some of you may have noticed the - should we say, thinning out - of the entries in this blog in the past month or so. It's not that there's nothing happening that seems worth blogging about, it's just that the most important things going on in my life are things that I will definitely *not* blog about, and the rest - well, suddenly the rest does not seem worth blogging about...

So, no, this blog is not dead - not quite yet. However, bear with me for a while, while I still post only occassional entries, like the Otello one just now, or just enjoy the silence for a while. And to steal a closing line, "we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Thank you."

Posted by roam at 12:53 PM

January 15, 2005

Winding down

Updated: (see bottom)

Oh, hhe holiday season... And for our foreign readers, no, this does not just mean Christmas and New Year, but all the rest associated therewith, like:

  • the company's Xmas party;
  • other companies' Xmas parties;
  • name day celebrations for namesakes of the about 30 saints celebrated at or near Christmas time, and in the first couple of weeks of the year.

And then, of course, there are the birthdays. Isn't it fun when you realize that not only have you just survived the last couple of weeks of December, but in the first three weeks of the new year there are seven birthday parties that you wouldn't miss for the world? As Iva said, "some mornings I wake up and my head hurts, just out of habit"...

Thankfully, things *are* winding down - and then there comes the finals session at the University :)

Oh, and you know what? FrozenBubble is addictive...

Posted by roam at 06:33 PM

November 11, 2004

Two rainbows over Sofia

A bit overdue, since this happened on Monday, but - better late than never, I guess :)

Anyway, on Monday morning Iva and I woke up to a wonderful view of two rainbows over smog-clouded Sofia - yep, not one, but two!

rainbow 20041108 001 rainbow 20041108 001 rainbow 20041108 001 rainbow 20041108 001
rainbow 20041108 001

These images were downscaled to 1024x768; you can download the full downscaled archive here, or the full-sized version here. Enjoy!

Posted by roam at 12:36 PM

November 09, 2004

Drinking and driving...

Several days ago, Irina Marudina wrote about driving "under the influence", referencing a SEGA newspaper article (all links in Bulgarian). Basically, the article's author wonders - and with good reasons - why no other Bulgarian attorneys, district or otherwise, have picked up on the example of Rossen Dimov at the Plovdiv district, who issued an order last year mandating overnight detention and "fast-track" court action for drivers with more than 1.8 parts per thousand alcohol in the blood stream. Apparently, this has had some effect - as it well should, since would-be drunk drivers now face the possibility of spending the night locked up :)

I myself have absolutely no tolerance for drunk drivers, even without the "empirical evidence" of a close friend who brought down several sections of a fence one night, and another one who pretty much totalled his engine as he drove his car into a lamp post - thankfully, neither of them was harmed in any way, the damage was to the cars (and the surrounding objects) only. Still, it was interesting to read some more hard facts on the subject, presented by the State University of New York in Potsdam on their alcohol information pages. The most striking part was this Drinking doesn't affect my driving mini-presentation which actually led me there, as Tony Finch linked to it:

Drinking doesn't affect my driving.

I don't think there's anything more to say...

Posted by roam at 12:45 PM

October 28, 2004

OpenFest 2004 / BSDCon (Bulgaria)

Updated 2004-10-29: added a link to Irina Marudina's story, as kindly provided by Silvina Georgieva on Georgi's blog.

Some of you may have noticed the OpenFest banner on my blog; as a matter of fact, I *know* that some of you have noticed it, judging from some questions asked off-line last week :) Well, it's actually gone by already - it took place on Saturday and Sunday, October 23th and 24th, that is, last weekend. And it was great!

I was planning to write a long entry with my impressions from all the lectures, but it looks like this may not happen all that soon. So here's the gist: as I've already mentioned in comments on other blogs, it was an amazing experience - and for an outside observer it would have been very, very hard to believe that the splendid organization, the insightful talks, the well-known speakers and guests, the demo machines, and all the rest could have been put up together in just a week or two by pretty much a handful of volunteer organizers. And that's a fact - a couple of actual outside observers said as much :) Of course, there was the usual amount of networking/socializing in the hallways and in the "Krivoto" pub after the talks, too - but that's the norm for such a gathering :)

More OpenFest impressions may be found in other blogs, mostly in Bulgarian - Yovko Lambrev and more, Vasil Kolev (in English, too) and more (in English, too), Yasen Pramatarov, Dafcho Tabakov, Bogomil Shopov and more, Hristo Iliev and more, Rossy Dimova, Silvina Georgieva, Kaloyan Doganov, Irina Marudina, and last but not least, Georgi Chorbadzhiyski and more.

The organizers have also made available the presentations for the talks (again, mostly in Bulgarian) and some photos from various sources.

I am certainly not counting myself among the organizers, unless that's the organizers of the Bulgarian BSDCon that took place on Sunday in parallel with the main OpenFest track. That one didn't go all that well, although it is my humble opinion that as the first public event of the Bulgarian BSD community (small as it is for the present - at least in terms of people who actually *speak up*), this BSDCon was actually a success - maybe not a great one, but still a success. Yes, there was some time mismanagement, there was a speaker who pulled out a couple of days before the 'con, there were various other issues - but as a whole, I'd like to think that we managed to demonstrate that, contrary to popular opinion, BSD is not dying :) We managed to gather up all kinds of interested parties, if only for a while, and hopefully to introduce the FreeBSD Bulgarian Documentation Project and the FreeBSD-BG site with its mailing lists - a bit more popularity never hurt a software or community project, I think :) Let's see if the translation project gets many new volunteers as a result of Dimitar Vasilev's talk.

As to the grumblings from people who said that the mismanaged BSDCon brought down the quality of the OpenFest as a whole - I'd like to think that it was not so much a lack of BSDCon organization as a failure to keep up with the very high standards set by the organizers of the main OpenFest track :) We will do better next time - and yes, there will be a next BSD-time, even before next year's OpenFest.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, one that I would not miss for the world - well, okay, maybe that's stretching it a bit, but you get the idea :)

Posted by roam at 12:46 PM

October 25, 2004

She's back!

Yep, the Black Week that I've mentioned before is quite over indeed - late on Saturday evening[*], I met Iva at the airport as she returned from her week-long trip. Life is good again!

[1] ...while I was till somewhat under the influence of the first day of OpenFest 2004 (and yes, I will blog separately about this as soon as I'm finished with the nice guys at the FMI and arranging things for the Perl course).

Posted by roam at 03:37 PM

October 22, 2004

Not much to tell...

Less than 18 hours till the Black Week is over!

Nah, don't worry if you don't get it, I might even explain later. Still, this week hasn't been much - a less than stellar performance at the Perl course on Wednesday, a bit of help to George in his datalink lecture at the Network Security course yesterday, a couple of hours watching DVD's that might have been better spent doing something else...

One of the bright moments of the week was the meeting with a couple of former cow-orkers from SBND Technologies over a couple of beers yesterday. It was nice to see those guys (and gals) again after a couple of months, and it was sure interesting to hear what they'd been up to. We have to do this again sometime soon :)

And now back to your regularly scheduled office hours, especially as I still haven't quite finished the presentation I'm about to give at the OpenFest on Sunday...

Posted by roam at 03:17 PM

October 20, 2004

When Writing to a Writer...

Lorraine, Neil Gaiman's assistant, has compiled a top-ten list of things one should never, ever, ever send in a letter or a package to a writer. Although it is not very likely that I will find myself in either position - a Famous Writer or his Beautiful Assistant - anytime soon, I still can sympathize with both of them about some of the items on that list... :)

Posted by roam at 05:03 PM

October 04, 2004

A couple of minor but important things about DVD's

Jason Scott is keeping a wonderful blog on his great efforts to make a documentary of the history of the BBS's - technology, culture, everything. Now that he's close to completing it, and nearing the phase of actually producing the documentary DVD's, there's a great post on a couple of Do's And Don't's In DVD Production!

Posted by roam at 06:00 PM

September 24, 2004

The first class

Rob Young, an American teaching English in the Bulgarian city of Silistra, lets the cat out of the bag on his method of introducing himself to the class, and letting the class introduce themselves back. His methods of breaking the ice look wonderful - and believe me, there usually *is* quite a bit of ice to break in a Bulgarian school when the students see a real, live, talking and performing native speaker of English for the first time, and the way school works, if he (God forbid) addresses them personally, they are required to answer him in English! Of course, there are always a few students who are already kinda sorta comfortable with making up a sentence or two in English, but they are usually the exception rather than the rule, and usually the first reaction to a question from the teacher is a blanched expression and a stammering search for at least two or three words that could go well together.

From Rob's description, it seems that he has found a way to ease the students into it in a way that they almost like the idea of an English class in the end :) He brought up memories of the English and American teachers that we had in the "English B" classes at the First English Language School in Sofia ("English B" is an English grammar/literature/whatever-the-teacher-fells-like class taught by a native speaker). Of course, FELS differs from most other schools in that the students there have already implicitly expressed an interest in the language, but still, from what I remember, there was quite a bit of ice to break back then - and our teachers did great, too.

Posted by roam at 07:54 PM

September 23, 2004

Party on, Garth!

And hot on the heels of Georgi Chorbadzhiyski's birthday party, yesterday we celebrated Lyubo Yovchev's adding another year to his wisdom. A great opportunity to meet once again some former cow-orkers from Orbitel, including Lyubo's wife Petya, and some friends from Mobiltel. I was quite surprised to find that an old friend seems to regularly read this blog - thanks, you know who you are, and remember: four months! ;) All in all, another pleasant evening with conversations drifting from topic to topic, only rarely touching on computers, telecommunications, or IT in general, although the aikido argument at the end would have been better left for another time and place.

Posted by roam at 02:26 PM

September 22, 2004

Party on, Wayne!

Well, looks like I'm still kinda good for a party. Yesterday Georgi Chorbadzhiyski celebrated his birthday, and threw a party in the Praga club (yep, the name of the club and the name of the boulevard it is located on - 'Praga' - is the Bulgarian pronunciation of Prague, but somehow it doesn't seem right to "translate" it). It seems that my days for wild parties are kinda gone, though, and I've turned more to the socializing aspect - well, for some values of 'socializing' including spending most of the evening in a room with dimmed lights, discussing Bulgarian literature, the Google challenge, some funny properties of the transcendental number 'e', Bulgarian poetry, blogs, and Bulgarian prose with six or seven more crazyheads...

At least, it was good to attach faces to names - the gang introduced me to Bobson, Rossy, and probably a couple of others whose names I didn't quite catch. All in all, a well-spent evening, although for various unrelated reasons, despite Buchvarov's reassurances, my alcohol consumption reached an all-time low for a party :)

Update: Vasil Kolev graciously pointed me to the new location of Rossy's blog.

Posted by roam at 07:54 PM

September 17, 2004

Writing e-mail messages fit to read

Sometimes I wonder whether some people realize that the goal of writing e-mail is so that other people can actually read it and grasp the meaning - and no, I don't mean only top-posting[1]. Here's Jeff Boulter's take on the subject.

All I can say is - *sigh*...

[1] A: Because it makes the text confusing and hard to read.
Q: Why should we never write the answer before the question?

The Day of Sofia

Serdica to the Thracians, Triaditza to the Romans and Byzanthians, Sredetz to the Slavs, Sofia to the Bulgarians - a city with almost three millennia of history. The coat of arms, originally designed by Haralampi Tachev in 1900, bears the inscription "It grows, yet does not age" (image c/o the Sofia Municipality website):

Sofia coat of arms

In 1992, in honour of the celebration of St. Sofia the Martyr, the Government chose September 17th as the Day of Sofia. On this day, which is also a church celebration of martyrs Viara, Nadezhda, and Lyubov (the Bulgarian names also mean Faith, Hope and Love), we honor the centuries of history of the city which bears a name of wisdom.

Posted by roam at 01:03 PM

September 15, 2004

University of Nigeria

Finally, a degree program that leads straight to ROI and wealth, no tricks, no questions asked, no holds barred... err, scratch those last two, they're not too good for PR, are they now?

When I graduate, I will gladly forward my first $15m to Stefan Tilkov for setting me on the One True Path!

Posted by roam at 11:51 PM

Alternate energy vehicle web link bonanza

A BoingBoing post summarizes the use of alternate energy in actual transportation vehicles running on actual roads in actual countries. Looks like there are quite a lot of companies that *do* realize the importance of moving away from petroleum oil! Link via Zak Greant.

On the other hand, they could have picked another headline - chains of words, English style, anyone? :)

Posted by roam at 08:49 PM

Can't they wait a little longer?

Kev notes that some US stores have already begun selling Christmas trees. It kinda reminds me of that old joke about the wife telling the husband that he will really have to choose - either throw out the Christmas tree, or bring down the Easter decorations... only this time, it seems the joke's on the people, the ordinary people, who go to a store to shop for something they really need, and chances are they cannot find it because it's been crowded out by something no sane person would want for the next, what, three full months?

And just when I thought it was funny in a grotesque kind of way, I saw the first comment on Kev's blog - the one that says that there are Christmas puddings on sale already; I hope y'all have big enough fridges, because there's probably been a Thanksgiving turkey on sale a month ago, and in a month or three there will also be little chocolate Easter bunnies, and they'll all need to go in that fridge, and it'll get quite crowded in there, won't it now?

Posted by roam at 08:20 PM

Long-overdue gallery update!

I've added *lots* of stuff to the new Ringlet gallery - basically, most of the things that have happened to Iva and me ever since June! Enjoy!

As usual, if it asks you for username/password and you do not know those, just drop me a line - I'll give access to anybody, without any kind of tracking, but non-authenticated access will be disabled.

Posted by roam at 07:43 PM

September 14, 2004

Chains... chains of words...

Matt writes:

Somehow I don't think this was written to appeal to the general public:

Lucent to provide Ultra Dense Large Micro Electro Mechanical Systems Spatial Light Modulators for Maskless Lithography to DARPA

This is the actual subtitle of a news article. For a long time, I've been of the opinion that English is not much better than German when it comes to long words, it just substitutes word chains for words, to much the same effect - sometimes nauseating, sometimes hilarious.

Posted by roam at 06:35 PM

September 09, 2004

The World's Oldest Family Companies

Georgi Penkov pointed me to a fascinating list of The World’s Oldest Family Companies. The idea of compiling such a list, and the implications of the fact that family companies really *can* outlive governments, countries, and anything else you care to name in history, is somehow warming - looks like there still might be some hope for the human race, after all, if there are people who can keep on brewing wine, making pottery, building houses, or running inns and hotels, day in, day out, father-to-son (or mother, or daughter, as the case may be), over the centuries...

Still, I wonder if the list isn't slightly skewed by the choice of sources. The two organizations "most helpful" in providing the sources are an English one and a French one. Strangely enough, the following simple script that counts the number of businesses per country from the page's source:

#!/usr/bin/perl -wT
use strict;
my %cnt = ();
$_ = do { local $/; <> };
while (m{^<P><B>.*\n<BR>.*/ *([^\/\n]*)$}mg) { $cnt{$1}++; }
printf("%2d %s\n", $cnt{$_}, $_) for sort { $cnt{$a} <=> $cnt{$b} } sort keys(%cnt);

...produces the following ranking:

 1 Australia
 1 Belgium
 1 Chile
 1 Ireland
 1 Mexico
 1 Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
 1 Norway
 1 South Africa
 1 Sweden
 2 Canada
 2 Portugal
 2 Switzerland
 3 Netherlands
 3 Spain
 6 Japan
12 Germany
16 Italy
18 France
24 United Kingdom

So, um, I wonder what would happen if the sources were not, as mentioned above, mainly an English and a French organization. Still, even with these sources, the list is fascinating.

Posted by roam at 02:35 PM

August 31, 2004

Of Bears And Beers

Bear guzzles 36 beers, passes out at campground

A black bear was found passed out at a campground in Washington state recently after guzzling down three dozen cans of a local beer, a campground worker said on Wednesday...

Read the CNN article for more. Via Ivan Tumanov.

I just wonder if our Bulgarian bears will follow the time-honored traditions of those American bears, or skip to the chase and go straight for the rakiya bottles in the backpacks :)

Posted by roam at 05:27 PM

August 26, 2004

Software Freedom Day

Just picked this up from Slashdot: seems like there will be some fun happenin' on Saturday, declared Software Freedom day by the United Nations and its IOSN.

As I'm writing this, there's no mentioning of Bulgaria at the team pages, and time is running kinda short... still it would be fun if something were arranged, even if it were only a small beer party ;)

Posted by roam at 09:00 PM

August 13, 2004

Still alive.. I think :)

Yep, no blog entries for quite some time. And no, I'm not dead - just gettin' older and stuff, what with the recent birthday brought to you (or rather, to me) by the digits '2' and '7'... Funny part is, I don't feel any wiser - but it *is* a bit strange to say something like 'yeah, so-and-so was great when it happened just about 20 years ago', and suddenly realize that it *did* indeed happen 20 years ago and that I really do remember it - and remember it quite clearly, thankyouverymuch :P

And now for the bad news - there may not be quite a bit of activity on this blog in the next week or so, since Iva and I are going on a vacation, travelling around Bulgaria to see a lot of places and things that we really ought to have seen already, but we haven't yet. Maybe, just maybe, there will be pictures afterwards (just yesterday we bought a 512M CF card for the camera, so yeah, it's quite probable that there will be pictures), but until then, enjoy the silence - unless something really crazy happens and I decide to blog about it on the road (kinda reminds me of the color white and The Beatles - and no, *that* was *before* my time ;)

Posted by roam at 10:59 AM

July 16, 2004

Chernobyl motorcycle story: a work of fiction

The LA Times has a story and an interview with an Ukrainian tour guide claiming that "Elena"'s motorcycle ride through Chernobyl/Pripyat, which attracted quite a bit of attention over the last couple of months, is almost pure fiction. That might serve to dampen a bit the enthusiasm of some people about taking a trip there themselves. Then again, it might not - which is just as well :)

Via Neil Gaiman.

Posted by roam at 11:17 AM

July 06, 2004

Back into the maelstrom

So, after a couple of days of rest, I'm pretty much back in circulation - and circulation it is indeed. Yesterday, for example, took me from the Faculty of Mathematics and Informations (at the Sofia University) to my new workplace to my old workplace to my aunt's place... and only then back to my place :) Today looks like pretty much the same, minus FMI, and it seems like the rest of the month will be more or less split between jobs. I wonder what that will do to my sleeping schedule :)

As for the days of rest and studying - I wish I had the time right now to really write about a baptizing celebration in Chiprovci. One of Iva's childhood friends had her son baptized, and then threw what some might call a party, though it was more like a feast - more than 60 guests, a night of eating, drinking, and dancing to Bulgarian folk music (real folk music, definitely not the "chalga" kind). Also, I wish I had the time to write about the LIO and Friends seminar at FMI - several very interesting presentations of work in the IT field done by Bulgarian companies (well, okay, so most of them were FMI graduates :), topped off by a concert of Vasko the Patch (maybe more familiar to Bulgarians as Vasko Krypkata), right there, in the yard of FMI, with about 300 litres of beer. Vasko was not accompanied by Poduene Blues Band, but by his new group, Kaskadyori, briefly presented in an interview he did for his 45th birthday recently.

There were a lot of other things that happened in those four days (it's amazing how much can happen in just four days when you do not spend most of your time staring at a computer's display), but this will have to do for the present. More to come soon... I hope.

Posted by roam at 11:32 AM

June 30, 2004

Off-line for a while

Well, it's pretty much official now - after two and a half years, I'm changing jobs again. This, and a couple of university examinations coming up, will lead to several days without much Internet access, and hopefully not much working on a computer at all. Come to think of it, I might dial in every once in a while to check how far the comment spammers have gone on this blog ;)

Posted by roam at 07:51 PM

June 25, 2004

Birthday presents, anyone? :)

Well, since my birthday is coming up in, like, less than two months, how about somebody get me a nice present? :)

Via Ryan.

Posted by roam at 03:08 PM

Logic in women

Notes on women's logic, in Russian. Totally and absolutely worth reading ;)

Posted by roam at 02:00 AM

June 24, 2004

Amazing thunderstorm pics

Nope, no storms here in Sofia. However, adam linked to some truly amazing pics taken from a dry storm in Seattle.

Posted by roam at 05:12 PM

June 22, 2004

Human Virus Scanner

Human Virus Scanner

The virus that have infected you will be show here along with their cures, if known.

Viruses you suffer from:

Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.
Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.
Free BSD
The GPL isn't that bad really. Adopt a penguin at the zoo.
Everyone likes folk. No, really. Maybe you should listen to the Incredible String Band.
CTRL-Break, and get a real computer. Repeat: "Mode 7 was not a good thing."
Polygons, all the polygons you can get are not enough.
Anything this old must be obselete. Go and install a nice modern operating system. I hear MSDOS has come a long way lately.
Try MacOS X. It's based on UNIX, it has a smoother UI than Windows and it doesn't suck.
As an extra feature the boxes look nice.
Escape Meta Alt Control Shift.
Stop caring!
Conspiracy Theory
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that's quite scary.
Consume more stuff! It's easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.

Viruses you might suffer from:

Goth (90%)
Grow up. Let your roots grow out. Listen to Britney.
British (80%)
No need for cure. Benign virus.
Southampton (70%)
Move to the Isle of Wight.
Discordia (90%)
Buy a suit. Invest your money. Eat hotdog buns on a friday.
Brand Names (95%)
Having a well-known name doesn't make it good.
X11 (60%)
I hear Mac OS 10 Aqua is nice at this time of year.
Macintosh (80%)
Use a mouse with more than one button.

I have absolutely no idea how British and Southampton got there, and of course it's "FreeBSD", not "Free BSD", but the rest is pretty much spot-on. Go check yourself out. Via Ray.

Posted by roam at 12:49 PM

Spammers are also stupid.

A while ago, I wrote that spammers amaze me sometimes. Well, it seems that besides insistent and funny, they're also stupid, as David discovered when he found out that spammers apparently tried to sell some computer products or accessories to his friend's cat.

What's weird about this is that I did not find this at all strange. Some years ago, I posted a message to a FreeBSD mailing list, explaining some esoteric details about changing the mail agent used by send-pr(8). Suffice it to say that this involves specifying a command-line option '-f' followed by an e-mail address, so my e-mail message contained the string ''. I guess you already see where this is going - that's right, to this day the mailservers are receiving e-mail addressed to! :)

Imagine this: over three years of sending e-mail to an address that does not exist, an address that has zilch, nada, absolutely no possible reason to exist! In David's case, one can imagine that this particular cat can, and *will*, receive fan-mail eventually... but my negative froam? Oh well, one never knows, I guess they have to explore any and all marketing opportunities before repenting their sins...

Posted by roam at 12:45 AM

June 16, 2004

I am Evil(tm).

**** THE PROOF THAT Peter Pentchev IS EVIL ****

   P   E   T   E   R   P   E   N   T   C   H   E   V
  80  69  84  69  82  80  69  78  84  67  72  69  86     - as ASCII values
   8   6   3   6   1   8   6   6   3   4   9   6   5     - digits added
  \_________/ \_________/ \_________/ \_________/ \_/
   8           6           6           1           5     - digits added

Thus, "Peter Pentchev" is 86615.

Add 1865, the year Lincoln was shot - the result is 88480.

Turn the number backwards, multiply by 3 - the symbol of fulfillment. The number is now 25464.

Subtract 9791 from the number - this is the year Voluntary Euthanasia Society published how-to-do-it suicide guide, written backwards. It gives 15673.

Subtract 8081 from the number - this is the year Turri constructed the first typewriter, giving birth to bad publicity, written backwards. It gives 7592.

Turn the number backwards, subtract 1986 - the year a postman in Okhlahoma gone postal, killing 14. The number is now 971.

This number, read from right to left, is 1790, or the year US patent system was established (eevil).

No further questions. QED.

Want to see for yourself? Apparently Michal Zalewski has other interests besides IT security: check out the EvilFinder :) Via Owen.

Update: OK, the XHTML now validates again. Damn, but I'm lazy sometimes ;)

Posted by roam at 02:26 PM

June 15, 2004

Bulgarians as one

So the Euro 2004 Football Championship Finals are underway in Portugal (and even though some heretics might call the game 'soccer', that's just their problem, right? :).

Yesterday the Bulgarian team played their first match within the 'C' preliminary group, matched up against Sweden. During the whole of the afternoon - and in some places, all day - there were people walking out in the streets, sitting on balconies or just leaning out of windows, riding in cars or buses - and many of them were holding up or wearing the white, green and red of the Bulgarian flag. It was a great experience - even those of us who were not carrying or wearing the colors were still feeling a kind of exhilaration, being part of the Bulgarian people... As Iva said, it is nice to see people displaying their pride, love and respect for the flag - and for everything it stands for - every once in a while.

Okay, so we lost the first game. Still, that does nothing to detract from what I feel - and what I feel is pride with the accomplishments of the Bulgarian football team (they made it to the finals, right?), pride, hope, and joy that will not be brought down by a single mishap.

Posted by roam at 09:53 AM

May 31, 2004

An interesting weekend

The weekend started off on Friday night, with Vladi Yankov's birthday party. He's still at Orbitel, so Iva and I got a chance to meet many former coworkers and current and future friends. I had an unexpectedly pleasant surprise waiting there - it turned out that Georgi Robev, a good friend from Way Back When, is also at Orbitel now, so we might run into one another every once in a while now :)

Then, on Saturday and Sunday, it was time to visit Stara Zagora for the 7th annual seminar of LUG-BG, the Bulgarian Linux User Group. This was my first time there, and it merits an entry of its own, along with the quite eventful way we left Sofia, so there will be one. In a word, it was great - stay tuned for more! :)

Posted by roam at 02:19 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 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 09, 2004

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

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 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

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 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

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

"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

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

February 24, 2004


Why do I seem to blog on Tuesdays? :)

Posted by roam at 10:49 AM

February 05, 2004

Douglas Adams on the Internet

Once again, it seems that I fully and completely agree with yet another essay of the late Douglas Adams - this time on the subject of the Internet, the way it is currently perceived, and some of the ways in which it will probably be absorbed in our everyday life in the coming years.

A great excerpt to get your attention in the same way that anima got mine:

"I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

1) everything that's already in the world when you're born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you're thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it's been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are."

But don't be content with this: do go ahead and read the whole article, it is both amusing and thought-provoking.

Posted by roam at 08:33 PM

February 04, 2004

"...a bunch of lily-livered, scaredy cats..."

A cute article in The Register today about a company's (apparently quite successful) attempt to demonstrate that even for technical journalists, it is not always easy to understand and evaluate something new at first sight.

Posted by roam at 07:48 PM

January 29, 2004

MPAA seeks P2P Enforcer for antipiracy ops

Reading this article from The Reg, I can't help but wonder if this job ad is some kind of a joke... I mean, it wouldn't be too hard for somebody to spoof the MPAA for the purposes of posting an ad, right? Okay, my knowledge of HotJobs is less than "next to nothing", but still this does indeed seem more than a bit suspicious, IMHO.

Posted by roam at 07:33 PM

Scientists discover a new form of matter

Earlier today, Slashdot mentioned an article over at Yahoo! News entitled Scientists Create New Form of Matter. Strictly speaking, I think 'discover' or 'synthesize' would be a better word than 'create' - after all, this state of matter has been possible (and possibly has been around) since forever. However, this does not make the article - and the discovery - any less interesting.

Posted by roam at 05:07 PM

January 28, 2004

Learning Japanese

Japanese is one of the languages that I'd really, really like to learn some day. This funny article (via Neurotech) made me even more determined :)

Of course, the problem lies in the "some day" part of the above; Japanese is on the list, along with Latin, Italian, and a couple of languages that I'd really like to refresh my knowledge of, as in "actually learn a larger vocabulary and start reading".

Posted by roam at 01:26 PM

January 27, 2004

"...and the Lord caused the sea to go back..."

The Washington Times has an article on Russian scientists who claims to have explained the Biblical parting of the waters of the Red Sea, which allowed the Jews to leave Egypt, as related in the book of Exodus. Well, okay, the Washington Times was the first place I saw it - it is also covered by The St. Petersburg Times, and also in a couple of blogs.

If this turns out to be possible, the only question left would be, was it just a storm at the right time, or was it really the hand of $DEITY that brought it around just when the Jews were ready to leave?

Posted by roam at 12:09 PM

January 26, 2004

No breaks

Last night, Red Planet was on bTV, but Iva and I opted for something lighter - Welcome to the Jungle (also known as "The Rundown" to our American readers, I guess). A great action comedy! Sure, not much to remember it by, but it does at least have a plot, and also a couple of wonderful moments that had us roaring with laughter. IMHO, a good choice for a couple of hours of entertainment (but don't necessarily top it off by reading through the night).

Oh, and by the way - the "Mir" cinema is still one of the best in Sofia, even after the appearance of the Multiplex and Arena. Well, there is the distance factor - Mir is slightly closer to home than the Multiplex, and this seems to count on cold windy winter nights :)

Posted by roam at 09:42 AM

January 25, 2004

netsec sample research plans uploaded

Well, procrastination is a wonderful thing, but I finally finished the research topics and plans for the Network Security course.

Posted by roam at 03:10 PM

January 24, 2004

Half down, two and a half to go

As the title goes, today's written part of the Operating Systems exam came and went; four problems about shell scripting and C file I/O - what could be easier? :) Well, we'll see on the second, theoretical part of the exam, on the 29th. After that, the other two exams might take a bit more studying, but that's a thought for another day :) And then, there's the Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms course, where a project is due for the end of February...

Just as I hoped, the exam ended early enough, so that I could see my sister off properly; she's now sent me an arrived-safe note from Frankfurt, and tomorrow she should leap over the Big Puddle. Then we'll see (or rather, she'll see, then tell us) how paranoid the immigration services of the Land of the Free really are.

On another note, some'd say that ten below (Centigrade) is too cold, especially when one does not dress properly, but let me tell you, for waking up in the morning, nothing beats a brisk walk in the snow, even while it is still piling up more and more. There is a Bulgarian phrase, "bjala prikazka", which would translate literally to something like "white fairy-tale", but refers to the beauty and calm of a nice quiet winter day, the ground and everything above it covered by the dazzlingly-white snow, all sound muffed, and the sun still shining... That's the way I felt today, and that's probably the way I'll feel for the rest of the winter - for it is my favorite season, though here, in Bulgaria, it does tend to get a bit on the cold side :)

Okay, that's enough rambling for today, now get thee to some dinner and then to finishing up the project plans for the Network Security course - to give the students some hints as to what we would expect to find in the written assignments that are due kinda soon.

Posted by roam at 07:59 PM

January 22, 2004

Sleep helps? In other news, the sky is blue...

CBC news reports that sleep can help fuel artistic creativity and scientific insight. Apparently, students can think better and find alternative, faster ways to do things when they've rested.

Um. Excuse me, but... they needed a scientific experiment to prove this? Isn't it just common sense that the brain sometimes needs a rest, and sleep is one way to get it? I really, really don't get the point of that story - or maybe I just need a nap :)

Posted by roam at 06:39 PM

Still alive...

Well, well, well - it seems that I haven't been doing much writing here in quite some time, eh? It was quite a shock when, after adding a couple of links to the blog's index page, MovableType rebuilt the index page and did not show a single actual entry on it - then it turned out that there *were* no entries for the past 20 days, which was the default setting for how far back MT reaches for the indexes :)

Anyway, as noted in the title, I'm still alive and kickin' - even after all the holidays at the end of December and the beginning of January. And I don't know about you, but here in Bulgaria there seem to be an awful lot of those: not just the usual Christmas and New Year stuff, but all sorts of name days, too. Then there are the birthdays, which, according to any sane laws of probability, should be more or less uniformly scattered all over the year - but nooo, there just *had* to be a spike in January! Not that I'm complaining, mind :)

Still, it seems even this "extended holiday season" is drawing to an end - and not just because the final exams at the Sofia University are due to start this Saturday, January 24th... Yes, we do have exams on Saturdays, sometimes even on Sundays, and as luck would have it, I have an exam coming up on the 24th, the very day that my sister's flying to the US for the start of her spring semester. Well, it is an "Operating Systems" exam which should be relatively easy to handle, but still, it doesn't feel right...

Well, so much for today. Maybe I'll post more often in the future :) In the meantime, feel free to take a look at the blogs of Vasil Kolev, Georgi Chorbadhiyski and Boyan Krosnov, which I just added to the links section (hence the 20-day surprise mentioned above) - those are some of the guys whom I help torture the Sofia University's Faculty of Mathematics and Informations students with the Network Security course :)

Posted by roam at 10:37 AM

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 13, 2003

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
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