Friday, June 29, 2007

All hail...

/. reports that in the wake of Dell (and now possibly HP) choosing to supply Ubuntu as an option on on their consumer PC's, Microsoft is to start selling PC hardware (loaded with Windows, of course) in India.

All hail the PS/3.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The CEO of Linspire, Kevin Carmony, has posted on his blog today about the effect that the "split" between those distros cozying up to Microsoft and those staying well clear. Whilst he also posts a lot of FUD about those on the other side "not respecting the IP of others", I find I actually agree with him to a point: The split, like the others between KDE and GNOME, or rpm versus deb, etc., in the long run means nothing at all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Time for a Quickie

A friend of mine, Andrew Ball, has a geek blog. Andy is a British expat currently living in Illinois, so I only know him online.

Why is it people whom you often only know by their voices (like radio presenters) or through writing (like Andy), never, ever look the way you visualize them in your head?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What's Greek for "Spoke too Soon"?

Well, it would be nice to be able to ruminate some more over the utility of a CV in Ancient Greek; unfortunately when trying to upload my CV in good old (but not Old) English yesterday, Monster simply would not coöperate. I shall have to try again today at some point.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's (Ancient) Greek to Me

OK, so I've subscribed to Monster (again), which brings up the interesting question, "Why on Earth would you submit a CV in Ancient Greek (or the extinct Semitic language Akkadian)?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not Driving. Me Crazy.

I really need to learn to drive - it's a requirement that's cropping up in many a job application I'm seeing. Unfortunately the running costs of a car in Britain these days mean that I probably won't be able to afford the use of a car until I actually get a job. And then there's the question of getting modifications like left-footed accelerators.

Well, poop.

I Suck At This

Ever stayed in a room when someone else is hoovering? Well, I can't stand it.

Asperger's and Lunch

It may be a totally unscientific diagnosis, but among the symptoms of Asperger's I can say I probably suffer from in Wikipedia's article on the subject are:
  • Narrow interests or preoccupation with a subject to the exclusion of other activities - Hmm, I wonder what those might be;
  • Peculiarities in speech or language - for hysterical raisins;
  • Socially...inappropriate behaviour - I speak out of turn a lot;
  • Problems with nonverbal communication - What do you mean, you were only joking?;
  • Clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements - As easy as falling off a log.
Of course some of these might be written off as mere eccentricities (except that, as a friend notes, I'm not rich), or as side effects of spina bifida, of which I appear to have a mild form of the most serious type (if that makes sense). Taken together, however, it's all very suggestive.

Ironically, considering I've only recently found out about Asperger's, I've had to conciously work on many of the symptoms (as further described in the Wikipedia article) most of my life. I can particularly remember periods when I have found it extremely difficult to keep eye-contact - particularly with people who have domineering personalities. At such times I talk to people whilst staring at the floor - which must make it particularly difficult for people to understand me, as I also appear to clutter.

No doubt it's as a result of building up a defence that I now have what other people might well be justified in naming a domineering personality.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Brief Insight into My Personal Life

It's becoming increasingly (indeed, I would say blindingly) obvious that I have mild Asperger's syndrome.

More on this later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Yes, after a long absence, the programming language Python makes a welcome return to this blog.

Python is controversial in the programming community for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most well-known is its its use of compulsory indentation when writing code blocks.

If this feature has been driving you crazy, I personally encourage you to persevere. You get used to it after a while, and nicely-formatted code, as with nicely-formatted writing, is much easier to handle than textthatsallbuncheduptogether.

Just my €0.02

Time for a New Theme

As you'll see I've modified the template for the blog. As I'm no good at visual design I just used one of the pre-designed templates, but I think you'll agree, it suits the blog much more than the previous design.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Time for a Short One

Lisp may stand for List Processing, but it's really tree processing


Something tells me that a language called "Treep" would get even less traction than a language called "Lisp".

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Too Clever By 'Alf, My Old Son

Working thru the book "Accelerated C++" by Koenig and Moo, kindly lent to me by a friend, I came across this seemingly intractable problem:

Write a program that will keep track of grades for several students at once. The program could keep two vectors in sync: The first should hold the student's names, and the second the final grades that can be computed as input is read. For now, you should assume a fixed number of homework grades. We'll see in $4.1.3/56 how to handle a variable number of grades intermixed with student names.

Now, since the "grade" is computed by taking the sum of a ratio of homework to finals to midterm exam grades, I had been thinking I should store each in a vector, which (contrary to the probspec) would necessitate not two but five vectors.

Turns out the sentence you should assume a fixed number of homework grades is maximally important, so don't go storing all the grades in a vector until you've computed the total grade.

Call it an object lesson in not being too clever by 'alf.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


The Wikipedia page on quartiles has this (among other things) to say about them:
A quartile is also an extremely annoying word if repeated more than five times in three minutes.

This sort of thing may diminish its value as an encyclopedia, but it sure as hell makes it funny.