Friday, May 31, 2002

An entry in Tom's () journal made me start playing with MapQuest this morning. So I started mapping out ridiculously long trips from Pittsburgh (to San Diego, Calgary, etc.).

I figured, hey, lives way out there. I entered Fairbanks, Alaska into MapQuest and...

The location you entered cannot be routed, because it is not close enough to a road. Please try modifying your location.

Hm. I tried entering in other addresses (University of Alaska at Fairbanks, etc.)... always the same thing.

Sorry, pbee... looks like someone stole all the roads in Fairbanks.

Monday, May 27, 2002

On second thought...

Conjecture 4a:
It is impossible to construct an expression language which is not a limiting factor by conjecture 3.

Corollary 4b:
It is impossible to construct a program which fulfills all three characteristics.
I'm recording this as a reference for myself when I wake up tomorrow. (Conjectures ranked in order of how certain I am of them, from most to least)

Conjecture 1:
Of the set -- short, powerful, maintainable -- all computer programs exhibit at most two such characteristics.

Conjecture 2:
Programs which exhibit zero or one such characteristic have their programmer as a limiting factor.

Conjecture 3:
Programs which exhibit two such characteristics have their expression language as a limiting factor.

Conjecture 4: (which I would like to disprove)
It is impossible to construct a program which fulfills all three characteristics.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Quidam, Quidam,
la nuit recule
D'un rêve à l'autre tu valses.
Du creux de toi
c'est bien le mal
qui dresse tes silences.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Sigh... I suppose it had to happen someday.
U.S. Protests Mexi-Canadian Overpass

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Some might accuse me of being obsessed with Quidam and Cirque du Soleil as of late. To them I say: "Guilty as charged."

The characters: a young girl fumes, she has already seen everything there is to see, and her world has lost all meaning. Her anger shatters her little world, she finds herself in the universe of Quidam. She is joined by a joyful companion as well as another character, more mysterious, who will attempt to seduce her with the marvelous, the unsettling, and the terrifying.

If only I could go to the universe of Quidam.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

Every now and then, I find something truly bizarre on Amazon...

Friday, May 17, 2002

I'm completely brain-fried. I've had my nose down in this code for so long and I need to come up for some air.

But I'm happy with it. Not only does it work, but it's elegant and reads well. I'm one of those people who demands elegance in my code, and have been known to rewrite thousands of lines of working code to achieve it.

You'd think I was talking about a poem or somesuch.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Heh... aggressive, aren't they?

Included at the bottom of some pr0n spam I got...

You have received this email because you have DOUBLE optioned to receive a free porn membership through a partners website and agreed to accept adult offers and specials.

How does one double option to receive a free porn membership? "Spam me, baby... spam me again!"

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Dumb and dumber

I feel like I'm losing my capacity to learn new things.

First, I held a meeting this morning (well, I was forced to, by upper mismanagement) which didn't cover much ground. It felt like my brain was unable to hold onto the topic; I was parsing sentences without understanding them.

Now, I'm trying to read some stuff on Mathematica's MathWorld site; for example, this discussion on fractal dimensions. I *know* that I was able to understand this, once upon a time. I could crank out problem sets regarding proofs of such concepts. Now I see a bunch of symbols and terms which form no concrete idea in my mind.

Perhaps I'm just losing my discipline -- that is, there's no incentive for me to study this, so I'm not putting the effort that used to come naturally into it. I'm worried, though, that it's deeper than that.
I must be moving slower in my old age or something. I intended to leave work a bit earlier than normal, say, 6-ish. Yet I was still the last one out, around 7:30-ish. Tam got home from gymnastics around what I thought was 8, but was really 9. Ate dinner somewhere in there, caught the tail end of a movie on T.V., wrote up a few bills, and set the oven up for its self-cleaning cycle. And it's now 12:40. Oy.

Let's see... that's 6 1/2 hours. I'd've sworn it was only 2 or so.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

So, um... Verizon has decided that it's too much trouble to actually *send* me a phone bill every month. They just enrolled me in their "convenient" on-line billing system and have stopped sending paper bills.

It wouldn't be so bad if (1) I didn't get 404s navigating through their secure site, (2) they hadn't decided to shift the billing schedule so that this "month" only has 20 days, and (3) payments through their online site would post to your account within a week. Sheesh.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

I saw Quidam today (Cirque du Soleil touring show). It was absolutely incredible. Must buy the soundtrack. BTW, Aki, they're heading to Boston in the August timeframe.

Not much else to say. I'm working on a home-brew neural net project. It's taking its time.

Friday, May 10, 2002

I'm currently trying to factor RSA-576 (a 174 digit number).

Not that I enjoy factoring huge numbers. I'm just trying to win the $10,000 prize.

It's a pretty futile effort on my part, though.

Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Matsushita is developing something called Brain-on-a-Chip. It sounds quite interesting, even if the name is a bit spooky.

I'm getting a bit worried about the fact that American companies aren't willing to take risks like this. We abandoned fuzzy logic and robotics because they didn't get a significant return on investment in 18 months. The Japanese, on the other hand, persisted and are now starting to come up with some quite innovative products (Aibo, etc.) which we simply lack the expertise to produce.

This is also the same timeframe which saw the demise of the research houses of Bell Labs, PARC, HP, and -- just a couple weeks ago -- a good chunk of IBM (which is selling their storage systems division to Hitachi -- a field they invented, for crying out loud).
This drawing algorithm is turning out to be much more complicated than I had first expected.

Imagine 10-15 colored pebbles laying on a sheet of paper in an orderly fashion. You're given a felt-tipped marker and are asked to group together all the blue pebbles by drawing circles and/or arcs. The result would look something like:


I'm now trying to do this programmatically. The code already knows where the blue ones are, where all the other ones are, etc., so there's no identification that needs to be done. But trying to code this behaviour is turning out to be rather frustrating.
Nice, quiet day at work.

The fact that our e-mail server is down is entirely coincidental. Really.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002

For some inexplicable reason, I'm exhausted today and every line of code I write is utter crap.

I'm also rather annoyed with Cadence's product validation team. Finding bugs is good. Flaming the overworked developers about them is bad.

From: Thomas Sarno
To: Dave Cuthbert , Phil K. Yoon
CC: , Susan Raam , Karun Sharma

Ah, finally! we are beginning to look at computer solutions to identifying and correcting problems in a more automated way than having ME (the unknowing virgen) try functions, one-by-one, guess syntax, etc., etc., etc. I applaud this type of thinking, and congratulate and encourage the individual who has originated it!

This was the type of solution I proposed in my question #4, days ago: at least give us the input statements, so that we can more intelligently guess what the software will accept, rather than the current MANY trials-and-MANY-errors, which gets us a LOT of attention here by MANY people at MANY levels, all with the same pleasant, interesting query: "You're LATE testing the Neolinear
Constraint APIs! WHEN WILL YOU BE DONE?!!!!! GIVE US A DATE!!!!"

Please, guys. There's obviously problems with the docs that could be solved fairly quickly: fix the busted syntax (test it ....! :^0 ), and then stick in examples. Circular definitions yield no information to the uninformed: "The execscript is the name of the execscript to use." Thanks! Now, what IS it? What does it look like? Where is it located? Does it have a NAME?

Please take a little of your precious time to drop a few pearls of your wisdom before the great unwashed masses who are eager to learn and to pay big buck$ to you .......


-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Cuthbert []
Sent: Fri 5/3/2002 7:37 AM
To: Phil K. Yoon
Cc: Thomas Sarno;; Susan Raam; Karun Sharma
Subject: Re: ANSWER: pinfixedside

Hrm. These latest items all appear to be issues with the SKILL
parameter type templates on the creationProc lambda functions.
Unfortunately, it's rather easy to shift by one on them, and it appears
that I did just that.

I might try to catch a cycle or two of John Gianni's time to see if
there's a SKILL lint check that can be created to try to catch errors
like this.


Monday, May 6, 2002

How is it that "steal a jumbotron" matches no documents in Google?

Sunday, May 5, 2002


Heh... well, I'm trapped tomorrow. The Pittsburgh Marathon causes road closures forming an island, and I live inside that island (near mile 14 on the map).

Interestingly, all three main bridges out of the city southbound will be closed or inaccessible from the north due to construction and the marathon. Note that the airport lies to the south. Hmm...

Thursday, May 2, 2002

Bleh. It is entirely too warm in my office. But that's what happens when you stick three guys and five machines into a tiny room with little ventilation.

I had a strange nightmare last night. Something about visiting my brother, whose apartment complex had an 11pm curfew enforced by small robots which patrolled around. They detected your presence using a microwave system which, when aimed at you, caused you to shake and get uncomfortably warm, even if you were inside the apartment.

His cat knocked over some cards on the floor, which set the enforcer bots off. A supervisor came by to make sure he didn't have any guests there, so I hid behind a door in the bedroom. He acted chummy, but I could tell it was forced. And rather than search the apartment himself, he set his two kids loose, looking under the bed, etc.

Very big-brother-ish. Very unnerving.
Whoa... a three-way tie for first place in the NL West. And the Padres are only a game out. This has the potential for a rather interesting race this year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Oy... I'm extremely tired.

We had the meeting on how to have effective meetings today. It was actually significantly better than I had expected. However, I took unfair advantage of it: from now on, I'm refusing to attend meetings which don't have an agenda. This will either help keep the meetings short and succint, or keep me away from meetings. :-)

But I had to get to work extremely early for this, which meant cutting my sleep back. So I took a nap when I got home... and slept from 7pm to 10pm.