Quote of the Week #42

What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the Internet on trust — of course you can’t, it’s just people talking — but that we ever got into the dangerous habit if believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on TV.

– Douglas Adams

Settling In

At this point I’m largely settled in to the two three bedroom apartment I’m sharing with three other people out here in Maryland. (An empty mystery room having been converted into a third bedroom by moving one of the beds into it.) Not a whole lot to do until the internship starts up on Tuesday.

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Live from Zanesville!

Sitting in a motel room on the outskirts of Zanesville, OH, at which location I am geographically almost halfway done with my migration to the east coast for my internship this summer.

(Note that the above is not a run-on sentence, because it is not in fact a sentence.)

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Looks like I’m in a posting mood right now — hey, it beats sleeping or getting stuff packed! — so now’s as good a time as any to ramble a bit about the recent addition to Adult Swim‘s Saturday lineup: the oddly-named Samurai Champloo.

For one thing, it has little to do with hair-care products for feudal-era Japanese warriors. At least, not yet.

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How About That

Dear Olga, Chris, Bruce, Paul and Jan,

We have now completed the reviewing stage over 209 papers for ECCB/JBI 2005. We are delighted to tell you that your long paper, entitled:

“Reconsidering Complete Search Algorithms for Protein Backbone NMR Assignment”

has been provisionally accepted for ECCB/JBI 2005.

For those of you keeping score at home, this is a paper talking about the project I was working on last summer.

The Forget-About-It Pile

If you’re like me, your place of residence has a forget-about-it pile somewhere. The forget-about-it pile is usually reserved for things that aren’t important enough to act on immediately or take deliberate action to save, but at the same time have an outside chance of being useful or important at some time in the future, so you can’t just throw it away. So, you put it on the pile and promply forget about it.

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Always Be Upselling

It’s not uncommon to encounter salespeople these days who try to upsell you when you’re trying to make a purchase. And it’s not unheard of for a “customer service” rep to try to dissuade you from terminating your account by offering a price reduction or additional service.

But it takes a special kind of person to try to upsell you when you’re calling to disconnect your landline phone service because you’re moving not just out of your apartment, or out of the city, or the state, but the entire region of the country. No, I don’t want your assistance in setting up phone service in my new apartment, not even if I planned on having a landline there to begin with. No, it’s none of your business if and when I’m moving back into the area. And no, I don’t want to subscribe to your DSL service for this hypothetical time when I am moving back! Yeesh.

austin 0.1.0 Released

austin is a little program that calculates the winning probabilities of Texas Hold ‘Em hands. It accomplishes this by simulating a large number of games among the desired number of players and analyzing the results. Finally, a use for Bayes’ theorem that doesn’t involve spam filtering!

austin was inspired by a conversation a friend and I had last weekend about, well, a program to do this sort of thing. It also gave me an excuse to try out some of the features added to Java 1.5 (or Java 5, or whatever Sun’s marketing team is calling it).

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Quote of the Week #41

Sullen? Sullenness is a sin? The sort of sin that dooms you to spend eternity in a slime-pit? Now I’m worried. How about crankiness? Poutiness? Irascibility? My God, what if irony is a sin? Yeah, I’d certainly be overjoyed to find that out.

– Lore Sjöberg

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Car Rentals Suck

I always figured I was a pretty good driver, what with not having been involved in any accidents or getting any tickets ever since I started driving seven or so years ago. But apparently I’ve been lying to myself all this time. Or at least, that’s what every single car rental company tells me, since each of them assures me that skilled drivers under 25 don’t exist, and sees fit to penalize me $15/day, or $25/day, or get lost for the privilege of doing business with them.

It turns out that the main factor in deciding whom to rent from is how badly each one wants to screw me over for not having reached that magical cronological threshold.

The Future of Computing

Tiny flying computers + power cells that use blood as fuel = Linux-based mosquitos!

How could that possibly go wrong?

Quote of the Week #40

Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine—too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, “intellectual property,” the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better.

– Stewart Brand

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Rhythmbox Applet 0.1.7 Released

A new version of Rhythmbox Applet has been released. Changes include:

  • Fixed build problems with GNOME 2.10. Consequently, require GTK+ 2.6 or higher.
  • Fixed format string bug that caused a crash if a title, album, or artist containted a % character.
  • Avoid having the applet resize itself when the current playing time exceeds 10 minutes.
  • Fixed invalid arguments to eel_create_colorized_pixmap().
  • All of the above were contributed by Jonathan Matthew. Thanks!
  • Dynamically link against libeel instead of copying source code from it.
  • Added a brief FAQ to the source tarball.
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Quote of the Week #39

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

– E. B. White

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update-rss 0.3 Released

The latest version of update-rss, my quick-and-dirty feed aggregator, is out. It’s a Perl script that generates a static HTML page with links to each entry in your favorite RSS and Atom syndication feeds.

What’s new in version 0.3. The most obvious change is the addition of Atom support, so now you can keep track of blogs that don’t offer RSS feeds. (I’m looking at you, Blogger.) This also means that the name update-rss is somewhat of a misnomer, but oh well.

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