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tinman (2063)

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tinman spent a few years mucking around industry before going back to school for a Masters. Currently not enjoying the weather in North England..

He wrote Perl that looked suspiciously like C code in 1998, while working as an intern, and has been trying to cure that bad habit ever since.

Journal of tinman (2063)

Tuesday June 15, 2004
03:27 AM

what's the fuss about anyway ?

You know the word is spreading when I got an offer of a GMail invite from a friend this morning.. He's not into tech at all, he's a doctor (well, an intern. Almost a doc). He had heard about GMail, he had wheedled an invite from somewhere and now he got a bunch of invites himself.

Which brought me to the question: I don't have an account.. I wasn't sure if I needed one anyway and I would prefer to run my own server/domain instead. I already have a Yahoo account (or two or three, each at a hundred megs). Do I need this ? Yeah, a gig of space would be nice, but people don't regularly send me large attachments anyway. My life isn't settled enough to go through the mechanics of getting server space somewhere (still belong to the starving student category). Even more puzzling is Orkut.. umm.

Ok, if I think about it, I WOULD like to see exactly what is so cool about the Javascript/DHTML UI that the GMail people have cooked up. I have *very rarely* seen Javascript used to actually make life easier, and most of the time, it ends up horribly breaking my usual browse patterns (makes the "back button" useless, makes bookmarking useless etc etc). Strange. Maybe I take him up on the offer (if it's still available).

Sunday June 06, 2004
05:01 PM

done!.. and done!

Phew. My life, which was mostly on hold while I got two papers done, can now resume.

For extra bonus points, I am trying to think of a name for a person who "finishes" one paper 3 weeks ahead of schedule and then does nothing till 2 days before deadline.. and THEN (yes, only then) discovers that part of the experiments are yet undone. Aaargh. (Anyone knows .... you can call me that, I won't mind.. It can't be as rude as the names I've called myself when I made that discovery)

I think I need sleep. Lots and lots and lots of it.

Friday May 14, 2004
03:11 PM

Nutch ..

Somewhat sizeable argument going on in the Nutch mailing list right now about Mozdex, the OSS search engine. Some Nutch folks are peeved because they think Mozdex isn't giving them enough credit for using their software.

I am still wondering about how Mozdex are going to make back the cost of the bandwidth in the first place. I am sure it must cost quite a bit to crawl and handle queries. What do they get out of it ? (They say they will serve advertising.. but err, isn't that sorta old ? Does that even make enough money ? )

03:06 PM


Too many papers to write.. must ... sleep. But I can't, because all the deadlines are looming and I need to pad up that (as yet non existent) publications list.

And the forecasts for the next few days is awesome too. Bright sunshine, warm weather, 16 hours of daylight.. and I am stuck in a cramped, airless office, staring at the blue sky through the skylight and tapping away at the keyboard.
Don't mind me, I just wanted to vent

Wednesday May 05, 2004
02:21 PM


Another guy in the department introduced me to xtris, we play it inbetween work and I suck at it. Bleargh.

I managed to actually sort out part of the classloader. Whatever else you want to call Java, they are organized. Not exactly organized in the Perl sense, but things seem a bit more predictable to me than when I first started out. I no longer spend irrational moments wishing I was doing the same job in Perl.. is that just getting used to a language or is it growing up in general? Maybe a bit of both :)

Tuesday May 04, 2004
08:58 AM

dynamic loading..

Some experiments with classloaders and reflection to keep me occupied this week. I do have other work to finish, but having written an eval style plugin system in Perl ages ago, I was curious to see how Java implements it.

A bit tricky, but seems ok, so far.

Also figured out LaTex, well, some parts of it, at least. I like it. I don't think it will ever completely replace Open Office or Word for me, but I am reasonably fast in writing things without referring to the markup references. Ultimately, I just used Cygwin and tossed specialized GUI editors out. My supervisor was trying to egg me onto using Emacs. scowl. Never!

Saturday May 01, 2004
08:33 PM

am I that geeky?

I was asked by my sister to "mind the house" while they go on a month long holiday with the kids. Since I hadn't much time to explore London when I came here, I agreed without thinking too much about it.. and remembered I'm supposed to be doing this Masters over here..

Since they're not very techie peeps, I started ferreting around for a laptop or something so I could work there. When I told my sister this, I got the following priceless comment..

Oh, don't worry. I know you can't stay away from a computer for that long.. I fixed up a laptop and broadband for you while we're not here.

I'm torn between gratitude and horror.

Wednesday April 28, 2004
07:07 AM

words to live by...

English pub etiquette. Darn straight I need it.

I need to write papers, finish polishing and bugfixing software and various other research work. Instead, what am I doing? organizing people in the department to play network games after hours. Priorities, priorities...

Monday April 26, 2004
02:31 PM

localization ala Skynet?

How do I put this diplomatically ? Is it worth dragging in a dictionary and doing a best-guess translation from one language to another for an internationalization project ? I think not. Someone else thinks otherwise and wants me to attempt it.

My argument: internationalization is a one off thing. You'd probably expend far less effort just translating the strings/resources manually than writing a dictionary lookup and making it machine learn words in different languages. It's sort of inventing a problem because you like the solution of automated dictionary generation, maybe.

I've also somehow managed to squeeze in reading the Ender series in the past few months. Now it's technically summer, I can stroll around the countryside without reading huddled up near a heater.

Saturday April 17, 2004
05:36 PM

more testing .. and parsers

I didn't reply to the comments I got to my earlier journal entry, but thank you cbrandtbuffalo and chromatic. I eventually ripped out the subs as suggested, simply because I badly wanted the speed increase the refactoring would have given me. I hope to try out caller (hadn't heard of it before) and eventually make it a module. It's habit, I guess. It's second nature to run JUnit tests for me now, but I still hesitate (or rather, put off) running unit tests for Perl code. As an aside, I also went *whoa, the chromatic replied my post *goggle eyed*

I'm an idjit, my copy of Data Munging is back home and I never thought to bring it with me. It's got a nifty chapter on Parse::RecDescent and I think I am finally ready to really grok what davorg is trying to say. Spent much of the last week trying to wrap my brain around Antlr and JavaCC to solve a lingustics problem. I didn't succeed, but I experimented enough to understand why I didn't; which is good enough for me.