January 15th, 2010


Bound, Modern Hands

Seeing all the good coverage of the disaster in Haiti is an excellent way to make one feel helpless. Donating is one thing, but if there were some way to know I'd be helpful, I wish I could pack a backpack and sleeping bag and take a few weeks off to head down there to help do whatever's needed (not speaking the language would be a major barrier). The death tolls are nearing 100,000 according to the news.. The effective lack of a government the country has had for several years continue to complicate repair efforts.

Britain has banned theocratic group Islam4UK, Collapse )

It's a bit weird seeing these kinds of discussions from the Whitehouse on Youtube - reminds me of the lively discussions in the software engineering classes I took in undergrad.

Probably the best way to understand Ahmadinejad's standing in Iran right now is to say that it's a bit worse than BushJr's, but about as polarising.

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A bit irritated with both my laptop and my desktop's sound cards for making different (soft) noises based on CPU usage or disk usage. I guess this could be because modern soundcards are lousy and do things in software that they really should do in hardware, but perhaps it's just interference.

Recently have been exploring the different Pestos that Whole Foods has to offer.

  • Current Music
    Disgaea OST - Laharl's Theme


Projects for work that are opensource - w00t. I thus present to readers and solicit code comments on a very early (just made it past bare functionality) version of MetaVPN, a manager that creates and configures OpenVPN instances. This is intended for people who need the ability to manage multiple dynamic instances of OpenVPN, or otherwise need to frequently make and destroy instances but don't want to manually go through the configuration process.Collapse )

Interestingly, I don't think I was ever taught the Whitesmiths code formatting style (although it's hard for me to say for sure, as I learned C such a long time ago after learning BASIC, Assembly, and Logo) - there are a small number of simple/obvious indent styles possible, after which one gets deeply ideosyncratic (and the marginally customised versions generally tend to fall under the umbrella of a major style - my Whitesmiths style is coloured by the many languages I've learned). Are there great undiscovered families of code formatting that are still coherent and reasonably simple (and compatible with C-descendent languages)? I am amused that for me, language barriers are smaller than code formatting barriers - I am willing to learn, use and be inspired by new languages, but not if they prevent me from using Whitesmiths (and if they're too pushy about formatting, I lose interest in them regardless of their other merits).

I tend to take showers in the dark, closing the bathroom door and turning out the lights, as a way to relax, and also as a designated slice of time to think about more abstract things (not that I really need designation). I've been chewing (maybe written about this before) about programming in the abstract, and how one might make programming langugages or language representation for blind people. What are the essential features of programming (recursion, variable naming, methods, etc), and how visual a task is programming. Could auditory languages or auditory explorations of program structure be done? (we think of vision as a "precise sense" and hearing as a fuzzy one, but could we change how we hear in this regard? Visually, we might have a tough time telling the difference between two blocks of code because our eyes glide over it, but if we really manage our attention we can see it. Are there limits to that latter capability for hearing? I partly think about these things because I imagine people who enjoy programming really losing a lot by going blind, and partly because it helps one step back and understand the mental processes behind the stylised encoding of meaning that is programming.


Fragen kills

The IEET (specifically, J Hughes) has some interesting articles on Transhumanism and philosophy, although he mainly sketches the issues without saying anything. Still, it could stir some interesting conversations. So far, three bits have been published:

The last of which would be a great start to a discussion on methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism.