Geek Moments

Every so often, I have an "Oh my, I AM a geek ..." moment - two were this morning, when I was removing plates for Christmas breakfast (Merry Christmas to everyone by the way) from the bottom of the stack, instead of the top, and I have a mental conversation with myself somewhat as follows:

Me: "Ha, its a queue, not a stack (chuckles)" [for those of you in CS, if your data structures class didn't involve the spring-loaded plate dispenser example for a stack, you're missing out]
Me also: "Oh my, I am a geek ..."
"Hmm, I have a lot of these 'oh my, I am a geek' moments"
"I should blog about -"
"Oh my, I AM a geek ..."

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone, and a Happy New Year - I'll end with this link ("If programming languages were religions") that I've already posted to Facebook, but should repeat here (if you get most of the jokes, you are a geek too - if not, there's still hope for you :-) )

Repost - Christmas back home

This is an XKCD comic from last Christmas - I posted it then, and I'll post it again now, because its cool (and oh so true - the subscript is "Family going to bed at 10pm is so much worse than jet lag") (apologies for the formatting - Blogger is not so great at that)

... Another note from Christmas Break back home: - my mother has a rather steampunk iron (ha ha, punny, eh?) See the picture above (I was ironing a dress shirt for the church Christmas Eve service):

Star Trek Insurrection - HMS Pinafore

This is Picard, Data, and Worf singing a number from HMS Pinafore - for real, in an actual movie (Insurrection). Too cool, I love it.


An interesting idea

Here's an interesting idea, courtesy of John C. Dvorak - once higher bandwidth wireless routers become ubiquitous, allow a setup whereby you can share a smallish (say about 50 mbps) chunk of your bandwidth as an open connection, for the benefit of the general wired (unwired?) public. His point is that while wifi hotspots are more ubiquitous now than they used to be, there are fewer open hotspots (as is good security policy). This slice of open bandwidth would be sandboxed off of the rest of the network, and would have bandwidth caps, to prevent abuse, but would be left otherwise unencumbered - a way to share internet connection, and provide an easy public service - it would certainly increase the usefulness of portable wifi-enabled gadgets (iPhone, netbook, Nintendo DS, laptop, I could go on ...) by about an order of magnitude, and reduce people's reliance on expensive, slow cell phone data plans, perhaps give the telcos a bit of competition in that field (which is always good - telcos are pretty evil, and could use some competition to make them listen a bit better).


Why the Republicans should have run Fred Thompson

He has a wicked sense of humor. (Unfortunately I can't figure out how to embed youtube videos in this blog anymore, so I'll just link it)


Widescreen Web

I've been doing more of a tiling layout to my desktop lately (when I have some free time to risk tanking my computer, I'm going to try a tiling window manager) - this is fairly simple though - taskbar along the bottom and left side, MSN bar along the right, and my web browser in the middle. Now, this is nice, keeps all the information I want at once accessible (or at least most of it - tiling is good, overlapping windows are pointless, but that's a post for another day) - thing that's a bit weird is, there are quite a few webpages (facebook, apple's page, etc.) that are wider than that window (which I measured at 948 px, window chrome included) Now, certainly I'm not saying that web pages should all fit in 640x480, but the fact that a lot of common ones want 1000 pixels or so across seems a bit high - that's the entirety of many screens - what if I want to look at other things simultaneously (like IM conversations, or the controls to my music player, etc.)? Anyway, I declare this "hug a web developer day" - and then remind them that interface scalability is considered a good thing :-)

Wicked Cool Canadian Invention

Apparently the trackball mouse was invented by the Royal Canadian Navy. Wicked Cool. I love my country (and trackball mice - I have a fairly nice Logitech I picked up on sale at the Bookstore).


More Coalition Drama

Well, Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc have dropped out of the Liberal leadership race, leaving Ignatieff uncontested to lead the party - this is totally about the whole coalition thing - my reading of it all is that the leadership candidates don't have confidence in Stephane Dion, and want to replace him before they pull the pin on a non-confidence vote - Ignatieff is the only one of the three candidates who has much credibility on the economic front - Rae is still hurting from when he was leading Ontario during a recession, and LeBlanc is just too young and new yet. From what I hear, Ignatieff actually wants to wait and see what Harper comes out with in his budget before deciding whether or not to overthrow the government (which sounds fair to me) - with luck all this ridiculousness will blow over soon, and our government will get back to the business of governing, not being the butt of Jon Stewart jokes (admittedly, its slow news in the states, with Bush on the way out)

A few good links:

Keeping up with my habit of blogging in bursts during downtime (yes, finals is downtime - if it weren't for the exams, it'd be the slackest time of year :-) ), A few links I've run into that are pretty good:

Stuff Christians Like: Applies leg drops of sarcasm (all in good Skittle-flavored fun) to some of the ridiculousness that happens around Christianity (potlucks and DVBS food and all that other fun stuff), with some seasoning of real stuff about how big and awesome God is, and what he's done in the author's life. [kudos to Christina for giving me the link to this one]

Global TV: Streams full episodes of a bunch of shows on Global (so I can still get House and The Office when I have no TV). Admittedly, this is pretty standard for TV network sites these days, the great part is, ... wait for it ... it works in Linux! Major props to whoever did their website

Well, I guess that was a couple, not a few ... oh well ... enjoy.


The Coalition

So, in case you've been living under a rock for the last week, Canada's three opposition parties have signed a deal to overthrow the Harper Conservative government. They propose a governing coalition of the Liberals and NDP, with the Liberal leader (currently Stephane Dion) as the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Harper, in response to this proposal, got the Governor General to suspend Parliament until January. Now, while I strongly dislike Harper's government style, and think people underestimate Mr. Dion, I'm not quite sold on the coalition idea. Their entire point is that the Tories aren't doing enough, quickly enough on the economic crisis. However, their own plans have been somewhat slow coming out (announce downthrow of government first, release plans later), and switching governments mid-Parliament would certainly slow down anything getting done. Also, as one of my good friends once said, "you can trust Stephen Harper to do exactly what will get him the most votes" - crashing the economy would get him chased out with a stick next federal election. He's also trained as an economist, and from what I hear did fairly well at it. So, while I don't really like him, and think the opposition parties ran on significantly better platforms last election, I won't complain if Stephen Harper holds on to government, as long as he gets some good things done - on the flip side, if the coalition gets into power, and then makes a hash of things, I may just vote Conservative next election.

10 000

Well, I haven't posted for a while (can't believe I completely missed the federal election ... I probably should say something about the "coalition" in another post), but I realized something this week I thought I should say: I could live quite comfortably on $10 000 a year. I was looking at how much I've spent over the last four months, and, discounting tuition, it was only about $2 500. This isn't trying to be holier-than-thou, it just made me think about how much we demand as "basic necessities " as a society. For one person, in the size of city I live in, the poverty line is about $17 000. Sure, I don't own a car (which would probably eat up another few thousand dollars a year)), but in the city I live in, I don't have to - public transit (which is very good here) and my own two feet serve me well enough (Here's a link to a guy's blog about why cars are largely unnecessary - he's full of vitriol, absolutely spitting acid, but he makes some decent points nonetheless, I think). My furniture may be second (or third) hand used, but it gives me a comfortable place to sit, and somewhere to store my stuff. I have money for real food with real meat and vegetables, and even entertainment (cable TV, the high-speed internet connection I am typing this on now, the occasional movie, dinner out, etc.). Sure, people usually want a higher quality of living - bigger, nicer places to live, and newer, better stuff - when they get out of university, but I wonder a bit why - do I really need that? We hear newscasters talking about the present economic crisis until they're blue in the face, and I know a lot of people are in real pain from it - lost jobs and bankruptcies - but we really brought it on ourselves as a society. We've let capitalism and materialism run out of control, and forgotten the value of hard work, savings, and making things to last (not saying I haven't done this too, by the way). I just hope it doesn't take another Great Depression to make us all remember.