Older blog entries for fscked (starting at number 18)

Again, long time no see, no write.

Makes me wonder why I can't keep a diary going properly. I know of some distinct cases of people who can actually keep a weblog for quite some time (say, Alan Cox, Dave Jones, or Rik Van Riel) but I, for one, surely can't do it. Still to find out why. Anyway, just felt like writing tonight. And while we're at it, what a shame Alan decided to start writing his diary in welsh.. Hopefully he'll come back to his senses and start writing plain english again. Or not.

So, since last entry (which I can see was by end of January), I guess I'm better off updating on the major changes that happened both in me and in my working/studying environment. In terms of tools, I've decided to make a Linux distribution switch and instead of using my (forever) faithful Slackware, I turned to Mandrake Linux. This is not too important of course, but it was interesting as it happened out of the blue. Basically, Mandrake 9.1 ISOs were out a couple of weeks ago IIRC and I decided to leech them from Uni and give it a try in a spare partition on my laptop. To my surprise (or not) I got it up and running on no more than 10 minutes, not counting some partition tweaking that was in order before I could proceed with the instalation. And buy, was I stunned with the looks of it. I know, looks matter next to nothing, but honestly I've always been AA fonts fan and Mandrake has it nearly perfectly with KDE 3.1. I once tried to get AA with gtk, a good few months ago but gave up waiting for the day when AA fonts ceased to be a simple hack. That day has finally come.

Well, not only that, I also started coding more seriously so I felt the need for a good text editor. And that editor, while FAR from perfect, is KDE's Kate. I hear some of you shouting 'use emacs, you loonie' while others blab about Vi, but honestly I have nor the time nor the patience, at this very moment, to learn how to use any of them. And I confess that if I did so, I'd go for Vi. I've been using it ever since I got into Linux since 97 or so but never got past the basics. Maybe one day. I have no doubts it's as powerful as editors gets. (I said editors, not OSes *hint*).

On a different front, the Championship Manager work is at long last finished and wrapped up. I think we did a good job on localizing it and quite honestly, CM is probably the last thing I want to hear about for a couple of months. Now if I could only get my well deserved $$$..

On the Uni side of things, been pretty much happy coding away on sockets programming. I honestly didn't think at first that it'd be this interesting. Fortunately we're past the _very_ basics, while still at the basics I guess, but the third assignment, which I've nearly finished now, is quite interesting. It's basically a mini-inetd which regulates the date, echo, put and get services. I also wrote clients for those and it turned out to be more challenging that it seemed at first. Anyhow, jolly good fun and I hope I have a good mark on it.

Well, it's getting late (01:48am here) and I better get up early tomorrow. Tucking into bed reading a bit of a book, reminds me to tell anyone who's interested and reading this that I'm finally taking some time (not as much as I'd liked to...) to read Dune, the Frank Herbert classic. Honestly, I'm really enjoying it, it's just a shame I get lost in a multitude of programming tasks, thus not leaving time to read more. I have an enormous pile of books waiting for me to read them, you see. I'm actually taking a few days away, going up north, from Thursday to Sunday but unfortunately I have a test on Tuesday so I'll have to focus on that too instead of releasing myself completely from Uni/technical duties. Tough is the life of a graduate student.

Oh yes, some musical recommendations for anyone who happens to same roughly the same tastes as I do. My bands of the moment right now are: Tool, Evanescence, Opeth, Masterplan, Gotan Project and Cold. Check them out. Well worth it!

:wq!

Saturday

Right, the data structures schedule wasn't exactly followed but by the end of last night I finally finished the codebase, everything works now and what's left to do is to write the report and document the code, as usual. I'm expecting this to be a somewhat gruesome task considering my code is arguably overly complex, not to mention a few intricate corner cases. That'll have to do as the deadline is rapidly approaching (tuesday). As for the Algebra test, I'm a bit concerned in that it's next thursday, it comprehends the entire semester and I haven't started studying yet. I think this one is a no-go.

On the CM front, another whooping 2k frases were added. Yay. Deadline is Feb 12th. Yummy.

Not much else is happening really, so I'll go quiet now.

Wednesday

Up bright and early for a day dedicated to the data structures assignment. The good news is that the pace I kept was surprisingly high and more than half of the work got done today. The current plan is to finish the codebase by tomorrow and document/write a report on it by Friday. This would leave me with the weekend and half of next week to revise for the Algebra exam.

As a direct consequence, not much translation got done today. I'm still happy about it considering I fixed a few difficult phrases which were leaving something to be desired. On related news, the game was postponed to somewhere in March. I was expecting this, anyway. The good thing about it is that it now seems I'm getting test versions by the first days of February.

I'm also eager to get all this out of my way considering I'm looking forward to read and learn about server-side applications, namely DNS and mail servers (particularly postfix and bind). Planning to build a server at home to host a friend's site which will serve as a very nice learning exercise, or so I hope. Something to be done by the start of next month too.

I'm knackered. Gonna read a bit and off to bed.

Tuesday

University
Started coding for the third and last data structures assignment. Still picking the appropriate structures though I now have a general idea of the strategy to follow. Gotta keep working on this, trying to have it finished by the end of the week (hmm, too optimistic perhaps). And the Algebra exam is just around the corner too.. gotta keep breathing.

Championship Manager
Made some progress today. It seems they're not adding new phrases for the time being and that suits me just fine. Decided to translate most of the short strings so my morale would go a bit up (eg. translating a lot of sentences and watching the 'missing translatins' counter go down 8) We're trying to have this kinda done by next monday (unlikely). Will this ever end?

Kernel & friends
Decided to take the afternoon to get swsusp to work. In case you didn't know, swsusp is a kernel patch for Linux which allows one to 'pseudo' suspend the machine by writing the machine state data into disk, building an image which can then be used upon reboot to resume the system to the state it was before being suspended.

It seems the 2.5 patch is broken ever since 2.5.53, according to #kernelnewbies folks so I decided to patch a 2.4.20 with it (and acpi too even though it doesn't really depend on it). There's a shell script written to aid suspending the system (suspend.sh) so I grabbed off the net and tried using it. No luck. Had to hack it a bit and write a couple of scripts to bring my ethernet link up and down. So now it would bring up swsusp messages, preparing to suspend etc.. but it would complain about being out of memory. Turns out I didn't have my swap listen on /etc/fstab. Did that, swapon -a and all is well.

Finally had a glitch when suspending from X where it would enter a reboot but turns out it was the dreaded DRI radeon bug bitting me again. *sigh* Anyway, now it suspends just fine and I'm thrilled with it. It's really great to finally being able to suspend under Linux.

18 Jan 2003 (updated 21 Jan 2003 at 23:12 UTC) »

Saturday

University
Big load off my shoulders, both the Computer Architecture test and assignment are out of the way. I reckon it could've come out awfully better if I had a little more time but that'll have to do. We'll see how it turns out in the end. University-wise all that's left for this semester is now a Data Structures assignment (uff, third and last) and an Algebra test (this one'll kill me *sigh*).

Championship Manager
Work continues at an intermitent pace. Turns out the database was down during most of the week so no real work got done. Also, the January 20th deadline is now history and there's no definite deadline now. We'll see how this one goes in the near future.

Life
Not terribly bad. The cold wave seems to be gone, now came the wind and rain. It's all good. Went out to see 'Analyze That' last night. Not too bad, entertaining, and a delightfully comic act by Robert DeNiro.

Monday

University
So it seems I did get away with it. Not sure how good it will actually turn out to be, but I think it's enough. The Computer Architecture assignment is almost sorted and the 3rd and last test is on wednesday morning (pipelining, caches and virtual memory).

Championship Manager
Well, the pile of work to do gets bigger and bigger. I don't think SI is realistically expecting the european translations to be out for the set release date (Feb 28th). Anyway, planning to devote pretty much of my time to this cause from thursday on to sunday and see how much I can cut.

Cold
It's f*cking cold! It seems there's a cold wave going through Portugal these days, supposed to get warmer by wednesday. I damn hope so, I'm sick of having my feet freezing cold, not too much how it fscks my nose and throat.

Sunday

University
Problematic. There's a test in T minus 12 hours and I haven't revised much for it. I'm not overworried but I reckon it's been too few revising and an extra day or two would've come in really handy. Well, nothing I can do about it now except to spend a couple of hours grasping it the best I can.

(No, I'm not inclined to be up all night revising for it the hope of grasping it all and actually getting away with it. I do believe a good night's sleep, or an as good as possible night's sleep, is much more important before a test than 6 hours of late revising.)

So after this Data Structures I have another the Computer Architecture next wednesday alongside with an assingment on the same course. Not good. The plan is to spend monday afternoon/evening and tuesday revising for the test and perhaps also wednesday for the assignment. Like I said in the previous entry, I'll release a *big* sigh when these are out of the way, on way or another.

Championship Manager
This is getting silly. SI keeps adding new strings for translation while the deadline holds. Needless to say, it's like trying to hit a moving target. Or sort of. I'll just have to do my best, can't do much more than can I?

Vruuum!
So the good bit this week seems to be a go-kart race next wednesday night. Perhaps a good way to let my mind go off the trouble half week before that. I'm just a bit worried about the (cold) temperature that is likely to be there at night.

And now, off to Data Structures revising! I'll let you know how I got away with it tomorrow ;)

Thursday

University
Can't say things are hotting up. Things are damn hot as it is. I'll release a big sigh when things start to go out of my way (read: tests get done and assignments get handed in). Anyway, I guess it could always be worse and I'll just try to both a) plan my schedule carefully and b) try and keep breathing. If all goes to plan I'll be home free for the time being by the end of January (30th to be more precise) even if the semester is over next wednesday.

Championship Manager
It finally got fixed. Turns out the problem with the master database was due to power outages at the office. Hmm.. Anyway, there's a boatload of translation to be done and it seems the deadline is Jan 20th. Hmm...

Linux kernel
Unfortunately I can't focus on the kernel development as much as I'd like to, though I still read linux-kernel regularly. The good news is that the so called Nvidia thread is finally getting more and more quiet. I still can't properly use the radeonfb under 2.5 kernels and James Simmons, the fbdev guy, hasn't replied to my email to the list. There's still a long way to go until 2.6 and I don't have many issues with 2.5 to get rid off, so things are looking good.

Real life type stuff
Oh yes, my DVDs from amazon.co.uk have arrived. In case you don't know, amazon are selling several DVDs 50% off, so I just took the chance and bought both Apocalypse Now Redux and Heat. I've seen the original AN from 1979 and felt like having the Redux version on DVD would be perfect. As for Heat, I've seen it back when it was out but I honestly don't remember any of it. Considering I've been told it's a damn great movie and it was £7.99 on amazon...

Bad thing: my TODO keeps enlarging instead of shrinking. Not good. Not good at all. Must invert the flux of things.

3 Jan 2003 (updated 3 Jan 2003 at 20:35 UTC) »

Friday.

Hmm..

University
Finally the second Data Structures assignment is finished, report written, wrapped up and sent professorswards. Just so I don't have a minute to catch my breath the specification for the third (and last) project is already online. This one is due by the end of the month.

On the Computer Architecture's front, there's another project to turn in. It's supposed to be written in MIPS assembly which is a pain, not the kind of thing I'm looking forward to do right now. The project in itself is extremely simplistic, just so you know I got it working in around 10 minutes but... in C. Need to read some papers and spend some time on this to make it run as efficiently as possible which of course is one of the things to look for when writing in assembly.

So all in all, January brings two tests (data structures and computer architecture), two exams (algebra and probability, though the latter is unlikely that I'll actually go) and two assignments (one data strucutes and one architecture). On my signal, unleash hell...

Championship Manager
Work on the translation has grinded to a halt. After Sports Interactive upgraded the translation database (adding more tables and strings to translate) I haven't been able to update accordingly on my end and that sucks. There's still an awful lot of work to be done and I feel tied up being unable to do it. Emailed them but got no reply. That sucks too. I wonder if they email actually found its way to London... so I'm left with the only chance of downloading this 20MB file which is newer than the one I got on my system in the vague hope that it will magically solve my issues and let me work again. Hmmm, needless to say it's agonizingly slow to see the ftp transfer considering I'm on a 56k dialup (and to add insult to injury, the dialup provider is sucking hard these days). As Frank Costanza would say.. "serenety now!"

Linux kernel
Did I tell you how sick I am of the everyday Nvidia-sucks-dead-goats-cuz-they-dont-release-their-drivers-as-GPL threads? Well, I sure am. Once again, some weenie troll decided to post on linux-kernel regarding this and, obviously, it's total mayhem. I started reading it when it popped up but honestly I can't take it anymore.

BUT! But, never fear, because there's always good hidden deep down. Richard Stallman himself decided it was a lovely day to get bashed once again so he just posted the newest iteration if his lovely GNU/Linux rant. Sorry but I can only laugh. Some things never change.

Social life
Went to see The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers yesterday. I'm impressed. Being a fan of tLotR and having read the book I was a bit skeptical about the movies. The Fellowship of the Ring didn't impress me much (at least not as much as to the majority of people who totally freaked out with it) but this new installment is actually quite thrilling. I was especially impressed with Gollum. It's very well done. Now let's just wait yet another year ;)

Thursday

Long day again. An ininteligble Mathematical Analysis class and two rather nice Architecture classes to make up for it. We're mostly talking about performance these days. Saw Taxi Driver tonight with a couple of fellas. Weird movie and going to imdb.com helped me understand it better. And I'm knackered really. Not making much sense. So I'll just shut up.

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