Older blog entries for fscked (starting at number 21)

I f*cked up the ADA test. Oh yes I did. Whatever. Let's talk about happier things.

Kept adding error checking and fixing bugs on the networking assignement. I was mistaking a buffer size and that took me ages to spot and fix, but now the mini-protocol I've created for the client and server to talk to each other seems to be reliable and efficient. I'm hoping it is ready for 'prime time' now. Only thing left to do is writing a little README file as the code is already extensively documented.

Slow but steady progress on the Operating Systems assignment. Most of it is done, left to do is basically interprocess communication and a few calculation-oriented functions. Matrix handling code is written (and well written thanks to vortex) and processing of entered values is working flawlessly as far as we can see. We hope to (and we better) have it done by tomorrow as it is due... yes, tomorrow, you guessed it. Oh and talking about Operating Systems, our first assignment grade came out today. A rather nice 19 out of 20. Hooray.

Spent some time getting eye candy in KDE3.1. Downloaded a few icon themes and decided to stick with the original Noia for KDE. Also fixed an annoying bug in my setup which was pretty much crippling my routing table here. Mandrake was detecting my wireless card and setting it up as eth1. Not only that, it was assuming any request to 192.168.x.x would go through it. Not good. To add insult to injury, I was not-so-wisely telling it to ifdown eth1, resulting in no routing whatsoever to that address space. *grumble* Fixed it for now by not setting up eth1 on boot and thus letting it assume eth0 for this kind of routing.

A few days ago, I was pointed to a rather nice article about a certain functional programming language called K. Here's an excerpt from it which clearly shows how powerful this kind of programming languages can be, K in this particular example:

>   isprime:{&/x!/:2_!x}  / min over x mod right-each 2 drop enumerate x
>   isprime 14
> 0
>   isprime 7
> 1
Analyzing from right to left. We create a list of all integers from 0 to x (exclusive), then we remove the first two elements (2_), so we are left with a list from 2 to x (exclusive). Next we determine the residue of x and each of the numers in the list. Finally, we calculate the minimum of the residues. If the number is prime, then the lowest residue will be 1 and be considered true. If the number was composite there will be a 0 residue for some value.
>   !14
> 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
>   2_!14
> 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
>   14!/:2_!14
> 0 2 2 4 2 0 6 5 4 3 2 1
>   &/14!/:2_!14
> 0

Funky. I've also been reading a bit on Lisp, Common Lisp in particular, and finding beauty in it. Will try to get some time to read a bit more in the next week or so.

It's late again.


April 24th -> April 28th

So I was kind of offline during the past few days, supposedly taking a rest up north.

Back yesterday to face yet again the joys of university and the great load of assignments/tests to do. So the third Computer Networks assignment isn't exactly finished yet. Some error checking as for the file sizes of the transferred files needs to be done and also take care of dispatching possible zombie process (that's implemented already). Unfortunately, I thought I had this one behind my back but it seems to be not quite like that. It's due on Friday anyway but I expect to finish by Wednesday the latest. In the meantime got yet another assignment for this course, the fourth one. Basically it's writing yet another client which connects to a server and runs arbitrary commands there. Deadline: May 17th.

Tomorrow is the Algorithm Analysis and Design test. Unfortunately revising yet again came all down to the day before. This sucks, I'll never learn. Hopefully things are actually under (some) control and I'm not overly concerned as I sometimes were. We'll see what gives. Test is tomorrow at 2pm. I'll let you know how it went afterall. Oh yes, the subjects covered are data structures: Red Black Trees, Tries and B-Trees.

Argh and it's again already too late. Going to quickly tuck into bed, read the (shamefully) regular 10 minutes of Dune and zzzZZZZ



Not having slept too well during the past few nights is taking its toll now. Felt overly tired and sleepy during the day. So I think I'll just make an early retirement to bed in a couple of a minutes and keep on reading Dune (well, yes, even for just five minutes, I'm sure that's just as long as I can keep my eyes open once I tuck into bed).

Anyway, early afternoon finished the codebase for the third Computers Networks assignment and commented it all. I might change a detail or two but I'll see about tomorrow or doing the weekend. Only thing left to do is writing a small report on the design decisions taken. Again, something for the weekend or so, even if I'll be away for the time being.

Also, late afternoon gathered with a couple of colleagues for some brainstorming on the second Operating Systems assignment. Basically it's for us to exercise the use of IPC through the regular fork() and pipe() system calls. Anyway, the underlying subject is basically receving a signal and a filter and computing the resulting convolution function between them. As you probably know, the convolution induces a lot of elementary calculations, namely sums and multiplications so distributing work among child processes makes sense for this. We came up with some cool ideas, usually with performance in mind and you can actually see the result of that brainstorming here. The deadline is within a week, next wednesday, so there's not much time to devote to it considering I'll only be back online by next monday...


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!



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.


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.


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) »


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.

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.


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.

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.


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?

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 ;)

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