Older blog entries for nutella (starting at number 254)

Suggestion for change to Advogato
When you open the Person page for an Advogato user, it would be good to have the blog interest-level selector (and maybe the certification selector) at the very top of the page, as sometimes an errant diary entry (such as the recent code dump by cdent) can make the bottom of the page unreachable. It might not look pretty but it would be more functional.
I was so glad to hear this. I don't know if ado still plans to retire from NIH, but at least his legacy is protected. Well done EFF, and I'm glad that Astrolabe apologised.

Oh crap! The Advogato spammers are back. I hope that some of the account holders notice - although most seem to post by RSS feeds these days.

Oh, how I hate Adobe! (Part XXIII)
The U.S. government's websites now require a more recent version of Acrobat Reader to allow you to view their forms and instructions (I have a full version of Acrobat 6.0 for Windows). No alternative is provided. I thus downloaded the latest Reader (> 70 MB!) and tried to install it. This has always been nerve-wracking as previous occasions have seen them manipulate the registry and services in nasty ways. This time I am convinced that Adobe's programmers are completely retarded. There's no facility for choosing options during the install so it deletes the previous version of Reader without asking for permission. The program starts but then, when I try to open the Preferences option it just crashes (tried multiple times, believe me). I gave up and so ran the uninstall program and, of course, it doesn't restore what it had deleted and leaves everything broken. I know that Adobe has been flirting with bankruptcy over the years and now I can see why - they employ only the incompetent. GAR!

On an unrelated note, the Advogato posters who embed video are still terminating the recent entries, and their own entries, prematurely. I haven't yet investigated further.

2011 Fades Away...
Yikes, is it really nearly 2012? I haven't posted that much this year but I have some excuses: I got engaged, I lost a very special relative, I got married and work is crazybad busy (in a challenging kind of way). Who knows what will happen next year.

I am currently reading John L. Casti's Five More Golden Rules. I don't know why I waited so long, as his earlier "Five" book is one of my all time favourites, and is what started me on the path to enjoying mathematics again. A partial trigger for reading the Casti book was The Poincaré Conjecture by Donal O'Shea. I didn't keep up with all of the topology but it is a fascinating read. That was a welcome relief as I had previously grabbed a copy of Stephen Baker's The Numerati from the library and found it way too superficial for my tastes (I think I was hoping for another Mathematical People). For lighter reading I have The Brother's Christmas present, Snuff, which has an excellent Vimes proportion (maybe another Fifth Elephant). Current favourite software program is Berkeley Madonna, mainly because it is small, fast and interactive (as well as being surprisingly powerful).

Good to see that the Advogato Recent People feature is working again (and being abused, [sigh]).

It was eerie to see this great cartoon from Jon Rosenberg as I always thought there was a chance of the scene ending like that (Roy Batty meets Ozzy).

Yvonne C. Martin
My acknowledgment for Ada Lovelace day is Yvonne Martin, recognised as one of the pioneers of Computer Aided Drug Design. Yvonne started with Corwin Hansch's group in the early 1970s and (I believe) is still active (as a consultant). When I worked at the same company I always enjoyed conversations with Yvonne and always learned a great deal - especially how to be more pragmatic and less fluffy. Often she would tell me to stop wasting applying computers where they didn't belong. Long may she continue to publish!
Today I heard about Astrolabe's lawsuit related to the timezone database. That is crazy. Not just because of them trying to "own facts", but because of the people they are going after. When I worked in the same department, my desk used to be in the same room as ado, and, like everyone else in the department, I used to have an account on elsie, so I am sorry to hear that it has been taken down. When I was there ado was a great colleague - very smart, and very good at his job (done usually very quietly, and after normal hours). I had heard about his impending, and well-deserved, retirement, and I hope that this bad situation goes away very soon. I very much doubt that anyone from Astrolabe has actually met ado, or otherwise this wouldn't be happening.
Goodbye Mr. Jobs.
You will be missed.
robogato, thanks very much for the update. I had no idea the spam problem was that bad.

Also, good news on the tag fixes. I really appreciate your hard work. It would be a shame to see Advogato deteriorate or disappear.

Okay, now thanks to bad RSS feeds the Advogato front page is really messed up. The main target seems to have been the "Recent People Joining" list (which, thanks to the mess-up, now pretends to be empty). Of course, that has been the only way you can find out when the new spammers join (unless they actually create a diary entry). So, it looks as if we are screwed...

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