DIARY 2011















Mon, Aug 22

<22:59 EEST> For most of last week, my off-lessons time was spent half asleep, trying to normalize my sleep cycles to the early-bird standard. This is an ongoing process, where fortunately my energy is concentrated at the teaching hours. No matter how tired, it is hard to fall asleep when onstage, so to speak. Who cares about the quality of your leisure time anyway, as long as work gets done to maintain the angular momentum of the world.

Incidentally, this article from yesterday pointed out the national epidemic of work-related sleep deprivation. The fact that only some people are actually early birds was casually noted, as if nothing could be done to their suppressive regime. While mass education is a bad place for flexi-time arrangements, studies are consistently showing that teenagers in particular have trouble waking up early. Of course, they must get used to the same suffering as grown-ups.

My personal situation has been highlighted since Saturday, as a weak trace of freshers' flu erupted into full glory. I faced the typical dilemma of saving myself for work, as I considered going out in a social event yesterday afternoon. I ended up going, spent the whole of last night in fever, recovering just enough for work. Ironically, I felt less sleepy-headed than on a typical Monday morning 8 o'clock class; with no sleep, there was no typical discontinuity of a cut-off sleep cycle. However, a general feeling of not being quite there persisted, and I finally got a little REM in the afternoon.

I have no life and I must teach.

Fri, Aug 12

<18:09 EEST> The first week of work in this academic year is over, with the associated workshops and meetings. The first actual day of school for me was today, with a new bunch of 7th graders to get to know. There is a strange sense of having forgotten everything during the summer, yet managing it all with a pretty good experience. In a sense, the most important outcome of the past few days has been a general orientation back to this workplace, with mostly the same people. Suddenly it feels as if there had been no huge break at all.

Just prior to the boot-up of work, I managed to read a great book, by one of my favourite writers. I had found it from reading about the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, albeit not having seen it yet -- I have a penchant for getting to know the originals before remakes. Likewise, I am aware of the cult status of the Monkey Island games, without having actually played them.

As a testament to the quality of storytelling, I read it during four days on my N800. It is surprisingly good as an e-reader, but the screen and controls are still far from dedicated appliances, let alone dead trees. The eerie sense of magic, along with its vague scientific and historical connections, reminded me strongly of The Anubis Gates. The story itself did not feel as original, but then again it paid homage to the grand canon of pirate stories. Reading further about Tim Powers, I am all the more intrigued by his meticulous background work.

On the Bitcoin front, things have been relatively quiet in general. My FPGA contributions are still getting some attention, although my plans for future improvements are mostly frozen, especially due to the day job. As for personal mining, it looks like one of my HD5870s has finally run out of magic smoke. I only bought it in March, but it was already heavily used, and it was acting up a lot of the time. Mostly throttling back on heavy loads (which is the only kind of load you get with Bitcoin ;) but later crashing altogether.

Finally, the power regulation section has gotten burning hot even without load. The situation was earlier eased by a better PSU, so it seems like the problem has been with power handling all the time, and the actual GPU could be fine. Unfortunately, the work is probably too involved for my current skills and free time.

Risto A. Paju