DIARY 2000














Thu, Dec 28

<02:01> Finished reading Gilgamesh. The first time I mean. This state I could compare to the experience of Crime and Punishment: I now know what the basic plot is, and it will take a couple more readings to understand what lies beneath. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high - it may not provide the question to the answer 42..

Tue, Dec 26

<04:40> Geekiness flourishing. I'm writing this on my old portable 486-33/8MB RAM via PLIP/telnet. Managed about 30 kB/s, probably limited by the processor speed. Funny how many times I tried it until I noticed the parallel port on this machine must be set explicitly from the BIOS settings to 'Enhanced' bi-directional mode.

Also, it took a couple of nights to make decent floppies of tomsrtbt on willow, as the drive refused to cooperate with the 1722 kB format. Miraculously, it worked fine in single user mode. Surely, the drive was meant for non-multitasking M$ systems, but I still wonder... but anyway it works now, fortunately you don't need to reboot to change the runlevel.

The greatest wonder is why I'm doing this in the first place. I now remember how appallingly stiff the keyboard is - the typing experience reminds me of mechanical typewriters.. yet I've done some pretty serious hacking on this baby with Win3.1, such as running my first web server. Plus, the hard drive is broken.. But hey. One word: Geek. ;-D

Mon, Dec 25

<19:50> Ah, this lazy holiday season. Just saw American Beauty, a pretty darn good film. The guy Ricky shares my philosophy exactly: the world is a beautiful place, and sometimes the sheer amount of beauty can be a bit too much.. definitely made me feel positive and energetic for a change.

Still getting used to the Stokke seating posture. Perhaps the problem is you can actually sit properly with very little effort, it's hard to imagine it works, and I'm trying too hard. Weird.

Xmas presents, woo hoo. The one I should mention is a book from my mother (which I'd asked for :-). Gilgamesh. The oldest known book, depicting a quest for eternal life and other deep Assyrian philosophy. Should be nice.

Thu, Dec 21

<18:14> Last night at Kuopio was a blast. Nice to have met the current Sigma members and my former teachers. Later that night, Tommi and I enjoyed several wonderful drinks such as Ardberg 1978 Islay Malt and Glenfiddich 1970. Nice, but bloody expensive. We also found ourselves dancing to old Finnish pop with complete strangers later still.

Today I finally got myself a Stokke Variable chair. Probably the most natural way of sitting properly I've ever tried.

Wed, Dec 20

<04:43> Wonder what this effect is; every time I'm at home (i.e. my parents') on Xmas or Easter vacation I'm so counterproductive. Just managed a piece of solid state physics I could have done ages ago. Oh well. Tonight I'm off to Kuopio, it should be a blast at the Xmas pardey of Sigma. What a coincidence - I'm going to Kuopio to get that Stokke chair, decided to meet Tommi for a few drinks while there, and then Antti (starting at Queens' next year) mentioned it's $\sum$ pardey time. Naturally Tommi and I are joining the guys, as we used to be active members.

Mon, Dec 18

<01:19> The upgrade of is basically complete. Probably the hardest thing was not the implementation, but to decide what exactly to do; now each month of the diary has its own page.html, and there's a TOC for each year. Otherwise the files become too bulky. There's still some problems with navigation back and forth the diary, so please give comments and suggestions :-)

<01:31> Futuristic tests carried out in the year 2001 show that the script might actually work. Navigation may still be a bit dodgy, but the average person reading these pages should be aware of the universal powers of the back button.

<02:25> Yes, I came back to Finland on Friday night. This modem connection is horrible. But it was a good reason for a tiny script that copies my web pages to the current mirror, and only those files that have changed since last copying session.

Sun, Dec 17

<21:27> Testing.

<21:40> Doesitwork?

Fri, Dec 15

<00:32> In a couple of hours I'm leaving for Finland. It will be a painful time without a 10baseT but I think of it as an extreme survival camp. And hope to do something useful (theoretical physics && bluesci hacking) while there.

Thu, Dec 14

<02:48> Just testing, try to split the whatsup.html into smaller chunks of a year or so.

<02:52> So.. this isn't really automatized yet. I don't have the time right now.. somebody ought to start packing any time now.. ;-]

Wed, Dec 13

<19:42> Hm. For some strange reason there is again a relatively huge lag between what's actually up and the reports of it. But anyway. On Monday night I froze the development of the polymer project - an exercise, not a project really, but being carried away with optimizations and LaTeX Makefiles I decided there are other things to do. I felt a bit high from that, and suddenly was reminded of an old tracker song - one of my favourites in '92-'93, probably the biggest influence on my own music of all tracker pieces. Enter google, voila, APOCALYP.MOD. So I've been listening to that for today and yesterday, only now I feel like some space from it, but it's still a masterpiece of plenty of umph. With four channels and eight bits that's impressive - but isn't it true that from limitations stems the artistic.

Last night I tried (again) to upgrade to GLIBC 2.2. It's a bit painful with all the dependencies; as a last resort I tried replacing the file with the new one, which is when things got rough. Imagine a matrix feeling when the console goes bananas, apples and pears and characters wipe themselves out under the mouse pointer. Well. Of course reboot fails too. Bit of panic. Glad for having a separate /home partition. And I don't actually have a rescue disk. But the RedFlag PCMCIA installation disk was clever enough to enable rescue image being fetched via NFS. And I had actually saved the old Fscking bootup and here we go again. After looking through some dependency stuff, the upgrade to GLIBC 2.2 was pretty seamless. Red hats off to the guys who write the rpm upgrade feature - surely they don't just try and replace the old files as I shamefully blundered. No, I don't think I could have done any better with Debian.

Tue, Dec 12

<23:05> Final remarks to the polymer project write-up - sanity checking last night's work.. Oh, btw I woke up surprisingly early, around 8:30, I had set the clock deliberately, though I never believed I would actually stay awake from then on :-). I've been reading stuff about Macroscopic Quantum Coherence for my physics literature review, kind of interesting, gotta learn about superconductivity and Josephson junctions.. perhaps I'll consult Prof. J himself at the department at some point. Though Lauri said he's not good at explaining things, but as the quantum mechanic Niels Bohr once said, "Never express yourself more clearly than you think." A guideline I like to follow, but I also fancy being a teacher.. do I see a contradiction here?-]

Mon, Dec 11

<01:04> Necropolis - hiljast' on. Definitely out of term time now. Silence is the city centre, in the backs it is wind that floods my audio_input, and moon is the mother of all streetlights. In the backs I trod due to my aching back, a real geek's symptom after this particular weekend.

Lauri came back from Spain on Saturday afternoon, with no place to stay until his early Sunday morning flight to Finland. So that day was spent rather socially despite my working 'TODO' (yeah right), but \sqrt{-1} complain not. Lauri had his laptop along (how else could things have been?-), in no time we had a local network with the now familiar PLIP cable. I was initiated into the bounces of XKoules, dunno if that link works, the Univ network seems to be isolated right now, but it's a lovely nifty game, yet another productivity exercise. So that's why the back pain, the nightly walk, the exposure to and the unexpected realization of the Necropolis.

<23:58> Linux 2.2.18. USB support is now fully official, though I have none of those devices.. good to know it's ready anyway. Not a bad reason to stick to the geek principle of having the latest stable kernel.

Thu, Dec 7

<23:01> Phew. Bluesci is now gone for good - from the university network. We've set up a crude redirection HaQ to the RaQ to which I transferred bluesci on Tuesday night. Now trying to finish up the polymer project.. (my computing exercise, not this one).

Wed, Dec 6

<02:37> Messed around as the root of a Cobalt RaQ 3 which will be hosting bluesci and other sites. After some initial shock, the system turned out to be quite familiar (basically RedHat on a K6 \approx willow :-). Now I probably should learn its web interface too...

Mon, Dec 4

<21:36> Dunno where to start. Oh here it is: it's been one heck of a week. Last week was the last of the full term, so there were huge amounts of work to do. On Thursday it looked like I had a free afternoon, so I started installing Debian on Willow. I'm ashamed to admit it didn't work. However, it was only yesterday that I got the 'normal' system working again. My classmate Tommi came over on Friday, so I had to retreat from the computer for most of the time. Fortunately, reinstalling Red Hat was smooth. Three hours after starting the installation from scratch I had copy of bluesci working. Which is good now that Lauri's in Spain and Zany's no longer online..

Other than the computing havoc, it was a relaxing weekend with an old friend and mellow drinks. Quality. Grantchester provided a nice surprise, The Orchard was not yet closed, so we could have some tea in rather philosophical surroundings. Erainan pizza was good as ever, as for the other restaurants we went to I must say I had almost forgotten how 'quality' a hot curry could be.. OK, there's that word again, but you can't help repeating because it's simply quality. (Note for the Finnish: it means 'asiaa';-).

<23:30> Forgot to mention: Johanna Sinisalo's excellent (quality!:-) SciFi novel Ennen paivanlaskua ei voi, which I truly enjoyed, was awarded the Finlandia Prize of literature. This is a great day for the recognition of SF as serious literature in Finland. Quality!

Risto A. Paju