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User Journal

Journal Journal: Experimentation time

I've opened up a livejournal account. Coupled with ljupdate.el mode in GNU/Emacs I'm pretty happy.

User Journal

Journal Journal: painful truths 2

The recent slashdot story about Stallman visiting India reminds me why I can never go there.

My shortend Hebrew name "Yoni", means Vagina in Hindu.

"Nice to meet you, I am Vagina!"

If I ever visit I'll have to get used to calling myself by my full Hebrew name "Yehonatan".

Update: My text contains an error pointed out by a reply. Unfortunatly I will not include the correction because it was posted as an anonimous coward so I do not know who to thank/attribute the correction.

Posting anonimously in JEs is kind of like calling someone on the phone using a voice scrambler. If you answering a JE then you are talking with/to a -particular- person.

Posting anonimously on a /. topic is a simple exercise of your freedom of speech allowing you to express your opinions without fear of retribution.


Journal Journal: Wine

Backsberg Estate 2000, Pinotage. South American. Even though it's a good dry red wine it does not shine as a Pinotage. Worth buying again but nothing to write home about.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Typical job scene 1

This is a typical scenario for my company. A company which is far too large for its own good.

This really happened to me today.

I wanted to know the performance envelope for a LASER device. So I asked the developer that wrote the software. He told me that I should ask his boss. His boss told me to ask another developer. She asked her boss and told me to ask a guy from the physics department. The guy from the physics department sent me to ask another guy from the physics department who immediately sent me back to the first guy from said department. The first physics guy banged the table with his fists and we both went down to see a lady who promptly printed out the document and sent me to get in from a printer down the hall, which did not work. So we both (physics guy and me) messed with the printer until it printed the document.

It was the wrong document, of course.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What needs to be done

As usual life is throwing at me its curve-balls. Good thing too. I've become way too soft and complacent at my "hi-tech" desk job. The main difference is that this time I'm a little bit older and tougher. I am slowly learning, gaining references. I look at old emotional scars and smile, mentally running my hands over them.

I keep on talking the tough talk, it's nice to see that life decides to call me out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Lo, it hath been done

It took me a long while but I did it, I've moved my mail from mutt to GNU/Emacs's gnus.

Mutt and Mozilla Firebird remained the two last applications that withstood my gradual migration into Emacs. Now Mozilla Firebird stands alone. Unlike Firebird though, I always knew that mutt would go. Not because of mutt mind you, but because of sendmail. I'll detail the migration which took 3 hours last night on

My wife always becomes apprehensive when I tell her that I've transfered yet another application to Emacs. It ain't healthy behavior.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Another gem from c.l.c 2

On January the 16th, 2004 I saw the following sig on comp.lang.c

"Derk Gwen
Elvis was an artist. But that didn't stop him from joining the service
in time of war. That's why he is the king, and you're a shmuck."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bounce

I'm back on my feet and at work again after 4 days of post-surgery downtime. I'm a bit woozy from the medication but I'm feeling the need do the work thing.

We will see how it all pans out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hit the wall

Had some minor surgery to get an impacted wisdom tooth out. That shit really hurts. I've ranked it out there with smashing my fingers and Herpes Zoster in my pain hall of fame.

I hope to eat solid food tomorrow.

Here is my pain medication rule: If you are asking yourself whether you should or should not take pain medication then don't. When you hit the wall and your entire mind is filled with nothing but pain you will know that it is time to make use of science.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Go donate to WikiMedia

I don't care if you use it or not.

These are the good guys. If you can afford clothing, bandwidth and a nice dinner.

Read this [] and do it.

Don't be a cheap fuck, ask your self if that hamburger is really on par with Wikipedia's efforts.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dealing with it

I spent the weekend curled up into a little ball of pain. Some kind of stomach flu has decided to make my life a misery. Today I'm back at work but taking things very slowly.

It requires conscious effort on my part to walk slowly and take it easy. I'm usually pushing myself as hard as I can. I'm also seeing the age old pattern in my behavior:

10 Accumulate cool stuff to do
20 Try and do everything
30 Run around, eat too little, sleep less
40 Run out of steam, collapse
50 Have the wife nurse me back to health
60 Goto 10

User Journal

Journal Journal: End of project notes

I've decided to end development of my "big number" math library. It was a very cool project that taught me a lot about math and the C language. While the library is pathetically slow, it's mathematically sound. That is given enough time it would arrive at the correct answer. I've no intention on trying to be fast. There are enough "big number" math libraries out there that do that.

Looking back at the development process here is what I've noticed:

Understanding or at least estimating the big O complexity of your algorithms before you write them is useful.

Write everything properly the first time and you will not have to come back to it again and again.

No function is to small to write correctly.

Perform brave paradigm shifts and do not be afraid of major rewrites, thats what CVS is for.

Turning on all GCC's flags is essential.

Do the math -> abstract -> [ write -> debug -> profile -> debug... ] -> Stop when it's good enough.

GNU/Emacs rules.

Build test harnesses, plot and analyze your data.

Stop when you are not having fun anymore.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Its about me

The next week will be interesting. I'll either be coming home at about
20:30 or 22:00 each day. On some days I'll be driving right from work
to Aikido. I'll also be driving myself to the max. Good stuff.

A friend who is sleeping over at our apartment stocked the
fridge with beers. Nice.

Spent the weekend reading up on Godel's Theorem. Confusing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Atoms and Words Part II

The simplest and most rigidly unchanging of atoms are punctuation marks. Punctuation serve more in the proper interpretation of the data than in carrying the data itself. A punctuation mark at the end of a sentence allows us to partition our writing but does not convey an additional message. A semicolon at the end of a line of computer code serves the computer compiler in interpreting the code but does not carry information about the program.

Punctuation marks have different flavors even though they are so rigid and limited in scope. Different languages use different methods in employing them. Thus they are given specific flavors. Anyone who has never read Spanish will be surprised to find upside-down exclamation and question marks in the text. Any C programmer that moves to LISP will become dazzled by the ubiquitous parenthesis es in the language.

Once a person decides to invent a new language he/she will use all the basic atomic elements in their repertoire but will choose specific flavors of them. An exclamation mark will still carry the same meaning but in different form.

By stating that punctuation is the most rigid type of language atoms and that even they have distinct flavors I hope to lay the groundwork to the idea that all atoms have flavors. Especially those atoms that are words and phrases.

Phrases are by far the most flexible of language atoms. Phrases have the highest potential in carrying flavor inside them and transmitting a sense of flavor to their readers or interpreters. The grammatical methods used by a person can make his/her writing robust, superfluous or austere. The method in which a programmer decides to implement a simple construct such as a FOR-loop in software can vary greatly within a given language and can serve a powerful, sometimes even political statement far beyonds its primary purpose.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Atoms and Words Part I

Atoms and Languages


The premise of this text is that every written language, whether written for a human audience or a computer interpreter is built out of atoms. Every language is built out of a basic set of words and minimalistic phrases which are the sole constituents of the entire language. Note that by deciding that worlds and phrases are the atoms, as opposed to letters I keep in the modern or physical usage of the world atom. Just as physical atoms are built out of gluons and muons, my language atoms are built out of letters, phrases and punctuation. The use of the word Atom in this case is somewhat of a misnomer.

You might also note that this use of the word Atom makes an atom out of the word and therefore self describing. It puts you in mind of the word Sesquipedalian.

If you do not agree with the above premise then you will not agree with the rest of this text.

Fluidity in language

If atoms of language exist then they surely can not be arranged in a Table of Elements like their physical counterparts. At least such a rigid arraignment would serve no purpose. The linguistic breakdown of several sentences in different written languages (including computer interpreted ones) may come up with conflicting definitions of what words or phrases can be characterized as atoms of that language.

Without a strict set of rules languages roam freely, people invent new phrases and words in spoken languages. People invent new computer languages and dialects of existing languages. Most importantly, people invent new mechanisms of extending and enhancing languages.


What leads people in choosing, rearranging and then extending their verbal and computer based languages is the flavor of the language's atoms.

You might not expect atoms in languages to have flavors but if sub-atomic particles can have colors, why not give language atoms flavors?

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]