Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SIGBOVIK Deadline?

I am working on a fake research paper for a comedic  research conference, SIGBOVIK. However given the fact that this week (and the last few) have been absolutely murder, I don't really have much yet. I was going to stay up all night tonight to crank something out, but I didn't think it was going to be too funny. Looks like they may have extended the deadline a few days, which is great news since now I may actually have the time to do research (making my advisor happy) and writing a funny paper (making me happy).

Google Code

Previously I believed that Google Code merely consisted of a code search engine, but apparently they also provide a Sourceforge-like OpenSource project hosting service. This is really neat, at the very least because they host your SVN repository and allow you to Google the active SVN trunk. Niiice!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Please Tell Your Lovers and Friends: The First Annual Rum Tasting Party, March 9th

This is an announcement: For the first time ever, I will be having a party at my apartment, and you and your friends are invited. But wait, there's more. This won't be just any party, this is a rum-themed party, which will include samples of rums from around the West Indies as well as an assortment of rum-based drinks.

If you want just the details, here they are. If you want more background, then read on.

When: 9pm, Friday, March 9th, 2007 (That's next Friday!)
Where: My apartment.

Why rum? Well I've been reading a book called "And a Bottle of Rum," and as it turns out rum is a huge part of our national history, and I think that's something to celebrate. I think Wayne Curtis the author says it best:

Rum has always had a distinctly American swagger. it is untutored and proud of it, raffish, often unkempt and a little bit out of control. The history of rum tends towards the ignoble, many times pleasingly so. "Rum's early history is one long rap sheet," wrote Hugh G. Foster in 1962. This is especially true when compared to snooty old gin and its dull marriage to the martini, or upstart vodka, for which quality is regularly confused with marketing. And whiskey is still fighting its tired, ancient battles-Scotch versus Irish, Canadian versus Bourbon-like feudal lords grappling for control of empty moors. Rum is always willing to try something new and sort out the consequences later. As the bon vivant James Beard put it in 1956, "Of all the spirits in your home, rum is the most romantic."

On top of all this, rum is delicious! If you've only ever tasted Bacardi (and even if you hated it) you have a whole new world to experience. I'm going to have plenty of good rum from places like Jamaica, Barbados, and the Virgin islands. You can sip it out of a little cup, feeling like a connoisseur whilst getting plastered. I will also be preparing the following rum-based cocktails:

Planter's Punch
Hot Toddys and
Mai Tais

But there are a slew of other neat cocktails that I have recipes for, so if you're looking to bring something let me know and I can hook you up with the details. (And if you really hate rum, or want something non-alcoholic, you might want to bring that too.)

My apartment is a little small, but it'll be a way to revisit your college party days. Invite anyone whose name or email address I have forgotten but whom you know should be invited. See you there.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Once again I'm sort of involved in some drama right now. This past weekend in particular was crazy. It's weird, but I hate this kind of boy-girl-relationship type of drama to the point where it makes me physically ill, but it seems like I've been getting involved in it in various forms much more often recently. And I think it's all my fault too. Maybe it's just part of the process of being an adult or whatever, that drama is somehow an inherent part of it, but I kind of doubt it. I just want to go back to being a good, unexciting person living a drama-free life. Possible?

In other news, I just watched Blanche (one of my hermit crabs) suck water out of their sponge. It was really awesome and about the most I've ever seen these kids do.

In other other news, it seems like downloading Firefox 2.0 fixed that problem I had where every time I tried to post a message to livejournal firefox would crash. (This had only been recently, since they added the new JavaScript text editor thing.) Now it's way more convenient to actually write Blog entries, since I can do it from home where I'm not absolutely obligated to be working at all times.

Friday, February 23, 2007

More Lol-age

Hey check out this mildly amusing You-Tube video.

It's about the lack of women in CS. Or something. There is a funny line that goes something like, "she looked as heinous as the GNU wildebeest."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lol @ This

I have played ice hockey at various times in the past. Today I learned about an article from the AP covering the hockey team that I most recently was a member of.

I guess it's neat that we made it to national media, right?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy MG

Don't you ever wonder? Why do they call the wheel on the side of the paper towl despenser the "emergency feed?" Is it ever really an emergency, just because you don't have access to paper towels? I propose they call it, the wheel you use on a regular basis because a lot of people don't pull down with two hands.

In other news, today is Mardi Gras. It doesn't really mean a whole lot when you're outside of New Orleans, and I don't feel like I have to go out and party tonight or anything, but it is nice to know that all of my friends are having a ridiculous amount of fun right now (or at least did up until today, since Mardi Gras day is never actually that fun).

Finally, this Friday (like every Friday) is Formal Friday here at CMU. Formal Friday is a creation of . This Friday, I will be suiting up, so won't you do the same?

Finally Finally, listen to Tom7's new Album-a-day, Exile on Atari St. It's pretty good. Highlights include, the first two songs and the one about sugar pills.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Long Hiatus

Oh man, I've been away for a while.

Anyone out there watching "How I Met Your Mother?"

Choice line: "I gotta side with Robin. Your place is too cluttered. It's like a Bennigins."

I have much to tell about my weekend in Houston, and my anti-weekend in New York City (you see, I didn't go). But my laptop is running out of batteries as we speak, and for some reason I didn't bring my power cord home. Weird...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Error Messages

Some compiler error messages are just painfully bad. One of the great things I like about the members of my research group is that, for programming language people, they are particularly concerned with use-ability. In particular, I'll often hear them discussing how a certain technique is naturally pre-disposed to have bad error messages and therefore maybe isn't worth pursuing. Alternatively, sometimes we'll talk about how to coax better error messages out of one of our research tools. This is good, because the error messages produced by research tools and more formal CS-y things are often quite bad. See the Standard ML of NJ compiler for good examples.

But one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how bad the GNU C++ compiler's error messages can be. Why does this amaze me? Well, presumably GNU C++ is one of the compilers that is mostly frequently used by developers who "just care about writing working code, not messing with all that formal mumbo jumbo." Case in point, the following error message:
NelsYield-Instrumented.cxx:12: error: new types may not be defined in a return type
Okay, this doesn't seem too bad. But first, oh compiler, wouldn't it be helpful to tell me which type is the 'new' type you think that I'm declaring? Regardless, I know enough about what's going on to know that the error is not in using an undeclared type (the type is included in the header file that I #include) but rather somewhere else in the process. This isn't the best example of bad error messages from g++, it was the closest one at hand, but I personally have seen much worse, much less helpful messages. Just like SML, the error message never seems to actually tell you what the problem is, and you end up being Mr. C++ detective. Java is a dream by comparison. Anyway, just a little venting... not really sure where I'm going with all of this.

Natuarlly, I was missing a semi-colon at the end of my class definition. C++, I hate you will all of my being.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Crab Family

Newer 004
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
Well these pictures have been a long time coming, for two reasons; not only have I not posted any pictures since Halloween, but I haven't yet introduced the Internet to my new, extended family. I now have hermit crabs at my apartment, and while I promise to spare you any "I've got crabs" jokes, I may go back on that promise.

Aren't they the cutest family?

From top to bottom, let me introduce you to Blanche, Stella and Stanley. Blanche is by far the most active, although Stanley (in fits of rage) has been known to turn over the water dish. They are good people, but for the most part they don't move except during the night. I guess that's when they all go bowling... (I think that's a streetcar named desire reference, but I haven't read it in so long that it may not actually be.)

Thursday, February 1, 2007


In other news, the lecture I gave today went pretty well. There was actually a fair amount of crowd feedback, and I think that I even heard a few chuckles every once in a while. For those of you studying at home: