Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Plays

Folks, if you're in the Pittsburgh area I highly recommend that you see The London Cuckolds, which is now playing at the Chosky theater on CMU's campus. I saw it last night as a friend, Nathan, wrote the interstitial music. 

Not only is it genuinely funny, but it's dirty, well acted and $5 if you are a (CMU?) student. I think it's only playing until Saturday, so go see it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad Movies

I know everything I need to know about this movie by looking at the facial expression of the guy on the right.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Hack Java Like a Functional Programmer

I am currently working on a document. It's kind of a manual. Maybe more like a manefesto. But really, it's a collection of the ideas and strategies that I use when writing Java code. As it turns out, many of those ideas and strategies come from my attempts (and the attempts of other's that I have learned) to use Java in a style that is more like functional languages, particularly the ML languages with which I have some experience.

This document is really targetted at people with some Java experience, and some functional experience, but people who would not consider themselves experts. In particular, it's not targetted at academics, or at least not at PL people. But hopefully it may contain some ideas that you find cool.

Part of the reason that I am posting this now rather than after I have completed a first draft is due to my relatively slow progress. I am hoping that if I post what I've got, you guys may give me some feedback and some cooler ideas, and that this enthusiasm will be enough to help me complete this in a reasonable amount of time. That being said, after this post I will not put up any more blog posts until I at least have an entire draft. If you want to wait until then to read, please be my guest.

So without futher ado, the current draft of, "How to Hack Java Like a Functional Programmer" will be posted at the following URL, and will be updated just as often as I work on it until it is complete:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Road Trip to Ithaca

Yesterday my special lady and I left Pittsburgh for Ithaca, New York in my car.  You see she is presenting a paper at a conference at Cornell University. I love these kind of road trips (normally) and upstate New York, so I was happy to drive. Unfortunately, I didn't know any thing about the weather that was headed for us, and it turned out to be a real nightmare.

It started out well enough. It was snowing in Pittsburgh, but nothing too bad. But then, as we moved north on 79, closer and closer to lake Erie, the weather got worse. The snow was snowier and the wind was blow-ier. To make a long story short, we got on I-86 and realized it was basically unnavigable. We were going 20 and it felt totally unsafe. The interstate was not plowed, cars were driving single file down the middle and I finally learned first-person about "whiteout conditions." Since I'm a big baby, we stopped for the night (at 3pm) and waited it out. Today, however, things were much better and we arrived finally in Ithaca at about 3. 

The town itself seems both modern and quaint, and there are definitely tons of students around. I am actually pretty excited. They do need to work on this whole wind situation, though...

I know some of you have been here. Bar suggestions?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

7/4 and My Dumb Car

My Dumb Car:
I had to get all of this work done on my car. It was totally expensive and predictable since I had basically been doing no regular maintenance on my car. Lame. I got new break pads in the front and back and I had to get at least one new rotor. I also got a new belt and a PCV valve. That was like the emergency stuff. But they also said I needed a new sway bar, a tune-up and something else I wrote down but can't remember. I am starting to get a little bit worried about the price of all these things, and was thinking about getting a second estimate. Does anyone have a mechanic that is not Pep Boys that they go to and would recommend?

The other night Tom and I worked on a new song which just happens to mostly be in 7/4. Writing lyrics is largely my responsibility. The funny thing about writing lyrics for a song in 7/4 is that it's difficult; you're not use to doing it so it takes some work. However, the great thing is that you're constantly amazed by how many more syllables you can fit in each line. It's like the measures never end!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Convex Hull Like You've Never Seen It!

As alluded to in my last post, I am trying to get a simple little GUI program running in Ocmal. Modulo the ever-annoying X11 issues and some problem using records defined in another module, it's going pretty well. I'm going to post the program and source really soon (not that it's terribly interesting), but here's a screenshot to whet your appetite. This interactive program allows you to place points, and then the convex hull of those points will be computed:

Convex Hull Program

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ugh... Annoying X11 Linker Jazz in Cygwin

 Hey guys. I'm wondering if anyone out there can help me with a Linux/Cygwin/X11 problem.

I am trying to use the Graphics library in Ocaml. I am using a Windows machine, so I've got cygwin running (not the Ocaml for Windows thing). When I try to build a new ocaml top-level with the graphics library included, like so:

ocamlmktop -o mytop graphics.cma

I get the following result:

/usr/lib/gcc/i686-pc-cygwin/3.4.4/../../../../i686-pc-cygwin/bin/ld: cannot find -lX11
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
Error while building custom runtime system

I know that X11 works, because I am using xterm and some other applications. I've tried what someone on the internet suggested which is setting the LD library environment variable like so

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/X11R6/lib 

But that doesn't help. Other than that, I can't really find any good advice, and I'm kind of a Unix idiot so I don't know what else to try. Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pictures from Last Night

There are some great pictures from last night's gig, thanks to Tom, Tom's Camera and Brendan (who was taking pictures while we played). Click on this picture and it will take you to the whole roll. They look pretty great!

We Played a Single Show, and We Rocked Them All

Success! Our show went pretty well last night.

I really want to thank any of you guys who came out, especially people that came but that I didn't really get a chance to talk to because I was being a big shot rock n' roll jerk. We didn't end up going on until like ten so it was great that so many people showed up. More people to talk to, and (I hope) people weren't quite as bored waiting as they might have been.

We also made a little bit of money, which was a total surprise to us. But don't worry. At SR&SR we like to spread the wealth, and we have a plan for reinvesting every penny we made back into our fans. We're keeping it a secret for now, but it's going to be great!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Just one last reminder: If you're making weekend plans, you might want to include Satuday night at the Smiling Moose, on Carson Street. Sick Ridiculous is in fact having their first gig.  

Last night Tom and I did a little bit of flyering. It was really cold, so I can't say that it was extremely fun, but considering that it was only three days before our gig and we hadn't really put up any flyers at all, we felt we had to do it. Big props to places like the Beehive and Starbucks who actually let you put up posters. I was actually a little nervous while doing this because of the time in college when Rand and I got busted by a cop for putting up flyers.

There's also been a last minute change to the line-up. The band Olympus Mons will no longer be playing with us on Saturday, and instead we'll be joined by Pittsburgh's own Big Hurry. This is actually pretty rad since I have seen Big Hurry now like two or three times and enjoyed it. They are like some indie disco rock type of music. Bummer about Olympus Mons though. Their music sounds pretty rad.