Max Romantschuk's weblog – July 2004 archive

Soon-to-be-on-vacation

Friday 16th of July, 2004 - 11:30 – Permalink

In four and a half hour's time my four week long summer vacation starts. Needless to say I'm quite happy about it. I may or may not post new entries during that time, our vacation plans are still rather unclear. To make up for my possible upcoming passiveness I found two mammoth sized articles as summer reading for my equally impressive readership...

They just don't make 'em like they used to

Dan Bricklin of Visicalc fame has written an excellent piece titled Software That Lasts 200 Years, identifying many of the criteria necessary for what he calls Societal Infrastructure Software. Dan writes:

This is the software that keeps our societal records, controls and monitors our physical infrastructure (from traffic lights to generating plants), and directly provides necessary non-physical aspects of society such as connectivity.

It'a a very good read, and I think many of Dan's ideas could well be applied for many other types of software as well.

The Deadliest Sin

This is one of those days when I'm glad to exercise regularly. You have to read The Deadliest Sin by Jonathan Shaw. You Have To.

The Ultimate Joy of Randomness

Tuesday 13th of July, 2004 - 11:29 – Permalink

For god knows how long, I used to have my browser's home page set to Google's front page. After having switched to Mozilla Firefox (which has a built in Google search box) having Google as my home page really made no sense anymore.

I have now found the perfect replacement; The WikiPedia Random page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Randompage

By using this as my home page I'm greated with something new and informative every time I open a browser window. At this rate I'll be a Trivial Pursuit Grand Master within several hundred years, with virtually no effort!

Thanks to my latest-and-greatest home page I ran across Matt Keveney's Animated Engines. It's a great way to learn a bit about how different engines work (can't hurt, can it?) It uses trusty old GIF-animations, so there's no Flash required.

Tactile Feedback

And now for something completely different: I've long waited for touch-screen technology which is accurate and able to provide tactile feedback (tactile feedback means that you'll notice you've actually pressed something). If they are up to their own marketing hype the people behind the Jackito PDA/TDA might be on to something... Time will tell. Via Slashdot.

Automotive Greatness

Monday 12th of July, 2004 - 11:35 – Permalink

I know I've done a lousy job at updating during the last few weeks. On the other hand I've made significant progress on the new engine I've been working on for the site. I hope to be able to have a new and improved version of this site up and running before the end of this year. (Previous experience has taught me not to set too ambitious goals...)

Anyway, on to the topic of the day: I'm sure the tought of having to download RealPlayer will scare quite a few of you, but this time I'd claim it's worth it. Regardless of if you're into cars of not, this video of BBC's Top Gear's attempt to destroy a Toyota Hilux pickup is a must see. (Here's a low-res version.) I even successfully managed to show it to my wife, who found it thoroughly entertaining.

Credit where due: Here's the Top Gear downloads page from where I shamelessly linked the videos.

Deprived

Tuesday 6th of July, 2004 - 11:19 – Permalink

For me, the optimal amount of sleep every night is around eight hours. Seven is OK, but anything less starts to impact all sorts of aspects of my perfomance. The kids have currently adopted a rather unbebeneficial sleeping schedule, going to bed around eleven, give or take half an hour. I tend to have some mandatory stuff left to do after the kids have gone to sleep, so it's usually at least half an hour later when I go to bed. I get up at five, you can do the math.

I am fortunate in riding my bike to work, as keeping alert on a bike is much easier than in a car. Fresh air and direct contact with the world around me (as opposed to being enclosed in a steel-and-glass shell) helps a great deal. I also learned a very simple trick in the military: (Finland has conscription.) If given a choice between eating and sleeping you always eat. The reason is quite simple: You can survive a great deal longer not sleeping than you can not eating. Basically you always have to eat more if you sleep less (more time spent doing stuff, so a greater amount of energy is consumed).

I don't plan on keeping this up for long. My summer vacation (4 weeks!) starts in less than two weeks, and I'm going to reevaluate my schedule when I return to work; unless the kids have changed their sleeping habits by then. The most important thing is not to let it get to you, and keep in mind it's only a phase. I'm sure this will be all forgotten and I'll have a whole array of new issues to deal with soon enough!

I also found a rather interesting BBC article on sleep deprivation, as well as a whole site on the subject. That's all folks, good night!

PS. Given the current circumstances I have less than my usual amount of energy to dedicate to blogging. I will probably update less often in the near future, as I'd rather keep the quality of individual posts high than post a lot of... well... crap.