Archive for September, 2005

after an hour's fiddling…

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Got GTK+/gtkmm projects compiling under Win32. Eclipse (CDT) doesn’t really know about pkg-config. So in order to get CDT to drive the command line correctly I had to put the `pkg-config –libs gtkmm-2.4` as part of a -l directive to the linker. It doesn’t work as just a link option since that puts it before the object files on the command line and results in link errors because of the one-pass left-to-right nature of the Cygwin (g++) linker.

Still, it works now. Hopefully in a future release of CDT miscellaneous link options after the object files will be allowed.

Real Food

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Mexicali chop salad at Real Food Daily?


Steak and kidney pie at Ye Olde King’s Head?

I’ve visited both places recently. I’ll let you guess which food I preferred.

Top 50 Sci-Fi shows of all time

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

No doubt you've seen (via slashdot or elsewhere) that have assembled their list of the Top 50 Sci-Fi Shows of All Time. (Hmmm… is this the wrong place to be a SF snob and argue about the difference between SF, Sci-Fi, and Space Opera?)

Anyway, the full list all on one page. What's wrong here? Lost? That's not Sci-Fi! There are some other questionables, too (Buffy the Vampire Slayer?) Where is Blake's 7? The Prisoner? Red Dwarf? And why is Dr. Who only at number 8?

interests meme

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

LJ Interests meme results

  1. computers:
    When I was in high school, the computer lab got upgraded from BBC Micros to 286s. I'd always thought computers were cool; and when it came to choosing what to study at uni, I thought: Maths? Physics? No… how about Computer Science: that sounds fun! Perhaps it was because my school didn't offer Computing that I found it so interesting. I bought 3 books off the pre-course reading list, and never looked back.
  2. cryptography:
    At university, one of my lecturers was (noted computer security expert) Ross Anderson. He's responsible for my interest in crypto: that and it goes together with computers, networks and operating systems. And of course, my politics are libertarian.
  3. gadgets:
    Goes with the territory. But I'm not so swayed as I used to be. I own an iPod: I don't own a PSP. But I'm a big fan of kitchen gadgets too!
  4. jazz:
    Something else I discovered in my late teens. I worked my way through Ragtime, Dixieland and standards before finding Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. Contrary to the thinking of a certain person, Jazz is not “music played in the wrong order”. Getting into Jazz requires effort at first, but the payoff is huge. There's nothing else like it: it makes most other music seem trivial.
  5. linux:
    On and off for over 10 years now. Currently very much on! Free Software is one of the great things to have happened in the world in the last quarter-century, and I'm happy to have seen it and been a part of it.
  6. mathematics:
    I wish I was as good as I once was at calculus. But I can still hold my own in most areas, especially algorithms or recreational mathematics. I had a “recreational maths” class when I was 12: only years later did I realise that some of the topics explored were actually very deep and at the heart of arithmetic et al. Schools don't teach enough arithmetic these days.
  7. programming:
    I like programming: by now I'm pretty experienced at it, too, which helps. There are tons of languages out there. Some are born great (Lisp), some achieve greatness (C++) and some have greatness thrust upon them (PHP).
  8. table tennis:
    When I was a teenager, I took a holiday to Cyprus with a friend of mine and his family. 2 weeks in a 5-star hotel. I don't suntan easily, so most days I hung around the table tennis table, taking on all comers. Table tennis is great fun, especially doubles (if you play properly with alternate hits). It's also pretty easy to get to a certain standard – although I have no illusions about my skill. A real player would wipe the floor with me. But I have my moments.
  9. trivia:
    Well I just have this brain that seems to remember trivial things. I can't remember my cellphone number, but I have no problem naming famous Belgians. A friend of mine once resolved to find a topic I didn't know any trivia about. He asked me to name famous people from Uzbekistan. Did he know that Uzbekistan was one of only two landlocked-countries-surrounded-by-landlocked-countries in the world, I replied. He gave up. Oh and while I'm at it, I might as well say that Jeopardy, the crown jewel of US quiz shows, is laughably easy by comparison with University Challenge. I'd like to see Ken Jennings play that.
  10. video games:
    Well, I was finishing college and wondering what to do in the real world. A bunch of companies came along for the careers milk round, and as luck would have it, a certain Peter Molyneux had decided to hire a bunch of graduates that year. I got the job, started renting a one-room-where-I-could-touch-all-4-walls-from-the-bed apartment, and the rest is history. 10 years later, and I've been credited on a dozen games which between them have sold n million copies. You might even have heard of some of them…

Enter your LJ user name, and 10 interests will be selected from your interest list.

Okay lady…

Thursday, September 15th, 2005

a) You're talking on your cellphone
b) You're slowing down approaching a junction
c) You're indicating right

So DON'T have the gall to beep at me because I made a u-turn into your path and you decided NOT to turn right. You might want to put your cellphone down and actually pay attention to driving. You were probably indicating right for the last mile…

Think your blog is private? Anonymous?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Think again.

Another day…

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

…another interview. And another “no hire” recommendation. Sigh.

Also today: a half hour power cut which affected the whole of LA's northwest side. A pity it didn't last longer – I could have had the afternoon off! I pretty much figured right away that someone down at the DWP had accidentally cut something they shouldn't have.

I also got my medical exam today for my green card application. Exam, 3 jabs, blood test and a chest X-ray. I think I'm pretty healthy. By my reckoning, I've taken 5 sick days in 10 years.

Tudor maths test

Friday, September 9th, 2005

The rule and question of a catte. There is a catte at the fote of a tre the length of 300 fote. This catte goeth upwarde eche daye 17 fote, and descendeth eche nyght 12 fote. I demand in how longe tyme shall she be at ye toppe.

Answere. Take vp and abate the nyght of the daye. That is 12 of 17, and there remayneth 5, therefore the catte mounteth eche daye 5 fote. Deuyde now 300 by 5 & therof cometh 60, dayes then she shal be at the toppe.

Taken from the oldest known English arithmetic book: An Introduccion For To Lerne And To Rekyn With The Pen, & With The Counters (1536).

Should I ask this question (in Tudor English, naturally) at my next interview? There is of course, the small matter of the given answer being wrong. The catte shall be at the toppe of the tre at ye ende of daye 58.

How to blog anonymously

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

After a brief conversation with a friend on the subject, I present:

Elbeno's Technical Guide to Blogging Anonymously

I call it a technical guide because its purpose is to screen your tracks from prying ISPs, companies and other people who would employ Internet know-how to track you down. Obviously it's not going to protect your identity if you give away too many real-life details.

1. Choose a blog name. For best results, choose something totally unrelated to yourself. Something arbitrary. Nothing you are interested in. Look out of the window and pick two items, stick them together, you've got a name. e.g. dryice_squirrel. That's one I just made up. Don't use that one, or they'll know you know me. And if you have to add a number, don't add your birth year.

2. Download and set up Tor and Privoxy. They work for multiple platforms so you have some flexibility. They hide your IP address as well as current technology allows (which turns out to be quite acceptably well actually).

3. Turn on tor-enabled browsing now, and whenever you do anything related to your new blog identity. To make life easier, if you're using Firefox, you can install an extension that lets you easily switch between tor-enabled anonymous browsing and normal browsing.

4. Start building your anonymous identity with a GMail account under your new name. No, don't get an invite from someone you know, or worse, your existing GMail account. Google for one of the many GMail account spoolers around. If you require an email address to send the invite to, use for a throwaway mailbox (they handily give you an autogenerated random mailbox on the front page). At time of writing, there's a GMail spooler at Use a brand new strong password. If you use a password (as many people do) that is one of your normal set, then it could be correlated in password files with any other GMail accounts you have.

5. Next step: create your blog, using your new identity and GMail account. You could probably do this on any old blog site, e.g. LiveJournal or Blogger. Use a brand new strong password, different from your GMail password. Google owns both GMail and Blogger. I don't think I need point out that data search and correlation is their strong suit.

6. You are now as anonymous as the Internet allows. Blog away. Rant about your work, your social situation, your politics. And always make sure you use tor-enabled browsing in any dealings with your blog or GMail account.

7. Don't ever tell anyone (friends, family, etc: people who know you) about your anonymous blog. Or it will no longer be anonymous. Even if they keep their mouth shut, it might suddenly have a lot of access from their IP address…


Thursday, September 1st, 2005

Well the new harder sudoku are well tough. I managed the “gentle” one in about 15-20 minutes, but I couldn't get anywhere with the next one. But anyway, I am chuffed today because for the first time ever, I finished the Times crossword! Woooo!

PS. What is up with my PC clock? It's acting very strangely.