I never know what to say to students who ask for more resources on some particular topic of computer programming. People of my generation were mostly self- taught, so having a repertoire of good resources is not in my wheelhouse, though I always wish there were some.

In my head, I think "well if you couldn't teach yourself and I couldn't teach you and the textbook couldn't teach you and a Google search couldn't teach you, I've got nothing left". Out loud I say "I don't know of anything else in particular. Did you understand the lab exercises?" and then they never email me again.

Once a friend of my who is involved in a project to create the Interslavic language strongly complained about the mess in the names of months in different Slavic languages. Of course, I checked it and found complete insanity (in the table I tried to color groups of names formed from a common root or at least by the same principle).

Besides a Latin names In Russian and Serbian (and a bit in Polish), the etymology has mainly weather (студень, лютый), natural (листопад, цветень, травень and agricultural (гроздобер, серпень, житар) roots. Depending on the climate, the same natural processes occur in different places at different times, the spread of one name on the calendar can be quite large: Macedonian студен is November, and Belarusian студзень is January.

But ... it works, and most people forget. Everyone once again believes in the fairy tale.

Until a virus starts spreading across the globe.


The sooner that people who are thinking about replacing Zoom realize that the problem isn't one of software but of infrastructure, the better.

The reason Zoom works so well on a technical level is that they have a lot of infrastrutcture to support the downmixing of streams- including a ton of processing power, as well as very good bandwidth between their data centers.

You could build an equilvient program, but without the hardware and connectivity behind it, it won't be as good.

Albert #Uderzo left us today... "Astérix" was certainly the first comic I read and his generous curved drawing style had a big impact on my way to draw. Rest in peace.


The word quarantine comes from quarantena, meaning "forty days", designating the period that all ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic.

It followed the trentino, a thirty-day isolation period.

My load average is 1.54. That is doing nothing but writing and reading textual messages. No video, no audio, no images, just text.


What the fuck, riot.im.

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For my "office hours" (1-on-1 consulting with students), I wanted a solution that allowed easy screen sharing and respected our privacy, so I committed to riot.im. "Yeah, the client is Electron", I said to myself, "but how bad can it be?"

I'm reminded of an article someone posted a few weeks back about how software was more responsive in 1983 than today. Correction, software was LIKE 4 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more responsive than software today. Holy shit this is embarrassing. The lag between me hitting the enter key and me seeing my message show up....

The playgrounds here have been closed less than a week an already my wife is talking about buying our own slide. I guess we could put a small one on the balcony....

I started thinking about improvements to the Leap Day system. Cotsworth was to use the old Gregorian system of a leap day every 4 years, unless the year is divisible by 100, in which case there's no leap year, unless the year is also divisible 400, in which case there IS a leap year.

I worked up a wee little C program. Assuming the year is about 364.2422 days long (someone correct me if this is off), it would be simpler and more accurate to have a leap year every 4 years, except if the year is divisible by 128. If superb accuracy is required, you could add another leap year every 80000 years.

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I started taking an interest in the Cotsworth Calendar a while back. Basically, 13 months instead of 12. Every month has exactly 28 days. There's one extra day that doesn't fit into a month or week, called "Year Day". Every now and then there's another extra day that doesn't fit into a month or week, called "Leap Day" (in the middle of the year).

Some nice properties: every month is exactly the same length. Every month begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Every year begins on Sunday. In fact there are only 2 possible calendars (with Leap Day and without).

I'm solving a very interesting reverse engineering challenge, right now.

This one is amazing.

Most of the binaries use an anti-debug technique. Usually, it's a ptrace command on the same thing. You can patch it up easily or manipulate its return value to get around that one.

Here, this one adds all the opcodes up of each assembly intstruction and compares the sum to a specefic number, a checksum, yes.
If we put a breakpoint in a user mode applications a 0xCC (INT 3) will be placed in the code, hence the calculation will be wrong and will generate a wrong checksum, and the program will crash.

Isn't that ingenious!

You can read about it here:


Going through a tonne of old receipts and recording them (). Props to No Frills for being the only grocery store to use the objectively correct YYYY/MM/DD ordering, and for having by far the clearest and most organized receipts.

Well, Jitsi is a total bust. Cannot recommend.

Also is anyone getting fat or is it just me? If it weren't for my kid, I'd be getting zero exercise.

Just got back from buying groceries. You know the oblivious shoppers who stand in the middle of the aisle pr walk super slowly? Yeah thanks to the 2m social distancing recommendation, you can't even squeeze past them any more. Very aggravating.

Side note: most people seem quite poor at estimating how far 2m is. Most people were keeping a distance of more like 1~1.5m.

Started watching Contagion (2011) last night to see how it compares to the current reality. We watched the first half last night and should finish it tonight. It's not the greatest movie, but kind of fun.

It's interesting what the writers thought people would hoard. They thought people would go for flashlights and batteries instead of toilet paper?? What are people going to do with a pile of flashlights? At least they predicted the run on hand sanitizer.

One of my students jokingly suggested we continue doing lectures through VR. I love the pointlessness of a VR environment that's just students in desks and chairs taking notes while looking at slides on a projector screen.

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