/* ----------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Name: Minima Designer: Douglas Bowman URL: www.stopdesign.com Date: 26 Feb 2004 ----------------------------------------------- */ body { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small Georgia,Serif; text-align:center; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#58a; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#969; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#c60; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #ccc; } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; font-weight:normal; color:#666; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#666; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#c60; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:0 1px 1px; max-width:700px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; font-weight:normal; line-height:1.4em; color:#c60; } .post-title a, .post-title a:visited, .post-title strong { display:block; text-decoration:none; color:#c60; font-weight:normal; } .post-title strong, .post-title a:hover { color:#333; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } p.post-footer { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#ccc; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#999; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#666; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; }

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Object Orientation...

...is a silly, silly pair of words that gets even sillier when authors use it as an adjective without the hyphen (object oriented instead of object-oriented).

How can you trust these authors to show you how to write code, when they mistreat their first language like that?

Drag me, drop me, treat me like an object (as a friend used to say).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Kubrick and 70mm

I showed another Kubrick film yesterday, Spartacus. Unsurprisingly, the print was a new-ish 35mm print with optical SR stereo. In other words, the 70mm print of this classic film was left to rot in the Swedish Film Institute's freezer.

Now, admittedly, the 70mm print doesn't have much colour left (and yes, the 35mm print yesterday does; colour-wise, it was very nice), but for crying out loud, Spartacus was shot in 70mm (well, 65, if you want to be picky) and the restored version has been shown to the rest of the world in that format. With new prints.

Why not Sweden?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Linux Ready for the Desktop, Take Two

Of course it is. It is on *my* desktop.

So there.

Friday, September 16, 2005


The title says it all.

Linux Ready for the Desktop?

I found a rather long article by Kim Bauters, a 20-year old computer science student, about Linux on the desktop. Her conclusion is that Linux isn't ready yet (and, between the lines, that it'll never be ready). I won't bother you with details, but one paragraph near the end stood out:

Lastly, I would once again encourage those who evangelise Linux to start using self-criticism. To tell you the truth, Linux has not made any advancements when you compare it to Windows. Windows has gone forward with leaps and bounds towards becoming a secure and productive system. Linux hasn't made such advancements. Linux has only made some small steps, and there can only be hope that one day, Linux will actually start to make some leaps. Windows is a lot better than Linux because in the past, Windows has learned from their mistakes. Linux hasn't. And OS X, well, they play in their own league.

"Windows has learned from their mistakes"? Really? Let me tell you a story, Kim. I have Debian GNU/Lnux (which I'm using as I write) and Windows XP installed on my PC. My Debian installation is of the "unstable" flavour which basically means that everything in it is bleeding edge. The very latest software Debian has to offer, and thus not always very stable. I use it for lots of things, from work to play, from programming to writing, yet the OS itself has yet to crash on me. No kernel panic, no blue screens of death.

The Windows installation, on the other hand, is an XP Pro with all the service packs, patches and such that Microsoft has made available. It should be "stable", in other words. Now, I tend to use XP less than Debian but when I do, it's for about the same stuff. Work and play. Programming, writing, and, of course, gaming, which is the one area where XP is better. Or rather, the availability of games is better.

Anyway, some months ago I thought it would be a cool thing to run BOINC, the Berkeley client software that uses your computer in screensaver mode to find aliens, the cure for cancer, and a number of other tasks suited for distributed computing. Not long after, inexplicably, XP started to try to shutdown itself, and whatever software that happened to be running, when emerging from screensaver or standby mode. It turned out that my particular version of BOINC was causing this so the cure was easy enough: once an update to BOINC was available, I installed it and voilà, the problem vanished.

But BOINC never was the real problem. Windows was. What kind of OS allows an application, a screensaver at that, to access such core functions as system shutdown or killing other processes? I've had my share of unstable applications in Debian crash on me, simply because they are of early alpha quality, untested or simply not very well designed. But none of them ever managed to bring the OS down with them. And none of them ever tried.

Why? Because a well-designed OS separates user space from kernel space, sees to it that the running privileges of any given piece of software never interleaf with the privileges of another, independent piece of software that happens to be running on the same OS at the same time. Yet, in the Windows world, the mix-up of user and kernel spaces is a time-honored tradition, there from their very first attempts at a multi-tasking OS. They've learned to hide the mix-up, yes, but the basic design flaw is still there and often readily apparent.

Considering her age, Kim Bauters probably wasn't using that many computers when the first versions of Microsoft Windows appeared (or, for that matter, the first versions of MS-DOS), but I can assure her that the kind of thinking that allowed BOINC to try to shutdown XP was there, just as it is now. In this respect, Microsoft has learned very little. Linux, on the other hand, has never had this problem (and thus no reason to "learn" from its past) since its solution is not that hard and is present in just about every *nix version ever designed.

But Kim Bauters is entitled to her opinion, even though I wonder what they teach to computer science students about OS design these days.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's O'Reilly's Fault

Want to read a good book or two? Have a look at O'Reilly's Open Books site. I was just browsing around on the Net, thinking that five minutes browsing the O'Reilly website probably wouldn't hurt my C studies. Now, three hours and an anthology on open source later, I know that I was naive to the extreme.

I'd better unplug the network cable tomorrow I want to get through that chapter on looping.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Emacs and C

I've compiled my first C program. Successfully! And I wrote the thing using GNU Emacs.

(Those of you who fail to see the implications of these both factoids can safely ignore this post.)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Speaking of Kubrick...

Warner, who owns the rights to most of Stanley Kubrick's old films, apparently thinks that a new 35mm print of "2001" is what the director would have wanted for the Draken screening later this fall. Why else is the magnificent 70mm print of the Kubrick classic left to rot in the Swedish Film Institute's freezer? Or do they think that nobody will notice the difference?

It's a shame nobody told Stanley this during the sixties. MGM could have saved a lot of money. Maybe, just maybe, they would have survived "Heaven's Gate" 15 years later and none of this would have happened.

A Clockwork Orange, in Stereo?

Once a week, I show "classics" at the Draken cinema. Yesterday, it was time for "A Clockwork Orange", again. The film is overrated, to say the least, but some 200 patrons attended the screening anyway.

This I expected. Kubrick has his followers (and I expect more people to attend "2001" in a few weeks' time). What I didn't expect was the new print, with restored colours, an SRD (Dolby Digital) track, and, it seems, stereo sound.

Since when is "A Clockwork Orange" in stereo?

Monday, September 05, 2005


The downside of blogging becomes readily apparent when reading the comments to my blogs:


C'mon, spammers, do you really think I'd buy stuff advertised in comments posted here? Get real.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I'd Really Like to Upgrade Now...

...my Debian Sid box, that is. What did you think?

Only when I try apt-get dist-upgrade, apt wants to remove most of my KDE desktop. Apparently, they are switching to a later gcc version and need to recompile just about the whole distribution, which means that the dependencies are a mess right now. I can live with KDE 3.3 (in fact, I'm in no hurry with most of the other stuff I've got either), but I'd really like to install klineakconfig to get all those extra buttons on my MS wireless keyboard to work. Without messing with specific older versions, and certainly without manually writing that config file, thank you.

So, please...? This is as good a reason to learn C as anything I've heard.

English or Swedish?

I'm Finnish by birth, live in Sweden, but write this blog in English. Why?

A vast majority of the world's Internet servers run on old *nix variants and will choke on just about any character beyond ASCII in a URL. There's a reasonable chance that the Swedish vowels å, ä, and ö aren't displayed correctly in your browser, even if you happen to live in Sweden and use a localized browser and a ditto OS. And, of course, even Swedes seem to prefer English to their native language, judging from TV commercials, newspaper ads, and whatnot.

We can send people to space (yes, I know, we may not always get them back in one piece so there's stuff to be perfected there, too) but is all this really beyond us?

Then again, a potential readership of more than a quarter of a billion readers instead of a little less than nine million does have its advantages, too.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Six Weeks of... Nothing?

Today was my last day on a project in which I wrote some XSLT and an XML Schema for this web service front end thingie for a large service information database. I've been doing this for six weeks, or about two months calendar time, and while it hasn't been the most rewarding of projects in terms of intellectual challenge, I've had some fun in the process.

Today, on my last day, they changed the design of the whole application. No more XSLT, no schema. We won't need them, thank you very much. Actually, no web service beyond an ftp service left masquerading as one, either, but I was never involved in any of the Java coding, so I don't care about that. What I do care about is that I just spent six weeks of doing, it turns out, nothing.

This is what you live for when you're a consultant. Usually, they won't throw away what you've done until you've left, but it does happen, and it just did.
My Very First Blog...

Earlier tonight, my wife Karin and I drank some wine (well, I drank beer; she had the wine) while talking about the kind of stuff that people put in their blogs these days (ten years ago, this stuff ended up in unmoderated newsgroups like misc.writing where nobody seldom talked about writing per se). One short subject after another came up, excellent blogging material, all of them. So that's what I said.

What's a blog? Karin asked.

What better way to explain than to create one and start blogging? A quick Google search led me to blogger.com (that's the kind of person I am; I need other people's opinions for reassurance), and about fifteen minutes later (of which most was spent coming up with a user name and a prefix to the URL), here I am. With my very own blog.

Karin, of course, lost interest in the subject even before we finished the wine (well, the beer), but imagine the fun I'll have, sending the URL to her first thing Monday morning. Cool.

So I hope you'll enjoy reading this. And if not, well, too bad.