Monday, April 18, 2005

law of committees

What is the cumulative intelligence of a committee ? I've read somewhere that you can compute a good approximation of it starting from the lowest IQ among the participants and subtracting a 10% for each of them.
Recently in the news I've heard that an european commission forbidden to use wood ovens for cooking and I started believing that 1) the EU commission on this must be huge, 2) that there is at least a not very bright person in it, 3) that the 10% of the law should probably be increased.
Luckily enough on the internet I found that to be an "euromyth", so only the law describing the intelligence of news reporters is playing a role here. Of course in the internet you can find everything, both real and fake, hence I can't tell for sure who is lying and who is telling the truth (I'm way too lazy to investigate further and I can't use common sense to see where the truth is especially because of others real regulations that came out of EU commissions: may be that the regulation outlawing good pizza ovens is not real, but for sure it could have been ... and this is the problem).
Probably a good solution would be to have those journalists talk only about the european commissions, and those EU commissions regulating just journalists; we would end up with a better world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

i got infected

Yeah, no kidding. And I'm not talking about my computers (they're safe)... I'm talking about my physical body! Recently I've started going to the swimming pool and I kinda like it; after the very early days in which I could barely get to the other side of the pool now I've reached the point in which I can swim for almost as long as I like (not really... but I can do 40 times the swimming pool without stopping, and that is what I normally do in a session).
I'm not a fast swimmer but I also have problems when swimming too slow so I prefer going when the pool isn't too crowded: being like in a traffic jam when swimming is something I really hate. While swimming I think a lot (like when running), but the net result here is that often I forget to count how many times I did the pool and I've to start again.

What I didn't know about swimming pools is this horrible thing of fungus. I've noticed a part of my skin just below my shoulder that changed and that wasn't back to normal after a couple of weeks (so I excluded a temporary irritation). Today I checked the doctor and I've got the bad news. Now I'll have to use a cream for one month to get rid of that uninvited guest.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

lovely windows API

Here we go... after winning a bit of laziness I implemented a windows' version of my mandelbrot zoomer. It's 20K (about 30 times bigger than then DOS version) and does more or less the same thing.... ok... I'm a bit unfair to windows; this new version has a better palette and a better image quality and also it was written in a C/asm mix because I'm way too lazy to write under windows in pure assembler.

NEWS: I've to eat my words about how fat windows executables must be; it turned out that it's the standard C initialization code inserted by default by VC++ that is fat. Removing that initialization code the program size went down to a 16Kb that UPX is able to shrink into less than 5Kb.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

two days in the wind of internet

I'm not kidding. The home PC of my boss that I reinstalled from scratch last week is probably already compromised (just my suspect from a few reported symptoms). May be this will cost me the job... but I'm going to refuse to reinstall it again, when it's too much it's too much.

Why can't people sue Microsoft for damages due to design errors (especially when they don't get corrected) ?

Is it really that difficult to make a browser that doesn't give your computer, your money and your daughter to pirates just because you view "malicious" pages ? Can this really be just the consequence of stupidity ?
I've always been on the non-paranoid side... thinking to stupidity instead of a plot; but after reading a few security bulletins I'm starting having doubts. In retrospect is absolutely crystal clear to me that allowing a web page to add a bookmark or change what is the home page of the browser is not something that can happen by mistake of a programmer. It requires work, and a damn stupid deliberate decision.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

lovely fractals

Every now and then I get back on doing very stupid things for no reasons at all. The two last weekends it was trying to code an animated mandelbrot zoomer in assembler using no more than 256 bytes (failing miserably, so far I'm around 600 bytes and I want still to add something). Do I have useful and interesting stuff to do instead of just exercising on pointless code snippets ? Plenty indeed ... but somehow I need to waste time on something completely different.

Probably it's because of all the bad stinking strings attached to the nice stuff I'm asked to do for a living.

Last Friday it was like hell ... guys from the marketing running demos with important customers without trying the machine first. Net result was everyone running around in circles screaming about why things were not working nicely (and, of course, it was something absolutely stupid). Meanwhile the Novell server disk got full right in the middle of some accounting operation... we got corrupted indices and the like so I had to recover from the nightly backup. And as the last Friday drop was the a switch in our LAN that at around 7 pm decided to stop working... which one ? the one in the servers room, of course, so I was forced to replace it immediately because otherwise it was going to be a problem for the night backup jobs.

I've still a couple of hours... may be I'll add antialiasing to my mandelbrot zoomer...