{April 3, 2010}   blog quotas

so I went and counted, and I seem to be behind on my blog quota. iirc I have to have written 22 posts this semester, and I’ve only got 18.

It’s funny, in some ways getting marks is a motivator for blogging – I have an excuse to post stuff when I’m not *quite* sure planetkde will find it interesting. At the same time, though, it’s demotivating – it turns writing into a job, a chore, *homework*. ugh.

funny how that can work. I’m always worried that the same thing could happen when I get a foss job – will I lose interest in the code when I’m being paid to write it? my gsoc projects are usually fun, but at the same time I tend to be close to burning out at the end, and slightly sick of the code.

Of course, part of the reason I haven’t hit my blog quota is that I’ve switched back to using my lj. I have lots of angsty things to write that shouldn’t be public. I can write pages and pages and pages about how unfair life is, but I won’t get marks for it because I’m not comfortable sharing that drivel with my teacher. And since I’m taking four bloody courses, and some are actually *challenging* for once, I don’t have much else to write about – part of the angst is from having no damn time to write code! :P

Hopefully that’ll change over easter, though; four whole days to stay home, hide away from the world, and Get Things Done. sadly most of those things are *still* homework, but I will have time for code (I *need* time for code). so I should have some fun shiny things to blog about by the end (maybe even wth screenshots). :)

in the meantime… I will inflict cooking posts on the planet again. muahahaha!
…assuming I can actually remember what delicious things I meant to blog. crud. I really need to start writing about good meals right away, before I forget how I did it…

{March 4, 2010}   and life goes on

why is it that essays are so much easier to write after midnight? no wonder I’m still jetlagged…

I kinda got a little sidetracked this morning – after a long night of waking up regularly and having weird dreams (either suse or archlinux had to go out of business, because… *something*… had happened to a bunch of key people, and I was pretending to be a guy because bad things would happen if this evil lady who looked like my grandmother found out who I was) … well, eventually I decided it was morning and I was taking a sick day, and gave in to the lure of teh intarwebs. And found myself looking at an evil little heisenbug that’s been bothering me for a long time.

I started trying to untangle the panel code once again (plasma’s actually old enough to have some messy cobwebbed code now. huh) and fought with it, and eventually decided that the darn thing just had to be a kwin bug. since I’d spent all that time figuring out what the code actually did, I figured I might as well finish what I started, and cleaned it up a bunch. Then, near the end of that, I noticed the bug didn’t seem to be showing up any more; indeed, with over a dozen plasma restarts I still haven’t been able to trigger it. I haven’t a clue what part of the code cleanup might’ve fixed it (perhaps a combination of things). Of course, it’s still quite possible that it’s merely in hiding; I already closed and reopened the bug once before when it conveniently went away for one day after I attempted to fix it. :P

Somehow that bug took up my whole day… well, that and IRC and email… I made a few halfhearted attempts to get away from it, and I think I did do a *little* homework, but I was always drawn back in. :) By dinnertime it was working well enough that I finally convinced myself to switch to homework… and fell asleep on it. :P whoops. I’m lucky I woke up before the deadline!

…but I’m not so lucky I’m still awake. Somehow I found myself working on other homework, and it was going well so I didn’t want to stop. although now I’m just writing a blog post, so I really have no excuse. :/ bedtime!

I really must write about the activities stuff that was planned at tokamak, and I have more screencasts to do too – but right now I must sleep. and then do more homework when I wake up. the other essay is finally coming together…

{January 10, 2010}   school again

My, how time flies – I’m already a week into the new school semester. I had a really nice holiday (an *actual* one, where I actually *realaxed* for once ;) and the pace is picking up again now…

At the beginning of the holidays I was planning to work on git documentation; that didn’t really work out. I realised it felt like homework, and KDE isn’t supposed to be a chore, so I needed a break. Over the holidays I spent most of my time reading books and seeing friends. :) I did return to kde eventually, of course; I worked on a little feature I’d been dying to implement, then unbroke the poor neglected plasma-overlay stuff. I’ve still got a handful of little things to do before 4.4 is released – hopefully I can do them at CampKDE, because school’s getting busy already. :)

I’ve got four courses this semester, which is one more than usual… and there’s going to be a *lot* of writing. in fact, my first essay is due in 14 hours (how to tell who your real friends are: ask them to review your essay for you ;). That’s for my cognitive science class, which looks like it’s going to be really interesting (and full of essays). Then I’ve got a technical writing course that I think will be really easy – if I’d known it would be like this I would’ve found a way to get it waived. My algorithms course might be interesting, though – I’m still not sure what I think of the teacher. Unfortunately the course I expected to be most interesting – a linguistics one, “the science of speech” – has been fairly dry so far. Still, at least I don’t have any *bad* teachers :)

The tricky bit is going to be not falling behind while I’m off at campkde. (omg! less than a week away! and I’m giving a presentation!?) I always *mean* to work ahead beforehand but somehow it never happens. :) I haven’t figured out which courses I can safely ignore yet, either, and it seems I have several teachers that do activities in lectures instead of just talking. Still, it’ll work out somehow. :) And then when I get back, I’ll have my evenings busy with martial arts and things…

Tokamak will be happening in february, too; I get a two-week vacation because of the olympics and the second week I’ll be out in Nuremberg with the rest of the plasma team :) I’m hoping to work on Activity stuff out there, as well as finding solutions to some little things that have been bugging me. And having a ton of fun, of course. :)

I have a feeling this semester is going to fly by faster than ever… It’ll be fun, and challenging, and oh god I’m going to need another vacation when it’s over ;)

{November 20, 2009}   me too me too

Yep, I’m a Nokia Certified Qt Developer too.

Also, I'm going to CampKDE :)

Life’s been crazy busy for me as well these days. last time I blogged was the end of devdays, right? well, the day after I got home I had a midterm. still managed to get an above average mark despite having ignored half the material. ;) then there were assignments, and projects, and all sorts of meetings… I also seem to have got myself volunteered for my friend’s school project. they let me borrow an n900 to help out; how could I resist? ;) Then there were the people from devdays aaron mentioned, and I’m trying to do one more redesign of my mouse plugin UI before feature freeze, and there are other plasma things I’m praying I can sneak in under that deadline (let’s not jinx it by saying what they are ;) – and on top of all *that*, I’m starting something at school as well… oh yeah, and my social life finally seems to have returned to the level it was at before I went off to china. :)

Still, there are only two weeks of classes left. soon, soon I will have a break. :) a few weeks of relaxing and bugfixing (I need my plasma fix!), then back to school for what will likely be an even crazier semester. I’ll be taking four courses instead of three, one will be a Writing course (with a capital W!), there’s campkde and tokamak (assuming no conflicts with midterms), and several other things to keep me busy. I need to get back to my german practice, too; I’ve been letting that slide for most of this semester.

I think I’m pushing the limits of how much I can do without burning out. It’s fun. :)

So what have I been up to lately? Mostly school.

My stats and AI courses are easy, but still take up time (I’m trying to actually do homework and study instead of just cramming ;)

The robocup project is… Well, it’s a group project. :) It’s not going too badly, though.

I’ve also got martial arts and choir in the evenings (although I think I’m going to drop choir, the schedule’s just a bit too inconvenient). And I found a go club at sfu, which always seems to end in late-night gaming… :) One of the really nice things about school is that every semester there’s a chance of making new friends. Although it is a bit odd to hang out with teenagers – I feel old now ;P

Life is fun and busy… so very busy…

I’ve still been sneaking in a bit of plasma time here and there, though- little fixes for my gsoc project n’stuff. Popup applets can be right-clicked properly. You can add & remove activites without zooming out, too.
Now with those buttons and my activity-list mouse plugin, activities are a lot more convenient:

but that’s a bit ugly. We have better plans being worked on… they are shiny… ;)

Oh, and virtual desktop are more convenient too – you can add a desktop just by right-clicking the pager now. There’ll probably be a remove button soon, but… well.. virtual desktops weren’t really designed for convenience, so it’ll probably have to be a “remove last” button.

Oops, I almost forgot. I can finally commit a bugfix I wrote at tokamak that uses a 4.6 function. whee!

Oh, and i’ll be at dev days in SF. Yay! :) That’ll be fun. And I have midterms directly before and after… Yes, i’m crazy ;)

{September 28, 2009}   ucosp sprint, part 2

Well, saturday night was fun. :) We all went out to a chinese restaurant and had lots of yummy food. Then some of us went back to the hotel and played cards for a while. I learnt a new game, but I have no idea how to spell it. :)

Sunday was the last day – checked out of the hotel, did a little hacking, and we had a post-mortem meeting with all the students. I got lost in my laptop after that, plus my mind was not liking the lack of sleep, so I never got around to having lunch… oops. :) There was pizza at the airport, at least. Our group divided up again, into two groups – for the rest of the semester we’ll be working on different features for the robocup client, competing to see which improvements are more helpful, then merging them into trunk (oh god I wish we were using git now instead of svn).

four of us were on the same flight back to vancouver, so we got seats all in a row, which was nice. :) mostly we just wanted sleep, though. god it was nice to get home and sleep in… I didn’t go to any classes today, I need to recover. :)

{September 26, 2009}   ucosp sprint

it’s day two of the ucosp sprint. thursday night I arrived in toronto, tired and coughing… and found karaoke in the hotel bar. grrrr… I *finally* find karaoke, and it’s on a night when I can barely speak. but I met up with some of the other students, and we headed to another bar where the law students were having a party. :) much beer was consumed… and when I wandered back to the hotel with a couple of other students we found the karaoke still going. so we went in there and got to sing the last song. :) I feel sorry for the few people still there listening ;)

friday morning I somehow dragged myself out of bed on time, met the rest of the students, and we headed to the university. there I finally got to meet my team in person. yay! :) we’re doing the robocup 2d simulation… there are a few clients from hte summer that we have the code for, and we had to pick one of them to build on. so we spent time reading stuff and trying to get stuff running, and debated the pros and cons of java vs. python. eventually we decided to extend one of the python clients; it’s got most of the boring details done, but the players are still pretty stupid so there’s lots for us to do. the java project was already so good we weren’t quite sure how we could improve it (and had run out of time to look for things, really).

once we’d settled on a codebase we started poking at that code specifically, trying to get it running on all our computers, coming up with things to improve, fighting with strange network errors… I spent a good chunk of my afternoon replacing the pile of simple bash scripts that started teams with a single more intelligent bash script.

friday evening some student union had organized a party for us at a nearby pub :) free beer FTW. I left early to get caught up on sleep but somehow the interwebs distracted me instead. ;)

saturday morning.. urgh. well, it’s a code sprint, I don’t expect much sleep. the cough and cold are annoying, though. I wandered in late, which turned out to be not so great as my team had started their meeting. oops. :) we came out of that with a list of seven tasks we’re going to do over the semester (and get marked on). I spent most of the rest of the day working with iona on getting the debug output of the clients in a more useful format (one curses thingy per process doesn’t work so well when you start 6+ processes out of a script; we’ve got a PyQt ui started instead).

this afternoon we also had a talk from greg about grad school. I’m not hugely interested, but it was an informative talk. :) most of what I remember is his little speech at the end… undergrad is about learning to learn, grad school is about learning what questions to ask, but what university is really about is teaching us to take over the world. :)

now it’s dinnertime, and I should head out to the group dinner.

{September 5, 2009}   and that was tokamak 3

wow, the week just flew by. it’s saturday night now, and I’m in zurich, checking email n’stuff. early tomorrow morning I’ll head to the airport.

it’s been a really awesome week. lots of hacking and hiking and very little sleep. it was wonderful to see the plasma family again. I miss you guys already. but I feel like I want a vacation to recover :P

no vacations for me, though. school starts tuesday and I’ve already got reading assigned. I’m in this cool new course where we’re going to be working on projects with students from other universities… here’s the blog for the course. it should be a lot of fun. :) but… the downside is it might be very busy, too, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for KDE this semester. we’ll see. after everything that’s happened at tokamak I really want to make *some* time to keep hacking. :)

{January 5, 2009}   back to school

well, the first day of a new semester is over. it’s been a fairly good day. the burnaby campus was closed (even though buses were running) but the surrey one was open, and all my courses are there. the first course was cancelled anyways because the teacher didn’t think he could make it. :)

I got my upass, sold an old textbook, managed to get into the bookstore at a time when it actually had no line and buy one of my textbooks, and discovered I’ve got a friend in each of my classes. macm 316 looks like it’s going to be annoying (the teacher has a thick accent and mumbles), but cmpt 383 will probably be quite interesting.

how much time I’ll have for KDE this semester remains to be seen, but I *am* going to campkde, and there’s another tokamak soon (oh god I hope I can keep up with my courses with all this travel) so if all else fails I’ll have a chance to hack then. :) aseigo and notmart’s work on the qtscript bindings seems to be going quite well, so this week I think I’ll try to focus on getting ahead in class wherever possible and preparing for my courses. of course, having said that I’ll probably get distracted by shiny code anyways ;P

{December 22, 2008}   can I get any lazier?

I’ve never really cared much for studying. Trying to memorize facts seems incredibly boring (although digits of pi aren’t ;) and it’s always a struggle to actually get anything done.

This semester i had two math classes – and sfu math classes are hard, so i can’t just ignore them and expect an A. ;) So i decided to use a tool pete uses for language training to help me memorize the boring bits of the math classes (which turned out to be almost all of them).

It’s called anki, and it’s a cute little flashcard program written in pyqt4. It also has a web interface and a client for the iphone iirc, although i haven’t used those. It was originally designed for learning japanese, but it’s expanded since then. It’s got LaTeX support, so writing crazy math equations isn’t a problem. The spaced learning system trains your brain to remember all the facts you’ve entered – all you have to do is enter those facts, and then actually use the software for a few minutes each day. :)

I didn’t start using it until after the first midterm, and i haven’t been very consistent with the actually-using-it bit… But i think it really helped me. I had pretty much no motivation to learn the material; i seem to have lost interest in math. :( But entering facts into anki helped me think about it – i had to break things down into little pieces that’d work well as flashcards – and kept me reading the textbook when i couldn’t be bothered with the homework.

One thing that doesn’t work so well: cramming a bunch of data in right before a midterm. Spaced learning doesn’t work when there’s no time for things to be spaced in ;) my second midterms didn’t go so well. By the time the final came, though, i had more than half of each course’s material in there. I had to study the things that weren’t in there – a lot of which i’d completely forgotten and had to relearn – but for subjects that were in anki, i just skimmed the material and looked at a couple of things i’d been getting wrong a lot.

I think this worked out pretty well. I got a nice mark on the final for macm 201. I didn’t do as well on math 152, but i still ended up with a B+. Some things anki just can’t help with; evaluating integrals takes more.. Lateral thinking, i think. Just knowing a bunch of facts isn’t enough. but when material *can* be broken down into lots of little facts, anki signifigantly reduces the effort required – and turns something i’d normally find horridly boring into something almost like a game, where i can just keep clicking and answring questions as it asks them. :)

so if you’ve got lots of facts you need to memorize, and you don’t like doing it (does anyone?), give anki a try. :)

et cetera