Archive for December, 2004

Date: December 31st, 2004
Cate: Geekism

The Free Lunch Is Over

The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software – a really good article on how Moore’s Law is (sort of) ending and the performance gains we’ve been enjoying for free are (sort of) going away. I see this as a good thing: it means that software writers who can figure out concurrency are going to be more and more in demand.

(via)

Date: December 31st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Si1 – Silk, Thread

Legend has it that Si Ling-Chi, wife of the legendary Yellow Emperor discovered silk one day by accident when a cocoon fell from a mulberry tree into her tea. When she tried to extract it, she found that the hot tea had caused the cocoon to come apart, and one end of the silk thread was visible. She was amazed to find that it could be unraveled into one continuous, strong thread of incredible length!

The true account of the discovery silk is not known, but is probably not that much unlike the legend. All the best stuff is discovered by accident, you know. It is known that silk production originated in China sometime between 6000 and 3000 BC, and the method was kept secret for thousands of years, reaching the west only in 550 AD.

Date: December 30th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Yong4 – Use

備用 – Bei4 Yong4 – Prepare Use — Spare, Backup

DSL is down again. Luckily switching over to dial-up isn’t that difficult.

Date: December 29th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Tao2 – Pleased, Pottery

陶瓷 – Tao2 Ci2 – Pottery Porcelain — Ceramic

Date: December 28th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Qie1 – Cut, Slice

切 格瓦拉 – Qie1 Ge2 Wa3 La1 – Che Guevara

Date: December 27th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zao4 – Parched, Arid

I wonder why Fire ( – Huo3 – Fire) next to a bunch of mouths ( – Kou3 – Mouth, – Pin3 – Product, Commodity, Grade) up in a tree ( – Mu4 – Wood) means Arid?

Date: December 26th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Tui3 – Leg

Why is Ham 火腿 – Huo3 Tui3 – Fire Leg? Don’t ask me, I’m going to sleep.

Date: December 25th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Sui4 – Underground

I wonder how you say “Rigatoni” in Chinese. I wonder if there is a page that lists what all the different types of pasta are called in Chinese? Probably not.

(…google…google… NO WAY!)

義大利只有一種麵 – Yi4 Da4 Li4 Zhi3 You3 Yi1 Zhong3 Mian4 – Italy Has Just One Kind Of Noodle?, an article with translations of everything from Angel Hair to Ziti, including:

隧道 – Sui4 Dao4 – Underground Way — Tunnel

大隧道麵 – Da4 Sui4 Dao4 Mian4 – Big Tunnel Noodles — Rigatoni

Date: December 24th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Qin2 – Qin (the dynasty)

It’s somewhat interesting that the dynasty of the first emperor of China was called – Qin2 and the dynasty of the last one was called – Qing1. The pronounciation of these two is confusingly (for me) similar.

Date: December 23rd, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Bo2 – Struggle, Wrestle, Fight

搏動 – Bo2 Dong4 – Struggle Move — Throb, Pulsate

Throbber is the technical term for the little graphic in the corner of your browser that animates while a page is loading.

Date: December 22nd, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Nei4 – Inside, Internal

內部網 – Nei4 Bu4 Wang3 – Internal Section Web — Intranet

Date: December 20th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xun4 – Ask, Inquire, News, Information

I beat Ask MetaFilter. The end guy was hard.

Date: December 20th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xiu4 – Rust

– Gang1 – Steel

不鏽鋼 – Bu4 Xiu4 Gang1 – No Rust Steel — Stainless Steel

碳鋼 – Tan4 Gang1 – Carbon Steel

Date: December 19th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– TI3 – Body

體力 – Ti3 Li4 – Body Strength

Today we will summon all of our 精神 and 體力 to finally complete our Christmas shopping!

Date: December 18th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Long2 – Flourishing, Grand, Glorious

克隆 – Ke4 Long2 – Clone

The secret of getting the wireless router working with the cable modem was “clone MAC address”. And avoiding zombification was relatively easy, so far: the computer came with XP SP2 preloaded, and the firewall turned on.

Date: December 17th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xian4 – Thread, String, Wire, Line

無線 – Wu2 Xian4 – No Wire — Wireless

Tomorrow’s task: get Judy’s new laptop and new wireless router working with her cable modem. For bonus points, don’t break her desktop’s wired connectivity. For more bonus points, get file and printer sharing going. For super duper extra bonus points, get the laptop online and up to date before it becomes undead.

Date: December 17th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xian4 – Thread, String, Wire, Line

無線 – Wu2 Xian4 – No Wire – Wireless

Tomorrow’s task: get Judy’s new laptop and new wireless router working with her cable modem. For bonus points, don’t break her desktop’s wired connectivity. For more bonus points, get file and printer sharing going. For super duper extra bonus points, get the laptop online and up to date before it becomes undead.

Date: December 17th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
18 msgs

FoF 0.1.9 is debugged

Feed on Feeds 0.1.9: That problem is fixed, this stuff is included. <stevejobs>Oh, by the way… this release is also about 10 times faster.</stevejobs>

See, I’m just now figuring out this whole “database index” thing. If you’re upgrading from a previous version, re-run the installer (install.php). It will add some indexes to the items table that really should have been there from the beginning. If you’ve already created indexes yourself, and run the installer, it may create duplicate indexes. Would that be bad? Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. Or if that is too scary you could just go in with phpMyAdmin or whatever you used to create your renegade unauthorized indexes in the first place and delete them.

Date: December 16th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Cheng2 – Measure, Order, Procedure, Journey

I have a confession to make. Today I spent a lot of time doing 工程 – Gong1 Cheng2 – Work Procedure — Project planning, using MS Project. And it was kinda… fun. Tomorrow I get to do resource loading!

甘特圖 – Gan1 Te4 Tu2 – Gantt Chart

Date: December 15th, 2004
Cate: Geekism

Raising the bar

And it also means that if you give somebody a list of RSS items and a ‘mark-as-read’ button, they’re no longer going to tolerate the full-page-reload-and-scroll-to-the-top that certain unnamed aggregators have conditioned them to accept.

Date: December 15th, 2004
Cate: Geekism

Dealing with latency in a real-time application

Here is one of the clearest descriptions I’ve ever read of how to deal with synchronizing game state across a slow, unreliable network. The increase in complexity they had to go through to get from LAN play (Halo 1) to WAN play (Halo 2) is pretty amazing.

Date: December 15th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
5 msgs

– Hui2 – Revolve

This looks more like a mistake than a real character.

Date: December 14th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Three Unrelated Things That Are Considered Awesome

  1. EastSouthWestNorth’s Life In China photos.

  2. Marco Bonetti’s new free server-side aggregator: Gregarius. See a demo here.

  3. POPjisyo’s automatic pop-up dictionary for Chinese, Japanese and Korean. This is your Katamari Damacy lyrics. This is your Katamari Damacy lyrics on POPjisyo. Any questions? Oh… right… one more thing. They have bookmarklets.
Date: December 14th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Wang4 – Hope, Watch, Gaze, Full Moon

Today 失望 – Shi1 Wang4 – Fail Hope — Despair turned to 指望 – Zhi3 Wang3 – Point Hope — Hope as we completed the majority of our Christmas shopping by making our annual Pilgrimage to the Really Big Mall, as well as by mashing the ‘SUBMIT’ button on the order-confirmation page at several different web sites, where shopping carts full of gifts had been pre-positioned days and weeks ago, waiting to be called into action should the need arise.

By the way, I think it’s pretty interesting that the same word means Hope, Gaze and Full Moon.

Date: December 12th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Dou4 – Smallpox

Welcome to INFECTIOUS DISEASE DAY!

水痘 – Shui3 Dou4 – Water Pox — Chicken Pox
– Zha4 – Mumps (not sure about this one? maybe this is an archaic word?)
痲疹 – Ma2 Zhen3 – Measels

For far more, try here: 疾病 – Ji2 Bing4 – Disease.

Date: December 12th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
1 msg

FoF 0.1.8 is bugged

FoF 0.1.8 users, please see this post at LaughingMeme. Magpie 0.7 has a bug (that I think was included in some code I originally sent to Kellan… sorry about that!) which will cause character encoding translation to fail if you don’t have iconv, but do have mbstring. If you have iconv, everything is fine. If you want to fix this right away, you can download the new version of ‘rss_parse.inc’ that Kellan has made available. Of course, I’ll include this fix in the next release of FoF.

Date: December 12th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jing1 – Dread, Fearful

It does look scary, doesn’t it?

Date: December 11th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Wai1 – Askew, Crooked

Another one of those joke characters!

– Bu4 – Not
– Zheng4 – Straight

– Wai1 – Crooked

Date: December 10th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
9 msgs

Early and Often

What’s that thing they say? Release early and often? In that spirit, and in the context of these two earlier posts, here you go:

Snoopy + native PHP SSL + Digest Auth: ALPHA version

This was based on whatever you call the version of Snoopy that comes with MagpieRSS 0.7. It said 1.0 in the header but I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same as the one you can get from the Snoopy project at SF, or if Magpie’s Snoopy has drifted out of sync.

This is designed to be a drop-in replacement for Snoopy. If you happen to have FoF 0.1.8, this will work extra nicely. Be warned that older versions of FoF had a stupid bug preventing subscription to https addresses, so don’t bother trying it.

Change 1: If you ask this version of Snoopy for an https: URL, instead of trying to execute curl externally, it will check if you are running at least PHP 4.3 and have OpenSSL installed. If so, it will use PHP’s built in SSL implementation. If not, it will fail back to the old behavior and try to find curl to execute. There is also a flag you can set (use_curl) to force the use of curl if you’re happier with that.

Change 2: If you ask this version of Snoopy for a URL with a username/password (ie http://user:pass@example.com), it will first attempt Basic Auth, like always. But if that fails, and the server sends back a header with a Digest Auth challenge, Snoopy will attempt to respond appropriately by issuing another HTTP request with a Digest response. The “killer app” of this feature is subscription to friends-only LJ feeds.

I’d love to get some feedback on this. So download and execute away!

Date: December 10th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Bo2 – Learned, Extensive, Abundant

博客 – Bo2 Ke4 – Learned Guest — Blogger (according to some)

博客 revolution!

博客 backlash !

But if not 博客, then what?

(via Boing Boing)

Date: December 10th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
2 msgs

Contact! HTTP Digest Auth works!

It works! I have Digest Authentication working in PHP. It’s the client side, which I think hasn’t been done before. Like I thought, it wasn’t that hard. It works for the simplest (but most common? only?) case, where qop=auth and algorithm=MD5. There was one tool I needed that I was really glad to have: tcpdump. Yet another reason why Macs rule: they come with a packet trace utility all installed and ready to go, just waiting there in /usr/sbin for the day you realize you need it.

I’ll release a version of Snoopy that uses PHP’s native SSL support (if available) and this new feature in… a while. I need to clean it up significantly first.

Date: December 8th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jian1 – Sharp, Pointed

Browsing characters to find intersting looking ones, I found this. – Xiao3 – Small on one end, – Da4 – Big on the other makes – Jian1 – Pointy!

Date: December 8th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
3 msgs

– Lu3 – Shoes, Walk

履歷 – Lu3 Li4 – Walk History — Resume

STEPHEN J. MINUTILLO

OBJECTIVE To help Judy realize her life long dream of someday becoming a banker by assisting in the creation of a resume highlighting relevant parts of her professional experience.

RELATED EXPERIENCE 1997-Present: Successfully crafted multiple resumes for personal use in attaining gainful employment.

2000: Oversaw construction of resume for significant other. Resulted in position at dot com retailer.

SKILLS Ability to accurately craft prose in stilted style expected for resumes, including frequent unnecessary use of adverbs. Passive voice used exclusively.

Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access.

OTHER INTERESTS Music, travel, reading.

references available upon request
Date: December 7th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ju4 – Refuse, Decline, Reject

I asked Judy to tell me what the word of the day is. She refused to tell me!

Date: December 6th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– She4 – Shoot

Question: Will Celestial’s extensive restoration process, with original language track, and new subtitles, finally shed some light on “the part” of 射鵰英雄傳 – She4 Diao1 Ying1 Xiong2 Zhuan4 – Shoot Eagle Brave Hero Chronicle — Brave Archer? You know which part I mean, the part where that one guy decides to have a musical contest to determine who will marry his daughter, and begins to play the flute.

Whoever can match his rhythm will win, even though the music is horrible, just a continuous, wavering note that sort of wanders up and down in pitch. The guy we don’t want to win at first has no problems, banging out an even beat on a tree.

But the guy we do want to win (Kuo Tsing) can’t quite get it.

Later, the guy we don’t want to win can’t handle it any more, and does a bunch of backflips over to his teacher, who covers his ears. Kuo Tsing is just starting to get into it, and doesn’t even notice it when this happens:

Then he realizes that if snaps his stick in half, he can crate two independent, unrelated rhythms! Tap… tap… taptaptaptaptap… Bang… bangbang…. tap……bangbangtapbangbang…………. tap…. And this happens:

And finally, as he feverishly continues his maddening rhythm, THIS HAPPENS:

Then the guy stops playing, everything goes back to normal, and somehow they call the contest a draw.

Answer: No.

Date: December 5th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
15 msgs

HTTPS and Digest authentication in PHP

Now that Kellan has finally integrated my character encoding changes, I figure I might as well cause him some more trouble. I’m trying to get HTTPS and Digest Authentication working in Snoopy, therefore MagpieRSS, and therefore FoF.

There is currently support for HTTPS in Snoopy, (and in FoF 0.1.8, now that I’ve fixed a stupid bug) but it depends on executing ‘curl’ externally. Yuck. And Snoopy does Basic Authentication, but not Digest. Since one of the really common things people would like to do is subscribe to a friends-only LJ feed, supporting Digest would be nice.

I think I have HTTPS working already, using code copied from HTTP_Request. Assuming you have all the right dependencies (I think just OpenSSL), SSL magically “just works” by using fsockopen with “ssl://” prepended to the host. Kind of a strange way to do it, but PHP programmers are used to such things. It seems to work equally well connecting to hosts with “real” SSL certificates, and “bogus” self-signed ones, which I’m going to interpret as a feature in this case. (In Java you have to jump through UNBELIEVABLE hoops just to say “yes, yes, I know the certificate isn’t signed, or the host name doens’t match, BUT JUST CONNECT ANYWAY!”)

As for Digest Auth, that’s harder. I can’t find s single existing PHP implementation. Well, I found the server side, but not the client side. From reading the RFC, and some implementations in other languages, it doesn’t look that hard. So I’ll try that next! I’ll probably get it to just barely work with LJ, declare victory, and ship it.

By the way silverorange’s test private feeds have been really helpful in getting this to work. Thanks for those!

One other related thing people always request is for FoF to work behind an authenticated proxy. I’m having a really, really hard time caring about that one, mostly because I don’t have an easy way to test it, and also because it just seems so weird, so I’ll likely not do it.

Date: December 5th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ge2 – Leather, Transform

This latest release of FoF doesn’t have much 革新 – Ge2 Xin1 – Transform New — Innovation. Maybe next time.

Date: December 4th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
7 msgs

FoF 0.1.8

I’ve had all these minor improvements in my private version of Feed on Feeds for the longest time, but didn’t think it was quite enough for a release. But the release of MagpieRSS 0.7 finally pushed it over the edge. So get 0.1.8 now!

Date: December 4th, 2004
Cate: Regular
6 msgs

The Stepford Wives: especially bad!

We watched the new version of The Stepford Wives. And it was bad. It was incredibly, stupefyingly, nerve-deadeningly, IMPRESSIVELY bad. It has officially displaced “Event Horizon” as my canonical WORST MOVIE EVER. Every scene was painful to watch, every line of dialogue like nails on a chalkboard. Who wrote this? These jokes wouldn’t make it on Everybody Loves Raymond! And how can Christopher Walken and Nicole Kidman (who should be enough to make any movie successful) be delivering these grade-school grade lines without becoming physically ill? This movie didn’t wrap around from bad back to good like so many movies do, it just went off in some new direction of infinite inexhasutible BADNESS.

Another cute feature: the entire movie doesn’t make any sense. It seems that part way through shooting they decided to replace the original concept (wives replaced by robots) with a new one (wives “enhanced” with remote-control microchips), but didn’t bother to go back and fix all the earlier scenes with robotic women. Maybe they thought we wouldn’t notice? Actually I think they reached a point where they just didn’t care any more. And then it seems that some studio executive decided they needed a twist ending, because all movies have twist endings now. So they decided to make Christopher Walken, supposedly the architect of Stepford, actually a robot! And say that they town was actually created by his wife as a paradise for WOMEN??!!? WHAT?

Looking for the bright side, Jenny said at least she can cross it off her to-watch list. I said that I see it this way: that which does not kill me only makes me stronger.

A chilling footnote: several movie sites report that the actors were called back just before the movie was released to reshoot several scenes after the movie was panned by test audiences. Does that mean that an EVEN WORSE version of this movie existed? IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?

Date: December 4th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhi1 – Know, Knowledge

A piece of calligraphy we bought in Xian:

You read it right to left, top to bottom. This is what it says:

知足常樂 – Zhi1 Zu2 Chang2 Le4 – Know Enough Always Happy

The meaning is something along the lines of “If you can be content with what you have, you’ll always be happy”. But I’ve also seen people try to capture the essence with “Think not on what you lack as much as on what you have”, “If we are content with the things that surround us, we will feel happy”, “A contented mind is a perpetual feast”, “Happiness consists in contentment”, and simply “Content is happiness”.