olympics are lame

August 31, 2004 under Politics, Sports

The Olympics have come and gone, and I could care less. It’s come down to who has the best performance-enhancing substances and who’s country is the least scrupulous in drug testing its own athletes. Bring on the World Cup!

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sp2 isn't all that bad

August 20, 2004 under Computers, Software

I’m not sure why people have been slagging Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. Sure, the “Windows Security” applet is cheesy, Windows Firewall is a bit intrusive at first and the security improvements to Internet Explorer are too little too late (use Firefox people). I did, however, notice a kewl improvement. On my primary IDE channle, I have two hard disks. My master disk is an ATA-133 and the slave is an ATA-100. Instead of running in UDMA Mode 6, my master disk slowed down a notch to match the drive running at UDMA Mode 5 ever since I can remember. Until now. Ever since I installed SP2, my master disk is running at it’s full UDMA Mode 6 potential 🙂

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i think i want a monster

August 19, 2004 under ChrisBellini.com

I’m tempted to move this site o’ mine from the free web host that is Tripod to a proper host. I’d like to be able to actually use this site as a showcase. Perhaps a place where I can post pictures and people all over the world can comment on them. I’d probably use a language like PHP with a database like mySQL; two things not available from Tripod. Or perhaps I could develop a better way to manage the site content. The possibilities would be endless. Well, more endless than now. Tripod provides very little in the way of development tools. I’ve been leaning towards Monster Hosting, based out of Surrey, BC. The price is awesome and the features are plentiful. They even offer Python support.

Python is a wicked-kewl scripting language that I’ve been learning here and there. Syntactically, it’s designed with the programmer in mind and it’s not C-like like everything else is. Take an implementation of the Insertion Sort algorithm to sort an array of integers, for example. I’m picking on Insertion Sort since I had to implement a specialized version of it for a project at work and it’s on my brain at the time. Here’s a straight-up C/C++ (no STL vector class or anythin’) implementation of Insertion Sort that I wrote for my Data Structures and Algorithms course in university:


void insertion_sort(int *array, int min, int max)
{
int i, j, key;


for(i = min; i < = max; i++)
{
key = array[i];
j = i;

while ((j > 0) && (array[j - 1] > key))
{
array[j] = array[j - 1];
j--;
}
array[j] = key;
}
return;
}

Uh huh. Now look at how I did it with Python:


def insertion_sort(array, min, max):
for i in range(min, max):
key = array[i]
j = i
while j > 0 and array[j - 1] > key:
array[j] = array[j - 1]
j = j - 1
array[j] = key

Without going into the gory details for those who could care less about the finer points of computer programming, compared to my C/C++ version, my Python version is visually mint!

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watchin' guys climb up poles

August 16, 2004 under Life

This past weekend, Dena and I were in Mackinaw City, Michigan at the International Ironworkers Annual Festival with her family. Why were we there, you ask? To see Elly, an 81 year-old resident of Crystal Falls participate in the knot tying, rod tying, rivet toss, spud toss and climing events as the oldest competitor. He was one of the original iron workers on the Mackinac Bridge. There were even iron workers from Toronto and Windsor there (necessitating the word ‘International’ in the festival’s title), which surprised me.

The weekend was nice. The driving could’ve been better. No more than 20 kilometres after leaving Kitchener, traffic on west-bound 401 ground to a halt due to one of those “here’s an arrow so get over into the other lane” signs that was left on for no apparent reason other than to frustrate and delay. I-75 in Michigan, aka: “thump thump”, is perpetually being re-surfaced, although its condition never actually improves, so delays are always inevitable. And although Americans are quick to point out that Canadians drive like “c u next tuesdays”, barely a handful of them displayed any knowledge of the concept that faster-moving traffic is for the left-most lanes and slower traffic is for the right-most lanes. Tuesday? Hell, we’re lucky it was Sunday 😉

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not enough hours in the day

August 12, 2004 under Computers, Programming

There’s a crazy converstation going on at Slashdot right here. It’s about what professional programmers/developers/engineers/whatever should do in their downtime to keep everything fresh and fun. Wild stuff. I don’t think I have that problem, so far.

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curiosa in the air

August 9, 2004 under Computers, Music

Ok, so my first wireless post isn’t from the bathroom; it’s the bedroom. Close enough.

I’m with the notebook computer in the bedroom so Dena could catch up on email on the desktop computer in the living room. Hopefully these 802.11g radio waves aren’t giving me cancer as I type 😐

Tonight I’ll be listening to the Edge because they’re broadcasting The Cure‘s set at the Curiosa Festival in the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. As Dena and I were driving home today, the Edge played a brief moment of Mogwai‘s set. I would’ve loved to hear Mogwai‘s set in its entirety. Hell, I wanted to hear and see The Cure, Mogwai, Interpol and Muse but that wasn’t in the cards, I guess (neither were the Sonic Youth and Modest Mouse shows last week). But at least I was able to hear the crecendo of “Mogwai Fear Satan” live and on the radio.

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doom

August 7, 2004 under Computers, Software

All I can say about Doom 3 is “wow”! I’ve only played the first two missions (at night in the dark with the sound up, of course) and I’m quite impressed with what I’ve seen. It’s far scarier that the first two in the series, mostly due to the technology difference. I still caught my self trying to peer around corners, thinking that my monitor will allow me to do that 🙂 John Carmack and his team at id have done a mighty fine job. The work that John has done on the engine with regards to the shadows and lighting is especially kewl. Off the top of my head, I can’t even fathom the math he came up with for bending light and shadows around corners and though tunnels. Crazy. Stay tuned.

Oh, and I finally got my notebook at work. It’s a shiney new Inspiron 5150 from Dell. It makes my previous work computer look extremely pathetic. Now I don’t need to walk away when I’m compiling 5000+ lines of C++ code 🙂 I picked up a WiFi access point, plugged that baby into my router and now I’m wireless at home with a second computer. Maybe my next blog entry will be from the bathroom 😉

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preparing to be scared senseless

August 3, 2004 under Computers, Software

Tee hee 🙂 When I found out that this insert is included in Doom3‘s box, my anticipation levels increased exponentially 🙂

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