February 2003

A very unusual weekend ()

February 3, 2003 - Categories: life

As I was saying, it has been a very unusual weekend.

Relatives from my father's side of the family (the one with the convoluted family history) came over from Daet. I ended up getting appointed official babysitter, my two sisters having escaped from the job by some unknown means.

Saturday, of course, was quite a busy day for me. Two of my friends are taking a multimedia class that requires the submission of a trailer. Naturally, they chose to do the trailer for a game they're working on. For that, they needed a rotating video of a girl using the computer. Guess who ended up volunteering for this no-budget production? ;) It was a lot of fun. We managed to finish at midnight. Although Eric and Dennison weren't completely satisfied with the video, they figured it would do. I was okay with doing a reshoot (hooray for phenylethylamine!), but they decided to wrap up.

The next day found me in bed until three. After a quick discussion and much protest ("What do I know about babysitting? I'm the youngest in the family!"), it was decided that I would babysit the kids. Oh joy. So much for a day of quiet e-mail and conversation... I found out about my task while on the phone with Eric, and he made me choose between letting him come (but he's working on a paper!) and letting him ask Jerome for reinforcements. I resignedly allowed him to go and inform Jerome as long as his message didn't imply "Sacha insists". It had to be more of a "Sacha wouldn't really mind." Important difference! It was, after all, Sunday, a normally off-limits day.

Jerome came while we were playing Monopoly on the roofdeck. He did quite well - a flurry of trades helped all of us get monopolies, but luck would have all of us landing on his properties! Then the kids decided to start a pillowfight in the room on the roofdeck... which of course led to my hiding under some pillows and claiming non-combatant status. Arko (one of the young girls) seemed to have been particularly picking on Jerome, and all of them even ganged up on him and tickled him. =) He was a good sport, though, even entertaining them with (of all things) soap opera impersonations. That was probably brought on by Arko's insistence that I was married to someone in the States and that I had children already...

Arko apparently decided to be my chaperone, insisting on always interposing herself between me and Jerome. It was kinda funny, even. She banned us from winking at each other, talking in another language (Japanese was _very_ useful, even with my limited vocabulary), and even talking in 'advanced' English (jargon was also quite useful).

Still, I can say that I rather enjoyed taking care of the kids. We survived, barely, although I'm not sure if the stuffed toys did. Now it's back to work and school and everything else.

Embedded talk

February 3, 2003 - Categories: geek, presentation, speaking
Title page

Hello, everyone! I'm Sacha Chua, and I'm here to talk about embedded
system design from the developer's point of view.
What _is_ embedded computing, anyway? It helps to define it in
contrast to personal computers, which we're all familiar with.

PC/embedded system comparison

General use

Personal computers are intended for general use. They can run a wide
range of applications - games, business apps, that sort of thing.

Specific function

Embedded systems, on the other hand, are typically designed for a
single purpose. Think of a calculator, for example, or the logic in
vending machines. (Of course, some embedded systems are becoming more
general now, like personal digital assistants a).

OS, apps

Personal computers



On PCs, you can usually assume that someone

Different input/output

Easy to dev or change programs

Infrequently updated


User needs / expectations

Although crashes and data loss seem to be part of our everyday
computing experience, people expect embedded systems to be reliable.
Imagine an embedded system that crashes! What if your phone crashed
and had to be rebooted all the time? People expect features,
reliability, and all for a low price.

Tight space and memory constraints

Development tools

Development process

One of the things about embedded development is that the process is a
little bit longer. It's not the usual edit, compile, run cycle. It's
edit, compile, burn to flash, run.

Architectural quirks

And of course if you go into embedded development, you'll probably
have to deal with different architectures. For example, you'll learn
about the quirks of conditional ARM.

Why go into embedded dev't?

It's fun!

It's challenging!

It's useful!

How to get started

Courses on computer interfacing / hardware / digital logic


Internship / work / open source

What you need: software, hardware, patience

Thesis demonstration

February 11, 2003 - Categories: geek, school
I'm not really sure where to begin demonstrating what I've been working on. Unlike the other groups who are creating something new and easy to explain, I've been spending the last few months exploring a different way of life. My contribution to the computer science body of knowledge isn't some killer application or breakthrough theory, but rather experiments, documentation and incremental improvements.

My project is about wearable computing. I aim to show that it can be done inexpensively, using only off-the-shelf equipment and free software. To that end, I have been gradually adapting Emacs to wearable computing needs. Most of what I am demonstrating is not my code, but the use of it is uncommon even in the Emacs and Emacspeak communities, and so my contributions have mostly been in the form of documentation and patches. I have also become the official maintainer of planner.el, a text-based organizer for Emacs.

Since I've based my project off Emacspeak, a lot of things were instantly accessible. For example, I can easily check the time and date by pressing C-e t. Emacspeak also allows me to work with practically all modules in Emacs. Because this foundation is already quite good, I decided to focus on documenting its setup, demonstrating its usability and writing or improving upon Emacs features.

I have been using this to organize my notes, although in class I tend to turn off sound and use the keyboard in order to keep up with the teacher. School notes are organized by day.
Other information
Ateneo library books
More work to be done
Beautiful documentation =) get a serial to USB adapter so that I can use my phone again. solve APM kernel problems get wireless to work reliably, probably via cantenna

remember timestamp

February 19, 2003 - Categories: emacs

I really hope the remember timestamp works now.

remember timestamp

February 19, 2003 - Categories: emacs

Moved the timestamp to the other side.

planner-el publishing

February 19, 2003 - Categories: emacs

planner-el actually gets published in a very different manner. I should come up with another way to do it, maybe a template to give me an idea...

resolve and emacs-wiki

February 19, 2003 - Categories: emacs

See how ickily emacs-wiki renders this? Then again, it's probably just a matter of making a good stylesheet. I eventually want to have a blog-like thing...

as rendered by devel

February 19, 2003 - Categories: emacs

This is the development emacs-wiki version. I think.


February 20, 2003 - Categories: blogging, emacs, geek
I've been reading up on blogging, since I want to get a firm grip on the kind of software I'd like. Yes, I'm not supposed to be thinking about it right now, but I am. So, what am I looking for?

I seem to be looking for a strange mix between wiki and blog - a WikiBlog. I want it to be easy for people to jump to today's entry, and I want it to be easy for them to look at all the pages I'd edited for the day. I want to make it easy for people to subscribe to pages they're interested in and to have the day's work delivered to them in their mailbox at, say, midnight the next day.

Bah. Forget them. ;) I want something that can organize information for myself. For the most part, planner mode and emacs-wiki suffice. But I also want to be able to make this information usable to other people, and that means formatting it nicely.

sweet looking laptop

February 21, 2003 - Categories: geek


From the site:

At just 2.9 lbs, the $799 Lindows Mobile PC is a featherweight, but it weighs in with such features as LindowsOS, a 933mhz VIA processor, 256MB RAM, USB 2.0, Firewire, Ethernet, and a crisp 12.1" TFT display, plus a PCMCIA slot to add even more functionality such as wireless networking. No other computer is as ideally suited for carry-around mobility as the affordable, under 3lb, Lindows Mobile PC. You'll find yourself taking it with you everywhere!

If I ever get one of those, you can bet that I'll install Debian on it really quickly. But the page makes no mention of battery life, and I'm not sure if the lower price is due to the lack of Windows tax (but it can't be that big!) or the lack of a long battery. It seems too thin for a major battery...

In contrast, however, my computer is - Processor: Transmeta Crusoe? TM5800 (733MHz) - Memory: 256MB SDRAM, max. 256MB (PC133) - Disk Capacity: 20GB - Display: 8.9" Wide TFT Colour (1024 x 600 pixels) - Storage Device: External PCMCIA CD-ROM - OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional - Dimensions: 231(W) x 149.5(D) x 26.5(H) mm - Weight Approx. 880g

So my computer is around 1.90 lbs, which is _so_ much sleeker than the subnotebook. Oh well.

planner bug

February 21, 2003 - Categories: emacs

Apparently, I definitely need to do a cd in the emacs-wiki-publish...

planner index

February 21, 2003 - Categories: emacs

It should be easy to modify the WikiIndex so that it splits planner entries off and provides a link to today's entry... I might event want to double-publish today as PlannerToday.


February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

A concise guide to Turabian-style footnotes and other forms of citation can be found at http://www.lib.duke.edu/libguide/within.htm and is stored in ../learn/citation.html Oh, dear, seems to have disappeared from my hard disk...


February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

We've signed up for orals on 2003.03.01 . The citation convention is at the Kostka photocopier.

locked out of the dorm

February 21, 2003 - Categories: emacs

Pfft. Got locked out of the dorm. The guard doesn't seem to be in the lobby, so I guess she's walking around inspecting the room. That's what I get for stubbornly trying to track down that pesky PlannerMode and EmacsWiki interaction problem. For some reason, my emacs-publish-batch isn't doing the right thing. I'll worry about that over the weekend. But I'm only a minute late...

the onset of a malady

February 21, 2003 - Categories: life

I seem to be developing a sore throat, having overused my voice today. I hope it will clear up in time for my talk on open source this March 7. At the very least, I am learning how to speak in front of small crowds... small crowds. Such a strange phrase.


February 21, 2003 - Categories: emacs

Emacs Wiki index needs a function to say whether a planner page should be indexed or not..

kfc promos

February 21, 2003 - Categories: life

KFC has an afternoon treats promo that lets me get regular drink + regular fries for P19 (lemonade: P 15 reg, fries: P 20). Active from 2 to 6.

foldback clips

February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

My eternal thanks go to the inventor(s) of foldback clips. They are absolutely wonderful, and have helped me impose some sort of order on the reams and reams of Philosophy readings that - it turns out - I must have properly catalogued and annotated by Monday. We're not just talking about the last set of readings, mind you, but all the readings our esteemed Philosophy teacher has ever given. I hope he doesn't ask me to talk about the pages I used for scratch. I will bring them in that little rolling cart I normally use for clothes; I suppose that would be quite a statement.

philo notes

February 21, 2003 - Categories: emacs

After philosophy class ended, a number of my classmates asked me to send my notes to them. Apparently, the fact that I get near-transcriptions of Fr. David's speeches (verbatim if I'm not distracted and he pauses often). I am surprised to see that my notes have reached 256K. I sent them a URL to my planner-managed site at http://richip.dhs.org/~sachac/notebook/wiki/Ph104.html, of course.

planner day links

February 21, 2003 - Categories: emacs

I'd like to add planner day links for previous day entry (might not be yesterday) and next day entry (might not be today).

th151 presentation

February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

Just in case we're presenting today.

Fidelity is something we know from our everyday lives. We cannot separate it from faith. In fact, we call fidelity faithfulness. So we know what it means to be faithful to someone. Our fidelity is not about our faith in others, but about their faith in us, and faithfulness is keeping our promise to them and living up to their trust.

We also know what faithlessness is. Some people here might be from broken families. Some people here might have been betrayed by friends. We know what it's like to break a promise and to let someone down. That's sin. We know how it destroys things. We know how cheating on someone destroys our relationship with them, even if they never find out.

So we understand what Christian faith tells us about faithfulness, and we understand why we need to pray for strength. Many people pray that they are given the strength and the understanding to be more faithful to other people, so they can be better friends, better children, better people.

Fidelity is not being stubborn or thinking just one thing. The only thing constant in life is change, and part of being faithful is adapting to change, not forcing other people or yourself to stay the same. We make mistakes, and we should learn from them.

We might not be aware of these mistakes. For example, racism might not obvious to people who are racists. They think it's only natural. Fidelity means recognizing that we shouldn't just do what we've always done, but we should think about it carefully.

Very, very, very rarely, fidelity might even mean realizing that you've made the wrong commitment. For example, you might be committed to getting high grades, which is not a bad thing. But if you start cheating just to keep up your grades, something is wrong. That is why we need to periodically reexamine ourselves and our commitments.

That happens far less than another, more serious problem. Our problem is that we give up too quickly. People break up over the smallest things. People fight and separate for very selfish reasons. Fidelity requires strength. It requires will. That's why we pray for the strength to be better people - to be better sons and daughters, to be better friends.

The bottom line is that fidelity is faithfulness, so we cannot talk about fidelity without talking about faith. We're not just talking about our faith in others, but also of their faith in us. This is why you feel terrible when you backstab a friend or cheat on a spouse. You have betrayed their trust. You have broken your promises. Sin is like that. God has faith in us. He knows that we can be good people. When we sin, we betray that trust. That's why we pray for the strength to be faithful.

byron uy

February 21, 2003 - Categories: friends

Ran into Byron Uy again. He's still looking for a job. Told him Cebu might not be such a bad idea after all. He gave me "The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes" as a belated Valentine's gift.

organizing philosophy papers

February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

I think I've gotten a callus on my right hand from those pullback clips. Marvelous invention, they are. If I've learned nothing else from philosophy class, at least I've learned a little more about organizing paper. Look - I even tried to make sure the width fit the text, although I seem to have bought too few 0.75" clips and too many 1.25" ones.

oops, nearly forgot to leave photocopies

February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

I nearly forgot to leave the photocopies I borrowed. Nicolette Baysa's planning to pick them up tomorrow. Good thing I remembered before we left Ateneo - I'd hate to have reneged.

integrative project reminder

February 21, 2003 - Categories: school

Dr. Sarmenta reminded me that he'd like to see a draft of our paper before the deadline, and that Jam should be doing stuff too.

picked up mom at pricesmart

February 21, 2003 - Categories: family

And she has strawberries! =)


February 21, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

We ate at the taqueria in the Greenbelt 3 food court. Pretty good food. My mom and I both had chicken burrito meals, and I gained a better appreciation of refried beans.

chris haravata — blog

February 21, 2003 - Categories: geek

Chris Haravata mailed me asking for a landline number so that he can get in touch with me. I wonder what's up. Checking out his blog, I find out that he also does intro computer science classes... goodie!

gospel exercise — school

February 22, 2003 - Categories: school

Okay, the gospel exercise is more or less done. Whew! That's out of the way.

not going to party — personal

February 22, 2003 - Categories: life

My mother strongly feels that I shouldn't go to the party later, since my finals are next week after all. I thought about it carefully and while I think I _will_ be able to manage the workload, it's wise to have some breathing room, and it's unwise to tick parents off. I feel bad about not being able to keep my promise to go, and I realize I erred in committing in the first place. I was looking forward to dressing up, although I must admit that I felt uneasy about dedicating a whole night to, well, Japanese pop music and anime - things I'm not really into. A quiet dinner at home would have been more effective for objective #2, which was meeting Jerome, but then again work should come first - and I'd have felt guilty about not working, too...

hermit mode — personal

February 22, 2003 - Categories: life

I think it's about time I resumed hermit mode.

done with the smaller readings — school, tips

February 22, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I've come to appreciate the value of light yellow highlighters, but I still refuse to use them on anything but temporary copies - photocopies, documents, that sort of thing. Books? No way!

a ream of arendt — school

February 22, 2003 - Categories: school

I still have to go through a ream of Arendt later... Ah well.

sugar-coated strawberries — personal

February 22, 2003 - Categories: life

The strawberries are nothing spectacular - a bit on the old side, with strange dark spots - but hey, they're strawberries. =) Having relieved them of their leafs and assorted mushy parts, I proceeded to fashion a shaker out of an old egg cup. Looks like it works - I get nice, evenly coated sugared strawberries. Still, to be in a country where strawberries are fresh and firm and sweet...

back to work — school

February 22, 2003 - Categories: school

Armed with my makeshift strawberry sugar-er and my trusty highlighter, I return to work.

Finished “The Human Condition” — school

February 22, 2003 - Categories: school

Only one ream of paper to go. My highlighter looks like it's running a bit low on ink. I want to stock up on these. These and foldback clips. More of the foldback clips. The smallest kind - those are a bit more useful. What am I doing? I'm dreaming about organizational tools.

my dad and his vaio — tech

February 22, 2003 - Categories: family

So my dad has this really sweet Vaio U1. I walked into the room and saw him using it... to play Space Cadet. [laugh]

linux printing site

February 23, 2003 - Categories: linux

emacspeak and IRC — linux

February 23, 2003 - Categories: emacs

I am beginning to realize just how wonderful speech is. I've added dtk-speak to erc-insert-pre-hook, and I can listen to #linuxhelp while browsing through Arendt. Maybe I shouldn't be doing it, but it's so much fun...

done with highlighting my readings

February 23, 2003 - Categories: school


theology presentation

February 24, 2003 - Categories: school

Ooooh! Look! The presentation went well. =D I don't think he's unhappy. Whee!

dean’s awards

February 24, 2003 - Categories: school

Mmm, looks like I'm helping judge. =) March 3 and 4 are required. We'll get the papers now, so we have until the 28th to read and rate the papers. On the 28th, submit the results to the office and the chair of the committee. That's when you get the 5 finalists. Everybody reads all the papers except those of their own department. Undergraduates only need to read undergraduate papers. Whew!

Some of the problems come up if you don't know the significance of the paper. Someone's supposed to say why the paper is significant, anyway. It could be very important work, after all. It should be important to the field, not just relevant to the society. The importance to the field of foobar is important. Whether it advances the field.

Bio Vivian Panes Jared Billena Karen Villarante
Chem Nina Rojas Agnes Funa Kitkat Santiago
Math Nael Cabal Debbie Bautista Ryan Liwanag
ES Raquel Unson | Hernando
ECCE Lui Agustin | Pocholo Paskola
DISCS Pablo Manalastas Jela Bathan Sacha Chua
Phys Jerrold Garcia Ian Vega Kendra Castillo

Chair has a copy of the guidelines. March 3: Undergraduate presentation.

Highest and lowest scores will be dropped.

Rating sheets due before 12 noon on Friday.

have to look for de leon

February 24, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

chi is also looking for it. e305


February 25, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Graphviz is cool!


February 25, 2003 - Categories: emacs

Flashcard.el is pretty good. =) And useful.

gino story about theology

February 25, 2003 - Categories: school

Fr. Padua was talking about one of the reflection papers. Apparently, he remembers me because of the high-tech way I do things. He said:

"'What do you do if streetchildren run up to you on the street? ... You could give them a card telling them to go to the nearest foundation, but then you realize they might not know how to read.' It started out so incredibly! You wonder why she started talking about tech..."

"Umm, sir, is that Sacha Chua?"

"Why, yes. Sandra Jean."

He went on to say that it was a wonderful example of interdisciplinary work, and that it showed that Theology didn't have to be done for Theology's sake only.

I feel all warm and fuzzy now. =)


February 25, 2003 - Categories: school

By the way, the paper I'm working on is at ../school/2002-sem2/ph104/paper3.tex

polsci finals

February 26, 2003 - Categories: school

I really, really hope I passed. flashcard.el is nice. Turns out I missed one handout (oops!) and some of those questions were really tricky...


February 26, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

fr. david 3381

February 26, 2003 - Categories: school

th151 theses

February 26, 2003 - Categories: school
Thesis statements for Theology exam:
  • A complete, mature faith grows out of and depends on doctrine, morals and worship, drawing from Sacred Scripture, tradition and human experience. Through commitment, we fully involve ourselves in our relationships to others. God's grace allows us to freely respond to His love, illumining our conscience, Creed and worship.
  • Although we have the capacity to do wrong, we are under the moral obligation to do the right thing. Conscience applies universal moral norms to particular situations and helps us discern what the right thing to do is.
  • Sin is not merely a transgression of divine law. It corrupts our spiritual life and cuts us off from God. It affects not only us but also the people around us. Forgiveness is not an erasure of our sins, but an act of love by God for us.
  • The Creed is not a formula to be simply recited. It is a list of beliefs that unite us as a community in our Christian life.
  • There are no substitutes for the Sacraments as a way for us to deepen our faith. This is how God chose to make Himself present to us and how He wants us to learn about Him. Sacraments also unite us with the rest of the Church.
  • Human experience shapes our understanding of Sacred Scripture. Sacred Scripture tells us much about human experience. Faith shows us "things exactly as they are."

sir olpoc

February 26, 2003 - Categories: school

"I prefer the slow torture method of project defense." "I deserve this! I don't care if students see me."


February 26, 2003 - Categories: geek

OOPSLA 2001 Workshop Software Archeology: Understanding Large Systems

How do you come to grips with 1,000,000 lines of code right away?

Programmers are often given a large system they've not seen before, built by people they don't know, touched by many people since, documented sketchily if at all. They're told to improve it. Their task might be to fix a bug, add a feature, or complete a refactoring. They are under time pressure, so they need to minimize the total time spent learning and the time spent improving.

In this workshop, we will share techniques and approaches for understanding enough about a lot of code in not much time. We are concerned not just with speed, but also with confidence: how can you know you've made an improvement, not made the system worse?

rescheduling classes

February 27, 2003 - Categories: school

Dr. Sarmenta's thinking of giving me back the CS21B. He needs to confirm with Sir Marco. I don't know where Sir Marco is, though.

thesis defense

February 27, 2003 - Categories: school

Thesis defense on Monday, 2:00 - 2:30. Dr. Vergara, Ma'am Estuar, Dr. Sarmenta

departmental award for computer science

February 27, 2003 - Categories: school

It looks like my chances for getting it are very, very slim, because I've got a D

some comments about my outfit

February 27, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Apparently, a short black velvet dress and a brilliant red-and-yellow obi-style belt is sufficiently unusual that it draws comments from the other geeks in the room, who are probably rather bemused that I am acting like a girl and actually _accessorizing._ Amazing.

Mike Chua

February 28, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

"It's a 16-way processor that allows you to consolidate your data center. I'm going to play with one of these!"

doc sarmenta has a sister..

February 28, 2003 - Categories: life

Clarissa. And she's coming to the open house. A freshman? Interesting. =)

cs161f exemptions

February 28, 2003 - Categories: school

The following students can choose not to take the CS161 final exam: - 1. Francisco, Mike - 95.4 (A) - 2. Sy, Zach - 92.9 (B+) - 3. Bulanon, Geebee - 92.6 (B+) - 4. Tan, Abi - 92.4 (B+) - 5. Garcia, Toto - 91.9 (B+) - 6. Clarito, Ian - 91.8 (B+) - 7. Tipoe, Aldy - 91.4 (B+)

Notes: - 1. Those who are not candidates for graduation must attend the plenary sessions (Please inquire about the schedule from the CS department). The grades of these students can still be significantly changed by the requirements given during these sessions. - 2. Those whose names are not in the list of exempted students can request their current standing via e-mail: jonjon@mathsci.math.admu.edu.ph

thesis requirements

February 28, 2003 - Categories: school

CS197. Senior Thesis / Project Presentation Schedule of defense will be on March 3. 2003 from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM Requirements: Each group will be given 30 minutes for the presentation and defense proper. 1. Final paper (printed out) 2. Soft copy of project (CD) Kindly sign up at the department