June 2004

Task lists

June 1, 2004 - Categories: emacs

If we store all tasks in a plain text file, we can generate task lists
based on that text file instead. That will allow us to slice and dice
the tasks any way we want. The file will not be rescanned all the
time, but only when an update is forced.


Testing Japanese

June 1, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Much productive hacking last night

June 2, 2004 - Categories: emacs

– Dusted off CoursesSubmission and started hacking on it again: minor

template tweaks (tables instead of lists, for example) and some code
refactoring into objects.

– Almost done with JavaCd. Just need to download Eclipse RC1 and

update the installation instructions, then we’ll be all set. I don’t
think I’ll be able to put my material on the CD, but at least I’ve
included the PPT slides from the aegis website as well as the
excellent chortle tutorial.

– Sent Ching a formal thank-you note for the lunch with Som Mittal.

– Upgraded my kernel to 2.6.6.

– Started work on PlannerDatabase, which will get around the problem

of having tasks in different places. Should probably consider
working with one of the real database packages like EDB, but will
have fun coding it anyway. Actually have a test-suite with decent

– Have also figured out how to use testcover.el. Am pleasantly

surprised to find out that it’s actually in main Emacs, so will
remove it from my ../emacs directory. Have not yet figured out
how to properly use 1value, but that’s okay.

– Am changing the way I use planner. Have realized that I don’t

actually need planner-align-tasks, planner-renumber-tasks and
planner-renumber-notes in my write-file-functions, and will probably
remove those from the default.

– Used Gnus to pull data out of old Eudora mailboxes. Whee! My mom

needed to find mail related to her business trip to Malaysia. The
semi-fuzzy search was fun.

– Found my apartment keys. Yay!

Imagine Cup

June 2, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Fanny Sy wrote:

I’m so proud to announce that our team representative for the Imagine Cup
competition has won the Imagine Cup country finals.

The team is composed of 3 students from Ateneo namely Charles Yeung (4 MIS),
Erwin Lee (3 MIS), and Mark Punzalan (3 CS) and 1 student from La Salle
namely LJ Chiu.

They will be flying to Brazil next month to represent the Philippines and
compete in the Imagine Cup World Finals.

Go Ateneo! =) See, Ateneo de Manila University _is_ a cool school for
computer science…

E-Mail from Stephanie Sy

Operating systems as anime characters

June 3, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Mario wrote:

Something cute i found. Basically, its a short flash movie intro and ending to a
hypothetical anime where the characters are windows OS’s (sorry to the linux
users =P )

http://heika-love.cool.ne.jp/troubled_windows.html – a short flash movie where
machine OSes are given anime renditions. Cute.
http://www.globetown.net/~ostanflash/all01/index.html – kung opening song yung
Troubled Windows, eto yung ending.

WinXP looks so cool!

E-Mail from mario carreon

Beagle — searching and indexing

June 4, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Beagle — http://www.gnome.org/projects/beagle

Beagle is a tool for indexing and searching your data. It is in a very
early stage of development and should be considered highly

E-Mail from Jon Trowbridge

Philippine Open Source Conference 2004

June 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Imperium and Media G8way are sponsoring the Philippine Open Source
Conference 2004 on August 17, 18, and 19 at EDSA Shangri-la. Some of
you guys might be interested in participating, as volunteer speakers,
participants or whatnot. Visit the site: http://www.philosc.com/

E-Mail from Rafael ‘Dido’ Sevilla

phdcomics: Been there, done that!

June 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


“I should go home, but I almost got this program working…”
“I’ll just stay a few extra minutes…”
{Four hours later…} “almost… got it… few more… minutes…”

CompSAt planning meeting

June 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I attended the overnight at Miggy’s house in order to make up for
being a delinquent moderator these past two months. I think it
went well. We planned the direction CompSAt would take this year and
had fun thinking about how to improve CompSAt. More details when the
official report comes out.

What worked: I was a lot more active than I’d been previously, and I
helped facilitate the meeting by making sure we stayed focused on
concrete goals. I asked questions to clarify people’s roles and
project status.

What can be improved: I should find ways to draw people into the
discussion more. Ealden needs opportunities to develop confidence and
authority. =)

Reading list for CS1

June 6, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Loads of useful papers here!

Reading List

Ran out of memory

June 6, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Should finish setting up Moodle

“What Is Google’s Secret Weapon? An Army of Ph.D.’s”

June 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Google, the next challenger to Microsoft’s dominance in personal
computing, may have an advantage in that its entire culture is
infused with research lust: The company famously hires Ph.D.’s and
encourages them to pursue independent projects alongside their
everyday work at the company. Though …

w00t. Cool company.

E-Mail from [email protected]

“Access Patterns Organize Data”

June 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Old Dominion University researchers have devised a method that
mimics the brain’s ability to order information so that connections
can be automatically established between digital objects; such a
technique could one day enable information repositories to
self-organize based on the way …

E-Mail from [email protected]

“After Life”

June 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

The funeral procession slowly winds its way through the rain,
oblivious to the struggling man desperately trying to claw his way out
of the tightly-sealed coffin. We talk a little louder to muffle the
dull thuds of frantic fists, averting our eyes from the coffin and
drawing our coats about ourselves as we pray we won’t be the next
picked by the fickle hand of fate to sacrifice ourselves for a greater
good that seems more and more distant each day.

The eulogy is short, reminding us of death after life and life after
death. The grave-digger’s shovel works constantly through the service,
reforming the irregular cavity hard-won from a too-yielding surface,
shoring up the sides of the grave as they slope back in. The last
words are said, the last prayers murmured. The pastor puts away his
translucent book as the coffin is gently lowered past a decent
height—and then released, plummeting through the air in a cloudburst
of light and shattering upon a hospital below where at that instant a
baby wakes up, squalling, thrust unwillingly into the violent world.


June 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

The smog-choked and world-weary sky shrouded the moon and she was glad
of that, glad of the blurred shadows she faded into as she walked
undefined through the resolute dreariness of the city, eyes fixed on
the ground and a careful blankness maintained in her head, filling her
time with the quotidian in order to escape her grief.

Then the world stopped in breathtaking clarity, razor-sharp shadows
cast by a perfect moon suspended against stars she hadn’t seen in
years. Against her will, her eyes were drawn to that horrible bright
orb that mocked her as her heart traced again and again that one
question: why.

Moonlight prickled her skin, pooled in her eyes and trailed down her
cheeks unnoticed. She stood there in the middle of the street,
searching even as she told herself her eyeglasses could do no more
than the telescopes at the space command lab. Somewhere beyond,
unblinking eyes stared at her, helmet dustless on an disturbed plain.
Who knows? Perhaps a bone-dry mouth whispered sweet nothings across
the expanse as she stood there, transfixed, deaf to the car that
hurtled in from nowhere and sent her across the skies into his

E-Mail to [email protected]


June 10, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Talked about CS21A syllabus changes with Dr. Sarmenta, who is a lot
more agreeable now than before.

Also, had Paolo Venegas and Dominique Cimafranca over for dinner.
Talked about the IT industry and career options in between admiring of
Kathy’s poi skills.

Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (GNU/Linux)


“Cognitive Personal Assistant”

June 10, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

A computerized assistant that can schedule meetings, filter and prioritize
email, and carry out other mundane administrative chores using artificial
intelligence is under development by Carnegie Mellon University
researchers. CMU’s Reflective Agent with Distributed Adaptive Reasoning …

E-Mail from [email protected]

Sony U50, U70

June 11, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Ooooooooooh, so pretty, and so, so light! I _really,_ _really_ like
it. And I can use a Twiddler to key in stuff for this. I think I know
what I want for a going-to-grad-school present…


June 11, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Cute puzzle game. Thanks to Ching for the link.

Like, duh! Realizations re further studies

June 12, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Duh, UOregon is in, well, _Oregon_. What else is in Oregon? OSDL.
Linus Torvalds! IBM labs, too! Looks like my list of top schools has
grown from four to five. I sent them my GRE scores already, anyway.

Reflections on class today

June 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

– CS21A-B: **OK:** The mail system simulation mostly worked,

although it could still be tweaked slightly. His slides were okay,
too. **NI:** People need to be assigned reasons
to use the mail system simulation.

– CS21A-G: **OK:** My slides. Ended three minutes early, but

otherwise pretty okay. Got a few laughs. **NI:**
I could use a presentation chockful of filler material.

– CS110-A: **OK:** I prepared slides with the outline. **NI:** I ended

much too early. Should always have the next session ready, I

– CS139.3: **OK:** Again, brief overview with class outline and

policies. 3n+1 was a surprisingly enlightening problem. **NI:**
Brief primer on working with the online judge? Also, scared a number
of the students.

Pasta carbonara out of a package

June 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Finally got around to trying out the packaged carbonara mix. It was
okay, although a bit on the salty side. It tasted, well, like
carbonara. One package can be used for 4 servings as a side dish, but
since I was too lazy to cook a separate dish and store the left-over
carbonara, I had it as the main dish. Some more variety would probably
make it less like classy instant noodles.

Tomorrow I’m going to try pancakes, if I wake up early enough. I
should find a sari-sari store that lets me buy one egg at a time. I
had to buy a dozen, and I have no plans of finishing them all during
the week. That’d be unhealthy.

I wonder if we can set up some kind of coop…

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I still had a fair amount
of time after getting home, cooking dinner, cleaning our
mold-encrusted toaster (eeeeeeeewwww!), and fixing my clothes and my
bed. I feel more or less at ease. =)

Prepared for CS21A

June 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Okay, I should be satisfactorily prepared for CS21A now. For Dr.
Sarmenta’s class, I can walk through parts of the lab exercise and
challenge them with drawn figures on the board. For my class, I plan
to go through the post office simulation. If I have time after the
debriefing, I’ll do an intro to the lab. The interactive part should
be doable.


“Digital Pen Takes on Mouse”

June 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

A team led by Dr. Jun Rekimoto at the Sony Interaction Laboratory has
devised a “pick and drop” method for transferring notes and files between
computers by selecting the information with a special pen and dropping it
onto the display of another machine simply by touching the screen. The pen …

That would be pretty cool, if pointing devices were computer-sensitive…

E-Mail from [email protected]

Useful macro commands

June 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

– apply-macro-to-region-lines
– name-last-kbd-macro
– insert-kbd-macro

EmacsWiki: KeyboardMacros

A difference in slide philosophy

June 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (GNU/Linux)


Carne Norte and scrambled egg for lunch

June 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Woke up too late (or lazy) to make pancakes this morning, so I
prepared lunch instead. There were strange insects in the rice. I
think I’ll have to throw it out. I decided to buy rice at the canteen
instead, so I packed viands. I fried the contents of a small can of
carne norte and one scrambled egg this morning. Brought it to school
in one of those handy airtight containers. Pretty good lunch. My first
foray into canned meat. Not bad for someone who’d never eaten corned

Forgot the container in school. Should remember to pick it up.

Cooked pasta for dinner. Funghi, aglio et olio. Fancy name for
mushrooms, garlic and olive oil. Should probably try button instead of
oyster, as oyster’s still a little slimy even when cooked.

Minced two extra heads of garlic and stored them in olive oil. The
next pasta dish will be easy to throw together as I have all the
ingredients necessary—even pre-sliced mushrooms.

Rustans sells microwave egg containers. I think I’ll get one on
Thursday. Must come up with a plan to finish the eggs. I think I’ll
have mushroom and cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, as I still
have half a can of oyster mushrooms.

Must remember to make significant inroads on eggs and potatoes.

Menu plan:

Wed breakfast Mushroom and cheese omelet
Wed lunch Rest of pasta and olive oil sauce, left-over mushroom and cheese omelet (if any)
Wed dinner At home
Thu breakfast At home
Thu lunch Luncheon meat and canteen rice
Thu dinner Potato soup and sausages (whoops, should probably cancel meeting if I’m trying a new dish. Can probably do lasagna rolls instead, as that was very nice last time)
Fri breakfast Twice-baked cheesy potato
Fri lunch Potato omelet (two birds with one stone!)
Fri dinner At home

Hosting help: icasocot site on Philippine literature

June 16, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

While searching for more information on Philippine literature, I came
across this absolutely wonderful site at
http://www.geocities.com/icasocot/ . It has essays, poems and short
stories galore. Wonderful, wonderful site with fresh content posted
regularly (thrice-weekly for news, monthly issues with good editing).

If you’re unlucky, though, you’ll have to take my word for it, as it’s
hosted on Geocities and thus suffers from limited transfers. What a
pity! Can we do something to help?

I think it’s definitely a worthy cause and I’m willing to donate some
money toward hosting. However, if you have unused capacity, I’d really
appreciate it if you could help out. Let’s do our bit to help the
humanities. The maintainer is Ian Casocot (icasocot AT gmail.com), a
Palanca awardee based in Dumaguete. Interested? Please get in touch
with him if you’re interested in hosting his site. Cc: me too, so I
can post good karma on my website. Thanks! =)

A long wait — 75 words

June 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

She’ll come around eventually, I know. We promised, one decade and
three kids ago, never to let the sun go down on our wrath. Saved our
relationship more than a few times. This time will be no different.
We’ll make up and laugh it all off. She just needs time to cool down.

I shivered and sank back into my parka. Blasted midnight sun. It’s
going to be a long wait.

– written in response to 2004.06.15 flashxer prompt “Let not the sun go down on your wrath”

Potato soup and fried schueblig slices

June 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Two medium potatoes, half a cup of water and a cup of milk resulted in
twice as much soup as I needed and was thinner than I remembered
potato soup to be, although the second bowl of potato soup was much
better as it had time to cool down. On the other hand, one potato just
isn’t worth boiling for ten to fifteen minutes. Perhaps I should look
into freezing some of the soup. Maybe when my ref freezer door gets
fixed. Broke the plastic hinges when I pried my freezer compartment
open back when it was frosted over like heck (or unlike heck, as the
case may be).

Fried slices of schueblig sausage because I didn’t dare trust the
toaster. Had just scrubbed lots of mold out of it. Eww, eww, eww.
Microwave grill function also no good. However, reasoned that Holland
Sausages cooks its stuff on a hot surface with some grease, so frying
pan with butter can’t be too far off. Did job. Nice, flavorful,
textured, and heated all the way through. (Last time I had sausage, I
bit into a cold part and hurriedly stuck it back into the toaster.)

Definitely want to set up some kind of kitchen coop. Hang out with
other lone culinary hackers, countercultural rebels who refuse to eat
out or buy into the modern myth of convenience, cooking not because we
have to cook for other people but because it’s scary-fun wondering if
you’re going to poison yourself (among other nasty things). Trying to
figure out the stuff not written down in cookbooks, like how on earth
do you use the strange ceramic steamer/casserole/pressure cooker
contraption that’s supposed to fit into your microwave. Reading
package backs to figure out how to cook rice and other stuff you’re
embarrassed to admit you don’t know yet. Struggling with large
portions of food. (Can’t they sell individual English muffins? Chicken
fillets? Pita pockets?) Wondering how on earth you’re supposed to meet
the veggie requirements for a balanced diet. Who knows? Maybe even
doing some kind of beginners’ Iron Chef challenge spread out over a

Hah. Most people will probably just tell me to eat instant food or
canned stuff. I’ve stocked up on cans. Pretty handy stuff, but a bit
on the boring side. No, wait, this is Ateneo. They’ll tell me to eat
out. But see, I _know_ instant food and eating out Just Works. I want
something to hack. I _like_ walking into a supermarket and trying to
think of what to eat. I like following the procedure in a cookbook and
getting annoyed at the primitives I haven’t acquired yet. I like
waking up the next day _still_ _alive._ CookOrDie. w00t.

Incidentally, I did push through with a weird mushroom and cheese
omelet the other day. Or tried to. The non-stick pan was too small for
a three-egg omelet, so the egg mixture stuck to the sides. I had
rather nice mushroom-and-cheese scrambled eggs, although they were a
bit salty. (Note to self: if using cheese, skip salt.) Forgot to bring
the pasta, though, so had to throw it away.

Skipping breakfast. Too lazy. Or may possibly have two scrambled eggs,
if I feel like washing up. Assuming I wake up in time, of course. If
at all.

CookOrDie. Making each day a little more meaningful. ;)

Courses deployed

June 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Okay, http://courses.ateneo.edu/submit/ should be ready for use. I
think. Well, at least the project creation and submission parts work,
and that’s all that matters at this point anyway. I really, really
love darcs dist. I develop and test on my laptop, using darcs to track
revisions. When done with a patch, I record it and call an
“update-courses” shell script, which simply uses darcs dist to create
a handson.tar.gz, uploads this to courses.ateneo.edu, unpacks it, and
twiddles a few permission bits to make sure everything works. Very
nice work.

I still have to come up with a way to organize feedback. I can do that
on my filesystem first by putting some kind of REMARKS file in each
directory, then using fancy find recipes to pull all the information
together. This will be much, much easier when I get them off e-mail. I
want to see some kind of recent-changes list, though…

Clueless lamer

June 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Hah. Just got a text message from someone with a high luser rating.

Helo sacha. Ur a linux chiq i suppose. I got info from u in
friendster. Anyway, kol me dems and a linux/bsd/minix certified
user. Hpe to hear frm u.

Ur tech expertise is not that impressive bcoz u only work with
SYSTEM V rel. 2 but not with the 4.4BSD systems. Anyway ur quite
way impressive overall.

I am _so_ not impressed. He dared insult my geekhood! Lamer. Anyway, his
number’s (format “+%d%d%d%d” (+ 62 1) (/ 1834 2) (* 1905 2) (- 949
2)). Not that I’m encouraging you to do anything nasty to
him… <evil grin>

More nuggets from the luser who’s trying to hit on me

June 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Out of the Minix OS there rose the linux 0.01 kernel. If u did not
used it and depend much with emacs u were never been in d world of
kernel hacking.

The Unix kernel is so simple but it takes to be a genius to
understand it. Emacs is so complex but it only takes an idiot to
understand it. CHEERS!

Some people, really. <roll eyes> I’m torn between baiting him to
see if his other text messages will be hilarious or just ignoring him
as he embarrasses himself in front of me and the Web.

I should put this on the OnLove page as an example of how _not_ to go
after a geek girl…

Got my TOEFL score back!

June 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I got 297 out of 300. Perfect essay. Made one mistake in the listening
section, though. Oh well! <laugh> It was fun.

From the how-not-to-hit-on-a-geek-girl department…

June 19, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Someone who signed himself ‘4.4BSDSystemsGuys’ had this to say:

Sacha, you are one kind sweet witty geekette, and im a GNU-Hurd
hacker who likes to play bits and packets, I think we could be a
perfect match and make love under the monn and the stars watch. I
run VI whem im lonely, and Emacs whem im moody but prefers PICO
when im inspired by linux chicks like you.

Classic example of how _not_ to go after a geek girl. Whoever you are,
get clued.

Public apology about posting opinion

June 21, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Oops, sorry. Apparently, my teaching reflections might not be for
public consumption, as they may negatively reflect on my co-faculty. I
am a big fan of my co-faculty and find their work to be really, really
wonderful. No offense was meant. The posts have been deleted.

For the record, I find my co-faculty’s slides to be fantastically
wonderful and I’m really glad they’re available for use. In fact, the
slide set I use is almost exactly the same as the standard ones, with
the exception that I add more obvious breaks because I often forget
to, umm, _breathe_ while discussing topics. My modifications are ways
for me to address my limitations, not theirs.

More experiments with sausages and potato soup

June 21, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I think I’m getting hooked. I found myself wandering the aisles of
Rustan’s supermarket earlier, looking for cookware. I put two rolls of
kitchen towels, a pitcher, a microwave egg cooker and a set of tiny
food containers in my basket. I very, very nearly got a flat-bottomed
wok. (I’m still strongly tempted to spring for one.) ‘Course, I had to
put all of those things away and slink off sheepishly upon discovering
I’d left my purse at the department. Whoops.

Fortunately, I had all the food I needed at the dorm. (Aha! Finally, a
well-stocked pantry.) I wanted to give potato soup another shot, with
minor twists. Here’s what I did:

Sausage and potato soup (sorta)

– 130g sausage (I tried it with Hungarian)
– 1/4 onion
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 2 medium potatoes
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup milk

1. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Prick them with a fork, rub them with

oil, and pop them into the microwave for 9 minutes on high.
(Actually, just cheat and use the “Potatoes” setting on your

2. While the potatoes are cooking, mince the onion and throw it into a

saucepan with the butter. Brown the onion on medium-high heat. (Or
whatever. Just try not to burn them.)

3. Slice the sausage thinly. Cook the sausages (in the saucepan also,

or elsewhere) until you’re satisfied they’re edible.

4. Cool the potatoes by running water over them or sticking them into

the refrigerator or freezer. Scoop out the insides carefully,
putting the potato bases aside for tomorrow’s breakfast.

5. Mash the potato insides in a bowl. Add water. Mix thoroughly.

6. Put mixture in saucepan and boil until potato mixture looks thick.

7. Add milk until consistency looks almost like the creamy soups you


8. Dump assorted seasonings into soup. Experiment with sage, rosemary,

salt, pepper, and anything that says “Use with potatoes” on it.

It was acceptable, although the Hungarian sausages weren’t as spicy as
I had hoped they’d be.

Hmm. I didn’t really taste the onions. Maybe I should try more onions
or cut them out entirely.

I plan to use the potato shells for Egg and Corned Beef Potato
Surprise tomorrow. It’s another experiment. I haven’t quite figured
out if I’m going to

– scramble the egg
– keep the egg whole

– microwave the whole thing
– cook the mixture before putting it into the potato

I think I’ll go for frying the corned beef, mixing cooked corned beef
with one egg, then pouring the mixture into the potatoes and cooking
for 1.5 ~ 2 min.

Class today

June 21, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

– CS21A: (B) Intro to Java lecture. (G) Intro to Java lecture, lab

discussion. # I finished all of the feedback today. Yay! What
worked: the first lab went very well. What could be improved: Move
how-to-zip-files and demonstration to first week of classes.

– CS110: Review of efficiency with a 5-point quiz. Many people need to

review. Hmm. What am I doing wrong? Maybe I should use more
exercises and fewer lectures. How can I make exercises easy to do in
class? Not sure if proceeding to next topic (correctness, ending
with induction) was the best thing to do.

– CS139.3: Had fun finding two simple data structures problem.

However, Mark was the only one who could solve it within given
timeframe. Spent half an hour setting up PC2 and getting the hang of
things. Next time, won’t have that problem. Should also release
notes on how to do input and output. Crash course in Java. Have
assigned problems for student discussion. Will probably allow
newbies to work in groups first.

Beloved canines, cherished friends

June 21, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

(Sacha here. Lucas and Kaygee are both perfectly alive and well. I
just couldn’t think of any other names at the moment.)

“I’m sorry, son, but they really have to go.”

“Awww, c’mon, dad! Look how hard they’re trying to hang on! Can’t I
keep them forever and ever?”

“Don’t worry. You’ll have two new ones soon.”

“But that’s just not the same, you know…”

“It’s part of growing up. You’re just going to have to deal with it.”

“But they’ve been with me since I was a kid!”

“All things must come to an end. You’ll understand that when you’re older.”

“But how am I going to smile without Lucas and Kaygee?”

“You named your _teeth_?!”

(Written in response to “A trusted, cherished canine companion”, 2004.06.20 flashxer prompt)



June 21, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
Version: GnuPG v1.2.5 (GNU/Linux)


Knoppix: The Easiest Way to Get Started with Linux

June 22, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

(Description of talk I’ll deliver at the
Philippine Open Source Conference on
2004.08.17 from 15:00 to 17:00)

Want to try out Linux without formatting your system? Knoppix is a
quick and painless way to turn almost any computer with into a
full-featured Linux system. All you need is a CD drive! Learn about
some of the cool things you can do with this no-risk Linux system.


 - What is Knoppix?
 - Getting started
 - Some applications
   - OpenOffice.org
   - GIMP (graphics)
 - Sharing files with Windows computers
   - Floppy
   - Network Neighborhood
 - Installing Knoppix on your hard disk
 - Getting more help

E-Mail to Fernando D. Contreras, Jr.

Tickle Super-IQ test

June 22, 2004 - Categories: geek

131? Hmm. I wonder what questions I got wrong… <muses>

The way you think about things makes you a Creative Theorist. This
means you are a highly intelligent, complex person. You are able
to process information of nearly every kind with ease, using both
creativity and analysis to make sense of the world. Compared to
others you also have a very rich imagination.


Potato surprise

June 22, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

The potato surprise mentioned yesterday was actually
pretty okay, although I think I should’ve left it in the micro for a
minute or two more so that the egg cooked completely. Next time, I can
omit the rice and just eat the potato+egg+corned.beef mix as
is. Slightly larger potatoes might be nice.

Potato Surprise

– 2 hollowed-out potato shells from last night’s potato soup
– 1 small can of corned beef (the smallest you can find; I’ll look up the exact measurement soon)
– 1 egg
– Handful of minced onions

1. Fry corned beef with onions on high heat until it’s nice and

crunchy. (Essentially, we are satisfying ourselves that the corned
beef is more or less edible…)

2. Crack egg into bowl.

3. Mix corned beef into egg. Add salt if you want.

4. Pour mixture into potato shells.

5. Microwave potatoes for 2.5 minutes or until it seems safe. I

microwaved them in one of my ultra-wonderful rigid-plastic
containers (not the cheap ones that deform; this is heavy stuff!)
with an airhole, which kept the potatoes nice and moist.

Okay lunch.

A problem with my album photo?

June 23, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

A photo you added to your Tickle Networking profile on Tuesday,
June 22 does not meet our photo approval guidelines and has been
removed from the site.

Your photo was not approved because it is copyrighted or
trademarked material.

The picture in question?


PNG version

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Reflections on class

June 23, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Today was an excellent class day!

CS21A: Dr. Sarmenta went through half of Java Basics. I did too.
Students nodding. Assigned bank account and converter as homework so
that they’ll have questions on Friday.

CS110: Induction went more smoothly than I expected. Whee! I gave them
the sum(2n – 1) = n * n problem. They finished quickly. It was good
that I solved both problems in advance.

CS139.3: Fun discussion of the two problems from the minicontest.
Neill shared his solution. Learned something new. (He stored
everything as strings!) I told them about my hashtable/vector hack,
and got appreciative ooohs. Also taught them how to justify text
and read lines flexibly.

Good class day.


June 23, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I thought about using the php.MVC framework
for my webapps, but it seems like too much hassle. I think I’ll go for
the front-controller pattern HolyGhost described on the php
channel (freenode). An array mapping to command objects…

Gmail invite for Eric

June 24, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I’m perfectly happy with my free.net.ph account (thanks, Jijo!), but
Eric Vidal’s suffering from gmail-envy. Will one of you kind souls
please send him an invite at evidal AT ateneo.edu? =)

(Update: Thanks, Dean Michael Berris!)

Jacek Gwizdka

June 24, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Postdoc at UToronto interested in personal information management,
particularly tasks associated with e-mail. Very good fit for research.
Advised by Prof. Mark Chignell. Should write!

Beef with Oyster Sauce

June 24, 2004 - Categories: cooking

(You gain a level!)

I was planning to cook the beef mexicana described on page 97 of “The
Starving Students’ Cookbook”, but the supermarket was inexplicably out
of canned whole kernel corn. So I decided to experiment!

Beef stroganoff was on sale at PHP 185 / 100 g, so I got 180g of that.
I couldn’t remember the ingredients for stroganoff, though, but I
remembered that this cut could be used for stir-fry as well. I picked
up a few vegetables, too. One imported carrot, one green capsicum, and
a bundle of organically grown Baguio beans. Then I spent some ten
minutes on a futile search for that straight-to-wok sauce I saw on my
way into the supermarket. I settled for the small package of oyster
sauce instead.

Couldn’t find a guide recipe anywhere, so I made things up as I went
along, basing it somewhat on the recipe on the oyster sauce package.

Microwave rice, sorta (serves 2; just keep the rest for tomorrow)

– 1 cup uncooked rice (duh)
– 1 1/2 cup water

1. Pour the rice and water into a large microwaveable container. Try

to remember to let it stand for five minutes. I keep forgetting,
which is why the rice is somewhat dry.

2. Cover the container lightly (not sure if I should cover it tightly;

must experiment) and microwave on HIGH for 9 minutes.

3. Fluff with fork and let stand. I think. Well, I left it alone because

I was cooking the next dish…

Beef with Oyster Sauce (serves 1)

– 90g beef stroganoff, cut into small strips (smaller than the butcher’s cut, if you want)
– 22.5g oyster sauce (half of the 0.45g package)
– 1/2 green pepper (the large capsicum), chopped into small bits, seeds removed
– a bundle of Baguio beans chopped into small segments—a handful or two should be nice (I think these are string beans, not really sure)
– carrot slices, which I forgot to actually include
– 1 minced onion (or whatever’s left from last time)
– 1 or 2 crushed cloves of garlic
– 1 tablespoon of butter or some oil

1. Cook the onion and garlic in butter or oil until golden. Hah! I’ve

finally gotten the hang of that! It’s easier when there’s a lot of
butter, maybe because the butter makes it look yellow. (Duh.) No,
seriously, I think the heat gets spread more evenly.

2. Add the beef. Saute, or make a reasonable imitation of

sauteing by constantly mixing the food with a spatula that won’t
scratch your pan. Do this until the meat looks brown and reasonably

3. Add everything else. Mix it to make sure everything gets coated

with the oyster sauce. The beef will darken in a rather satisfying

4. Continue cooking until you don’t feel nervous about the

vegetables any more. A minute or two should do the trick. Just make
sure everything is heated through, and hope that Baguio beans don’t
belong to one of those vegetable families that have to be cooked
for ten minutes in order to destroy their poison. (Red beans are
like that. Pfft.)

I actually bought enough ingredients for two sets, but did half first
in order to get one serving. Seemed okay. Still alive. Anyway, cooked
another serving and will have it for lunch tomorrow.

To people reading this blog: I’d really, really, really appreciate
getting warned if I’m undercooking or overcooking stuff, as I’m really
just making things up as I go along… ;)

In other news, I finally got a microwave egg dish and a water pitcher.
Whee! I _still_ don’t have a decent wok. The one at Rustan’s is
somewhat expensive. I’m thinking about asking for a wok for my 21st
birthday, but (a) I can just spring for one myself, and (b) that’s
kinda sad, don’t you think? Kathy (my middle sister) got a rather
intimidating set of professional knives when she turned 21, but that’s
because she really, really wanted them. She’s into cooking. _Really_
into cooking. I just dabble, really. Survival cooking. Experiments.

I need to fix my pan set. Some of my pans are too small and should
probably be taken home. I still want that large wok. I think I can
budget it in. I only need one wok, anyway. (Perils of having just one
electric stove…)

I also want more shelf space. I don’t think I can do anything about
that, though. Hey, wait! There’s that corner near the door. If I get a
cabinet, I can store stuff in it. Hmm. Not that I need to store much.
I know! I can store books and canned goods.

Hmm. I hardly use the toaster. Would it be a good idea to move the
microwave from the kitchen counter to the space the toaster currently
occupies? It’d be pretty convenient on top of the ref, and the move
would free up counter space for an additional electric stove. Not that
I need another one at this point, come to think of it. I’m fine mixing
microwave and stove. It’s kinda fun, even. It forces me to practice my
microwave skillz.

I wonder if this beef recipe can be turned into a microwave thing.

Oh, nearly forgot to say this: I love Baguio beans. And oyster sauce.
Not necessarily together, but they’re cool.

Must make an inventory of the stuff I have in the pantry so that I can
plan better…

Kitchen inventory

June 24, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I won’t copy this to the CookOrDie page because I’ll keep a separate updated copy there. =)

– 500g ziti, cooks in 9 minutes
– 1 can Skyflakes
– 1 large package of Lay’s Classic Lightly Salted potato chips, have no idea when we got that but the package is dusty
– Glad zip-lock sandwich bags
– Glad zip-lock freezer bags, somewhat larger
– aluminum foil
– microwave plastic wrap
– open package of approximately 200g fettuccini, cooks in 6 minutes
– 1 cup instant yakisoba (spicy chicken, of course), for emergencies
– 100g Carne Norte
– 85g liver spread, probably not mine as I don’t recall ever buying liver spread—or ever being tempted to, after that enterokinase lab experiment in biology class
– 1 loaf of white bread, mysteriously not yet moldy (consume before 2004.06.30), don’t remember buying this one either
– 85g salmon spread, definitely something I didn’t get
– 130g vienna tidbits (not mine, but probably borrowable)
– 2 boxes Nescafe 3-in-1 coffee mix, definitely not mine as I don’t drink coffee
– half a package of dried red kidney beans, the remnants of discarded chili experiments
– half a package of taco seasoning mix waiting for the next time I try tacos again, which probably won’t be anytime soon as (a) lettuce is darn difficult to keep (I want one of those funky lettuce keepers!), (b) I already figured out tacos, and (c) I lost the instructions.
– 1 can garbanzos / chickpeas waiting for me to remember to buy a lemon and try making hummus; this was related to the pita experiments, I think
– 1 box Swiss Miss rich chocolate, for emergencies
– 1 package instant spaghetti carbonara, for kicks
– 1 serving of fusilli, funky spiral pasta
– 100g corned beef guisado (carne norte pre-sauteed with garlic and onion bits)
– 115g mushrooms (sliced stems and pieces), because oyster mushrooms feel weird
– another can of 115g mushrooms, sliced stems and pieces, probably because I forgot I already had them
– 1 package instant yakisoba, spicy chicken, but not in a cup
– 165g chicken chunks in vegetable oil, just in case I ever feel the need to try chicken in my diet
– 220g pork and beans
– 315g spaghetti sauce; why do I have a can of spaghetti sauce? Usually I just get the foil packs. Hmm, I think I couldn’t find classic Italian seasoning in foil packs that day…
– 1 package instant carbonara (San Remo)
– Ricoa chocolate powder (wheeeeee!), for emergencies
– 100g beef loaf
– brown, unpolished rice
– four tablets of chocolate, not that I’ve ever figured out how to prepare Spanish chocolate nicely
– 1 small can of pineapple chunks
– 1 package instant pancake mix, not that I ever wake up early enough or energetic enough to make pancakes
– my own set of measuring cups, at long last!
– assorted plastic containers, some slightly deformed because I used them for cooking. I really like the set we got at Rustan’s Makati; I can cook with them, and they have built-in air holes…

Spice rack:

– Italian seasoning, of course
– Minced garlic, dry
– Rubbed sage
– Kikkoman soy sauce
– Olive oil, mild
– Iodized salt
– Black peper, ground
– Lumpiang shanghai seasoning mix, probably for next week’s experiments

Update on wok

June 24, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

My parents are going to get me a wok! Wheeeeeee! <giggle> Ask
and you shall receive, indeed…

Can’t wait to do more stirfries, fried rice, mixed noodles…

Class today: Mixed (TeachingReflections)

June 25, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

CS21A: Both the CS and MIS classes appreciated having unit tests that
thoroughly checked their work. Almost everyone quickly got the hang of
the exercises, although I still need to make sure that a few people
review attributes thoroughly. I was happy to hear students laugh when
their code passed all the tests.

CS110: Bleah. Floundered in class. Must definitely make up lots of
layman’s terms explanations.

CS139.3: Gave them two problems to think about and let them talk about
solutions. Lots of fun. Must remember to bring harder problems for the
advanced students.

Planner faces

June 26, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Some people find the headings a bit large. Almost intimidating, even.
I wonder what reasonable defaults would be…


June 27, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Just got back from Roxas Boulevard and my first stint as an apprentice
arsonist. My sister Kathy did her first public
performance of poi with her new Wolf’s Revenge fire poi set. Wonderful
stuff, although the cable wrapped around her skin at one point,
causing a small first-degree burn.

I’ve more or less figured out the weave pattern, although I still lose
it every so often. I’ll borrow Kathy’s practice poi. Don’t think I’ll
be lighting up any time soon. It’s surprisingly fun, though…

CookOrDie spreads!

June 27, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I started to follow your example: I document my more daring cooking
adventures on my blog:
http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/utis/2004-06-26 Scroll down to
“Cooking”. Would it be o.k. for you, if I am going to change the
category’s name to “CookOrDie”?

Maybe we should start a group blog, open to all who treat cooking as
an adventure. (Probably focusing on 1-2 cooking, or with

E-Mail from Oliver Scholz

Teaching reflections

June 28, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Dr. Sarmenta finished the lecture on Java Basics and started
on Conditionals. I’m worried that the students might find the
discussion on preincrements and postincrements a bit too abstract, as
they don’t have use for that yet. Dr. Sarmenta thinks it’s wiser to
get the topics out of the way, and since he’s senior for that section,
well… Anyway, I’m going to postpone that topic until I get to for
loops, where it really makes sense.

I’m also worried about the long discussion on conditionals and
grouping statements with braces. He spent a lot of time pointing out
possible bugs. I guess this is a good thing because otherwise the
students might pick up the bad habit of making small, random changes
to their programs in order to get things to work, but again, it
felt somewhat disconnected.

I started my MIS class with a quick overview of the exercise. I
explained a few of the quirks, then moved on to conditionals in the
context of the bank account exercise. I explained it in English and
then showed them the Java code to do it, which they dutifully copied
down. I also showed them how to use the debugger to investigate the
behavior of the if/else structure. I felt good about trying to follow
the BlueJ way of making exercises.


Armed with more examples, I went over methods of justification again.
They understood the contrapositive immediately when I used English
examples, and they were surprisingly familiar with the various
examples for proof by contradiction. Loop invariants are a little bit
clearer now, but they still need a lot of practice identify the
statement S and proving it holds true before, during, and after the


Mini-contest. Okay results; a number of people solved at least one
problem, and Mark got all 3. I should be moving into searching and
sorting soon. I guess I’ll have to cover normal sorts so that people
using the Online Judge know what to do. I should also cover the

8-ball answers

June 29, 2004 - Categories: geek

– Signs point to yes.
– Yes.
– Reply hazy, try again.
– Without a doubt.
– My sources say no.
– As I see it, yes.
– You may rely on it.
– Concentrate and ask again.
– Outlook not so good.
– It is decidedly so.
– Better not tell you now.
– Very doubtful.
– Yes – definitely.
– It is certain.
– Cannot predict now.
– Most likely.
– Ask again later.
– My reply is no.
– Outlook good.
– Don’t count on it.

8-Ball Answers

Used up the meatballs

June 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I used up the meatballs by having my mom over for lunch and Marcelle
over for a late dinner, so I can try out other recipes on Thursday.
Lunch was close to perfect. I used the can of spaghetti sauce in the
pantry and one packet of meatballs. Dinner simmered for too long and
was a bit dry. Meatballs were well-cooked, though. Must keep extra
sauce around for emergencies. Have enough leftovers for lunch
tomorrow. Also prepared pancake mix for breakfast tomorrow.

Marcelle likes pasta, so I think I’ll prepare angel hair pasta with
garlic and olive oil sauce next Tuesday. I wonder what other people


June 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I turned, startled, as the doors burst open and the staccato beat of
her heels on tiles announced her approach. From the look of it, she
just had a bad day at the office. “Long time no see,” I teased her,
standing up as she stalked in.

She pecked my cheek and slid into the booth, ignoring the menu I
offered her. “Coffee. Black.” She looked at her watch. “I have another
meeting in two hours. Are you sure an afternoon date is a good idea?”

“You need to relax every so often. Another late night, dear?” I
wrapped her hands in mine, quelling her fidgeting. “You’re working too

“That’s advertising for you. No such thing as a nine-to-five job.
It’s exciting, though. Always something new.”

“I’ll take what I can get of you. Perhaps I can invite you out to a
late dinner at Chateau Verde?” I caught her glance at the wall clock.
“But let’s get your coffee first.” I beckoned the waiter. “The lady
will have coffee. Black, please, no sugar and no cream. I will have
Earl Gray, if that’s available. That will be all, thank you.”

“Black coffee. Earl Gray.” The waiter ambled off.

She sighed in frustration. “Dinner? Can’t make it. I don’t know how
late the meeting will run.”

“Maybe I could bring you coffee at the office. One of those gourmet
blends. Perhaps I can convince you to try tea?”

“Whatever. As long as it has lots of caffeine.”

“Allow me to spoil you. Is there anything else I can do for you? I
missed you, you know.”

Her eyes softened. “Sorry about the past few days. We’ve just landed a
major account and I’ve been too busy—”

“Hush, it’s okay.” I leaned forward to kiss her, careful not to smudge
her lipstick. Her cellphone rang, so I bumped her forehead instead. I
quickly moved back as she snapped her phone open and listened.

After a rapid-fire conversation, she stuffed the phone into her purse
and groaned. “Oh, damn! They’ve moved the deadline up, so we have to
scramble.” She threw me another apologetic look before digging around
for her wallet.

“It’s okay, I’ll take care of it. You know I never let you pay

“Can’t blame me for trying.” She kissed me on the cheek again as she
slid out of the booth. “I’ll call when it’s done!”

I raised a hand to signal the waiter in order to cancel the order. He
hurried over with a tray, setting coffee in front of me and tea on the
space opposite. I hadn’t the heart to correct him or ask him to take
the drinks back, so I thanked him and asked for the bill. People got
it wrong almost everywhere we ate, anyway.

I reached for the tea across the table. Dark curls of flavor spread
through the tepid water as I steeped it, swishing the tea bag around.
While waiting for the flavor to develop, I lifted the coffee cup to my
lips. The bitter taste made me grimace. I fingered the black velvet
box in my coat. I took another sip, and then another, letting the
burnt roast trickle down my throat. Coffee would take a while to get
used to.

– Written in response to flashxer prompt “A relaxing spot of tea”

Oh no! I have to dress up tomorrow: CIOF technology briefing on open source

June 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

The Chief Information Officers Forum, Inc. (CIOF, Inc.) will be
hosting the “The Government CIO Open Technology Briefing:
Understanding the Issues Behind Commercial and Open Source Software
in Government” forum on July 1, 2004 (tomorrow) from 8:00AM to
5:00PM at the Rizal Ballroom C, Makati Shangri-La Plaza Hotel. With
this, the Philippine Linux Users’ Group, Inc. will be one of the
panelist of the said forum. Since Ian Sison can’t possibly join the
forum, I need you to be there also. I hope you can attend.

The paper Dominique forwarded will be very useful.

E-Mail from [email protected]