Headlines for Thursday:
|B||X||@1100 Meet Peter Shepard regarding student feedback : E-Mail from Peter Shepard|
|A||X||@1430 Go to the bank|
|B||X||@1800 Skype Mark : E-Mail from Mark Chignell|
|A||X||@1900 Help out with cooking|
|A||X||@1930 Dinner party|
|B||X||Make a release of Remember : E-Mail from Richi's server|
|B||X||Package remember-el, really : E-Mail from Joerg Jaspert|
|C||X||Plant parsley seeds|
1. One-man Linux army: 01:22
That's one of the things I really admire about him. He promotes Linux and open source not because someone's paying him or because he hates certain proprietary software companies, but because he believes it can make people's lives better. Free software can help schools spend money on more important things, like facilities, textbooks, and teacher salaries. Open source software can help people learn and grow. He wants people to discover it, so he'll go ahead and stand under the scorching sun and talk about Linux to people who don't see why they shouldn't just go and pirate software.
It's a thankless job among people who don't appreciate it as anything beyond an opportunity to get another signature for their visit sheets, like the way many people attend seminars only for the certificate. But there's always the chance that he'll get a kid interested in free and open source software, and who knows what will happen then?
I love him even more for doing it, and I wish I could be there to help. Dear reader, here is a man who cares about the world and does something to help it, even when other people are apathetic or pessimistic. This is one of the reasons why I think he's just so amazing, and I wanted to share it with you.
2. Working with LEGO: 01:41
LEGO presents quite a challenge. We use Not Quite C (nqc) to program the robot, and it _really_ is not quite C. I've run into the parser's limitations a gazillion times, from wondering why on earth some of the binary operators don't accept variables to wishing I could define a function that returns a value instead of having to pass everything around in global variables. It's fun working within those constraints, though.
Debugging is a mission, too. No println debugging here! Numbers and beeps are all I have, and the compile-download-run cycle can be a bit slow. We're still having problems with the infrared communication between two of the control modules, but Calum thinks it's because I'm flooding the communication buffer. We'll try twiddling that on Friday to see if we can get it to work before the competition on Saturday.
Maybe he can teach me how to put together some of the really simple assemblies - the bumper, perhaps? I'm completely pfft when it comes to spatial things, but that could be a way for me to ease into it. Just as Kathy's circus stuff helped me learn coordination and rhythm, maybe LEGO can help me learn how to hold spatial structures in my head. In the meantime, I actually enjoy working within the constraints of the system.
It's also a refreshing break from the kind of programming work I normally like doing. As Calum pointed out earlier, I'm one of the near-mythical programmers who actually prefers maintaining other people's code and (gasp) writing a little documentation here and there. For these little LEGO contests, all I need to do is hack together some code that will be thrown away afterwards. It feels more like a logic puzzle than a proper program. I don't have the feeling of working on something that makes someone's life easier and better, but I do feel that it exercises my brain and keeps me limber.
So, yeah. LEGO is fun. =)
On Technorati: lego
3. Income tax info: 17:07
Your T2202A (the tuition fee receipt from U of T) is not mailed out - you must download the receipt from ROSI. If you deferred your Sept.- Dec. 2005 tuition, it will not appear on your T2202A but you can still claim it on your 2005 tax return. You can get a revised T2202A once you pay your tuition - call Student Accounts, 416-978-2142 for info about how to get a revised T2202A if needed. International students: check the International Student Centre's website for specific income tax information - http://www.isc.utoronto.ca/iscservices/taxsession.htm. You can file your income tax, on-line, for free - this is a service of the Canadian Federation of Students. For information: http://ufile.ca/home/cfs.asp
E-Mail from Cezary Niewiadomski
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