Dienstag, Jänner 29, 2008

Do you know a singer called Silvia Cappuccina?

I bet you don't because she doesn't exist. However I saw her in my dream last night. I was in metro going in some direction when appeared a woman and started singing. She sang so beautifully that I was amazed and wondered why such a brilliant singer sang in metro. Then she stopped singing and told her name addressing to the crowd. At first I didn't hear it very well though I was rather close to her and asked her to write it down for me because I wanted to get her records later. So next few minutes we spent looking for a piece of paper to write it down but didn't find anything suitable. Then she repeated her name again and I realized that her name was very easy to remember :) and indeed the name Silvia Cappuccina popped up in my mind this morning when I woke up. Out of curiosity I googled for Silvia Cappuccina and found ... nothing. I wonder maybe someone will read this article and will take Silvia Cappuccina as their scene name, if so my next googling might have better results :). Later that day as I was going home from work the name Olivia popped up in my mind and I thought that maybe this and not Sylvia was her first name and somehow I confused it with Sylvia. On the other hand maybe it was my mind that during the daytime transformed Sylvia into Olivia because the names have something in common. I guess I will never know that but I'm leaning towards the latter explanation.

Sonntag, Dezember 02, 2007

Today's Election

So today's election to Russian duma is almost over now. If you compare the composition of previous dumas and forecast for the duma to be it's easy to notice the sad tendency that the party in power becomes more and more prevailing and the number of members and diversity of opposition is constantly decreasing. The United Russia party (UR) is becoming more and more disgusting more and more like the Communist party of the Soviet Union. There is a lot of disgusting Putin-ass-licking in media, some youth organizations, among famous people and so on. Like, a lot of famous people signed a letter asking the president to stay for the third term (kind of petition to a Czar :)) The culmination of the electoral campaign was Putin's consent to head the United Russia party list and his speech at the meeting of his supporters in Luzhniki stadium. When I saw this speech on TV I was really scared and shocked. I never saw him like this, he is usually rather reserved but there he was so aggresive. I'd describe him as a combination of "I'm so cool and tough" and "who is not with us(=those who don't support my program and my party) are against us(=enemies of Russia)" attitudes. And he looked very much like a pop star(and no, he didn't sing, thanks God :)). At first I thought perhaps I was being too sensitive but then I learned that this shocked a lot of people of various political views. Someone even called him Putinbashi (like turkmenbashi). I was never Putin's supporter but I thought better of him. Of course this pop star thing was probably directed at the youth who were the majority there but I think that any normal person would find such behaviour disgusting. Well, maybe it's even better that he finally showed his true face and this will repulse people who hesitated about him. The way UR led their campaign was disgusting but predictable, it exploited Putin's popularity which is higher than theirs and they did everything to be seen "blended" with Putin, for instance they used posters that showed a ballot with a vote for UR and a phrase "for Putin!".
Some years ago the present duma made changes to the electoral system and now to get into duma a party must recieve over 7% of votes, before it was 5%, personally I think that such barrier shouldn't exist at all. Also we now can vote only for party lists, the constituency vote which was an opportunity for a party that couldn't get over the 5% barrier or for a candidate with no party to get into duma has been canceled, actually the question whether this change is negative is arguable because this vote also icreases the number of seats of the majority party . The choice "against all" has been canceled too.

According to election forecasts the United Russia gets about 70% of votes and the only other party that is going to be elected is the Communist party(14%). Another party that is close to get over the 7% barrier is the Liberal democratic party of Russia. Despite the name the party is one of the less liberal and less demoratic parties in Russia - one of the most authoritarian and nationalistic. Their leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a special case, he often behaves as an asshole but can be a good showman(people often call him a clown) and is often very funny. Though a lot of people think that he and his party is a joke he always got 10-15% of votes. Some people vote for him only because he is funny. The party Fair Russia has also some chances. They were formed recently and include 3 parties one of which is the infamous Rodina with nationalistic leanings and once they proposed a law against gay marriges and gay propoganda . They call themseves Socialists and Social democrats but they also support Putin and their leader Sergey Mironov is a big Putin ass licker. There exists an opinion that they are only an illusion of opposition and their creation was also supported by the president administration. Traditionally I vote for parties who consistently support democracy, civil liberties and human rights. For current election it's Yabloko (slight but increasing leaning towards Social democracy) for which I voted and Union of Right Forces(more right wing economically as the name suggests but still Ok). They all have a lot of problems and neither has my comlete support but in the current political situation I wish them both as much votes as possible.

Dienstag, September 04, 2007

Next time you read my mind please be more accurate, OK?

This summer I spent several weeks in a hotel and also did some research on cheap hotels for my long expected and still yet to come vacation. This inspired some thoughts that it would be nice to make hotels cheaper by reducing the space occupied by a hotel room as much as possible still keeping the facilities (also reduced in space, of course) in the room. That would increase the total number of rooms but would probably leave a lot of rooms without windows unless special small windows are made for that purpose but it's not a problem for me anyway. Imagine my surprise when
yesterday I learned that such hotels really existed http://www.easyhotel.com/ and indeed they have some rooms without windows. However their prices are higher than I expected - especially since there's almost no service as you can see from their site. The cheapest price is 25 pounds(that's 37 euros) a night which is not always available. Actually there are normal hotels that are even cheaper. Well, maybe they'll become cheaper when there are more of them and maybe there are some other chains like this. Oh and it seems to me that their rooms are still bigger than in my fantasy hotel, well, maybe I'll make the drawings of it sometime.
Speaking of hotels, I finished watching "Fawlty Towers" recently. Call me crazy but I wish I could stay in such a hotel I think that would have been a great fun.

Donnerstag, Mai 24, 2007

Some Nice Comics

Click on an image to see it full size.

Some Political Craziness

A few month ago in a Russian forum that I'm reading from time to time appeared an amusing post from someone named Turovsky, a self-proclaimed canditate for the head of administration of a small town Sergeyevka near Odessa. This guy promotes the following idea: to grant the right to mothers to vote for their under-age children and he started collecting signatures to propose this idea to Rada (Ukranian parliament) and one of the theisis of his electional program is to nominate the woman who collected the first 30 signatures for Ukrainian state award. Below are some of this guy's gems:

My idea of letting the mothers vote for their under-age kids will allow the Ukraine to become the ideal state.
If I win the elections then in place of Sergeyevka Pervoslav city will be built -the new capital of the Ukraine.

Pervoslav will have moral authority to become the capital of the world level of life
Peoples and the governments of all countries will be gratefull to Pevoslav and its inhabitans for granting mothers the right to vote for their under-age children.

The right to vote is a right to parasitize. Parasitizing is acceptible only for children and mothers that bring up underage children. In order that men work, drank less, didn't smoke and didn't parasitize they should be denied the right to vote. Then the progress of democracy will begin.

From time to time he continues spamming on this and other Russian and Ukrainian forums.

Freitag, März 30, 2007

The Greatest Dilemma of Mankind

Due to my "Excellent" karma rating on Slashdot, I often find myself with modpoints to burn (literally; I usually don't bother spending them until the day they are set to expire). This morning I encountered a situation I really don't care to be in, but frequently am. What the hell am I talking about? I'm referring to posts wherein a user has attempted to say something funny and failed. Rather than be ignored, this user is sometimes (as in today's case) unfairly marked as offtopic, flamebait, troll, or redundant. It's not that what he/she said accurately falls into one of these categories. If their post was OT, flamebait, trolling, or redundant, then I would ignore it and move on. The problem is namely that their post is fine, it's just not funny. And as in real life when I'm faced with someone who tries to tell a joke but fails miserably, I'm left with the task of making a quick decision whether or not to pretend to laugh. So here I am, staring at this shitty post marked Troll that is 1) not offensive to anybody in the least; 2) completely on-topic; and, sadly, 3) that I don't find funny even in an extremely liberal definition of the word. Shall I bump it up to Funny out of pity to give this poor bastard a break on his karma, even though I don't find it funny at all? Or should I do what I always do: moderate comments based on their value to me rather than as a way of balancing out the moderations of others. It's just a tech news website, after all. A tech news website filled with liberals complaining Slashdot is too full of conservatives, conservatives complaining Slashdot is too full of liberals, Libertarian Party members complaining about everyone, Linux enthusiasts complaining about Microsoft, Windows enthusiasts bitching that every article is anti-Microsoft, and so on. Oh, and 99% of them are Americans and when your English-as-a-second-language post contains a couple of typos, they jump on your spelling and completely avoid arguing the topic. How dare someone outside the United States want to discuss technology? Did they not read this article? Nobody messes with lucky #7, bitches!

Mittwoch, März 28, 2007

Speaking of Windows

Today I decided to try out qemu and install Windows 98. Here's a screengrab of me putting that hideous beast in a 1gb disk image from the comfort of KDE and FBSD 6.2. For a 833mhz machine, I notice surprisingly no performance dive from using the two simultaneously. Plus when those blue screens of death inevitably appear, I can just close out the emulator window and "reboot" in a couple seconds.

Samstag, März 24, 2007

Wine Testing (Don't Forget to Spit)

I've had to do some job-related learning of the Windows API lately, and while my experiences in that could fill a canyon, it has also lead me to rekindle a long-dead curiosity in the WINE Project. I began my studying by leaving the safe, loving arms of FreeBSD for an XP Pro box with a free edition of Visual C++ Express. I had heard plenty of complaints in the past about the WinAPI, but put them down to lazy Windows programmers not wanting to get their hands dirty. The truth is, the Windows API deserves complainers. It's ugly, illegible, and confusing. If your idea of GUI programming is a clean, object-oriented Qt interface, do yourself a favour and never take a look at a WNDCLASS. The fact that it's called a class is about as close as it comes to object-orientation.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh. After all, the API of Windows specifies not only GUI components, but everything about the operating system. If the FreeBSD kernel, XServer, and KDE were all combined into one disgusting, disorganised, and nonsensical blob, it would be just as painful to program. Fortunately, nobody in the *nix world is insane enough to try something like that. They also avoid wherever possible giving data types confusing and unnecessary names in all-uppercase letters. What's an HINSTANCE? It's a handle. Theoretically naming shit like this is supposed to save you time and prevent errors. It's not a 4-byte int, it's a 4-byte int redefined as a handle instance. Therefore it must be safer. Right. You know what? If you're using functions without reading the API documentation, your code probably isn't preventing any errors or saving any time anyway. And the time it takes to look in that function documentation and see what that integer represents takes all of 1 second.

Nevertheless, I progressed. Despite the fact that Visual C++ Express Edition totally lacks MFC support, which makes it pretty much useless for maintaining existing programs of any decent size that aren't crazy enough to use the Windows API directly, it was all right. But I kept asking myself, "Do I have to use this?" Every hour I spent in XP wondering if the computer would become nonresponsive at any moment or trying to calculate how many emails my undoubtedly bot-infected PC was spewing into the tubes, I could've been doing something cool and interesting in my beloved 6.2-RELEASE baby. After a total of 8 hours using Visual C++, I just said "Fuck it, there has to be a better way," and went back to the BSD box. I installed WINE, which I hadn't done since perhaps late 2005 when I toyed with it for awhile, and discovered the Winelib tools.

I'm not naive. At least not in this matter. I realise WINE isn't a perfect platform for Windows API programming; in fact, I found many a Google site shouting at curious inquirers not to try learning win32 in a WINE environment. You'd have to be crazy, they said. Well, perhaps I am...Perhaps I am.

If you're unfamiliar with the Windows API, a good starting point on the Internet is this site: http://www.relisoft.com/win32/index.htm. It contains a few tutorials that are easy enough to follow. Where they get interesting, for me at least, is in their usage as conformance tests for WINE and Winelib's toolset. So without much further ado, I begin with Test #1 (on the tutorial site this program is called "Winnie"). What follows is basically a lazy and shameless copy and paste of the README I wrote for that archive:

This is a "book testing" approach to Wine conformance using a
website rather than a standard book. I've had to modify the
files slightly, but nothing syntactic. The proper way to test
whether this works under WINE is to perform the following commands
in the directory of the source:

winemaker --lower-uppercase .

If it compiles, you know at least your WINE installation (0.9.33)
can get as far as mine. Now copy the resulting output (for me
this file is called winnie.exe.so) to somewhere in the WINE
base directory and call it. For example, on my system it would
look like this:

cp winnie.exe.so ~/.wine/drive_c/winnie.exe
wine "c:\winnie"

If all went well, you should now see a boring white window with
a friendly titlebar.

The source for this test can be found here: http://drlight.multics.org/winetests/winnie_winetest.tar.gz

And here's a screenshot of this exciting, do-nothing application!

Here's a screenshot of this exciting, do-nothing application!

Freitag, März 02, 2007

KDE 4 Fever

OK, not really fever, but for some reason I've become obsessed with the next release. I read dot.kde.org news every morning and look for any glimmer of a screenshot showing more than a broken 3.x build. Along the same topic, I have finally gotten my 3.5.x the way I like it. I went through a lot of themes, icon sets, and configurations before I came to a system I feel completely comfortable with. Now all I have to do is install KDE 4 sometime this autumn or winter and completely destroy all my old settings to make way for the revamped features. Here is a screen capture I am particularly proud of (note the gigantic MacOS inspired icons suitable for old people and folks with glasses like myself:

Samstag, Februar 17, 2007


Just a quick bitch. You know what I really hate? When websites say at the bottom, "Last updated: " and then insert today's date with SSI. That's lame. If your fucking site is dead, just say so. Douchebags.