looking for iconic inspiration

I recently redesigned the look of the soothsayer project website. The redesign was very much needed. The previous choice of colours was very bad. What was I thinking when I decided on orange, pink and red?

The site looks sleek and neat as it is, but I would like to add some icons. I think stylized icons would enhance the site's appeal. I am leaning towards reusing the same colour of the logo for the icons...

Well, time for some inkscape experimenting.

AIX taking Windows' place in my heart

It is official. The AIX operating system has taken that special place in my heart that was once reserved to Windows.

That's right! AIX is now the operating system that I have most hatred and contempt for.

What kind of operating system is not capable of performing the most basic function of killing a process?

You would hope that the answer to that question would be 'None'

Take a look at the following `topas' output:

Topas Monitor for host:    henk3                EVENTS/QUEUES    FILE/TTY
Mon Jul 16 15:28:48 2007   Interval:  2         Cswitch    5099  Readch      988

Handling pointers with references

While doing some refactoring on soothsayer over the weekend, I was once again reassured that one of the software engineering principles that I always adopt when designing systems still holds true.

The principle in question is the age old tips of preferring C++ references to pointers. As the excellent C++ FAQ Lite simply puts it: ``Use references when you can, and pointers when you have to''.

I had to switch from references to pointers in order to add a new feature. This required a refactoring of the relationships among some core components in the system.

Debugging in the Cygwin environment


Ah, the joy of debugging. There is nothing quite like spending time unsuccessfully trying to track down a problem in someone else's source code. </sarcasm>

Right... What really makes it bad is when you can't even avail of the set of tools that you've grown accustomed to from working in a Unix environment.

Working in Cygwin is certainly more pleasant than working in a vanilla Windows environment, but it doesn't afford quite the same power and flexibility of working in a native Unix environment.

openmaia and Unicode


I just got a working build of openmaia using Unicode enabled wxWidgets libraries.

The changes are simple but quite extensive, since conversion between wxString and char* occur in variuos parts of the code. The patch file is currently more than 1250 lines long, but there is more work to be done.

While the core virtual keyboard works fine, I haven't tested the maiasms component since I don't have access to a mobile phone that I can link up to my laptop.

Converting wxString to C string const char*

wxWidgets is an extensive, free, open-source, and mature cross-platform graphical toolkit. Formerly known as wxWindows, wxWidgets applications look and feel just like a native application, since wxWidgets uses the native graphical toolkit for the target platform it is compiled for.

wxWidgets has an impressive number of features, which makes it an excellent choice for cross platform graphical application development.

One useful feature is support for Unicode. wxWidgets provides a wxString class which abstracts away from standard ASCII encoded strings and Unicode encoded strings.

Taxis in Winchester


If you ever happen to be in wonderful and historical town of Winchester, avoid using taxis if you can at all costs!

If you need to go places that are not serviced by public transportation, then I suggest hiring a car, hitching a ride, or even walking there. Anything but getting a taxi there.

The reason why I am so bitter about taxis in Winchester is that last weekend I had to use a taxi twice, and on both occasions I was appalled by the lacking unprofessional service and ridiculously high prices.

Vacuum cleaning science

What is it with rocket science that fascinates people? Surely, most people nowadays appreciate that there are many other disciplines that are just as hard as rocket science. But the expression 'It's not rocket science, after all' has stuck around.

One field of scientific endevour that is surely as hard as rocket science (if not much much harder) is robotics. Robotics combines tough hardware and software problems. Typical robotics problem are hard when taken individually. In fact, they are usually NP-hard, when talking about software problems.

Back when I was younger than I am now

Listening to Part of the Process, Morcheeba. Used to listen to this song a lot, a few years back. It's funny how simple, little things can take you back to your past. No matter how far it was, both in time and space, some detail triggers your memory and it takes you back to that very moment.

I treasure these flashbacks, no matter whether the awaken memory is of joyful or painful events. Reliving those emotions, rediscovering those remembrances, is a bit like getting to know oneself better, and being refreshingly honest with oneself.

Coincidence is to be expected

Who would have thought that some day I would be sitting in a rather fancy pub in the centre of Dublin, sipping (or should I say taking generous gulps?) on a quality pint of Guinness draught, waiting for my very significant other to join me?

No one could have possibly predicted that ten years. No one could have ever predicted that not even five years ago. Or two years ago, for that matter.

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