[an error occurred while processing this directive]

A day in the interactive life of...

Three years blogging. Time to be all sentimental and the like.

Or maybe not.

Now Listening to:

[an error occurred while processing this directive] (playlist)

Currently on Pengie-Cam and Desktop Snapshot

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Blog Archive: [ 2000: J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D ]
[ 2001: J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D ]
[ 2002: J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D ]
[ 2003: J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D |
[ 2004: J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D ]

August 15, 2007


Newest Web Project

My latest and greatest web project is a Camera and Lens Price Comparison Site for Canadians. Check it out.


September 4, 2006


It's Official...

The Ardant-blog is no more.

It's been replaced with spiffy goodness at blog.grchiu.com.

Who knows what I'll do with this site?


November 8, 2005


Now-Playing Plugin

I finally got around to fixing the "now playing" indicator above. Yay! It's now very much improved.


July 6, 2005



Just monkeying around.

Just monkeying around.

March. April. May. June. July.

Wow, almost five whole months without a blog post. Must be a new record.

I'm alive. Undergrad is done for good, now, and thus, I've been travelling. There are a few new pictures up on the gallery, and a little explaination about WhyBloggingSucks on the occasionally-updated ArdantWiki.


February 11, 2005



It's Demo Time.

It's Demo Time.

Instead of writing rather babble about what I've been up to, I figure this entry best be a "picture blog", and you can go see for yourself.

The fourth year design project symposium is finally over. Yay. One year of work ends rather loudly in one very, very, long and tiring day. Yay. It's done.

Mmmm, chocolate strawberries, mango pudding, and cheesecake!

Mmmm, chocolate strawberries, mango pudding, and cheesecake!

A Chinese New Year's potluck dinner. Good food, good fun and karaoke.

Roman History. I'm taking Roman history this term. It's great. Now, if only I had discovered this earlier in my university career...

I want to get out of here. Just a few more months to go.


January 4, 2005


back, again, for the last time (?)

You know it's Christmas when...

You know it's Christmas when...

I've all packed up and gone back to the wonderful UniversityOfWaterloo for a last term. Yay! And I've brought my rather large Toblerone bar with me.

I've been trying to write something to properly convey my feeling of time relativity. My attempts at a coherent description of mental paradox have failed and resulted in deletion.

In other news, I've ditched the Nestea addiction. After some harrowing months during which I became addicted to Snapple (Mango Madness flavour), I've finally settled on a somewhat saner choice: fruit punch Gatorade. A more thorough analysis to follow.


December 26, 2004


Merry Christmas

A quick Merry Christmas to everyone. Recently it's been a sucky end to the year, involving lots of bitterly cold weather and being stuck on buses in snowbanks.

But Christmas is always fun, with gifts of DVDs and sweaters, and I've been busy enjoying my MicrowavedTurkey.


December 18, 2004


the grill

So there we were, sitting at a rather fancy restaurant for our our group's end-of-year dinner, sipping our Pelegrino, staring at the ornate decorations and awaiting our most excellent steaks.

The waitress is milling about, opening up a bottle of wine, when she suddenly remarks. "Are you engineers?"

I laugh. The question, more of an answer than a question, is right. I laugh because it's dead on. A flurry of activity tries to explain this surprisingly accurate determination.

Do we walk funny? Do we talk funny? Maybe it was our geeky conversation. I think back to what's been said. No, nothing work related. Cars, families, and food. Surely that's not indicative of being an engineer? Perhaps we smell funny?

Or perhaps it was our manner of dress. we're there in our dress-shirts and pants, not like the endless sea of business suits. Surely we're not the only ones, though?

Someone ventures forward with a response. "Yes... how'd you know?"

She gestures around the table to our hands. "The ring." The little iron ring worn on the pinky.

Wrong I was again. But, the steaks were most excellent.


November 21, 2004



This blog has now been wikified for the ArdantWiki. Any keywords that are also ArdantWiki keywords will have links made to the ArdantWiki automatically, just like a wiki should do.

This also means that any prior CamembertCheese or TextBasedGame discussions can be found easily.

I plan on integrating the gallery with everything next. Perhaps after a little bit of sleep.

All and all, October and November have been quite busy. Perhaps a real update later?


October 1, 2004


Four very long years, and still not done...

Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of my blogging.

I tried for five minutes to write something here, but I failed to come up with anything interesting in my life.

I'm heading down to Buffalo tomorrow for a wedding. Maybe I'll have a fun story to tell after.

Other than that, status quo, I suppose?


August 27, 2004


Travel-o-blog #2

If there's ever one thing that continues to amaze me about the states, it's money. No, it's relative wealthiness or poverty as compared to Canada. It's also not about the drastically different fiscal policies inducing a dilapidated infrastructure and a wide (atleast compared to back at home) distribution of income.

No, it's not that deep.

Americans like their money. No, they love their money. Their cold hard green cash. Every single one of them carries a huge wad of it in their pocket. Of course, most of it consists of ones, and they're mostly indistinguishable in the dark, but they still love it anyway. There's still something very primal about American currency, long lost with currency in Canada. Maybe it's the simple green design (the controversial Freemason references still appear on the one dollar bill), or the pictures of long-dead people.

Canadian money is monopoly money to them: multi-coloured, up to two dollar coins, short and stubby. But oh, the pictures on the bills are of people we might actually know or remember, and the new raised dots make it easy to find bills in the dark.

As much as it feels great to have a huge wad of cash in your wallet (but of course, mostly ones), it's not what I like. So I took advantage of the low (5%!!) tax rate down here and converted some of that cold hard cash into an iPod.

Cold hard electronics. That's what I like.


August 24, 2004


Travel-o-blog #1

Ten things I hate about travelling in the states:

  1. "Iced tea" at McDonalds. It's literally, iced tea.
  2. Border security.
  3. Drivers who shouldn't be in the left lane of the I-90, but are.
  4. Trucks on the I-90.
  5. The I-90, for that matter.
  6. No Tim Hortons. Atleast none on the I-90.
  7. How bad McDonalds coffee is compared to up in Canada. I'm not going to even compare it to Tim Hortons.
  8. State troopers and speeding tickets.
  9. Prepaying for gas.
  10. Miles and imperial gallons. Not to mention exchange rates.

One thing I enjoy about travelling in the states, which may or may not eclipse all of the above:

  1. No tax. Or atleast very low tax, compared to home. Makes electronics cheap.


August 10, 2004


Almost done exams.

It's kinda late, but the exam indicator lights are here. (I only have one left now). But hey, what's an exam period without the exam studying indicator lights?

I even updated the screenshot.


July 9, 2004


Nissin Cup Noodles

I'm back to bad habits again, eating Nissin Cup Noodles and watching the sunrise. Another nate light at the projects.

Technology is cool. My housemate's kettle has a digital thermometer. So instead of staring at a kettle waiting for my water to boil (so I can make Cup Noodles, of course), I get to stare at a number on a little LCD asymptotically approaching 100.

Which begs the question. If a watched pot never boils, how about watching a pot with a thermometer? Well, we get a lot of practice staring at download meters crawl away to completion.

Speaking of progress meters. I'm 90% done my degree as of today. Just a little bit of staring left...

Oh, and Google no longer likes me. Maybe if I mention Ardant a few more times they will reconcile.


June 30, 2004


We're back in business...

Happy Birthday Canada. I'm back home and resuscitating my webpages.

The ardant.net mini-network suffered a massive failure due to a direct hit from a meteorite.

Actually, my Linux-based router, antyrica.ardant.net suffered a catastrophic hard disk failure after 5 fine years of service.

I decided to take the opportunity to retire arnica.ardant.net after 7 glorious years of service. Now, the entire ardant.net family of webpages is hosted on dune.net.

So it's Canada day, and I'm home for the super-long-weekend. Yay. What's new with me? Well, we had a barbeque last week, and I've been working on my fourth year design project.

More later.


May 3, 2004


Arrgh. Blagh. Burgh.

Friday was my last day at work. I sort of miss the place already. Atleast I was all settled in there, and enjoyed the work, and the people, and the atmosphere.

Saturday I threw all my belongings into boxes and shipped them to the wonderful town of Waterloo.

Sunday, today, I tried in vain to settle into my new home. Sort of hard to do without furniture, as I don't have a desk, or a chair, or a dresser. Or a bookshelf. So my computer is on a cabinet, half of my belongings are on a bed side table, and a cardboard box is making a very nice printer stand. And I had a little desk for the TV, which allowed me to watch the Maple Leafs get thumped 7-2. Absolutely wonderful. </sarcasm>.

Other than that, I'm writing my work term report and trying not to think of school about to start tomorrow.

Monday, tomorrow, I'll complain about something else. I'm sure.


March 25, 2004



Tomorrow morning at 10 AM, I'll be strapped into a dentist chair, and some assortment of drugs will make me drowsy and/or fall asleep. Then a dentist will yank 4 wisdom teeth out of my mouth.

So today, at Loblaws, I bought $63.85 worth of liquid and/or soft foods to survive on for the next week: yogurt, milk, jello, cheese, more jello, ice cream, and breakfast shakes.

Oh, and Nestea of course.


March 24, 2004



Do you have $999 sitting around doing nothing?

Well, Network Solutions wants you to renew your domain name for 100 years. That's right, 100 years. Because I'm afraid that someone will steal my domain between now and 2104.

Now, most peculiar is how they charge $9.99 per year, should you buy in super-bulk, instead of $34.99.

Let us analyze this pricing strategy. Let us make a few critical assumptions:

  • The inflation rate in price, i, for domain names, is likely zero, or very close to zero. Due to a highly competitive market, registrars lack pricing power, and therefore, the price of domain names remains low.
  • An adjusted interest rate of 5%, after inflation rate adjustments, is assumed. This is low.


Investing $999 for 100 years at 5% interest at year 2104 gives you $131,369.76. Not a bad sum. So by buying 100 years of domain name hosting now, you're giving up $131,369.76 dollars in 2104.

Here's the kicker.

Paying $34.99 a year for 100 years costs, in the end, $91,323.90 year 2104 dollars. You could safely invest $694.48 right now, and be able to pay $34.99 for hosting every year for 100 years. (Better yet, for just an extra $5.32, you could pay for your hosting ad infinitum).

So if you're looking to register your domain name for 100 years, let me know. Just send me the $999, and I'll renew your domain name for $34.99 a year. ;)


March 3, 2004


Spammed out.

I spent the balance of the night deleting spam.

I hate spam. It clogs my mailbox. I get about three thousand a week, the majority of which get caught by spamassassin, and the minority of which annoy me. It makes me miss e-mails (which is nasty when you have customers trying to reach you). It works something like this:

Day 1: I clean my mailbox. Nice and clean. No spams. People e-mail, and I respond within one minute. Plus or minus fifteen seconds. With differing clocks and all, sometimes it appears I respond before the e-mail is sent.

Day 2: Spams slip in, but in an effort to keep the mailbox clean, they are promptly deleted. E-mail response is about two minutes.

Day 4: The annoying spams get deleted. The "obvious" ones sit around ("I'll delete them in a bunch later."). E-mail response is about two hours. About a hundred spams in the mailbox.

Day 8: Spams start to pile up left and right (about five hundred now). Meticulously picking through the e-mails to find important ones. E-mail response is about half a day, except for the lucky 10% that get lost in the spam.

Day 16: Don't even bother sending me mail.

Please, I don't need prescription drugs, better mortgage rates, get-rich-quick-schemes, or university diplomas. And definitely not help in the bedroom.

After long tiring days of deleting spam, I have no problem sleeping at night. What else were you thinking?


February 26, 2004


Hello. How are you today?

It's come to my attention that I haven't written on this blog for over two months. But oh, have I ever tried.

Over the last two months I've started writing blog entries, by my count, atleast a dozen times. This one makes about the thirteenth. If you're reading this, it means I didn't get frustrated two paragraphs into my blog entry and I didn't delete my pitiful attempt of making my life sound interesting.

The error in my ways appears to be because I've attempted, in that dozen attempts before, to describe something interesting or related to my life. But I can't, because nothing is interesting, or out of the ordinary.

Sure, I can talk about my new co-op job (where else?) or co-worker's housewarming parties (very nice townhouse) or playing soccer for the first time in a decade (with co-workers; you know you're getting old when you can "in a decade" with truthfulness). But then I'd be collapsing into dreary, monotonous, "I did -this- today, and here's how I felt about it" blogging. I don't want that. You don't want to read that.

I could also talk about Norah Jones' new CD (which I bought and is absolutely fabulous, although not as fabulous as the first CD), or Lost in Translation (not a comedy as it was billed, but a fabulous art piece, though not as fabulous as Amelie), but I figure there's already enough senseless media hype about those two topics.

I could also bore you with techno-babble about my grand Linux switch-over from RedHat (once upon a time, they were wonderful) to Debian (newly wonderful).

So how am I doing? Fabulous. Wonderful.

So the thirteen appears to be a lucky number, as this blog post has survived the two-paragraph bloggers' block milestone. Goes to show again that the best blog is a blog about absolutely nothing.

Have a fabulous day.


December 22, 2003


Home sweet home.

I'm home. Well, I have been for a week. Frantic packing and moving, and trying to get settled in at home again.

Christmas is coming up real fast, as is the traditional family get-togethers. As a result, I'm finding myself at the shopping malls almost each and every day.

My parents went on a cruise last week, and I had the house to myself. It was odd being home, but not really being home. Thus spending all day in shopping malls.

Shopping means DVDs. And shoes and clothing, but mostly DVDs.

Jenn and I bought and traded the Alias season 1 and 2 DVD sets, as Christmas gifts. I'm addicted to Alias now, apparently. We've watched 15 episodes of season one. Only 7 more to go?

We also went to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, at midnight. Spectacular. I don't care about people claiming it was "too long", or "anti-climatic", it was absolutely spectacular. Kudos to Peter Jackson and team for actually keeping it true to the books, and not hollywoodizing the plot. After that movie, three hours of awe-inspiring visuals, I was still riveted to my seat.

Then I went home and started re-reading LOTR and the Silmarillion.

Now, only to wait for all three LOTR movies to come out on DVD...


October 28, 2003


Google Games.

I am deeply disturbed that since my last rant about fieldberry on this blog (read below for the details), searching for 'fieldberry' on google returns this blog in the third position (beating out Dairyland's List of Yogurt Products, mind you).

I am also dismayed to report that four unlucky individuals searching for "fieldberry yogurt" on google clicked their way to this blog as it was the #1 result. To these people: I'm sorry.

I think Google likes this webpage too much (it doesn't yet like the ArdantWiki).

So, it's time for a little game: I'm going to try to steal the Fanny Ardant keyword. Fanny Ardant is a moderately-known French actress. Fanny Ardant has no relation whatsoever to this site. But it would be interesting if this website started showing up on searches for Fanny Ardant, not to mention annoying for those actually trying to find information about Fanny.

Let the games begin.


The Nestea Count

After another two flats of Nestea (48 cans) were purchased last Monday, bringing the total consumption up to 38.34 L. Today, Monday, one week after, the Nestea is gone. The midterms and projects due last week propelled the Nestea consumption forward. Analysts predict this now-record rate of consumption to continue.

We tried to figure out exactly how much 38.34 litres is, in a quantity we could relate to. With guestimates ranging from "a bathtub" to "a 17 inch CRT monitor". A few very practical experiments later and we settled on "a bathtub for babies", or "a 19 inch CRT monitor".

On a odd tangent, looking at 38.34 L of water makes you realize how little $32 of gas really is.


October 7, 2003


Today is October 7th.

And October 7th has no real meaning.

Except that three years and five days ago, I started blogging. I hadn't noticed until someone reminded me to update my archive above. And yes, it is updated.

Ahh, October 7th. It's the day of California Recall stupidity. I have been following, with some interest, the campaign trail of Georgy Russell, the 26-year old software programmer from Mountain View, California, who knows how to use both vi and emacs! Mind you, that's not why she's a remarkable candidate: she actually has a platform. <plug/>.

Speaking of elections the Ontario provincial elections were last week. Crappily, I didn't get much to exercise my right to vote, due to technicalities regarding my "riding of residence". Nor did I want to drive all the way back home to vote. Although all you need, technically, is a piece of paper with both your name and address on it (hydro bill), being a co-op, moving every four months, I have yet to receive any paper with my name and address.

So much for democracy.

My friend was supposed to receive a letter today, via an unnamed courier (which I will keep anonymous. In today's world of expedited shipping, one cannot fanthom tracking millions of packages around the world without a plethora of barcodes, tracking numbers, and satellite-linked scanners.

And we received a handwritten note in our mailbox.

"Tried delivering your package today but you weren't in. Please call my truck at 519-555-1234 and I can redeliver later."

Aren't dinosaurs extinct?

So much for technology.



It's the fourth week of the term, and walking through the E2 building at night is like walking through the classroom. The labs are filled with 3B comps, busily working on their projects. It's going to be one hell of a term.

Eight hours spent today writing and debugging vhdl, to build a hardware memcpy(). You know you've lost all enthusiasm and spirit when the completion of a lab or project is greeted with "Ok. Now, let's go home and study."

And a quotable quote from one of our profs. "The second half of 3B is one of the most difficult times you will experience." And if it's bad now...

We bought another case of Nestea today. That makes for a total of 60 cans this term, or 21.30 litres, and counting. At $4.99 for 12 355 ml cans, it's $1.17 per litre, only slightly more expensive than gas. Now, if everyone in Canada drank as much Nestea as I, it would account for 0.12% of the Canadian GDP.


September 30, 2003


3B, yogurt, google, and wikis.

A collection of random delusional thoughts:

I'm now doing my 3B term.

For those of you not familiar with computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, it's hell. Five lab/project courses plus an elective.

Google is no longer associating www.ardant.net with Gordon Chiu. Gordon Chiu's website is www.ardant.net. That should fix it. I liked being the #1 Gordon Chiu on google (for 3 years running).

Today I discovered fieldberry-less Danone Creamy yogurt. However, it's only available in packs of twelve (instead of the usual sixteen). This results in the consumer paying a premium for the removal of fieldberry (field is not a berry) from their yogurt.

I think it's a sadistic monopolistic attempt at extorting money from the helpless consumer. If we buy sixteen, in bulk, discount, we are forced to buy fieldberry. But if we buy less, we are saved from fieldberry (which is replaced by raspberry and blueberry -- separate flavours, thank you very much).

I see it akin to Microsoft offering bug-free "corporate" versions of their software alongside dumbed-down user editions. Oh wait, they do that.

Ok, or maybe it's like a Linux vendor (hmm, maybe Red Hat?)offering "enterprise editions" of Linux alongside their free versions. Oh wait, they do that too.

I am also deeply disturbed that there are 317 hits for "fieldberry" on google, and that as of time of writing, this website turned up number 42.

The ArdantWiki is open for business. Read and be merry. Maybe I'll fixup this blog to do wiki-wording automagically.

I should return to studying, and try to purge fieldberry economics from my mind, lest I fail my microeconomics midterm tomorrow.


August 26, 2003



I had this long blog entry all planned out, and was going to type it all in after the power came back on.

However, it was off so long that I forgot what I was going to say.

So I'll just plug Stuffed Penguins.


July 8, 2003


more yogurt

My yogurt expires in 22 minutes. I have 3 left.

Must... eat... faster...


July 7, 2003



My yogurt expires tomorrow. I'm sitting here eating it as fast as possible. I think I'm going to be sick of it.

Still in the habit of living with two other people, I bought a pack of 16. Big mistake.

There's only four flavours in the Danone Creamy pack. French vanilla, strawberry, peaches, and fieldberry. Unfortunately all I have left in the fridge is fieldberry. I've eaten the rest of them.

I don't like fieldberry. Probably because it doesn't exist. You can't throw rasberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries together in a container and hope they co-exist. It's like throwing a Mac-head, a Windows-nut, a Linux-freak and a caveman in a room and hoping they come up with the unified theory of computing.

Or maybe it's because it's a disgustingly sick purple colour which has little specs of red and blue.

I know I'm not alone in my distaste for fieldberry. While living in Waterloo last term with roommates, we discovered an interesting phenomenom. The French vanilla yogurt would promptly disappear. Peach soon after. Strawberry would make its timely exit. But fieldberry? With the most fortitude, fieldberry would only make its exit as the wonderful expiry date printed on top of the container approached.

But don't feel sorry for fieldberry. Although it is a second-class citizen, relegated to being eaten only when the situation warrants it. Don't feel bad for it at all. After all, it is only yogurt.

I'm pretty sure fieldberry doesn't mind.


May 16, 2003



I lost my best buy receipt (read a few blogs down). I tear the house apart looking for it. I'm livid. That receipt gets me $40 from a price match at best buy. I needed it. So a few days later, I went to the store and asked them to find a copy. They whine and guilt trip me. They complain. They grovel. They never did find it. Too busy they claimed. That really sucked. I left quite unhappy.

Later that evening I went out to dinner with the family for Mother's day. Enjoyable. Good food. I pick up the bill. Pay for it. Put the receipt in my wallet. Next to a best buy receipt.

A best buy receipt.

I shut the wallet quickly and pretend I saw nothing.

But secretly I am pleased.



May 7, 2003


Currently on...

Currently powered on at the ardant.net mini-lab sitting in my study:

  • one P3-450 desktop computer
  • one Sony SDMS71B 17" LCD monitor
  • one Sony R505GL 12" laptop
  • one ArtMedia A701 17" CRT monitor
  • one P3-800 desktop computer
  • one Samsung SyncMaster 750s
  • two Compaq Presario 486s
  • one no-name 486
  • one HP LaserJet 4P
  • one Lexmark Z32
  • one Darius 14" VGA monitor
  • one AGFA SnapScan 1212
  • one pair Creative !magine 2.1 speakers
  • one Motorola Cybersurfer Wave cable modem
  • one CentreCOM MR112T IEEE 802.3 Micro Repeater
  • one Linksys BEFW11S4 Wireless Router
  • one USRobotics 33.6kbps external modem
  • a few lamps

And plugging in my dinky cell phone charger caused me to blow a fuse. The straw that broke the camel's back. Literally. Well, very figuratively, at the very least. Go figure.


May 6, 2003


More Customer Service

I hate customer service. I've had such bad experiences with the likes of Rogers cable and phone companies that I abhor having to call their toll free numbers. I hate the way I'm tossed around, put on hold, have to re-explain myself all the time.

I recently bought a wireless router and network card at Best Buy. So I can surf with my laptop anywhere in the house [Ed Note: I'm currently plopped on the couch in the front of the TV].

And Best Buy has this wonderful price match guarantee. And I found out that CanadaComputers.com now has the stuff I bought for $30 cheaper. Each.

So all I need to do is find the receipt and take it into the store. Find the receipt. Find the receipt.

Let's keep a long story short: it took me 3 months to find the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A receipt is much, much, smaller.

So grudgingly I look up the number for the Best Buy customer service line. I call. Waiting for long delays, rude staff, and another hassle.

The phone rings once. Pleasant-sounding voice comes on. It's slow and deliberate. "Thank you for calling Best Buy Canada." Oh no, a recording. I've been put on hold. "<name> speaking. How may I help you?"

"I purchased something a few weeks ago on my creditcard and I lost my receipt."

"Don't worry, the store should still have a copy of your receipt. And if they don't you can call us back and we'll get a copy to you."

"Can I still do a price match on the copy of the receipt?"


My faith in customer service is restored. Atleast temporarily until I go to the store and see if it actually works.


April 28, 2003


Scavenger Hunt

It's 2 AM. I can't sleep.

I've got my first day of my next co-op workterm tomorrow, and that may be the reason why I can't sleep. Perhaps I'm too excited. Or I'm nervous. Or maybe I'm just used to the Waterloo sleeping schedule and this last sleep-in-until-2-in-the-afternoon week. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I tossed and turned for a few hours. Worrying about dune.net. Worrying about my cousin's wedding website. Worrying about work. So now I'm sitting on my bed at 2 in the morning, writing a blog entry.

After heading downstairs and consuming the better half of a box of cookies, I decide to make some productive use of my half-sleepness state. I decide to root around in my basement, in hopes of finding my friend's tax forms from last year. They're hidden somewhere in my basement.

So off I go, at 2 in the morning, to search for tax forms in my basement.

And what should I find? One of my boxes, a plain, red, box once holding paper from Staples/Business Depot, now recruited for a new task. What should I find in this red box?

A treasure trove of my stuff. A bag of goodies from the ACM 2001 World Finals, including IBM mini-hockey stick, IBM puck, IBM flashlight, and of course, lots of cds from IBM (I wonder who the sponsor is). Some old metal "remove the ball from this tangle of steel" games. My circa 1990 springy Super Mario figurine, probably from some meal at McDonalds. A Lt Cmdr Data Star Trek figurine. Assorted marbles, ball bearings. The missing piece from my connect 4 game. The case for my watch (I had been looking for that one). Some old tests from high school.

And under it all, my missing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I don't know how it got there. Atleast now I can read my insomnia away. Oh, and I found the tax forms.


April 9, 2003


Life of Me

It's been a long while.

It's finals time. Which means traditionally I'd go and make those light-up lights indicating which finals we've completed and which finals we still have left to do, but unfortunately my internet is lagging so badly that I haven't had the urge to slug it out with vim for twenty minutes.

So what's new with me? I left for Beverly Hills, California, on March 22nd for the ACM World Finals competition.

It was boring, to say the least, although I did get to see the following trademark American things:

  1. Movie stars. Well, a few of them. It was academy awards week and we headed down to outside the Kodak theatre for a glimpse of some limos. So we saw some limos. We can only assume there were important people inside. :P
  2. A riot. An anti-war protest turned nasty, and then we saw about 40 riot police, 30 motorcycle police, 20 bike cops, and traffic officers galore.
  3. Someone get arrested. Four gant/thug-looking guys pinned some other guy against a wall. People started shouting "police". Then the thugs took out their badges.

We did poorly. There -is- an interesting article about us in the New York Times. We got off to a slower start than we would have hoped, and it all spiraled downhill from there.

It's Final Exam time. Which means I'll probably come up with some cool project to waste my time on. Just wait and see.


March 17, 2003


The "Update"

Our OS boots. After oodles of hours of feverish coding, assembly debugging, and playing around with gcc-based cross compilers for the Motorla 5206 (Coldfire) processor. Yay. Our demo is on Tuesday.

In other news, some interesting things have happened in the last month.

Toasties! got mentioned in a PC Format (that's a UK magazine) article. It then got mini-slashdotted by about thirty thousand hits. Yay. Not to mention, Dan sent me a hard-copy of the magazine. Thanks Dan.


February 9, 2003


Look, ma, I'm an artist!

As quoted from Mike's List on January 30th, 2003:

"Artist" Gordon Chiu microwaves PC software CDs and calls it art.

Look! I'm an artist!

Another really weird reference to Toasties. Apparently it's a viable solution for data destruction: "How to destroy CDR data".

And something that refers to Toasties, but I can't read it:

Geroosterde CD's

Malloten maken er een hobby van om CD's te roosteren in een broodrooster en foto's hiervan op Internet te plaatsen. Vooral de gratis Compuserve (AOL) CD's doen het erg goed in een broodrooster, en daar heeft iedereen er genoeg van.


February 1, 2003


Have you seen my hitchhiker's guide?

This is a sad sad tale of a lost, very good book.

I can't find my copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by the late Douglas Adams -- truly one of the best science fiction books ever written. I really do love that book. It's witty, it's intelligent, and best of all, fun. I've gone through everything in my house about forty-two times searching for this book (I felt like reading it).

My copy has been through a lot with me, and has amassed its own list of travels and achievements, although not to the degree of Arthur Dent: Zipping up and down the subways, keeping me sane in the workterms of 1B and 2A. Providing a laugh near midterms and finals of 2A. Keeping my papers from flying off my desk in the warm 2B summer breezes. Clubbing the drunks as they stumble by and knock on our windows at 3 AM.

I don't remember where I last put it. There's a chance I could have lent it to someone, but I'm still going with the theory that it was polymorphed into someone's grandmother and consequently fed to the bugblatter beast of Traal (c'mon, it's the middle of the night, improbability rules).

Yes, I miss my book. If you have it, please let me know. Just that if you choose to let me know at 3 AM, please don't knock on the windows.


January 23, 2003


Another day in the life...

I can't believe how fast time flies. It's January 23nd. In three months, exams will be over. I'll head home, back to Toronto, and hopefully back to my job. 90 days. Probably even less, given how obtusely short February is.

The reality of it all hasn't sunk in yet. It's bitterly cold here. The type of cold that makes you think nothing but cold. You walk out of buildings and start thinking, "Gosh, it's cold. How can I get out of the cold?". I'll be walking down the path towards school, in my parka, relying on my gloves and my hat and my scarf and my boots for dear warmth, and it'll hit me: I'm at Waterloo again. I want nothing more to be in a nice warm place.

I've been desensitized. The days fly by with their pre-planned rhythm, with no spontaneity. The alarm clock goes off at 7:30. I drag myself out of bed by 7:50, if I'm lucky. I'm in the lab by 8:30. Labs. Lectures. Lunch. More Lectures. Tutorial. Dinner. Meetings, or practices, or what-not. Go home. Work. E-mail. Sleep.

We've been looking for housing in September. It'll be tough -- the so-called 'double cohort' is coming in. 50% more students. Same amount of housing. We live in a nice place, but unfortunately, we can't stay for the fall. We've been trying to get another unit in the area, but unfortunately, it's been difficult to find what's available.

Which raises the omni-present alternative of the math comfy lounge.


January 13, 2003


Good night.

I'm not an early bird, so you can guess why I'm writing this entry.

My workterm report is finally done. Yay. Thank goodness I don't have class until tomorrow afternoon.

In other news, our ECE 332 prof has announced 4 (count'em, 4) extra lectures next week at 1.5 hours per day. That brings the grand total of labs, lectures, and tutorials next week to 32 hours. I haven't had that many hours of class a week since ... grade 9?

It's going to be a long week.


January 12, 2003


Pengie's Spam

I've been getting a lot of spam mail lately. My spamassassin has filtered 1200 messages in the last three weeks. Somehow, about 5-10 e-mails are slipping through now. Spammers are getting smart and figuring out how to slip past spamassassin. I can't wait until the spam archive gets setup to the degree at which I can use it to train my filters.

Pengie, the Computer-Enabled Penguin

Pengie, the Computer-Enabled Penguin

It's funny how much spam mail my stuffed penguin gets.

I created a fake e-mail address as a spamtrap. Here are few of the subject lines he gets:

"pengie, visit the Bahamas on our 12/11 night cruise"

"pengie, lose 32 pounds by February"

"pengie, time to refinance your house?"

Will this ever stop?


January 10, 2003


Happy New Year.

I've finally finished my big ol' move to Waterloo, settled in, and went to the first few days of class.

It's only the first week, but it's proving to be quite hectic. The ol' work term report is due on Monday, and unlike last year, I'm trying to prevent a 4 AM Kinko's run the night before it's due.

I'm living off campus. The townhouse is great, feels very home-like. We've actually got a living room! And a little dining area. Impressive.

I also bought a new flat screen monitor. I figured my room was too small for my big bulky CRT.

There's no point to this post, really. :) More later.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

Random Link

The BlogSnob random link has been removed, as it's gone downhill since going commercial.

Since October 2nd 2000: [an error occurred while processing this directive] visits

2000-2005 Ardant. Email the Ardant