Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in March, 2003

Working holidays

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It’s Carnaval, a major holiday hereabouts. (Warnings: some links may not be work-safe, whatever that means, in fundamentalist countries. Also, Safari seems to choke on the JavaScript pop-ups.) Although only Tuesday and Wednesday morning are official holidays, many people take the whole week off…

The Hairy Eyeball has photos and comments; so does The Enigmatic Mermaid. Linguistic note: I’d translate “Escola de Samba” literally as “Samba School”, since “school” is used here in the sense of “school of fish”. I seem to remember Richard Feynman commenting on this, but was unable to find a reference.

Although I’m steadfastly refusing to turn the TV on, the heat makes working at home less attractive, and production has been very low… I’ll try to work some more at internal weblogging stuff, like referrer logs and automating trackback pings.

Update: Düsseldorf, where I was born, also has a very traditional Karneval holiday.

Andy Ihnatko’s Colossal Waste of Bandwidth points at Paul Hoffman’s site about Paul Erdős, the Hungarian number theorist, who said about himself:

A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.

Paul Hoffman wrote an excellent biography of Erdős, “The Man Who Loved Only Numbers” – which I coincidentally reread last month. The site itself is also interesting, with lots of number-theory stuff casually strewn about, and certainly the oddest site navigation bar I’ve ever seen.

Highly recommended.

Update: Oops. Forgot to link to the Paul Erdős Information page, which has N additional links, and to the Erdős Number Project, which attempts to track collaboration between mathematicians. The “Erdős Number” is an integer that measures the link of collaborations between Erdős and some other author.

I recall that Stan Kelly-Bootle, senior computerist and columnist extraordinaire (“more columns than the @#$%ing Parthenon”), once offered to co-write a paper with me, thus assigning me an Erdős Number of 4 (or was it 5?); but it didn’t work out. I just read Stan’s recent SODA and was shocked to hear about his heart attack; hopefully he’ll be okay…

Der Schockwellenreiter tells all about the perils of automating cease-and-desist letters. It seems that Münster University got such a letter from the BSA, regarding their distribution of “unlicensed copies of copyrighted material” through their FTP server.

As it happens, the offending material was Open Office, an Open Source package. Here are copies of the letter and responses; the BSA subsequently apologized, blaming an automated script for reacting to the word “office” (not yet a Microsoft trademark).

Update: Boing Boing picked up the link.

Update: lots of interesting comments at the Boing Boing discussion board, including one by Ned Richards, one of the OpenOffice project leads:

Yes we think its cool that the BSA believe we’re completely compatible with MS Office. 🙂

…We’re obviously worried that this might harass our mirrors, our most important means of distribution.

… We haven’t yet heard of any further reports of this occuring, obviously we’d treat them with the utmost seriousness.

Jeremy Zawodny wants an easier way to export his blogroll from NetNewsWire:

…does anyone know how to automatically export my subscriptions from NNW and scp (or ftp?) them somewhere? Can AppleScript (about which I know nothing) do this? Can I do it in Perl and not have to learn Yet Another Scripting Language?

Some weeks ago I wrote to Brent Simmons suggesting a FTP export option for NetNewsWire, and he agreed it would be a good thing for a future version. So, if there are more requests for this, he’ll probably increase the priority…

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