Month: September 2010

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According to the great Richard Feynman, the responsibility of science is to foster an attitude of constant doubt, trying to understand to the best of one's ability, and yet accept the frustrations that we will all remain ignorant no matter how hard we search.

Doubt is not to be feared but seen as the inspiration to human progress. For without this freedom of thought that we know nothing, can we pave the road to the future with new technologies which were once deemed impossible.

Unlike religion which demands blind faith, complete and uncompromising belief in something we can never understand, the ways of science allow us the pleasures of grappling with fundamental problems and making more sense of them by taming our own thoughts.

Inspired while reading "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out" by my favorite scientist. You might also want to check out this interesting video.

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I make it a point to visit the local bookstore regularly and rummage through the many new and older books in the computer and mathematics sections.

My work demands that I keep abreast of all of the latest technological advances. The book titles on display are a pretty good indication of which areas I should be concerned with. Not that that it is so much extra work to me, thumbing my way through rows and rows of books just waiting for my magical touch. Actually it's fun and relaxing spending a quiet afternoon searching around in your favorite bookstore.

This afternoon however I was a bit dismayed to discover that almost all of the books on display lying on the new title table were about writing Apps for the iPhone. Most of the remaining books were about writing Apps for other mobile platforms like Android, etc.

What's happening here? Am I missing something? Should I be careful?

There were only five titles about Perl, but that's about the average exposure for most other stuff anyway. Not very long ago Python was the big hit, but now there are very few titles about that either. Java is still going strong but getting depleted as well. The web design section which normally contains books about CSS, HTML5 and Javascript, was filled with mobile design books, again mostly for the iPhone (ouch).

Supposing that I were to look for some information concerning something besides programming mobile applications, then where should I go? I'm sure that Internet is now the best place to look, though it's harder to filter through what's relevant or not.

Now that I even think about it, why buy books about mobile apps anyway? Books are getting old-fashioned, they are bulky and awkward, the contain pages which need to be turned back and forth.

I could just buy some fancy smart phone and use the embedded micro-browser to look for stuff myself. Tons of stuff all over the place. All that meta-information is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Think about it.

The good old days of finding what you need in bookstores is coming to a swift end, so better prepare yourself and be flexible for change if you want to survive.

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Since it's Sunday, I had a couple extra hours to spare in the evening, so I decided to play around some more with Moose.

More specifically I've seen MooseX::Declare mentioned on several occasions so why not give it a go myself.

This module provides a fancier declarative syntax you can use to define objects much more in the tradition of other so-called 'real' OOP languages. It also automatically includes MooseX::Method::Signatures, which means I can also use method declarations with type constraints to my heart's delight.

Also within the method declarations you get the good old $self as a freebie, meaning you don't always have to remember to use the my $self = shift statement. This makes the whole method declaration syntax cleaner and more elegant.

So having said all that here follows my simple example in which I'm able to try out some of the interesting deals on offer.

use MooseX::Declare;
use feature qw(say);

class Person {
    has 'age' => ( isa => 'Num', is => 'rw', default => 0 );
    has 'max_age' => ( isa => 'Num', is => 'rw', default => 75 );

    method get_older (Int $years_to_add = 1 where { $_ > 0 }) {
        $self->age( $self->age + $years_to_add ) if $self->is_alive;
    }

    method is_alive {
        return $self->age < $self->max_age;
    }

    method speak {
        say $self->is_alive ? "I'm alive!" : "I've kicked the bucket!";
    }
}

So let's see how good I've coded this, create a Moosified Person object and see if it all works.

my $x = Person->new( max_age => 35 );

while ($x->is_alive) {
    $x->get_older( 5 );
    $x->speak;
}

When I ran the program, it results in the following not so amazing output:

I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I'm alive!
I've kicked the bucket!

I guess it works good, pretty darn good, will have to investigate this interesting functionality in more detail another day.

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If you aren't quite sure how much a given putt is going to break, then you should try and aim slightly more above the hole, and then stroke the putter an iota less hard.

Putt-slightly-higher.jpg
Will the ball drop in the hole?

The idea is that if you misjudge the break, then the law of averages will place the ball (hanging) on the high-side of the hole, increasing the chances that gravity will end up toppling the ball over into the hole.

I not so sure I have the courage to try this out, definitely not yet in an important tournament where every stroke counts.

Besides, when it comes to golf I believe that my skills come more from gut-feeling and instinct rather than from logical thought and scientific calculations.

Like taking forever to pace off the exact distance to the hole, examine the grain of the grass, feeling how moist the surface of the green is. Even if you could pinpoint these measurements to a 0.1% margin of error, what are the odds that your body can exactly achieve the right motions to keep within the accuracy.

I guess it's a personal thing, and if going through the actions makes you feel more confident and thereby results improve, might as well do it.

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This had to be one of the strangest rounds of golf I've ever played in my life. With so many ups and so many downs, it was truly a bizarre roller coaster ride. What made it even more stressful was that it took place during the qualifying round of an important tournament I've been hoping for months now to be able to play in.

Here's how it went. I start out with a birdie on the first hole and coast on through to the seventh hole at even par. The first disaster of the day strikes with a quadruple bogie eight on number eight (sand, water, drop, over the green, flubbed chip, another flubbed chip, two putt), followed with a birdie on the ninth, resulting in a forty for the front nine.

Just as fantastic as the front nine started, did the back nine begin with a disastrous triple bogie (shanked my second shot into the woods), then a birdie on the eleventh where I coasted at two over par until the par three fifteenth which I nearly four putted but got a five instead. On the seventeenth, I hit my fellow player's provisional ball by accident, making my otherwise great par four null and void, with an added two stroke penalty making it another double bogie. Forty-two on the back giving me an alright score of eighty-two.

Keeping my head in place after those terrible quadruple, triple bogie and two double bogies and recovering like a gold old boy really made my day. Sure, messing up holes during a big qualifying round is no fun, but not letting it get to you and hanging on is an even greater ego-builder. I even surprised my usual choker self, which reminded me that yes even after disaster strikes there's always room to recover, if you shake things off and remain focused.

The greatest news of all is that in the end I qualified for the Rijnmond Open and get to play in this cherished tournament for this weekend.

Summary:
birdie-par-bogie-par-par-par-par-quadruple-birdie = 40
triple-birdie-par-par-par-double-bogie-double-par = 42

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History can be a very fascinating subject for me, and on occasion I go to the local bookstore, look around a little in the history section, and purchase a book or two that seem interesting to me.

With that in mind, I had high hopes when I started reading the hardcover book called Moral Combat which covers the Second World War from the early beginnings to the very end, a book which attempts to analyze the events of that terrible time in view of the social and moral implications of various political decisions.

The book has received many positive reviews, so I was very eager when I started reading it.

However, struggling to understand difficult and esoteric language is not my idea of relaxed reading, so after barely making it through to page seventy, I'm feeling very frustrated. Here's a typical example of the author's pompous and exaggerated style which tires my mind rather than excites it:

"But the ineffable uniqueness of suffering can also mutate into its sacralisation, a finite quantum that is forbidden to subtract from or to diminish through revised totals or lateral comparisons ..."

The hardest part is not just getting through to the end of such convoluted sentences, but each time trying to swallow the tangled mass and understanding what the heck he's talking about.

Why an author would write this way to an eager reading public is beyond me, I mean what the heck is he trying to prove? I just wanted to learn more and not be reminded that I'm such a lowly un-scholarly soul who can't understand things.

For the time being I've returned it atop my pile of unread books and will decide another day whether to give it another try when I'm a bit older, wiser and more patient.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2291 entries and as many as 1876 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.