food names, encyclopaedias

At the Physiology Refectory today I had Beef Madras. But shouldn't it be called Beef Chennai? I asked some Indian guys next to me and they said the city is usually called Madras by Indians.

The Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD is $A129 on the Australian website and $US39.95 ($A53) on the US website. They won't be getting my custom...

Coincidentally, a few hours after the beef madras, I went to a public lecture about Ramanujan by Bruce Berndt. I learnt so much about his life. He did not even pass his mathematics examinations at college, BB said because most of it was based on geometry. And his best discoveries were in the last year of his life. (I thought his bad health prevented him from doing any maths then.) BB told me that he has a formula for pi which adds over 70 digits per term, and a Japanese mathematician has a formula for 1/pi which adds about 90 digits per term (the current record).


fitness, cleanliness

I went with my personal trainer to the front desk at Fitness First after my session and the cute girl didn't mention any replacement fee. And I got a real keyring from my landlord. So all is OK!

I have IMAP running from both home (with Mac Mail) and work (with Outlook Express) for both my work accounts. This will confuse my boss for a bit, because he tends to check when I come in in the morning based on when I read my mail. Mac Mail is much better because it has spam detection, but it obviously still has bugs because some of my spam messages are in the junk folder twice for one of the accounts.

Last night I was checking some of the integer sequences I had submitted to the On-Line Encyclopaedia of Integer Sequences. I noticed that one of my sequences had a conjecture made about it which the author added to a List of Conjectures. And then someone else wrote a paper proving that conjecture. Good mental exercise for them.

Getting behind in email, as always.

Knee-length shorts would be good for the Brisbane summer, as recommended by my fashion adviser Tim P.

My desk at work is much cleaner now, the keyboard, monitor, desk, and phone have been wiped down with Coles Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Orange Oil. All the bacteria have been wiped away! (Woohoo, pointless blogging of the minutiae of daily life.)



On Friday morning I wanted to go to Fitness First before departing for my weekend holiday in the Whitsundays. But I was unable to find my little membership card as it must have fallen off my keyring at some point. It is a crummy keyring and too loose. Now it might cost $25 to replace the card. (There's a little voice in my head repeating "for want of a nail"...). Although I'm messy I'm usually very careful not to lose my things. So it is very annoying that this has happened.

The positive side of the experience is that I've launched a cleaning frenzy at home and in my office. My desk at work is now absolutely clean except for the mouse, keyboard and monitor. (Maybe I should use an antibacterial spray now.) The cables are snaking through a hole in the desk down to the crappy Pentium 4 1.8GHz machine with 512MB of RAM on the floor. At home I found a $20 note in the drawer and some Medicare receipts that I really must submit. I have been browsing "Household Management for Men" on the bus to work. I am reminded of my friend David's statement that he lived a life of bohemian clutter in his 20s but now it makes him anxious... I should start living a neater life now.

On the theme of clutter... the webmail interface to my two work email accounts is annoying. I would say that over 90% of the mail I receive on either account is not relevant to me at all. One of them uses CommuniGate Pro and anytime new email arrives the webmail interface pops up a new window with Javascript and beeps, and no matter what I am doing, Windows jumps to that tab in Firefox, which is pretty annoying when I get about 20 emails a day and the vast majority are crap. The other one uses a self-signed SSL certificate so I have to click through about three windows every time Firefox starts. I will switch to Thunderbird or Eudora, I reckon.

Today, I will ask the IT support people at work to fix some other computer problems too: the icon for PDFs doesn't work and there's a Cygwin icon on my Desktop I don't have permissions to change.

Firefox on my PC is still more stable than Safari on my Mac.


linux problem solved

After a few hours of stuffing around...

I couldn't compile the kernel because I'd always get an error about __ctype_b or __ctype_tolower... highly annoying. I wanted this program

#include < ctype.h >
main(p) { while(isalnum(p)); }

to "expand" to something like this

_ISalnum = ((11) < 8 ? ((1 << (11)) << 8) : ((1 << (11)) >> 8))

extern __const unsigned short int *__ctype_b_loc;

main(p) { while((__ctype_b_loc[(int) ((p))] & (unsigned short int) _ISalnum)); }

except it was always putting __ctype_b instead of __ctype_b_loc. After noticing that editing /usr/include/ctype.h wasn't changing anything a light went on in my head and I looked at the output of gcc -E more carefully - it was using /usr/local/include/ctype.h instead, so I renamed /usr/local/include to /usr/local/include-dontuse and everything works fine again.


Lately I have been typing in my chess games to a database. I have made some hideous endgame blunders. Here is one of the worst. Black (Ali Farbood) just played 31...c5 and I responded with 32. dxc5?? losing the game instantly because the black king can now come in via e5. Endgame zugzwang is a very important concept to understand.