2005-09-26

hats

We are entering the sweaty time of year again, and I find the sun can give me headaches. I've taken up wearing my Akubra Territory hat again. However certain well-meaning friends have alerted me to the fact that it is a fashion crime to be seen with such a wide-brimmed enormous hat. It really is just short of a sombrero. I comfort myself by thinking of an analogous situation involving a former flatmate Ben, who always wore earplugs to nightclubs. He told his friends that he might look silly now but he wouldn't be deaf in 20 years' time. I will warn my well-meaning friends about melanoma...

2005-09-25

chess



I was thinking about a game I read about once in an old Australian chess magazine where an unknown player from South-East Asia somewhere beat a well-known Australian player or master from some well-established chess country. I thought the country was Vietnam, Thailand, or Hong Kong. So I downloaded SCID a chess database, installed in on my Powerbook, and downloaded all the Olympiad games from Olimpbase. I didn't find the game, but searching for "VIE" I did come across the game Ochoa de Echag├╝en (2450) vs McLeod at Thessaloniki 1988.


1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Nf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Nc6 8. d4 e6 9.Bd3 Qc7 10.O-O Bd6 11.Re1 O-O 12.Qe2 Ne7 13.c4 b6 14.Bd2 Bb7 15. Bxh7+ Kxh7 16.Ng5+ Kg8 17.Qh5 Bxh2+ 18.Kh1 1-0


I wondered whether Bxh7+ would have been possible on a previous move (diagram shows position
before White's 12th move).


After 12. Bxh7+ Kxh7 13. Ng5+, then 13... Kg8? 14. Qh5 Re8 15. Qh7+ Kf8 16. Ne4 is very good for White, but 13... Kg6 14. h4 Rh8 15. Qd3+ f5 allows black to defend.


13. Bxh7+ Kxh7 14. Ng5+ Kg6 15. h4 Rh8 16. Qe4+ Nf5 17. g4 Rxh4 18. gxf5+ Kh5 19. Qf3+ Rg4+ 20. Kh1 exf5 and Black is hanging on.


But, because the Black rook on a8 is a loose piece after 13...b6?, it does work on the next move. 14. Bxh7+ Kxh7 15. Ng5+ Kg6 15. h4 Rh8 16. Qe4+ Nf5 17. g4 and then if 17... Rxh4? 18. gxf5+ and 19. Qxa8 wins. So it was best to play it on move 14. I don't know what White had in mind after 16... Kg6 17. Qg4 f5!.

linux

My old Compaq EVO N115 notebooks used to have a problem with overheating and shutdowns. Compaq did fix the problem with a firmware upgrade in June 2002, three months after I bought it, but the experience turned me off Compaq and HP notebooks for life. In April 2003, I was in Auburn, Alabama carrying it in a crummy bag when somehow it got water in the screen. I have not bothered to have it fixed since... "If the laptop is a year old, with a broken panel, it's time for a new one."


But I do still play around with Linux on it. Since about a month ago, I have been unable to compile the latest kernel, because when I type "make" I get an error about an undefined reference to __ctype_b and __ctype_upper... naturally I googled around to find out what is going on, but there is just no Quick Fix or easy command line I can type to get everything working again. I have been using the unstable release of Debian so everything is the latest version. Today I tried "apt-get -b source libc6" to try to build the C library again from sources. It has taken almost 4 hours so far, not 45 minutes like the README file said it would... and used up much more disk space than it said it would. I hope it solves the problems. apt-get is a great tool, but Linux still has user-friendliness issues. I just wish there had been an easy command I could have typed to upgrade or downgrade the C library to fix the problem.

2005-09-22

Judgment

If God destroyed New Orleans because of the iniquitous behaviour of the gays there, then I think he is judging Houston because it is America's Fattest City. As I was reading in the book "Fatland", American preachers don't mention the sin of gluttony very often at all compared to homosexuality, for example... they would alienate most of their congregations!

mac needed things

My officemate wanted to send me a large data file today, but neither of us had brought our USB drives. (I bought my 2Gb drive from YeahDone which has the cheapest USB drives in Australia - pity it's not on any of the search engines like StaticIce.) So she compressed it with 7-Zip which happened to be on her desktop... briefly confusing me. I browsed maximum compression wondering what the best compression program for the Mac is, but realised I have lost interest in the subject a bit. I just have so much storage now. A 120Gb notebook drive for my Powerbook is only about $400... the only other thing I'm thinking of buying is a PC card with four USB 2.0 ports. $22.20 at the moment.

phones

As The Economist noted, phones are replacing cars as a fashion statement. It's high time to update my fashion statement.


I am getting so tired of my Siemens A55. The paint is coming off, two of my friends have it, I don't like monochrome low-res screens, I am neurotic and like to save my text messages... I have been looking for a replacement. I would have been happy with the Sony Ericsson W800i or K750i. However the screen resolution on those is just passe now - 176 by 220. My sister and her husband have Motorola E398s with that resolution. I can't be seen with such a low-res screen, and besides, my boss has a K750i already. I need something better, with a better screen. I think it will be the Samsung D600.


What is standard on a phone in Japan is state-of-the-art here. Consider... "In the Japanese market, two megapixels is becoming the standard now" (July 2005) and "The most common resolutions for color LCDs are now QVGA (240 x 320) in Japan and QCIF+ (176 x 220) in the rest of the world." (October 2004). So if I cannot live in Japan at least I need a phone as good as people in Japan have. I just asked my Nokia-6600-owning flatmate what the most important feature on a new phone would be and he mentioned only the camera and the screen. The only disadvantage I can see for the D600 compared to the K750i is that there is no FM radio on the D600. But I never listen to FM radio anyway. My officemate picks up some new music on Triple J and I could improve my Persian listening to Persian Radio but I don't find myself doing either very often.


The disadvantage of the D600 is that it probably would not accept being dropped as often as my A55... I'll have to invest in a belt clip so I don't drop it.