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Present Perfect

About a satellite

Filed under: Flumotion,Fun — Thomas @ 10:29


Our data center has some satellite dishes on it allowing us to encode any of the signals for our customers. One day we had a problem with one of our dishes, and soon after a customer called to one of our sales people. Her answer ?

"We're sorry, one of the satellites fell down. But don't worry, tomorrow we're launching a new one!"

The customer was so impressed that he thanked her for our dedication and hung up.

We never had the balls to tell this customer we don't actually run a space agency.

2010 Goals – a compileable love story

Filed under: Fun — Thomas @ 22:33


Geez, I still have a pending post about my 2009 goals and here we are, close to the end of 2010. Well, in my defense, it was a tumultuous year for me.

Anyway, one of my goals this year was to write something every month. That might not have been a good goal in the sense that it is slightly too vague - but that's fine for now, I'll be honest enough with myself to admit I didn't quite make that if that's the case.

Anyway, I wanted to share one of those writings. Not that it's particularly good, mind you - but it was quite a special writing form that came to me in a dream, and the form does limit what I can actually do.

I'm guessing not everyone will get it completely because of the form, but that's fine - my non-nerd friends know where to reach me I assume.

If WordPress mangles the display (which I'm sure it will), look at it here instead. And don't forget to "make love; ./love"

/* -*- Mode: C -*- */
/* As you'll C, the story is as old as the language it's written in.
* We met at the library, reaching for the same book, brushing fingers
* as we connected. */


/* We started talking, talking about all the standard things people talk about
* when they meet.

#define she_said(x) printf(x "\n")
#define she_sighed() she_said()
#define she_paused() she_said()
#define she_blinked() she_said()

* She was a game tester by trade. We argued about games as if they were
* art.

int main (int argc, char *argv) {

she_said("Do you know the game called 'Pacman' ?");

int pacman;

/* I do, I said. */

int i;

/* As she spoke the library aisle turned black, and all the shelves
* turned yellow. */
char *aisle = malloc(61);

she_said("I was a tester on Pacman.");

/* Really ? I've always wondered how Pacman worked. How do the ghosts
* know how to find Pacman in a maze like that ? How did those old
* computers solve such a hard math problem so easily ? */

she_said("The ghosts just follow the smell Pacman leaves behind passing through each square.");

/* I first drew in her lovely smell, then smelled my armpits to compare.
* There was no way I was going to get out of this alive. */

she_said("It's the perfect game, because you cannot ever win. You can pop pills and eat ghosts as much as you want, but the game keeps going until you lose. Try it!");

/* And as she spoke she changed into a ghost and started floating towards me.
* I turned and ran, spreading the smell of fear and excitement, and wanting
* desperately to be eaten. */

for (pacman = 30; pacman < 60; ++pacman) { for (i = 0; i < 60; ++i) aisle[i] = ' '; aisle[61] = '\0'; aisle[(pacman - 30) * 2] = 'G'; aisle[pacman] = '<'; for (i = pacman + 1; i < 60; ++i) aisle[i] = '.'; aisle[60] = 'o'; printf("%s\r", aisle); fflush(stdout); usleep(200000); } /* As I reached the pill I stopped and turned around. */ aisle[59] = '>';
printf("%s\r", aisle); fflush(stdout);
aisle[60] = ' ';
printf("%s\r", aisle); fflush(stdout);

/* I kissed her gently on the cheek close enough to her lips to be confusing
* for the both of us. */

she_said("What are you doing ?"); // as she moved neither forwards
// nor backwards.

she_said("This isn't how you play the game. ");

/* Are you sure we are playing? Are you sure this is a game?
* If it is then the game is love. */

she_said("This isn't love. Love does not exist.");

#define LOVE 0

/* "It's invented by people who sell stuff; a program for humans to run."
* Should I really be talking about love with the ghost of a girl ?
* Was there anything I could help her with to make her real again,
* to make us real?

she_said("I miss testing Pacman. Life was so simple.");
she_said("Squares and dots and circles.");

/* She had learned to program in school, but her heart was not in it.
* She'd tried to program it, but the computer had had no love for her.

she_said("You don't have to write my program for me.");
she_said("But I'll love you forever if you do.");

// Well I am nothing if not a programmer.
// And so I started writing. And so she started loving. Test me. Forever?
// We can't ever win.

while (1) LOVE;

she_said("One day this us will end. Nothing lasts forever.");

// But she didn't know I made sure we'd never get to the end.

return LOVE;

Looking back at it, I'd have to guess I was influenced by reading Scott Pilgrim (the blinking) and Jeanette Winterson (the phrasing) at the time. And I guess I did some C programming back then.

Programming contest

Filed under: Flumotion,Fun,Work — Thomas @ 17:27


Jan and Arek entered this year's ICFP programming contest. It's a three day programming contest, so this morning they asked if they could swap their Friday project day for today to finish the contest. They seem to be in the top third at the moment.

Arek's never been a fan of long meetings, but today's standup meeting was particularly amusing with Arek urging everyone to keep focused and get out there quickly. They had less than two hours left on the clock.

71089 Spot the seven differences

Amusingly, today they came to work with almost the same shirt on, by accident! I can only assume there is a big clothes factory in Poland where they have huge stock of the same fabric...

90 minutes left, knock them dead, guys!


Filed under: Fun,Games,Spain — Thomas @ 21:53


I finally went out and bought Vin Diesel's Wheelman. It is set in Barcelona, awesome!

At least, some weird Frankenstein version of Barcelona. The map is a bit screwy, things are slightly out of place. I had read the game designers claimed they did so to make the game more dynamic, which is weird - Barcelona has one of the best city plans in the world, but these guys think they can do better than Ildefons Cerdà. So far it's just confusing.

The first mission didn't allow me to stray, but as soon as I dropped off the woman thief in Raval, I drove straight to work, to the World Trade Center. I wanted to drive underneath the hotel building, to the north building, up the stairs, and jump straight off the side, onto a ferry.

But they put FENCES in front of the World Trade Center!!! I can't get through!

I guess I'll have to take an actual plane and take the subway to work again on Monday...

Still, I already like the game. The effects are awesome, if comical. I already smashed 15 police cars into bits.

What is up with that casino just smack next to the World Trade Center though ? Hello ? It's not like it is that far to the two towers....


Filed under: Fun,Travel — Thomas @ 14:50


Tomorrow I'm leaving on an 8 day snowboarding trip. This time however, after some people dropped out for various reasons (weddings are a reason these days, go figure), we end up being just two. My best friend and me. It took us all of 10 seconds to decide whether we should still go or not.

How often does one get the chance to be 10 years younger again for just one week ? And how often do you get that chance having the experience and resources of someone 10 year older ?

I've been thinking about things I want to do that week. My current plan is that we should go up the mountain at the end of the day with sleeping bags and plastic, make an iglo, sleep in the iglo, and ride down first thing in the morning, before the lifts are open. And then go up the lifts again together with the first people, and have first slope - again.

I realize 80% of the readers have checked out by now. For those still here, please send in your tips, suggestions and comments. I don't even know if what I want to do is legal, let alone safe, and Google isn't helping me much. Anyone ever built an iglo at a ski resort to sleep in ?

Suggestions I've already had from friends:

  • don't
  • if you have to, do it in an area with trees (so the dozers don't flatten you)
  • if you die I'll hate you forever
  • I don't want to read about you in the paper
  • make holes in the iglo to not get snowed in and die of asphyxiation (actually that one's from the net)
  • seriously, don't

I should actually call up my dad - he actually builds an iglo and sleeps in it at night in his garden here in Belgium any time there is enough snow. I have bad memories of being forced as a child to go out there in the snow with bad gloves rolling up blocks for his iglo.

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