Of never feeling hot

Friday 31 December 2010, 20:31

This is a good article: Of never feeling hot. It's not written in the words I would use, but that may be a good thing, because when I write about this topic myself, I'm perennially misinterpreted. Thanks Paul for the link.

Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Wednesday 22 December 2010, 17:02

I checked out of my apartment. That involved fewer formalities than I expected - nothing to sign, just handed back the keys, and the superintendent took the smell of bleach as evidence I'd left the place clean, and thanked me - apparently not having expected it. I get the impression that expected condition for rental units on departure varies a lot province to province and maybe even city to city. I remember the place I stayed in Burnaby, which charged me a fee for not having cleaned the oven even though I did clean the oven, dammit, and what could I do, I can't exactly take them to court in a city I no longer live in over $40; and more than one where (and this was a requirement I agreed to in the lease, so it offended me much less) I had to show them a receipt for carpet steam-cleaning when I left. For me I guess how I feel about it partly depends on how I feel about the place I'm leaving - this management company in Toronto treated me well, so I was inclined to put in some effort, though I didn't go to the level of moving, and cleaning under, the stove and refrigerator, and I have the impression nobody has cleaned the top of the kitchen cupboards since the building was built 90 years ago. By the way, why do people build kitchen cupboards that neither go all the way to the ceiling, nor have enough space to put objects on top? I can see reasons for either of those designs, but not for the usual case of a few centimetres' gap.

The movers have most of my worldly goods in their care, but I took my remaining luggage down to the bus station and locked it in a locker. Then I returned my cable modem to the ISP, and headed for the U of T campus. The campus is locked down for the winter break now, but as expected, I was able to get into my office anyway, and I've been camped out here for the last few hours. In the near future I'll be putting my key under someone's door (haven't decided whose yet), collecting my luggage, and going to a friend's place for a Solstice ritual. That will use up much of the night; then I plan to nap for a few more hours, and then I'll be off to Winnipeg, thence Calgary and Victoria.


Tuesday 21 December 2010, 08:06

It meant I got just under four hours sleep, but I succeeded in finishing my packing a whole hour before the movers will be due to arrive. Now I just have to wait for them.

Nice eclipse last night, wasn't it? I guess being up late packing had the side benefit that I was awake to look at the sky.

ETA: The movers showed up and it only took them an hour to remove all my stuff. So now I have almost the whole day in which to do my last-minute errands, make my donations, and maybe even think about some holiday gift shopping.

Jane and Dundas

Monday 20 December 2010, 10:47

I took my bag of aluminum scrap to Canada Iron and Metal and they paid me four dollars for it, which is great; I would have been content to just make a present of it to someone who I'd be sure would recycle it. The trip cost me almost two hours on the last day before the movers will show up, and I'm not sure that was really a wise use of the time even if I did get four bucks; on the other hand, while I was out in that neighbourhood I saw no less than three used-clothing donation bins. So they haven't all disappeared, they've just gone into hiding. So the new plan is that I'll donate my old clothes here in Toronto after all - and I won't have to pack or ship them, and I can do the donation after the movers have left so it won't further eat into my before-they-arrive preparation time.

Now to see how much of my laundry card balance I can use up, since it's non-refundable.

The day a star is born

Saturday 18 December 2010, 19:57

This is my last posting from the desktop machine before I take it down to pack - a little earlier than I'd first planned, but I'm trying to get my packing done with as much safety margin as possible and now that the paper deadlines are past, I don't need the main computer to be online in this location any longer. I can use my laptop for networking in the next few days before my move.

Since my last Japanese lesson on the 10th, I'm on my own as far as continuing my studies, and one thing I'm doing is translating song lyrics. Another I might do is post entries on the Japanese side of this site. Anyway, although I'm not promising to share much or any of whatever is created by my learning process - it depends very much on amount and nature of reader response - I'm going to post a song translation in this entry. It seems appropriate.

More updates

Saturday 18 December 2010, 13:24

Very soon I'll be taking down and packing my main desktop computer. Although I'll still be able to read and write plain text email and make Web log postings after that, I won't really have full connectivity again until early January. In particular, you should not expect me to be able to see anything sent as an attached file, such as photos or video clips. That means you, Mom.

eWaste follow-up

Wednesday 15 December 2010, 11:14

Left the dead computer and a cardboard box full of other electronic stuff out last night for collection early this morning, as directed by the building superintendent. It appeared not to have been picked up, and my guess was that notwithstanding what the superintendent said, we do not actually have garbage pickup on Tuesday nights, only on Thursdays. So I brought the items back in just now, thinking to leave them out again tomorrow night, Thursday. In so doing, I noticed that one item had vanished from the cardboard box: the dead motherboard from the Pentium III machine. The motherboard from the dual Celeron remains. It seems unlikely that the City would have pulled out just that one item to dispose of, so my guess on that is that either (A) I misremembered what had been in the box and it was never there to begin with (unlikely), or (B) some scavenger came along, looked carefully at the items, and decided that one was valuable enough to make off with. If so, they'll learn the hard way that it is kaput.

Three cheers

Tuesday 14 December 2010, 19:05

Lest it be thought that all I do is complain, let's hear it for:

The City of Toronto Solid Waste Management Department, who answered their email promptly and informatively, and didn't give me any bullshit when I showed up at the transfer station with my household hazardous waste, notwithstanding that I was technically in violation of the rules by not having brought a vehicle.

Manitoba Telecom Services' customer service department, who not only answered their email, but actually read what I sent them and showed in their replies that they had comprehended it. I believe this is the first time I've ever seen that from a deregulated monopoly phone company. They also gave me my new phone number, on no verification stronger than an Ontario driver's license number which I'm sure they have no actual way to check.

"Kasugai 抹茶あめ". Since the transfer station is out in the portlands, near T&T, I took the opportunity to make one last visit there. My usual policy is to try at least one new item on each visit, and this time, that ended up being these green tea flavoured candies, which are teh win. They're probably also full of caffeine.

Move update

Tuesday 14 December 2010, 11:23

Starting to feel panicky about my move. The movers are coming for my stuff on the 21st. I have about half of it fully packed and sealed, and really, that does leave enough time, because most of the rest is already in boxes that just have to be checked, redistributed a bit, and sealed. My last full day in TO is the 22nd and I'm off on an early plane on the morning of the 23rd. Around the 21st will be when I take down and pack up my desktop machine. After that point I'll still have some access to the Net, but it will be limited, until the first week of January when I hope to have my desktop machine up and running in Winnipeg.

I have to put in the final version of a journal paper on the 16th - fortunately, most of the work for that is being done by my co-authors - and the initial submission of a conference paper on the 17th. That's going to be an adventure. The text is about half written; the experiments whose results will make up most of the rest are not yet complete; and there is little enough time now that it's not clear we will have enough CPU cycles in the remaining days, to actually finish those experiments. I have one co-author on that paper but he's also a co-author of several other papers for the same conference, and it looks like I have to carry the ball on the writing side. I'm due to attend a Christmas party on the evening of the 17th - can't skip, it's career-related - and expect to spend part of it sitting in the corner with my laptop making final edits and submissions. At least the weather has gotten colder. The cold is good for my experiments because it means I can lower the temperature in my apartment and that makes the computer (which is working at its limit without rest) a bit happier. I was having some thermal reliability problems earlier.

I decided the thing to do with the old clothes is to take them to Winnipeg and donate them there. I have the definite feeling that people in Winnipeg are poorer than in Toronto, and a quick check on the Net shows that there are a lot more ways to donate clothing on that end. It means doing the work of packing them, and paying for the shipping, but it also means I don't have to do the work of finding recipients on this end, which would be a type of work I particularly dislike, and would have to be done in a time-frame when my available effort is in very short supply. So once I saw it in those terms the answer became clear.

The dead computer hardware goes out with tonight's garbage. Not sure yet about the scrap aluminum - the city said they'd take it but I have my doubts about whether they'll really recycle it.

I posted a new version of the Tsukurimashou demo. I've added lowercase Latin, numerals, some tomoe ornaments, some punctuation (though Latin punctuation has a way to go), small caps, fractions, and some adjustments to existing characters. Genjimon and I Ching hexagrams are in the code but not in the demo file. Probably no more progress on this until the New Year. I've been putting off doing the katakana, but they are the logical next step.

I sent my novel, Shining Path, to the beta readers and got back comments from some of them. I've been working on the editing, and hope to have it in shape to start querying agents early in the new year.

Electric kerning

Thursday 9 December 2010, 20:57

It's not like I don't have enough projects to work on already. Nonetheless, I had an idea I thought was pretty cool, and I'm going to at least describe it here, whether I end up implementing it or not.

Okay, so: kerning. If you're setting type, you need to know where to put each glyph in relation to the previous one. In the old old days, it was easy because each glyph came on a little metal block and you'd just set them right next to each other and clamp them in place. But a computer (and, earlier, a phototypesetting machine) has the opportunity to make a decision. And if you just have a fixed bounding box for each glyph and set them side by side, you run into problems when you have situations like a capital A next to a capital V. "AV". Using the bounding boxes that would be correct for those letters in other contexts, you end up putting too much space between them. You need to squeeze them together so that part of the V projects into the space that the A, if it were next to something else, would reserve for itself. This squeezing together is called "kerning."