29 December 2007
21 December 2007
My quest for the holy RSS grail continues. I tried Google Reader and several other web based feed readers, and they're just not convenient enough. I am addicted to feedreader.
A new version of it does support synchronization to some specified location, which is sort of what I wanted. But now I am hindered by my poor upload speed, and find that this synchronization is extremely slow.
I turned to look for U3 solutions - just install some reader on my U3-enabled USB disk. Guess what? There is no U3-compliant RSS reader (if you don't count Mozilla Thunderbird, which is too cumbersome). Feedreader claims to "work with U3", but it doesn't.
Finally I read in Wikipedia that the U3 format is about to become obsolete, just two months after I bought it.
20 December 2007
19 December 2007
Today Word 2007 corrupted a doc file Aya was working on. The repair function from inside Word failed to work, and a Google search revealed a myriad of word repair tools - some of them don't work, and some of them not free.
Gmail managed to easily convert the doc to HTML, and then opening this HTML with Word provided a version of the document. The problem was of course that all the hebrew and symbols got misplaced (text direction problems and the like).
Finally I found the perfect solution - OpenOffice. A quick download (~120mb) and install, and I managed to easily open the original corrupt doc and resave it.
17 December 2007
Ron wants to Share his Favorites with you
He likes 68 pages, 4 videos
He has 1 fan
Meet people that like the same things you do on StumbleUpon.
I've added you as a friend
16 December 2007
עדכון - אחרי שראיתי היום שמישהו אשכרה חיפוש "תואר בביולוגיה" בגוגל והגיע לדף הזה, החלטתי להעביר את המשחק לשרת יותר נורמלי מהמחשב הישן של ההורים שלי. נו שיהיה.
משהו שהכנתי מזמן בשביל איה.
עשוי לשעשע אתכם, אבל לא מובטח.
כנסו אם בא לכם
First of all, Bee Movie is a good one.
Second, you can view my movie preferences at this page or stay updated on them by this RSS feed.
Third, regardless of my preferences, you should use MovieLens to recommend you of new movies matching your taste. It's a simple recommender system for movies.
For me, the link for my movie recommendations does not work on Firefox. It does work on explorer, and the entire site works well on Firefox. Weird.
14 December 2007
I think RTS games are currently wrong. What do I mean by that?
Current RTS games do test strategy and tactics, but they also require a high degree of micro-management. Top Starcraft players are measured by their APM, and a player with high thinking skills but a less than agile hand is at a disadvantage. The anticipatd Starcraft 2 doesn't seem to hold great promise to change this.
What I want is this: In addition to the point-and-click action we all know (and love), I want RTS games to offer me strategy/tactics menus. I want to be able to order the computer AI things like:
- "build the base, 10 drones, and the entire tech tree up to Guardian . Then build 10 of these and 25 Mutalisks and send them after the nearest Terran opponent.
- "Organize all my troups into battle formations while leaving 10% on defense and go search & destroy all opponents"
- "Build up to 3 overlords and scout for Vespene gas. Once found, take a drone there to build a base. Once the base nears completions, send other drones there to mine the gas".
Such commands should be easily programmable in the game as it ships. Special player-made commands could be added before and during a game. The player's major role should be to select and define strategies, not to gather up individual drones to build structures or to micro-manage an attack. Of course, as I said, the micromanagement can stay, but it must not be how you spend the better part of a game.
Note that most of the "strategy commands" I want are probably already present at some form inside the computer's native AI player. As a player, I want to have access to this AI and parts of it. Once this is developed enough, I can imagine different Starcraft tournaments where players are only allowed to pre-program the strategy.
Now I wonder how long till these ideas become reality and how difficult it would be to program a extension for the existing Starcraft that accomplishes something like this.
13 December 2007
After some posts containing only links I thought I'd update a bit on other recent events:
1. LAN Party at Oren's place. Great games of Starcraft and UT. I still hold it again Zelner for dropping out 2 minutes after the start of a game, where him, his brother and I were against 4 players. That left only Ari and me vs the other four players. We fought bravely, but lost as expected. This was the first LAN party in which I actually somewhat enjoyed a game of Call of Duty. Next party should be held sometime after Starcraft 2 and UT3 are out.
2. A week of diving in Eilat with the family. Well, we dived only a small portion of the week due to the cold water running nose. Aya started her 1st star diving course, but unfortunately failed to complete it because of an ear infection. BTW, except for weekends, Eilat is a ghost town in the winter (and with good reason :).
3. In January I'm going to snowboard in France for 8 days, with Jonathan, Pisnoy and more.
4. A small breakthrough with my thesis. After about a month of being stuck, I managed to prove something :) Huzza for me.
5. I joined Facebook, but am still very neutral/ignorant towards it. Luckily I refuse to install any applications or causes. I do like its image tagging mechanism though.
That's it folks. After a long time of being away from Herzelia, Aya and I are heading south for the weekend. CYA.
My entire childhood is based on a lie. From A List of Common Misconceptions, "Lemmings do not engage in suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating".
... Just read the next sentence - "Photographers later pushed the lemmings off a cliff using a broom". Horrible.
12 December 2007
30 November 2007
I'm seriously thinking of switching to Google Reader (from Feedreader).
- Ability to check feeds on other computers, instead of pile up a large chunk of feeds to check at night.
- Ability to quickly mark favorite posts so my readers (you) can get them, instead of having to write a separate post for every post I like.
Cons: Not having a popup on a new item (which can be a boon during movies).
I think I'm switching :)
In the meantime, here's the crappy graph of the day:
28 November 2007
25 November 2007
24 November 2007
21 November 2007
In this article Steven explains how he used Google to find the password for a given MD5 hash for a user that hacked into his site.
In one of the comments a reader points to this website that offers a direct database of md5 hashes. You enter a string and get its MD5, you enter an MD5 and (if it's known) you get the original string.
The database only works on known (text, MD5) pairs. If I ask for the text of an MD5 the db hasn't seen before, it won't give an answer.
I use a single password to all my internet activities, because I'm lazy. So I almost went ahead and entered that password into the md5 database in order to check if the md5 is known. Then I realized how stupid this would be - it would actually add the information to the db, and actually reveal to the world my password.
Instead I privately checked what my MD5 is (using this C# code), then entered the MD5 into the DB to check if it knows the original password.
The result? No it doesn't :)
20 November 2007
19 November 2007
טוב שהם לא נסחפים :)
From: GSO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Nov 19, 2007 11:06 AM
Subject: מזמינים אותך להיאבק ביחד, ולא להיכנע כי "ככה זה"
לסטודנטים, למתרגלים ולמרצים שלום,
כפי שרבים ורבות מאיתנו ודאי שמעו, אנו נמצאים בימים אלה בשלבים ראשוניים של הקמת ארגון עובדים יציג של הסגל הזוטר בטכניון. זוהי יוזמה בעלת חשיבות רבה, אשר הצלחה שלה תביא לשיפור דרמטי הן בתנאי העסקתנו, הן בבזכויותינו ומעמדנו כמורים.
כדי שמהלך כזה יוכל להצליח, דרושים לנו - כציבור וכפרטים - כלים של ידע ושל תודעה על מצבנו אנו, על המתרחש באוניברסיטאות אחרות, ועל המשמעויות החוקיות והמשפטיות של קיום ארגון עובדים.
לשם כך, אנו מזמינים אתכם ואתכן ל מיני-קורס של למידה אקטיבית בנושא. קראו את כל הפרטים בקישור הבא:
הקורס מתקיים בשיתוף עם המכללה החברתית כלכלית.
17 November 2007
14 November 2007
13 November 2007
Today I came with with an idea for a cool feature for RSS clients. What I want is intelligent filtering like StumbleUpon - users would click "I like it" or "I like it not" on RSS items, and the client could learn a user's "taste" and prioritize future items. Google revealed someone just thought of this about 2 weeks ago. Still, I don't want to pay 20$ for an RSS reader, and I don't want a reader that specializes in this, I want this as just another feature of a standard RSS reader, so I went on to try and add this to some existing open source RSS client.
I immediately found NClassifier, an open source .NET text classifier. Looks promising.
For an RSS client I mainly found Rssbandit. A bit ugly, but I could work with that.
Then, crash. I spent several good hours just trying to get the blasted code. At first I naively thought perhaps the code would be attached to some version of the installer. Nope. I went to the CVS, installed TortoiseCVS, and failed to login with a blank password. At this point I decided to try accessing the SVN version, since I'm already familiar with SVN. I managed to get the code, but it did not build due to a LicenseException :(
I figured the SVN version might be different from the CVS, so I went back to my efforts to use TortoiseCVS, and succeeded ... to connect. In SVN, I could just get the entire latest version. In CVS, I had to choose "packages" to download. Trying some packages, I found that TortoiseSVN does download, only it deletes the downloaded file just at the end of the download. ARG!
I really don't understand why this entire process has to be so complicated. This entire process should have taken half an hour, including downloading the code, modifying and initial testing. Why almost every time you download open source code, it never compiles on the first build. Why the SVN and CVS versions are different.
I still like my idea of intelligent, learning RSS reader. If anyone has more knowledge in the mysterious ways of Sourceforge and wants to help, call.
What's amusing, beyond the Kill Bill 2 analogy, is that "hacking" and "algorithm complexity" are almost orthogonal concepts. An 1337 hacker doesn't necessarily knows his algorithms, and of course algorithm designer (אלגוריתמיקאי?) is usually a lousy hacker if anything.
12 November 2007
Some hard drives now come with pre-installed Trojans and viruses. Genius!
Always make sure to format your disk on purchase. I wonder if some of the non-original Windows systems out there on bittorrent might have the same viruses. Or if the original MS Windows might also...
11 November 2007
10 November 2007
07 November 2007
28 October 2007
Fun fun fun game :)
It's been a while since I laughed like this:
"The Enrichment Center is required to remind you that you will be baked, and then there will be cake."
BTW, finishing it is worth it just for the end song alone. More on wikiquote.
25 October 2007
22 October 2007
Finally, after six year of at least partial absence, I'm a full-time student once again. I'm back at the Technion for one semester (hopefully) to complete my thesis and master degree.
I must say I missed the academic atmosphere very much these past years. I do miss a few aspects of working in a team though. It's somewhat less fun coming to empty office in the morning and just sitting there busting your brains on a theoretical problem, compared to being in a chaotic 10 man software team with people coming and going all the time.
BTW, I'm teaching Introduction to Computer Science this semester (again), and we're finally moving from Turbo C (written in 1992) to Visual Studio C++ Express. I'm giving the "VS Express Usage" presentations next week - wish me luck.
18 October 2007
A friend told me of a friend of his with "the perfect mangal formula", that accounts for a lot of variables and calculates exactly how much meat you need for a good BBQ. This is the first time I see something like this actually implemented, and with all the other "dishes" as well.
16 October 2007
Amusing, though familiar. What's more amusing is that my dad just sent this to my mom. I wonder...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Juraj Gross
Date: Oct 11, 2007 12:04 PM
Subject: Fwd: FW: שלט ברמת גן !!-מדהים!!!!!!!
To: "Eva Gross (Messinger)"
Subject: FW: שלט ברמת גן !!-מדהים!!!!!!!
Link to the picture, sorry about the broken picture. I don't know what's the problem with blogger's forwarding, but I'll try and remember that.
15 October 2007
מה היה בסוריה:
אין לי מושג מי המקור
מתקן צבאי-מדעי, בו הרכיבו מדענים צפון-קוראניים 3 פצצות אטום שיוצרו בצפון קוריאה. הפצצות הועברו לסוריה באניה כשהן מפורקות .
2 מטוסי חמקן אמריקאיים, 4 מטוסי F15 ו4 מטוסי F16 של חיל האויר. מטוס ישראלי אחד לפחות נפגע מטיל אך הצליח לשרוד ולחזור לבסיס. המכם הסורי לא גילה את מטוסי החמקן, ומבחינת הסורים - רק מטוסים ישראליים נטלו חלק במבצע .
מטוס החמקן האמריקאי שיגר לעבר הבסיס הסורי פצצת אטום טקטית מדגם TGU4880 A בעלת עצמה של 30 kt שאר המטוסים רק ליוו אותו. מטוס החמקן השני נשא עימו פצצת אטום של 65 kt למקרה ויתברר שהפצצה הראשונה לא הצליחה לפצח את הבונקרים שבבסיס .
הבסיס הסורי פשוט נעלם ! לא מבנים, לא דרכים, לא מתקנים, אפילו לא הריסות, כלום ! במקום בו היה הבסיס יש פשוט ביקעה גדולה !
הסורים הראשונים שהיגיעו למקום וחיפשו לשוא את הבסיס - היו בהלם !
הסורים עדיין בהלם. העובדה שמחקו להם בסיס כה סודי ומבוצר מפחידה אותם. לא לחינם אמר ראש אגף מודיעין כי ההרתעה כלפי סוריה חודשה.
מובן שהם אינם יכולים לספר מה השמידו להם, כי בכך יודו בכוונותייהם הזדוניות. הם גם לא מעיזים לספר כי נזרקה עליהם פצצת אטום, ומובן שגם ארה"ב וישראל ממלאות פיהם מים.
הסורים, הצפון קוראנים, האירנים בכעס עצום על ישראל. יש לצפות לפעולת תגמול בסדר גודל שווה ערך לפעולה. פעולה כזו עלולה להצית תבערה כללית בעולם.
14 October 2007
11 October 2007
I'll make this a short one since I'm on a Dimitry's internet, and he is stealing it from the neighbours :)
This tuesday I got officially released from the army and into reserve duty. It's depressing that they have to spoil this beautiful day by reminding me I'll be called back to the army for the rest of my life, but I guess it will be nice to see that place once enough time passes.
Yesterday we moved to our new apartment in Haifa. The move went extremly well, with very cheap yet very proffesional movers (Segal/Aviva moving). We are progressing well with our unpacking and are excited about our new home. You will soon be invited to drop by and visit.
08 October 2007
06 October 2007
05 October 2007
You obviously know the 1-800 numbers that provide free phone calls to businesses.
The problem is that dialing these numbers from a cellphone costs almost regular fees. I now saw in The Yellow Pages an option to have the business call you. It works well, and really fast.
Any of you that don't care about Magic: The Gathering can skip on to the next post.
Last weekend I was at my first pre-release in 3 years. I played a solid faeries deck with 3 copies Boggart Sprite-Chaser, which was always , for me, a 2/3 flying creature for 2 mana.
Unfortunately my deck had no bombs, except Wort, Boggart Auntie, which was almost always killed the turn I played it :(
I went 3-0 for my first 3 games, and even managed to kill an incarnation and win. Then I got kicked in the face with the broken Cloudthresher which demolished my army of faries and proceeded to terminate me.
That's what I hate about limited - bombs other people get :)
After another loss (at 3-2) I left the game in favor of a draft. I figured I had no chance to win something at the main event. I was wrong. It turns out places 9-16 were filled with people with four victories, so I could definitely have won 1-5 boosters. I ended up winning two boosters in the draft though, which was nice.
28 September 2007
19 September 2007
15 September 2007
13 September 2007
06 September 2007
05 September 2007
03 September 2007
Today I took Eli's challenge (whether he intended it as such or not not :).
Among other things, he mentioned on his blog his opinion that LISP is a more powerful programming language than C#. He offered Practical as an example of LISP's power. Practical is a very simple database built using very few lines of codes.
The challenge I took on myself is to code Practical in C# and compare the implementation with the one given in LISP.
It took me 2-3 hours to read the link on Practical and code it in C#, and I wrote a great deal more lines of code than what I saw in the LISP code. So in a simple contest, C# (or just me as a coder) lost.
However, here are my thoughts:
- About 80% of the code I wrote is general purpose. It simulates abilities already existing in LISP. General-purpose classes I wrote are:
- ConsoleReader - Reading any class from the Console.
- DefaultFormatter> and ListFormatter - Pretty-print any object or list.
- Functors - Functors in C# are called delegates. I didn't find (nor looked too hard) for functions to combine, negate and manipulate delegates - so I wrote some.
- MoreXmlSerializer - As a naming convention, I like to name MoreFoo any class that contains methods that I believe should have been in Foo from the start, where Foo is some class supplied by the framework. Starting at C# 3.0, the ability to add methods to existing classes is supported, so I could adjust the naming convention accordingly.
- StringConverter - Convert a string to to a given (dynamic) type.
Besides this code, the actual Practical C# code is very small and concise.
- ConsoleReader - Reading any class from the Console.
- The C# code is type safe. I'm not aware of type-safety in LISP, though as I said I'm not a LISP pro.
- The code I wrote is in C# 2.0. Some new features in C# 3.0 should help make it a bit more concise (especially lambda expressions and LINQ).
I think this experiment didn't change my opinion greatly. Yes, functional programming is good. It exists in C# as well as in LISP. Yes, LISP handles lists very well. But, not everything is life (or in programming) should be represented as a list.
I'm attaching my code here. If you have suggestions or comments, please let me know. Also, once I install Visual Studio 2008 (I'll probably wait for the final release), I might try coding this in C# 3.0 and see how it helps the cause.
02 September 2007
28 August 2007
27 August 2007
26 August 2007
23 August 2007
I just realized I haven't checked my RSS feeds all week. This reason for this is not a 4 day hike or lack of internet connection (though I have been having trouble with the latter).
I finally found some time to play World of Warcraft. I've been wanting to do this for several years now, and finally I got the time.
It's very addictive - I'm especially impressed with the graphical design and the sheer size of the world. You have a town, inside a country, inside a continent, inside a world, inside a multiverse. Lots of space to explore. The capital cities are also very impressive. I would attach some pictures, but they don't really represent the 3D experience.
Playing alone would get old after a while, luckily I have Aya that enjoys playing with me. If any of you have some time to kill and wanna try this out and play together, let me know :)
BTW, I'm still on the 10 days free account, but the ways things look I'm going to purchase an account, and possibly Aya as well.
18 August 2007
13 August 2007
In an effort to free up some Gmail space after running out of it, I searched for ".ppt" and ".pps" to find all powerpoint slides in my box. ALL ".pps" files and almost all ".ppt" were indeed well-intended spam. Deleting some of them helped me get down to only 91% full, and then I encountered the following message. It would have been amusing under different circumstances.
12 August 2007
Geni is a free genealogy website. It has an extremely easy user interface, and allows you to build and maintain a family tree in minutes.
Your tree is shared among your family, who can edit and expand it themselves. A classic Web 2.0 website - too bad I didn't think of that :)
11 August 2007
In the constant evolutionary battle between spam and spam filters, we keep seeing new tricks spammers are using. Today, I got this message (passed my Gmail spam filter).
I tried just copying the text from my mail, but this malformed HTML messed up not only this post, but also other posts on my blog - so instead I'm attaching an image.
10 August 2007
First, the simpler one. A really cool algorithm that finds holes of any shape in a given image, and "patches" them from an exiting bank of other images. This might be similar technology to Photosynth.
Second, a historical moment for Computer Science. It appears the first NP-Complete problem has been solved in polynomial time. They use some sort of "optical solution" and not a Turing machine, and the number of photons used is proportional to N^N. I don't know if this will have deep theoretical implecations (haven't read the article yet), but it's interesting (to C.S geeks).
If you remember, when Gmail first appeared, Google promised us "we'll never have to delete another email". It's now all about searching your email, and Google will take care of the storage problem for you.
This sounds reasonable, considering file attachments take up most of the space, and Google can easily detect identical files through a (really big) hash table and store only a single copy of every file.
However, I'm currently at 95% capacity of my alloted storage. It's not my fault, I'm getting big emails, and not deleting them, just as Google asked. I even tried to search for all my large mails so I can delete them in one swoop, but it's impossible using the current Gmail interface.
Today, I login and find this message. Gmail is kindly offering me to purchase additional storage. Thank you very much! What's the matter, AdSense not bringing in enough revenue anymore?
This gives me a really bad taste, especially as Yahoo! are now offering unlimited storage for free, for the last couple of months.
A bad one for you, Gmail.
09 August 2007
I'm writing a web crawler in C#, and getting it to perform well was really annoying.
I tried simply using ThreadPool.QueueUserWorkItem() to queue up my requests to multiple threads. Each thread just ran WebClient.DownloadString().
While the threads did run in parallel, it turned out WebClient had an inherent lock.
I tried messing with the ConnectionManagementSection, but that turned out read-only.
After some Google, I found that the configuration can only be changed by modifying the machine.config or user.config files! Seems pretty stupid to me.
After doing that simply didn't work either, I found this code that helped me through. I still don't know exactly why WebClient.DownloadString() doesn't work, but after some tweaking I got to about 2.5 pages pre second. Still not top speed, but way better than the 0.5 pages/second I started with.
08 August 2007
07 August 2007
Yay, I'm getting a super birthday this year!
This week started with my Kung Fu team moving to a fresh new dojo and celebrating it with a 2.5 hour practice.
Yesterday we played some 2 headed giant Magic: The Gathering game.
Today I'm having a Release Drink (שתיית שחרור)!
Tomorrow there's another practice.
Thursday I'm doing an "Out Trip Form" (טופס טיולים יוצא - לפעמים אנגלית זה נוראי). Aya is organizing some secret game. She won't tell anyone the details, but I managed to guess it :) You're all invited, by the way.
Friday I think I'll celebrate with my family
Sauterday, we'll christen our new surfing half-board (בוגי).
Sunday, I'm getting reassigned to the Kirya, then vacation for 2 months, then I'm a true civillian!
That's all folks
06 August 2007
04 August 2007
Aya, Eran and myself watched this one very closely, to make sure she doesn't change the direction of the spin, and that it's all in our heads.
It was hard to convince ourselves, but we finally admitted it. We humans are fucked up.
After playing some poker one on one versus Aya on the train today, we played some Texas Holdem tonight. Since we're not playing for money, I keep an imaginary balance of my wins/losses. If I pay 10 imaginary dollars per game, I'm currently at -30$ total :(
Shimi and Aya won the Holdem games, and it was, as poker nights are usuelly, as very funny night. My personal favorite activity during poker games is trying to guess other players' cards, telling them what I think they have, and advising (commanding :) them on how to proceed. For some reason, it seems to convince the other players I actually know what I'm talking about. If I did, I wouldn't be at a -30$ balance, wouldn't I?
31 July 2007
I too now have an ugly tag cloud (the thing at the right with all the tags).
I suck at styling so I'll keep it ugly for now.
The code for doing it is here.
Yes, I know the cloud has very little meaning now as most of my tags are one-ofs. Still.
28 July 2007
It appears one of Wikipedia's admins may have been a secret agent.
I'm not clear on what anybody would accomplish by that, as Wikipedia is transparent - anyone could see the false information that was allegedly planted into Wikipedia, anyone could edit it.
26 July 2007
24 July 2007
As most of you know, I'm a wiki and Wikipedia junkie.
And yet I keep having arguments with people that claim the wikipedia model can't work, it's not reliable, bla bla bla.
This list of places where Wikipedia was right and Britannica wrong just got referenced from SlashDot.
And it's not only minor mistake, one very notable mistake in Britanica is claiming that the size of the real numbers of Aleph 1. Take a look and find your favorite error :)
23 July 2007
22 July 2007
The wet dream of medical researchers has been achieved - the vaccine for AIDS is here (ready for clinical tests, that is).
After being with a biologist for 2 years, I can't help but thinking this is not necessarily a good thing. Sure, the vaccine might work on 99.9% of the people, but there a good chance the rest of the viruses will evolve and mutate into something even more resistant.
Aya here says that it might even become airborne, since the vaccine is now messing with parts of the virus DNA which have been pretty constant now.
And the worst part is that none of this is can be tested in the lab. You can't really predict what the outcome of releasing this "cure" will be by testing in a lab.
21 July 2007
Sad but predictable.
This always happens with Starcraft, even at lan parties.
- Everybody has a different starcraft version, some might not play nice with others.
- We tried playing over the internet with hamachi (lan simulator). I think this failed because Starcraft doesn't let you configure the network interface to listen on, so it probably chose the real NIC and not the fake one hamachi created.
- While 2 of us have real Battlenet keys, the others could not connect to BN. Spawnning the game didn't help (and why would it, actually?)
20 July 2007
19 July 2007
As I'm finally getting freed from the Pits of Despair, I'll start spending a bit more time on the internet. I believe sending interesting emails to large groups of people is one way to keep in touch, but Yigael wisely commented that a blog might be a better solution instead of just spamming you all.
I agree. So without further bullshit, I too have a blog now.
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