I’m Airto Moreira’s fan

…or, to be more specific, I'm fan of his five tracks, no more, no less. I had once a magnetic tape from my father with 4 tracks of an unknown artist. I listened to them for years and never stopped wondering, who could've made such a record. Finally, someone on the newsgroups said that it might be Airto. In fact, those four tracks came from the "I'm fine, how are you?" album. I was expecting a lot more and I found… just one track, a fifth from the same album. The remaining 3 tracks are so much worse that it really makes me wonder how the heck do they happen to be on the same album. I also sampled the new album, "Life After That", which was a disappointment.

Those five tracks are apparently recorded with a complete band, consisting of experienced jazz musicians. This base gives with Airto's Brazilian instruments and rhythms a solid base. And I think he needs it. The "Live solo" from "Live After That" has a funny beginning, but the rest sounds rather pathetic, unless you smoke dope.

And it's not like I don't like Airto, I really do! Just look on his profile on last.fm, I'm his top fan (at least at the time of writing). I just don't get, why are his records so uneven.

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Maxima + Emacs + TeX

I've got one exam to study for, and it happens to be about differential equations. It's always a good thing for me to find a computer program that aids learning. This time I was lucky: Maxima. Portage contains also a package with maxima mode for Emacs and a plugin that uses TeX to visualise the Maxima's output.

This software reminds me of Derive, a DOS program which could do calculus. I used it in the middle school to learn math, it helped me a lot. I hope Maxima will do so as well.

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Python is sweet

I've been given a nasty assignment of correcting the data in a database. The pointy-haired suggested a manual editing. Of course I'm never going to do that by hand. I'll write a program instead. I'm sure it'll cover at least 90% of cases. The remaining 10% will be edited with helper tools. The whole thing is due tomorrow.

For last (at least) half a year I didn't write a single line in Python. All the tasks could be easily accomplished with simple shell scripts, so I didn't bother with anything more complex. Today's assignment brought me back to the world of Python. And Python is sweet! I've almost forgotten how elegant the Python's syntax is.

Guh-New cash

While using Slackware, I tried to install the GNU Cash two times. No success. GNU Cash depends on a number of bizarre libraries. And those bizarre libraries depend on other, even more bizarre libraries. When you're using Slackware, you have a pretty stable but also pretty empty system. So when you get a compile error for a dependency of a dependency of the GNU Cash you get frustrated. So did I.

With Gentoo, installation boiled down to typing emerge gnucash. When I opened the application, I was thrilled. It's exactly what I need. Why didn't I use it before? Oh yeah, Slackware…

Cartesian product in Bash

Maybe you already know that, but Bash can generate a Cartesian product of number of given sets.

maciej@matilda ~ $ echo {in,out,on}{come,going}

income ingoing outcome outgoing oncome ongoing

Three sets is also not a problem.

maciej@matilda ~ $ echo {easy,hard}-{in,out}{come,going}

easy-income easy-ingoing easy-outcome easy-outgoing hard-income hard-ingoing hard-outcome hard-outgoing

Data structure a’la Robert Burton

My thesis, as a computer science writing, needs some diagrams. I tried entity-relationship and some others, but I didn’t like them too much. Browsing a book in the bookstore, I came across a very nice example of LaTeX math typesetting. I developed the idea and came up with this:

Patients and braces

My girlfriend noticed that it resembles diagrams from Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. So I put a reference in the bibliography.