April 20, 2008

These are my terms

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — alsuren @ 2:34 pm

These terms do not just apply to romantic love: they also apply to my friends, and to my academic interests:
Do not expect my love without reason. I will love you for the reasons that you present to me in the form of your strengths.
Do not let me believe that I can be loved without reason: If I cannot strive to earn your love, I cannot love you.
Do not believe that I am bound to you love you just because I have loved you in the past.
Do not expect me to tell you that I love you if I don’t. If I am unsure, I will tell you that I don’t .

If you wish to meet me on these terms, I will meet you on these terms. If you wish to be met on any other terms, state them and they will be considered. I will attempt to keep a revised list of my terms up on my wiki.


April 17, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — alsuren @ 6:57 pm

*doesn’t know why he bothers with titles, when they contain nothing that’s not in the tags*

This is the feedback I got from IBM:

Your strongest exercise was your “Standard Interview”. You provided sound
examples of your drive and leadership, not only in technological
situations but also in your other interests. You clearly highlighted your
interest in developing your technical skills and proved yourself to hold a
great passion for technology.

That’s interesting, because I thought that went horribly. Seems they were trying to work out what I was good at here.

Your weakest exercise was the “Communications” exercise. It was felt that,
in both your letter and your presentation, you could have delivered your
answers in a more clear and concise fashion.

That’s not surprising: I didn’t have the first clue what they were wanting from me there. If I’ve not posted about that exercise already, poke me already.

Your strongest competency was your “analytical reasoning”. You displayed a
very logical approach to problem solving and a clear ability to cope with
complex issues. You analysed scenarios well and constructed logical
responses based on sound ideas.

Yeah: that was probably because of my efficient data structures that helped us infer our only correct piece of information, and my failed attempt at using algebra to solve a “5 people sitting on chairs” problem.

Your weakest competency was your “planning and organisation”. It was felt
that your presentation did not address the question in hand, which would
have been resolved with clear planning of the task.

Now that’s fucking annoying: I thought they were trying to work out what I was good at with this one, so I showcased a load of my projects, and hoped they would explain “Why am I suited to a career in Information Technology”. Seems they wanted me to spell it out to them. Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to learn how to jump through hoops better.

In other news, it seems that there is a permalink button on OpenStreetMap. If you click it, then change the lat and lon to mlat and mlon, you get a marker. It may be primitive, but I will certainly be using it for all linkerizing in the future: it’s much more convenient than adding points to , and hilariously more detailed than Google Maps.

If you wish to compare:

and;xx=1700;yy=1040;mt=a;mx=1770;my=1122;ma=180;tl=Little St Mary’s Hostel

Also, There’s rumours of being able to embed it as well. I’ll see if I can get that working shortly.

April 6, 2008

Private Lesson

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — alsuren @ 9:58 am

In Body related news, I think my back is strengthening up again. Mostly because I’ve been doing lots of dancing. I expect that by the end of LLX, I’ll be up for aerials and whatnot.

I had a private lesson with Gerald yesterday. We did a lot of body control and posture stuff, which was good for me. It took a lot of time to get started, because my posture is really quite bad. I’m not sure whether we genuinely fixed it, or whether it was a case of “That’s as good as it’s going to get. Let’s move on.” The idea of splitting your body into two sections and controlling them separately is useful. It lets you be aware of where they both are makes it easier to notice when you break your core, and feed back this information to correct it next time. Everything else we did really stems from there.

In my understanding, it seems that when you’re dancing basics, there are 3 things that you should be monitoring: your chest section, your pelvis section, and your partner’s chest section. Once you can be sure that you’re controlling your own sections, you should notice when one of them is not where you want it, and feedback (subtly) on the next basic, to correct.

The really intriguing part of the lesson was the end: When we were finishing off, I was quite quick to say “I have my cheque book”, which was a little “I have just bought that time and knowledge off you” of me. His response was difficult to interpret: He was very reluctant to take money in payment. Now I initially thought that this was because he didn’t want to take money from a student, but I’m not so sure: He asked me if I could teach *him* anything that would be interesting to him, so that it could be a knowledge exchange. When I eventually managed to force some money on him, I felt like it wasn’t nearly as much as the lesson was worth to me.

The exchange showed me that we seem to share a few important ideas: “Knowledge is worth more than money, so any exchange involving money will always be unfair.” Also: “It’s better to come off worse in a deal. That way, the other party will always feel the need to repay the debt.” The thing I *didn’t* realise was that he did a PhD in computer vision and augmented reality (this came out when I was trying to think of things I could teach him). Not only that, but he did a couple of years in industry before doing it. Now I was planning to do about 4 years in industry before going for a PhD, but I can see why it might be a good idea to do it after 2. I think I have even more respect for him now.

So we come to the problem of “What can you teach a man who has spent N more years exploring the same stuff you’re interested in?”

The only thing that I’ve thought of so far is that I might be able to teach him some linux crap: He knows C/C++, but uses windows XP on his laptop. He doesn’t use java or C#, so he’s unlikely to be locked in by the same stuff that Alex is screwed by. It might be that he already uses it, but needs windows for iTunes, or it might be that he simply doesn’t use it (for whatever reason).

In the first case, I could show him around Amarok, and tailor my moodbar project to him (he has trouble picking songs that have the right tempo, and he said that it would be useful). In the second case, I could probably tweak a distro for him, and show him around. I expect it would be OpenSuse, or Hardy with instructions to just do security updates, because Ubuntu’s upgrade process has fucked up too many of my friends’ installs.

In other news, I found a way to get around my problem of having no access to external servers on which to play teeworlds: Set up my own on :D. If anyone fancies a game: prod me, and I’ll fire it up again. Because it registers itself on the internet, you get lots of random players joining, which is cool. I might see if I can mod the server to gather some statistics. See if I can train a bot or something. That way, if attacks me for running an IP server on PWF, I can say that it’s a research project, relevant to my course.

April 4, 2008

Last Few Days, Sony Interview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — alsuren @ 12:02 am

I have picked myself back up from my “Week long Easter Break”, and been pretty productive. Yesterday and the day before included reasonable stints in the library, and I expect another full day’s work tomorrow. I think that Rob’s Tetley is helping a lot. I should probably think about reimbursing him at some point (or maybe buying myself some PG tips, because it’s a slightly less disturbing colour).

Also: sony bprl interview today was fun. It seems like it was organised by the engineers, rather than the hr people, and was a lot more inspiring than IBM’s: It was basically a chance to look at some cool [blue sky and almost-production] projects, see a few of them go wrong, and discuss some cool algorithms.

Included in the example projects was a scene localisation and overlay system (the demo overlays 3d pieces on a chess board, but was jittering horribly, because they were concentrating on detailed precision, and didn’t have a good technique to get a prior belief about where the chess board is likely to be *roughly*)

Another cool project was a content tagging, organisation, search and distribution system (though I heard it was being dropped). The user interface was a bit horrible and buggy, but it had some cool applications of the machine intelligence stuff we’ve done in the image processing and pattern processing courses. Also, I hear “bespoke metadata management system==fail”. Give me RDF any day. I was talking to Sally about that just this morning, before heading off to interview.

Also, there was a video-streaming-over-wifi app for use at football games (broadcast, <2Mbps to the PSP, fine under load test with 200 PSPs, production ready enough to be mentioned on the bprl site. I wonder how much it would cost to fully stress test the system until failure :P); and a set of ASICs for image enlargement and deinterlacing in HD (Shame they failed so horribly on the )

All considered, I reckon I would really enjoy working at BPRL. Made me realise that my CV was aimed in completely the wrong direction. I have added a section on my icon grid, and actually documented it (at Hopefully I can get a placement on one of the interesting projects, even if it is just QA.

April 2, 2008

I hear this game is made of win.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — alsuren @ 9:40 pm

Unfortunately, I can’t get to the servers on the internets, so people will need to go to

Past few weeks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — alsuren @ 9:20 pm

It seems that I fail horribly. I decided that I would go home over Easter, so that I would be able to go from London to my IBM interview. As a result, I didn’t do any work from Good Friday through to now (I have yet to really start: the last two days have been spent doing only a very few hours each)

I was lent The Fountainhead by Mandy, back in 6th form, so when I saw it and Atlas Shrugged in the library sale, I had to get them. The last 2 weeks have been spent almost exclusively reading Atlas Shrugged. It has some interesting ideas, but I think that The Fountainhead covers a lot of similar ideas in a nicer way. There are parts of Atlas Shrugged where she plays on a theme too long: I was expecting to finish the last few hundred pages pretty quickly, but I got to a certain point, and then noticed that there was a 50-page monologue in front of me, so I just went to sleep instead and skipped the monologue entirely. I have since half-listened to a recording of the monologue, and it doesn’t seem to say much that wasn’t said elsewhere in the book.

One thing that it does do quite well is theorise how “from him according to his ability, to him according to his need” will fail (turning into “to each according to his want”, which could be worse than the capitalist ideal of linking ability and reward).

I am also quite interested in Rand’s concept of love. I won’t try to outline it here, for fear of being corrected, but essentially greed for the {recognition | respect | enjoyment} of another.

In other news, While I think that it could have been done less forcefully, I believe that MS office having an ISO branded document format as its default is a step forward compared to .doc. The next step from here is to encourage governments to support at least one (or both) ISO document formats.

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