There's been a lot of posts and slides available from FOSDEM (The Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting) these last few days. Besides blogposts, some videos from the talks have also started to show up. The presentation on OpenMoko(1h .avi) was very interesting, even if the sound was a bit bad. They go through the current status of the project and what plans they have in store. It was also hinted that they'll do some kind of update to the hardware between phase 1 (for developers) in March and the official launch in September (Phase 2). What the update will be is not known yet. An official video of the talk will be available soon.

The X-Org video(1h .ogg) was also really interesting and I can't wait for the X-Org 7.3 with RandR 1.2 where hotplugging of both input and output should "just work".

I'm convinced that events like FOSDEM are very beneficial to everyone who shows up. Meeting people in person is always different from talking via phone, email or chat and just feels more friendly. Humans definitely communicate best face to face.


Staying creative

Ken Robinson who wrote Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative is also an excellent speaker. I particularly like this quote from his TED talk last year:
"Picasso once said that all people are born artists, and the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it, or rather we get educated out of it."
There's a great video of the talk over at TED Talks, please take a look.

I believe this quote is true and you can feel it if you're stuck doing uninspiring work or just watching pointless tv shows that don't make you think. There are some good tv shows that are worth watching, but I feel that the majority of them slowly kills creativity and sucks away all inspiration.

Same thing goes for the current school system. It suffocates the creativity of young people and something needs to be done about it. The status of being a teacher is not high enough and the schools never get enough resources to make studying fun. Some of us who likes to read had it easy in school, but some people just aren't made to sit still at a desk all day. I also believe there should be possible to study at different speeds. There's no point in stressing out the slower students and boring the quick ones when doing the work in your own pace is possible.

I think smaller classes would work a lot better but unfortunately there's no money for anything like that. Also, I think the parents play a huge part in their kids success. This article in New York Magazine is a great example of what can happen. I believe that hard work and being able to focus is the key. Sure, everyone starts from a slightly different position, but where you take it mainly depends on the effort you put in and really wanting to get there.

Don't let the fear of failure hinder you from reaching your goals.



Just read a great post over at The Loom about tapeworms. Parasites are nasty creatures and it's something that's both scary and interesting to learn more about. Something about living inside another living creature and crawl around makes me squirm. Here's a quote from that post about Monogeneans:
Some monogeneans give birth to offspring without releasing them from their bodies. Their offspring mature inside them and give birth as well. Like a hideous Russian doll, a monogenean may contain twenty generations of descendents inside its body!
How weird is that? How do they evolve when the offspring living inside itself like this? Carl Zimmer who writes on this blog is an author of some very interesting posts and books, for example Parasite Rex.

The Fabric of the Cosmos

Last night I finished Brian Greene's excellent popular physics book The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. I would recommend it to any one interested in theoretical physics or just curious about how far the scientists have come in trying to understand our universe.

The book is quite a heavy read, 493 pages plus a lot of endnotes and references. Having read The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory I can say that The Fabric of the Cosmos (TFotC) is an even better book. It takes up some of the same theories mentioned in Elegant Universe, but includes a lot more about The Big Bang and general relativity. In TFotC Greene starts out with water in a spinning bucket hundreds of years ago, through the discoveries of general relativity, the uncertainties involved in quantum mechanics to the latest super string theories, finding the key to "the arrow of time" along the way.

It's not easy to describe all this in a way that makes in understandable to people who aren't theoretical physicists, but Greene does a great job. It's barely any mathematical formulas or equations, instead he relies on similes and methaphores to get the point through.

Overall it's a very thought provoking book. In the middle of the book there's a lot of discussion about spacetime and the implications of quantum mechanics and general relativity. The more you learn about these things, the more obvious it seems that there is no such thing as free will. I find this very difficult to accept and my mind opposes it, but it's hard to contradict his logic reasoning.

I find the chapter on entropy and the arrow of time to be well written and the examples he is using are very fitting. Sometimes he gets a bit too excited over the numbers, printing a page or two with zeroes trying to describe the enormous values of some probability or metric. It's still well beyond what you can grasp.

Even if Greene is a strong supporter of string theory, he does a fair comparison between that and Loop Quantum Gravity in the last chapter of the book. But I still think that the way the book is written, most people will convinced that Branes in superstring and M-theory is the way to go.

As a final grade, I'll give it 8/10. It's a great book, but you really need to focus and think while reading.



Been reading some very good posts and articles about the term genius lately. First, this absolutely hilarious short story written by Isaac Asimov. It really brings home the point. There's so many different kinds of intelligence, but unfortunately the logic and mathematical intelligence seems to be the only one that counts.

A great blog I'm following is The Genius in All of Us, written by the author David Shenk. I recommend reading this post. He is debating the relation between being a genius and doing great deeds. David states that there is no such thing as an "unaccomplished genius". You have to do something that's truly ground breaking to be one.

The always interesting Scott Adams have recently written some good blog posts on this topic too. Especially these two questioning what intelligence is, and this post on people who believes they are special themselves. I totally agree on his arguments, especially the one that believing that you are something special "will blunt your conventional intelligence".

A person I consider a true genius is Richard Feynman. There are heaps of brilliant quotes from him and I recommend looking for the interviews with him that are available on Google Video. His curiosity is impressive. (Fun comic on Feynman and John Nash)


Been busy reading even more about OpenMoko for the last few days. The code, and wiki went online yesterday and there's a lot of good info. Been hanging out in #openmoko on freenode.net since November last year. It's a good place to learn about the project, but I also recommend Planet OpenMoko as a great source of news from the developers themselves.

I will buy this truly open phone when it will be available in March. That's still only for people interested in developing for the phone and people who want to help fixing bugs.

There's a good preview and some nice pictures over at Gizmodo. Really looking forward to play with this toy!



I read quite a few blogs and I think it's clear that all good ones have a theme. For a blog to be interesting to more than your closest friends and family, it has to be either insanely funny and well written, or it has to be focused around a specific subject.

A great example of someone who does both is Steve Yegge. He has a witty and entertaining style, and his posts usually have something to do with programming languages. It's a blog every programmer should read.

Same goes for Kathy Sierras posts on Creating Passionate Users is also an absolute must to read. She is also great at using informative diagrams and nice pictures. That's generally something most blogs are missing. Humans like pictures.

Another thing with blogs is how often people post. Steve Yegge used to post rarely, maybe one post per month, but instead it would be a huge 15 page post. Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed is an example of the opposite. His posts are usually brief, but it can be as many as 20 posts per day. Point is though, they both stick to a few selected topics and don't waste time writing about things that aren't interesting.

There are many more blogs I should mention, but I'll link to them in posts on topics that concern them instead of just dumping a link here. Or, maybe that's what I should do?


The k programming language

Found an old but interesting and well written article about the k programming language over at kuro5hin. It's a descendant from APL that I have the unpleasant experience to work with. k looks a lot more sane though, using normal ascii-characters and having some more advanced features than APL.

Still, no one can say that k is an easy language to read. Just take a look at this example from the company that owns k. It's an xhtml-parser, basically full of lines like these:


The APL legacy is clear, readability is totally missing.

But for the right task, I'm sure k is an excellent language. I believe in using the right tool for the job. You don't write an OS in ruby, but I wouldn't suggest writing a web-app in c either. (Just take a look at the Hula project. It's not exactly speeding along, look at Rails instead)

I still recommend reading the well written article on kuro5hin, you might just learn something.


To work

There's only two reasons you have to work. Either you do what you want to do, build what you want to build, or you work to make money. That's it. The key to get your dream job is to know what you want to do. Right now it feels like being a consultant is one step on the way of figuring that out.

If you work as a consultant, you do it for the money. There's absolutely zero reason for loyalty since you are not really working for yourself anyway. I wish that the job market her would be more flexible. That it would be easier for companies to hire and fire people. The laws in Sweden are way too conservative and needs to be updated.

The shortsightedness of companies never ceases to amaze me. All PHB's just talk about ROI and "Value for the share holders" and keeps looking at the next quarterly figures. What's up with that? Don't they want to build a solid, long lasting company?

Maybe I should do it myself...



Trying a post using mobile gmail on the phone from the train from
Stockholm. Nice.. :-)


The hunger..

Because of some guy called Slava who's working on Factor, I had to start reading some about stack based programming languages. Forth looks totally crazy, almost as bad as APL. Take a look at this example code for multiplying complex numbers:

: cm 2OVER 2OVER ROT ROT * >R * >R ROT * >R * R> - 2R> + ;

Not exactly good readability...

It's now 01.19 and I should get up in 4h 50min.. I should not be reading this..

Reader widget

From now on I'll start sharing all posts in my reader that I find interesting. I go through quite a few posts per day using google reader, and hopefully some are worth reading. :-)


Everyone has one

Last one on board, but I'm still smiling.