Tue, 04 Jan 2011

The kindness of strangers

A couple of days ago, an email arrived in which I am kindly asked to provide my PayPal coordinates. And before you dear reader start to laugh, it was actually perfectly genuine and came from a very happy user of the Finance::YahooQuote Perl module. DJ Padzensky wrote this well over a decade ago, and I first introduced and then maintained it as a package in Debian for what is now almost twelve years. I have also been acting as upstream maintainer for the last eight or so years providing the occassional patch to keep up with changes at the Yahoo! server side.

After a short reflection, I decided to keep it simple. I undusted a wishlist I had once created over at Amazon, yet never publicised. And amazingly, within minutes of minutes of passing the URL on, I received a cheerful email stating that three books are their merry way. Appropriately enough, two were from Springer's useR! series and another one was a brand new GPU programming title. And they all arrived yesterday. I am still stunned.

So with that, my time to say thanks! This was a genuinely nice gesture, and I really appreciate it. I have been doing open source work for over fifteen years now, and I would not still be doing it if I did not enjoy it myself. I continue to learn a lot in the process, and have had a chance to meet lot interesting folks. Yet it is also nice to get a little Thanks every now and then.

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Sun, 29 Nov 2009

Back from Tokyo

Just got back from Tokyo a few hours ago: I had an opportunity to give my 'Introduction to High-Performance Computing with R' tutorial / lectures (for which previous slides can be found here). This was an all-day talk at the Institute for Statistical Mathematics at their new site in Tachikawa in the greater Tokyo area, thanks to an invitation by Junji Nakano.

Lisa and I turned this into a brief one-week trip to Kyoto and Tokyo, and we had a truly wonderful time on what was our first visit to Japan. I should blog some more about it, but now I will give in to the jet lag and catch up on some sleep...

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Sun, 04 May 2008

On soccer, promises and hair cuts

Both my daughters have been playing soccer for a while now. And for another little while, I had been promising that if they ever scored three goals in a game, I'd shave my head.

As the attentive reader may have guess by now, that day finally came. This weekend saw a suburban tournament in nearby Oak Brook, and lo and behold Anna scored three goals in the first game! So home we went, out came the tool and she rather professionally separated me from my hair. So today on day two of the new look, a friend took this picture of me (scaled down from 2.4mb to around 80kb) at the same tournament:

Dirk on 4 May 2008 with a new look

They actually played just about the best soccer I have seen them play, won their group (with three shutouts!) and lost a hard-fought and well-played final 2:4. And today the weather even cooperated as one can see from the photo. Nice weekend, all told. And yes, the head feels kinda nice ;-)

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Sat, 11 Aug 2007

UseR! 2007: Two talks and a new R package 'RDieHarder'

The first UseR! conference in North America ended yesterday. I gave two talks and updated my presentations page accordingly.

One talk was joint work with Steffen Moeller (who had also presented our work in Italy in June, and I added that presentation too), David Vernazobres and Albrecht Gebhard and concerns automated building of around two thousand (!!) new Debian source packages for all CRAN and BioConductor packages for GNU R. I plan to send something to debian-devel on that in a day or two as well because the time is right for some feedback on this.

The other talk was on about RDieHarder. This is joint work with Robert G. Brown and uses his DieHarder library for random number testing (that I've added to Debian a few months back). It allows R to both runs these tests, and to further analyse and visualize the test results. I finally uploaded RDieHarder to CRAN a few days ago -- in fact, my CRANberries rss feed of new CRAN packages had it show up the morning of the presentation. And now that I've added a webpage about RDieHarder I can finally say it's been released.

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Thu, 14 Jun 2007

Toronto the good

Went to Toronto last weekend for a wedding. Couldn't have been nicer -- on Toronto Island with its nice view of the city. The ceremony got slightly rescheduled because of the massive storm coming through last Friday afternoon which forced everything inside. Only drawback was that the party ended too soon due to ferry schedule.

Caught up with some friends in town and glanced and a few of those fancy new digs that have come up since we left in 2000: the Opera house, lots of construction at the AGO and the neat building next door, the intriguing chrystal at the ROM. Always nice to come back, especially with the very nicest weather as it was last weekend.

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Sun, 30 Oct 2005

Coincidences, coincidences

Funny how another one page google job ad appears in the biz section of the NY Times the very same day another overly congratulatory article, complete with picture of the three head honchos, open that very section. Entirely coincidental, I'm sure.

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Sun, 03 Apr 2005

Back from Buenos Aires

I just got back home a few hours ago from eight wonderful days in and around Buenos Aires. Main event of the trip was the wedding that made us go in the first place as well as hanging out with everybody else who made the trip, but seeing the Argentina - Colombia qualifier for the 2006 World Cup in the River Plate stadium wasn't too bad either. Definitely a highly recommended destination, especially during the winther season. After a visit to the grocery store, I have parsed the accumulated entries in the main mailbox twice and sent a couple of follow-ups, glanced at work email on my Blackberry, and am now confronted with 7 mb of procmail'ed email from various lists, and over 2100 message in the RSS/Atom reader. Yikes, that'll take a few days ...

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Wed, 15 Sep 2004

Email woes

Looks like email to me is travelling rather erratically through the debian.org domain. Given that some of the (supposedly) incoming mail is entirely predictable from web archives of the respective lists I am subscribed too, it would appear that I have not gotten everything that went out in the last few days. Worse, a few fresh Debian bug reports haven't made it to me either. I hope the Debian listmasters and admins can do their magic and improve the flow soon, their work is surely appreciated.

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Sat, 21 Aug 2004

Back from vacation

We were gone to a small town on Lake Huron for a week and two weekends, and returned last Sunday. Vacation was great: finally finished a novel I had been stuck in for way too long, read another, ate a lot, drank like a fish, run some 60 miles in seven days, hang out on the beach with the kids, and stayed clear of computers and all things online for a week. Felt good, actually.

Since then I spent last week catching up on a mountain of email, fixing a few bugs and upgrading a few packages, and doing a few little things like getting the bike back from its annual inspection. No real programming work yet other than adding a few items to the Quantian TODO list; not sure when the next release will be. Beancounter needs an update too, hopefully soon.

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Fri, 04 Apr 2003

Nothing much new, really

It's been really busy at work, and I haven't had a chance to do much about work outside of keeping some of the Debian packages up-to-date.

As for Quantix, I am getting seriously behind on my promises on putting up a few pages. Hopefully next week. In other news, Detlev Steuer pointed out that Quantix (as a name) is already taken -- after a short exchange, we concluded that Quantian would work.

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Mon, 24 Mar 2003

Back from Vienna

Returned yesterday from the excellent DSC 2003 conference, and was rather tired. Now it's early in the morning, I am still tired and need to get a few things in order before I can head off to work to deal with a different email queue...

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