Or, rather, O. A great big red O with a dark grey oblique shadow, to be precise.
Today I started work at Opera Software, in Oslo, Norway. I have emigrated over here on a permanent basis, which
is going to be quite an adventure, since I neither speak nor read the local language. The adventure began with a slight set-back, with the baggage
handlers in Amsterdam deciding my luggage didn't really have to be on the same plane as me, and could just as easily wait for a later flight,
such as, to take an example at random, the next day's.
I have my luggage back now, although since I live 30 minutes from work, I'm only going to be dragging Suitcase I back with me tonight, and will leave
Suitcase II for tomorrow.
The Opera people have been very friendly, sorting everything out from the immigration papers to finding me a flat, they even called the airport for
me this morning to get my luggage delivered.
Work today consisted of an extended tour of the (ever growing) Oslo office, followed by installing Windows 2000 (tomorrow I'm installing RedHat 9 on
the other partition), doing some research for one project, and browsing around the bug database familiarisng myself with what bugs are known and what
bugs are not.
All this has meant I'm way behind on my e-mail. To the person who wrote the random response: I'll mail you tomorrow! ☺
In our CSS working group teleconference tonight we had a long talk about one of the issues we've been wrestling with in e-mail for the past week or so; no real consensus yet but we're working on it, and we have some actual proposals now so progress is slowly being made. Unfortunately with some issues it's sometimes hard for all the parties involved to agree on one solution without spending hours discussing it, making test cases, checking implementations, discussing use cases, and so forth... And with only one one-hour meeting a week, that can be a problem.
Anyway, hopefully things will get sorted out soon enough — I need to visit embassies and such like, and then I'll be formally working here! Fun stuff.
My life fits inside two suitcases and a laptop bag. I don't know
whether to be proud or disturbed.
Mostly clothes. My PS2, packed between some underwear and an AOL
T-shirt. My 56 key numeric keypad, protected by a cat towel. My
clarinet, packed with a W3C T-shirt, some swimming trunks, cat socks,
and my 5-clarinet T-shirt. My PS2 controller, packed with my Simpsons
Mostly... stuff. My Kinesis keyboard and its foot pedal. Some of my
fluffy cats. My Cat Encyclopedia. Papers. More clothes. A screwdriver set (don't ask).
My laptop, duh. Also some reading material (Discworld books) to keep me occupied at Heathrow, in the planes, and during my stop-over in Amsterdam tomorrow.
In order to fill those two suitcases I had to clean out my room. At
one point I came across a small piece of paper that I drew during (I
think) the 2002 W3C Plenary; I seem to remember drawing it during a speech by Steven Pemberton about the meaning of "Last Call":
I think it's played with a 1d4. You start at the bottom left, the aim is to reach the Perfect Web square (if you go past it, continue by counting backwards from the end). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of going through the actual process yourselves, try it, and you'll probably get a good idea of what it feels like in real life!
After cleaning out my room I helped Andy (my brother) with his lines for a play he is writing and playing in, aimed at pre-teen children to help them deal with issues such as bullying and educate them about ideas such as pupil parliements. This is part of the work he does for Actionwork, a group that tours the UK giving shows in schools and other communities. All good stuff.
Today I mainly worked on a new map reset script for VoidWars. VoidWars is written in
PHP, the cheap duct tape language of the Web world (as opposed to Perl,
the Swiss Army Chainsaw, my preferred tool for CGI stuff). The two
problems I ran into today were lack of support for closures, and the
fact that there's no convenient function to get a random float back (so
instead you get a random int in the range 0..x and then
divide it by x). And I'm still confused as to whether
so-called arrays are actually lists, hashes, or what. (Yes,
I've read the
documentation.) Whenever I use arrays, I get worried that if I try
to index into an array with an integer, it'll be doing some sort of hash
lookup instead of simply jumping to the relevant item, and that if I try
to index into an array using a string, it'll be doing some sort of
linear search or something.
I try not to think about it too much.
Two of my nieces are here for the night — Kaiya was making me
run around the house earlier, chasing and catching her. Young kids find
the strangest things stimulating! Thankfully, she then wanted to watch
The Aristocats. My third
niece, Mary, also loves that movie. It's over 30 years old, yet it still
captures kids' hearts. Now that's longevity.
Later we (my brother and I) watched Bowling for
Columbine, the multiple-award-winning film documentary about gun
culture in the United States of America. (The title is of course a
reference to the Columbine High School massacre.) I read several criticisms of this film,
detailing the points where people found Michael Moore to be misleading
(or downright incorrect). In one case, every criticism is either addressed by the official
FAQ, or addressed by the film itself; one wonders if the author
really thought through his points. Another makes
some better points.
Telling, maybe, of the level to which people have become accustomed
to the indescriminate killings performed by the US in the name of
"freedom" is the fact that none of the criticisms I saw attempted to
downplay the film's commentary about the US war machine. For example, on
the day of the Columbine massacre, the film explains that NATO bombed a
hospital and a primary school in Kosovo.
NATO is not only the US, of course, and even in non-NATO, non-UN wars
such as the recent US-led invasion of Iraq, ad-hoc alliances that
include a number of other countries such as the UK mean that the blame
is multiplied to cover other populations too. I'm still appalled about
the on-going military action in Iraq that is being done in my name.
On a more pleasant note, this morning I got a postcard! From the
Glastonbury Festival, no less — hi Narley, hi Ade, say hi to the other 10 people I know who are there! The postcard's face was an
amusing "evil inside" pseudo-logo (amusing because as many of you know, I'm
known for creating the The Evil
No progress on CSS2.1 today — I imagine we won't be making any
progress until Monday, when we have the next teleconference. Actually I
might not be able to attend that call for various reasons that shall
become apparent in the coming days, but I'll do my best. With committee-driven design, you never know what decisions might be made in your absence! ☺
Earlier I went up to the attic to find a couple of suitcases, and
found myself in quite an astounding mess of furniture, pieces of
technology from the 1980s and early 90s, an ocean of papers, and other... stuff. (I
hesitate to use the word "junk", although it does come to mind.) It's
been years since I looked up there... and I really don't intend to look
there again in a hurry. By the time I had what I'd gone for, I could feel
cobwebs hanging from my limbs like silly string after a particularily
As far as VoidWars goes I'm doing pretty
badly... my empire's fleet keeps going "pop" each time it gets bigger
than about five ships. This is mainly because I antagonised the empire
to my south, who happens to have one of the five biggest fleets in the
universe, a fact about which he feels compelled to remind me using
strategically timed demonstrations in orbit around my planets. Oops.
The CSS working group continues to work through our
issues list (although ironically I think the count went up by one today
rather than down). I've been writing proposals to resolve the
ambiguities with the rules on margin collapsing. I'm not really
expecting them to be accepted as is; margin collapsing is a
remarkably controversial subject. Not surprising, really, as pretty much
every implementation is broken in really different ways. On the plus side, I've now got at least 50 different margin collapsing tests, all of which will be updated and end up in the CSS2.1 test suite once we've agreed on what the specification should say.
Oh, yesterday, shortly after I posted about my sister not
coming to visit me, she did! Yayness.
Finally, I'll just mention that the other day, Ludwig (one of my larping buddies) wrote a very
pointed Web log entry about a strategy game he plays. Definitely
worth a read.