Donald E. Knuth answers all questions

On October 5, 2001, at the Technische Universität München, Donald Knuth presented a lecture entitled "All Questions Answered". The lecture drew an audience of around 350 people, and this PDF contains the transcript,and is truely worth a read.
Originally trained as a mathematician, Donald Knuth is renowned for his research in computer science, especially the analysis of algorithms. He is a prolific author, with 160 entries in MathSciNet. Knuth is also the creator of the TEX and METAFONT languages for computer typesetting, which have revolutionized the preparation and distribution of technical documents in many fields, including mathematics.

Panasonic VS6

I seem to have dropped my current mobile once too often : the reception contained way too much interference to understand the one calling me. So I decided it was time to look out for a new mobile. I almost bought the Nokia 6101 as it contained an FM radio, but the counter guys at Vandenborre were so unfriendly I decided to shop elsewhere.

The same evening I stumbled onto this (Dutch) review of the Panasonic VS6 on, and found it too good to be true : a clamshell phone with a 16 million color screen, a 2 megapixel camera and bluetooth support for a sub 200 Euro price was unbeatable in its category. Panasonic seems to be only available in the PhoneHouse, where they offered also a Bluetooth USB dongle for an outrageous price of 45 Euro, whereas you can find a 10 Euro specimen in every grocery shop.

The phone itself then : the screen just blows you away with its crispness and colour, and the pictures the 2mp camera takes are quite good of quality. The keypad layout could be a bit better (IMO only Nokia produces phones with nice large keypads), and the contact book can only store contacts attributes if you save them in the phone's memory instead of the SIM card, which is a bit sad.

I was a bit afraid for Bluetooth support under Debian, as gnome-bluetooth wasn't available in the default repository, but kdebluetooth is a nice solution also. Time to personalize the phone with some cool graphics and realtones !


Those of you reading this blog regularly know that I'm not an avid TV watcher. So two years ago I discarded my cable subscription, and chose for an antenna for a casual TV session. However, analogue antennas are quite susceptible for interference, which can be quite annoying. Belgian public television stations like Canvas or Een are some time now already available on DVB-T, which is digital broadcast, resulting in an excellent broadcast quality, even better than cable. In the surrounding countries (eg Germany) DVB-T is widespread and the offer of available TV channels is quite large.

Begin this week, I purchased a DVB-T setop box, and I must say : the difference with our old antenna is stunning. Only the stations Eén and Canvas are receivable by DVB-T, and I don't think this is going to change soon : other TV companies like VTM have financial interests in cable companies, which make DVB-T expansions in Belgium unlikely.

Peter Korsgaard Wed, 05/24/2006 - 13:32

What settopbox did you buy and how much did you pay?

wannes Wed, 05/24/2006 - 15:49

In reply to by Peter Korsgaard

I have a Konig box. Bought it a ear ago with a digital antenna (you don't really need one, but it helps to get a better result).

I paid 180 euro for it (a year ago).

It gives me: Een, Canvas/Ketnet/Sporza, and eight digital radio's (I dont receive the analog StuBru very good in my concrete flat).

kristof Wed, 05/24/2006 - 16:43

In reply to by Peter Korsgaard

I bought the Siemens Gigaset M340T at and paid around 72 Euro.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon

Feed your sigmonster : the Contempt page contains some fine quotes from people like Dijkstra, Pitman and Baker ventilating their opinion on computer languages. C or Perl zealots may put on their asbestos suit :

"The perl programmer who veers off the road into the forest will get out of his car and cut down each and every tree that blocks his progress, then drive a few meters and repeat the whole process. whether he gets where he wanted to go or not is immaterial - a perl programmer will happily keep moving forward and look busy.

What really pisses me off with Perl is that people work so hard doing so terribly little while they think they have worked very little doing something really nifty. Fools!"

kristof Thu, 05/18/2006 - 21:28

In reply to by Serge van Gind…

Damnit ! I'm way too tired today to blog decently. Self-LARTing applied...
Thanx for the proofreading, Serge.

The Urban Dictionary

If Wikipedia is too dry or too objective for you, then the Urban Dictionary will give you some cool slang definitions to quote around. Some examples to give you a chuckle :

* Sun : Sun Microsystems. As in Damn that stock is going down like Sun Microsystems.

* Marriage : Suicide in it's worst form.
Jerry: Dude, Ben committed marriage yesterday.
Joe: Holy shit dude. Well, so much for hanging out with ben.

* Frodo : that last bit of poo that wont drop into the toilet : an annoying little shit that wont let go of the ring. As in :
-Are you okay in there?
-Yeah, but I gotta frodo. Come back in like 10 minutes

Serge van Gind… Thu, 05/18/2006 - 11:27

I'm afraid there's something wrong with the 'Urban Dictionary' link? It's pointing to now.

Anonymous Wed, 05/24/2006 - 23:24

* Debian : lets party like it's 1999 with all the binaries from 1999

* Ubuntu : Ubuntu is an ancient african word, meaning "I can't configure Debian"

* Gentoo : It takes three commands to install Gentoo; this is the first one :
# cfdisk /dev/hda && mkfs.xfs /dev/hda1 && mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && chroot /mnt/gentoo/ && env-update && . /etc/profile && emerge sync && cd /usr/portage && scripts/ && emerge system && emerge vim && vi /etc/fstab && emerge gentoo-dev-sources && cd /usr/src/linux && make menuconfig && make install modules_install && emerge gnome mozilla-firefox openoffice && emerge grub && cp /boot/grub/grub.conf.sample /boot/grub/grub.conf && vi /boot/grub/grub.conf && grub && init 6