Loud Thinking: Broadcasting Brain
Saturday, June 29, 2002 @ 13:48 | | Challenge?

Capturing recurring imperfection with permanence

I bought two notebooks today. One silver, one black and red. Their purpose is dualistic. Firstly, they'll be recording my thoughts in an easy to retrieve way while away from the keyboard (something loose-paper blocks have consistently failed).

It's especially for when I'm reading. I always have tons of things to write down when I'm reading. Not necessarily — no, seldomely — centered around the reading topic. It's peripheral writing.

Like right now, reading Agile Software Development, I keep getting flooded with ideas for work product management and production software. Merging Wikis, weblogs, revision control, scheduling, and word processors. That kind of thing.

I read a paragraph, spend a moment looking idly, then jot down a few more software thoughts. I feel like one of those big machines marked with f(x) in primary school mathematics text books. In goes X, out comes Y. I've yet to deduce my exact expression.

Anyway, back to the second purpose.

Secondly, the notebooks will teach me to accept chaos and permanence. Once I commit a sentence to the notebook, it's there to stay. Until my black and red notebook is full and archived away, page three will be keeping "Chance favors the prepared mind" on its first line.

I can't pull out the page (well, I can, but that makes for an ugly notebook in no time) to make a small ball meant for a trashcan hoop. I'll have to accept the recurring imperfection of first draft thougts. Scary.

But why two notebooks? I'm not ready to handle the overwhelming chaos and mixed permanence of a single notebook. Not yet. A single notebook would be blending fragments of feeble poetry and Loud Thoughts in the making with structured(?) ideas on software.

I know I can't handle that clash.

So for now, silver will be software, red and black will be feeble poetry and loud thinking. And so it shall be for two times eighty pages.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002 @ 21:52 | | Challenge?

XPlaying the iPod out of Windows beta

Good fortune! The 10 Gb iPod has finally, after much struggle and delay, decided to surrender and become mine. It's but a rewrapping (to make it look used and ineligible for that nasty 25% import tax) and a trip across the Atlantic away.

Fitting 2000 tunes, it can almost hold my entire collection of mp3's. And certainly all the important ones. Ahhh, sweet snow-covered audio delight.

Being short of a Macintosh, though, I'll be forced to go third party for the computer link-up and tune transfering. My chosen date for that party will be XPlay. Mediafour claims that you (almost) won't be missing the iTunes integration, leaving the PC feeling less as a second rate iPod companion.

And lo and behold, XPlay just left months of alpha and beta trials to become 1.0 at a asking price of $29.99 a few days ago. Snatch! I'll take one of those.

Friday, June 21, 2002 @ 18:39 | | 3 challenges

Free subscriptions are still expensive

"You're special. I'm not trying to sell you anything", so was the gist of yet another subcription pitch from yet another overly upbeat (though significantly cuter sounding than the last) newspaper lady. But, of course, it was also yet another lie. A recycled lie.

I wasn't special. She was trying to sell me something.

Only this time, I knew what was coming. I knew that she would try to lure a positive remark from me about the paper she was trying to sell. Classic sales rhetoric. Get the sucker saying Yes! — she had that one secured by asking me if I knew what Jyllands-Posten was — and singing your praises before moving in for the kill.

Rhetoric traps, however, are only effective against the unsuspecting (or mentally challenged) victim. Once recognized, they're easily evaded. And so was this. Before she decided to stroll down the "it's free, but..." avenue, I preceded her.

"A free subscription for three months? Sounds good", I said, "but you see, I got that exact same offer not too long ago. Only free meant paying about half the price of a real subscription in administrative costs. Is your deal also like that?".

I giggled inside as she scrambled to come up with a way of denying what could not be denied. "Ehh, uhmm, well", she stuttered, "We're giving you the newspaper for free, but the only thing we can't give you is the administrative costs associated with it. Those amount to 32 kr. a week. But compared to the 13 kr. the paper is in retail that still a good deal. Now I'm no mathematician, but..."

"Let's see", I broke in, "that's 32 times 4 times 3... Around 300 kr. for your free three months subscription. No sorry, I don't read enough papers to make that a good deal."

Earth to Jyllands-Posten: Don't try to flatter me with vague compliments. Don't tell me that you're not trying to sell me something when you are. And finally, don't tell me free carries a 300 kroner price tag.

(I readily expect another phone call in another five months)

Friday, June 21, 2002 @ 15:22 | | Challenge?

Self-indulging ink digitized

Jyllands-Posten was kind enough to send me a copy of the blogging article from ten days ago, which featured Guan, Malthe (pictured), and myself with quotes on the blogging phenomenon, such as:

Once you've stepped on board the carousel of self-expression, you're not getting off voluntarily
I'll return the favor by sharing this rather imperfect scan of the article with you. Let's hope they don't notice and leave the sabre of cease and desist sheathed.

(Click for the entire article | 269 Kb in Danish)

Thursday, June 20, 2002 @ 19:57 | | 1 challenge

Celebrating 13

Part luck of the draw, part adrenaline, and part skill made my final computer science exam a tour dé force of energy. I spoke faster for longer than ever before. I had a more receptive audience than ever before.

Twelve minutes of defending our 14-day project by dwelling on design decisions, explaining exotic exceptions, honouring handy hacks.


Twelve minutes of data structure presentation showing stacks and questioning queues.

Verdict: 13 (out of 13).

What a satisfying way to launch my new found freedom.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002 @ 23:19 | | Challenge?

The day after tomorrow

At one past twelve on the day after tomorrow, I'll be but an hour from having completed the first year at the Copenhagen Business School. It's so close. Thirty minutes to prepare, fifteen minutes to defend a 50-paged paper, and fifteen minutes to talk about a random pick from the computer science curriculum.

Then? 73 days of liberation from tiresome group work, grueling lectures, and guilty procrastination. Divine. Not that I dislike studying, mind you. The past ten months have been breathtakingly insightful. The world makes more sense now. I feel smarter. I appreciate more.

And how luck would have it that I've meet a girl too. Tall, sharp, nuanced (and exceedingly cute). It would seem I won't be needing a daily fix of Girls Suck for a while. Nor that of Dating.dk.

The prospects for the Summer is shining bright.

Friday, June 14, 2002 @ 19:11 | | Challenge?

Red Hot Anticipation

Has it really been three years? Apparently so, says CDNow, stating the release of Californication came about on June 8th, 1999. Back then, I was a year into my Bubble Dream persuit, running a gaming website by the name of Quake3.dk. Wait, that's another story entirely.

Point: Red Hot Chili Peppers is but three weeks away from releasing their 9th album (though I only cared since Californication) and the first single is already out. The video has been spinning relentlessly on MTV for good reasons: Anthony Kiedis' voice is still engrossing, the lyrics still sends my thoughts running, and the riff still brings me to the edge of what I can take while enjoying it.

Needless to say, I'm one Red Hot Fan having Red Hot Anticipations for July 9th. Should it contain just half the amount (3) of killer tracks as Californication (6), RHCP will easily retain my fandom and I humbly sit tight for another three years.

(Now I'm really feeling bad about not being in Roskilde on Friday the 28th of this month at 2200 hours)

Thursday, June 13, 2002 @ 13:24 | | Challenge?

Can patience be discovered and captured?

What are the barriers of changing to my personality? How much of it is the chemical composition of fluids flowing around that lump of gray muscle in your skull versus the abstract idea of "who I am"?

These are the questions that have been boggling my mind for the last couple of days, as I've tried to pin down what exactly it would take to teach me patience. I'm not a patience man, but I'd like to be, hence the search for a "how to".

I wonder if it's possible to develop character qualities, like patience, merely by wishing and thinking it should be so. Or whether it requires practical training that evolve into memories, which are then compounded into the desired quality?

Or is it even beyond me by design? Could patience be a quality woven into the genetic fabric I'm made of?

Answer existing or not, wiser men has undoubtedly been pondering these questions before me. Now if only I could find their cheat sheet, their how to, I wouldn't have to waste all this time trying to figure it out myself.

Give me patience, already!

Wednesday, June 12, 2002 @ 01:39 | | Challenge?

The torment of group work ends

For thrice the duration of 14 days, the agony of group based examination projects has been chipping away my sanity. Organizational theory, computer science, economics — all subjects I care about. But despite the caring, I've felt utter disgust with them all over the past two months.

And it isn't right. Group based projects are all fine and dandy for teaching you an array of people handling (enduring?) skills and coordinating efforts. But I've come to believe that the academic extract is severely impaired in the process.

It's all too easy to pick and choose just the cherry that you're already comfortable with when dishing out assignments (and hence learning little). It's too easy to hide. It's too easy to stop caring and let others bear the burden.

And, worst of all, it's anything but a realistic depiction of actual commercial, project-based problem solving. Too great an overlap in abilities, not enough experience at the table.

Plea for next semester: Keep the group-based projects to one soft class (like organizational theory) and let the real meat (computer science/economics) get chopped individually.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002 @ 14:39 | | Challenge?

Color Me Printed

Shit. All these people coming to my digital domicile and I haven't even been a well-behaved blogger and shared much for the past couple weeks. How embarrassing.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about Jeppe's long-rumored article on bloggers and the phenomenon (in Danish) finally finding a good spot in print with a major Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten.

Under the headline of "Here I am, here's my weblog", Jeppe tells the story of how Reboot '01 brought on a surge in Danish blogging activity, and features quotes from Sigurdsson, Guan, and myself on the subject.

It's a well-written introduction to the world of blogging, and I applaud Jeppe for getting a foot in with the major publications on the subject.

That was the introduction. Now bring on us the full story.

Want more loud thinking? Check the archives
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