June 5th, 2003


userinfo senji
2003/06/05 17:13:00 - Interview meme
Questions set by fluffymormegil.

1. How well does your mental self-image correspond to your physical appearance?

I sort of don't really have one. I think almost entirely in concepts, not in images. What residual image I do have of myself seems to keep reasonable track of my actual physical appearance; although I do occasionally find myself noticing that my hair is getting in my face more, or similar things.

2. What one bug fix have you found most satisfying?

Hmm, it's the understanding of the bug that's more satisfying than actually fixing them. I think the winner has to be the ARM/xdm bug, which had been a well-known bug for most of potato - it would cause a kernel oops when someone tried to connect to it. When I first encountered this I didn't really know enough to attack the problem, so I came at it again, almost two years later, around the time that woody came out. It turned out that xdm was, at this point, reading from /dev/mem to find some random numbers, and this was interfering with memory-mapped devices on ARM (and on IA64). With a quick hack (and no recompilation) I was able to get it working on my machine within minutes of understanding the bug. I can't remember which actual solution Branden Robinson eventually went for, but they were all reasonably obvious. The really strange thing was that someone else had tracked down the problem almost simultaneously to me.

3. How often do you pay attention to mainstream news media?

Depends what you consider mainstream news. I'm usually on crazyscot's #beeb ticket-bot channel, and sometimes something will catch my eye there. I also usually read a bit of a paper while waiting for my sandwiches in the canteen, but it's most often the T2 or the G2 that's available, not one of the main sections.

4. You are El Presidente Supreme Dictator Of Earth for six years. What is your Six Year Plan?

You can't possibly reform the Earth in six years! I think I'd be far too tempted to drop nukes on places like Israel that are full of annoying people. More seriously it might be nice to try an arrange for some of the excess stuff in the first world to end up in the third world. I suspect that the best start though would be to find out what was actually going to be plausible to do during six years to actually make the world a better place. Probably very little in the long term :(

5. What would be the nature of Senji's Completely Perfect Programming Language?

Well, at the moment I'd like something like ML with (to steal a term from Python) 'batteries included', and a plausible sort of running speed. In a more generic sense, something that doesn't tie you down to abstractions that aren't helpful in the context that you're working in. It would need to be suited to both short programmes and long ones. It should be possible to write decent compilers for it. The language specification shouldn't be controlled by groups that benefit from proprietary software. It shouldn't use = on its own to symbolise anything! Oh, and it should be well documented.

That was hard... And I could probably have gone on a bit on the last question. I've got some questions from lnr too, which I'll try and answer later today.

So, if anyone wants me to ask them some questions, then they should comment here...
Current Mood: [mood icon] calm
Current Music: air-con and disk-noise

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userinfo ewx
[userpic]
2003/06/05 17:06:09
What do you want to know about me, then?
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2003/06/06 09:04:59
(Hmm, this asking questions bit is really hard)

1) What is the one thing you miss most from the period when you were out of work between Zeus and nCipher?

2) You seem to write a lot of software, but 'release' comparatively little of it. Why is this?

3) Out of the places you've worked, which did you like the most after the first month, and why?

4) Which places, other than Cambridge, would you like to live in?

5) What do you usually consider when purchasing a book (fiction or non-fiction)?

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Interview meme - Squaring the circle...

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