failing like never before


SSH Saved My Life

SSH saved my life, its true. Allow me to elaborate.

I don't have a laptop, just an old Pentium 4 desktop. So when I came home from school for spring break I couldn't bring my computer home with me. (Imagine trying to carry a bloody huge computer through airport security.) So I did the next best thing, I left my computer on and connected to the internet in my dorm room so that when I got home I could use PUTTY, which I installed on my mom's clunky old Celeron, to SSH into my desktop back at school. If I wanted to, I could use X11 port forwarding to get a GUI. It was, to say the least, pretty spiffy. All my music and movies were just a few key hits away, and my code was easily accessible. But it wasn't just data, I had access to other things like my lovely Enlightenment desktop manager, Netbeans, and even Tux Racer.

Mind you, this isn't the first time I've used SSH. I've been SSHing into my desktop ever since I started college, but I've never loved it so much until now.

(OK, so to be truthful, SSH didn't really save my life, but I'm still happy.)

Thank you, developers of SSH and PUTTY, I love you all!


Fun at the Library

I'm at the public library right now, having tons and tons of fun laughing at the mouse tutorial on the computers. It is so funny, I've decided to take some choice screenshots and post them online.

I realize that this is a wee bit mean, because there are probably a few people for whom the mouse tutorial was actually quite useful. However, I think the greater part of the population will have so much more fun poking fun at the ridiculousness of it all. Props go out to the creators of the tutorial who tried to make it so cheerful and useful to almost all age groups.

(You're going to have to follow the "read more" link below if you want to see all the spiffy cool shots.)


Find the Good Prof.

The screenshot below was taken quite a while ago, after students had finished enrolling in classes, but had not yet started class.

I must say, its really quite amazing how ardously students tried to avoid Professor Malkan


Band Geeks

The assisstant director of our marching band fowarded this out to everyone quite a while back. I figured that since I'm stuck for something to write about, I might as well post this.


Season 5 of the hit show Beauty and the Geek has begun casting and several members/students of your organization have suggested we contact your department to help us get the word out and reach the best possible people for the show, as traditionally our best cast members have come through referrals.

If you are interested, or anyone you know is interested please contact me for further details. I'd be glad to answer any of your questions, all applicants must be at least 21 years old.

In the past, we have had a Rubik's cube champion a speed chess champion, MIT's Pi recitation champion, a rocket scientist, Professors, and many other highly intelligent, highly skilled men on the show.

We are also looking for someone who is a marching band member for this upcoming season...

We look forward to coming to your school and meeting you and making season 5 the best cast yet!!!!!

I have also attached a flyer, if you could post this in your group that would be great or forward to anyone you think would be an ideal fit for the show.

Remember, last season's winners won $250,000.

Once again, thank you to all of your students who have been emailing us to be a part of the show, and suggesting we get in touch with you. We appreciate the interest!!!!

-- DJ

I'd also like to provide my thoughts about this e-mail.


Passing an Array in C

This quick little article is intended to give you a better idea of how arrays are passed in C. A basic understanding of pointers is required. If you don't know what pointers are, check them out at wikipedia.

We'll be using the following array as an example throughout the article:

char c_array[50];

The variable that we use to reference the array is actually a pointer. A pointer points to a location in the computer's memory, as you probably already know. You can have pointers to any data type you want, even a pointer to a pointer. The reason why we can reference all 50 elements of our array with just one pointer, is because arrays are allocated as one big fat chunk of memory. That is, all the elements in the array are lined up in the computer's memory one after the other. This is very handy, because if we know the location of the zero element in the array (the pointer to an array points to the zero element) we can get the physical location in memory of the fifth element (I made a funny!) by doing something like:

c_array + 4

Of course, thats a rather impractical way of accessing data, so we usually just end up doing:


(Notice that I used a 4 to access the fifth element, because in Computer Science we always begin counting from 0, and not 1)

The fact that arrays are referenced by pointers, can be both good and bad. If your array is quite large, then passing by value can be quite expensive (that is, if you could pass an array by value, arrays in C have to be passed by reference). However, as you probably know, passing by reference can be a problem because you may want to leave your old array untouched. When passing an array, if you want to make sure your passed array isn't changed or modified you can either pass it as const, or else create a new array and copy all your old data into it. You can use strcpy from the standard library to copy the array into a new one.