Sunday, 16 November 2008


Went to the free exhibition of the AGO today. It was pretty interesting. Maybe I'll post a bit more tomorrow...

Monday, 10 November 2008

College Puzzle Challenge

Before I forget, this weekend was the Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge. It was a lot of fun, like last year. I think our best score was fourth here at UofT.

Can you figure out our name?

There were a couple of puzzles with answers that just didn't make sense. Like this Drop Quote one. With a drop quote puzzle, you need to drop the letters to form words. But here you have to do funky add and subtract before you get a message out of it... Actually, it doesn't seem so hard written out. :P Another annoying one was Hospital Visit. I mean, finding random medical abbreviations from those descriptions is a little crazy. How are we supposed to figure out what "must take her medicine before eating" is in abbreviated form? Not only that, but the patient names in the answer aren't even the same as in the question.

Anyway, ended up twenty-first here, which isn't too bad. That's 133rd overall. Like last year, we really dropped in the last hour or so, but what can you do. I guess I can be happy that we're the first team with the score of 170.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

First Day of Work

Well, first day at Broadcom, that is. Not too big of a deal. Most things were the same. Except we were on a new network setup. Which means no access to the AMD company intranet, and more importantly, no access to Office Communicator. Whatever will I do when I need to talk to one of you?

I also wasted some of the day trying to figure out my email password. We got new Broadcom-y emails, for which we set the password a few weeks ago. Normally, this would be fine, but that day really sucked, sleep-wise, so I didn't remember what I set at all. Tried calling the IT desk, but it didn't seem to work. We thought it was just busy from everyone forgetting their passwords, but actually there was some long-distance code we needed to enter for it to dial.

Anyway, that's about all that happened on my second "first day". Of course, I did some real work, too. But I don't think that's as interesting.

Last Day at AMD!

Yep, that's right. Today was my last day of work at AMD. Now, don't go jumping to conclusions that I quit PEY or anything. Like I said before, the DTV division was sold to Broadcom. Well, here's to my first day at the new company tomorrow. It doesn't look like a whole lot will change just yet anyway. Sure, there's a new network, new email address, new badge, but it's still the same building, and I'll still go to the cafeteria for lunch.

A couple of weeks ago, we got our offer package. There sure were a lot of forms to fill out. It was just like starting a new job entirely. Fun thing though, they stickied the locations for the signatures. Just take a look at all these stickers!

On the other hand, now I have a whole bunch of "Sign Here" stickers. There were thirteen signatures necessary. I wonder what I'll do with them.

To round this post out, I've got one more photo from AMD. A little sign from outside the 1st floor offices in 33CV. I guess I can't exactly go randomly wandering around there. If you didn't know, only 2nd and 3rd floors are for DTV. So I guess now we aren't supposed to go to the offices or the production area downstairs.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Small World

So, the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students just sent me some mail. However, the name was certainly not for anyone in our house. My dad was about to send it back when I looked at it. And as it turns out, I did know the person to whom it was addressed. It had Kirill's name, and my address.

Out of all those thousands of part-time students (not just PEY's), that little glitch happened to pick someone I knew. Small world, eh?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Intermittent Bugs

I hate intermittent bugs.

You know, those ones that never always happen in a reproduceable manner. I had to test this bug that seems to happen 1 time in 20+ tries. Not to mention that I needed to do it from a cold boot, so it took 1-2 minutes per trial. Fortunately, I was able to automate it so I didn't need do anything except hit the power button every time it worked.

Twenty tries and I get nothing. So I send an email saying so, and that's just when the bug shows up. Then had to try a few different versions to figure out when it was introduced. But in the end it seemed nobody else could reproduce the bug (though someone could before).

Swapped development boards with someone and couldn't reproduce the bug after 50 tries... What a waste of a day...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Expensive Toys

So I'm sure you've seen that I have those 6 monitors and maybe a TV or two to play with at work. We all know how much those cost, a few hundred per monitor, maybe a thousand or two for a TV.

Anyway, a couple days ago, I got this card to set up in a computer. It's a modulator card that takes some video file input and has the ability to output in various modulation schemes, like 8VSB, DVB, QAM64, and a few others. I was told it was expensive, but I didn't think it was too much. It's pretty cool, because I can set up whatever type of input signal I want. So I happened to find the packing slip with the box.

The packing slip also had the bill: the card cost as much as 3 or 4 (regular) TV's!! Good thing it's safe in the box... ;)

Friday, 12 September 2008

They said it would be around now...

Can you believe it's been 4 months that we've been on PEY?

Those PEY office guys say we'd really start to notice it around now. All our friends would be starting class, and we wouldn't. But you know, I don't think I've quite noticed it yet.

Normally over the summer, I usually don't see a lot of people (besides a few random gatherings). So in fact, since I see so many PEY students at AMD, it's completely not like a regular summer. Anyway, it's been a week of school now. There's been enough dinners and things so far to keep me from noticing.

I admit though, it was a bit weird not going to university on that very first morning, or for F!rosh week. But after being on campus a couple times lately, I noticed that there really aren't a lot of people there (that I know). Perhaps it's just that a lot of people are on PEY, or it's so early in the year. Normally, I'd run into a lot more people on campus.

I wonder when it'll really sink in...

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

DTV Sold...

So, it looks like it's official now.

The DTV department from AMD has been sold to Broadcom. I'm not really sure what that means for us yet. They say they're going to offer contracts to all employees from DTV, and even some non-employees who assist with DTV. We're supposed to talk to our managers over the next two weeks. There's just one thing... Our manager's on vacation for the next two weeks. :P

Anyway, not many people seem to be too concerned right now. It's probably going to be until at least the end of the year before everything's all done. And things will probably change about as much as when AMD bought ATI, which is not all that much as I hear.

I just hope we don't have to change buildings. Then we won't get to play cards at lunch. :P

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Pidgin 2.5.0 Released!

Look, Pidgin 2.5.0 is out!

And yes, we have MSNP15 support. That means offline message support, sending custom smileys, server-side aliasing, buddy embleming and a whole bunch of other goodies. Hylke made some nice updates to the icon theme that looks cleaner, I think. Though I'm not sure whether I like the new pigeon yet. I hope with all that testing those Adium guys did, there won't be too many problems. Some people aren't as optimistic, but we'll see how it goes. :P

Oh, and guess what? I'm a developer, too!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Mando Mogi Margão

As I had mentioned before, we had a whole mando troupe staying over at our houses. It turns out they were able to play three nights in a row. Anyway, here are a few pictures from their show.

Performing at UTM:

Performing at the Mississauga Convention Centre:

At the Grand Ball:

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Goan Idol

So, about that International Goan Convention... I didn't go to any of the daytime workshops because of work, but we did go to the evening events.

The first evening was the Goan Idol. This was held at UTM (they got a deal or something) in one of the lecture halls. It's too bad, because there was no stage or spotlights or anything. And it's really hard to take pictures in low light without flash. Not to mention everyone in the Mando troupe wanted a picture or video, which I had to take. All in all, there were about 4 or 5 cameras I had to use. Sometimes at the same time!

There were 10 contestants, with varying degrees of singing talent. Actually, I didn't think any of them were that bad. Anyway, some pictures...

The ones who didn't win...

Third Place

Second Place

First Place

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

International Goan Convention

So last week was the 2008 International Goan Convention. There were a bunch of workshops and stuff during the day which I did not attend because I had work. Now even though it was last week, it's really ending for us tomorrow (or, later today, anyway). That's because the Mando group was staying at our house.

Now, I wouldn't say the preparation for this event was spectacular. The coordinators thought the Mando troupe was arriving Monday, when in fact they arrived on Sunday night. As if that wasn't a shock, they didn't really have anywhere set up for them to stay. And because we're such nice people, that's how we ended up with 6 people staying over, not to mention the 5 others at my grandparent's house across the street. There were 3 more not with us, but since they needed to practice, they came over quite a bit, too.

Anyway, last week was quite a busy thing. First there was the Goan Idol on Thursday, where I had to video tape and take pictures at the same time. Then the Tiatr on Friday, which was amazingly long. And finally the Grand Ball on Saturday. No pictures to put up yet, but I've got tons from everyone's camera. More on that in another post...

Monday, 21 July 2008


So how did this happen?

Somehow not only does my team lead (who gives me work and I ask questions) have vacation next week, but so do my mom and dad. I, on the other hand, technically have no vacation since I'm on contract.

Well, at least my sister doesn't have vacation. ;)

Monday, 14 July 2008

MSNP15 in Pidgin

So, look at that, MSNP15 is now in Pidgin's main branch. Well actually, it was committed over 23 hours ago. But unlike John, I wasn't going to say it was done until the GObjectification branch had the update as well.

While it would be great to take credit for the whole thing (but I wouldn't, because I'm not that sort of person), there have in fact been several contributors. Let's take a look at that now, shall we, with these graphs from ViewMTN. Yes, I realize they're kind of small, but full size would make this really long and you can always click on them.

MSNP13 started way back when on the im.pidgin.soc.2006.msnp13 branch (though it wasn't actually on MTN). This was done by Ma Yuan for GSoC in 2006. Several new and interesting features were implemented then. Receiving OIM's was one of the first new features. Adding contacts from the Yahoo! network was soon added, as well. One of the most requested features, personal status messages, was added not long after. There were also various changes made under the hood to support the new protocol, such as SOAP processing code. Unfortunately, some of that code was in need of cleanup, and in fact some parts went against the original MSN protocol plugin's design. In the end, this code was not yet ready to be merged.

I don't think much happened after that until the next year. Richard and Ka-Hing did some work in ticket #148 to get things up to standard. This work resulted in the new im.pidgin.cpw.khc.msnp14 branch. As you can tell from that graph there, it involved quite a bit of branching off to get things cleaned up. For a month or two, this branch only really had updates from trunk applied to it. There were some minor updates made to fix bugs. Around May, Stu began making several changes. These fixed a variety of bugs, and closed several tickets. Partial updates were found to be buggy, so the full contact list would be used for the time being.

Again, this branch sat with no commits except for propagating from trunk. There was then yet another MSN GSoC project for 2007. This time the project was written by Carlos Silva. Besides cleaning up the code, there were several other goals such as direct file transfers, transfer of winks and voice clips, and the like. There were several fixes made in this time that took care of quite a few major bugs and tickets. In this case, the MSNP14 branch was propagated to trunk in mid-September, but it did not compile by default. In this regard, it looks like the major objective was complete, but the next biggest objective was not. Even this merged code did not make it into the next few releases, because they were branched from trunk earlier for some other reasons. In the background, Ka-Hing had started work in im.pidgin.cpw.khc.msnp14.soap which involved much cleanup to the SOAP code. This was merged at around November.

Some time around this point, I started hacking minor things in Pidgin. Using whatever documentation I could get out of msnpiki, I updated libpurple to be able to login with SSO on MSNP15. This involved a couple other cipher changes as well. While that was all fine and dandy, it did nothing about the various other problems in the code. Around December, Sean noticed these things, and I was promoted to a "Crazy Patch Writer". While Gary took care of committing the cipher stuff, Ka-Hing and I worked with my code, cleaning up some things that weren't ready yet. Soon after, we got some help from Masca and Maiku reporting bugs and making fixes.

At the beginning of June this year, Richard gave me push access, and I started my own branch at im.pidgin.cpw.qulogic.msn. This had all the MSNP15 changes, of course, as well as anything new I came across and decided to work on. One of the biggest bugs was renewing ticket tokens for all the SOAP operations. It turns out no-one had figured that out before, so I had to reverse-engineer it myself. oSpy was a great help in achieving this. Dimmuxx, an Adium user, also started some unofficial Adium builds with code from my branch. This turned out to be a great help in testing out the code. Not only did Dimmuxx test out token updating by staying connected for 24+ hours, the Adium users helped unearth quite a few bugs. If it weren't for them, I'm sure I wouldn't have found all of them. Lately, I've been doing a lot of cleanup. The debug messages in the MSN plugin were all prefixed with various names, from plain old "msn", to stuff like "MSN-OIM", "msn_switchboard", to just "msg". There was also a lot of dead code due to the MSN servers dropping commands along the way from MSNP9 to MSNP15. Anyway, here's the final merge (the middle hexagon), along with a propagate to the GObjectification branch to the right.

So, with what does that leave us? Well, Pidgin now supports MSNP15, ahead of most other MSN clients of which I know. Assuming there are no critical problems, this code should be in 2.5.0. Of course, there are still some other items that need to be done. Fast file transfers using direct connections (#247) do not work yet, though they are in msn-pecan by Felipe. Winks, sound clips, ink, and all those other items (#393) are not yet ready. There doesn't even exist code for things like shared folders, though I am not aware of a client that does support that fully, anyway. Nevertheless, I can't wait for 2.5.0 to be released!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

My messy cubicle

Well, it's not really that messy, but it sure is full of stuff...

Let's see what we have here...

On the left is my Linux computer. I was using the monitor on top of it for that, but I got tired of the CRT-ness, so I got that next 17" LCD over for it.

The oscilloscope is for testing output from my test board, which if you ask me, looks nothing like a square wave, but apparently is quite alright for DTV. The test board is right above it, though you can't see it too clearly. I can't give away all AMD's secrets, now can I? ;) That pole there has a TV feed with some random stuff for testing. And CityTV, if I really feel bored.

The darker screen behind the keyboard is the Windows laptop. It's kinda old, and I don't like trackpads, so I use Synergy to control it from the Linux machine. Darn old keyboard and mouse, but they're way better than working on a laptop. The larger CRT at the right is a second display for the laptop. At least it does 85Hz, so it's not so tiring as the other one.

At the top are testing displays. The Dell on the right doesn't have a power supply, so I don't use it yet, but I probably will for some dual-output tests. The Samsung's a lovely 24" widescreen which I'm using to test board output. Evidently, things aren't working, as that garbled mess you see should look something like the image conveniently hiding everything on the three other displays (That's right, no secret information for you!).

Finally, off camera to the right, there's another test board taking up the rest of my desk. I have just enough room to fit my AMD coffee mug (filled with water, of course) and Engineering notebook. On the floor, there's also a 40" Sony I get to play with as well (You'll just have to believe me). I seriously ran out of plugs to connect all these things.


I really don't have anything to say here right now. But I suppose I will eventually...