Archive for May, 2009

My godfather is a Markov model

Before the memory is completely lost in the dust of time, I’d like to document how I ended up with this domain name. It all started last summer, when I decided to start a personal site. Of course, both my first and last names were already taken, even in TLDs I’d never heard of before.  But using my name would have been too easy anyway.  Challenge is good.

Politically-correct and totally un-sarcastic as I am, I originally wanted to go with some combination of “principled anarchy”.  Now, that was available! Apparently, nobody wanted to touch it with a ten foot pole, not even cybersquatters; which kind of gave me a hint.  Wouldn’t want to, say, end up in a three-letter-agency watchlist, at least not while in the US on H1B.  They might not share my sense of humor.

So, armed with online thesauri, dictionaries, the internet anagram server, and things like that, I set out on a name quest.  I don’t remember anymore what I tried; “coredump” (which, in case you didn’t know, has “code rump” as an anagram—still available, if you’re interested), “segfault”, “brainfart”, “farout”, and pretty much anything else I could think of: all taken.   Even these names as well as these are taken (thank god!).

At some point I was naïve enough to hope that a Tolkien name would be free.  No luck of course, anything semi-pronnounceable was taken.  You’d have to go as far as, say,  “gulduin” (which, by the way, means “magic river” in Elvish) to find something available. Good luck getting people to remember that!  Oh well, at least I had a reason to actually read some of the Silmarillion; if you’ve tried this and you’re not a religiously devoted Tolkien fan, you know what I’m talking about.

After the first week of searching, I think I even got temporarily banned from Yahoo! whois search. In desperation, I finally turned to one of many domain name generators.  I asked omniscient Google to give me one and, as always, it obliged.  By now I had decided that I wanted a name as free of any connotations as possible (say, like Google or Slashdot, not like Facebook or YouTube).  I went through things like “fractors”, “naphead”, “magnarchy”, “aniarchy”, “mallock”, “hexndex”, “squilt”, “terable”, and so on. It’s amazing how several weeks of searching in frustration temper one’s standards of quality. Anyway, one day “bitquill” popped up: neutral, inoffensive, bland, unusual, and a composite which is short and almost pronnounceable!  I couldn’t ask for much more, so I registered it.  

That, and “clusterhack”.  Sorry.  I couldn’t resist.

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Hello Android

After blabbering about Android, I decided to get my hands a little dirty and actually write some code. For various reasons, I won’t describe the app (it was a “weekend hack” anyway), but hopefully my first impressions will be clear even without a specific context. Read the rest of this entry »

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