This website is dedicated axiomatically to the following principle: People are not toaster ovens. If you find this to be irreconcilable with your world view, I fear we will be incapable of meaningful communication.
If one is not careful, a personal website can end up reading like the side panel of a toaster oven box. They attempt to describe the product by listing its notable features (e.g. hair colour, height, wattage) while utterly failing to recognize the truth: though such details are necessary and sufficient for understanding integrated counter-top cooking solutions, they are neither necessary nor sufficient for understanding people.
Understanding people is like understanding art, it's intuitive, non-rational. You stare. You look at it side-on. You walk away and think about it while brushing your teeth. You try on several opinions before deciding on a reaction you can get behind. Of course, I am not claiming art status. I recognize that in today's art climate, I would have to build something out of feces, or possibly jell-o, in order to earn that moniker. What I'm saying is that if we stipulate that my purpose in creating this site is to help you understand me, then I have to treat it as an artistic exercise, and a non-representational one, at that. I've just got to drop some stuff on the canvas, no intentional order to it, put it in front of you, and hope that you get some of the same messages from it as I do. Hope you like it.
Addendum Temporarum: If you are a family member or curious bystander looking for a christmas list, it is here.
I think I made this site when looking for a cookbook. I suppose most people would have just bought a cookbook. Anyhow, that was three or four years ago and the thing is still going, so I guess you should check it out. Also it is hosted in Norway, which I think is GMT+2, so it is sort of like a website from the future.
For a lot of people, a blog is their primary web presence. They log every incident of their life for others to read and comment on, like little ASCII webcams. I, on the other hand, post occasional entries basically just to establish that I am still alive and have opinions about things. If this is an emergency and you need to establish that I am still alive with some sort of haste, I would recommend an alternate medium be used, as my posts here may tend towards the fashionably late.
Observation: people who own digital cameras and scanners often end up posting pictures online.
Back in the heady days of second year university, I laid out what historians will someday recognise as the foundations of world revolution. Like most political theory, I took a single fun idea and extended it well beyond its realistic limit. The idea was this: some people suck, and if we had a revolution, we could kill or otherwise bother them.
I wrote a program for linux in university. It makes the PC speaker beep. I would like to say that, in so doing, it creates world peace, or money, or even causes reasonably well-tempered sheep to appear, but in actual fact it just beeps.
It is no word of a lie when I say that this program has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. People have sent me versions that play morse code, that run on Solaris and BSD, and that tune guitars. People have made versions that will work with RedHat. They have sponsored it for inclusion in Debian and Gentoo. They have, in general, put forth an amount of work and support which, taken collectively and in the context of what the program actually does, is simply, ridiculously, fabulous. I am not a zealot for this whole Free Software/Open Source shebang, but every single time I think about this program I smile. Geeks of the world unite, indeed.
Possibly of little use to people who's brains are not organised in a fashion identical to my own, this is my 1-degree of separation to the important parts of the web. Basically just a bunch of clicky clickies, it saves me valuable seconds of typing, and you're welcome to it, if you like.
My daily cartoons page. I suppose if this became wildly popular, the various comic artists would get annoyed, but I can trust you not to tell people, right? It's a collection of toons I have occasionally found funny, scraped daily from their respective websites. Generally the first page I visit during the day, so if you ever need my attention, hack this page first (important note: Humour. Do not hack this page.)
My two dogs
tied to a tree
by a ten-foot leash
kept whining and howling for an hour
till I let them off.
Now they are lying quietly on the grass
a few feet further from the tree
and they haven't moved since I let them go.
Freedom may be
only an idea
but it's a matter of principle
even to a dog.
-- Louis Dudek
Pretty Good Privacy. It's a program that lets you encrypt stuff. Not just a little bit either, not "my uncle Morton done built this code that not even my friend Zeke can break". Encrypted like a son of a bitch. Encrypted so much that it pisses off all sorts of three letter agencies who will accuse you of being a drug dealer and a child pornographer and a generally unsavoury type just for using it. If that doesn't sound like fun, then I guess we're just cast from different moulds, because I can think of few things more delicious. If you're intrigued by this new and foreign concept, you can hit MIT for a free copy. If you're already one of the agents-provocateur, you'll be looking for my key.
I had an old website here before the current one, and though it was fabulously out of date, it was also commented upon favourably by a few people here and there, so I have preserved it for posterity. Or something. Much of it is reproduced elsewhere on this site, but there's nothing wrong with having multiple ways of accessing the same information.
My jeopardy categories:
Like most fluid-filled systems, if my brain is not maintained regularly, or is left idle for too long, leakage can occur. Witness the counting of reese's pieces, and the solving of streetcar math.
[Editor's Note: Astute readers may be inclined to point out that since the current page is basically just an index into my ramblings, to collect some of them in a sub-page seems somewhat redundant. True enough, however the linked-to page predates my current site, and I didn't feel the need to replicate all of its content on my spiffy new front page. --JN]
Hey kids. Ignore the cynical complaining of the curiously bitter white middle class twentysomethings, school is a fabulous place to be, and the heavily subsidized tuition we Canucks pay is more than worth the cost. I suppose in saying as much I have alienated huge swaths of my already less-than-global readership, so be it. The truth is that I have always enjoyed education in all forms, and indeed am suspicious of those who do not. This page, from my old site, has a bunch of snippets about cognitive science and artificial intelligence -- the subjects in which I completed my Hon. B. Sc. My brother is now going into cognitive science and I couldn't be more pleased -- it's a fabulous field and I hope he enjoys it as much as I have -- if only more people knew what it actually was.
Back when I was but a babe in the woods, working for a psych prof in second year university, he and I put together an AI tutorial. The idea was that psych students work on the mind, and AI attempts to replicate the mind, and so it would be neat if psych students knew something about what AI was doing. People seem to like it, I've even had reporters call me when doing AI pieces as a result, so there you go.