School

patents

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I'm currently taking a directed reading course on the peer-to-patent project. My first assignment has been to read through all of the patents currently active on the site and write a summary about each. I thought I should share this sentence:

The cipher method involves a decryption of the encrypted user data key with a decryption key in response to an initiation of a decryption of the encrypted user data with the user data key as decrypted with the description key, a decryption of the verification text with the user data key as decrypted with the decryption key, and a validation/invalidation of a use of the user data key as decrypted with the decryption key to decrypt the encrypted user data in response to a matched/unmatched comparison of the verification text as decrypted with the user data key and an intermixing of a known text and a random text.

I wonder if patent lawyers have little challenges between themselves for things like "longest sentence", "hardest sentence to read 3 times in a row fast", "most repetition of a word in a single sentence". The people who write this kind of stuff must get a kick out of it, right?

Respect natural habitats.

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Things are finally starting to slow down a bit with school... all I've got left for the next two weeks are a couple hundred pages of reading, a 25-ish page paper, 2 70 minute presentations, a short research paper, and a final exam. w00t! I was suppose to give one of the presentations this morning, but the power was still out at the SFU Surrey campus (from yesterdays storm), so that was a no go. All in all though, at least I think I'm learning something [academic] in the grad program, which is more than I can say for my undergrad degree.
Ariane and I watched Hacking Democracy this weekend, even though it's pretty US centric, I highly recommend it (I think you can still find it on google video). I think the most surprising thing about the film was how surprised I was watching it. I've followed most of the US e-voting stuff since 2000 and had already heard about most of the stuff going on in the film. In a way, it makes me happy we still use paper ballets and hand counting in Canada.

Oh yeah, the title of the post... well, that was just the message under my Jones Soda cap today.

1 month and 1 day

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...since I started grad school. Ariane convocates tomorrow for her Master's degree (way to go Ariane!!). Now, after finishing a project I spent over 60 hours on in a week and a half, and just in the middle of a homework assignment due tomorrow as well as preparing for two presentations, I find myself asking the question "what the fuck am I doing and why am I doing it?"

The textbook monopoly

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Yup. Looks like I'm a student again. Already starting to feel the burn too (but that could be due to kind of a crazy first week). Of all the ways students get screwed, I think textbooks piss me off the most. Every once in a while, a textbook that you have to buy is a gem and you end up being able to use it for more than just a semester. Funny how those ones are always reasonably priced.

This semester I only needed to buy one book, which was nice. What wasn't nice was that this book costs almost $160 from the SFU bookstore (after taxes). This is an absolutely rediculous price. I wouldn't pay that much for any book, let alone a book that I'm only going to use for 3.5 months. In addition, this particular textbook comes out with a new revision every single year. That way you, oh so conveniently, can't sell the book back after the semester ends, your 2005 copy is already out of date.

With this particular book, if I were to pick it up off a book givaways shelf, and read the first chapter, I'd want the time it took me to read it back. I wouldn't take this book if it were given to me for free. It's not worth the space on my bookshelf. The quality of writing is so poor, it's almost uncomparable to any other book I've read. And Parveen can verify that (he had the pleasure of reading a brief part of the book).

I really wonder why so many students just bend over and take this. For a demographic that is probably the most likely to be involved in a protest you'd think the bullshit textbook monopoly would have been taken care of long ago. I guess it's just not that big of an issue in the grand scheme of things.