Thursday, May 26, 2005

Beginning of The End

You know it was hot outside today… this reminds me of something: school is going to be over soon. Strangely enough, thats a bad thing, the reason being that the final days are going to be awfully tough. Actually, tough isn’t the right word for it… annoying, yes - thats the word I am looking for. Passing through them will only take time… (yet) somehow I feel indifferent about the potential frustration of mindless ISP (independent study project) bashing.

But ending is also a strange period. Its a time of rapid change. Chaos. So, I don’t know - anything can happen. Its not a time to idly sit down and get bored, its a time to take advantage of the situation… and have some fun.

Update: Ok, ok. Nothing is happening. So I was wrong, its not the end. Actually until its over, it always feels like its never the end.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 09:56 PM / Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Midterm Evaluations

You can’t write this, but if you gotta be honest:

Goals: Get outta here.

Achievements: Learn K-Theory.

Action Plan: Skip class.

Community Involvement: Talk about it.

Speaking of which, I still haven’t handed in that blue form, I wonder when the office will start yelling at me, :).

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 07:47 PM /

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Notes on Stuff

My recent lack of posts suggests that nothing (much) has been happening lately. This is only partially true: of course things were happening, but they were not substantial enough for a blog entry by themselves, so I concatenated them together in a single blog post.

Midterms: Midterms are up, our marks are finalized, and there is nothing we can do to change them. Something about the whole thing sucks (namely, the nothing we can do part).

Warm Winds: The warm winds blew, and I have been doing yard work. Actually, I don’t buy into the “warm winds” thing - somehow all the winds around me feel cold and there is no counterpart of the wind chill factor in the summer.

Physics Contests: I have written the CAP and AAPT, and I pretty much died (well, how else do you expect me to do?). On the bright side, it was fun skipping (physics) class.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 09:18 PM / Comments (1)

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Making good use of the Web

So, if you have been following the Big Party, you probably would have heard that my philosophy teacher decided to make use of the web. The saga continues.

The forum is still lacking a “General Discussions” category, which is bad. Of course, the teacher could have not included one on purpose, so we stay on topic. Actually, the problem is slightly greater: the board is classified by a brief range of specific questions which do not fully cover the in-class discussion. This discourages people from posting semi-relevant information and writing posts for the sake of side notes. Hopefully, this will get fixed.

On a another note, the teacher is obsessed with switching his joined date around. Yeah, I’ve been following his movement quite closely. If you look into the members list, it swings back between various days of 1969 and 1970. The changes seem to be rather subtle, but they are there. Somebody has way too much time on his hands. I just don’t see any philosophical significance of admin abuse.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 04:38 PM /

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Making use of the Web

Recently my philosophy teacher made history. Well, thats a bit of an over statement. He has done something no high school teacher I had ever has done before: make an actually useful website with our marks, assignments and even a forum (wow). What’s more… is that the domain registry (the “whois” command) shows that he has done it in a matter of days (domain was acquired on March 21, 2005). Impressive, I gotta say.

Now, that I have praised him long enough, I start poking holes in plan. The site is a little simple, but quite pleasant actually - much better than I’ve expect. But it is still that Adobe GoLive auto-generated crap which does not validate as HTML 4.01 Transitional. And the board… is phpBB which is pretty good, but Invision is simply better. Oh well, we can live with that, I guess.

The marks are stored in static html files. To access them, we need to enter our username and the password, and the JavaScript takes care of the rest. Of course, most people just don’t realize that JavaScript isn’t a layer of security, because it runs on the local host and can trivially be circumvented. Well, in this case, it doesn’t really help, because the username and the password are useless - they generate a case-sensitive 12 character alphanumeric “Master Key” which is used to form the URL. Thats too much possibilities, and lies outside beyond my hacking capability.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 08:27 PM / Comments (4)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Text, more text, even more Text

If you haven’t noticed, the Big Party pages were filled with 100% text. Well, to be honest with you, it was nicely styled… but still text. This is about to change. I have decided that this page needs some colour, some real colour and not the CSS styled #BBDDFF or #336699. That means images, good 128x128 thumbnails. They have worked surprisingly well over at the Linklist. Now, the linklist is fed onto the sidebar (low space area), which means I would have to figure out a way to display images differently or don’t display them at all. Hope you find the pages more friendly.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 08:38 PM /

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Feed the list!

Another addition to the big party: a linklist. Essentially, its a blog of links. I syndicate many feeds and surf the web quite a bit… sometimes I find cool tidbits I might want to share with you. I will allow many people to post, after all, the web is a big place… it has its own RSS feed, so feel free to syndicate it as well.

You can now access different parts of my domain via the inter-blog nav above (not finalized).

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 08:32 PM / Comments (2)

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Google Maps

Google put out a new toy. Google Maps, they called it. Its actually pretty cool. To use it, you would need IE 5.5 or Firefox 0.8 (or Netscape/Mozilla but nobody uses them anymore). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on khtml-type browsers (but looking at Google’s record it soon will). You can drag maps to the left, and to the right (on the fly) - zoom in and out, whatever. The interface is very nice - if all, too nice, you should really check it out.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 07:33 AM / Comments (2)

Sunday, February 6, 2005

I have decided...

That I haven’t had pizza in a while… so I am going get pizza. Its simple logic. I mean if I want pizza, I get it. And when I get it, I eat it. Eat away! You know, come to think about it, I should have pizza more often. Pizza makes me happy, you know. When I eat pizza, I feel… good. I don’t know about your family, but in my family, eating pizza is something special. Repeat argument with cake and cola, and you get a party.

Update: If teachers are willing to take abuse, let them put up with it. After all, you will be the one having the fun, making the best of the semester. If they let you come late, come late. If they let you hand your homework late, hand it in late. When something becomes tradition, its hard going back.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 04:12 PM /

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Donations not working

With some changes in the layout, I decided to remove the PayPal donations box (actually I removed it accidently). Although it looked nice on the side bar, it did not produce enough (any) cash for me to bother putting it back on. I guess it is gone for good. The google ads are off the main page, but that may be only temporary (because they are quite profitable). On the other hand… most visitors are syndicating this blog, and sidebar below-fold ads are proven to be very inefficient. I could give the ads a better placement on the page - but on Oleg’s Big Party, reader experience comes first.

Update: The Google Ads are back on the main page, but they are nicely isolated in a light green compartment downstairs. Scroll down and take a look. Did you honestly think that they would go away?

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 10:09 PM /

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Working on a new design

Hello folks. I am working on a new design this week, so some things may go haywire. I change my mind many times, so until it is done, nothing’s finalized. Don’t worry, its only temporary. As of this posting, there are some problems with the CSS, but holes may occur in other places as well. What’s the reason for this change? Oleg’s Big Party must build an identity as the best blog on the web (and more!).

Update: I have to make sure the blog works on Safari, Firefox, Opera and Win IE. I fixed the CSS bug, more to come later.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 08:24 PM / Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Don't ask for advice

I lost my exam paper, so I don’t know when my exams are. MSN is a nice place to trade information… so out I go ask Kirill. He tells me that he thinks that some other guy, what his face, Roy told him that its at 9. So out I come to school at 9, only to find out that the exam is at 2. That was yesterday. Now today, I ask Eric for the exam. He tells me 9. I come at 9, only to find out that the exam is at 2 again. Why did I come at 9? He tells me that he told me that it was at 2. But I have it logged as 9. Except he has it logged as 2. Forget this, I am not asking anyone anymore. But don’t think that I wasted the time in school, I put it to a very good cause. The only reliable source of information left on MSN is Yufei, but what does Yufei know? Lots of things definitely, except that he has no advice to give.

Update: Its all very simple. The reason that I didn’t bother to memorize my exam timetable was that all my exams were at 2PM. I sort of knew that one of my exams was at 2PM, and that all my exams were at the same time but I couldn’t link the two facts together in my head. When the time came, panic came out of confidence. Its simply remarkable.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 09:12 PM / Comments (2)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Everything is under control

Homework is finished. It took a while, the teachers tried to fail me, but I showed them who is boss and did it. What a bloody waste of time. Now, its time to review for exams (they are just like tests except bigger, why would anyone be scared of them?). I never reviewed before, but I would have to now… this place was silent for three days too many. I am working on another blog, it looks like this one, but can do more cool tricks like generate LaTeX. But more on that later. Google AdSense profits showed a dent in traffic (less impressions per visit rather). Once people see nothing new they close the window instead of clicking the post-a-comment link. Rapid coverage resumes tomorrow. The party is bigger, and Oleg is bigger too.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 09:02 PM /

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Big Checklist

Well, homework is piling up. I have so many things to do… until next Thursday. After that… exams. One time, I had no exams (just summatives)… Now, I have four exams: one per day. I don’t want to come to school every day; I rather have them split 2 and 2. The work load is more than what its worth (but I still feel inclined to do it). I would have to BS my way through it (whatever works). Oh well! What can I say?

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 05:28 PM /

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Who reads this blog anyway?

Lots of people - the IMO, ICHO, IPHO, IOI alumni; WPC people… Chessmasters… people who felt they deserved but didn’t make it… the losers from exercise science… pretty much everyone. It feels good to be connected. Sometimes these people notice things I miss… curses! :D

Update: We crossed over 5000 Google AdViews (from Dec. 31) and 13000 Total Visits (from Dec. 5). The number includes the board pages as well.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 08:39 PM / Comments (3)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Can you hear me now?

The board is up an running. So do I need the blog anymore? Of course, I do. To remove confusion from the matter… the two will work in parallel, because they are made for different reasons - the blog is formal mostly “one way” monologue; whereas, the board is an informal discussion - where everybody is equal, sort of like communism. The blog is the place where I tell you my ideas, the board is where I come up with them. The only thing they have in common are the Google ads.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 07:40 PM / Comments (1)

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Progress bars

If you thought, watching progress bars was not very exciting, you could not be more wrong! Some people watch planes. Some watch trains. Some watch buildings. Some even watch homeless people. Why not progress bars? &*!$ing tourists.

Now back to progress bars… you can have 20, 50, running in one time. Two bottles of cola and you are off for the night. Every 1% (or 0.1% for big files) - you toast. You can make the window bigger and smaller, and than bigger again. The good thing about progress bars, is that they always animate in one direction (they only go up), after all, Progress must progress. Other than that, its definitely the most useless way to waste time.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 07:06 PM / Comments (3)

Back from Camp

According to Scott, I wasn’t going camping, I was going to camp. He reasons that camping requires tents, and university buildings simply don’t qualify. However, I reason, that campers (like the ones in computer games) go to camps - and camp, do camping, that sort of stuff. Plenty math people there, even Richard. I enjoyed the camp, solving problems and all - but at the last few days, I felt a little homesick; eating those “free” meatballs (we are given $100 to waste over 5 days) doesn’t seem to be too fun anymore.

The PayPal donations are still pegged at $0, but the Google “Add Cents” money is steadily going up. The official Oleg’s Big Party headline/slogan is “And more…” - I think thats the second most popular!? (The most popular is “You heard it here first!”).

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 10:08 AM / Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 4, 2005


Oleg gave me authoring privileges on Big Party several days ago, and I promised him that I would write an entry within the day. The day passed - nothing from me. Several more days passed - still nothing. I would have what you would call a writer’s block for that bit of time, mostly attributed to an indecisiveness about what to write about. But enough of my miserable story.

So what is the point of a blog? What should it be used for? Do blogs even have purposes? People write blogs that reveal all, perhaps as a form of emotional catharsis. I had LJ once for that, but because I never wanted people to read what I wrote, I never told anyone what my LJ account was. It’s gone now, so don’t bother looking. A diary is much more suitable for personal events and thoughts; who would want a stranger reading about your life online? A bout of emotional irrationality brought on that bit of online blog-writing in my case. After it cleared up, I let the blog die off to be overwritten by other’s stories on the LJ servers.

Blog is a mutation of “weblog”, which would give an individual a better idea of where it originated from. Blogs should be a ranting ground for an individual’s opinions - an online High Park. With the advent of blogs, anyone with a basic knowledge of webpage creation could become a pundit. You don’t need fancy software to set up a blog - a dedicated user with a free Geocities account willing to update the page every day becomes your modern cyberpundit.

So what is Oleg’s Big Party? It now features, in addition to the original blog written by the great Oleg himself, a forum for Oleg’s loyal readers to discuss whatever is brought up in the blog, or whatever comes up in the readers’ minds. But Oleg’s blog is a curiosity. It is not exactly a ranting ground for Oleg to share, or rather, expound, his views on the daily news. It is definitely not a day-to-day diary of his exploits either. Besides, some of it is quite imaginative and reads like fiction. Oleg’s Big Party tells stories - but those stories fall into the category of History as opposed to daily life stories. Oleg’s blog is quite an oddity in this respect - it’s not a diary or a ranting ground. And that he has given privileges to others to write for the blog leads us into the next topic - wikis.

Posted by aSo, 12:15 AM / Comments (1)

Monday, January 3, 2005

Talk With Oleg

What? A blog is not enough for Oleg? He needs a whole board as well? This party is getting really big. I installed Invision, added a ranks scheme, changed a few templates around - that sort of stuff. So join in the fun, its time to Talk with Oleg.

  • Level 1. Normal - 0 posts
  • Level 2. Deranged - 10 posts
  • Level 3. Crazy - 30 posts
  • Level 4. Insane - 60 posts

If you want to see what comes after that, start posting!

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 09:45 PM /

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Donations welcome!

I have put a PayPal donations box on the side bar - nicely tucked away under the fold, hoping to make some moneys you see. If you enjoy reading my blog, you should support it - and if you don’t, then don’t read it, or better yet, tell me why you don’t like it. The Google ads are paying well, and recent reports show that I am building up traffic - getting more and more readers from different sides of the world. :P

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 02:58 PM / Comments (3)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Going Camping

Good readers! I am going (math) camping up north (York University) from Jan. 5 - 9. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check my blog (you should have it syndicated anyway) - remember what I said: I have contracted my cat to do it for me; wait… I did not say that, I said that my blog can travel trough time! How this matters to you: it only means that I won’t be able to reply to your comments - wait, I don’t do much of that anyway! :)

I will be giving a few friends “author” privileges so they can post stuff too.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 10:19 PM / Comments (3)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Time Is Not Now

Thats sounds likes a contradiction… because the time is always NOW. Movable Type, the blog’s publishing platform, has a peculiar feature of posting entries into the future. The 4:11 post was actually posted three hours in advance, about the time I went to sleep. Speaking Movable Type, you can also change history - second meaning implied.

The cola supply has been depleted. Time to move on to eating the cake. Time is twisted - and I think that I already got trapped in that basement.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 04:54 PM / Comments (2)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Folding Articles

Sometimes I will fold articles. This means that only half of the article will be displayed on the index page, followed by a link to view the rest. This would keep my web page feel more compact. This change affects only the index, so the archives remain untouched. I bring this up because… I simply don’t want to bring it up. But now that I am in the state of controversy, I must do so. The thing is, that I just don’t want to bother (and I simply don’t care) creating formal guidelines when and where to split the articles (it sounds so boring, and I rather spend my time being more creative). So I will do so randomly when I feel like it. And that shall be my formal policy.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 01:21 AM /

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Army Reserves

For text formatting, this blog now uses John Gruber’s Markdown and Smarty Pants plugins. This change is reflected in the colophon.

It is hard to search through your history for fun, entertaining events. It is even harder to write about them. Sometimes, I will post something that you already know, possibly something that I have already written about three months ago.

Writing is very unpredictable - there is no way of telling when you will be productive; and when you won’t. So when you have to write “against the clock” (on a daily/monthly schedule), you have to keep reserves. And sometimes half-finished reserves pile up: too frustrating to finish, and if finished, too frustrating not to publish.

Hook had to write a physics paper every two weeks. Half the time, they were obvious; the other half, they were wrong.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 08:31 PM /

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Movable Type

Oleg's Big Party has moved to a real publishing system. Quality writing deserves Movable Type. I have transferred all my previous posts along with your commentary. Unfortunately, I have not figured out a way to set the date and time of when the comments were published. So they are all dated Dec. 15 - which is today.

I syndicate a lot of interesting feeds and sometimes I come across things I might want to share with you. That is why I will create a Link List, essentially, just a blog of links (with brief commentary). This will have an RSS feed as well. So syndicate that too.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 05:34 PM / Comments (3)

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Art of Posting Comments

When you post comments, give me a clue of who you are. Or who you could be. Or if I don't know you (unlikely), please make it memorable so I can get to know you.

This could be your first name, part of your MSN email or something you say often like "Bucky" (or a combination of those and similar things). But don't make it something that I also say often - because that shall confuse me and you don't want to do that, do you?

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 05:51 PM / Comments (1)

The dark side of blogs...

For no good reason, many bloggers want to use their blogs to generate a steady flow of cash. And I am not an exception. So this is what I am thinking about:

Selling T-Shirts. These will cost only $20 (I want to make a profit) and feature the (non-existent) OBP logo on the front (or the back buck - what do I care - you are the buying the T-Shirts getting ripped off.) Maybe I would have to settle for hats.

Google AdSense. Many blogs do this; however first, the number of visitors must grow to a considerable size. Most people would have trouble doing this, but hey, I am Oleg and I've got connections.

Paid Membership. For only $12 year, you will get to know me a little better and more articles to comment. Of course, I am not a professional yet, so this would have to wait (a while). I could offer more RSS feeds to syndicate as well.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii, 03:45 PM / Comments (1)

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