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  1. Pathfinder

    June 17, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and the idea must die.


    Blocked on both ends

  2. Brain drain

    June 16, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Brain drain usually means the loss of human capital. Some days my brain feels drained, or like a drain, where no thought can stick around for more than a few seconds; something like this:

    Brain drain

    Some days feel like this

  3. Gates in space

    June 15, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Designing with FPGAs requires the understanding that the function of each physical logic gate changes with each design. Here are some gates on the way to their next mission:

    Gates in space

    Gates on the way to a new mission

  4. Hot peppers

    June 14, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    I’ve been growing Cayenne peppers in pots indoors this spring. I’ve got about four plants, and one of them grew to be quite big. That big one is magnificent… I love how it branches off like a clock tree or binary tree, thickening and darkening at the joints. The tragedy is that the flowers keep falling off and not maturing into peppers. I’m not an expert — I may have watered too much, or too little. It could also be too much fertilization, which encourages growth on account of bearing fruit. (I shouldn’t have fertilized.) Last night I read that it might be that since the plants are indoors they may not get pollinated, so I gave them a hand with a brush this afternoon. I also drew this sketch for the fallen ones:

    A sketch for fallen peppers

    For all budding peppers who didn't make it

  5. Still alive

    March 24, 2011 by Saar Drimer

    Thoughts of resurrecting this blog have been more frequent lately so I at least patched it and slapped a gratuitous theme on top. Other than that, I’ve been working on my fledgling company, boldport, for the past few months; I’m trying to make hardware/FPGA design easier using modern tools. I hope that this solves some problems for some people. If you’re interested in being a beta tester, let me know.

  6. It’s done

    November 29, 2009 by Saar Drimer

    14 August: dissertation submitted
    23 September: “viva voce” — minor corrections
    24 October: graduation
    25 November: turned 26 ;)

    Four years ago I posted a picture of a door, repeating what my supervisor told me: “when you go out this door, you’ll have your PhD.” Here is is again…

    PhD door

    … four years later, here’s me going through it…


  7. year four

    January 24, 2009 by Saar Drimer

    This is the fourth anniversary of the weblog. If you look a couple of posts down you’ll see one about “year three”, meaning that I have not written much in the interim. Maybe my life’s boring, or maybe I lost the drive to share. Maybe I’m too busy, or not busy enough.

    It’s the time of the PhD when people ask me what I plan to do next (as if the PhD is in the bag, which it isn’t). I say that I don’t know. This is the truth, not an attempt to weasel out of a lengthy discussion. The world is in the gutter, and who knows what will it look like in six months. Regarding my own short term future, I suppose that the best answer I can give is that I’ll go where the best opportunity is. (OK, I am weaseling here, because I’m not defining what kind of opportunity I’m after… I’ll leave it for some other time, though those who know me can probably guess ;)

    As per tradition, I provide you with a picture of myself to cheer everyone up. This time I’m squinting and smirking at the Tatra mountains in Zakopane, Poland.

    saar drimer at the Tatra mountains Poland

    All the best to us all.

  8. Tesco stories

    December 28, 2008 by Saar Drimer

    Today at Tesco I was walking towards a woman carrying bottles of wine between her arms, close to the chest. A few steps between us, one bottle slipped over her arm. I remember this in slow motion… I look at the bottle falling, then her face, she cringes. Then I go back to the bottle and it bounces once, then hits the linoleum again and shatters in a surprisingly small footprint. While I am observing this, I take a couple steps back so nothing hits me. We both look at each other, and the people around us, turn, and vanish into an aisle.

    I went and got my own bottle of wine, and then at the till the oddest thing happened. I got carded.

    Till (old) man: Can’t let you buy the wine without ID*.
    Me: Wow. I’m 33.
    Lady (packing) in front of me: You should take it as a compliment.
    Me (to till man): Thanks. But I don’t carry ID**. I’m 33, really.
    Till man: OK, you’ve got white hair, so I’ll let you have it <wink>.
    Me (to myself): Now you’ve ruined it.

    * Legal drinking/purchase of alcohol in the UK is 18!

    ** This will change soon. As a foreigner in this country I’m being used as a test subject for their new and pointless ID card effort. That’s another story, though, so I’ll leave it for now.

  9. do you have to make it a disco?

    December 10, 2008 by Saar Drimer

    I break a near year-long silence for a rant. The restaurant was dimly-lit; a bit too dark, but manageable. Then, a group of about fifty thousand people came in to occupy the reserved table next to us; shoved a baby stroller next to me; prevented the waitress from accessing our table; and, finally, commenced to light up the place with their camera flashes.

    The first ten flashes — each multiplied by plenty of mirrors it seemed — were tolerable. I was paying attention though, all ten were repeats because the picture just did not come out perfect enough. They were over doing it with the next ten I thought. So I asked one of the guys if they could stop it with the flashes… “b-b-but we’re having a party”… and I said “but you also need to be considerate to other people”.

    Obviously, I wasn’t popular with that crowd but I don’t care… people who do not respect other people’s space should be told to tone it down when they overdo it.

  10. year three

    January 20, 2008 by Saar Drimer

    “Side Channels” is three years old! It has been an interesting year, albeit with little blogging. One of the highlights of the past year was my four week trip to Brazil in April. Good food, weather, people. I visited Rio de Janeiro (Ilha Grande, Rio), Pernambuco (компютриландшафтRecife, Ilha de Itamaracá, Porto de Galinhas), and Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre, and the great town of Vacaria).

    In Recife there is a very long beach stretch along a neighborhood called Boa Viagem. It is a popular destination, but used to be more so until in the early 1990s when ecosystem disruption due to development has driven sharks to Boa Viagem beaches. Shark attacks on humans have then become much more frequent. I found this sign interesting as one rarely sees this kind of language on signs, and it was unexpected there in Brazil’s Northeast. Note that the Portuguese portion doesn’t evoke statistics and simply says “Danger: area susceptible to shark attacks.” (Presumably because it is common knowledge over there and the risks are well known).

    Bathers in this area are at greater than average risk of shark attack