What a wonderful couple of years it has been

A couple of weeks ago, Stanislas Wawrinka won the Australian Open as the eighth seeded player. He is the winner with the lowest seeding since Gaston Gaudio (unseeded) won Roland Garros in 2004. I will not go so far as to say that it's the end of an era but it's definitely a noteworthy event given how the past couple of years it's been fairly easy to predict the winners of Grand Slam titles. I thought I take a moment to reflect on the past few years of tennis as they have been singular.
It's just amazing to think about the quality of tennis we've seen over the last few years. It's always problematic to try to compare the level of game play between different eras. But if we look at a few pieces of statistics it's clear that we've had a truly spectacular period of tennis.
  • Seven players have won a career Grand Slam.
    Two of them are active now (Federer and Nadal).
  • Thirteen players have won three Grans Slam in a single year.
    Three of them are active now (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic)
  • When it comes to appearing in most consecutive Grand Slam finals, Federer holds both first and second place (10 and 8, which would have been 19 if he had made it to the final in Australian Open 2008)
    Nadal is 6th place with 5 (tied with three other players) and Djokovic 10th with 4 (tied with three other players).
  • Feder has won five consecutive Wimbledon titles, and US open titles.
  • Nadal is the only player ever to win a single Grand Slam tournament eight times (French Open), and the also the only player to win at least one Grand Slam tournament for nine consecutive years.
  • Nadal is the second player to win at least two Grand Slam tournaments on three different surfaces
  • Djokovic is the only player in the open era to win three consecutive Australian Open and holds the record of 31 consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series matches.
  • Federer, Nadal and Djokovic share the record of playing in the final of all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, and Djokovic is alone in having won eight.
  • Federer has won 17 Grand Slam tournaments and have held the no. 1 position in the world for 302 weeks in total.
The really astounding thing here is that we have three record breaking machines who are active at the very same time. It really shouldn't be possible. Pretty much all other record holder in tennis have reigned supreme, or at least haven't had two other players to compete with. The Sampras - Agassi rivalry is one notable parallel but it still doesn't live up to the same standard as the current era.

It's been an amazing couple of years for tennis. Here's to another couple of amazing years!

Sources: Wikipedia.


An ode to Source Code Pro

As someone who does a lot of programming a lot I spend a lot of my days looking at terminals and text editors. In particular, I look at monospace fonts, i.e. fonts where every character takes up the same width.

For a long time I used the default monospaced fonts on Ubuntu, which is Ubuntu Mono, a pretty decent font. But some time ago I started looking into various alternatives for monospaced fonts and fell for Inconsolata. I didn't really have any objective reasons to prefer it, I just like the look.

However, a little while ago I was suggested to try out Source Code Pro in the typography subreddit. After trying it out I simply fell in love. It is absolutely beautiful to look at. Plus it ticks all the boxes for a monospace programming font such as clear difference between similar characters, lowercase characters not too small etc. It is now my go-to font for situations which require monospace fonts. However, I still use Inconsolata for the terminal as I couldn't get Source Code Pro to render well at the smallish size I'm using there.

I was reminded of Source Code Pro again today when I switched window manager from metacity, the default window manager for Gnome, to xmonad and xmobar. The step-by-step guide to setting the up gave me a really ugly font in xmobar and I decided to try out Source Code Pro for that as well. The result is beautiful.

I can definitely recommend it.

PS. For this post I also had to learn how to do screenshots from xmonad. Found this nice guide which explained very well how to do it.



The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily mesaured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is suicide.
Thanks to Pete for this one, as a response to my previous post.

I've been thinking about the problem of counting recently as the board of Chalmers, my employer, wants to start measuring various things as a way to manage the university. From the things I've heard about it, it sounds like a supremely bad idea. These quotes will come in handy.



Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.


Oh, I'm such a nerd

I happened upon a game called Monad while browsing Google Play. Of course I had to download it and try it out. In case you don't know, Monads are a programming idiom frequently used in the language Haskell, and something I use pretty much on a daily basis. So when I found a game with this name I couldn't resist it. Though I certainly felt rather nerdy downloading it.

Turns out, the game is actually very playable. Its simple graphics and gameplay reminds me of Asteriods but Monad is not about shooting. The way playing works is to tilt your phone to steer your ship so that it collides into friendly objects. If you set them off in the right direction they will hit your enemies and that's how you can destroy them. You do not want to collide directly with your enemies.

Monad is not easy but rather fun. And it's free. I recommend it.



The more you give people, the more complacent they become. History, though, tells us how lucky we are.
Dave Hendon, Snooker Scene Blog



Nothing is as healing as the human touch.
The last words of Bobby Fischer.

I recently saw the documentary "Bobby Fischer against the world". Very enjoyable, I can definitely recommend it.