What I Learnt This Week (#37 – 2016)

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This is the start of a new series of posts in which I try to tell what I have learnt every week. For myself to keep track and for you to (maybe) enjoy.

Ergonomy of the operating theatre

This week I was in the Kuopio University Hospital, as part of my research activities. I learnt how a intervertebral prolapse is operated by actually watching a surgery. I studied and noted down the different positions that the doctor has to take in order to be able to use all the tools that they have in the operating theatre. The operating theater is pressurized, so there is absolutely no dust inside, by a physical effect. We showed some of our last works there, obviously related with the context we were in. It was successful and I also had a funny conversation about fecal transplants and antbiotic diarrhoea with our companion doctor while having lunch.

Game design

I got an idea for a game I am starting to develop. It will be a simulation game, with a stress in management and mathematically sound. The storyline will be a mix of humour and dystopic future and I have decided that I will develop it by using the Haxe/Flixel toolset, maybe (most likely) with 8-bit style graphic assets. I have to recognize that Lucas Pope (the author of “Papers, Please”) has been quite an inspiration.

I will publish in this blog all the advancements I will eventually do with this development.

Server Management

I came across, in one of the servers I manage, the fact that the SIGWINCH (SIGnal WINdow CHange) Linux signal kills the Apache processes. This signal is supposed to indicate that the size of the terminal has changed, but for some reason is used (sometimes) for a smooth shutdown of the HTTPD service.

This has been reported as a bug at least once, with the result of NOTABUG. So, it is an intended behavior. Curious.

In order to compensate for this, I have started to learn about MONIT, a monitorization tool that you can use to track processes and other kinds of operating system artifacts (files, directories…)

Image Processing

I realized, weirdly enough, that I can think of the 8 bit per pixel grayscale images in a totally different way if I treat them as mathematical fields considering that for each tuple of coordinates there is an intensity value. This makes a function that goes from the two dimensional discrete vector space in the Integer numbers to a subset of integers. This way I can use mathematical analysis tools to improve the inner workings of the systems I am working with. This is not the first idea you get in the Machine Vision books, though.

Businesy Know-How

I started a course called “Commercializing High-Tech” with the notable Finnish entrepreneur Jyrki Saarinen, founder of Heptagon (a very successful optics company). The first rule: don’t copy what others do. Every book about entrepreneurship and sales is a history book.

More about this next week, as I will have two more lectures. This was only the introduction.

The power of networking

I learnt that being an asshole never pays off (or extremely rarely). Make friends and help other people, that is usually a good idea, and also feels good. It is an absolutely must to be trusted, and we all know that trust is the base of almost every other successful partnership or business.


This has been quite an intense week, but I have definitely been improving myself. Let’s see what next week brings.

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