Monthly Archives: December 2008

Picking a color scheme

The other day Nils gave an interesting answer to a question on StackOverflow regarding color theory.  NEVER ever use pure colors. … If you have no idea what color to start with, get a classic masterpiece of painting from the

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Posted in Creativity, Graphics

The uncanny valley of UI design

The uncanny valley is the space between being attractive and being disturbing for something non-human but human-like. I mentioned this phenomena back in August when I pointed to a post by Seth Godin on the subject. That’s where the image

Posted in Uncategorized

Why is TeX so popular in Germany?

A lot of good (La)TeX resources come from Germany. I assume from the amount of development and support activity, there are probably a lot of users as well. Does anyone know why TeX is apparently so strong in Germany? Is

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Posted in Typography

Faint praise for Expression Web

I really like Expression Web, when it doesn’t crash. It generates standard-compliant XHTML, it’s pleasant to use, etc. But I’ve had it crash many times. It crashes when I have too many files open, or when I edit too big

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Posted in Software development

List of books referenced here

This weekend I made a list of books referenced on this blog. There are about 70 books, divided into five categories. For each book I give links to the blog posts where the book was mentioned.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Things that work best when you don't notice them

Fonts, translations, and programming languages have one thing in common: they work best when you don’t notice them. If someone says “Hey, look at this cool font I just found!” you probably wouldn’t want to read a book set in

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Posted in Python, Typography

How to solve quadratic congruences

Quadratic congruences are much more complex than linear congruences. If you’re interested in the details, see these notes on quadratic congruences. When I started looking into this, I thought my number theory class years ago covered the details but that

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Posted in Math

Elephant lifespans in captivity

According to the Science Podcast, a study shows elephants in captivity have about half the median life expectancy of elephants in the wild. audio, transcript

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Posted in Science

Syntax coloring for code samples in HTML

Syntax coloring makes it much easier to read source code, especially when you become accustomed to a particular color scheme. For example, I’m used to the default color scheme in Visual Studio: comments are green, keywords are blue, string literals

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Posted in Software development

Constructive proof of the Chinese Remainder Theorem

The Chinese Remainder Theorem (CRT) is a tool for solving problems involving modular arithmetic. The theorem is called the “Chinese” remainder theorem because the Chinese mathematician Sun Tsu stated a special case of the theorem sometime between 280 and 473

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Posted in Math

Probability of semantic markup being correct

In a comment on my post on RDFa, Daniel Lemire says The basic problem is that RDF is metadata. … The problem with metadata is that it is wrong, misleading, too general, too specific… you name it… there is never

Posted in Computing

Fast exponentiation

How do you efficiently compute an for integer n? You could multiply a*a*a*…*a, n-1 multiplications, but there are much more efficient ways. For example, a8 could be computed by ((a2)2)2 in three multiplications. This example suggests it may be worthwhile

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Posted in Uncategorized

How to solve linear congruences

A linear congruence is the problem of finding an integer x satisfying ax ≡ b (mod m) for specified integers a, b, and m. This problem could be restated as finding x such that the remainder when ax is divided

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Posted in Math

Trumpkin is Miles Finch

My family and I watched Prince Caspian this evening. I wondered whether the same actor who played Trumpkin in Prince Caspian also played Miles Finch in Elf. His voice sounded familiar. I looked on IMBD and found out that indeed

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RDFa

Phil Windley had a recent interview with Elias Torres and Ben Adida on RDFa. This is an emerging standard for adding semantic information to HTML documents. The “a” in RDFa stands for attributes. Rather than creating new documents, RDFa allows

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Posted in Computing