Monthly Archives: March 2009

The buck stops with the programmer

The programmer is the last link in the chain of a software project. Everyone higher up the organization chart can leave out details, but the programmer cannot. Anything left unspecified will be decided by the programmer. He cannot pass the

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Posted in Business, Software development

Numerical computing in IronPython with Ironclad

In a previous post, I discuss my difficulties calling some Python modules from IronPython. In particular I wanted to call SciPy from IronPython and couldn’t. The discussion following that post brought up Ironclad as a possible solution. I wanted to

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Posted in Python, Software development

Where does the programming effort go?

I stumbled across this quote from Mary Shaw. Less than 10% of the code has to do with the ostensible purpose of the system; the rest deals with input-output, data validation, data structure maintenance, and other housekeeping. I don’t know

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Posted in Software development

How to preserve documents

A conversation at work this morning inspired a post on the Reproducible Ideas blog about preserving documents. Physically preserving documents may be the easy part. Keeping alive the memory that the documents exist can be much harder. [The image above

Posted in Business

New math/Python blog

There’s a new math blog, Numerical Recipes. The initial post says the blog will be understandable to anyone with a high school math background, will solve all problems in Python, and will not use any external libraries. The blog will

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Posted in Math, Python

Don’t forget the salt

The following story comes from Alton Brown’s book I’m Just Here for More Food, page 76. Years ago Alton Brown ruined 50 pounds of dough by forgetting to add salt. By the time he remembered, it was too late. He

Posted in Uncategorized

Two perspectives on the design of C++

Here are two complementary (but not entirely complimentary!) blog posts about C++. Roshan James has a scathing article about C++. When asked to recommend books on C++, he replied that he doesn’t recommend C++. He explains how the best C++

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Posted in Software development

Quasi-random sequences in art and integration

Sometimes when people say they want random points, that’s not what they really want. Random points clump more than most people expect. Quasi-random sequences are not random in any mathematical sense, but they might match popular expectations of randomness better

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Posted in Math

What happened to XSLT?

Around 2000, some people believed that nearly all programming would be a matter of transporting and transforming XML. XML would be the universal data format, and all software would be a matter of transforming XML. If that were the case,

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Posted in Software development

Sharps and flats in HTML

Apparently there’s no HTML entity for the flat symbol, ♭. In my previous post, I just spelled out B-flat because I thought that was safer; it’s possible not everyone would have the fonts installed to display B♭ correctly. So how

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Posted in Typography

Typesetting music in LaTeX and LilyPond

I tried typesetting music in LaTeX some time ago and gave up. The packages I found were hard to install, the examples didn’t work, etc. This weekend I decided to try again. I tried plowing through the MusiXTeX documentation and

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Posted in Music, Typography

March in 7/4 time

After writing my post on music in 5/4 time, I remembered a march in 7/4 time that I played in band many years ago. Here’s an excerpt, about all I can remember. In case the music above is too hard

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Posted in Music

Miscellaneous Endeavour news

I’ve added a plug-in that I’ve found handy on other sites. Now when you post a comment on a post, you have the option of being notified by email of future comments on that post. Updated list of books mentioned

Posted in Creativity, Uncategorized

Beatbox flute

Greg Pattillo plays beatbox flute. It’s hard to imagine what that means until you hear it. Here’s a video of Pattillo playing the theme from Sesame Street. And here’s a video of Pattillo playing Peter and the Wolf.

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Posted in Music

Fractional derivatives

Is there a way to make sense of the nth derivative of a function when n is not a positive integer? The notation f(n) is usually introduced in calculus classes in order to make Taylor’s theorem easier to state: To

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Posted in Math