Monthly Archives: July 2011

Enjoyment of one’s tools

Here’s a quote from Donald Knuth I’ve been thinking about lately: The enjoyment of one’s tools is an essential ingredient of successful work. That makes a lot of sense. So does a quote from Joe Armstrong that I blogged about

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Friday miscellany

Design / Geometry Breaking down the Apple logo Fibonacci style Computing Every language fixes something 10 ways to check whether an integer is a power of 2 Version control by example Science Physics limericks Did Einstein really flunk math? Creativity

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Historical sense

From T. S. Eliot: The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.

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Math superhero in training

Steve Yegge has a new project. He’s in training to become a math superhero. Or at least a sidekick. He said that math/stat folks superheros and he wants to join them. In his presentation at OSCON Data 2011 on Monday,

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Posted in Math, Statistics

A chip off the old fractal block

You can make a fractal by starting with a cube and recursively removing chunks of it. The result is called a Menger sponge. Here’s a picture after four levels of recursion. What would it look like if you sliced this

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How to get started with functional programming

Someone asked me this weekend how to get started with functional programming. My answer: Start by writing pure functions in the programming language you’re currently using. The only input to a pure function is its argument list and the only

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Weekend miscellany

Politics Louisiana monks win legal case against funeral directors Federal workers more likely to die than lose their jobs Life The unaugmented mind Vacation stress timeline Astronomy New moon of Pluto discovered Math Linear dynamical systems over finite rings Pappus’s

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Software exoskeletons

There’s a major divide between the way scientists and programmers view the software they write. Scientists see their software as a kind of exoskeleton, an extension of themselves. Think Dr. Octopus. The software may do heavy lifting, but the scientists

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Posted in Science, Software development

Motion sensor faucet dance

I suggested on Twitter this morning that someone come up with a name for the funny little dance we do when trying to figure out how to make water faucets with motion sensors work. Here are the replies. Fauce-a-nova (Patrick

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Two-finger scrolling on Windows

One of my favorite features of Mac laptops is two-finger scrolling. This lets you scroll down a long document similar to the way the middle wheel does on a Windows mouse. I mentioned on Twitter this evening that it would

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Posted in Computing

You wanted a banana but you got a gorilla holding the banana

Joe Armstrong, creator of Erlang, on software reusability. I think the lack of reusability comes in object-oriented languages, not functional languages. Because the problem with object-oriented languages is they’ve got all this implicit environment that they carry around with them.

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Book review queue

I’ve got a backlog of books to review. I may not write more about all of them here so I’ll at least mention them briefly. Packt Publishing sent me copies of Python 3 Web Development Beginners Guide and Python Testing

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Friday miscellany

Photography Scenes from underground Extraordinary churches Work Bored people quit The rise and fall of the independent developer Philosophy The Great Reduction The danger of neglecting time alone

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Scalability and immediate appeal

Paul Graham argues that people take bad jobs for the same reasons they eat bad food. The advantages of both are immediately apparent: convenience and immediate satisfaction. The disadvantages take longer to realize. Bad jobs drag down your soul the

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Posted in Business

Sage Beginner’s Guide

I like books. Given a choice, I’d much rather read a book than online documentation. Typically a book speaks with one voice and has been more carefully edited. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find books on specialized software. That’s

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