Monthly Archives: August 2011

What most C++ programmers do

“Nobody knows what most C++ programmers do.” — Bjarne Stroustrup The quote above came up in a discussion of C++ by Scott Meyers, Andrei Alexandrescu, and Herb Sutter. They argue that C++ is used in so many diverse applications that

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Awk one-liners

Peteris Krumins has written a fine little book Awk One-Liners Explained. It’s just 58 pages, and it’s an easy read. As I commented here, I typically try to master the languages I use. But for some languages, like awk and

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Code to slice open a Menger sponge

Last month the New York Times ran a story about a sculpture based on cutting open a “Menger sponge,” a shape formed by recursively cutting holes through a cube. All the holes are rectangular, but when you cut the sponge

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Posted in Python

The power of parity

Puzzle: Give an elegant proof that the following matrix is invertible.

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Gritty coordinate systems

Check out The Calculus of Grit by Venkat Rao. This article is somewhat similar to my Jack of all trades post but goes into far more depth. It is about 20 times longer than my article and well worth reading. Venkat

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Weekend miscellany

How could Toyota help redesign a cancer center? Gaddafi’s Condoleezza Rice scrapbook The resurgence of C++ Interlaced eigenvalues Unsung icons of Soviet design As seen on TV: A tribute to doing it wrong Next week @SansMouse starts over with keyboard

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When rejected thoughts coming back

I was struck by this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, even though I’m not sure I understand what he meant. In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated

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Wires and air

Tim O’Reilly recalls a remarkable prediction: I remember, must be 20 or 25 years ago, hearing a talk given by Nick Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab, in which he made a prediction … Everything that today goes through wires

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Microsoft developers need not apply

Last night I shared the article Why we don’t hire .NET programmers by David Barrett on Twitter. Some of the responses I got said the article was A load of rubbish Amazingly successful trolling So narrow minded it hurts The

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Weekend miscellany

Photography NASA after the space shuttle How a log is cut into lumber Science Physics of coffee rings Comparing common decongestants Computer science A cartoon guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard The busy beaver problem Algorithms behind the Kinect (machine

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Jack of all trades?

Whether a person is a “jack of all trades and a master of none” depends on how you define trades. The same person could be a dilettante or a specialist depending on your mental categories. Take an expert programmer back

Posted in Business

Go and do

Another quote from Tristan Gylberd: If you always go where you have always have gone and always do what you have always done, you will always be what you have always been. Related post: Odd little bookshops

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Odd numbers in odd bases

My wife told me about someone on the radio yesterday discussing voluntary water rationing. People in odd-numbered houses are being asked to water their yards only on odd-numbered days. This person said “I suppose they’re talking about the last digit.”

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Posted in Math

A couple Python-like features in C++11

The new C++ standard includes a couple Python-like features that I ran across recently. There are other Python-like features in the new standard, but here I’ll discuss range-based for-loops and raw strings.

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Odd little bookshops

From Tristan Gylberd: The smaller, the odder, the more out of the way, and the more specialized, the better. That is my philosophy on bookshops. Come to think of it, that is my philosophy on everything else too — it

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Posted in Creativity