Yearly Archives: 2013

December 31st, 2013

In Technology

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Kill processes running on a certain port

This is clever:

searchAndDestroy() { lsof -i TCP:$1 | grep LISTEN | awk ‘{print $2}’ | xargs kill -9 echo “Port” $1 “found and killed.” }

Source

December 29th, 2013

In Technology

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How to listen for the delivery of a promise in Clojure

The problem:

add-watch was alpha in Clojure 1.2:

http://clojuredocs.org/clojure_core/1.2.0/clojure.core/add-watch

it is still alpha now, in Clojure 1.5:

http://clojure.github.io/clojure/clojure.core-api.html#clojure.core/add-watch

I am curious what the plan is for add-watch?

I was just reading this:

http://nurkiewicz.blogspot.com/2013/03/promises-and-futures-in-clojure.html

and this struck me:

And here is where the greatest disappointment arrives: neither future nor promise in Clojure supports listening for completion/failure asynchronously. … As much as I love Clojure concurrency primitives like STM and agents, futures feel a bit underdeveloped. Lack of event-driven, asynchronous callbacks that are invoked whenever futures ...

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December 29th, 2013

In Business

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An incredible comeback story

Incredible:

She had what she calls “moments of being dead” during the ambulance trip to the hospital, but was revived and reassembled in the first of what would be more than 100 operations.

“I still carry around all the rosaries that people put on the hospital bed,” she says. Pierson did not actually see any of those visitors, having been in a drug-induced coma for 18 months. When she woke up, she was blind, bald and, at 64 pounds, had lost nearly ...

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December 29th, 2013

In Technology

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The lack of future listeners in Clojure

Interesting:

Futures behave pretty much the same way in Clojure from user perspective – they are containers for a single value (of course it can be a map or list – but it should be immutable) and trying to dereference future before it is resolved blocks. Also just like promises, futures can only be resolved once and dereferencing resolved future has immediate effect. The difference between the two is semantic, not technical. Future represents background computation, typically in a thread ...

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December 29th, 2013

In Business

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Girls who code

Interesting:

Paul asks “God knows what you would do to get 13 year old girls interested in computers?” and that is a damn good question and one that I have been thinking about a lot over the past four years. We see very few women entrepreneurs walk into USV and that is disappointing to me. And I agree with Paul that one of the issues (but by no means the only issue) causing this gap, is that young women are not ...

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December 28th, 2013

In Technology

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How to reload an app in the REPL with Clojure

I have been working with Clojure now for much of the last 18 months, so I am no longer a complete noob. But I was slow to get used to working at the REPL. Working with the REPL is taken for granted in the Clojure community, so much so it is tough to find step-by-step instructions for doing it. For me, a confusing issue for a long while was, if I wanted to get back into an app, what are ...

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December 27th, 2013

In Technology

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Clojure is concise

So now I have a working, multi-threaded CMS, written in Clojure, and it has less than 1400 lines of code. This is a beautiful language.

Source

December 25th, 2013

In Technology

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Dependency Injection is more important than dependency injection frameworks

Interesting:

I was one of the earliest adopter of Spring in Norway. We developed a large system where we eventually had to start thinking about things like different mechanisms for reuse of XML configuration. Eventually, this evolved into the @Autowire and component-scan which took away the problem with huge configuration files, but in return reduced the ability to reason about the whole source code – instead isolating developers in a very small island in the application.

The applications tended to blossom in ...

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December 25th, 2013

In Technology

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The rise of the algorithm economy

Interesting:

They seem to agree on one thing: from a workaday perspective, math is essentially useless. Lisp programmers (we are told) should be thankful that mathematics was used to work out the Lambda Calculus, but today mathematics is more a form of personal enlightenment than a tool for getting anything done.

This view is mistaken. It has prevailed because it is possible to be a productive and well-compensated programmer — even a first-rate hacker — without any knowledge of science or ...

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December 25th, 2013

In Technology

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Why Scala should be outlawed

Wow:

/** * Join 22 futures. The returned future is complete when all * underlying futures complete. It fails immediately if any of them * do. */ def join[A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V](a: Future[A],b: Future[B],c: Future[C],d: Future[D],e: Future[E],f: Future[F],g: Future[G],h: Future[H],i: Future[I],j: Future[J],k: Future[K],l: Future[L],m: Future[M],n: Future[N],o: Future[O],p: Future[P],q: Future[Q],r: Future[R],s: Future[S],t: Future[T],u: Future[U],v: Future[V]): Future[(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V)] = join(Seq(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t,u,v)) map { _ => (Await.result(a),Await.result(b),Await.result(c),Await.result(d),Await.result(e),Await.result(f),Await.result(g),Await.result(h),Await.result(i),Await.result(j),Await.result(k),Await.result(l),Await.result(m),Await.result(n),Await.result(o),Await.result(p),Await.result(q),Await.result(r),Await.result(s),Await.result(t),Await.result(u),Await.result(v)) }

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December 25th, 2013

In Technology

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When programmers say “types” what do they mean?

Interesting:

What To Know Before Debating Type Systems I would be willing to place a bet that most computer programmers have, on multiple occasions, expressed an opinion about the desirability of certain kinds of type systems in programming languages. Contrary to popular conception, that’s a great thing! Programmers who care about their tools are the same programmers who care about their work, so I hope the debate rages on.

There are a few common misconceptions, though, that confuse these discussions. This article ...

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December 25th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The axiom of choice

Interesting that this was controversial:

Informally put, the axiom of choice says that given any collection of bins, each containing at least one object, it is possible to make a selection of exactly one object from each bin. In many cases such a selection can be made without invoking the axiom of choice; this is in particular the case if the number of bins is finite, or if a selection rule is available: a distinguishing property that happens to hold ...

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December 25th, 2013

In Technology

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Music is training for concurrent programming

I suspect music is the best training for concurrent programming. This is interesting:

Rich Hickey Q&A by Michael Fogus Best known as the inventor of Clojure, a Lisp that runs on the Java Virtual Machine and the first new member of the Lisp family to attract any widespread interest since Scheme and Common Lisp, Rich Hickey has been a software developer and consultant for two decades. Prior to starting work on Clojure, he made four attempts to combine Lisp with either Java or ...

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December 25th, 2013

In Business

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Bullying among academics

Interesting:

Beitz is a co-author of “Social Bullying in Nursing Academia,” an article published in the September/October 2013 edition of Nurse Educator that draws upon interviews conducted with 16 nursing professors who were the victims of social bullying in an academic nursing workplace. Beitz says that the participants described in detail instances in which they were slandered, isolated, physically threatened, lied to, or given unrealistic workloads, among various other bullying tactics. The participants in the study were primarily non-tenured female ...

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December 25th, 2013

In Technology

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What I learned from Clojure

Someone on Hacker News asked “Why use Functional Programming”. I wrote this in response:

I don’t have an answer for you, but for the last year I have been learning Clojure, and I have found it fascinating. I do not think this will satisfy you, but I would like to share some of the things that I find interesting about Clojure.

Lately I’ve been studying the source code of Aleph, a web server written by Zach Tellman. Zach is a very ...

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December 24th, 2013

In Technology

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This is why Rails sucks

50 minutes of Yehuda Katz talking about Rails. He says he wants to answer the accusation that there is too much bulk in Rails. He argues that much of that bulk is doing important stuff that you don’t know about, and that if they do their jobs intelligently, as designers of a framework, you should never have to think about all the cool stuff that the code is doing for you, but that you should be grateful that all that ...

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December 22nd, 2013

In Business

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Do you need television to keep up with the Kardashians?

Why You’re Not Watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians Anymore. This is an interesting take on how things are changing:

The problem is, like many reality stars before them, the Kardashians have become many times more famous than their so-called docudrama. Unlike many such reality stars before them, they’re able to docu their own drama in real time, 24/7, on a range of platforms that actually outnumbers the Kardashians themselves (most of us were just getting the hang of Facebook when ...

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December 21st, 2013

In Technology

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How to organize namespaces in Clojure?

This is good:

You can think of namespaces as a tool to express something about your application. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Group functions into namespaces based on type of data they manipulate. For example, functions to manipulate customer data go in the “customer” namespace. This technique is familiar from object-oriented languages, but it has the same limitations: where do you put functions concerning relationships among two or more types? The OO answer would be to make a new ...

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December 19th, 2013

In Technology

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Contract programming in Clojure

I’ve been drifting toward a contract style in my Clojure code. Among other things I’m discovering along the way, I’ve been rethinking the need to be clear about arguments to function. This used to seem like the Right Way:

(defn- add-items-to-map-of-related-items [map-of-items seq-of-items-to-add] (reduce (fn [map-we-add-to next-item-to-add] (assoc map-we-add-to (:item-name next-item-to-add) next-item-to-add)) map-of-items seq-of-items-to-add))

Then I added assert statements:

(defn- add-items-to-map-of-related-items [map-of-items seq-of-items-to-add] (timbre/spy :debug “map-of-items given to add-items-to-map-of-related-items : ” ...

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December 17th, 2013

In Technology

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The marriage of math and computers

Amazing:

On last Thursday at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, Vladimir Voevodsky gave perhaps the most revolutionary scientific talk I’ve ever heard. I doubt if it generated much buzz among the young scientists in advance, though, because it had the inscrutable title “Univalent Foundations of Mathematics,” and the abstract contained sentences like this one: “Set-theoretic approach to foundations of mathematics work well until one starts to think about categories since categories cannot be properly considered as sets with structures due to ...

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December 14th, 2013

In Technology

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Can we avoid firewalls by re-using obsolete ports?

Port numbers under 1000 tend to be associated with essential network services, so these are the least likely ports to be restricted by firewalls, yes? I am looking through the list of unix network socket ports on Wikipedia.

I am intrigued by the number of lower port numbers that seem to be available because their original official use has gone obsolete.

For instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_Network_Systems

had ports 52, 54 and 58. Current status:

“Last used by Xerox for communication with the DocuTech 135 Publishing System, ...

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December 14th, 2013

In Business, Technology

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When will media companies understand technology?

The big media event today is Beyonce’s new video. So of course, the server is down? The error is a WordPress error. When do media people learn how to use software and servers to handle big spikes in traffic?

Source

December 13th, 2013

In Technology

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The heyday of unix

Usually when something is at its peak its victory seems so natural that no one really appreciates it in the moment. It is worth noting that Microsoft lost momentum with developers at some point in the period 2000 – 2005, and this has lead to the heyday of Unix, mostly Linux. All of the competitors are dead. I am not sure what comes after Unix, but it is noteworthy how much it dominates the landscape for applications that do not ...

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December 9th, 2013

In Technology

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Find all field names in MongoDb

I am switching from PHP/Mysql to Clojure/MongoDb. In Clojure, hyphens in names are more idiomatic than underscores. So I wanted to find all the field names, so I could see where the underscores were. Having done a straight import of all of my database tables into a single MongoDb collection, I ran this Javascript at the Mongo shell to get all the field names.

var arrayOfFieldNames = [];

var items = db.tma.find();

while(items.hasNext()) { item = items.next(); for(var index in ...

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December 5th, 2013

In Business

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Why leadership often misunderstands software

Interesting:

Back in the mid-1990s, I did a lot of web work for traditional media. That often meant figuring out what the client was already doing on the web, and how it was going, so I’d find the techies in the company, and ask them what they were doing, and how it was going. Then I’d tell management what I’d learned. This always struck me as a waste of my time and their money; I was like an overpaid bike messenger, ...

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December 5th, 2013

In Business

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Watch users interact with your software everyday

I so very, very badly want this to be me:

Every now and again, I see a business doing something so sensible and so radical at the same time that I realize I’m seeing a little piece of the future. I had that feeling last week, after visiting my friend Scott Heiferman at Meetup.

On my way out after a meeting, Scott pulled me into a room by the elevators, where a couple of product people were watching a live webcam feed ...

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December 4th, 2013

In Business

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Does intellectual debate matter?

Interesting:

The sad and remarkable thing that we’ve learned over the past year or so is how little intellectual debate matters. On both fiscal austerity and monetary policy, the PREs (Perfectly Reasonable Economists) have completely blown the VSPs (Very Serious People) out of the water — the inflationistas, the expansionary austerians, the 90-percent threshold of doom people have all seen their claims collapse in the face of evidence. Yet policy barely changes, and the VSPs continue to talk as if ...

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December 4th, 2013

In Technology

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How to work with Clojure’s EDN

This is a fantastic little write up about how to work with EDN:

The first place I started with EDN, was with the clojure.edn namespace, which has a very short API documentation and this was my first point of confusion. I could see a read and read-string method… but couldn’t see how I would actually write EDN? Coming from a background that was used to JSON, I expected there to be some sort of equivalent Clojure to-edn function lying ...

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December 3rd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Edsger Dijkstra on the fear of radical novelties

This is truly outstanding. Edsger Dijkstra speech from 1988, “On the cruelty of really teaching computing science” needs to be more widely read.

The usual way in which we plan today for tomorrow is in yesterday’s vocabulary. We do so, because we try to get away with the concepts we are familiar with and that have acquired their meanings in our past experience. Of course, the words and the concepts don’t quite fit because our future differs from our past, ...

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December 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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Scala is wildly multi-paradigm

I had to work with Scala for a few weeks at Timeout. I felt it lacked stylistic clarity (what is idiomatic Scala code?). I notice that most programmers who have been exposed to Scala and Clojure will either prefer Scala or Clojure — I have not yet met anyone who liked them both. Scala or Clojure are opposites. But why do programmers divide over this issue? I was leaning toward the idea that it had something to do with types, ...

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December 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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The difference between Scala and Clojure

Check out this matrix that shows which languages have projects that allow them to output code in another language. The difference between Scala and Clojure is extreme. Clojure has more targets than any other language, and Scala has none. Nobody uses Scala to produce some other code, whereas it is clearly a huge source of joy for Clojure programmers.

Source

November 30th, 2013

In Technology

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What is bound-fn good for?

In Clojure, this is a great example of how and why to use bound-fn:

At work we have some tests that spin up various jetty instances that return sample test data. We use these to mock out other services on our platform and switch the app’s config at test time to point at them instead of the real services. It’s actually a pretty great set up that I plan to talk about at a later date but a specific issue ...

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November 30th, 2013

In Technology

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How to handle loops in bash

This is a great collection of bash tips:

1. for i in $(ls *.mp3)

One of the most common mistakes BASH programmers make is to write a loop like this:

for i in $(ls *.mp3); do # Wrong! some command $i # Wrong! done

for i in $(ls) # Wrong! for i in `ls` ...

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November 30th, 2013

In Technology

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Church Numerals make all numbers the results of funtions

Lately I’ve been wondering a lot about where numbers come from. My research lead me to this interesting post about Church Numerals.

Assume we have a programming language that doesn’t support numbers or booleans: a lambda is the only value it provides. It is an interesting question whether we can nonetheless create some system that allows us to count, add, multiply, and do all the other things we do with numbers. Church numerals use lambdas to create a representation of numbers. The idea ...

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November 30th, 2013

In Business

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The economics of Paul Krugman

This fellow finds a very good quote where Paul Krugman defends himself as an establishment economist. We should all wonder: if the year was 1968, would Paul Krugman be considered left-of-center or right-of-center?

I like to think that I am more open-minded about alternative approaches to economics than most, but I am basically a maximization-and-equilibrium kind of guy. Indeed, I am quite fanatical about defending the relevance of standard economic models in many situations.

I won’t say that I am entirely ...

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November 29th, 2013

In Business

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Corruption creeps into the USA military

Really worrisome:

Even many retired Navy officers say they have been shocked by how chummy some of the officers charged in the case had become with Mr. Francis, calling him Big Bro and Boss in emails and promising to “work your business plan” within the Navy bureaucracy.

“This kind of malfeasance in basically working for someone else is kind of unheard-of among line officers, except in cases where someone was spying for a foreign power,” said Kevin Eyer, a retired Navy captain ...

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November 29th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Sex and hazing

I got a laugh out of this comment:

I have no hard numbers/data to back this up, but in my estimation the incidence of homosexuality in fraternities is much higher than in the male population at large.

Probably true.

Source

November 29th, 2013

In Business

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Life is luck

Interesting:

Luck helps determine how much human capital we acquire in the first place. I’m thinking of several mechanisms here:

– When you were born. Rick was lucky enough to be born near enough to the computer age.Had he been born a few decades earlier, he’d never have unleashed his writing “talent.**” This point extends. In the 50s, only a few people could get to university. Now, many more can – which gives late developers especially more advantage. (It is ...

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November 26th, 2013

In Business

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The decline of the dollar

Interesting:

Most people know that the general trend in the dollar’s role as an international currency has been slowly downward since 1976. International use of the dollar as a currency in which to hold foreign exchange reserves, to denominate financial transactions, to invoice trade, and to serve as a vehicle for foreign exchange transactions is below where it was during the heyday of the Bretton Woods era (1945-1971). But few are aware of what the most recent numbers show. ...

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November 26th, 2013

In Business

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Tales for our time

Certainly worth remembering, as part of what this era was like:

Ran out of money. Ran out of credit. Losing house in two months (already foreclosed). Wife pregnant. Three kids all under 6. Pretty sure I am the opposite of everyone here. I am no man. Just a statistic. Everything is gone. Selling spare parts to keep the lights on. It was a nice fantasy, HN. To the rest of you: fight hard and good luck.

Source

November 25th, 2013

In Business

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How much does luck influence startups?

Interesting:

I tried to follow all the good advice successful entrepreneurs gave when explaining their accomplishments.

For example I started writing a blog. Some say content marketing is a key to success – to create a community that would be useful once the product is released. I also started looking at methodologies like Lean Startup. I released fast and failed fast. I went to startup events to find a co-founder because they said that it’s mandatory if you want to succeed ...

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November 25th, 2013

In Philosophy

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More about texting changing English

Texting is changing the English language.

And the other day there was news of the new predicate “because”.

Say you find yourself limping to the finish of a wearing workday. You text your girlfriend: “I know we made a reservation for your bday tonight but wouldn’t it be more romantic if we ate in instead?” If she replies,

we could do that

Then you can ring up Papa John’s and order something special. But if she replies,

we could do that.

Then you ...

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November 25th, 2013

In Business

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100k in student debt and only poorly paid jobs

I am part of many Meetup groups. This was just posted to a tech Meetup. I am removing the name and reposting it here. (This person’s name is one that I would associate with China.) They are now in New York. I think it is sad they have 100k in student debt, but they can only get a below average job.

Hello everyone,

My name [person's name]. I am sorry to bother you. I have start join [name of tech Meetup] ...

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November 24th, 2013

In Business

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TV is dying

Interesting:

The TV business is having its worst year ever. Audience ratings have collapsed: Aside from a brief respite during the Olympics, there has been only negative ratings growth on broadcast and cable TV since September 2011, according to Citi Research.

Media stock analysts Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson recently noted, “The pay-TV industry has reported its worst 12-month stretch ever.” All the major TV providers lost a collective 113,000 subscribers in Q3 2013. That doesn’t sound like a huge deal — but ...

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November 24th, 2013

In Technology

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A brilliant attack on object oriented programming

This is very good. I wish I had written it:

Jake’s on the job

Phil: Hey Jake. I’ve been looking at this class of yours. It’s a little bit too big.

Jake: Sorry. And what’s the issue with that?

Phil: Well, thing is. It’s got too many responsibilities. It does too much.

Jake: And?

Phil: Well think about it. If it does too much, it means that it touches many parts of the system. So the probability of having to touch the class when changing code ...

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November 23rd, 2013

In Business

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The uselessness of journalism in the modern era

Interesting:

This is a powerful and important work, but even so, I can’t help but think that it has arrived very late in the day. Ask yourself: how many books have been published describing the destruction of the postwar middle-class economic order and the advent of the shiny, plutocratized new one? Well, since I myself started writing about the subject in the mid-1990s—and thus earned a place on every book publicist’s mailing list—there have been at least a thousand, not counting ...

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November 20th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The unchanging tone of race relations in the USA

Interesting:

An “outright Marxist!” That’s what Rafael Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz’s father, declared of President Obama on the campaign trail in April 2013. His accusation is common on the right. Google “Obama Marxist” and you will get about 4.95 million results. “Obama communist” yields 40 million. It’s a strange charge against a man who vigorously supported the bail-out of Wall Street banks as a Senator, and expanded it to other major firms as President. Yet ...

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November 20th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Small innovations in English miss the big ones

Interesting, but more is needed. The thing I hate most about Indo-European languages are the need to emphasize whether something are singular or plural. Why not make everything plural? Why are these something so important that they need to be mandatory in every single sentence? If we defaulted to all plural, all the time, these would fade away, just like gender faded out of the language during the 1300s.

Let’s start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.

The word “because,” in ...

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November 19th, 2013

In Philosophy

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How does a frontier society have slavery?

I am confused by this:

“The land was thinly peopled by recent immigrants who could move again.”

If this is true, then how can this region have serfs, or slavery, or a nobility that easily dominates society? Why can’t people just run away, if they find their conditions difficult. Elsewhere I read that 50 years later the nobles began to emigrate further east, to Kuban, which was the new frontier. But why couldn’t the serfs run away in the same manner? It ...

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November 19th, 2013

In Business

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Incentives for bureaucrats

Interesting:

To measure such management practices, we adapt the methodology set out in Nick Bloom and John Van Reenen’s pioneering work (Bloom and Van Reenen 2007, 2010). Earlier Vox columns have described the impact of management practices on explaining cross-country productivity differences in private sector firms, and on firm behaviour in developing countries. We adapt this method to measure management practices for bureaucrats in Nigeria, and then link these multiple dimensions of management to the quantity and quality of public services ...

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November 19th, 2013

In Business

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The land of the free

Very sad:

Then he found my Yemeni visa. He put my passport down and stared at me.

“What the hell were you doing in Yemen?”

“I went to the island Socotra, it’s not on mainland Yemen. It’s a small island closer to Somalia. A very special place, some call it ‘Galapagos of the Middle East.’ I think 85 percent of the plants and animals there, are indigenous.”

“Weren’t you scared?”

“Yeah. I was scared. When I was at the airport in mainland Yemen. That entire ...

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November 19th, 2013

In Business

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The 401K is a failed experiment

I am feeling somewhat justified in having been extremely skeptical, since the 1990s:

I became such an enthusiast of the new investing culture that I wrote my first book, in the mid-1990s, about what I called “the democratization of money.” It was only right, I argued, that the little guy have the same access to the markets as the wealthy. In the book, I didn’t make much of the decline of pensions. After all, we were in the middle of the ...

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November 15th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Humans can outrun anything

There is no animal on the planet that can match a humans ability to run long distances.

Four villagers in north-east Kenya have chased down and captured two cheetahs which were killing their goats.

The owner of the goats told the BBC that the cheetahs had been picking off his animals one by one, day by day.

The men waited until the hottest part of the day before launching the chase over a distance of four miles (6.4km).

The cheetahs got so ...

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November 14th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Remembering World War I

I am impressed by this speech by the former Prime Minister, The Hon. P.J. Keating MP:

We do not know this Australian’s name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, nor precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or ...

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November 14th, 2013

In Philosophy

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You can not understand another person’s sorrow

My father died in 2007. I miss him very much and I think about him every day. This is very true:

A colleague who lost his teenage son due to a traffic accident 3 years ago, told us about the ‘black halo’ which remains above his head, and which only others who have lost a child are able to see. I do not doubt for a second that this is the case – that people who have not lost a ...

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November 14th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Richard Cohen talks about a white man married to a black woman

Very strange. Richard Cohen says “Today’s GOP is not racist” but then he says “People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children”. This is the year 2013. What does the word “racist” mean?

Iowa not only is a serious obstacle for Christie and other Republican moderates, it also suggests something more ominous: the Dixiecrats of old. Officially the ...

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November 14th, 2013

In Business

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A man wanted a website and he ended up “mad, frustrated and angry”

Interesting. This is the first time in history that the reputation of the President Of The United States has been affected by a website. And I have known many clients who feel “mad, frustrated and angry” because they don’t understand why the website is taking so long, nor do they understand how to manage a software project so it is done on time.

As the story of the Obamacare website fiasco unfolds, senior administration aides tell me that the President is ...

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November 14th, 2013

In Business

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Google+ demonstrates Google’s new insecurity

Interesting.

Google is now adopting Microsoft’s failed policies of directly imitating a competitor, without adding anything new or interesting itself. Instead of doing something wholly new, Google is promoting Google+ as a straight alternative to Facebook. Meanwhile Google has shutdown dozens of innovative services that Google felt were too small. Google has also cut back on the 20% time that engineers could use to come up with something that Google’s competitor’s were not already doing. Larry Page has said he ...

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November 13th, 2013

In Business

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Wages in the USA have been falling since 1973

Interesting:

The steady stream of Watergate revelations, President Richard Nixon’s twists and turns to fend off disclosures, the impeachment hearings, and finally an unprecedented resignation—all these riveted the nation’s attention in 1974. Hardly anyone paid attention to a story that seemed no more than a statistical oddity: That year, for the first time since the end of World War II, Americans’ wages declined.

Since 1947, Americans at all points on the economic spectrum had become a little better off with each ...

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November 12th, 2013

In Technology

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Pipe-and-filter architectures are among the most successful design patterns ever

This is the first time I have ever felt like I understood what Storm is for. I have tried to read about Storm, but every description I’ve read leaves me confused. Consider the official description from the Github page: “Distributed and fault-tolerant realtime computation: stream processing, continuous computation, distributed RPC”. Does that tell you anything? I am left confused. This instead make sense to me:

Pipe-and-filter architectures are among the most successful design patterns ever. They dominate data ingestion and processing ...

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November 9th, 2013

In Technology

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Small apps and specialized machines

This is a bit of speculation on my part. I wrote previously about using small apps to build big web sites. I want to re-emphasize the Big Ideas from that article:

1.) big apps eventually become expensive to maintain

2.) small apps are easy to maintain

3.) an architecture of small apps might leave you with a lot of apps, which need to be managed, but managing them becomes a management issue, rather than a technical issue. Technically, the app is easy ...

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November 7th, 2013

In Technology

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Michael Drogalis shows a very concise pipeline

Michael Drogalis has another one of those posts from which I learn a lot. In this case I am impressed that he manages to get the abstract concept of a pipeline down to the minimum of code:

(defn pipeline [] (let [bound 10000 m-ch (chan bound) n-ch (chan bound) o-ch (chan bound)] (go (while true ...

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November 7th, 2013

In Technology

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Object oriented artifacts in a functional world

I love this:

In the world of object-oriented programming, it is common to create classes to represent data elements from your domain. These classes run into all kinds of trouble. First, they tend to breed closely coupled classes like DTOs and XML type mappers. Second, they rarely contain any intelligence and sometimes don’t contain any behavior at all. Third, proliferating concrete classes can make it hard to see common abstractions trying to escape.

In the past, I answered all of those ...

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November 7th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Political factors for alcoholism

This is interesting, but potentially reverses cause and effect:

A further obstacle to AA’s growth in Russia is something more philosophical: At a basic level, its premise of sobriety through mutual support just doesn’t make sense to a lot of Russians. In the past, this has taken the form of anti-Western suspicion—“What are the Americans trying to get out of this?” is a question Moseeva used to hear regularly. But more fundamentally, the group-therapy dynamic collides with a skepticism about ...

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November 7th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Russian nationalist nostalgia

Interesting:

Sergey had the old tsarist imperial flag hanging on his wall, the white-gold-black tricolour that nationalists have taken as their banner. ‘I believe Russia is a great empire that other powers want to tear away parts from. We need to restore our power, retake our lost lands,’ he would say. Then in the same breath: ‘I want a Russia for Russians, all these churki from the Caucasus and Central Asia need to go home.’ This has always been the paradox ...

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October 31st, 2013

In Philosophy

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What a story is really about

Interesting:

There’s a short story by Tom Godwin, famous in science fiction circles, called “The Cold Equations.” It’s about the pilot of a spaceship carrying medicine to a remote planet. The ship has just enough fuel to arrive at that particular destination, where its cargo will save six lives. En route, the pilot discovers a stowaway, an adolescent girl, and knowing that her additional weight will make completing the trip impossible, the agonized man informs her that she will have to ...

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October 23rd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Did Pericles influence Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address?

This I did not know:

“If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences…if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes…”[13] These lines ...

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October 23rd, 2013

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Financial deregulation means the USA must suffer with an overvalued currency

Interesting:

Leaving aside the large surplus just after World War II, we went from persistent small surpluses before 1980 to persistent large deficits after 1980. This meant that we needed more domestic demand, other things equal, to achieve full employment — and arguably that we needed a series of bubbles and rising leverage, which are no longer forthcoming.

The reason I’m hesitating a bit before simply declaring trade the culprit is the issue of causation, and the related issue of whether those ...

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October 20th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Conformity in America

Interesting:

On coming to America I had the same hopes as have most European immigrants and the same disillusionment, though the latter affected me more keenly and more deeply. The immigrant without money and without connections is not permitted to cherish the comforting illusion that America is a benevolent uncle who assumes a tender and impartial guardianship of nephews and nieces. I soon learned that in a republic there are myriad ways by which the strong, the cunning, the rich can ...

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October 20th, 2013

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The seas are dying

Interesting:

Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.

“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled.

But this time, on that whole long leg of sea ...

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October 19th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The fall of party bosses gave rise to the era of money politics

Interesting:

Through the next decade, reformers tried to get control over money. Though they had gotten rid of the bosses, getting money out of politics proved daunting. This put power in the hands of business, which by hook or crook, Citizens United or not, was going to pursue its interests through the political system. But in general its interests were fairly narrow and were not particularly ideological. Where before business gave to party bosses, it now donated to candidates and political ...

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October 17th, 2013

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Important researchers are kept out of the USA

How long can the USA remain the world capitol of technical research if the world’s researchers can not meet here for conferences?

Adi Shamir Prevented from Attending Crypto and Cryptology Conferences

“Peter G. Neumann” Wed, 16 Oct 2013 9:43:36 PDT Adi Shamir applied for a J1 visa at the beginning of June 2013, two and one-half months early, so that he could attend the annual Crypto Conference in Santa Barbara in mid-August (which he has almost always attend for the past 32 years) and a ...

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October 17th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Happy rats avoid drug addiction

Interesting:

We all learned this in DARE class. About the rats in a cage who can self-administer morphine who get addicted to the stuff, and then just hit that lever until they die. A seemingly keystone argument in the war against drugs. Professor Avram Goldstein, the creator of that study, has said: “A rat addicted to heroin is not rebelling against society, is not a victim of socioeconomic circumstances, is not a product of a dysfunctional family, and is not a ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Philosophy

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We would be smarter if we forgot more

This is very clever:

Then tell me what’s so wonderful about having fifty sets of marriage and divorce laws?

In 1752, Great Britain and her colonies (some two centuries later than Catholic Europe) abandoned the Julian calendar and adopted the astronomically more cor rect Gregorian calendar (see Chapter 1). Nearly half a century later, Pike was still giving rules for solving com plex calendar-based problems for the Julian calendar as well as for the Gregorian. Isn’t it nice to have forgotten ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The Catholic injustice in Ireland

This is sad to read about:

These women where trapped in a Church run, state approved system of slave labor and sexual that continued until 1996. Woman were not paid, and their children, alleged to have been conceived during their time in the laundries, were taken from them and given up for adoption. While most of the more than 10,000 woman detailed in the 1,000 page report are now dead, buried in unmarked and forgotten graves, the children of these woman ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Technology

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lsof files of a particular user or process

I sort of knew that lsof was a useful command, but these are nice examples of how to see files in use by just a particular user or process:

6. List files opened by a specific user

In order to find the list of files opened by a specific users, use ‘-u’ option.

# lsof -u lakshmanan

COMMAND PID USER FD TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Technology

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The genius of named pipes

The socket system in Unix was a clever breakthrough at the time. Although we can imagine a better design if the whole thing were invented today, the older system is still impressive in how much flexibility it allows.

This is a good comment:

Don’t forget the ordinary UNIX domain socket: you can think of them like TCP connections bound to 127.0.0.1 but not assigned a port number but a path name. This can be useful if you have e.g. 3 ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Business

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Military software projects are a disaster

Very interesting and sad commentary:

Re: Army Nears Completion of Migration to Defense Enterprise Email

I agree with SSG Deployed and MAJ TPU on all of their points but there is an even bigger problem lurking.

DEE WILL DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTE TO SECURITY ISSUES!

I have migrated to EE recently and can see that there are several major issues that are going to directly contribute to security issues. The first 2 are issues that will cause users to be unhappy which will cause issue ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Technology

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Easy testing of regular expressions

This looks like an awesome way to test regular expressions.

Source

October 16th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The limits of human knowing

On Hacker News, someone linked to the article about Two Cultures. In reply I wrote:

Much has been written about this article. For instance: —————-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/5273453/Fifty-years-on…

Such was the intensity of debate that it might be supposed that these were age-old themes: but in fact, the idea of separating academic disciplines into groups known as science and humanities was no older than the 19th century. The term “scientist” was only coined in 1833, and it was not until 1882 that another Rede Lecturer, ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Can humans ever be rational?

Interesting:

McRaney spends several thousand words explaining the “backfire effect,” which he nicely summarized in one sentence: “When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.”

As I detailed in a recent column, the backfire effect makes it difficult for the press to effectively debunk misinformation. We present facts and evidence, and it often does nothing to change people’s minds. In fact, it can make people dig in even more. Humans also engage in motivated reasoning, a tendency ...

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October 16th, 2013

In Philosophy

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“Equality of opportunity” echoes another famous phrase in American politics, “separate but equal”

Interesting:

But if you are a utilitarian, the case for social mobility is incoherent even on theoretical grounds. Under ordinary assumptions of diminishing marginal utility and a social welfare function that aggregates individual utilities, for any distribution of wealth, overall welfare is maximized when each individual knows her place with perfect certainty from the start. A person who expects to land on the bottom of the distribution might prefer that some uncertainty be added into the mix, but that benefit will ...

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October 15th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Humans are not robots

Interesting:

Part of John Stuart Mill’s argument for freedom urges us to strive to elevate ourselves far above the level of these lesser robots. He never uses the word “robot,” since that word only entered the English language in 1923, in the English translation of a 1920 Czech play by Karel Capek. But John did use the word “automaton,” in exactly the sense I just defined. Here is what he has to say in On Liberty, chapter III, “Of Individuality, as ...

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October 15th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Assume a can opener

Economics is a false science, full of glib assumptions, whereas physics is a real science, based on hard facts. Or maybe that is false. Maybe people explaining interesting engineering or physics puzzles engage in simplifying assumptions just as much as economists do?

I decided to idealize the problem like this: the slinky is an ideal spring with mass distributed uniformly throughout. It is also a spring that can pass through itself. These assumptions make analyzing the problem easier.

Assume a can ...

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October 15th, 2013

In Business

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Can creativity be separated from politics?

Berlin wants creativity. Has there ever been an era of innovation that was not, also, a period of political change? Eras of technical innovation often come after some political upheaval that opens a door. The English Revolution put in place the civil rights necessary to allow the Agricultural Revolution, and the American Civil War put in place the national market that allowed the Second Industrial Revolution. The great Post War Boom followed World War II. Maybe you could say the ...

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October 15th, 2013

In Business

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I love Berlin?

I love Berlin. But it is changing. As with New York, it is possible that what made it attractive to artists also started a boom that must eventually make it unattractive to artists. This is similar to what happened to Soho, in New York City, between 1985 and 2005: first the artists move in because rents are low, but the artists drive out the drug dealers and make the place sexy, and then the rich want to move in and ...

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October 10th, 2013

In Business

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Hannah Montana is now listed as the lead actress in Hannah Montana: The Movie

How is this even legal? Can you actually lie about who the actress was? You don’t like how a woman is behaving now, so you retroactively remove her name from the movies she starred in? This is the corporate version of The Commissar Vanishes.

This is the last Miley news of today, I promise! Her name has been removed from all Hannah Montana CDs on iTunes and replaced solely with “Hannah Montana.” “See You Again” is now listed as a Hannah ...

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October 9th, 2013

In Technology

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When can medicine beat evolution?

Interesting:

Trade-offs are endemic in biology. Often, if you use a drug or surgery to optimize something, you will discover penalties elsewhere. If you delay aging & length lifespan as is possible in many species, you might find that you have encouraged cancer or – still worse – decreased reproduction1 as evidenced by the dramatic deaths of salmon or brown antechinus2; if your immune system goes all-out against disease, you either deplete your energetic and chemical reserves3 or risk autoimmune disorders; ...

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October 9th, 2013

In Business

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AirBnB continues its fight with NYC

I am confused about this warrant. It appears to be a blanket warrant that assumes everyone who uses AirBnB is using it illegally. Surely there must be some people who renting out rooms in their own homes, while they are there, all of which is legal. Since some people are probably using AirBnB legally, the warrant is almost surely unconstitutionally broad. If the government gets all the data then they can assume guilt and gather evidence where they have no ...

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October 9th, 2013

In Philosophy

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No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does

So true.

Source

October 7th, 2013

In Philosophy

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When can intuition succeed?

Interesting:

How big is this upper bound? Mathematicians have often made errors in proofs. But it’s rarer for ideas to be accepted for a long time and then rejected. But we can divide errors into 2 basic cases corresponding to type I and type II errors: Mistakes where the theorem is still true, but the proof was incorrect (type I) Mistakes where the theorem was false, and the proof was also necessarily incorrect (type II) Before someone comes up with a final answer, ...

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October 7th, 2013

In Technology

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Safe monkey patching in Scala

I get how clever and interesting this is.:

The biggest drawback from doing this in Ruby is monkey patches are in the global scope. If you use any class that relies on any monkey patching then that monkey patching is also in your scope. At best it won’t effect any of your code, at worst it can silently override methods in your code. This can lead to horrible problems that will cause you to cry.

Scala however lets you accomplish the same ...

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October 7th, 2013

In Technology

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The open source community is sometimes its own enemy

This is sad on several levels:

I’m considering stepping down from maintaining Capistrano at all, if I had to pick on a shortlist of reasons, it’d be:

I don’t use Rails all that much anymore, and many of the problems people report with Cap are really problems of Rails (i.e the entire manifest/asset pipeline disaster). When people have problems, I’m not equipped to diagnose what might be going wrong, as I simply don’t deploy that way. My rails projects are all Rails ...

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October 4th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Acid in the oceans is a great danger

Interesting:

In the starkest warning yet of the threat to ocean health, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) said: “This [acidification] is unprecedented in the Earth’s known history. We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure. The next mass extinction may have already begun.” It published its findings in the State of the Oceans report, collated every two years from global monitoring and other research studies.

Alex Rogers, professor ...

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September 30th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Old male writers write bad sex scenes

This is a funny parody:

Even I am not immune to the trend. You see, I’ve written a Fond Memories of Vagina of my own. I don’t have a lot of experience having sex with women, but I do know tech support. That’s all sex is, right? Fluid mechanics, carnal physics, the movement of hot bodies through sexy space. In closing, I give you a sex scene from my erectnological thriller, The Webmaster:

He inserted his male attachment into the female adapter, ...

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September 28th, 2013

In Technology

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Optional typed systems in Clojure

This is very clever:

Why optional typing?

Dynamic languages have long been criticised for being hard to maintain at scale. When you grow to a large team or a large code base, it becomes more difficult to refactor a code base, to understand how it works, and to make sure it does what it should.

The standard solution is great testing, and obviously we at CircleCI are big fans of great automated testing. However, what we’re really about is productivity, and optional typing ...

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September 26th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Genius or LSD?

I seem to recall some friend of mine tripping on acid one time and saying stuff that sort of sounded like this:

As a by-product of this same view, I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, “Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass” “Why?” “Because, they are all the same electron!” And, then he explained on the telephone, “suppose that the ...

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September 23rd, 2013

In Technology

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The bottom-padding hack

I did not know about this:

The Padding-Bottom Hack This technique is based on something called intrinsic ratios, but because none of our team’s members could remember, understand or pronounce the term “intrinsic” we just called it the “padding-bottom hack.” Many people learned about this feature back in 2009 in A List Apart’s article “Creating Intrinsic Ratios for Video,” by Thierry Koblentz, and the technique is often used to embed third-party content and media on responsive websites. With the technique, we define the ...

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September 23rd, 2013

In Business

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Does Starcraft teach you something about startups?

Interesting:

This won’t come as a surprise if you’re familiar with the game’s genre, but playing Starcraft 2 might make you smarter. Starcraft 2 is a so-called “real-time strategy game,” a form of video game that involves resource management and military planning in parallel, while restricting the amount of information that each player has.

The result is a gaming experience that involves planning, strategic thinking on the fly, and rapid mental and physical coordination (this is why I’m terrible at Starcraft, if ...

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September 23rd, 2013

In Business

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Judging college based on its financial return

This graph makes it appear that “Judged from a financial perspective, a bachelor’s degree has a positive return on investment that beats the returns of the stock market, corporate bonds, and the housing market.” However, to believe this graph is valid, you have to believe that the income premium (over high school) that college graduates made in the past will continue to be true in the future. To the extent this is true, it might be because of falling wages ...

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September 23rd, 2013

In Business

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Why failure happens

Throughout history, leaders have found it more convenient to be wrong for the “right” reasons than to be right for the “wrong” reasons. No one criticizes you for subscribing to ideas that are popular and wrong, but god help you if believe something that is unpopular, though true. And thus, failure continues to happen.

Source

September 22nd, 2013

In Business

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Dramatic decline ahead for higher ed in the USA

Interesting:

That’s for-profit schools, which are suffering in a big way, but in the USA the under 24 population will decline for awhile, and not recover till the year 2030, so higher ed in the USA will struggle for awhile.

Source

September 22nd, 2013

In Business

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Women prefer positive message, men prefer negative

Interesting:

Results

Our empirical results show large differences in the gender response to political persuasion strategies. In fact, male and female voters respond in opposite ways to the degree of aggressiveness of the opponent’s campaign.

Negative advertising increases men’s turnout by about eight percentage points, but has no effect on women. Gender differences are even stronger for electoral choices.

Women vote more for the opponent (by eight points) and less for the incumbent (by eight points) if exposed to the opponent’s positive campaign. Exactly the opposite ...

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September 22nd, 2013

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Dying dBase brought down 2 companies

Interesting:

However, “Ashton Tate was put on the auction block, and the investment bankers made a very convincing pitch that if we added installed market share to Borland’s superior technology, we could become a leader for enterprise solutions,” Kahn said. Moreover, the bankers argued that if someone else like Microsoft or Lotus acquired Ashton-Tate, it would make things very difficult for Borland, he said. “There was a lot of debate within Borland as to whether to acquire dBASE,” Kahn said. “I was ambivalent. ...

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September 22nd, 2013

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Banks suck the souls of the poor

Interesting:

To give you an idea of how this happens: when I was in college, I worked at a pizza shop. It was Thursday. I got paid Friday. I thought I had $20 in my bank account, but I didn’t realize that day was the day that my World of Warcraft subscription was up, and that was $15. During the course of the day, I bought lunch, a snack, and some pencils or something. All that total was less than the ...

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September 22nd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Education in the USA is strangely focused on sports

Interesting:

“I’ve been in hundreds of classrooms,” says Singleton, who has spent 15 years as a principal and helped turn around other struggling schools. “This was the worst I’ve seen in my career. The kids were in control. The language was filthy. The teachers were not prepared.” By suspending sports, Singleton realized, he could save $150,000 in one year. A third of this amount was being paid to teachers as coaching stipends, on top of the smaller costs: $27,000 for ...

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September 21st, 2013

In Business

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What killed the Blackberry?

Interesting:

Not saying this is typical, but here is my experience of Blackberry. I was in IT support at the time they came out. One of the things I hated about IT support, and I found it common with most colleagues, was the idea that if you are in IT, every thing with a plug or batteries is some how part of an IT person’s skill set. Because we are the clever mysterious people who can fix the server, we must ...

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September 21st, 2013

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Doctors killing patients

Interesting:

So egregious was the death that the Collin County medical examiner listed the cause of death as “therapeutic misadventure” because the cause of death had been an injured vertebral artery. You just don’t see coroners putting that sort of phrase on a death certificate. In any case, after Kellie Martin’s death, Dr. Duntsch either resigned or was forced out, but there was no black mark on his record. He got privileges at another hospital, Dallas Medical Center. Now look at ...

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September 21st, 2013

In Business

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Before patents, when software was innovative

Interesting, and very sad to think about how much things have gone downhill:

Why didn’t we patent the spreadsheet? Were we stupid?

This is a very common question, since, by the late 1990′s, software inventions were routinely patented. Today, it seems negligent to ignore patents. However, in 1979, when VisiCalc was shown to the public for the first time, patents for software inventions were infrequently granted. Programs were thought to be mere mathematical algorithms, and mathematical algorithms, as laws of nature, were ...

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September 20th, 2013

In Business

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This is the stupidest thing that the New York Times has ever done

My god, this is stupid. The New York Times is in decline and faces bankruptcy over the next 10 years. They must be deep in denial to be giving away some of the money they will need to survive. Idiots.

Source

September 20th, 2013

In Business

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Microsoft Excel is important because of its ease of data visualization

Microsoft Excel is the linchpin of Microsoft Office, the only part of Office that is truly irreplaceable. I wonder what can ever compete with Excel? Interesting:

Excel has developed a reputation of being bloated, slow, error prone and used primarily by “business people” who don’t have real quantitative skills. Just like anything else, Excel is a tool that can be misused but is significantly more useful than people give it credit for. The most important benefit Excel provides is making data ...

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September 19th, 2013

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The American middle class is shrinking

Interesting:

Persons per family household: 1990: 3.22 2000: 3.24 2010: 3.24 Not so much change, and if you look you will see there is also not so much change for non-family households. The Census pdf is here. I have covered this ground before, but the myth of “changing household size means economic progress has been just fine” dies hard. By the way, the average number of people in a household categorized as “living alone” has remained strictly constant at one. All of this is referring ...

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September 19th, 2013

In Business

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4chan culture struggles with the onslaught of success

Interesting:

Moderation has always been a hot-button issue on 4chan. “What’s considered ‘on-topic’?”, “How strictly should the rules be enforced?”, et cetera have all been debated for years, but while the questions have remained the same, the 4chan of today is not the 4chan of yesterday.

Last month, 4chan was accessed by 22.5 million unique visitors. For comparison, during that same period five years ago, the site was accessed by 3.2 million unique visitors. Rules 1 and 2 be damned, 4chan has ...

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September 19th, 2013

In Business

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Large companies are terrible about online security

Interesting:

One of the things people often ask me about in regards to software security is “Are there any standards that these people should be following? Any governing bodies? Any recourse for screwing things up?” Ok, that’s three things but you get the idea and people are usually pretty surprised when they learn that for the most part, no. No standards, no governing bodies, no recourse. You can go and create a new website today storing everyone’s credentials in the clear, ...

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September 19th, 2013

In Technology

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a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions

There are models where you add in knowledge of the future as a physical fact of all existing objects (the object extends 4 dimensionally into the future) and then randomness disappears from its interactions (it knew where everything would be in the future). I am curious about models of the universe that reduce everything to a geometry of enough dimensions:

“The number of Feynman diagrams is so explosively large that even computations of really simple processes weren’t done until the age ...

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September 19th, 2013

In Business

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The Great Stagnation deepens

Even the 95th percentile is now seeing stagnation:

Source

September 19th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Gaofen dineng: high scores but low ability

Gaofen dineng is a good description of Obama administration, full of high IQ people who are well education and who make catastrophically bad decisions.

In the USA there has been a move to inflict more school work on children. There is a feeling that when children play, time is being wasted. If the lack of play leads to less creative thinking, then surely we are creating a future catastrophe, raising a generation whose thinking is limited and rigid?

This is ...

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September 19th, 2013

In Business

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The Fed exists to protect big banks from the free market

This sounds controversial, but it is not:

The Fed exists to protect big banks from the free market

Indeed, that is why the Fed was created. Banks can not be exposed to the free market, because a bank run can destroy the entire economy.

This is a bit more controversial:

The Fed exists to protect big banks from the free market, at your expense.

Who pays for the bailouts has changed over the decades, and who pays depends on how progressive or reactionary ...

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September 18th, 2013

In Business

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Lack of health insurance leads to terrible injustices

This is tragic to hear about:

Boston bombing victims kicked off insurance after charity payout

This entire artic

Source

September 18th, 2013

In Business

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The Euro zone is badly managed

This is very well said:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has been vindicated. For my part, I have been wrong about everything. German discipline policies for the eurozone have been a tremendous success. I am ashamed for suggesting otherwise. As the wise, patient, and always self-effacing Mr Schäuble writes today in The Financial Times, the Euro-sceptics talk and write relentless drivel. “Ignore the doomsayers: Europe is being fixed” is the headline: The eurozone is clearly on the mend both structurally and cyclically. What is happening ...

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September 18th, 2013

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Profesors are poor and mistreated

Very sad:

For a proud professional like Margaret Mary, this was the last straw; she was mortified. She begged me to call Adult Protective Services and tell them to leave her alone, that she could take care of herself and did not need their help. I agreed to. Sadly, a couple of hours later, she was found on her front lawn, unconscious from a heart attack. She never regained consciousness.

Meanwhile, I called Adult Protective Services right after talking to Margaret Mary, ...

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September 15th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The usual visual grammar was in place

Russel Brand sounds surprisingly intelligent:

It must have been a while since I’ve attended a fancy, glitzy event, because as soon as I got to the GQ awards I felt like something was up. The usual visual grammar was in place – a carpet in the street, people in paddocks awaiting a brush with something glamorous, blokes with earpieces, birds in frocks of colliding colours that if sighted in nature would indicate the presence of poison. I’m not trying to pass ...

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September 15th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Police shoot up neighborhood

In the good old days, there was the rule that the safety of bystanders mattered more than anything. Nowadays neighborhoods exist for target practice.

NEW YORK (AP) – Two police officers fired on a man who was acting erratically and dodging cars on a busy Manhattan street Saturday night, wounding two bystanders and sending people running for cover, authorities said. Police said the man made movements suggesting he had a weapon, though he turned out to be unarmed. The officers’ ...

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September 13th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Does social media re-invent the old forces of conformity?

Very well said. I am beginning to think the era of outrage is a permanent one.

And that’s just in the last few months. Going back further one can find the same story playing out over and over where an unpopular comment draws popular outrage, leading the offender’s employer to (quite rationally) seek to disassociate itself as quickly as possible.

What’s odd about these sorts of incidents is that, while a single offhand comment can ruin a person’s career, professional pundits ...

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September 12th, 2013

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Supervision hierarchies

I feel like this is the core idea of Erlang:

Recall that at the beginning of this chapter we talked about the idea of a hierarchy of tasks. The basic idea is:

1. Try to perform a task.

2. If you cannot perform the task, then try to perform a simpler task.

To each task we associate an supervisor process—the supervisor will assign a worker to try and achieve the goals implied by the task. If the worker process fails with a non-normal exit then ...

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September 12th, 2013

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Operating systems are bad

Joe Armstrong’s book about concurrent fault tolerant programming is full of surprising ideas: I love this idea: computers should not have operating systems, they should simply have libraries that programmers can include when they make programs.

In most programming languages it is easy to write a pure function, whose value depends in a deterministic manner on the inputs to the function, but it is much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to do things like changing the code in ...

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September 12th, 2013

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Let it crash

I am learning a lot from Joe Armstrong’s thesis regarding concurrent and fault tolerant programming :

How does our philosophy of handling errors fit in with coding practices? What kind of code must the programmer write when they find an error? The philosophy is let some other process fix the error, but what does this mean for their code? The answer is let it crash. By this I mean that in the event of an error, then the program should just ...

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September 12th, 2013

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An Erlang example of functional programming

I am fascinated reading through Joe Armstrong’s thesis on concurrent programming and Erlang. He began work on Erlang in 1985 and his work was based on ideas that were developed by the 1970s. This leaves me curious: we’ve known for 40 years how to build robust concurrent applications, so why does the functional style remain a niche? Object oriented programming has been proven a terrible failure: vast graphs of mutable-in-place variables with vast cascades of mutations on every change leads ...

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September 12th, 2013

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Difficult code, and easy code, should go in different modules

Joe Armstrong’s these about concurrent programming and Erlang offers a wealth of novel ideas:

When we program we want to structure the code into “dificult” and “easy” modules. The dificult modules should be few and written by expert programmers. The easy modules should be many and written by less experienced programmers. Figure 4.1 shows a generic component (the dificult part), and a number of “plugins” (the easy parts) which are used to parameterise the generic component.

The generic component should hide details of ...

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September 12th, 2013

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The revival of capital since 1945

People work hard and save. They hope to get a small piece of property somewhere, or perhaps a lot of property. They pass this property along to their children. The process continues for centuries. Because of this, the last 2 or 3 centuries has seen an increase in the amount of property in the world.

That much makes sense.

What makes less sense is why the ratio of capital to income would change, or why capital values would increase over income. What ...

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September 11th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Sex crimes in Asia

These numbers are horrifying if true:

The survey questioned 10,000 men from six different Asian countries. In order to foster honest responses, participants were able to register their answers on hand held computers after researchers left them alone in a room. And of course, the survey didn’t just come out and ask men “Hey, do any cool rapes lately?”; it asked questions about whether the men had ever had sex with a woman even though they knew she didn’t want to ...

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September 11th, 2013

In Technology

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History seems to have favored the run-time checks plus the process approach to fault-containment

My god, what is wrong with the tech industry? Apparently the problems with object oriented programming and static type enforcement were well known many decades ago, and yet we are still fighting these awful ideas.

This is amazing, considering how long ago it was written:

There is considerable controversy about how to modularize software. Starting with Burroughs’ Espol and continuing through languages like Mesa and Ada, compiler writers have assumed perfect hardware and contended that they can provide good isolation ...

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September 10th, 2013

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The security system depends on limited knowledge of internal names

Interesting:

We require that the names of processes are unforgeable. This means that it should be impossible to guess the name of a process, and thereby interact with that process. We will assume that processes know their own names, and that processes which create other processes know the names of the processes which they have created. In other words, a parent process knows the names of its children.

In order to write COPLs we will need mechanisms for finding out the names ...

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September 10th, 2013

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Concurrency oriented programming languages

Interesting:

Characteristics of a COPL

COPLs are characterised by the following six properties:

1. COPLs must support processes. A process can be thought of as a self-contained virtual machine.

2. Several processes operating on the same machine must be strongly isolated. A fault in one processe should not adversely ecect another process, unless such interaction is explicitly programmed.

3. Each process must be identified by a unique unforgeable identifier. We will call this the Pid of the process.

4. There should be no shared state between ...

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September 10th, 2013

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A Lisp love letter

All of this sounds fascinating:

Fluchtpunkt Lisps

The German school of Lisp is described by Kazimir Majorinc as a Spartan movement13 in Lisp implementation.14 While I can agree with this categorization, I think that there’s more to the German school than just one aspect. In fact, I would say that to meet the criteria of the German school, a Lisp must take a philosophical stand in its implementation.

I’d like to propose a new term for the kinds of Lisps that fall into ...

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September 10th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Girl treated badly in high school programming class

This sounds awful:

My daughter traveled with me to DrupalCon in Denver for “spring break”, attended the expo at OSCON 2012, and even attended and watched me moderate a panel at the first Women in Advanced Computing (WiAC ’12) conference at USENIX Federated Conferences Week. Thanks to my career, my daughter’s Facebook friends list includes Linux conference organizers, an ARM developer and Linux kernel contributor, open source advocates, and other tech journalists. My daughter is bright, confident, independent, tech saavy, and ...

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September 5th, 2013

In Business

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Why women make great leaders

Interesting:

Source

September 4th, 2013

In Business

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The economic threat of automation, as seen in the 1960s

Interesting:

Surprisingly few people have grasped this process as well as Joyce did. Aristotle pointed out that if the looms wove and the lyres played themselves, we’d need fewer people to do these things. The Luddites, active in 19th-century England, didn’t take the mechanization of textile making lying down. And in 1930, no less an economic sage than John Maynard Keynes fretted about temporary “technological unemployment,” which he feared would grow faster than the number of jobs created by new technologies.

More ...

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September 1st, 2013

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Perverse incentives

Interesting:

One thing I like about this policy is it removes all kinds of perverse incentives which currently exist.

Some (true) personal examples: a friend of mine is moderately disabled and lives with his elderly parents. He wants (and they desperately want for him) to be able to live independently in a small apartment so that he can develop coping skills which will serve him when they are no longer around. His parents have the means to help him buy an apartment, ...

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September 1st, 2013

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The best beginner’s tutorial for Enlive

Bridesmere post’s the best tutorial for folks just starting with Enlive:

When using Enlive, it’s helpful to know that the library generally uses an internal data structure representation of HTML (called nodes in the documentation). Most functions and macros operate on and return nodes, or collections of them; a few return strings, which you need in order to render the HTML to the outside world (in my case when defining Compojure routes).

The simplest thing we can do is read in an ...

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August 29th, 2013

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There is no way to measure the productivity of a computer programmer

Interesting:

Another approach that’s often talked about for measuring output is Function Points. I have a little more sympathy for them, but am still unconvinced. This hasn’t been helped by stories I’ve heard of that talk about a single system getting counts that varied by a factor of three from different function point counters using the same system.

Even if we did find an accurate way for function points to determine functionality, I still think we are missing the point of productivity. ...

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August 26th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The government controls the Internet

The utopian era on the Internet is over. I like this essay because it attacks the innocence that created that earlier utopianism. The government always had the power to control the Internet, and as the Internet has become more important to society, the government caught up and brought the Wild West under control.

The technocracy, hoisted by its own petard – out-technocracied! We’ve been lionizing the Internet full-time for two decades (with good reason, of course) while clucking at the ...

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August 25th, 2013

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Ian Hickson is always wrong about everything

Ian Hickson is one of the great failures of the tech industry. He appears to be wrong about every single issue that he has an opinion on. He appears to belong to a particular tribe, the tribe know as “Very smart men who admire how smart they are and who are wrong about everything”. Steve Ballmer and Larry Summers are also proud members of that tribe.

Source

August 24th, 2013

In Technology

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An intro to macros

Interesting:

For extra credit, let’s take a bigger example in the same vein as our custom ifWorkday. I am making a game, and in it, I want an easy abstraction that gives me back one of several options with a custom percent chance. Ideally, something like

(if25 (doFirst) (doSecond))

where the number corresponds to the percent chance that the next item will be executed and returned. In this example, (doFirst) will only happen 25% of the time and (doSecond) 75% of the time. ...

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August 24th, 2013

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Karoshi for American interns

Interesting:

They say Moritz Erhardt was caught up in what the banking industry calls a “magic roundabout,” in which a taxi drives you home after a 24-hour shift, waits outside while you shower and change, then drives you right back for another daylong stint at the office.

After three days of endless work and six weeks of sometimes 100-hour-or-more work weeks, the 21-year-old German exchange student working a summer gig at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London collapsed and died in ...

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August 24th, 2013

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Why Aren’t There More Women Programmers

Interesting:

When we feel like we’re good at something, that’s when we can really learn it, sink our teeth in and love it and do it until we’re experts.

It is a great motivator, this feeling of confidence. This belief that we can accomplish what we want to do is called self-efficacy. There are four sources of self-efficacy at a particular task (in order of strength):[1] doing it seeing people like me do it social persuasion your body Why aren’t there more women programmers? Because many women ...

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August 24th, 2013

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Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

Interesting:

There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power. Conservatives and chauvinists tend to endorse the first; liberals and feminists prefer the third; and those somewhere in the middle are usually drawn to the second. ...

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August 24th, 2013

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Racism is a system, even in Silicon Valley

Interesting:

In a feature for The Magazine, Mr. Bouie examined why the mastheads of tech blogs like The Next Web, The Verge, Engadget and Gizmodo were overwhelmingly white and male. Rather than “overt racism,” he found a prohibitive combination of dependence on unpaid internships–and the network effect of a wired boys club whose members sometimes seem to be talking solely for each other’s benefit.

Technology has become just as pervasive as the Valley had always hoped, Mr. Bouie noted:

Gadgets are used by ...

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August 24th, 2013

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Users should be able to delete their accounts

A good reminder to me about the importance of users being able to delete their accounts:

After seeing a few tweets about how difficult it can be to delete your Skype account and then hearing that Netflix flat-out won’t delete your details I decided to build JustDelete.me.

JustDelete.Me is a directory of urls to delete your account from web services. (Yes, I am aware how terrible that description is. If you’ve got a better one, let me know). Services are marked either ...

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August 24th, 2013

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Why does Hollywood survive?

Interesting:

A while back you might have read Y-Combinator’s Paul Grahm calling for entrepreneurs to “Kill Hollywood,” soliciting ideas on how to eat the film industry’s lunch. Coming out following the backlash against the MPAA led bid to pass SOPA, it was a novel war cry but I believe inherently misguided. The arrogance in which the call and the approval that flowed from it through the Hacker News community made pretty clear a fundamental lack of understanding as to what game ...

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August 24th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Loneliness Is Deadly

Interesting:

Feeling uncertain, I began to research loneliness and came across several alarming recent studies. Loneliness is not just making us sick, it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.

Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead ...

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August 24th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Why are the Democrats vispy?

Interesting:

For the purposes of argument, I will accept Rao’s assessment of the structures of the two parties. The question then arises: Why? After all, basic stereotypes would suggest that Republicans, not Democrats, would be the stodgy ones. One story is that the Democrats are working on “maintaining the ’90s status-quo” (in Rao’s words). But I think it goes back earlier than that. After all, Reagan was an extremist for his time, whereas Clinton was always a moderate.

My theory (which maybe ...

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August 22nd, 2013

In Philosophy

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The TSA pointlessly harasses people

This story describes agents of the government acting with a discretion that can not be reconciled with the rule of law:

I got in line for security at the airport and handed the agent my ID. Another agent came over and handed me a paper slip, which he said was being used to track the length of the security lines. He said, “just hand this to someone when your stuff goes through the x-ray machines, and we’ll know how long you ...

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August 22nd, 2013

In Philosophy

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The problems with Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology starts with the premise that human behavior is determined by human evolution — supposedly everything we do should increase our chances of reproducing our genes. This is a reasonable hypothesis to start with, but EvPysch then fails to explain the edge cases:

1.) Why are some people gay? How does that increase reproduction of their genes?

2.) Why do some people adopt other people’s children? How does that increase reproduction of the adoptive parent’s genes?

3.) Why do some people choose ...

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August 20th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Groklaw closes down over concerns of NSA spying

This is extremely sad:

Privacy is vital to being human, which is why one of the worst punishments there is is total surveillance:

One way of beginning to understand privacy is by looking at what happens to people in extreme situations where it is absent. Recalling his time in Auschwitz, Primo Levi observed that “solitude in a Camp is more precious and rare than bread.” Solitude is one state of privacy, and even amidst the overwhelming death, starvation, and horror of the ...

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August 16th, 2013

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The cult of the MBA

Interesting:

It boggles my mind, given the big money involved, why so many people continue to bet huge sums of cash on the proven short-term penny-wise/pound-foolish idiocy of MBA-think. I mean sure– if your company is under cash flow pressure you have to pinch pennies. You have no choice. Spreadsheet says so, and spreadsheet’s the boss. But if you’re not, you should be investing and thinking long term cause the other guys probably aren’t. I’ve seen a related phenomenon in the startup world. ...

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August 15th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Life as a wage slave grinds you up

Interesting:

In 1969, publisher John Martin offered to pay Charles Bukowski $100 each and every month for the rest of his life, on one condition: that he quit his job at the post office and become a writer. 49-year-old Bukowski did just that, and in 1971 his first novel, Post Office, was published by Martin’s Black Sparrow Press.

15 years later, Bukowski wrote the following letter to Martin and spoke of his joy at having escaped full time employment.

(Source: Reach for the ...

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August 9th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Does the USA have a constitutional obligation to protect journalism?

I am worried that Congress can simply define “journalism” however it likes, such that all constitutional protections of a free press are disposed of.

But onto the “who’s really a journalist” argument. Some elected officials feel the language in the bill isn’t specific enough. One in particular, Dianne Feinstein, repeated the stupid but inevitable phrase that always accompanies discussions related to shield laws: Feinstein suggested that the definition comprise only journalists who make salaries, saying it should be applied just to ...

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August 9th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Muriel’s Wedding is the anti-romcom

I don’t usually like movies in the “Rom-Com” genre, but friends told me that Muriel’s Wedding was good, so I got it from Netflix. This movie is not really a rom-com, it’s more a sober examination of longing and desperation. Muriel hates herself and lies to everyone, even her best friend. She lies to create the illusion that she is the person she wants to be. Her father is a politician and her father also lies a great deal. Her ...

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August 9th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Boredom at work

Interesting:

The work was interesting at first. We coded until the sun came up, and pushed the limits of our abilities. We solved hard problems and learned tons. We had passionate discussions on the direction of the company and how to get there. There were ups and downs, fulfilling work and crap work, but it was always interesting.

Eventually, those discussions stopped. Shots were called in private meetings and passed down. Ideas from the rest of the org chart didn’t surface ...

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August 9th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Women regret quitting their careers

Interesting:

One woman featured in the Times story in 2003 — who was also interviewed for 60 Minutes — is now divorced from her primary-earning husband and is working part time to support herself while she lives in an apartment that looks out onto a parking lot. Others felt bored and unfulfilled with their full-time momhood and gradually threw themselves into volunteering (which is exactly like working except you don’t earn money). One grew to resent her husband’s expectation that she ...

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August 8th, 2013

In Technology

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Programming languages do not influence thinking?

I find this amazing:

Perhaps PHP’s idioms and influences of style can account for an application’s charmlessness? Well, such idiomatic arguments are dangerously close to aesthetic ones; besides, I have little truck with even weak versions of Whorfianism, especially when it comes to a deliberate intellectual exercise like programming.

Wow. I truly have trouble imagining how someone can possibly believe what is said in these sentences. When it comes to human spoken languages, we could debate Whorfianism, but in programming languages? ...

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August 8th, 2013

In Technology

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How are network packets queued in Linux systems?

Interesting.

Source

August 6th, 2013

In Technology

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How to deal with the “copy” command when someone aliases it

I just had this exact problem, and the solution is good to know:

cp is non-interactive by default so a lot of people, myself included, set an alias to include the -i flag so that cp was interactive by default.

alias cp=cp -i But I used to enjoy the fact that if I set this alias it would prompt me when overwriting files but if there was a situation where I wanted it to be non-interactive I could do that by specifying -f. ...

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August 5th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The earth is warming back to where it was 50 million years ago

My sense is that, to the extent that global warming is harmful, it is harmful because of the speed at which it is happening. In the past, the Earth was much warmer. Given time, the flora and fauna of Earth can adapt. But if the warming happens in 1,000 years, then the flora and fauna have no chance to adapt.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, paleobiologist Richard Norris and colleagues show that the ancient greenhouse world had few ...

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August 5th, 2013

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A startup builds a new building and then dies

Interesting:

Designing the Perfect Building

Once the commitment to fix everything wrong was in place, we were off and running on the design phase. We hired an interior designer and a great facilities person to manage the process. The exec staff started meeting about the design of the new building.

The staff weighed in on what color the carpet and walls would be. And there was a lot of discussion on what style of furniture was appropriate.

Our exec staff spent time worrying about ...

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August 5th, 2013

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pthreads in PHP

The casual reference to Java here tells you everything about where the core team wants to (stupidly) take PHP:

Synchronization: All of the objects that pthreads creates have built in synchronization in the ( familiar to java programmers ) form of ::wait and ::notify. Calling ::wait on an object will cause the context to wait for another context to call ::notify on the same object. This allows for powerful synchronization between Threaded Objects in PHP.

Wait, Threaded Objects ? A Stackable, ...

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August 4th, 2013

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Your boss has the power, and the incentive, to undermine any improvement

Taryn East:

If you’ve ever tried to implement an agile transition in a traditional workplace, you’ll know there are many stumbling blocks – one of the greatest being that of the existing stakeholder: Your boss, the invader from Mars explains how change can and should be dealt with by both the SCRUM and kanban approaches to agile development – and how that can easily be messed up by your boss.

The case-study especially strikes a chord with my experiences, describing a shop ...

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August 4th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Hugo Schwyzer tried to murder one of his girlfriends

Many years ago, when the blogosphere was a much smaller place, Hugo Schwyzer responded to something I wrote about relationships, and he accused me of not understanding the bliss of community and monogamous, loving relationships. I’ve always regarded the guy as extremely strange, like most of what he wrote was an attempt to convince himself, rather than the rest of the world. I’m reminded of how Hemingway often wrote about how great monogamy was, even as he worked his way ...

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August 3rd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Brad Delong is shockingly stupid where Larry Summers is concerned

For me, this ends my willingness to read Brad Delong. I became aware of him back in 1996 when we both participated in the discussions on The Left Business Observer run by Doug Henwood. Some people on that list accused him of being a right-winger, but when Delong got all huffy and quit because someone said something mean, I think Henwood summed it up pretty well by saying “Delong is an elite social democrat.” When Delong first got a weblog ...

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August 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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Visualizing Alexander Grothendieck

Kind of amazing:

Starting in the 1950s, Alexander Grothendieck revolutionized math by introducing many new concepts: schemes, stacks, motives, topoi and more. He wrote over 6000 pages! And then, after many quarrels with the mathematical establishment of France, he disappeared into the Pyrenees, where he now lives in seclusion.

The Stacks Project is an open-source reference book with many authors which aims to explain a lot of the math Grothendieck and his collaborators created. It’s currently 4000 pages ...

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August 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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Is Apache faster than Nginx?

This guys says that once he turned off Allow_Override, Apache became faster than Nginx.

Source

August 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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Switching from Unix Sockets to TCP/IP in Nginx

Excellent article:

PHP-FPM: Socket vs TCP/IP and sysctl tweaking In our entire WordPress-Nginx series we have used sockets for FPM (in between Nginx & PHP).

Sockets are slightly faster as compared to TCP/IP connection. But they are less scalable by default.

If you start getting errors like:

connect() to unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock failed or **apr_socket_recv: Connection reset by peer (104)**(as faced ovidiu here)

Then it means you need to either switch to TCP/IP or tweak with linux-system parameter so that your OS can handle large number of ...

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August 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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Setting up Nginx to work over a Unix file socket

This is the best article I’ve ever read on setting up Nginx.

Preface : To begin and preface this article, this is the exact stack that I am running and I have set this up on a Rackspace Cloud Server. So I know that it is portable and will work on a multitude of different environments. Secondly I know that it works, I know this because the article you are reading was published on a site using it. Furthermore, I have ...

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August 2nd, 2013

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Dynamically mapping requests to work processes

Damn, this is way over my head:

BLENDER OVERVIEW Blender is a Thrift and HTTP service built on Netty, a highly-scalable NIO client server library written in Java that enables the development of a variety of protocol servers and clients quickly and easily. We chose Netty over some of its other competitors, like Mina and Jetty, because it has a cleaner API, better documentation and, more importantly, because several other projects at Twitter are using this framework. To make Netty work with ...

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August 2nd, 2013

In Technology

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What is Clojure Expresso for?

I have never done logic programming so I have probably missing the obvious. I see this:

symbolic expression manipulation with expresso Expresso expressions are clojure s-expressions. Even if expresso can use custom types to better represent for example poynomials internally they will implement ISeq so that they can be used like regular s-expressions in every regard.

I mostly think of manipulating s-expressions in the context of macros. Is there another reason to do this?

Source

August 2nd, 2013

In Philosophy

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The Strange Kathy Sierra Saga

Online threats seem very common. We should all work against online threats, but we should all remember they are very common. I have never understood why the Kathy Sierra incident was seen as unique and unusual. I suppose she did a good job of advertising it, as she had an extremely popular blog:

I have been trying to determine how to continue talking about the Kathy Sierra incident without whipping a dead horse and without adding to an already ...

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August 2nd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Online dating in 1880

Interesting:

In the Victorian era, telegraph operators were the first people to live with virtual reality.

Here’s how the 1880 novel Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes — the story of Nattie Rogers, a young telegraph operator — begins:

Miss Nattie Rogers, telegraph operator, lived, as it were, in two worlds. The one her office, dingy and curtailed as to proportions, but from whence she could wander away through the medium of that slender telegraph wire, on a sort of electric ...

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August 1st, 2013

In Technology

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Undefined method `render’ for SomeTemplate

I was given the task of upgrading our internal wiki from Redmine 1.1 to Redmine 2.2. I ran into a bug:

undefined method `render’ for burndown_charts

This was 2 months ago. I searched all over the internet for info on this and found very little. But I now notice that Taryn East has run into exactly the same problem:

I recently had to scratch my head over a strange exception message I’d never seen before:

undefined method `render’ for # The problem was, it ...

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July 30th, 2013

In Technology

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Licklider on April 25th, 1963: an intergalatic network of computers

An observation and a question:

1.) It’s impressive that his focus is on software-as-a-service rather than the sending of documents. In that sense, the arrival of the Internet in the 1970s was a step backwards. TCP/IP focuses too much on documents.

2.) Why was it so difficult for people to grasp the notion of sending data over the network, instead of code? If you include the endless efforts in the 1980s and 1990s and early 00s to send objects over ...

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July 30th, 2013

In Technology

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An architecture of small apps

I am currently working at a well known magazine company. For their website we use a monstrous PHP/Symfony CMS which we call “megatron”. There has been some discussion about adopting a better architecture. The current system is very slow: it takes an average of 10 seconds to render a page. The North American websites for this company get 23 million page views a month. We rely on several cache strategies, including Varnish and also the built-in cache system that is ...

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July 29th, 2013

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Gender backed dollar

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946:

Modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.

I know exactly what the “gold backed dollar” is. It is a dollar that you can trade in for ...

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July 29th, 2013

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A constant diet of death threats

Anyone doing anything creative faces non-stop death threats. I’ve read that during the early 20th century, when socialism was at the peak of its international prestige, there was none of the abuse of celebrities that we now take for common. I am left wondering if there must always be some class tension, but sometimes it gets funneled into some kind of political movement, whereas in other eras it manifests as a completely apolitical generalized threat of violence.

David Vonderhaar is ...

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July 29th, 2013

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When I buy a desktop, I want it to *be* a desktop… not a iPad.

I love this line:

To sum up my experience: when I buy a desktop, I want it to *be* a desktop… not a iPad.

A good post by Taryn East:

For some time now my ageing (and now quite flaky) Macbook Pro has been running Lucid Lynx (an older version of Ubuntu). I’ve been biding my time and avoiding upgrading since, well, April 2010, I guess.

For most of the time it was because upgrading your only machine that you rely on for ...

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July 29th, 2013

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The true problem with git

This is really the core problem with git:

Do not rebase commits that you have pushed to a public repository.

If you follow that guideline, you’ll be fine. If you don’t, people will hate you, and you’ll be scorned by friends and family.

When you rebase stuff, you’re abandoning existing commits and creating new ones that are similar but different. If you push commits somewhere and others pull them down and base work on them, and then you rewrite those commits with git ...

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July 29th, 2013

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Talking Points Memo: Twilight Of The CMS

Back in 2011 Talking Points Memo Labs posted an essay about the problem with the monolithic CMS, as an architecture for software. I liked this essay very much and I sent the URL to many people. But late in 2012, Talking Points Memo moved to new servers, and apparently none of the Lab essays were ported to the new servers. I have written to Talking Points Memo several times about this. At first they said this was a temporary issue, ...

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July 27th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Who offers mercy

I think its safe to say that the Nazi’s never offered such compassionate mercy:

Somehow Schmeling rose on the count of nine, and Baer went in for the finish. Weary and defenseless, the German dropped his gloves and swayed slowly on his heels. Baer could have thrown another right and knocked Schmeling out. Instead he turned pleadingly toward referee Arthur Donovan to stop the fight. Baer didn’t want to kill Schmeling, just embarrass the Nazis. Donovan stepped between the two ...

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July 24th, 2013

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Why Yammer believes the traditional engineering organizational structure is dead

Ruby Glasses sends me to a post about Yammer. I’m now working a contract gig at Timeout.com and the tech team uses Yammer to chat about tech news. So I was interested in the article. I also posted the article to Yammer, so the rest of the tech team would see it.

Taryn East picked 2 very good quotes out of the article:

Highlights for me:

Yammer’s biggest rule of thumb is “2 to 10 people, 2 to 10 weeks,” ...

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July 24th, 2013

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FourSquare gives exclusive access to firehose to Gnip

I don’t understand why, but apparently FourSquare gave Gnip exclusive access to its firehose. That seems like an awful lot of power to give to some outside company. Why would FourSquare do this? Maybe they didn’t have the resources to build a billing system? I’m grasping at straws here.

Source

July 24th, 2013

In Technology

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How to become amazing on FourSquare

I am working on FourSquare integration for Timeout.com. I just put the app on my phone and checked in. I found some great tips about what to do and what not to do:

Foursquare Number Crunching Learn these rules if you want to succeed in the game of Foursquare! Whether you play for points, badges or mayorships, these rules should give you a better understand about how the game/social network works!

2 Check-ins – Each new venue requires a minimum of 2 check-ins ...

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July 23rd, 2013

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Facebook hides messages, sometimes important

The most charitable interpretation is to read this as a story of an overly aggressive spam filter. The less charitable reading is to read this as Facebook not caring about its users, and perhaps Facebook trying to raise money:

A couple of days ago, I wrote this post about the hidden “Other” folder on Facebook. This secret folder contains all messages sent to you by anybody who’s not among your Facebook friends. Because you’ve probably never looked in there, it ...

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July 23rd, 2013

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Software patents do great harm

Interesting:

Software developers don’t actually invent very much. The number of actually novel, non-obvious inventions in the software industry that maybe, in some universe, deserve a government-granted monopoly is, perhaps, two.

The other 40,000-odd software patents issued every year are mostly garbage that any working programmer could “invent” three times before breakfast. Most issued software patents aren’t “inventions” as most people understand that word. They’re just things that any first-year student learning Java should be able to do as a homework ...

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July 23rd, 2013

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Facebook slowly killed its platform

Rarely has a company had so much potential and then thrown so much of it away as Facebook:

Meanwhile, Facebook has also played tough with potential competitors in the messaging space, namely Path, Voxer, and MessageMe, all of which have had their access to the “find friends on Facebook” API revoked. In the same vein, Facebook also blocked Vintage Camera, an Instagram competitor; along with Vine, an Instagram Video competitor; and Russian search engine Yandex, whose social search product competes ...

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July 10th, 2013

In Philosophy

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It is a rare group that does not establish some informal networks of communication through the friends that are made in it

I’m reading Jo Freeman again and again being impressed with how exactly correct she got everything back in 1971.

During the years in which the women’s liberation movement has been taking shape, a great emphasis has been placed on what are called leaderless, structureless groups as the main — if not sole — organizational form of the movement. The source of this idea was a natural reaction against the over-structured society in which most of us found ourselves, and the ...

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July 9th, 2013

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Why buy a home?

Interesting:

1. Many home buyers make purchases with relatively little knowledge of their local real estate markets. For instance, in some areas heavily hit by the crash, you can find buyers who don’t know that a considerable amount of the local sales activity has been driven by individual speculators and institutional buyers who are attempting to rent out the homes they purchase. They might be on a block where a double-digit percentage of the houses are rentals and not even ...

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July 5th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Dr. Curran said there was no apparent danger to nonhomosexuals from contagion

Kind of epic how wrong Dr. Curran was, yes?

The cause of the outbreak is unknown, and there is as yet no evidence of contagion. But the doctors who have made the diagnoses, mostly in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area, are alerting other physicians who treat large numbers of homosexual men to the problem in an effort to help identify more cases and to reduce the delay in offering chemotherapy treatment.

The sudden appearance of the cancer, called ...

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July 5th, 2013

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The decline of the web is the decline of the elite web professional

Ever since Martin Luther banged 95 theses onto a church door, the West has seen an ongoing struggle between elite workers who possess specialized knowledge, and the multinational organizations that employ them. In Luther’s case, he was taking issue with the Catholic Church, and he was sternly reminding it that it was suppose to abide by some limits:

The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or ...

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July 5th, 2013

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The web is becoming a slow-motion Snapchat where content lives for some unknowable amount of time before it dies

Interesting:

I’m a great believer that once something is placed on the internet for free, it should continue to stay there, for free, unless there’s an extremely good reason to delete it. Back when hosting websites was difficult and expensive, that was easier said than done. But now web hosting is effectively free, there’s really no excuse — and one might hope that, as a result, we’d see less link rot.

But that’s not what’s happening. For one thing, the institution of ...

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July 5th, 2013

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I am feeling nostalgic for the pre-2007 web

Things have been closing down on the web, the sense of possibility has become limited, and I am feeling sad. I am nostalgic for this world (January of 2001):

Since the dot-com crash is closing the door to many traditional investors, a popular Net startup is turning to its users for donations to keep its service running.

Pyra created Blogger, a tool for creating vanity websites known as weblogs. On Tuesday it launched the “Blogger Server Fund,” a telethon-like appeal to raise ...

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July 5th, 2013

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Why movies suck

Interesting:

1. The Franchise Problem

Last November, shortly after it was announced that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm and would make a new Star Wars trilogy, Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan posited that we were entering a phase in which we would begin to see films from the same franchises over and over and over. That’s because, as Obst writes in her book, studios need movies with “pre-awareness” — titles that are familiar enough to sell in both the U.S. and abroad. Whether it’s ...

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July 4th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Katy Perry is Abercrombie & Fitch turned into music

Have you ever watched a Katy Perry video? I think if Abercrombie & Fitch was a music group, instead of a clothing retailer, then Katy Perry is what Abercrombie & Fitch would sound like. I don’t think she believes in anything she sings, I have the sense she’s some kind genius marketer who writes songs that are suppose to trigger the various fantasies that a 15 year old white girl, who is growing up in a very wealthy, all white ...

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July 3rd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Profile pictures with spouse and children?

I see a whole lot of profile pictures that show a person with their spouse or child.

Source

July 3rd, 2013

In Business

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Eccentric, unconventional and rash

“Investment based on genuine long-term expectation is so difficult today as to be scarcely practicable. He who attempts it must surely lead much more laborious days and run greater risks than he who tries to guess better than the crowd how the crowd will behave; and, given equal intelligence, he may make more disastrous mistakes.. It needs more intelligence to defeat the forces of time and our ignorance of the future than to beat the gun. Moreover, life is not ...

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June 28th, 2013

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Lisp for the individual genius who can not work with others

Interesting:

The Lisp Curse does not contradict the maxim of Stanislav Datskovskiy: Employers much prefer that workers be fungible, rather than maximally productive. Too true. With great difficulty does anyone plumb the venality of the managerial class. However, the last lines of his essay are problematic. To wit:

As for the “free software” world, it eagerly opposes industrial dogmas in rhetoric but not at all in practice. No concept shunned by cube farm hells has ever gained real traction among the ...

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June 28th, 2013

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Simplicity is only bad if it limits flexibility

Robin Ward wants us to think that EmberJs is better than AngularJs. He writes a very long post full of examples, and yet, strangely, when I was done reading it, I was ready to believe that Angular is better than Ember.

This is the first thing they wrote that I disagreed with:

A few years ago, many Rails developers I knew were excited about Sinatra. Sinatra is far simpler than Rails. It allocates a fraction of the objects Rails does. ...

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June 28th, 2013

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Clojure solves the inversion-of-control problem

Interesting:

The emphasis on concurrency via shared, immutable data promotes standard, dynamic methods for libraries and functions to interact. Since a user can trust that data is immutable and reliable, there is no need for things like defensive copying as is standard practice (or should be) in multi-threaded object systems like java. It’s simply not easy or expedient to go out of your way to destroy someone else’s data. This trust in data integrity coupled with the syntactic ...

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June 28th, 2013

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The engineering architecture design builder facade factory aggregator anti-pattern builder pure contract pattern structure failure

Funny:

Structure Every entity (Object, Class, whatever) should consist of at least three classes:

An Interface. An Implementation class (there should be at most one implementation class per interface). A Factory used to create the implementation. This should be a substitute for the implementation class’s public constructor. Further suggestions include:

Rather than a single interface, consider creating a deep hierarchy of interfaces. Have a few classes named things like FooVisitor, BarAdapter, and BazProxy. But remember: this means you should also have, for example, an BarAdapterFactory and BarAdapterImpl, ...

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June 21st, 2013

In Business

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A program of zero bytes, worth £5

Interesting:

User feedback [on both Tatung’s TPC-2000 and Einstein lines] repeatedly mentioned an irritation: that users often found they had to exit their current application [VisiCalc, WordStar, …] to perform simple disk operations, like finding a file on a floppy. It was a real and frustrating problem. For example, say they were running the popular WordStar word-processor and wanted to find an existing file for editing. Let’s also say they’re not sure which of a dozen floppy disks the file is ...

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June 21st, 2013

In Business

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Monopoly rents depress both wages and investment

Interesting:

Yet economies do change over time, and sometimes in fundamental ways. So what’s really different about America in the 21st century?

The most significant answer, I’d suggest, is the growing importance of monopoly rents: profits that don’t represent returns on investment, but instead reflect the value of market dominance. Sometimes that dominance seems deserved, sometimes not; but, either way, the growing importance of rents is producing a new disconnect between profits and production and may be a factor prolonging the slump.

To ...

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June 19th, 2013

In Technology

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Social Networks of the American Revolution

Interesting:

Rest assured that we only collected metadata on these people, and no actual conversations were recorded or meetings transcribed. All I know is whether someone was a member of an organization or not. Surely this is but a small encroachment on the freedom of the Crown’s subjects. I have been asked, on the basis of this poor information, to present some names for our field agents in the Colonies to work with. It seems an unlikely task.

If you want to ...

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June 17th, 2013

In Philosophy

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82 year old Catholic nun protests nuclear power so she must be a terrorist

Interesting:

On Thursday August 2, Rice, Boertje-Obed, and Walli appeared in court for a pretrial bail hearing. The government asked that all three be detained. One prosecutor called them a potential “danger to the community” and asked that all three be kept in jail until their trial. The US Magistrate allowed them to be released.

Sr. Megan Rice walked out of the jail and promptly admitted to gathered media that the three had indeed gone onto the property and ...

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June 17th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The wealth of the world now concentrates into fewer cities

Interesting:

Two mournful friends dropped by our flat in Paris last Sunday. They are a well-paid couple from the caste known in Paris as “bobos”: people with bourgeois incomes and bohemian tastes. In the popular narrative, bobos have invaded Paris, driving out pure bohemians and the working class. But my bobo friends had a new story: they themselves were being driven out of Paris. To get enough space for their kids, they were leaving for the suburbs. When they’d told the ...

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June 13th, 2013

In Philosophy

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You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide

by danah boyd:

People often feel immune from state surveillance because they’ve done nothing wrong. This rhetoric is perpetuated on American TV. And yet the same media who tells them they have nothing to fear will turn on them if they happen to be in close contact with someone who is of interest to – or if they themselves are the subject of – state interest. And it’s not just about now, but it’s about always.

And here’s where the implications ...

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June 12th, 2013

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How to fix the medical industry

This is exactly what I would like to see happen:

1. Ramp up drastically the training output of new doctors and nurses: More med schools, larger intakes per school, elimination of 4 years of pre-med university etc. More med school student scholarships and subsidies?

2.Massively expand other lower tiers of the medical system: Physicians assistants, Nurse Practitioners etc.

3. Liberalize drug imports both commercial and personal. Allow direct import of any FDA-licensed drug sold in equivalent nations (western EU / Canada etc.). ...

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June 12th, 2013

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The problem with the FDA

Interesting:

Drug A helps half of those to whom it is prescribed but it causes very serious liver damage in the other half. Drug B works well at some times but when administered at other times it accelerates the disease. Drug C fails to show any effect when tested against a placebo but it does seem to work in practice when administered as part of a treatment regime.

Which of these drugs should be approved and which rejected? The answer is that ...

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June 12th, 2013

In Business

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The culture at Microsoft

Interesting:

Not everybody is passionate for engineering. You don’t always work with people passionate for creating wonderful software. Mostly, people have other things to do (e.g. family and kids) and writing better code is not a priority for the most. And it is okay. I learned not to expect enthusiasm from everybody.

2-3 hours of coding a day is great. Before taking the job, I was able to code 8-10 hours a day on my personal projects. Somehow in this environment it ...

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June 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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Why is Github asking me for a username and password?

This is an important tip about ssh and Github. I redid my ssh keys like 5 times before I finally found out what the real problem was.

A common mistake is cloning using the default (HTTPS) instead of SSH. You can correct this by going to your repository, clicking the ssh button left to the URL field and updating the URL of your origin remote like this:

git remote set-url origin git@github.com:username/repo.git

Source

May 28th, 2013

In Technology

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Why use the REPL when doing Clojure development?

This conversation is good. Some highlights:

There are two phases which seem, in java land at least, to get conflated.

1. Poking an API to learn it’s capabilities and behaviour. 2. Writing tests to prove the correctness of your use of the API.

These are quite different phases, each important in their own way

1. is the ‘kicking the tyres’, open the bonnet, boot etc when you’re looking at car to see if it’s what you want to buy.

2. is the MOT, looking at ...

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May 21st, 2013

In Business

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Puritanism means hurt someone else

I think this is a kind of amazing confession:

In short, I can’t help feeling that the gold bugs are right. No, I’m not stashing gold bars under my bed. But that’s only because I lack the courage of my convictions.

My fear is not the result of economic analysis. It’s more from the realm of psychology. I mean mine.

But this cure has been one ice-cream sundae after another. It can’t be that easy, can it? The puritan in me says ...

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May 16th, 2013

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Object oriented programming does not work

The most abstracted and de-coupled and object-oriented framework that I have worked with is Symfony, and it is also the framework that has broken backwards compatibility the most often, during the last 5 years. I started working with Symfony in early 2008, and it has been constantly refactored during that time, and each refactoring has broken something important.

It is difficult to explain why I dislike Symfony so much. For awhile I would have said it was their envy of ...

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May 16th, 2013

In Technology

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What is my public IP address

My co-worker Erick sends me this:

Yea, if you go to ifconfig.me you get all sorts of info from the view of the internet. You can even get the info from command line. For example curl ifconfig.me/ip will give you the public IP address (See the Command Line Interface section from the website).

However do note, that this IP address represents the Internet address for the entire office. If a specific server should only be allowed to access a ...

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May 14th, 2013

In Business

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Why is YouTube terrible?

Interesting:

Check out some of the following videos, selected from top channels, all made within the last few months. Videos like KIDS in JAIL!!, How Guys Sleep, This was the FASTEST selling video game of 2006, Epic Epic Stunt, Ambercrombie & Fitch CEO Is A Dick, TWERKSANITY!!!, all have millions of views and subscribers but about $20 of production value and content investment between the lot of them. Even the best one, from The Young Turks network, could have been ...

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May 14th, 2013

In Technology

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How to setup Nginx, PHP-FPM and APC on a Mac

This tutorial is good. I am now sad that I wasted days finding this information in scattered places, because this one tutorial brings it all together in one place. I am going to link to it in the hopes that Google will rank it more highly in the future.

Source

May 14th, 2013

In Technology

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Why does anyone use PHP for anything?

I was a fanatic proponent of PHP, back around 2000. If I wanted to build a website, I could use Java or Perl or PHP. The choice was straightforward. Java was complex, and any change demanded that the code be recompiled. Perl had a small core and a million libraries that you needed to bundle in, so it was a little bit like Java in that you had to assemble a lot of different pieces. PHP was a light weight, ...

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May 10th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Depression is more than sadness

This is great.

And that’s the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn’t always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn’t even something — it’s nothing. And you can’t combat nothing. You can’t fill it up. You can’t cover it. It’s just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound completely insane in contrast to the scope of the problem.

It would be like having a bunch ...

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May 9th, 2013

In Technology

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How to setup your database at AWS to work with Heroku

Spent some serious time trying to track down this answer. My company has a Sinatra app running via Heroku. I just started working at a new office that has never had access to these apps. How do I whitelist my IP address so I can reach the AWS server and run a command like mysqldump? Can I do that via the Heroku toolset? No. Apparently I need to log into the AWS console. These are useful resources:

Connecting Your ...

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May 8th, 2013

In Business

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When does entrepreneurship on the web end?

Every industry eventually consolidates. And the web is less open than it was 10 years ago. When does the current era end? When does capital regain the upper hand?

In the second tier, the hustler class of new-money industrialists produced a first generation of Robber Barons, and then an asymmetric balance of power between bankers and second-generation hustlers who aspired to Robber Baron level fortunes (egged on by Horatio Alger narratives), but ended up as the tame new middle class. How ...

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May 8th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Category bias in Wikipedia

Is Wikipedia objective?

I recall taking a class on journalism and we argued about whether or not true objectivity could ever exist. Some people pointed out that it was possible to write an article that consisted only of factual statements, and therefore such an article proved that objectivity was possible.

There were several counter-arguments: what about the factual statements that were not included? You could factually say “The nation of x invaded the nation of y and slaughtered 10,000 innocents.” That makes ...

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May 6th, 2013

In Technology

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How to restore MongoDb from backups

This is a great post on how to restore MongoDb from backups.

Source

May 4th, 2013

In Technology

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The dev-ops anti-pattern

A friend sends me this in an email:

The unfortunate bit is that IMO, the DevOps role was created to handle the headache part, so the engineers can spend more time doing the fun parts.

This is an anti-pattern. When your company does this, it is making a mistake.

Source

May 4th, 2013

In Business

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Homophobes for fiscal constraint

It makes sense to me that a man who hates all gays also is in favor of fiscal restraint, as fiscal restraint during a recession is simply a ways of expressing hatred for the poor and working classes. This guy hates everyone is not already part of one of society’s favored groups.

Harvard Professor and author Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes’ economic philosophy was flawed and he didn’t care about future generations because he was gay and didn’t have ...

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May 3rd, 2013

In Technology

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max_allowed_packet and Heroku

This killed a whole day for me. I kept running:

heroku db:pull –app ny-offers

I needed a local copy of this database. The download would get halfway and then die:

I did some research and decided the problem was net_read_timeout or net_write_timeout in MySql. So I adjusted both:

set @@net_write_timeout = 1800;

set @@net_read_timeout = 1800;

That didn’t help.

So then I thought I could use mysqldump. I followed the directions in that post. But my IP was not whitelisted so I was not allowed ...

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May 1st, 2013

In Technology

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One language for the frontend, backend, and the database?

Interesting:

First of all, there are huge advantages to using a uniform language throughout your stack. My team uses a set of tools that we affectionately call the MEAN stack:­ MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and Node.js. By coding with Javascript throughout, we are able to realize performance gains in both the software itself and in the productivity of our developers. With MongoDB, we can store our documents in a JSON-­like format, write JSON queries on our ExpressJS and NodeJS based server, ...

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May 1st, 2013

In Technology

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Clojure as a Javascript generator

I am surprised by the continued rise of Javascript, a somewhat flawed language that has now become a universal target for dozens of other languages. I am stunned by the thought that creating Javascript might become the “killer app” that brings Clojure into the mainstream.

I was highly resistant to learning ClojureScript, but I want to experiment with LightTable, so I guess I need to learn ClojureScript (which I gather is the language for writing plugins for LightTable).

Source

May 1st, 2013

In Philosophy

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Why President Obama limits decisions

I think this is the only way to stay sane when you are in a fast-changing environment. Develop sane defaults and stick to them. You can not re-think every decision every day. No one has that kind of omni-directional brain power.

After reading this article in Vanity Fair on Obama, there was one piece that stuck out to me. As the author interviewed the president, he said “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down ...

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April 26th, 2013

In Technology

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Clojure is immutable — what this really means

Damn, this is great:

Here’s the difference:

# python def foo(): x = 23 y = lambda: x x = 44 return y

print foo()()

# ruby def foo(): x = 23 y = lambda { x } x = 44 y

puts foo.call

// javascript var foo = function(){ var x = 23; var y = function(){ return ...

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April 26th, 2013

In Philosophy

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George W Bush was a genius — who cares?

What is the point of intelligence? Why should anyone want to be intelligent? Is there anything useful in intelligence? I am confused by an essay that argues that George W Bush was very intelligent. If he was, then we can conclude that intelligence is not important in a leader, and there must be some other quality that we associate with great leaders.

For more than six years it was my job to help educate President Bush about complex economic policy ...

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April 25th, 2013

In Technology

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Jay Fields cuts to the important stuff

I have started using Expectations, which is a testing system created by Jay Fields. I really like Expectations. It is very minimalist, which I like a great deal.

Source

April 25th, 2013

In Business, Philosophy

No Comments

Do intellectuals have any influence?

Paul Krugman writes:

But will any of this make a difference? The story of the past three years, after all, is not that Alesina and Ardagna used a bad measure of fiscal policy, or that Reinhart and Rogoff mishandled their data. It is that important people’s will to believe trumped the already ample evidence that austerity would be a terrible mistake; A-A and R-R were just riders on the wave.

The cynic in me therefore says that after a brief period of ...

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April 24th, 2013

In Business

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Real entrepreneurs are ready to go to jail

This question occurs to me a lot. If the government never threatens to arrest you, then how do you know if you are really pushing against the limits? If you play it safe, and avoid any government threats, then are you really being innovative? Here is a guy who was willing to take big risks:

My first startup landed me in prison. Imagine a company that allowed people to eliminate the financial burden of paying for a luxury or ...

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April 23rd, 2013

In Philosophy

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Why does danah boyd face more criticism than Paul Krugman when writing about personal topics?

Nothing in this post should be read as a criticism of either Paul Krugman or danah boyd. They are both writers that I admire. They both maintain blogs that I have been following for 7 or 8 years. They are both politically of the left, progressive and committed to humane values. And they both sometimes write informally academic things on their blogs, and other times personal things on their blogs. And I have the impression that danah boyd faces much ...

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April 23rd, 2013

In Technology

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How to restart your server processes when they die

A great writeup of several different process managers, that help with daemonization and restarts:

Monit is an established player in the process management game. Its sole purpose is to monitor daemon processes, files, directories, filesystems, etc on your server and respond with appropriate actions whenever something is not as it should be.

Sample

Here’s a simple configuration to monitor an SSH server daemon process:

1 2 3 4 5 6 set daemon 60 #check interval in seconds

check process ssh with pidfile “/var/run/sshd.pid” start ...

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April 23rd, 2013

In Business, Technology

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Why is it so difficult to estimate time on software projects?

I just went through something just like this. Interesting:.

It was the , and I was a young developer 1. In college, I had aced coding exercises, as a junior dev I had cranked out code to solve whatever problems someone specified for me, quicker than anyone expected. I could learn a new language and get productive in it over a weekend (or, so I believed).

And thus, in the natural course of things, I got to run my own project. ...

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April 23rd, 2013

In Technology

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Use JConsole to debug JVM apps

Haven’t needed to do this yet but at some point I will.

Source

April 23rd, 2013

In Technology

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You can debug a running process

GDB lets you tap into a running process and see what is happening with your app, while your app is live.

That includes stuff like running Ruby or Python processes.

Source

April 21st, 2013

In Philosophy

No Comments

Sex and technology

Yet another reminder of how much sex and technology now overlap:

Source

April 17th, 2013

In Technology

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A simple example of a one-function for encoding

Interesting:

Alice and Bob are crossword enthusiasts. Every morning they rush to complete the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword. One morning Alice finishes the crossword and telephones Bob to gloat. Bob challenges her by asking for the solution to 21D as proof that she’s completed the entire thing.

Alice knows the answer (FOLIO) but doesn’t want to tell Bob because that would give away an answer that Bob might not yet have. And she knows that Bob may ask her for more solutions ...

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April 17th, 2013

In Philosophy

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No one can pay attention to everyone

Therefore we must screen who we listen to. I would like a service that let me white list what other blogs could post pingbacks to my blog. I used to think that comments were very important on a blog, but now I feel that ownership must be taken for any words spoken, and therefore it would be better if everyone had their own blog and could simply ping each other.

This is good:

When was the last time you stopped scrolling ...

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April 17th, 2013

In Technology

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ClojureWerkz now accepts donations

I just sent them $100. I am wholly reliant on Monger for everything I do at this point.

ClojureWerkz was started in mid-2011 because we were frustrated with a couple of database and messaging libraries that were very popular in the Clojure community at the time. We were also frustrated with the “culture” of not documenting projects. So developed a library the way we wanted. Then another one. And another one. Today, we find ourselves with dozens of projects that ...

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April 17th, 2013

In Technology

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The attitude of the Clojure community

Interesting:

“enterprise” in general is extremely conservative about change. Those companies use Java because it’s “safe”: it’s pretty much ubiquitous, it’s been around for decades, it’s easy to hire low-to-mid-range developers, you can outsource it relatively easily. If you have a company that’s bought into the whole Java stack and uses Java for “everything”, you have a deeply entrenched company and it may be extremely difficult to bring Clojure in. You might have some success bringing Scala in – as a ...

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April 17th, 2013

In Technology

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How to export files from MongoDb GridFS

by Vladimir Momirov: This is an awesome script:

The biggest problem is that I used GridFS to store uploaded files. After unsuccessfully searching online I decided to write my own bash export script. How to export all the files out of mongodb gridfs? Here’s the script:

#! /bin/bash _host=”${1:?Usage: gridfs host db}” _db=”${2:?Usage: gridfs host db}” while read -r line; do file=$(echo “$line” | awk -F’\t’ ‘{ print $1 }’) [[ $file == 'connected to'* ]] && continue ...

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April 16th, 2013

In Technology

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Lukasz Wrobel on Ruby cache systems

This is a very good write up by Lukasz Wrobel, about different cache techniques.

Instead of mixing cache logic into your methods, try to wrap method calls with cache handler. This shouldn’t be difficult, especially in view of some nice Ruby’s features.

Let’s wrap method call with a block like this:

posts = cached(‘posts’) do get_posts() end

It looks much more cleaner than the previous example, but when does the caching and retrieving data from cache takes place? Let’s try to implement the ...

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April 16th, 2013

In Business

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Github finally gets my money

I have been a fan Subversion for a long time, and I have been a fan of Springloops, through which I bought my hosted subversion. But I’ve been working a lot with git, which for a long time I have hated, but I have slowly grown used to it. And so, beginning a new project, I find that I finally pulled out my credit card and signed up for Github, so I can keep my private code there.

Source

April 11th, 2013

In Technology

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The cult of credentials

Interesting:

On the podcast, Kling explains his colleague Bryan Caplan’s point of view, saying that going to college signals conformity to organizations that want you to be a conformist in order to work there:

“If you’re bright enough and conscientious enough to go to college but you don’t, you’re signaling that you’re willing to be different, that you don’t accept the norms of society. So, as an employer, I’ve got to worry. Sometimes you have to do something that doesn’t make sense ...

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April 11th, 2013

In Technology

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One way functions

Interesting

A non-mathematical explanation of one way functions Alice and Bob are crossword enthusiasts. Every morning they rush to complete the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword. One morning Alice finishes the crossword and telephones Bob to gloat. Bob challenges her by asking for the solution to 21D as proof that she’s completed the entire thing.

Alice knows the answer (FOLIO) but doesn’t want to tell Bob because that would give away an answer that Bob might not yet have. And she knows that Bob ...

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April 11th, 2013

In Business

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Programming and boredom

Interesting

As the allure of programming starts fading away, we try to discover new sources of inspiration. This quest leads us to different programming languages, frameworks, fads and technologies, and, as decades pass, maybe even to the theoretical depths of programming and computer science. In the end though we have to accept that programming is a repetitive activity. We feel that we have reached a state of mastery, that we cannot, may not or probably will not surpass, out of tiredness, ...

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April 10th, 2013

In Business

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Mutiny is good for us

Interesting:

When mutiny occurs, the leader involved usually sees it as a sudden flash that is obscene. But the members involved in the action see it differently. Like an entrepreneurial team, they formulate a strategic plan for mutiny in secret, execute it tactically, and face the risks with a sense of justice and purpose. And here is the real surprise of our research: the mutinies are usually for the better. Given the connotations of the term mutiny, and the images it ...

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April 9th, 2013

In Technology

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A simple example of how normal people might do encryption

It is rare that a post with so few words manages to touch on so many themes that are of interest to me:

A real-world one-way function:

Alice and Bob procure the same edition of the white pages book for a particular town, say Cambridge. For each letter Alice wants to encrypt, she finds a person in the book whose last name starts with this letter and uses his/her phone number as the encryption of that letter.

To decrypt the message Bob has ...

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April 9th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile

I have a new motto

Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile

Life is short, [the] craft long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.

Source

April 9th, 2013

In Technology

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Whois.net is having a bad day

Does not look good:

struct Detail [empty string] ErrNumber 0 Message Variable THETLDS is undefined. StackTrace coldfusion.runtime.UndefinedVariableException: Variable THETLDS is undefined. at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._get(CfJspPage.java:377) at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._get(CfJspPage.java:339) at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._autoscalarize(CfJspPage.java:1447) at cfWhoisModel2ecfc654436489$funcGETTLDS.runFunction(/usr2/www/new.whois.net/system/models/WhoisModel.cfc:33) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke(UDFMethod.java:472) at coldfusion.filter.SilentFilter.invoke(SilentFilter.java:47) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod$ReturnTypeFilter.invoke(UDFMethod.java:405) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod$ArgumentCollectionFilter.invoke(UDFMethod.java:368) at coldfusion.filter.FunctionAccessFilter.invoke(FunctionAccessFilter.java:55) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.runFilterChain(UDFMethod.java:321) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke(UDFMethod.java:220) at coldfusion.runtime.TemplateProxy.invoke(TemplateProxy.java:491) at coldfusion.runtime.TemplateProxy.invoke(TemplateProxy.java:337) at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._invoke(CfJspPage.java:2360) at cfWhoisSystem2ecfc1925561543$funcINDEX.runFunction(/usr2/www/new.whois.net/system/WhoisSystem.cfc:854) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke(UDFMethod.java:472) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod$ArgumentCollectionFilter.invoke(UDFMethod.java:368) at coldfusion.filter.FunctionAccessFilter.invoke(FunctionAccessFilter.java:55) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.runFilterChain(UDFMethod.java:321) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke(UDFMethod.java:220) at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._invokeUDF(CfJspPage.java:2582) at cfWhoisSystem2ecfc1925561543$funcEXECUTE.runFunction(/usr2/www/new.whois.net/system/WhoisSystem.cfc:1476) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke(UDFMethod.java:472) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod$ArgumentCollectionFilter.invoke(UDFMethod.java:368) at coldfusion.filter.FunctionAccessFilter.invoke(FunctionAccessFilter.java:55) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.runFilterChain(UDFMethod.java:321) at coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke(UDFMethod.java:220) at coldfusion.runtime.TemplateProxy.invoke(TemplateProxy.java:491) at coldfusion.runtime.TemplateProxy.invoke(TemplateProxy.java:337) at coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._invoke(CfJspPage.java:2360) at cfindex2ecfm2057041952.runPage(/usr2/www/new.whois.net/index.cfm:1) at ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Business

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Austerity and feeling old

I recall that when I turned 28 years old, I felt old. My youth was behind me. It was time to become an adult. I had responsibilities now, I needed to be serious, play time was over, I had to grow up. I felt depressed and a little directionless, full of ambitions I had no idea how to fulfill. I was disappointed with my career so far. I felt like my options were beginning to narrow.

At that time, some ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Gender ignorance at a tech conference

Interesting

I’m not a lady easily upset by the silly things that happen in male-dominated cultures. When I went on stage to speak at DEFCON 19 a series of events escalated to a portion of the audience shouting for me to take my shirt off. While I was a little sad that conference security had no idea how to de-escalate that (I sure hope they teach them now) and I had to do it myself, it isn’t fair to hold a ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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Why are the French drinking less wine?

Interesting

The question worries a lot of people – oenophiles, cultural commentators, flag-wavers for French exceptionalism – all of whom have watched with consternation the gradual disappearance of wine from the national dinner table.

Recent figures merely confirm what has been observed for years, that the number of regular drinkers of wine in France is in freefall.

In 1980 more than half of adults were consuming wine on a near-daily basis. Today that figure has fallen to 17%.

Meanwhile, the proportion of French people ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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Clojure is fast

Clojure/Compojure comes in fairly fast in this comparison

Source

April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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Kill cancer

Interesting:

The molecule, TIC10, activates the gene for a protein called TRAIL (tumour-necrosis-factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), which has long been a target for cancer researchers looking for drugs that would avoid the debilitating effects of conventional therapies.

“TRAIL is a part of our immune system: all of us with functional immune systems use this molecule to keep tumours from forming or spreading, so boosting this will not be as toxic as chemotherapy,” says Wafik El-Deiry, an oncologist at Pennsylvania State University in Hershey ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Business

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Thank you industrialization. Thank you steel mill. Thank you power station.

Interesting

“My mother explained the magic with this machine the very, very first day. She said, “Now Hans, we have loaded the laundry; the machine will make the work. And now we can go to the library.” Because this is the magic: you load the laundry, and what do you get out of the machine? You get books out of the machines, children’s books. And mother got time to read for me. She loved this. I got the “ABC.” This is ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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Online wallet services are dangerous

We risk our money in dangerous ways.

Source

April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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http-kit is amazing

Interesting

It’s not based on netty: > {:dependencies [[org.clojure/clojure "1.5.1"]]} netty is in the dev dependencies, but for benchmarking only I would guess. [edit] This project is one of the best thing that happened in the web area in clojure recently imho. Not only it is a game changer in performance/resource use, but it makes websocket and async in general trivial to use and actually production ready (same goes for its client). Some would mention Pedestal but it forces you to learn quite a ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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The problems with dynamic scope

Interesting:

That is, there is a single dynamic Var holding the “resource” on which the rest of the API operates. The DSSR is often accompanied by a with-* macro:

(defmacro with-resource [src & body] `(binding [*resource* (acquire src)] (try ~@body (finally (dispose *resource*))))) This looks harmless enough. It’s practically a carbon copy of Clojure’s with-open macro, and it ensures that the resource will get ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Business

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If you sell your company then you have failed

Interesting

With a fat bank account, I was pretty set to do whatever I wanted for a long time. The sale afforded me the ability to make art, invest in other companies, and unwind. But it didn’t take long to realize that my new life was a hell of a lot less exciting than running an independent company had been.

I typically refer to the IAC sale as “the worst business decision of my life.” I’m not sure IAC is worse than ...

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April 8th, 2013

In Technology

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Strange experiments with Javascript

Javascript is becoming important in ways I would have never expected, and some groups are developing versions of it that strike me as very odd.

OdinMonkey makes JavaScript fast with insane optimizations!

also known as It would be great to use asm.js to speed jQuery up!

Nope. OdinMonkey does not even speak JavaScript. It speaks a statically typed language that by chance looks like JavaScript.

It can’t allocate normal JavaScript objects or access normal JavaScript properties. No JavaScript strings. Only arithmetic and typed ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Business

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Good management is not a control freak

I am reading Brad Garlinghouse 2006 memo at Yahoo. . Can anyone make a coherent argument about why a small startup is focused, and can grow, but when a big company like Yahoo buys that company, then suddenly the startup is a deadweight that is threatening the very existence of the parent company, because it make the parent company too complex, unfocused, spread too thin? One moment the startup represents innovation, growth, success, entrepreneurial vision, and then it is ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Philosophy

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The street kids of San Francisco

Interesting:

Whenever Haight Street tourists or bar hoppers crowd the neighborhood, street kids panhandle (hold a palm out for money – resembling a pan handle) and spange (“Spare change?”). An average day of spanging brings in about $40. But with some luck and creative tactics (jumping out of trash cans to scare a group of teenagers, or telling tourists how to take the perfect picture of the Haight and Ashbury street signs), a day’s haul can break into triple digits.

This struck ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Business

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Marissa Mayer and change

Change is hard. Yahoo needs to change or it will die. I am surprised that Mayer is personally interviewing new engineers, but that might be needed — possibly she distrusts all of the hiring managers, and possibly that distrust is well justified. I suspect that if Yahoo dies she will be cursed as a control freak, and if Yahoo turns around she will be hailed as a great visionary leader, but in the end, as with any of us, the ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Technology

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Don’t run Java inside of Shell inside of Emacs inside of Screen

Whoa. I always do this in testing: run my Clojure apps inside of Shell inside of Emacs inside of Screen. And on the company’s dev server I left one of those apps running for weeks, dumping all output to the terminal. Just now I was researching the server and typed “ps aux”. Scanning down the list I just happened to notice an app that is consuming 31% of all the memory:

Of course, I sort of knew this, but it is ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Business

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Oakland is the next Brooklyn

Time goes by, and things change. The generations have their memories, places as they were. My mom grew up in the Bronx, remembers Brooklyn as a dirty working class suburb, much like the Bronx.

This year I got my mom a subscription to TimeOut magazine. A few weeks later she calls me up, amazed: “Lawrence, do you realize there is almost as much happening in Brooklyn as in Manhattan?” She says this in the tone of voice I would reserve ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Business, Technology

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Embedding legit sites within iframes to run an advertising fraud scheme

Clever. If you run ads, and want to click on the ads yourself, to get more money, most of the time the ad companies will detect your ad fraud, and your ad account will be suspended: no money for you. So how could you run an advertising fraud scheme that looked like real users, from all over the world, were clicking the links? Here’s an idea: show legit sites in frames, but every time a user clicks, have a hidden ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Business

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Yahoo overpays to acquire new companies

Interesting. I can not fathom what is driving the big tech companies nowadays. Microsoft has an incompetent CEO and yet no one complains. Google has given up trying to own the future. Yahoo overpays to acquire new companies. Why?

I think Yahoo shareholders deserve an explanation. It’s not clear at all to me that they are getting their money’s worth.

Summly raises $1.5 million in total funding, launches to significant fanfare.

Yahoo comes knocking, asks for their download numbers, revenue, technology ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Technology

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Logging in Javascript

I haven’t done much Javascript work since 2009 (when I built an awesome calendar system that was never used in production, sad to say). I know this scene is changing dramatically. One of the big problems used to be getting decent feedback on where the errors in the code was. Now Firebug has some good logging tools:

Firebug and Logging

Having a fancy JavaScript debugger is great, but sometimes the fastest way to find bugs is just to dump as much ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Technology

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The most hated language is now adored by the whole world

Just amazing. I recall in 90s when Javascript was the most hated language in the universe, an ugly duckling that was mocked by everyone. It’s rise is astounding. Why is it succeeding where purer languages fail? Why don’t companies write interpreters for Ruby or Lisp and put them in web browsers? Why Javascript?

This job posting tells a tale:

The thing that amazed me the most – virtually every applicant was downright giddy at the opportunity to work with Ember.js full-time. ...

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April 5th, 2013

In Technology

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URLs are for people

URLs as UI. Most automobiles now have automatic transmissions. But URLs are still reliable guides to information on the web, and people rely on the URLs. I think it is very difficult to guess, a head of time, which parts of a machine can be hidden from the user, and which parts need to remain exposed to the user.

Interesting

Source

April 5th, 2013

In Technology

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The strange world of WordPress

Interesting. I think of this as a comment regarding the culture that is WordPress, rather than the culture that is Google. As a separate issue, I am shocked that Google is now in retreat from the web. I know they dream of being great in other fields, but killing off dozens of products communicates a loss of a particular type of ambition and creativity.

Yesterday one of our writers discovered the WordPress spellchecker was not working properly—namely that it started ...

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March 27th, 2013

In Technology

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Why use Clojure

This whole post is good, but the graph measuring lines of code in Java, versus Clojure, really needs to be seen.

Programs written in Clojure are small. Really small. It’s incredible how much you can pack into a few lines of code.

Who cares? Why do I think that this is worth mentioning?

Consider both writing and maintaining programs. If everything else is equal it’ll take less time to write a program in a succinct language than in one that isn’t.

The cost of ...

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March 25th, 2013

In Technology

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Expressiveness of languages ranked

Clojure ranks #7

Effects of language class/type

Functional languages tend to be highly expressive. On this list are Haskell (#10), Erlang (#22), F# (#21), Lisp variants (including Clojure [#7], Emacs Lisp [#14], Dylan [#12], Common Lisp [#23], Scheme [#31], and Racket [#11]), OCaml (#20), R (#17), and Scala (#18). Of those, only two fall below #30 out of the 52 languages included here.

Domain-specific languages are biased toward high expressiveness. Augeas (#1), Puppet (#2), R (#17), and Scilab (#19) are good examples of ...

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March 25th, 2013

In Business

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In the USA, real wages decline again

Interesting and sad:

Below are the gory details. The data source is Appendix Table B-47, “Hours and Earnings in Private Non-Agricultural Industries, 1966-2012.” The table has been completely revised since last year’s edition of the report. The data is for production and non-supervisory workers in the private sector, about 80% of the private workforce, so we are able to focus on what’s happening to average workers rather than those with high incomes.. I use weekly wages rather than hourly because there ...

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March 20th, 2013

In Technology

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Shaw Solution Consultancy gets everything wrong

This is an unusually stupid blog post:

My frustration however is with terminology, the company insists that this is NOT a CMS and that plugins, are a flawed way do approach extending a website. Instead they have a central API which gets integrated with multiple “Apps*”. I fail to see how these “Apps” are anything other than plugins and how their integration approach will give them any greater protection from unexpected overlap than Drupal or WordPress find. It is Object ...

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March 18th, 2013

In Philosophy

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Heart disease was common in the ancient past

Interesting:

There are many fallacies that undergird alternative medicine, which evolved into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), and for which the preferred term among its advocates is now “integrative medicine,” meant to imply the “best of both worlds.” If I had to pick one fallacy that rules above all among proponents of CAM/IM, it would have to be either the naturalistic fallacy (i.e., that if it’s natural—whatever that means—it must be better) or the fallacy of antiquity (i.e., that if it’s ...

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March 17th, 2013

In Business

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Does business strategy exist?

I strongly doubt that business strategy exists. I think nearly all cases that seem like brilliant strategic decisions were instead just luck. What does exist is inventors who are close to demographic or a technology and are therefore able to realize the potential that exists in the circumstances that they see. But even when the opportunity is real, finding the best way to exploit the situation comes down to trial and error — its all luck, and anyone pretending otherwise ...

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March 17th, 2013

In Business

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Some people learn by doing

Interesting:

Many companies in Germany take on apprentices, much like North American companies accept interns and co-op students. If a company decides to take you on as an apprentice, the position is guaranteed by the state. Should the company go bust, you are placed with another company the next day. There is a web of companies guaranteeing the positions for each other, spread all across the country.

Unlike interns in North American companies, apprentices in Germany are treated like normal junior employees ...

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March 5th, 2013

In Technology

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How to setup admin username and password for MongoDb

This is surprisingly confusing. It is strange to start MongoDb and be able to access it without needing a username or password.

I got it now. Here is what I document:

1) In mongo command line: (let say, set administrator) > use admin; > db.addUser(‘admin’,’123456′); 2) Shutdown Server and exit > db.shutdownServer(); > exit 3) Restart Mongod with –auth $ sudo ./mongodb/bin/mongod –auth –dbpath /mnt/db/ 4) Run mongo again in 2 ways: i) run mongo first ...

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March 5th, 2013

In Technology

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Clojure destructing compared to Common Lisp destructuring

Interesting.

Source

March 5th, 2013

In Technology

No Comments

Keyword arguments in Clojure and Ruby and Common Lisp

This is a brilliant tour of how 3 languages handle their function arguments:

Part of the fun of Lisps is lack of ambiguity. Everything is spelled out in all its parenthesized glory. In Clojure, when you call a function like (foo :x 123), Clojure requires you to specify what you want to happen with those arguments.

It used to be that Clojure didn’t have much support for keyword args at all. Clojure did have support for allowing variable numbers of arguments to ...

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March 4th, 2013

In Business

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Men who know neither theory nor the history of previous crises are utterly convinced that they know what to do

Leaders are often stupid. These last few years I have been amazed at how often I have seen this in the world of business: people in leadership positions expressing very strong, entirely undeserved, confidence. And often being proven painfully wrong.

The amazing thing is the way men who know neither theory nor the history of previous crises are utterly convinced that they know what to do in our current crisis; and how their confidence in their prescriptions has been unaffected ...

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February 22nd, 2013

In Technology

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How to add private jars to your Clojure projects

This is useful info:

You could put your private jars in lib/ and they’d be on the classpath for the purposes of lein swank and the like; this does seem to defeat the point of using a dependency management tool, though if you don’t actually want those dependencies managed, you could treat Leiningen as an “open source dependencies management tool” and maybe be careful with lein clean.

Source

February 22nd, 2013

In Business

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Does a lack of diversity help a new company?

What’s needed in a new, small company is different than what is needed in a big company. And I’ve read that managers often have success, early in their careers, by acting like dictators and giving a lot of orders, but that tactic only works while the manager can see the people they are managing — if they want to rise to a higher level, where they manage many thousands of people whom they will never meet, they need to change ...

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February 22nd, 2013

In Technology

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Really awful object oriented code from Adobe

You have heard that Ruby and PHP are terrible languages because they make you do stuff like stick strings together, and we should all be using a grown-up, adult language like Java to do professional work? Apparently you can write terrible code in any language:

private static String getHeader() throws UnsupportedEncodingException { byte[] nonceB = generateNonce() String nonce = base64Encode(nonceB) ...

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February 22nd, 2013

In Business, Technology

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Frustrated with Adobe and Omniture

I am venting my discontent over on the forums and blogs at Adobe. I have wasted days trying to figure out the API, and many of the code samples seem to be out of date, or they focus on SOAP instead of REST. I am thinking, in particular, between the actively supported developer forums at PayPal, versus the empty developer forums at Adobe.

Anyway, I found a code sample, and wrote:

This would be exciting, but when I downloaded it, ...

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February 21st, 2013

In Business

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Why the “Agile” method fails

I like this very much:

As far as the Agile Manifesto goes, we’re in total agreement that the priority of software development is to ship working software, but we disagree on two key aspects:

Invest heavily in automation vs. “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

Treat your makers as asynchronous threads. vs. “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”

The agile manifesto was written years before the modern automation and DevOps ...

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February 20th, 2013

In Technology

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We escaped from the complexity of Java and ended up with the complexity of Rails

For me, the correct way forward is Clojure, which allows its jars to compose in very elegant ways. But I think this is very well said:

Is it the complexity that Refinery brings to the table? Maybe. Refinery does what it does, but it is something of a beast. If you follow the rules closely, you’ll end up developing a Rails application with an excessive number of Engines, which is really just another way of saying that ...

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February 20th, 2013

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Object oriented programming is stupidly complicated

Clojure lab makes a good point:

They are fine frameworks and languges but all of them praise OOP paradigm. I have no big experience with programming but i can say that this concept is overcomplicated from my point of view. I even think that people just didn’t understand objects concept and started using it in another way, mostly wrong way. I could say that nowadays it’s Class programming.

“Classes orginize your code” ! I saw this phrase on some experienced programmer blog ...

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