Democracy in Action

I saw Tom Stoppard’s play “Jumpers” recently.  The line that got the biggest audience response: “It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting.” True, that. I’ve written a bunch more code for my “Google On The Cheap” series but I’ve been incredibly heads-down between work, planning a wedding, and my latest book project.  Expect…

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The National Coin Flipping League Championship Series

No tech today, but a little basic math. In baseball, a sport I know little about, apparently the Boston Red Sox have recently come back from a three game deficit to win a best-of-seven series against their traditional rival team, the New York Yankees. Baseball is a game which attracts statisticians, and many have noted that this…

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Anthimeria weirds languages

A little non-technical rant for a Friday. Professor Thingo, in a recent blog entry, decries the use of “Gestalt” as a verb and asks “Does the English language now allow parts of speech to be used entirely interchangeably? Did I miss a memo?” Though I also would personally balk at verbing “Gestalt” and ” architecture”…

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I Have A Mysterious Fifth Sense

A little fun for a Friday afternoon. The economy must be picking up — I’m getting cold calls from recruiters again for the first time in about four years.  Today was the second (and third!) this month. However, apparently some of them are just a wee bit disorganized. I just had the following conversations: [Ring…

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The Attribute Of Manliness

This is a technical, not a political, current-events, linguistic or academic blog. (You know of course that as soon as I say that, it’s because I’m about to post something that is political, timely, linguistic and academic. Foreshadowing: your sign of a quality blog!) Despite all that, I was so struck by this passage I…

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Math is Everywhere

A number of coincidences led to this post — first, I got an email from one of the Mikes, who encouraged me to digress more from strictly technical topics. Thus I was going through some old email looking for anything off-the-wall and I ran into this old rant about mathematics that I wrote a while…

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Reading Code Is Hard, Part Two

I was thinking about this a bit more and talking with Larry Osterman yesterday, and I came up with some perhaps slightly more germane tips on how to read and debug code that you didn’t write. First, it is highly likely that the machine code you’re debugging will not match the source code — either because…

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Reading Code Is Hard

Escalation Engineer JeremyK asks in his blog this morning: how do you teach people this “art” of digging deep very quickly into unfamilar code that you had no hand in writing? I myself, I come from a very traditional process of learning how to code, by sitting down and writing it. I am struggling with…

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Aargh! Part Seven

Q: How do pirates keep their socks from falling down? A: Thumbtacks. I am insanely busy with bug fixing and performance testing today, so once more I’ll dip into my endless archive of rants about irksome coding practices I’ve seen one time too many. Gripe #8: Assert the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but…

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Aaargh, Part Six: One More Thing About Comments

Gripe #7: Use The Right Struct For The Job I meant to include this one in yesterday’s gripe about comments, as this illustrates a time when I found a comment that should never have been there.  The person who wrote the comment should have realized that the very fact that they needed to put a…

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