2009-09-18 / 17:52 / dave
And a special bonus:
2009-09-18 / 17:52 / dave
And a special bonus:
2009-09-09 / 22:17 / dave
Everything’s wrong and it keeps gettin’ worse. You said it’s just a product of aging but that’s not true, it’s really all gettin’ worse.
2009-08-17 / 10:40 / dave
I disagreed, and have proved such by forgetting to advertise the mountain bike event I just got finished running. Anyway, if you go back in time, check out A Balmy Heaven 2009:
And next Sunday I hope you all make it out to The Pittsburgh Roubaix 2009:
2009-08-16 / 02:18 / dave
2009-08-09 / 01:53 / dave
2009-08-07 / 16:05 / dave
(A comment gone long, I decided to turn this into its own post)
Robert Fischer, We Aren’t Too Stupid for Polyglot Programming
I think Robert’s absolutely right in that we use many languages all the time, the questions are 1) why and 2) is it the right thing to do.
In my experience, polyglotism falls into a few patterns:
In all cases polyglotism provides some obvious benefit. For the first two, that benefit is that it allows the project to work. If Lua were fast enough and Ruby ran in the browser… For #3: mixed language automation is an artifact of low-level languages. Make is a good build tool for C but Ruby’s build tool is Ruby (Rake). Given a change in technology and the right language, these could all be monoglot.
In the last case the DSL’s are chosen for convienence: SQL is better than hand B-tree manipulation and regexps better than FSA‘s.
Using multiple languages isn’t without cost. An obvious one is that learning languages is hard. Most developers know SQL but how many are good at tuning queries? Knowing a language also isn’t the same as fluency. Until you’re fluent in both languages, you’re likely to favor one. See the object/relational–not to mention FP/OOP–divide for examples.
There’s also the technical costs in translating data. XML, Protocol Buffers, Thrift, etc. are all valid interchange formats, but they’re not free. Robert’s emphasis on JVM languages does ease this hurdle, since I believe all the JVM languages can pass objects.
Finally there’s the cost of tools & debugging. You now need tooling–compilers, debuggers, syntax-aware editors–for several languages. More languages can lead to more complexity. Making matters worse, error messages across language boundaries are often cryptic, even when both languages are on the JVM.
So should we all be polyglot? As a matter of personal improvement, I’m all for learning new languages & techniques. But in terms of actually writing good software quickly, it probably only applies if
Personally, I think the big efficiency gains are in monoglot solutions. In the web world, glot-supremicists–i.e. Lisp and Smalltalk–have come up with some interesting web frameworks. Polyglotism is a fallback when abstractions leak.
2009-08-07 / 12:55 / dave
Like many dilemmas, this one results from either/or thinking. A third alternative is to try both methods in parallel and just use whichever result arrives first.
Conal Elliott, Simply efficient functional reactivity [PDF]
Peter Van Roy’s excellent Programming Paradigms for Dummies: What Every Programmer Should Know [PDF] lead me to reread–or I suppose “read instead of just skim”–Conal Elliott’s 2008 FRP paper. It’s interesting, but a little too wrapped up in Haskell type insanity for me understand deeply. I did like the above quote though, it’s such a simple reminder that multicore is changing programming.
Speaking of changing programming, Optical information processing in
Bose–Einstein condensates [PDF] is a great paper by Dr. Lene Vestergaard Hau. You may remember Dr. Hau from 1999 when she slowed light to 38 mph and from 2007 when she transformed light into matter and back again. Smart cookie, that one.
She’s got more papers on her lab web page.
2009-07-21 / 10:48 / dave
Sendin’ big shouts to John. Maximum respect for having us inside the place. This is DJ Cameo right now I’m representing 1Xtra on the big Radio 1. And we’re going to be stepping inside the mix with the DJ Eastwood, DJ Krafty–representing Black Magick records–and also the lyrical talents from the MC’s Purple, G Double E, I.E. and I.Q. And trust me this is going to be absolutely big. Big sound for 2004 from the UK, London. It’s all about the Urban Vibe.
Take it away.
(via Mad Decent)
2009-06-13 / 20:24 / dave
It’s a little juke, a little chopped and screwed and a little–as Mary Mack once commented about Ceephax Acid Crew–”tweaker music”. Mmm.
2009-06-12 / 11:17 / dave
2009-06-11 / 21:34 / dave
It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve wanted a Cervelo for at least 4 years. I’m not sure if it was seeings Jens Voigt riding one or reading about their history but at some point I decided it was all I wanted in a bike: a sexy pro-level frame designed by geeky Canadians. Thanks to the upped 5k limit on IRA contributions, my tax return almost covered the cost of the S1 frameset.
The 3T Funda Pro fork comes with an insert you epoxy into the top of the fork instead of a compression plug. But seeing as how epoxy is forever and I am uncertain, I shelled out the $25 for an FSA compression plug and have a nice stack of spacers above my stem. Someday.
The Cervelo got it’s first ride longer than a mile in the MS-150. In short: it was amazing.
The first thing I noticed was the ridiculously short wheelbase, more specifically the 2.5″ of toe overlap. I noticed this almost falling over as I slow pedaled across the parking lot to get to the start. But once I started moving the handling improved; at speed it’s wonderful. It tracks great through corners which gave me confidence descending.
I’m not heavy enough to really test the stiffness but it definitely didn’t feel flexy. I could make the chain rub the front derailleur while standing and climbing, so there’s evidence of flexing and/or my excessively tight tolerances for the limit screws.
Similarly the frame (& especially <400 g fork) feel light, but the rest of the components aren't chosen for weight: Ultegra 9 + Dura Ace STI's, 32 spoke wheels, Dimension/Ritchey cockpit. I weighed the complete bike and it was around 18 pounds.
Cervelo's emphasis is on aerodynamics. I don't have much to compare, but in the rare cases where I was descending beside people I found I could pass them without pedaling. That can't be bad, right?
After coming home and riding around on my steel track bike, I can say the geometry or carbon seatpost on the Cervelo soaks up large bumps well. On the other hand lots of the MS-150 course was over chip & seal roads and the chatter was tiring. I'm not sure how much of that is because of the frame and how much is because chip & seal sucks, especially when you weigh less than 140 lbs.
That’s not an optical illusion: the front wheel is bigger than the rear. Turns out that Redline 29″ disc wheels are only $80 so I went ahead and tried out this whole 69er thing.
I test rode it through Schenley & Frick and liked the handling (once I got used to it). But then I rode it at Bavington and strained through the winding sections: the bike just didn’t want to turn. It seems easier to go up and over stuff but some of that is due to the change in position: the taller wheel rotates my weight backwards.
Since she’s in North Carolina for a month, I borrowed Casey’s 26″ wheels. That will let me quickly switch between 29″ and 26″ wheels to get a better comparison. I’ll probably also end up with a 10 degree stem to see how that affects my position & handling.
2009-06-09 / 18:00 / dave
EDIT: if you’re thinking “oh no, I missed my chance to donate!” fear not: donations are open until July 17th. See the original post begging for donations.
Another year down.
Saturday was pretty uneventful. I caught a ride up with Kimberly and we got there early enough that I could get out with the first batch of riders. After pushing through the first weed-out hill I settled into a nice solo pace. I skipped lunch and stopped only at the last rest stop to pee & refill my water bottles (though not at the same time). Somewhere around 5 miles out I was caught by a group of about 5 riders, including two UPMC guys who I see every year (mostly passing me).
I rolled into Edinboro around noon and ate some recovery food and laid around. Finally I got around to setting up my tent and taking a shower. That’s when I found out what I forgot: soap. So I got a handful of soap from the dispensers by the sinks and ran into the shower. Truly classy.
While reading under a tree in front of my tent another camper came and asked if he could share some shade. His name was Greg and it was his first year riding. Going to get some more snacks I ran into Jim (team captain, who snapped a picture) and Kimberly and Jim (not team captain). Kim & Jim got their stuff and met me by my tent to set up their own camps. Jim had a dorm room but had also brought his ultralight camping hammock. He strung it between inverted soccer goal posts and hung out talking. In the meantime Shane–old college buddy & hiking trip planning extraordinare–showed up and pitched his tent in our circle. In conversation it turns out that the Rachel Carson Challenge is already full! Between that, the Pittsburgh Marathon and the Megatransect it seems like this will be a year of near misses.
Dinner was better than past years, with a slightly better array of cafeteria food.
After dinner we met up with Shane again to catch the shuttle to downtown Edinboro. We had some time to kill before the Pens game, so we got some ice cream at Dairy Supreme. Mint malted = awesome.
Next we hit the Edinboro Hotel for a pitcher of Yuengling and some pre-game coverage. But the bar was a little crowded so we ended up at Boro Bar. Boro had a dark wood-paneled interior, Killian’s red, and camp-buddy Greg. Turns out Greg had been there since a little after 6 waiting for the game to start.
The game started well but when it got to 3-0 we decided to head back to campus.
I fell asleep immediately.
Sunday’s breakfast was similarly better than previous years. I was particularly proud of the oatmeal/Cinnamon Toast Crunch suicide.
The team picture was another pleasant success. Not only was I early, but everyone else was on time too. We were done by 7:17.
Then I pushed my way to the front of the pack to avoid getting stuck in the crowd. I promptly almost missed the first right hand turn then hit the road. Again I tried to ride solo but spent some time riding with a rider in a Papa John’s jersey who knew Nathan and Andrew from Vocollect. After yo-yoing in and out of some small groups, I solo’ed past lunch and followed signs. Soon I was on a road that seemed suspiciously busy and poorly marked. I thought I was saved when I saw someone ahead directing bikes, except that the bikers were coming from the other direction. I followed them and ended up at the 2nd rest-stop. Somehow I had gone backwards 15-20 miles. Oops.
At the rest stop I saw Kimberly and Jim (not team leader). After eating and talking to Rob–Thick Bikes SAG van driver–I rode with Kimbely and Jim to lunch, where it started to rain. There I ate a turkey sandwich with lots of other Team Vocollect riders before heading out solo. On the road Jim (not team leader) passed me. I thought about trying to grab his wheel, but was feeling the extra miles and decided to go alone. Further on I saw an Alcoa jersey on the side of the road and slowed, thinking it might be Jim. Turns out it was someone who looked not at all like Jim, but who did need help. I tried but he needed a schrader-valve compatible pump.
The ride continued into the outskirts of Conneaut where I ran into a guy whose chain had exploded. I stopped and used my chain tool to help him. Twice, unfortunately, since I didn’t realize that he hadn’t routed the chain the first time. Apparently he didn’t do much bike maintenance since the chain was also covered with a 1/8″ layer of black grease which quickly transferred to my hands, jersey, bibs & bartape. Yay.
A few more miles and I was at the lake. Pictures (once again I promptly saw team leader Jim), pizza, etc. etc. I changed clothes and waited a few minutes for Kimberly. We headed up the final hill to load the bikes on the truck and get on the bus back to Moraine.
The bus beat the truck by half an hour, so we waited by the lake. We finally got them loaded on the bike rack and headed back to Pittsburgh. We were both starving and were planning on getting some Kassab’s until we got out of the car and saw they were closed. Kimberly took a shower while I did some research. Turns out Gypsy was open on Sunday so we headed in for some prix fixe. Decent.
Finally Kimberly went to her friend’s chakra dance birthday party while I started to unpack.
I woke up on the sofa around 1 am. I hadn’t yet showered. Gross.
2009-06-03 / 09:33 / dave
Halifax future rap circa 2000. As it says on the Old German bottle: “The world knows no finer.”
2009-06-02 / 14:26 / dave
Well holy cow.
As of early June, yinz have donated $730! I thought we were in a recession? I’ve had to bump up my fundraising goal about 5 times already. Anyway, thanks everyone.
In other news, did I mention I bought a shiny new bike frame for the ride? Unfortunately this is a back-breaking-ly busy week, so it’s been sitting prettily in it’s cardboard shipping box. Hopefully I can get it together for this weekend, otherwise it’s old faithful.
2009-06-01 / 13:20 / dave
2009-05-30 / 10:45 / dave
Thanks to Casey from Spokepunchers for this link to an awesome disco funk song about Pittsburgh. Unfortunately it was strangely named and without any ID3 tags so I might have the name completely wrong. Let me know if you’ve got any information. It’s also encoded at about 16 Kbps, so the audio quality is a little rough.
2009-05-29 / 16:43 / dave
Feel free to email me if you’ve got questions.
Precision Therapeutics, Inc. (Precision) is an applied sciences medical laboratory located on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Precision assists oncologists in choosing effective cancer therapies for cancer patients. We are currently seeking a Software Test Engineer to join the Precision team.
Precision is seeking a highly motivated person to fill the Software Test Engineer position. The successful candidate for the position will join a talented team of ‘A player’ technology and biology professionals in the development of hardware and software systems designed to personalize cancer therapy treatment on an individualized patient basis.
This position is within the Technology Development Department and will report to the Software Release Manager. The successful candidate will maintain and monitor verification and validation activities within the Technology Development Department. The scope of position includes verification and some validation of all software applications and automation hardware that support other corporate departments, including: the clinical laboratory, records management, clinical trials, customer service, billing, sales, and accounting.
The responsibilities of the Software Test Engineer will include working with developers and users to verify and validate software requirements, assess risk, enforce change control, assist and monitor the creation of test plans and test cases, create automated test scripts, and execute test cases during phased releases. The position will be empowered to reject deployment of any software change that has not completed the change control process.
Specific duties include: Requirement reviews and validation, change control, risk assessment, documentation reviews, test case authoring, unit, integration, and system verification, code reviews, occasional test team leadership, and providing daily/weekly test status data to management for corporate project tracking.
If you are seeking a dynamic, challenging atmosphere, which is never boring, and a chance to make a difference and help cancer patients, email your resume to PTIResumes@ptilabs.com with the words Software Test Engineer in the subject of the email.
2009-05-20 / 19:49 / dave
Once again, I’m riding the Escape to the Lake. It’s the 2-day 150 mile fund raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. It’s the one-time a year when I ask everyone to donate money, unlike all the other times of year when I just try to borrow your car and eat your food.
PS: and this year I’ll be riding a shiny new bike frame. Oooooh yeah.
2009-05-18 / 17:54 / dave
In running for this year’s “least expected link source” award, Jace from the mudd up blog recommended Ito Junji’s Uzumaki. It’s an amazing combination of Edward Gorey, H. P. Lovecraft and Twin Peaks: intricately inked depictions of horrific events occurring in a remote
Washington Japanese town. Unlike a lot of manga, Uzumaki has a plot and doesn’t waste time getting to it. It also has a surprisngly tender ending (kind of). For the cash strapped, you can always steal it.
It seems shallow to put two twisted supernatural horror comics before a tale about both the holocaust and the complications of a father-son relationship, but basically this list is in arbitrary order anyway. Not much to say that hasn’t been said already.
I feel like I should dismiss this as self-serving pretentious art crap (which is kind of how I felt about The Mother’s Mouth) but I really liked it. It’s about a maladjusted and self-deprecating 20-something and his dysfunctional/strangely-functional family. And it contains comic book sex.
I read it before the movie and thought it was pretty darn good. Then I read it after and the opinion was reinforced. In comparison to the movie, the movie ending seemed more realistic but the comic more believably portrayed the Nite Owl as a flabby middle aged dude with good tech. Remember in the movie where Nite Owl and Silk Spectre run down the jail hallway kicking rioting prisoner ass? In the book they punch two people.
Angsty teenage boy + hyper(sexual) older girl with guitar + robot = insane manga. Maybe it’s my ADD, but I found it totally addicting. Stepping out of conventional, FLCL also plays around with the comic format, changing animation styles and making fun of the genre. The movie‘s good too. Read it for free.
Another classic. Great despite inspiring a generation of ankh wearing goths. Astute readers might note that the photo is not comic artwork but a rendition of Tom Cruise as the Corinthian. Thanks, internet!
A sprawling psychological thriller, Monster is engrossing through all 162 chapters. I read it in two marathon sessions (to the detriment of everything else on my todo list). Its only faults are the near canonization of protagonist Dr. Kenzo Tenma and occasional meandering sidestories. Read it free.
Apparently a classic in Japan, Rurouni Kenshin is part teen action, part romance, part history lesson and part bushido love-fest. Despite heavy doses of melodrama, overly-cute manga moments and typical samurai schlock, it’s an engrossing story. Unfortunately it also weighs in at 255 chapters. You can cheat by watching the movie, which tells the back story of titular protagonist Kenshin. Read it for free.
Gothic horror manga starring women with big swords. Claymore does an excellent job of creating mood. I found the plot kind of meandering in the middle, but it seems to have picked up. An ongoing series, it’s hard to say how it will end up. Read it free.