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mcherm : blogentry   221

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Depending on Someone Else's Code - Dragons in the Algorithm
What if you want to depend on someone else's code, but it wasn't designed to be extensible? I propose a solution.
blogentry  programming  versioncontrol  branching  softwaredevelopment 
january 2018 by mcherm
COBOL in a Bank - Dragons in the Algorithm
I write about the role that 1960s programming languages play in my workplace at a modern bank.
blogentry  mypostings  mumps  programming  programminglanguages 
january 2017 by mcherm
Lift and Shift Lessons - Dragons in the Algorithm
I write about lessons learned in moving systems onto AWS.
blogentry  mypostings  cloudcomputing 
january 2017 by mcherm
What’s the “right” way to abandon an open source package? : Dragons in the Algorithm
A discussion that happened in the Python community: what to do several years later when no one steps forward to take over the project you created but are now tired of?
blogentry  mypostings  opensource 
july 2014 by mcherm
Using the Legal System To Access Customer Data : Dragons in the Algorithm
Microsoft dug into a Hotmail account to track down information about some code stolen from Microsoft. Their terms and conditions allow this, but they got a lot of pushback. Here they announce their intention to change their policy and only dig into accounts through law enforcement channels. Good for them: great policy!
blogentry  mypostings  privacy  microsoft  law 
march 2014 by mcherm
CAPTCHAs : Dragons in the Algorithm
CAPTCHAs are broken. Some are using "Log in with Facebook" as the alternative.
mypostings  blogentry 
october 2013 by mcherm
I dream of Satoshi Nakamoto : Dragons in the Algorithm
I mention a clever hack that identifies bitcoins mines by the anonymous inventor of bitcoin, and muse on how I hope she doesn't get caught.
blogentry  cryptography  bitcoin 
april 2013 by mcherm
Constant Crawl Design – Part 3 : Dragons in the Algorithm
A description of the storage network requirements for Constant Crawl.
blogentry  programming 
march 2012 by mcherm
Constant Crawl Design – Part 1 : Dragons in the Algorithm
Overview of the wild idea we had at the first Philly Startup Hackers meeting I attended. To be followed by more detailed writeups.
blogentry  mypostings 
march 2012 by mcherm
Using a Mix of Computers and Humans for Security : Dragons in the Algorithm
Even a small trick that works on a computer can be repeated a huge number of times; humans would notice that but make different kinds of mistakes. Best security is achieved by using both computers AND humans.
mypostings  blogentry  security  banking 
january 2012 by mcherm
When to Wrap a Library : Dragons in the Algorithm
When it is a good idea to wrap a library, and when not.
blogentry  programming  java 
july 2011 by mcherm
Eric Lippert Tree Challenge : Dragons in the Algorithm
I answered a programming challenge to print out a tree structure.
blogentry  mypostings 
september 2010 by mcherm
Why functional programming? « Sliding up the banister
An excellent explanation (commentary on someone else's post) about why "pure" functional languages are so powerful. Explains the other post in which someone makes *algebraic* transformations to a program so it's faster.
programming  blogentry  functional  haskell  languages 
march 2008 by mcherm
Good Math, Bad Math : Science Diversity Meme: The CS Mutant
Leading women in computer science. (And math, in the comments.)
blogentry  programming  gender 
march 2008 by mcherm
Off The Lip » Functional Data Structures Out Of Nowhere
Functional programming languages can build data structures out of just plain functions. Sure, lambda calculus said so long ago, but here Matthieu Riou is saying it again.
programming  functional  blogentry 
march 2008 by mcherm
Ruminations of a Programmer: Why I like Scala's Lexically Scoped Open Classes
Open classes (like Ruby) are neat but they tend to pollute the global namespace. Scala's approach is implicit conversions: make wrappers adding the extra features and scope them lexically; implicit syntax avoids naming them at each use. Good examples.
languagedesign  scala  ruby  programming  blogentry 
february 2008 by mcherm
Stevey's Blog Rants: Portrait of a N00b
As a beginner I wrote lots of comments; now I write very few. Comments are metadata, just like types, and are unnecessary except for beginners. Languages like C++/Java succeed because they allow BOTH styles.
blogentry  yegge  programming  languagedesign 
february 2008 by mcherm
Should Microsoft Buy Yahoo?
Thoughts on why Microsoft buying Yahoo is a bad idea. "Every company is based on a single successful trick."
BruceEckel  blogentry  yahoo  google  Microsoft 
february 2008 by mcherm
Requirements considered harmful, why using requirements in Agile software development harm collaboration and stunt innovation
The word "requirement" suggests that it's firm and truly needed. But what's really going on is a series of decisions -- some of which are wrong and all of which should be done collaboratively.
programming  softwaredevelopment  agile  requirements  blogentry 
february 2008 by mcherm
Rands In Repose: Out Loud
A few useful suggestions: a "speech" is different from a "presentation".
blogentry  speaking  publ  publicspeaking  presentation 
february 2008 by mcherm
Hixie's Natural Log: Mistakes, Sadness, Regret
Microsoft isn't TRYING to be evil, but their support of backward compatibility over standards in IE causes problems.
Microsoft  ie  webdev  webdevelopment  webdesign  standards  webstandards  html  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
On the Perils of Wikipedia
At first I thought this was an interesting blog entry commenting on how severe but rare risks split people into worriers and non-worriers, and how that applies to people's trust of Wikipedia. But then I read the last paragraph; turns out it's hilarious.
Wikipedia  terrorism  security  funny  blogentry  brain 
january 2008 by mcherm
Knowing.NET - Stephen J. Gould on Baseball : May Relate to Programmer Productivity
Larry O'Brien says variation in programmer productivity may be less now than before because the field is older and that happens in all field; eg: today's baseball hitters have the same averages but less variation than the early ones.
blogentry  programming  productivity 
january 2008 by mcherm
Research Supports The Effectiveness of TDD
Review of an actual scientific study of whether test driven design (writing tests first) works better. Answer: writing more tests is correlated with being more productive; TDD is correlated with writing more tests but not independently with productivity.
blogentry  testing  unittest  research  TDD 
january 2008 by mcherm
Fabulous Adventures In Coding : Immutability in C# Part Nine: Academic? Plus my AVL tree implementation
A passionate defense of why a functional programming style (working with immutable objects) is actually useful in the "real world".
blogentry  programming  immutable  functional 
january 2008 by mcherm
Ruminations of a Programmer: Scala can make your Java Objects look smarter
Idea: perhaps core stuff will be built in Java with extra functionality layered on in Scala (and similar things). Demonstrates how Scala can easily wrap a Java class to add some functionality (although I think it's just adding syntactic sugar).
programming  languages  scala  java  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Coding Horror: The Sesame Street Presentation Rule
One rule for giving presentations: "Entertain your audience." Sesame Street mixed humans and puppets and kept to short segments... there's a lesson there.
blogentry  presentation 
january 2008 by mcherm
Which theory fits the evidence?
Two theories about how projects work: Theory D says the delivery time is deterministic (and could be controlled if we knew enough) while Theory P says that it's probabilistic. Evidence favors P and that has implications (eg: agile).
softwaredevelopment  programming  projectmanagement  agile  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Informed Choice
Like midwives, programmers need to advise clients how to run the project but let the client have the ultimate decision except in cases where catastrophic failure would result.
programming  softwaredevelopment  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Neal Gafter's blog: Is the Java Language Dying?
Languages eventually go the way of Cobol: still in use yet dead in fact. Is Java going down this road? Scala's power suggests it may be (both the author and I are less sure).
programming  languages  scala  java  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Inter-Sections » Blog Archive » How to recognise a good programmer
Some criteria to look for when evaluating a programmer to hire... ones which work even if you (the hiring manager) aren't a technical expert yourself.
programming  recruiting  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
The Laboratorium: Don't Buy That Kindle
"Don't buy the Kindle because it uses DRM."
DRM  amazon  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Erik Engbrecht's Blog: Scala vs Lisp for GPS: Part I: Expressivity
Blog entry from someone who has tried out Scala by converting a nontrivial Lisp program to Scala, and is giving it a serous review.
scala  lisp  languages  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Michael Feathers' Blog: The Cult of Language Expertise
Thought: there's nothing wrong with NOT using the latest features of some language, yet people act as if there is.
programming  languages  languagedesign  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Open curly: Confessions of a Samurai Coder
What happens when you begin a major refactoring at 10:00 PM? It's the _Samurai Coder_!
programming  funny  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Amortized Costs, DOS, and Magicicadas
Worth reading just for the note about insects using prime numbers. The thoughts on blogging aren't half bad either.
blogging  blogentry  math 
january 2008 by mcherm
Good Math, Bad Math : Simple Lempel-Ziv Compression in Erlang
An example in erlang, and discussion of how not to design a functional language. Also discussion of a compression algorithm.
languagedesign  erlang  programming  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Stevey's Blog Rants: Blogging Theory 201: Size Does Matter
Steve Yegge discusses the proper length for a blog entry: Long!
blogentry  essay  memory  brain  blogging  writing  yegge 
january 2008 by mcherm
Favoring Habari over WordPress - Asymptomatic
An argument over a blogging platform: describes Habari.
blogging  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
CK: My verdict on the Scala language
A *critical* look at Scala. He gave it a serious try (months) and concluded that it's NOT something he wants to work with, and he explains why.
scala  programming  programminglanguages  functional  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
One Div Zero: Monads are Elephants Part 1
Another monad tutorial. This one says that monads are really containers. It describes monads in Scala (not Haskell).
tutorial  monad  scala  blogentry  programming 
january 2008 by mcherm
Desperately UnEnterprise: No, seriously, why Scala?
One blogger's insights into why Scala is particularly good. I found it good reading.
scala  programming  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Aaron Swartz: thegame
Review of a book which talks about some guys who played dating as a "game" and attempted to find "winning algorithms". They succeeded.
dating  psychology  brain  personal_net  blogentry 
january 2008 by mcherm
Good Math, Bad Math : Insurance: Why it sucks
Mark Chu-Carroll on how Health Insurance works. Insightful!
economics  math  blogentry  health  insurance 
january 2008 by mcherm
PatHelland's WebLog : Durability Is in the Eye of the Beholder
Some interesting thoughts on the real meaning of "Durability" (the "D" in ACID).
database  programming  philosophy  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Carbon sequestration by burying trees
The author calculates the cost of carbon sequestration by just burying wood pulp in the desert and it's approximately the same as EU carbon credits.
environment  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Receipts: "Optimized for writes"
The personal finance system which is "optimized for writes".
funny  finance  database  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Old School [dive into mark]
The REAL reason why the sesame street show came with a "not suitable for children" warning.
kids  tv  blogentry  personal_net 
december 2007 by mcherm
The Volokh Conspiracy - Magistrate Judge Finds Fifth Amendment Right Not to Enter Encryption Passphrase:
Legal case over whether one can be legally compelled to reveal one's password so the police can decrypt incriminating files on one's computer. This judge says no; many legal experts dispute that.
privacy  encryption  security  law  via:BruceSchneier  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Yet Another Language Geek : Extending the World
Talks about the "extension method" feature of c# 3.0. Shows how this allows c# to use idioms resembling Python or Haskell. There are some problems with it (which he doesn't discuss), but it's an interesting idea nevertheless.
c#  languagedesign  programming  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Stevey's Blog Rants: Code's Worst Enemy
Steve Yegge writes about his own code base became too big. He claims having too much code is a very bad (and common) problem. He claims that languages like Java are the solution, and that contrary to what most claim, good IDEs aren't the solution. He says
via:del.icio.us  programming  languagedesign  languages  blogentry  mypostings  java  jvm  ide  javascript 
december 2007 by mcherm
Gojko Adzic » The waterfall trap for “agile” projects
Contains an excellent point: the distinction between iterative development and incremental development.
blogentry  programming  agile 
december 2007 by mcherm
God Plays Dice: Why mathematics doesn't need a Mitchell Report
No one complains of "steroid use" when mathematicians use caffeine. Why not? Because they're competing against "God" or "the universe" not against each other.
math  history  Erdos  blogentry  drugs  brain 
december 2007 by mcherm
The Laboratorium: This Post Is Not Not Safe For Work
Fark.com wants to trademark the phrase "Not Safe For Work".
blogentry  ip-law  trademark 
december 2007 by mcherm
Programming languages are not like hand tools
Claims that languages are better compared to toolboxes and it's not true that one should always choose the right tool for the job.
via:reddit  blogentry  languages 
december 2007 by mcherm
Inside the 'Ron Paul' Spam Botnet - Research - SecureWorks
An account of a detailed investigation into some spam apparently sent on behalf of the Ron Paul campaign. We learn a lot about the botnet and the spam sender but nothing at all about who asked for it / paid for it.
spam  politics  blogentry  botnet  hacking  security 
december 2007 by mcherm
What would a civilian do? « Jon Udell
Insightful comments about error messages and communicating with the user.
blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Studying Jeff Atwood’s Paint Can
A rant on the subject of whether instructions are useful -- leans toward "no". Contains the brilliant line "ritual phrases uttered to dispel the evil spirits of legal liability".
blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Human sorting: Ned Batchelder: December 2007
Blog entry describing an algorithm for sorting things sensibly (better than plain ASCII ordering). Article focuses on how astonishingly clear and short the code for it is in Python.
python  algorithms  sorting  blogentry  programming 
december 2007 by mcherm
How To Burn $6,540 a Week: Indecision and Software Development | Software by Rob
Well-written essay describing the difficulty of making decisions about software projects, and even including some ideas of how much it costs and what to do about it.
programming  softwaredevelopment  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
Palimpsest: the guide to a (mostly) paperless life | 43 Folders
Description of the author's system for scanning all paper documents he has then storing them in Amazon's A3.
hardware  scanner  backup  blogentry 
december 2007 by mcherm
PaulStovell.NET » Why SyncLINQ should matter to you
This essay describes a distinction between "real state" and "derived state". It claims that all programs have derived state and hints toward an approach for keeping the data in synch (which, it claims, is the biggest difficulty in most programs today).
programming  blogentry  essay 
november 2007 by mcherm
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