Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Here's a partial list:
- Ubuntu 6.06.2 LTS (Dapper Drake)
- Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)
- Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
- Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)
- Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS (Hardy Heron)
- Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
- Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)
- Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog)
- Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger)
- Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)
- Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
My long time friend Phillip told me about IMDB featuring all the full episodes of Lost in Space! The streaming is actually by Hulu. This is actually a great Christmas present!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
- Imperative language
- I'm not even sure about functional yet, but it should probably be learned at some point.
- BASIC (almost immediately after)
- Pascal (structured programming)
- Modula-2 (modules!)
- C (and the world of UNIX)
- Objective-C (my first OOPL)
- Perl (more real work than in any other language)
- Smalltalk (OO purity)
- Python (The same slot as Perl)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
…with business groups doing end-runs around their Soviet-style lethargic, inefficient, overpriced internal IT departments in order to get things done quickly and more cheaply.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
We are back to ice: there is now serious but not conclusive evidence, convincing to some, that the only thing preventing a new ice age is CO2; and we are busily removing CO2. Now admittedly the serious studies anticipate this happening over a fairly long time period. On the other hand, all the historical evidence is that ice ages happen fast. England went from deciduous trees to frost plains to ice in well under a hundred years, and to kilometers of ice in another hundred. There is similar evidence from lakes in Belgium. When the ice comes, it comes fast.Note that climate changes are odd. A few miles south of the ice wall average temperatures were not all that much colder than they are now. The ice didn't extinguish life; but it sure made large parts of Europe and North America uninhabitable. Ice is a [far] greater threat than a few degrees of temperature rise between [now] and the end of the century. Prudence demands that we continue to look at the CO2 rise. Prudence also demands that we not wreck the global economy in order to play carbon restriction games that, according to even the most optimistic models, will have only a tiny effect on the average temperature of the Earth in 2090.
E-mail security firm IronPort said spam levels fell by roughly 66 percent as of Tuesday evening.Spamcop.net, another spam watch dog, found a similar decline, from about 40 spam e-mails per second to around 10 per second.
Multiple security researchers have recently published data naming McColo as the host for all of the top robot networks or "botnets," which are vast collections of hacked computers that are networked together to blast out spam or attack others online. These include SecureWorks, FireEye and ThreatExpert.Reports by Joe Stewart, director of malware research for Atlanta-based SecureWorks, said that these known botnets: Mega-D, Srizbi, Pushdo, Rustock and Warezov, "have their master servers hosted at McColo.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Yet, here I am reading and working through Real World Haskell by O'Sullivan, Stewart, and Goerzen, which is a complete, on-line version of a book that is yet to be published by O'Reilly. The book is complete though a little slow in the sense that the presentation tries to be as thorough and clear as possible, almost to a fault.
The authors have done an interesting thing in putting this copy on-line. It is an interactive copy that allows anyone to post comments about any section of the book which means suggestions for improvements, corrections to errors and such. Fascinating! Thus the book is extremely well reviewed though, in fact, it may be a little overdone. But maybe not. Functional programming starts off simple and easy then rapidly gets weird, so maybe this is exactly what's needed.
Tim O'Reilly Radar
The document viewer is Evince. You'd never know that's its name without looking, but it's the program you run if you open a PDF file on Ubuntu. It does OCR of text on the fly if you cut and paste it. I had no idea!
I wonder if the Adobe Acrobat viewer does the same thing? I'll have to check.
As usual, the OCR wasn't perfect. It interpreted a decimal point as a comma, or maybe it was just converting to European…
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
The question is often debated these days: We no longer have computers with good old BASIC, which many folks learned programming from. What's available now for kids to learn programming?
This is a pretty interesting solution, and it's targeted for ages 8 and up. Scratch from MIT.
Programs are built with little tiles (like Lego Blocks) and include features like sound, visual graphics effects, animation.
I've imagined something like this and they seem to have pulled it off extremely well! It's pretty fun, too!
Oh, and if you were familiar with Logo in the 70s, this is very reminiscent.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
T-Mobile announced the G1 yesterday.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Well, the Chrome browser is finally here. I haven't been able to use it at work since I don't have a Windows machine there, so I'm finally trying it out at home. So far, it's okay.
The Wired article.
The neat comic book. It's not a fast read but the presentation is nice and clever and the techical content is quite good. This is part of the announcement.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Some things did come true in weird ways. Satellite dishes do dot the city-scape, though they are tiny. We all have communicators and computers are pretty smart. We do talk to computers and they talk back, but usually just on the phone.
Laser and other energy weapons supposedly exist, but only in the military and they haven't seen widespread use…yet.
The world is surprisingly normal in many ways. Still, I often wonder what I'd think if my self from 40 years ago could be transported here to the present.
The out-of-the-park, surprise twist in the development of human technology, during my life's span, is the information age and the Internet. In the science fiction stories of my youth, computers and communication were minor elements against the main motif of the space age. The reality, of course, is that it's the other way around! I didn't expect to be living in the information age and I'm sure that my 40-year-ago self wouldn't even understand the web or the Internet, at least initially.
Still, every now and then, I experience an unmistakeable “21st century moment.”
- A campus police officer glides past me on a Segway.
- Everytime I read something (which is nearly everything) on-line, including books, news articles (which would have been in papers or magazines).
- When I use my Blackberry.
- When I experience wall-sized video displays at work, which are usually created with projectors.
- When I use my cell phone to call a family member in a different part of the house.
- When I play chess against the Chessmaster program on my cell phone.
- Driving past digital LED billboards.
- Watching HD TV, including programs recorded on the DVR.
- Every time I look at one of our laptops.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
One day after the crash, Spanair gave new information about the initial attempt to take off. Spokesman Javier Mendoza said an air-intake gauge under the cockpit had detected overheating while the jet was taxiing, causing the plane to turn back.
Technicians corrected the problem by essentially turning the gauge off.
Well, there you go. They solved that problem.
Friday, August 22, 2008
This is sad.
In rebuttle, “…officials at Alcatel-Lucent, Bell's parent company, say that reports of the lab's death are greatly exaggerated. Fundamental science remains, but it has moved away from physics, says Gee Rittenhouse, vice-president of research at Bell Labs. ‘We've shifted the fundamental research over to include mathematics, computer science, networking and wireless,’ he says.”
Saturday, August 09, 2008
An unexpected bonus is that our neighborhood has upgraded some (or all) cinemas to DLP so this was the first time I've seen a digital movie at the cinema. That made it even more amazing. If it's possible to see this movie in DLP, don't watch it any other way!
WALL·E himself reminded me a lot of the Mars rover in that excellent animation that was done a few years ago. There were some of the neat little focusing tricks that caught my eye in that film. I guess they will quickly become another cliche, if they haven't already. Now that I think of it, they used them all the time in Battlestar Galactica (the new TV series).
The endless technology motif was just fun. It was very well done and enjoyable to watch.
I loved the references to 2001: A Space Odyssey. My only minor disappointment was that I hoped they would tie into the memory bank scene in 2001, one of my favorites. Alas, it wasn't there unless it was so subtle I missed it.
One criticism and the only major astronomical error was that they included a spinning, spiral galaxy—seeing one spin of course would be an impossibility. If it takes light 100,000 years to cross the diameter of a typical grand spiral, they are guaranteed to always appear solidly frozen in human time frames. And remember, even clouds and minute hands appear stationary to us, and they actually move pretty fast! If we aren't going to see an hour hand move we certainly wouldn't see the motion of a 250-million-year hand (which is the galactic orbital period of the sun).
After the movie itself was over, I then experienced my jaw dropping (all the way down to the sticky floor) during the credits. Absolutely fantastic! And even the opening Magic Castle Disney logo is now exquisitely beautiful.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I learned how to write iterators that implement the do: method and unit testing with SUnit is going well. I can now do full TDD (test-driven development) in Smalltalk!
I do notice pauses sometimes and I wonder if that's Squeak's garbage collector kicking in.
Here are things I don't know how to do, or have a concern about:
- Keep notes, like a notebook, in the workspace. Maybe Transcript will work like this, I thought I did that before, but that may not be the best way. I should go through a tutorial on Squeak.
- The name space for classes isn't hierarchical (I think) like, say in Python (or Perl or Java). That's slightly annoying since you can't easily compartmentalize your class names but they are more “global.”
- The workspace can become polluted with junk if you continually create objects (for testing and such) and don't delete them. Sort of like a Windows XP system. I think the solution is to (carefully) save all of your code into a library of some kind, make a new image and reload everything. (Again, sort of like Windows XP).
- Learning Monticello! That's the package management system like Bazaar.
- Sharpen up on the syntax. I'm still confused about about when to use () vs. . Well, maybe I'm not. I think the former is for grouping expressions and the latter is for statement blocks. However, if everything is an object and method (it is), then an expression sure seems like it's a statement block to me! Oh well, maybe I don't understand it.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I went and saw (Batman) The Dark Knight last week. Though it was well done, on first viewing I found that I didn't enjoy it that much. It also seemed very long to me. When I thought the movie was at the end, it seemed to go on for another whole movie.
When I was a kid I was a huge Batman fan. He was my number one comic book hero for some time. Of course there was major bat-mania with the TV show coming out. The last time I read a Batman comic book was probably around 1970, so that's where my familiarity with the written mythology ends.
I wasn't crazy about the first movie in this new series when I saw it at the theater, too, but I came to like it more on subsequent viewing. Maybe I'll like this one more, too, after seeing it again.
I will say that the way they incorporated the characters I was familiar with was pretty clever. Also, the guy playing the Joker probably deserves the praise I've heard for his acting in that role. The underlying themes in the story were also admirable and somewhat clever, so I have to give them a bit of credit for that. I thought the cell-phone thing was way too hokey and pretty cheap for a plot element. I also found it unbelievable that the Joker was that hard for anyone to catch and that the underground criminals didn't simply get rid of him.
In contrast to all of that, I saw Iron Man earlier in the summer and found that to be a completely enjoyable movie. It was one of the best “comic book” movies I've ever seen, maybe the best. I could watch it over and over, I'm sure.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Here's an interesting video of a talk (there's also audio here) by Schwartz.
I've been learning about SUnit, Squeak's unit testing framework.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
For the Ubuntu systems I'll probably just want for upgrading to the current versions of Ubuntu so that all of the libraries are in place, etc.
On the Mac laptops, I'll ask the familiy owners about adding it to them. The Macs should probably come next.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
I thought I'd give it a spin among promises of better performance. So far, most importantly, I haven't experienced anything not working.
I had to re-install the Google Toolbar which was simple and not a surprise.
I read through all of the features, release notes, etc. Nothing among the features is particularly exciting to me. It seems like there's some overlap between Firefox functionality and Google Toolbar functionality. I hope that doesn't cause any conflicts or confusion.
So far I haven't experienced any problems. It seems faster, but that's very subjective. I didn't think to check my memory usage before upgrading but, quickly firing up Task Manager, memory usage doesn't look recognizably higher than normal.
I'll see how things go. If all is well, I'll start to upgrade on other systems. I suppose the MacBook Pro would be next.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I think the approach of dealing with accounts is the solution. Amazon either needs to block email ports on an account basis (instead of by IP address or machine instance), or they need to limit, disable or otherwise slow down those accounts and their instances.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I like the ability to update the site from a web browser from any location. This is in contrast the the current method where I log into a server where my source files are located, edit the source, regenerate the page or pages, then upload them to various web servers.
There are also some nice “free” features like the Site Map and Recent changes. The ability to add a blog made Site News trivially easy to implement. An additional advantage is that pages are organized into a hieararchy. And, of course, site searching is built in.
I really lucked out on the fact that there is a Theme that is a nice match for my previous color scheme so it almost looks like an intentional next step in site evolution. I miss the light yellow color though, which was taken from the core of the M100 galaxy in the picture I use as a logo.
I was worried about how to implement my Email Me form, but this also turned out to be a quick solution with Google Docs Spreadsheet and a Form (which is integrated right into Sites). Further, it's possible to have the spreadsheet to notify you by email when it changes so, voila!, an email form!
I have to reluctantly admit that the changes in the new layout, somewhat forced by the Sites style, is probably more usable.
The biggest downside is that I'm manually having to copy over and edit the data. I can semi automate it and by copying HTML and directly editing HTML on the sites pages, it does go faster for some lists and such. Most of the work involves editing out the CSS references from my HTML snippets.
The next question is: What do I do with the old site? Should I set it to redirect to the new Sites location? (Probably). I'll put up a this-site-has-moved message with the new URL then later maybe just code a redirect.
It's also inspired by the fact that, instead of an email address, I've been using a URL for a number of years. If you want to send me email (and I don't know you) you go to that URL and fill out a form.
User A at Site S wants to send email to user B at Site T.
Previously, A@S would send email to B@T. It would go to an outbound email server at Site S, then be relayed to the exchange server for site T, then perhaps relayed through multiple servers inside T's location, until finally it was delivered to an inbox on an email server. At some later point, Users B would read their email and retrieve the message from the inbox.
In the new scheme, user B doesn't have an email address per se. They simply have a URL. It can be some arbitrary URL or such as http://b.email.myplace.com, or some generic email site like http://b.email.com, or a corp address maybe like, http://x.corp.com/eng/b.
Now, when A sends email to B, A's client simply POSTs a message to the URL using HTTP. The message contains these fields:
- From - The sender's name and possibly return URL
- (optional) To Name - Who the message it to.
- Message URL - The URL of the message we are sending
To read the message from A, user B accesses the URL in the message. This allows retrieving the email message with all of its headers. I've listed them before but here are some of the immediate advantages.
- The recipient immediately knows who the message is coming from (because they get it from the source site). Based on the URL, if they decide it's spam, they can choose not to read it.
- The message doesn't travel over the network until the last minute, when it's read. It efficiently travels directly to the recipient and completely under the recipient's control.
- The message is stored once by the sender A.
- However, the recipient does have the option of keeping their own copy if they want to.
- Any attachments are naturally additional URLs to retrieve them. The recipient can verify if the attachments are from the same site or not.
- Encryption is easy: (HTTPS).
- Authentication of the recipient is easy (B has to sign into A's site).
- This uses existing protocols and infrastructure. Most work is done by web servers.
There's no message store-and-forward or routing. The recipient's address is a URL and the sender connects to it directly.
The only new software required here is two pieces. There is the software that is posted to and that displays a list of messages. There is also software on the sending end that allows the sender to compose an email message. Then when they send it, the message is put up on the web server (for retrieval by the recipient) and that address is then sent.
Of course, it's possible to write email clients that do all of this behind the scene and make the email-reading experience completely indistinguishable from what currently happens.
Now look at what Site T needs in order for it's occupants to recieve email. In the current implementation of email, the site needs massive amounts of storage to handle all of the messages that arrive on an hourly basis. Messages are stored seperately (sometimes) for each recipient.
With the new scheme, Site T could simply give each user a browser and would only need to store a table of received messages.
This idea could easily be phased in along side existing email and with a bit of coding, it could be done transparently to the user. The cost savings and efficiency gains would be huge.
References: My previous Email Ideas posting and
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
After five minutes of looking at it, it looks basically okay. The emphasis seems to be more on being readable in it's text (input) format. In other words, a marked up document is readable even before you render it as HTML, PostScript, etc. That's somewhat in opposition to POD and most Wiki markup (they are very similar to each other) where the emphasis is on easy typing.
I prefer the latter, but maybe with Emacs macros and such the former will be okay. I'm going to try it out.
I bet it doesn't have built-in support for the man page format the way that POD does. We'll see.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Here are some more.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The web site does a good job of listing the features but here are the ones that I like.
- Commands are similar to CVS.
- You don't need a central repository.
- It's completely written in Python and supports plug-ins.
- It's very easy to use.
One big paradigm shift involves how version numbers are assigned. In CVS, each file has it's own series of version numbers. For example file1 might be at version 1.4 and file2 might be at 1.20. The only idea of a global version is achieved with tags.
With bzr, even if you only commit changes from file2, if that's version 25, then version 25 represents the state of all files in the project at that point. This has a few implications.
- If you list the log of changes for, e.g., file2, you might see it was updated in versions 25, 23, 22, 10, and 7.
- You can list the global log of changes which shows comments and which files were changed for ever version number.
- It's trivially easy to commit changes since you don't have to list files, but can just do a commit which catches everything. This is more convenient than I ever imagined.
Bazaar has one shortcoming that is very annoying—it doesn't support RCS keywords. In RCS, you can place text like $Revision$, $Author$, and $Date$ in your file and they will be updated with the current values. I've depended on this over the years and miss it a lot when it's missing. I think files should have their identifying information when printed without having to refer to the on-line version control system.
It's pretty easy to write a little program that edits in this information, say just before committing changes, and indeed I've already written most of it. It could even be made a plugin for Bazaar so I may do that.
In the end, Bazaar is highly recommended for keeping versions of any important files (not just program code).
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The accidental breakthrough came during an experiment originally intended to suppress the obese man's appetite, using the increasingly successful technique of deep-brain stimulation. Electrodes were pushed into the man's brain and stimulated with an electric current. Instead of losing appetite, the patient instead had an intense experience of déjà vu. He recalled, in intricate detail, a scene from 30 years earlier. More tests showed his ability to learn was dramatically improved when the current was switched on and his brain stimulated.
What they don't say in the article is that, as the electrical current was increased, the man forgot the alphabet and asked the scientists, “Can you tell me what kind of cow I am?” At higher currents he simply began yelling “Turn it off! Turn it off!”
Professor Lozano said: "This is the first time that anyone has had electrodes implanted in the brain which have been shown to improve memory. We are driving the activity of the brain by increasing its sensitivity – turning up the volume of the memory circuits. Any event that involves the memory circuits is more likely to be stored and retained."
Monday, January 21, 2008
The gist I got is that asking a person this question leads to interesting and important insight at least about the “scientific” aspects of their background. Note that this means scientific in a general sense of thinking and learning, more so than as, say, a professional scientist.
Now I just need to answer the question myself. I'm not sure I have an answer yet. I'll see what I can come up with and report back here.
Maybe someday I'll reorganize my Google life to allow reading and posting from one of them. I might be close to that now.
Friday, January 18, 2008
The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles
by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken, The MIT Press, 2005.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
If this is what I think it is, a TV raster image created with scanned lasers, then I think it has important implications for applications. I was going to suggest what some of those implications were but the more I thought about it just now, the more I realized maybe it's not as straightforward as I thought. More thinking required. 8-/
Monday, January 07, 2008
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
He does use a couple of advanced features:
- Compiled regular expressions
- A list comprehension