December 2005


Coding20 Dec 2005 03:14 pm

CodeKata.
Dave has nicely put in words a practice I have personally used (albeit with less rigor, he did say Kata after all) and nearly every Software Developer I know (who is worth a damn) has a similiar set of exercises they like to apply when learning a new language.

He suggests many different problems to practice software development with, here are his first three:

    Supermarket pricing. Pricing looks easy, but scratch the surface and there are some interesting issues to consider.

    Karate Chop. A binary chop algorithm is fairly boring. Until you have to implement it using five totally different techniques.

    How Big, How Fast? Quick estimation is invaluable when it comes to making design and implementation decisions. Here are some questions to make you turn over the envelope.

As I am deep into learning Ruby I suspect this list is going to be spending a lot of time in Firefox.

Thanks Dave.

Musings20 Dec 2005 01:06 pm

Lets all thank the Onion for saying what truly needs to be said. The Christian fundies in this country are crazy, irrational, and have such a wildly different point of view from say, rational humanism (ala science and morality driven by rational thought) that attempting to compare the two schools of thought (may get you killed, or at the very least fired) is like comparing Seinfeld to the WWF.

And this whole war on Christmas thing is just the high of asinity. ;-) I can not stand the pseudo oppressed Christians whining that their dominance of my culture is not complete. It pisses me off, and more so because people believe it. Fucking christocentric asshats.

Christmas time (see I can say it too) always gets me down, I think its all the attention placed on bullshit consumerism. If people would actually pay attention and shop ethically and wisely I don’t think I would get so angsty. Or we could all becomes Viridians, I would be fine with that too.

Cool Tech Friday09 Dec 2005 06:49 pm

Biotech

  1. Sound of Dog`s Laugh Calms Other Pooches
  2. Dog Genome Mapped, Shows Similarities to Humans
  3. Wasps Could Replace Bomb, Drug Dogs
  4. Lack of Mirror Neurons May Help Explain Autism
  5. Study Suggests Caffeine Can Help Liver
  6. Gene variant may depress IQ of males
  7. Scientists discover how cancer spreads
  8. Why this brain flies on rat cunning

Culture

  1. Color Photos From the World War I Era
  2. Has tallest tower caused more quakes?
  3. KU pulls intelligent design course
  4. Anti-creationism prof quits department chair

Environment

  1. Company says run your car on cow fuel – Yahoo! News
  2. Poison + Water = Hydrogen. New Microbial Genome Shows How
  3. New mammal seen in Borneo woods
  4. A Tour of the Cryosphere: Earth\’s Frozen Assets

Physics

  1. Are Black Holes And Dark Matter The Same?
  2. First quantum byte created
  3. Simple Experiment Creates Surprising State of Matter

Space

  1. Cornell astronomers investigate cosmic forces that produce new galaxies
  2. Scientists figure out our place in Milky Way
  3. Interstellar Spaceflight: Is It Possible?
  4. Massive black hole spotted without galaxy
  5. The Mini Shuttle
  6. Optical Vortex Could Look Directly At Extrasolar Planets
  7. NASA seeks help from private rocketeers

Tech

  1. 3D Without The Glasses
  2. NEC`s paper thin, rapid recharge batteries
  3. An unexpected discovery could yield a full spectrum solar cell
  4. Princeton`s Group Nanotechnology discovery by could have radical implications
  5. Anti-Fog Glass
  6. General Motors Advanced Design Group envisages the mobile home
  7. Translucent roofing system uses aerogel to allow full spectrum, natural light into living spaces
  8. Eleksen Introduces Electro Fabric
  9. Getting energy out of man made tornados – The Atmospheric Vortex Engine
  10. Car paints changing with temperature
  11. UK researchers find way to reduce power consumption of transistors in computer chips
  12. Gekkomat Enables You to Climb Like a Gecko
  13. New Soft Helmet Turns Hard in Crash
Tech09 Dec 2005 10:58 am

I am a bit of an ITConversation junkie. As I was listening today I heard a particularly interesting conversation on Biotech Nation (with Dr. Moira Gunn what a soothing voice she has) with Robert Beardsley president and CEO of Kereos. Their conversaion starts about current methods for detecting cancers (essentially imaging technologies where they look for masses of cells that do not belong) and then they discuss a new technology being used that does not search for tumors, it instead searches for blood vessels being grown to feed tumors (detectable down to a few milimeters in size). Its a great talk and quite informative….

Lifehacks&Web09 Dec 2005 09:58 am

I was catching up on some of my Wired reading this morning when I came across an article about automagic stock investing. One of the links from the article was to a site called Wealth-lab. It is essentially a trading simulator/community where people can develop trading scripts and strategies and then simulate their usage. For example here is a script titled “BREAD & BUTTER #6: Swing Trading the Gap” written by somebody named quester ( I love the grown up names people use on the internet…)

var Bar,QClose,QOpen:integer;
var gap,Qgap:float;
QClose:=GetExternalSeries(‘QQQQ’,#Close);
QOpen:=GetExternalSeries(‘QQQQ’,#Open);

for Bar:=2 to BarCount-1 do
begin
Qgap:=100*(@QClose[Bar-1]-@QOpen[Bar])/@QClose
[Bar-1];
gap:= 100*(PriceClose(Bar-1)-PriceOpen(Bar))/
PriceClose(Bar-1);

if not LastPositionActive then
if (gap > 5) and (Qgap > 0.5) then
if PriceClose(Bar-1) BuyAtMarket(Bar,'');

if LastPositionActive then
SellAtStop(Bar+1,PriceClose(Bar),LastPosition,
'');
end;

The above script (code) encodes the following rules:

“Buy a stock when the stock is down the day before, QQQ is gapping down more than half a percent, and the stock is gapping down more than 5 percent.”

“Hold the stock at least until the next morning.”

“Sell when the stock goes lower than the prior day’s close.”

Without examining this language and the whole site in great detail (which I assure you gentle reader, I will be looking into this…) I gather that this script is run at the start and end of each trade day to determine what action should take place for a given stock. This is fantastic, it takes the emotional element out of stock trades. As anybody who has ridden a stock all the way to it being delisted just hoping that it will turn around, you know how important it is to have specific rational trading rules for when to sell and when to buy.

Tech05 Dec 2005 03:55 pm

Ok, when I read warnings about products that may break your arm I have a tendency to pay close attention. When it is for a magnet I get excited. Read the warnings for the super strong magnets (near the bottom of the page), it will definitly put a smile on your face.

Cool Tech Friday02 Dec 2005 07:06 pm

Well, here we are, back from turkey day with a larger then normal Cool Tech Firday. Enjoy.

Biotech

  1. Scientists engineer bacteria to create living photographs
  2. S Korea cloning pioneer disgraced
  3. Regeneration Gene Identified
  4. Anti-cancer Compound In Beer Gaining Interest
  5. Woman has first face transplant
  6. The nose cells that may help the paralysed walk again
  7. Bionic Hands to Become a Reality Soon?
  8. Robot to handle med ampules
  9. Geneticists claim ageing breakthrough but immortality will have to wait

Culture

  1. The MySpace Generation

Entertainment

  1. AWOL – inhaling alcohol

Environment

  1. Humanity Responsible For Current Climate Change
  2. Cheaper Veggie Diesel May Change the Way We Drive
  3. Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age
  4. Atlantic currents show signs of weakening

Physics

  1. Breakthrough for quantum measurement
  2. Fuel`s paradise? Power source that turns physics on its headEd Note: This has a high likehood of being psudoscience
  3. Beginner`s Guide to Quantum Entanglement
  4. NASA – Space-time Vortex

Space

  1. Hayabusa Probe Lands on Asteroid After All
  2. Mesmerized by Moondust
  3. The Fountains of Enceladus
  4. Radar reveals ice deep below Martian surface
  5. Most detailed image of the Crab Nebula
  6. NASA Spacecraft Is Halfway Toward Mars

Tech

  1. Bendable concrete
  2. Mixaerator sterilises water without chemicals
  3. Inflatable composite structures enable lightweight transportable buildings
  4. For Your Ears Only – The Audio Tooth
  5. The world’s lightest solid finds myriad other applications
  6. Aerogel: The World’s lightest solid
  7. Company Develops Microwave-powered Water Heater
  8. The 360 degree LED television
  9. Auto Skins – digital clothing for your car
  10. The first watch that uses flexible e-paper hits the stores
  11. Scratches no match for Nissan’s new car paint
  12. The Magic Paint Brush
  13. Teen Repellent
  14. Samsung Unveils 7-Inch Flexible LCD
  15. Maxell Releases Holographic Storage
  16. Hover chairĀ glides around your cubicle on a cushion of air
  17. The rear-view helmet
  18. `BrainGate` Brain-Machine-Interface takes shape
  19. Miniature robot for exploring your inner self (quite literally)
  20. Protective clothing goes on the attack
  21. Brown Team Creates `Impossible` Silicon Laser
  22. Wired News: Say Sayonara to Blurry Pics
  23. Horseback Riding Machine
  24. Singapore Students Invent Waterless Washing Machine
Design&Web02 Dec 2005 11:41 am

See I still use del.icio.us and here is why. Now my compatriot has been telling me how cool simpy is, but I have so much already invested in del.icio.us and frankly now that it has even tigher integration into firefox I am less likely to change. I mean its got handy buttons (See Fig 1)
and lets you take notes (See Fig 2) by highlighting portions of the current viewed page.

del.icio.us buttons
Fig 1

del.icio.us notes
Fig 2

I will be using it for the next week or so and write a more formal review then, in the meantime if you use del.icio.us check it out.