Showing posts from August, 2014

Spoilerific Liveblogging Dr. Who S8E1: "Deep Breath"


Dinosaurs in London.

Well, that was awkward.  Capaldi off to a poor start, but honestly, so was Tennant in "Christmas Invasion"

New Opening looks like the opening to Amazing Stories in 1985...

"People are apes.  MEN are monkeys."  Nice, Mdm Vastra

Clara dealing with the change.  Not well.  Metaphor for all relationships--people change.  Are we big enough to see through the veil?

Parallels: Doctor and the Dinosaur, "I am alone..."

Strax is a joy, per usual, "May I take your clothes?"

And...there's the cyborg

"He looked young, you might as well flirt with a mountain range."  Nice interlude to explain Peter Capaldi know...old.

"My Time Machine was stuck in your throat...that's mostly how I meet girls."

"Planet of the pudding brains..."

Strax: "...and we will melt him with acid.  The Times shall I send it up?"  WHACK!

Ah, JLC in Victorian Garb.  Holds her own quite well against Stra…

Developer toolchain, 2014 Edition

I try to pause every so often and record what my toolchain looks like.   Sort of like people posting on Everyday Carry, but for what I use every day in development.

Development machine: 13" MacBook Pro Retina, 2.8GHz Core i7, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD.  I love this machine.  My wife calls it my woobie.  She's not far from right. OS: Mac OS 10.9.4.  Unix when I want it to be, polished Consumer OS when I just don't care.   It's been 3 years since I ran a windows box as a development machine and with virtualization I can't see running windows as a primary OS ever again.Physical Setup: Thunderbolt Gigabit ethernet, Thunderbolt-to-DVI single 23" monitor, Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.   I've dabbled in multi-monitors and buckling spring keyboards, but this setup keeps my attention focused and my repetitive strain to a minimum.  I'll eventually wear out this keyboard and probably buy another one just like it.Note taking tool: Evernote, but honestly I…

An Afternoon with the Fleet

There aren't really pics to go with this.  Sorry about that.

It began simply enough:  A dog days Saturday that promised mild temps and good weather.  Car parts in two separate boxes in my garage.  "I'll probably have this done before you guys get back from the hair place, " I said.

I set myself two tasks:  Kill the Check Engine light in the Camry that'd been on for two years and 5 days, and give my 1995 truck a tuneup--plugs, wires, rotor, distributor cap.  I had all the parts, and plenty of hand tools.

Simple enough....

In Which Your Author Hugs a Camry I knew the problem with my Camry was the Vacuum Switching Valve.  It was throwing trouble code P0401, which meant a problem with the EGR system.  Cars are so polite these days, telling you these things.  Back in the day, one had to diagnose from symptoms, now the sensors throughout the system tell you your car that's otherwise running fine needs help.  Okay, so it didn't need help, but I was tired of sta…

Why are there no Software Development simulators?

Saturday, I took my daughters to the kids day/open house down at our local PBS station.  Getting past the claustrophobia of jamming hundreds of kids, strollers, and overwrought parents into the narrow hallways and anechoic studios, it was great kidly fun--lots of booths, sing-alongs, and face painting.  On our way out, we noticed a smart-looking medium duty truck painted like a firetruck, pulling a trailer packed to the gills with equipment.  Inside were two "simulator" booths where two robust gentlemen were showing how they train police officers and firemen to drive their vehicles in all sorts of conditions and situations.

Watching a ten-year-old attempt to pilot a full-sized firetruck in a city (protip: make wide turns), it struck me:
There is effectively no simulation training for Software Developers. That's right:  For the pilot of your 777, there's a simulator.  She's required to log so many hours in life-threatening situations so that she can respond with co…

It's just that easy: Configuration as Code 2014

Ramping on a new project is fun!

Actually, it resembles lighting yourself on fire, running and jumping onto a moving train with jugs of water on it, only to discover the first car has flammable liquids, then the next car, then the next.

Restated: It's never boring.

So, I'm collaborating with a team writing in Rails 4, and that team's adopted the 12 Factor App religion. Great!  I've dabbled in heroku before, and it's neat to see apps written that way from the first git init.

Anyway, thought I'd jot down just how "easy" it is to get an app running.

Install git.  Pull the code for the project.  Everything's self-contained from there, right? Er...Install VirtualBox.  This will let you create run virtual machines on your development box.  (You'll need about 8GB of RAM have that, right?)Install Vagrant.  This is like a build system for your virtual machines.Install Chef.  This is a configuration system for your virtual machines.  Once…

"Ideal team size 5 to 10." (Still no cure for cancer)

You've gotta love social scientists.

In the ongoing quest to squeeze every ounce of productivity from the burnout-destined drone age 20-to-40, they're studying ways to measure collective intelligence.

Quotable quote:

Right now, the optimal size is probably somewhere between five and 10, but with the right collaboration tools, you could imagine having a group that kept getting more intelligent, up to 50, 100, or even 500 or 5,000 people. 

Okay, be proud: You've got your name on the company, and you're the centerpiece of this spiffy article.  What you're trying to do, though, it surmount human biology:  We can keep 7 +/- 2 ( that is, anywhere from 5 to 9) things in our active memory at any one time.  Whenever you go above that number, we forget.  Managing over that many relationships day-to-day simply creates overhead.

From "Thinking: Fast and Slow" on Statistics

I'm muddling through Thinking Fast and Slow.

Much of it sounds like a the Wah-wah sound from a Charlie Brown teacher.  Or, if you like, Unikitty talking business

However, about once in a chapter, there's a revelation that's obvious yet profound.  Here is a summary of one:

"Extreme outcomes (both high and low) are more likely to be found in small than in large samples"
Zzzzzzzz...wait, what?  Okay, let's have an example:

"A study of the incidence of kidney cancer in the 3,141 counties of the Unites States reveals a remarkable pattern:  The counties in which the incidence of kidney cancer is lowest are mostly rural, sparsely populated, and located in traditionally Republican states in the Midwest, the South, and the West.  What do you make of this?" Did you leap to any conclusions?  Something about clean living country people away from pollution?  Not so fast...
Now consider the counties in which the incidence of kidney cancer is highest.  These ailin…