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Archives for January, 2006

humans as specialized processors

Amazon has a program called “Mechanical Turk” where people can sign up do to tasks that computers have trouble with (primarily image processing, as far as I can tell) at the request of computer programs. A clearinghouse of human labor for our robotic masters!

john lennon interview

I don’t know if anybody cares, but here’s a longish John Lennon interview that I hadn’t seen before.

charming hostess

I’ve been celebrating my newfound freedom to listen to whatever the the hell I want by going through the oeuvre of Charming Hostess. At least most of their oeuvre; browsing through their website, it would seem that I am missing Thick and Grim. So maybe I’ll have a followup post next week. Anyways: I first […]

finished tour through music

When I first moved out here (summer of 1998), I didn’t listen to music much. When I was at home, my media time was largely spent playing video games; sometimes I listened to CD’s in the car, but once Liesl learned to drive, I took the bus to work. (During which I read books. Which […]

indonesian chicken curry

The third recipe in my “curry paste” series, and the second recipe in my “chicken curry by country” series. I’m a bit dubious about this recipe’s authenticity, even before my alterations. But it’s yummy, which is what counts. Though admittedly not as stunning as the first installment in the latter; I can’t think of the […]

more on counterpunch

I subscribe to the paper edition of CounterPunch, but I’d never seriously looked at their website before today; clearly I’ve been missing something. Some examples, all from stories appearing today or yesterday: This is just scary. It does make me happy that it’s a Reagan appointee and former WSJ editor who’s pointing it out: I’m […]

iraqi death toll

Just how many Iraqis have died because of our invasion and occupation? The press doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job of answering (heck, asking) this question, and it seems to me like a fairly important one. After all, the only potentially legitimate reasons for the war that I can think of are: […]

lean manufacturing reading

I e-mailed the author of the blog I mentioned recently, and he was kind enough to put together a lean manufacturing reading list.

an interesting exception idea

Here’s an idea about exceptions that I hadn’t seen before: catch them as early as possible, and then To avoid strong coupling between parts of the system we shouldn’t inform the caller that we had a problem. Instead, the object that catches the exception should set its own state such that it will answer future […]

lean manufacturing?

Various mentions I’ve seen recently make me think I should learn more about lean manufacturing. An interesting quote: Kaizen activities in lean manufacturing often begin with red-tagging, in which all superfluous inventory, tools and rubbish are marked with a red tag and moved into one corner. At the end of a week, if any tagged […]

cambodian chicken curry

Tonight’s dinner. It takes a bit too long to make on a weekday: it’s not as complicated as the list of ingredients might make you think, but it does take a little while and requires you to juggle a few skillets. Nice if you’re looking for something a bit special to cook during the weekend; […]

bad patents

The Microsoft FAT patent scares me. In the past, I didn’t like software patents because patenting algorithms didn’t make any sense to me as a mathematician. But patents that prevent reverse engineering are directly harmful, too: those are my pictures on my digital camera, and it’s none of Microsoft’s business if I want to upload […]

bush text adventure

This is really funny.

good journalism

Despite my complaints a few days ago, I do think that the Mercury News is a decent paper by today’s standards, and this morning they reminded me why. They’ve been reviewing 700 appeals of local criminal cases; the results will appear in a five-part series that began with a special section of today’s paper, the […]

mindful programming

The last section of The Fifth Book of Peace talks about Thich Nhan Hanh a lot, so I decided to read one of his books next. One of his big themes is “mindful behavior”; as I understand it, this means that, when you do something, you should simply be doing that, not thinking about or […]

interactive interaction with a language

It’s fun having an excuse to interact interactively with a language, as I work through the Learning SQL examples and exercises; almost all of my interaction with languages since I was an undergraduate has been mediated through a compiler, and I’d forgotten what I was missing. Hmm: I suppose I interact with bash all the […]

shifting cards between people

At our weekly meeting today, my team members had some interesting comments on what had gone wrong over the last week. Among other things, we had planned to work on two 2-point cards; we break up cards that are larger than that, and in the past even cards that size have been problematic. In this […]

functor moustache

I just got a piece of spam whose subject line was “functor moustache”; for some reason, this amuses me.

paper = air?

The chapters of The Fifth Book of Peace are titled Fire, Paper, Water, and Earth. This, of course, sets up an analogy of paper with air. Which I can relate to, but after thinking about it, it’s either a bit too specific or a bit too general for me. Words = Air: sure, I can […]

magical mystery tour

I was just listening to Magical Mystery Tour; what a good album that is. I only got it a year or so ago, when I was rounding out my Beatles collection; somehow it had never entered my consciousness as one of the great Beatles albums. But it really is quite fine; I’d heard most of […]