Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Learning from Baseball

Watched an A's game last night, which featured a most satisfying 11th inning comeback for the home team, snapping their second eight-game losing streak of the month. The victory made the post-game fireworks show that much sweeter. The fireworks were really cool, partly because it's the closest I've ever been to one. The bangs strike you right in the chest (Oakland gangs must be going nuts wondering who's shooting at them), and the light effects filled your entire field of vision.

Also started reading Moneyball yesterday, which is a book about baseball scouting myths and how unscientific the establishment can become when drafting young players. Reminds me a bit about how software engineers are hired, actually. While baseball is plagued with many of the wrong metrics, software engineers can't even be measured. In baseball you can legitimately argue whether RBIs are more important than on-base percentage, in software we don't even really distinguish between skill levels in the C++ programming language. And we call it a science!

I wonder if a revolution is coming... and of course, whether there's money to be made in that revolution.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bad Code of the Day

I don't have to paste it. It involves using recursion (and not even tail recursion) to traverse a linked list. Granted, it was not in a performance-critical portion of the code, but it doesn't take a minute to write it properly. Why be the kind of programmer who won't take a minute to do the right thing?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Missing Complaint

The back story is that Mexican President Vicente Fox had made a comment that Mexicans were taking on jobs that "even blacks" won't do, which is just a silly thing to say. CNN reports later that:

On Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called the remark "very insensitive and inappropriate" and said the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City had raised the issue with the Mexican government.

But Aguilar said Mexico had received no formal complaint from the State Department, repeating the president's position that his remarks "were misinterpreted."

Was it sent via FedEx? Maybe there's a tracking number for the complaint. Seriously, what I don't understand about the media is that when it is clear that one party must be lying, they dig no further. Either the US State Department complained, or it did not, or the Mexican received a complaint but it wasn't "formal". Whatever, find out. This is obviously not a very important issue, but all the more reason for public servants of either country to be kept truthful.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What Would Mohammed Do?

Muslim clerics in Afghanistan are demanding that the US hand over for trial the military interrogators who have allegedly desecrated the Quran by placing it on toilets, and in one instance even flushed it down the toilet. Despite how foolish the acts were in terms of international relations, the threat by the clerics to launch jihad is deplorable. Are we to do only things that are not considered offensive by anybody, anywhere in the world? If putting the holy book on a toilet is offensive, then what about violating all sorts of laws written in the book? Similarly, if having multiple spouses is offensive (and indeed illegal in many countries) to us, will Muslim countries extradite all the offenders for trial?

Friday, May 6, 2005

She's Going the Distance

A thought just occurred to me while driving to work. The car is almost ten years old, with a bit over 100,000 miles on it. If I had averaged 30 mph over that distance, the car would've been driving for 200,000 minutes. If I had averaged 2,000 rpm, then the engine would've turned 400 million times. (Don't worry, I didn't do the math in my head while driving.)

We tend to think of these as astronomical numbers, but some very impressive numbers are also very close by.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

The Price of Liberty?

Just took a look at the Windows Task Manager, and among the top five memory users I find gcasDtServ.exe, which is part of the Microsoft AntiSpyware Suite, and FrameworkService.exe, a part of the McAfee Internet Security Suite. In fact, each uses more RAM than MSDEV.exe, which is Microsoft Visual Studio, the main reason I use this computer. Each consumes more RAM than I had in the entire PC ten years ago.

The number one disk user, by far (8x more than the second placer), is UpdaterUI.exe, another part of the McAfee software. Two other of the top five disk users is also from McAfee. Together they keep my disk chirping constantly.

The Windows environment has gone mad. I'm devoting more computing resources to be able to keep on working than on actually working.

Oh, and happy 05/05/05.