20 November 2017

The decade in review

I just happened to notice that the 10-year blogaversary for this low-volume property had passed in April without recognition. So, belatedly, here’s the first sentence (more or less) of the first post of each year from this blog:
  • 9 April 2007: I've just downloaded the FogBugz for Visual Studio 2005 plugin, and I'm taking it for a spin.
  • 11 January 2008: The Economist brings its customary skeptical perspective to the software-as-a-service market.
  • 8 January 2009: Ashlee Vance introduces the open-source statistical analysis programming environment R, one that challenges proprietary packages.
  • 10 January 2010: Junk Charts provides some how-I-did-it code in the statistical programming language R.
  • 12 January 2011: Michael Donohoe describes an update [to the] New York Times's Emphasis feature, which enables readers and bloggers to deep link to individual paragraphs within a story.
  • 9 January 2012: "I decided to follow the single-letter style and called it C, leaving open the question whether the name represented a progression through the alphabet or through the letters in BCPL."
  • 7 January 2013: Aaron Souppouris gets a quick look at the XO-4 convertible at CES.
  • 2 January 2014: As product owner Patrick Cooper explains in an unusually frank post, our launch a couple of weeks ago was actually our second try.
  • 2 January 2015: Sylvia Tippmann offers a brief introduction for scientists to the programming language R and its ecosystem.
  • 11 January 2016: Dalmeet Singh Chawla introduces Depsy, a service that seeks to measure the contributions made by researchers to the body of software that powers science.
  • 30 January 2017: Antonia Cereijido and Alina Selyukh ask, "Why Aren't There More Women in Tech?"
Despite what you might infer from this selection drawn at random (without replacement), this blog is more than just about R.

Worth it

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, a name for database schema and user experience designers to reckon with.

24 September 2017


Boerge Svingen walks us through the log-based architecture that powers digital publishing at the New York Times. Now that we are in the era where disk isn't just cheap, it's effectively free, a storage-heavy approach like this can make sense.

22 August 2017


A good interview question: give your prospect the setup described by Jane Bailey in "Time to Transfer," and cut off the answer after this text:
The logic was still in place. In fact, the logs showed that the data hadn't been moved until 5 minutes after it was marked to be moved. But the confirmation page had generated in mere seconds. How could this possibly have occurred?

"It just doesn't make sense," she complained to her coworker.

Give your prospect a point for each possible (even impossible) explanation of the defect.

01 July 2017

See dee sea?

Bruce Sherry of Living Computers: Museum + Labs demonstrates a reconstructed Control Data Corporation 6000-series supercomputer.

22 June 2017

A few good folks

We have at least 10 open positions to fill: managers, sys admins, developers (mobile, back-end, and front-end). No ping-pong tables, but all the ARC books you can read! While you're brushing up your resume, you would do well to heed Jonathan's job-hunting advice.

21 June 2017


Several good points raised by Zoltán Ádám Mann's paper in a recent issue of Computer, "The Top Eight Misconceptions about NP-Hardness." The most interesting one:
... adding constraints to a problem affects its complexity in an unpredictable way.

19 June 2017


ICYMI: a short interview with Karin Tsai, a software engineer at Duolingo:
When I was at Princeton, I was somewhat insecure because I started coding so much later than my classmates. I’ve proved that I belong in this field, I can succeed in it, and that when it comes to important decisions in the company, my voice matters.

19 February 2017


Amy Harmon goes to math camp with a group of under-served students.
BEAM is short for Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics, and this, the program’s first year of BEAM 6, for students who had just completed the sixth grade, is what many within elite math circles see as the most promising effort yet to diversify their ranks. The four weeks, spent in a school near City Hall, would be intense: four hours of math a day taught by 10 experienced math teachers, several of them Ph.D.’s. There would be no prepping for standardized tests or effort to cover school material at a faster pace. Instead, as in the elite summer programs that [director Daniel] Zaharopol had himself attended, BEAM focused on the kind of creative problem-solving that mathematicians say lie at the heart of the discipline.

30 January 2017