Older blog entries for apenwarr (starting at number 361)

2008-01-04: A thinly veiled rant

A thinly veiled rant

Some of the best advice I've ever heard was ostensibly to women about dating, but applies equally to everybody and all their relationships.

If you want to know how a person will treat you once he gets to know you, look at how he treats other people. If you want to know how someone talks about you behind your back, look at how he talks to you about other people.

It's really as simple as that, in life or in business. Don't ignore the signs. Sometimes understanding people is so easy that you can't believe what's obviously true is true.

Syndicated 2008-01-03 22:57:48 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

3 Jan 2008 (updated 3 Jan 2008 at 19:03 UTC) »

2008-01-03: Welcome to 2008, Part 2: Dietary Information

Welcome to 2008, Part 2: Dietary Information

Please note the recent important changes in dietary advice.

Red meats, which were previously associated with high blood pressure leading to heart conditions, are now okay. It's carbohydrates that are bad. Eat meat, but leave the potatoes at home.

Note that milk no longer "does a body good." In fact, it is now widely believed that people over the age of about 5 years lack the enzymes to digest it properly.

Corn syrup is not, apparently, at the heart of the American obesity problem. This and other exciting "facts" ("Contrary to its name, high fructose corn syrup is not high in fructose") can be found at the Corn Syrup Website.

Saturated fats, the so called "bad" fats that are found in various greasy things like the no-longer-evil red meat, are no longer anything to worry about. Well, maybe they are, but we don't worry about them, because...

"Trans" fats must certainly be much worse, as evidenced by the large number of food packages which now proclaim that they don't contain any. Nobody knows what trans fats are or if they even exist, but because your favourite foods don't contain them, you should feel secure. Phew.

Update: My dad sends this critical additional information:

Syndicated 2007-12-30 20:02:43 (Updated 2008-01-03 19:03:36) from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2008-01-01: Welcome to 2008

Welcome to 2008

I am now officially part of the "previous" generation of programmers. I know this because the new generation no longer has "vi vs. emacs" editor wars, while mine still does.

The new generation's wars are vi/emacs vs. IDEs.

Carry on then.

Syndicated 2007-12-28 20:21:10 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-21: Thread-free coroutines in C# 3.0

Thread-free coroutines in C# 3.0

As I suspected, C# 3.0 has everything we need to accomplish a clone of WvCont from WvStreams in C++. It took a bit of fiddling to figure it out, but the final answer is simple and elegant.

The code below shows a ToAction() extension method that lets you convert any iterator into an Action, so that anywhere a "normal" callback is expected, you can provide a coroutine instead.

We do some non-obvious tricks with variable scoping in ToAction(), but that only has to be written once. The syntax for *using* it is simple.

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Linq;

public static class Example { public static Action ToAction(this IEnumerable aie) { bool must_reset = false; IEnumerator ie = aie.GetEnumerator(); return new Action(delegate() { if (must_reset) ie = aie.GetEnumerator(); must_reset = !ie.MoveNext(); }); }

static IEnumerable demofunc(string prefix, int start, int end) { for (int i = start; i

And the output looks like this:

 *   : 1
   * : 100
 *   : 2
   * : 101
 *   : 3
   * : 102
   * : 103
 *   : 1
   * : 104
 *   : 2
   * : 105
 *   : 3
   * : 106
   * : 107
 *   : 1
   * : 108
 *   : 2
   * : 109

The above program requires Mono 1.2.6 or higher (compile with "-langversion:linq") in Linux, or .NET 3.5 or higher in Windows.

Syndicated 2007-12-21 03:59:23 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-19: On the efficiency of using auto-refactoring IDEs

On the efficiency of using auto-refactoring IDEs

    Imagine that you have a tool that lets you manage huge Tetris screens that are hundreds of stories high. In this scenario, stacking the pieces isn't a problem, so there's no need to be able to eliminate pieces. This is the cultural problem: they don't realize they're not actually playing the right game anymore.

    -- Steve Yegge

Syndicated 2007-12-20 01:20:40 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-15: In which I learn the true meaning of "unbelievable"

In which I learn the true meaning of "unbelievable"

It's after midnight. I arrive home in Montreal after a few weeks absence, to find the cheesy-overpriced fingerprint lock on my condo's door has been replaced with a hotel-style card reader lock.

I investigate more fully. *Every* lock on *every* door in the building has been replaced with a hotel-style card reader lock.

I have some problems with this:

  • It's not a rental. It's *my* @#$!#$ lock that they stole. I actually paid *extra* for the cheesy-overpriced fingerprint lock, which is precisely how I know it's overpriced.

  • The card reader lock does not have a keyhole nor a fingerprint reader, and I do not have a card to read.

  • In my mailbox, I find no notice whatsoever that this operation had been planned or executed.

  • The new lock is very poorly installed, in keeping with the shoddy construction work that has characterized this building all along. (Luckily, the contractor who *built* the place has high standards, and repeatedly sent each worker back until they did it right. So it's great work in the end. But he obviously hasn't seen this new crap yet.)
Naturally I break in (to my own home) through my *other* door, which has a perfectly normal easily pickable lock that completely defeats the purpose of the cheesy-overpriced lock I no longer have. I didn't have to pick it; since the last time, when my cheesy-overpriced lock decided it didn't want to let me in anymore, I make sure to carry a key for the perfectly normal lock with me at all times.

I come in.

Everything inside is normal.

It's the middle of the night.

I don't even know the superintendent's name.

I've lost his phone number.

It's time for bed now.

Syndicated 2007-12-15 06:14:09 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-06: Canada: SRED Tax Credits

Canada: SRED Tax Credits

2008 may be the year when I personally change from a "cost center" to a "profit center" at my company as I help with our R&D tax credits report.

Basically, when a Canadian company employs a Canadian worker to do SR&ED - a strictly defined but wider definition than R&D - the government will pay you back somewhere around 48%-70% of the salary you paid out.

The government web site about this is a little confusing, indicating credits of more like 20%-35%, but what they *don't* say is that you weight wages by about 165% to include non-salary overhead for that employee. There are also province-specific parts that add to the total. The end result is *much* more than 20%.

Think about that. If you're a privately-held Canadian company, you can be getting back something like 70% of your R&D employee wages. It doesn't matter if you don't even turn a profit; "tax credits" means "free money," not tax writeoffs. It means that hiring Canadian developers has roughly the same cost as outsourcing development to India.

IANA (I Am Not an Accountant), please don't sue me, etc. But if you're a Canadian software company, do yourself a favour and apply for those tax credits.

Syndicated 2007-12-05 22:06:15 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-05: Bruce Schneier on the future of security

Bruce Schneier on the future of security

Wow, it reads like sci-fi but isn't.

Syndicated 2007-12-05 21:53:02 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-02: Weather report

Weather report

The weather today reminds me of Web 2.0. Today the conditions are just right to roll huge snowballs fast, but tomorrow they can just as easily melt down. :)

Syndicated 2007-12-02 21:51:49 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

2007-12-01: Sanity and Climate Change

Sanity and Climate Change

My friend and former engineering classmate David Pritchard writes a summary of a book on global warming and compares it to a related scientific paper.

I really like David's analysis. It's short enough to be readable in a few minutes, but long enough to have actual content. It also states far more facts than opinions, leaving you to make conclusions for yourself.

I took one key point away from reading it. Maybe it's obvious to you, but it was never obvious to me, and it seems not to be obvious to a lot of coffee table environmentalists. The point is just this: our goal needs to be to stabilize the atomospheric carbon level.

Does that sound too obvious? Think about what else it means:

  • It doesn't matter whether the carbon level increase is caused by mankind or not. There are arguments that global warming/cooling happens on a natural cycle. Answer: irrelevant. Stabilizing it won't make things worse, and it might make things better. (Dinosaurs probably didn't cause an ice age, either, but that didn't make it any more comfortable for them.)

  • It doesn't really matter whether the carbon level increase affects the temperature, or how much. An increase in carbon levels in the atmosphere might have all sorts of effects we don't know about; just keep it the same, and we risk nothing. The same can be said for most of the arguments about positive/negative feedback loops, etc.

  • You don't have to *stop* emitting carbon. Too little carbon would be just as bad as too much. Remember, things are absorbing it again. You just have to keep things in equilibrium.

  • You can keep things in equilibrium by increasing carbon "sinks" as well as by decreasing emissions.
This is a gross oversimplification and David's article says many other important things in a clear and well-balanced way, and includes references. You should read it.

Syndicated 2007-12-02 01:55:28 from apenwarr - Business is Programming

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