"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Exact Math

The binary search controversy has improperly gone from the definition of numbers in poorly designed languages to the "static vs. dynamic" debate, which has no bearing on this topic. Then the question came up about floating point and why even Smalltalk accepts that 1e16 + 1 is equal to 1e16 when using a floating point (i.e. inexact) representation of integers.

The numerical tower in Scheme explicitly defines what number representations and procedures deal with exact or with inexact math. You get to choose, for instance based on whether you need speed or accuracy.

> (+ 2/3 1/3)
> exact->inexact
> (exact->inexact 1/3)
> (= (+ 1 10000000000000000) (+ 1 (exact->inexact 10000000000000000)))
> (= 1e16 (exact->inexact 10000000000000000))

Indigo and Atom

Timely. An incentive to try Indigo. A co-worker and I had started to play with Atom.NET.

(via Don Box)

microsoft changeClassToThatOf: ibm

James Robertson makes a good point about the greater transition that may be taking place at Microsoft.

But he chose the wrong message selector. Instead of Object>>become: I think he should have used Object>>changeClassToThatOf:


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Content Networking and Scalable Web Sites

A couple of books I picked up recently are worth recommending based on a little bit of reading... one is Content Networking and the other is Building Scalable Web Sites. I missed most of Web 1.0 working on databases, concurrency, and conflict resolution. These are getting me caught up for Web, er, 2.0.

(Although in Content Networking I noticed they define HTTP as "Hyper Text Transport Protocol" rather than "Transfer". That's not in the errata on the book site.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blissfully Fenced

Phil Windley speaks up about the current anti-immigrant fiasco...

The level of xenophobia and insecurity required to say that government shouldn't make useful information available in a variety of formats and languages is just stunning. This is really about erecting barriers, not assimilation. I'm embarrased.
Politicians love to erect barriers when it serves their immediate interests. Gay, hispanic, french, black, muslim, jewish, protestant, catholic, female... the list goes back into time and will ignorantly proceed into the future.
Scene 5:
Tell me. What do you do with witches?
Burn! Burn them up! Burn!
And what do you burn apart from witches?
More witches!
The current anti-hispanic machine is a purely ironic facade. There is no way the fascists want to eliminate "illegals" from the work force. This machine serves dual purposes -- get out the xenophobic vote (the homophobic vote may not work so soon after 2004) *and* provide the means to legally indenture foreign workers for many years.

We *certainly* all agree it would be "impractical" to attempt deporting millions of people -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Ahem, they won't mention to Mr. and Mrs. Blue Collar that they'd find it *antithetical* to eliminate millions of powerless people from the labor pool and provide blue collar workers more leverage to organize. Better to keep them blissfully irate at the "illegals" stealing their jobs while we pause in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Oh, and fences. We need fences.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Jon Udell extolls the virtues of exploration with a simple dynamic language...

There are Java and C# wrappers for this stuff, but I'm having a ball just using Python's interactive mode to explore the Calendar API.

Think Different

Damien Katz, with an Iris/Lotus background, writes about his programming language choice for implementing CouchDB...

the Erlang OTP platform has completely changed the way I view reliable software construction...

while it may sound hard to write software this way, it's actually far easier than you think

Monday, June 12, 2006

Simplicity and Safety? Boring

According to Tim Bray...

space-vs-time trade-offs are just not gonna go away
Tim's choice is to scoff at people who choose simplicity and safety as the default, all for the space-time tradeoff which is not well addressed by Java anyway.

The cognitive dissonance excuse is tiring. And costly.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Counting On Democrats

Every once in a while you can count on the Democrats to vote for the people. Can you find the Republican in the Oregon delegation...

  • Blumenauer, Earl, Oregon, 3rd YES
  • DeFazio, Peter, Oregon, 4th YES
  • Hooley, Darlene, Oregon, 5th YES
  • Walden, Greg, Oregon, 2nd NO
  • Wu, David, Oregon, 1st YES

This is too complex

Blaine Buxton exclaims...

This Java Generics FAQ is a whopping 433 pages in PDF form. Holy Moses!
It's time to surrender, folks.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.