Skip to main content

Stuff of Interest - Week of Sept 17 - 23, 2006

Wow! It has been almost two weeks since my last post, and I was doing so well. Unfortunately, i got quite sick and then had an unexpected trip out of state (read: I forgot about it until the day before!) and now feel ill, yet again. But, determination brings me back. I was planning to post this on the 23rd of September, but the 6th of October is close enough. Regular posting will continue starting tomorrow.




This is the first in my weekly post of interesting links around the web. These are articles, websites, services, photos, and anything that else that I want to bring up on my blog, but can't use an entire post for. Being on any aggregation sites makes you think harder on each post and puts some weight on you against those little posts, at least in my mind.

Hopefully, you'll enjoy whatever I post here. Maybe you'll find a useful site, or learn something you wouldn't otherwise.

Really Smart Stuff

Ross Jekel, over on the Python 3000 mailing list, supported the existance of the GIL (Global Interpreter Lock) in a very clear paragraph). This came from a thread (yet again) about the possible removal of the GIL for Python 3.0, which will almost definately not happen. Instead, the most weight seems to be toward improving the effectiveness and productivity of multi-process or multi-interpreter-in-one-process communication to offset call between interpreter boundries. Awesome stuff if it happens!
After some initial surprise when I learned about it, I'm now okay with a GIL or even single threaded python (with async I/O if necessary). In my opinion threaded programs with one big shared data space (like CPython's) are fundamentally untestable and unverifiable, and the GIL was the best solution to reduce risk in that area. I am happy the GIL exists because it forces me to come up designs for programs and systems that are easier to write, more predictable both in terms of correctness and performance, and easier to maintain and scale. I think there would be significant backlash in the Python development community the first time an intermittent race condition or a deadlock occurs in the CPython interpretor after years of relying on it as a predictable, reliable platform.

Really Cool Stuff

In my effort to professionalize my blog, snazzy it up a little, and a general interest in having cool things to look at, I found stock.xchang, a free stock photo exchange website. There are great photos available there, and when I get my camera working again, I will definately be contributing to the collection.

Sometimes you just gotta say "Wow." I had a little trouble with the prototype applet running sluggish and buggy, but watching the demo video is just amazing. The software will extract 2D shapes into 3D models and allow you to extrude, cut, reshape, and just do some amazing things with an interface so simple that a kid could, and has, use it. Makes me want a touchscreen all the more, so I can have extra fun playing with this.

Really Quick Stuff

JavaScript Scope (and this) Explained in Detail
ParenScript - Lisp to JavaScript translator

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CARDIAC: The Cardboard Computer

I am just so excited about this.


CARDIAC. The Cardboard Computer. How cool is that? This piece of history is amazing and better than that: it is extremely accessible. This fantastic design was built in 1969 by David Hagelbarger at Bell Labs to explain what computers were to those who would otherwise have no exposure to them. Miraculously, the CARDIAC (CARDboard Interactive Aid to Computation) was able to actually function as a slow and rudimentary computer. 
One of the most fascinating aspects of this gem is that at the time of its publication the scope it was able to demonstrate was actually useful in explaining what a computer was. Could you imagine trying to explain computers today with anything close to the CARDIAC?

It had 100 memory locations and only ten instructions. The memory held signed 3-digit numbers (-999 through 999) and instructions could be encoded such that the first digit was the instruction and the second two digits were the address of memory to operate on. The only re…

Interrupting Coders Isn’t So Bad

Here’s a hot take: disrupting coders isn’t all that bad.

Some disruptions are certainly bad but they usually aren’t. The coder community has overblown the impact. A disruption can be a good thing. How harmful disruption might be a symptom of other problems.

There are different kinds of disruptions. They are caused by other coders on your team, managers and other non-coders, or meetings throughout the day.

The easiest example to debunk is a question from a fellow developer. Imagine someone walks over to your desk or they ping you on Slack, because they have “one quick question.” Do you get annoyed at the interruption when you were in the middle of something important? You help out your teammate quickly and get back to work, trying to pick up where you left off. That’s a kind of interruption we complain about frequently, but I’m not convinced this is all that bad.

You are being disrupted but your team, of which you are only one member of the whole unit, is working smoothly. You unstuck …

How To Care If BSD, MIT, or GPL Licenses Are Used

The two recent posts about some individuals' choice of GPL versus others' preference for BSD and MIT style licensing has caused a lot of debate and response. I've seen everything as an interesting combination of very important topics being taken far too seriously and far too personally. All involved need to take a few steps back.

For the uninitiated and as a clarifier for the initiated, we're dealing with (basically) three categories of licensing when someone releases software (and/or its code):
Closed Source. Easiest to explain, because you just get nothing.GPL. If you get the software, you get the source code, you get to change it, and anything you combine it with must be under the same terms.MIT and BSD. If you get the software, you might get the source code, you get to change it, and you have no obligations about anything else you combine it with.The situation gets stickier when we look at those combinations and the transitions between them.

Use GPL code with Closed S…