1. Recently I read this: Why Agile Has Failed

  2. Fingerprints are Usernames, not Passwords

  3. quine-relay

    If you’re ever in doubt what all the multitude of programming languages is actually good for, look at this piece of art.

  4. Languages Are Overrated

    By many people I met over the years of my professional career as a software engineer, programming languages seem to be vastly overrated. Every now and then I see a battle of this language against that language and a flame war and a shit storm. To what extend - I don’t know.

    For me, languages are tools, no more no less. They are tools for humans to formulate repeatable problem solutions in a way a computer and other humans can deal with. Some languages fit better to that solution and some to another. Some ecosystems have that benefit and that drawback, some another. But, no single language supports you in finding the solution for the problem in question. And that’s the crucial point of engineering, to find solutions. Programming, in essence, is selection or creation of Algorithms, and not simply coding.

    I never made a big deal about the language I use, and I used a lot. If I have to learn another, I do it, simple as that. Sure, I have a sense of beauty or smartness of a particular language, but in the end of the day I try to choose the right tool for my particular solution. And that’s what I care about the most, the solution, the algorithm. Moreover, this is the right starting point for optimizations by the way. I even helped optimizing code in languages I never used before just by analyzing the algorithmic complexity of the particular solution, an approach many programmers obviously have forgotten while discussing questions like: which language is the fastest.

    It’s rather similar to what Nietzsche once said - who spoke a number of contemporary and ancient languages fluently -: it does not count how many languages you do know or do not know, what counts is if you have something to say in the first place. This is why I spent more time reading papers or books about algorithms instead of the most fancy “Programming in XYZ”. If one has something to say, he or she will find a way to say it. If one has not - no language can help.

  5. Jun Fukuyama's P≠NP Page

  6. Go Standard Library Web Server Rocks

    These days I’m doing my first steps in the Go programming language. Today I wrote my web server hello world and I’m really excited. All I had to do was to write these lines of code.

    package main
    import (
    func main() {
    	// command line argments
    	port     := flag.Int("port", 8000, "http port")
    	maxprocs := flag.Int("maxprocs", 1, "GOMAXPROCS")
    	// setup processor usage
    	// http handler
    	http.HandleFunc("/", func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    		fmt.Fprintf(w, "Hello, %s", "world")
    	// http server
    	s := &http.Server{
    		Addr: ":" + strconv.Itoa(*port),

    Compilation took less than a second, then I could start the server:

      $ bin/web -port=8000 -maxprocs=4

    send some requests:

      $ ab -c 100 -n 1000000 http://localhost:8000/

    and this is what ab told me about performance:

      Requests per second:    23454.77 [#/sec] (mean)

    During that quick test, the web server allocated about 8MB of resident memory, while ab needed 34MB.

    Sure, this thing does nothing useful. And also sure, I can reach similar numbers with an embedded Jetty or a POCO C++ embedded web server, but all I had to do to get this to work was to install Go, write that small code snippet and compile. No Maven XML, no painful dependency resolution, just some calls into the standard library and that’s it. Moreover, I have a single statically linked binary, 3.8MB in size, that I could deploy to whatever 64bit-Linux box I want.

    This is practically amazing.

  7. MVC, MOVE - Or Simply A State Machine?

    In a blog I recently read, Conrad Irwin extends the well known MVC pattern to a MOVE pattern (http://cirw.in/blog/time-to-move-on). While his critics of MVC meets the right point (“… but the problem with MVC as given is that you end up stuffing too much code into your controllers …”) I cannot see what MOVE does better. It seems to be slightly more complex - and that’s what I would criticize.

    What if we simplify things? All we need to get a separation of UI from data and processing in a stateful application are Views and a State Machine. And that’s all what MVC already is in its very core. We have a state machine with transitions initiated by events from the outside world and some kind of frontier or surface or membrane between that world and the state machine. That surface is what we know as View.

    The view is a window into state with a given perspective. Not all may be visible through a given window, some state may be hidden, but moving over the surface will expose all state eventually. At some points at the surface we have sensory cells (those buttons) firing events into the state machine when touched, causing transition. And that’s what most MVC applications already do.

    The perception of burdened controllers (and often views as well) is in essence caused by the fact that they simply doesn’t exist. Partly they are elements of the “M” - for Machine, partly elements of the “V” for View. And if you want a clean architecture based on a well understood computational structure, all you have to do is to accept the fact of having a State Machine and Views of state and nothing more.

    BTW I willingly omitted the “F” of the (F)SM since this might be subject of discussion here, despite the fact that “infinite” is really huge in the world of computation.

  8. Hardware Neural Networks: Future Of Computing?

  9. Making a singular matrix non-singular

  10. Handle Huge Data With C++ and STXXL

    If you ever have to deal with really huge data that does not fit in RAM anymore, but you still need a consistent interface and efficient handling - and you have not the time to write it yourself, as usual - have a look at STXXL. It has some downsides, but after all it works well and efficiently. For me it was the fastest way - both in runtime and implementation time - to deal with data in the TB range.

    You may find it here: http://stxxl.sourceforge.net

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