Long Links · Dear Readers, once again a selection of links to long-form pieces which I, as a semi-retired person, have time for, but people with normal lives probably don’t. The hope is that one or two will enrich your life. Housekeeping note: I have said “Yes” too often recently and Long-Linking opportunities will probably shrink. Featured this time out: American roots music, BC beer, how wealth vanishes, and the Apple M2 ...
[1 comment]  
Small Tables · Computer programs organize bits and bytes into “data structures”. In software of any import, the data structures are usually more interesting than the code around them. This part of the Quamina Diary takes a close look at a very simple data structure that I have greatly enjoyed using to build finite automata, and which I think has lessons to teach; it’s called smallTable ...
[3 comments]  
Making Code Faster · I’ve enjoyed writing software for 40+ years now. Lots of activities fall into that “writing software” basket, and here’s my favorite: When you have a body of code with a decent unit-test suite and you need to make it go faster. This part of the Quamina diary is a case study of making a piece of the library faster ...
[3 comments]  
Demerara Rebellion · I accidentally ended up learning a lot about the Demerara Slave Rebellion of 1823. It’s a fascinating set of stories, worth sharing, worth learning about ...
[8 comments]  
Dangerous Gift · A friend of mine pinged me online, said “Hey, remember that thing we were talking about doing a couple years ago? I still have one of the domain names, gonna let it go unless you want it.” ...
[6 comments]  
Field-Value Automata · When I introduced Quamina, I described the core trick: You prepare an arbitrary JSON blob for automaton-based matching by “Flattening” it into a list of name/value pairs, then sorting them in name order. Today, a closer look at how you work with the flattened data ...
[3 comments]  
Golang Diaries: Generics · My coding time this year has been invested in Quamina, an event-filtering library implemented in Go. Just in the last couple of weeks I spotted an opportunity to bring Go’s shiny new generics to bear, and not just anywhere, but for a central data structure. I got good results, but the process was sort of painful; I kept trying things that looked like they ought to work but didn’t. I’m sharing this tour through that experience because I’m a reasonably competent programmer with mainstream tastes and if I hit these bumps in the road others probably will too ...
[4 comments]  
Meet Quamina · No parent will name a favorite among their children. But I do have one among my brainchildren, my software contributions over the decades: The event-streaming code I helped build at AWS. After rage-quitting I missed it so much that over the last few months, I wrote a library (in Go) called Quamina (GitHub) that does some of the same things. This is about that ...
[4 comments]  
Long Links · Once again, a selection of long-form pieces for those who (unlike me) have jobs and won’t have time for all of, but might benefit from ingesting one or two. This month we have lots of musical offerings, along with politics, advice on how to walk, and 5G ...
[2 comments]  
4,000,000m Lessons · The odometer on my e-bike clicked over to 4K and, rather than a general-purpose “e-bikes are great” rave, I thought I’d assemble a few concrete arguments for them, suitable for re-use with friends and loved ones in the (likely) case that you’re already convinced. With pictures ...
[4 comments]  
Three Perfect Tools · We live in a world of things that have Product Managers and Design Teams and Documentation Architecture and often vast ambition. And yet, so many of them are so bad. And worse, some which are good then become bad for no good reason. There is a particular joy in a product that just does what you need done, in about the way you expect or (thrillingly) better, and isn’t hard to figure out, and doesn’t change unnecessarily. Here are three to learn from ...
[1 comment]  
Long Links · Welcome to another Long Links, selected pointers to long-form pieces that have added value to my semi-retired days and one or two of which might reward you if you make time for them. A few of this month’s pieces aren’t free; it’s a bitter fact that the truth is paywalled but the lies are free. Sorry ...
[2 comments]  
5G Skeptic · When I was working at AWS, around 2017 we started getting excited pitches from companies who wanted to be part of the 5G build-out, saying that obviously there’d be lots of opportunities for public-cloud providers. But I never walked away convinced. Either I didn’t believe the supposed customers really needed what 5G offered, or I didn’t believe the opportunity was anywhere near big enough to justify the trillion-dollar build-out investment. Six years later, I still don’t. This is a report on a little online survey I ran, looking for actual real-world 5G impact to see if I was wrong ...
[24 comments]  
Professor Dale and Me · To misquote William Gibson: “The past is still here with us, just unevenly distributed.” I have a story to tell that stars Sergei Rachmaninoff and me. It starts just before 1900 in Moscow. My part ends around 1972 in the mountains of Lebanon, looking down over Beirut and the blue Mediterranean. It doesn’t have to do with computers and nothing in it matters to anyone living except me, but maybe you’ll enjoy a faintly exotic musical echo from a long time ago a long way away ...
[6 comments]  
Get Computer Glasses · Let me guess: You spend a lot of time in front of a computer, to which is attached a large high-resolution outboard screen, and you’re over 40, and you have glasses on your face. A lot of you will already know this, but if you don’t, run not walk to the nearest optometrist, get your eyes checked, and order a set of “computer glasses”. Trust me on this ...
[16 comments]  
Long Links · Welcome to another curation of long-form pieces, the kind of thing that I, as a semi-retired person, have time for. While you probably don’t have the space for all of these, one or two might reward an investment of your attention. These are obviously grim times and indeed there’s grim stuff here but I’ve tried to add some smiles for balance ...
[3 comments]  
Getting Back · I watched all eight hours of Jackson’s Get Back Beatles documentary. I’m a pretty intense music geek and while I gather there were some for whom this was Too Much Beatles, there was hardly a moment I wanted to look away. I found the whole thing intense and feel like sharing a few purely musical take-aways: If you care about will-George-quit or the-meaning-of-Yoko drama, I got nothing for you ...
[1 comment]  
Google Memory Loss · I think Google has stopped indexing the older parts of the Web. I think I can prove it. Google’s competition is doing better. [Update, Feb. 2022: It’s still happening.] ...
[38 comments]  
2022 Crocuses · It is an annual tradition on this blog to celebrate the early-spring arrival, in our front yard, of the first crocuses. Winters suck everywhere in Canada and while Vancouver’s don’t freeze your ass they do subtract light from life for way too many months. Thus, giving the little purple fellas a hearty greeting is therapeutic. With notes on photography and dead leaves ...
[1 comment]  
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
Random image, linked to its containing fragment
When? (5146 fragments)
What? (345 categories)

By .

The opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.