Spring Flowers, 2021 · 48 hours ago I got my first Covid-19 vaccine dose, and today I took the camera for a stroll, hunting spring flowers. What a long strange trip it’s been ...
 
The Sacred “Back” Button · Younger readers will find it hard to conceive of a time in which every application screen didn’t have a way to “Go Back”. This universal affordance was there, a new thing, in the first Web browser that anyone saw, and pretty soon after that, more or less everything had it. It’s a crucial part of the user experience and, unfortunately, a lot of popular software is doing it imperfectly. Let’s demand perfection ...
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Long Links · Welcome to the monthly “Long Links” post for March 2021, in which I take advantage of my lightly-employed status to curate a list of pointers to good long-form stuff that I have time to savor but you probably don’t, but which you might enjoy one or two of. This month there’s lots of video, a heavier focus on music, and some talk about my former employer ...
 
Topfew+Amdahl.next · I’m in fast-follow mode here, with more Topfew reportage. Previous chapters (reverse chrono order) here, here, and here. Fortunately I’m not going to need 3500 words this time, but you probably need to have read the most recent chapter for this to make sense. Tl;dr: It’s a whole lot faster now, mostly due to work from Simon Fell. My feeling now is that the code is up against the limits and I’d be surprised if any implementation were noticeably faster. Not saying it won’t happen, just that I’d be surprised. With a retake on the Amdahl’s-law graphics that will please concurrency geeks ...
 
Topfew and Amdahl · On and off this past year, I’ve been fooling around with a program called Topfew (GitHub link), blogging about it in Topfew fun and More Topfew Fun. I’ve just finished adding a few nifty features and making it much faster; I’m here today first to say what’s new, and then to think out loud about concurrent data processing, Go vs Rust, and Amdahl’s Law, of which I have a really nice graphical representation. Apologies because this is kind of long, but I suspect that most people who are interested in either are interested in both ...
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xmlwf -k · What happened was, I needed a small improvement to Expat, probably the most widely-used XML parsing engine on the planet, so I coded it up and sent off a PR and it’s now in release 2.3.0. There’s nothing terribly interesting about the problem or the solution, but it certainly made me think about coding and tooling and so on. (Warning: Of zero interest to anyone who isn’t a professional programmer.) ...
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Three Million Meters on e-Wheels · This is just another round of cheerleading for e-bikes, provoked by my odometer clicking over to three thousand km. Granted, not amazing for twenty months of commuting, but not nothing. For anyone in an even marginally urban situation in reasonable health, if you don’t have one of these, you’re really missing a trick. For earlier raving about this vehicle, see here ...
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Long Links · Welcome to the monthly tour of long-form excellence that I, due to being semi-retired, have the time to read. You probably don’t have that kind of time but one or two of these might brighten your day anyhow ...
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Meet þ · Months into the cold wet Pacific-Northwest Dark Season and our cat, a charming 4-year-old calico, has been bored and fretful. The obvious solution: Get her a kitten! Easier said than done, let me tell ya. But it’s done. The little feline fluffball’s name is Thorn, spelt “þ”. More on that below ...
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Sea Island · Not the most original name, granted. It’s wedged into the middle of Greater Vancouver’s western oceanfront and is mostly occupied by our airport and its apparatuses. But there are a couple of decent parks, and on a greyish February day they yielded fresh air, smiles, and a harvest of photographs. This particular season of this particular year, we’ll take what we can get ...
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Recent Code · I’ve been programming and remembering how much fun it is. With nostalgia for Old Data and thoughts on my work at AWS ...
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Jassy Talking Points · Following on Tuesday’s big succession announcement at Amazon, I was apparently the only human who’d been in a room with Andy Jassy more than once in recent years and was willing to talk to media. By about the fifth conversation, my talking points were stubs because the points wore off, leaving a well-polished gleam. So I might as well share them directly. If you’ve read any of the other articles this may sound familiar ...
 
Long Links · Welcome to the Long Links look-back at January 2021. Once again I assemble long-form pieces that I’m fortunate enough to have time for due to my lightly-employed condition. Probably few have time (or inclination) to plow through all this stuff, but one or two might reward your time ...
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When You Know · I’m a person who knows a lot about how computers and software work, is generally curious, and reads fast. I’ve been wrong about lots of things over the years. But there have a been a few times when a combination of technology-literacy and just paying attention to the world have made me 100% sure that I was seeing something coming that many others weren’t. Here are a few of those stories. The reason I’m telling them is that I’m in another of those moments, seeing something obvious that not enough other people have, and I want to offer credentials before I share it. Also, some of the stories are entertaining ...
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Late Plague Winter · The first time I posted the first crocuses on this blog was in 2003. And then a lot of times since then. It’s therapeutic; I may be a Canadian and happy about it, but damn I hate winter. Here at Canada’s bottom left corner we don’t get the brutal cold but also we don’t get much winter light, so sun on petals is a morale-booster. And do we ever need one this particular winter ...
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Long Links · Happy new year! Welcome to the first Long Links of 2021; this is a monthly curation of long-form pieces that I, due to being semiretired, have time to read. Probably, most people reading this have less time, but perhaps one or two will add value even for a busy person ...
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Late-2020 EV Charging in Canada · I haven’t seen my 90-year-old mother since January. I guess by mid-year both she and I are likely to be vaccinated so maybe I could go visit. I’d rather drive than fly. What with Covid I’ve been cooped up so long I could scream, so there are few things I’d rather do than get out on the highway. As a displacement activity I’ve been working out how I could get the electric Jaguar 1734 kilometres from Vancouver to Saskatchewan to see her. Thus this quick survey of the state of the infrastructure in Western Canada, and also trip-planning tools. Some of this info might be useful elsewhere than in Western Canada ...
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2020 in a Difficult Lens · I’ve said this before in passing, but I’m becoming passionate about it. Increasingly, I believe that if you go out for a walk with a camera, you should consider attaching a difficult, opinionated lens and just leaving it on. Herewith a gallery of ten 2020 photos taken with such a lens, interspersed with preaching on the subject ...
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Hot Winter Tabbouleh · This is a recipe I dreamed up that has pleased the family twice now. It’s pretty easy to make and has lots of room for creative variation. The name is probably controversial. Let me lead off with a picture ...
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Long Links · Welcome to the Long Links offering for November 2020, in which I take advantage of my lightly-employed status to recommend a list of long-form works that I had time to consume, acknowledging that while you probably don’t, one or two of them might reward the time it would take you to absorb. This month’s highlights: Election rear-views, Siberia, blueswomen, the Orlando NBA bubble, and a lovely lecture about software and music ...
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