Inklings in September 2006

Resume pitfalls every programmer should avoid

Calculating distance with latitude/longitude in MySQL


A norm is an expectation of how people will behave, and it takes the form of a rule that is socially rather than formally enforced. Thus, in structural functionalist theory, the effect of normlessness whether at a personal or societal level, is to introduce alienation, isolation, and desocialisation, i.e. as norms become less binding for individuals. individuals lose the sense of what is right and wrong.

I wrote a piece in my notebook last Saturday at EP that deals with this and a few other things. I’m editing it right now and gathering background material to improve the initial draft.

Social alienation

In sociology and critical social theory, alienation refers to the individual’s estrangement from traditional community and others in general. It is considered by many that the atomism of modern society means that individuals have shallower relations with other people than they would in a traditional community.

Social exclusion

Social exclusion relates to the alienation or disenfranchisement of certain people within a society. It is often connected to a person’s social class, educational status and living standards and how these might affect their access to various opportunities.


Marginalisation refers to the overt or covert trends within societies whereby those perceived as lacking desirable traits or deviating from the group norms tend to be excluded by wider society and ostracised as undesirables.


SpicyLinks and Network Summarization


Why Processes Scale Better Than Threads

Three tips for getting a job through a recruiter

Flip Flop

It’s a Movable Type plug-in for flipping between two alternate values.

The Element of Typographic Style applied to the Web

How to pull an all-nighter

Been there, done that, all accurate.

The Dining Philosophers in REST

Quick-Tip: Reusing OpenSSH connections to the same host

Ze Frank at TED

Fred Phelps goes off on Jon Stewart

Whoa! This guy is so beyond parody, it’s amazing!

Kent Beck: Ease at work

Finally! Hadn’t a chance to see this before now.

Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru


BigTable: A Distributed Structured Storage System

The SKI Combinator Calculus: a universal formal system

Django: New Manipulators


A Subversion plugin for Visual Studio. Wanted one of these a few years back, but it’s too late now.

Hot PHP UTF-8 tips

Advogato is going offline

Poo-bits! At least it’s staying online in the form of a read-only archive though. Still, it’s a bit of history that’s sad to see the end of.

Differential Synchronization

Keeping two ore more copies of the same document synchronized with each other in real-time is a complex challenge. This paper describes a technique which uses differential synchronization. This technique features fault-tolerance and freedom of movement for the users.

Esoteric Programming Languages Wiki

How to Recognize Different Kinds of Programming Paradigms from Quite a Long Ways Away

It’s a pity Chris took this and the rest of the language lab down.

Bletchley hums again to the Turing Bombe

Cool! But why isn’t Marian Rejewski, who created the original bombe, getting any credit?

Ruby and Strongtalk

How to make method dispatch in Ruby much faster.

Planet Potato's Visitors' Guide to Irish Political Parties

Pure genius!

Vernor Vinge: A Fire Upon the Deep


Supposedly, this webserver’s a rather good reverse proxy. Worth checking out if I ever have a project that requires more than one webserver to handle the load on a website.

On Efficiency, Scalability, and the Wisdom to Know the Difference

And excellent, excellent rebuttal of Joel’s anti-Ruby screed. It says everything I wanted to say and more. Really, who cares about Wasabi: that’s a business strategy that may or may not work out. The real WTF is Joel’s all-or-nothing attitude towards software efficiency.

Words of Wisdom: Wayne Coyne

Using mod_security to shield Movable Type from Blog Comment Spam

For the inevitable.


For when spam on this site begins to get really bad.

Reflections on Dembski's 'Vise Document'

Haskell Hierarchical Libraries

For reference. Serves me right for forgetting about the -p switch on portinstall.

Video lectures for "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs"

Didn’t know about these!

You Could Have Invented Monads! (And Maybe You Already Have.)

Military Coup in Thailand

Well, I didn’t see that coming.

"It's (Not) All Been Done" by Herb Sutter

Every decade or so we have a major revolution in the way we develop software and the environments we develop for. But, unlike the object and web revolutions, we can see the concurrency revolution coming.

Ruby Metaprogramming Techniques

Ruby is seeming more and more like the Smalltalk for the kids of today. And that’s a good thing.

The Importance of Being Wrong (and in the Right Way)

When I was an undergraduate, one of my math professors […] explained to us the difference between a useful wrong proof and a useless wrong proof. When attacking an unsolved problem such as the Riemann conjecture, a useful wrong proof was wrong; but for reasons nobody expected. Finding the flaw in the proof taught you things about the problem you didn’t previously know. By contrast, a useless wrong proof was wrong for obvious reasons. It didn’t teach you anything new about the problem.

The History of Programming Languages

Ooh! I want one for my wall!

Two-phase commit protocol

Iron-sulfur world theory

The iron-sulfur world theory is a hypothesis for the origin of life advanced by Günter Wächtershäuser involving forms of iron and sulfur. Wächtershäuser claims that an early form of metabolism predated genetics. Metabolism here means a cycle of chemical reactions that produce energy in a form that can be harnessed by other processes. The idea is that once a primitive metabolic cycle was established, it began to produce ever more complex compounds.

The British Library comes out against DRM


This module contains fuctions and templates for building up and breaking down packed bit structures. It’s something like Erlang’s bit-syntax (or, actually, more like Python’s struct module).

No More IE6 Background Flicker

Ah-ha! To be hacked in everwhere I use images in link backgrounds.

That's "Simple", not "Easy"

Ignore the XP stuff. The thing to take out of this is:

You can do harm with DTSTTCPW by assuming that “simple” means “easy”. Simple is often not easy.

Trickle Theory

One getting through seemingly impossible problems.

Introducing WSGI: Python's Secret Web Weapon

WSGI is very, very cool.