Yesterday’s Thoughts

Archive for September, 2005

September 28, 2005

Take the first available turn, part 2

In my previous rule of thumb for getting to your destination quickly, I recommended that you take the first available turn. Here is a rule for selecting when confronted with equivalent two turns, Keep going the way you were going. Since this situation may depend entirely on the boundary conditions, here is the example that […]

September 27, 2005

Probability and the Justice System

For some time I’ve had a post in the queue on probability as tool for knowing. There were essentially two points, both of which pertained to sequence of facts required to reach a conclusion. 1) If your conjecture depends on a number of highly improbable events, it is unlikely to be true. 2) If your […]

September 26, 2005

Cursors for reading online documents

I’d like to have an easier way to track where I am reading in an on line document. I’d like this both for each page as I am reading it, and for bookmarking my location. And, no, I don’t want a pony. Perhaps I am an exception, but I like reading from the screen. Having […]

September 25, 2005

Will Bill Keller Be Fired?

The New York Times’ Public Editor, Byron Calame, is calling Times Editor Bill Keller, and by extension the Times, to account. In his column Even Geraldo Deserves a Fair Shake he points out the Time’s TV Critic Alessandra Stanley made a factual error about an event that she observed on TV. She claimed that Geraldo […]

September 24, 2005

Creating Value in a Reputation-based Community

Why does open source work? Hed Gulley knows one way. Mathworks runs a biannual programming contest in Matlab. Most programming contests pit solo contestants or teams in head to head competition, each contestant working alone and submitting their entries at the end, but this one works a little differently. Entries are entered in the open. […]

September 22, 2005

Another Good Thing about Rails

There are many excellent features of Ruby on Rails. The technology has significant advantages for rapid development and deployment and I don’t think that I could undertake the work that I am doing to develop factscollector without it. I can prototype rapidly, and deploy the simplest thing that could possibly work. My plan is that […]

September 21, 2005

Test Based Specifications in Ruby on Rails

I am starting to experiment with writing unit and funtional tests for factscollector. I haven’t ever worked with consistent automated testing. I probably waited too long to start, both in general, and in this particular Ruby on Rails project. The general reasons are well known in the Agile Programing literature. Tthe existance of the test […]

September 12, 2005

Snapshot Backups

Koz has a little whoops moment and deletes his installed application code. So, say you’ve typed in: $ sudo rm ruby gem irb rails Then you realise you’re sitting in /usr/bin rather than ~/test/bin. You think to yourself, no worries, I’ll just kill that whole line. But instead of hitting C-k, you miss, and hit […]

September 8, 2005


I needed a laugh. In a Time story on Michael Brown’s resume when he became deputy head of FEMA, his former boss says, He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt. Well with creditials like that, no wonder he has gone so far […]