10 months Ago

Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (read in 2016)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2016.4

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Stalker (1979) — 9/10
Tarkovsky sets the mood without CGI, without effects, with a simple camera and the... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2016.3

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Trophy Kids (2013) — 6/10
This is a documentary about the middle- to upper-class youth sports scene in the... [More]

11 months Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2016.2

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

L’Arcano Incantatore (1996) — 7/10
This is an Italian horror movie, steeped in Catholic myth and church... [More]

Problems with Kunstler’s social politics

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I find James Howard Kunstler to be worth reading more often than not. He writes engagingly and his insight into the devolution of capitalist society can be quite valuable, But he’s been more and more prone to going off the rails when he discusses issues of race. It’s usually not out-and-out racism; there’s a kernel of an idea that’s worth discussing, but usually not the way he’s discussing it. His phrasing betrays a tone-deafness that underlies much of his opinion in these areas.

For example,... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2016.1

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Men Behind the Sun (1988) — 3/10
This is the story of a Japanese biological-weapons experimental camp/base.... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.9

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Dead Calm (1989) — 5/10
Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill star as couple who’ve lost their child in a car crash that... [More]

The Netflix SmartTV App for Samsung

Published by marco on in Design

 I started using Netflix in Switzerland about 5 months ago. I initially made these notes about 2 months after I started using the Samsung TV App. In the last three months, while Netflix has made updates to their app from time to time, the core usability and browsability issues have not changed.

Browsing

Permanent billboard
The browser doesn’t make efficient use of screen space. The top half of the screen is always reserved for a billboard for the currently selected item. This choice makes... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.8

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) — 6/10
Willem Dafoe is Jesus, Barbara Hershey Mary Magdalene and Harvey... [More]

Verity Stob Teaches Functional Programming

Published by marco on in Programming

The article Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick! by Verity Stob (The Register) provides a typically twisted and unhelpful overview of the state of functional programming in this 21st-century renaissance—heralded decades ago by Lisp programmers. It includes an honest overview of the major players, including Scala, for which the “pro” and “con” are the same (a “[c]lose relationship with Java […]”) and ending with JavaScript, for which the “pro” is “It’s what you’ll end up using.”

The discussion continues with rules:... [More]

Profiling: that critical 3% (Part II)

Published by marco on in Programming

 In part I of this series, we discussed some core concepts of profiling. In that article, we not only discussed the problem at hand, but also how to think about not only fixing performance problems, but reducing the likelihood that they get out of hand in the first place.

In this second part, we’ll go into detail and try to fix the problem.

Reëvaluating the Requirements

Since we have new requirements for an existing component, it’s time to reconsider the requirements for all stakeholders. In... [More]

Profiling: that critical 3% (Part I)

Published by marco on in Programming

An oft-quoted bit of software-development sagacity is

“Premature optimization is the root of all evil.”
Donald Knuth

As is so often the case with quotes—especially those on the Internet[1]—this one has a slightly different meaning in context. The snippet above invites developers to overlook the word “premature” and interpret the received wisdom as “you don’t ever need to optimize.”

Instead, Knuth’s full quote actually tells you how much of your code is likely to be affected by performance issues that... [More]

Occupy Wildlife Preserve

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I haven’t read much about Ammon Bundy and his gang’s standoff in Oregon. I’ve read so little about it that I had to look up where it was actually happening (other than knowing it was “somewhere in the U.S.”). So it’s some Arizona ranchers occupying a federal building in Oregon. This is definitely a step up from the domestic terrorism of the Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh because at least fewer people are being killed. Still, armed men have occupied federal property and are demanding the release... [More]

Quino v2.1: API-smoothing and performance

Published by marco on in Programming

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Quino 2 is finally ready and will go out the door with a 2.1 rather than a 2.0 version number. The reason being that we released 2.0 internally and tested the hell out of it. 2.1 is the result of that testing. It includes a lot of bug fixes as well as API tweaks to make things easier for developers.

1 year Ago

Quino v2.0: Logging, Dependencies, New Assemblies & Nuget

Published by marco on in Programming

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

In the beta1 and beta2 release notes, we read about changes to configuration, dependency reduction, the data driver architecture, DDL commands, security and access control in web applications and a new code-generation format.

In 2.0 final—which was actually released internally on November 13th, 2015 (a... [More]

Limited drive-space chronicles #2: Why...isual Studio installed on my machine?

Published by marco on in Tips & Tricks

If you’re like us at Encodo, you moved to SSDs years ago…and never looked back. However, SSDs are generally smaller because the price (still) ramps up quickly as you increase size. We’ve almost standardized on 512GB, but some of us still have 256GB drives.

Unfortunately, knowing that we all have giant hard drives started a trend among manufacturers to just install everything, just in case you might need it. This practice didn’t really cause problems when we were still using by-then... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.7

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Police Story 3: Supercop (1996) — 6/10
This is a decent farce action/adventure through several countries with... [More]

Censorship, propaganda and misdirection

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

A friend of mine wrote a long message on Facebook about how censoring the photo below was the exactly the wrong reaction. he expressed concern that his young daughter would grow up in a humorless, intolerant world.

 The worst thing to happen anywhere ever

A friend of his wrote that they should “agree to disagree” on the impact that this picture has. I answered with the following comment (lightly edited to change tenses, pronouns and given names):

My first response

I understand that you’ve used a lot of words to say that you’re... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.6

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Everest (2015) — 7/10
Kath and I went to see this in an actual theatre, complete with 3D glasses and... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.5

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) — 7/10
This is the slasher film that redefined what it meant to be a... [More]

Improving NUnit integration with testing harnesses

Published by marco on in Programming

 These days nobody who’s anybody in the software-development world is writing software without tests. Just writing them doesn’t help make the software better, though. You also need to be able to execute tests—reliably and quickly and repeatably.

That said, you’ll have to get yourself a test runner, which is a different tool from the compiler or the runtime. That is, just because your tests compile (satisfy all of the language rules) and could be executed doesn’t mean that you’re done writing... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2015.4

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie.

Citizenfour (2014) — 8/10
This is Laura Poitras’s Academy Award-winning documentary about the events surrounding Edward Snowden’s revelations and release of the documentation that proves that the United States and its NSA has been and continues... [More]

Quino 2: Starting up an application, in detail

Published by marco on in Programming

As part of the final release process for Quino 2, we’ve upgraded 5 solutions[1] from Quino 1.13 to the latest API in order to shake out any remaining API inconsistencies or even just inelegant or clumsy calls or constructs. A lot of questions came up during these conversions, so I wrote the following blog to provide detail on the exact workings and execution order of a Quino application.

I’ve discussed the design of Quino’s configuration before, most recently in API Design: Running an Application... [More]

Apple Photos: a mixed review

Published by marco on in Technology

 A few months back, Apple replaced iPhoto with Photos.

There are some good things about it. It’s noticeably faster on my machine and, at the same time, seems to use less RAM (at least at first; see below). These are good things. However, the speed and space improvements come at the cost of a mysterious loss of functionality.

I call this lack mysterious because Apple didn’t just replace iPhoto with Photos—it claims to have merged iPhoto with Aperture, which is/was a much more powerful... [More]

IServer: converting hierarchy to composition

Published by marco on in Programming

Quino has long included support for connecting to an application server instead of connecting directly to databases or other sources. The application server uses the same model as the client and provides modeled services (application-specific) as well as CRUD for non-modeled data interactions.

We wrote the first version of the server in 2008. Since then, it’s acquired better authentication and authorization capabilities as well as routing and state-handling. We’ve always based it on the .NET HttpListener... [More]

Inverse Arrogance

Published by marco on in Quotes

“America is the only country in the world where failure to promote oneself is considered arrogant.”

Iterating with NDepend to remove cyclic dependencies (Part II)

Published by marco on in Programming

In the previous article, we discussed the task of Splitting up assemblies in Quino using NDepend. In this article, I’ll discuss both the high-level and low-level workflows I used with NDepend to efficiently clear up these cycles.

Please note that what follows is a description of how I have used the tool—so far—to get my very specific tasks accomplished. If you’re looking to solve other problems or want to solve the same problems more efficiently, you should take a look at the official... [More]

Splitting up assemblies in Quino using NDepend (Part I)

Published by marco on in Programming

 A lot of work has been put into Quino 2.0[1], with almost no stone left unturned. Almost every subsystem has been refactored and simplified, including but not limited to the data driver, the schema migration, generated code and metadata, model-building, security and authentication, service-application support and, of course, configuration and execution.

Two of the finishing touches before releasing 2.0 are to reorganize all of the code into a more coherent namespace structure and to reduce the... [More]

API Design: To Generic or not Generic? (Part II)

Published by marco on in Programming

 In this article, I’m going to continue the discussion started in Part I, where we laid some groundwork about the state machine that is the startup/execution/shutdown feature of Quino. As we discussed, this part of the API still suffers from “several places where generic TApplication parameters [are] cluttering the API”. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at different design approaches to this concrete example—and see how we decided whether to use generic type parameters.

Consistency... [More]

API Design: Running an Application (Part I)

Published by marco on in Programming

In this article, we’re going to discuss a bit more about the configuration library in Quino 2.0.

Other entries on this topic have been the articles about Encodo’s configuration library for Quino: part I, part II and part III.

The goal of this article is to discuss a concrete example of how we decided whether to use generic type parameters throughout the configuration part of Quino. The meat of that discussion will be in a part 2 because we’re going to have to lay some groundwork about the... [More]