Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

More open-source math

Some of this might be a repeat, I don't remember.

  • Modelica is a language for defining mathematical models, which are then interpreted by an arbitrary simulation engine.  Very cool and declarative.
  • OpenModelica is one such simulation engine, and is open-source.  There are lots of other simulation engines on the market - engineers spend lots of money on them - and seemingly most of them now have bolt-on Modelica interpreters, which makes sense.
  • OpenModelica also exports code things in UML (or stub code or something) for writing your own simulations.  Or something.  The point being that this kind of declarative interface is what interests me.  ModelicaML is the keyword.
  • There's all that, and then Mathics, which is an open-source (Python-backed) interpreter of the Mathematica language.  Not all of Mathematica is supported, but it's an interesting project.
All this is sort of the outline of some kind of general approach to mathematics that I see myself as girding for.

Refactoring in Discourse

Neat article on refactoring.

Excel and its ongoing importance

Here's a fascinating look at Excel and the fact that its enables people to make programming errors that can bring down financial giants.  HNN thread and one man's way to convert the knowledge in Excel spreadsheets into more conventionally (and safely) maintained software.

There's a big market for recovering and formalizing knowledge currently encoded in amateur spreadsheets.  It would be a reasonable thing to investigate.  Not sure how best to market it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

No Hitchhiker's Guide to math

No royal road, in other words: math is a dense topic with different community standards.  I think a series on "math for the programmer", presenting actual math to be learned the way programming is, might be a reasonable book/blog.  Something I might even be able to approach, should I actually get around to learning math.

A clever rethinking of email's purpose

Here's a pretty cool article written by a guy who's reconceptualized email as being a way to put something on his queue.  You get an autoreply indicating his current probable response time with alternative ways to get in touch with him.

Generalize that to workflow and it makes perfect sense to me.  I like it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Looks like DevJoist is some kind of source version control system for database work.  Very interesting indeed, and deserving of some thought when I get a minute.

Discourse: forum software

Discourse is a new open-source forum option.

Play: Web framework

Play is a Web framework for Java/Scala.


A package manager for Windows.  Neat!

Packet sleuthing

A fascinating post-mortem of a really, really strange packet problem (an ASCII 2 or 3 in a particular offset would kill the Ethernet interface until a hard power cycle!)

I love this stuff.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spam aping workflow

Here's an oddly evocative spam I got today (but without any attachment, rendering it moot):
This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the email by you is prohibited.


Please find enclosed a record of invoice that could not be processed. We would like to ask you to assist us in resolving the noted rejection reasons
Pretty fascinating.  Clearly a delivery mechanism for some sort of PDF exploit, but de-fanged along the way.

Monday, February 4, 2013