Posts Tagged as programming
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- Monday, January 08, 2024:
Cloud Troubleshooting Day
originally posted on LinkedIn
This is the play-by-play of my investigation into an abnormal Amazon Web Services (AWS) bill: how I traced back to the root cause, how I learned that Amazon itself was partially to blame, and the resulting outcome. There are no brilliant deductions or magic bullets here -- smart cloud administration usually boils down to (1) the availability of relevant, explorable data, (2) simple proactive alarms, and (3) the patience to wade through Google's increasingly irrelevant search results for answers.
Setting the Stage
I run a modest web empire with very predictable month-to-month costs and web traffic. This array of sites and services has run...
- Wednesday, December 06, 2023:
How it's going...
- Wednesday, April 19, 2023:
I finished the odyssey I began in January -- to re-solve every Advent of Code puzzle in a new programming language (Kotlin). I'm now an elite member of the 800 star club.
Kotlin is a very pleasant language to work with, especially when paired with IntelliJ IDEA which pushes you towards writing idiomatic Kotlin code instead of just porting Java styles into Kotlin. My Kotlin solutions generally ran a little faster than my Java solutions (although I tried to solve each puzzle from scratch so my approach was different many times). Conversely, compiling felt a little slower than in Java, which won't be good for competing in my company on the tiny puzzles earlier in the month. Either way, I'm able to wri...
- Friday, February 17, 2023:
One of my personal growth projects for 2023 is to become fluent in a new programming language. I've spent the past few weeks immersed in Kotlin by solving old Advent of Code puzzles.
I like what I've used so far -- Kotlin gets away from the unnecessary strictness of Java boilerplate without straying too far into the "by convention" magic of a language like Ruby. When I need to do something new, the docs are clear and the end result looks logical. And when I'm in a hurry or don't want to reinvent the wheel, I can always fall back on the whole Java ecosystem of 3rd-party libraries called from within Kotlin code.
Here are three features I'm really enjoying (which may be old hat for aficionados of other moder...
- Monday, December 26, 2022:
Advent of Code Results Day
I ended up in 2nd place overall in my company's private leaderboard for Advent of Code. 3rd place is still in flux (people have until the new year to catch up on puzzles they missed), but my ranking should be locked in now.
This year's puzzles felt a lot more demanding than last year's, but in comparing the times, it looks like I spent about the same total time working on them.
Now to resume my classic old person schedule of "going to bed between 9 and 10 PM" and my classic overachiever schedule of "waking up between 5 and 6 AM"!
- Monday, December 05, 2022:
Advent of Code Day
I'm participating our company's Advent of Code competition for the fifth year in a row this year. While looking through my old times, I noticed that I never went to bed without first solving the night's puzzle. Here's a graph of how late after midnight I was up over the years.
The 4:39 spike in 2019 was the worst. You had solve a maze with keys and doors by moving a robot the fewest steps in Part 1. In Part 2, the maze was divided into four isolated quadrants and there were four robots. After solving that monstrosity, I got in the car and drove straight to the office for another day of proposal writing.
I'm currently in 2nd place. You can keep up with my daily progress this month on ...
- Monday, December 27, 2021:
Advent of Code Day
3rd place: I'm $100 richer!
- Wednesday, December 08, 2021:
Advent of Code Day
It's that time of year again!
I feel like I started out much slower this year, owing to the fact that I'm now in my forties and near death. However, the cobwebs are slowly clearing from my brain and I'm managing to stay competitive each night at midnight.
You can keep up with my daily progress on my company's competition leaderboard (which I also run). The best hour of coding I spent in 2021 was automating updates to the board so I wasn't sitting up at 2 AM waiting for the last stragglers to finish a coding puzzle.
- Wednesday, April 14, 2021:
Introducing the Official Website of Don Maitz !
Don Maitz is a Hugo-winning artist whose artwork has appeared in hundreds of classic fantasy and science-fiction books, including books by Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Gene Wolfe, and Michael Moorcock. He is also married to Janny Wurts, whose website I rewrote last summer.
With this makeover, all of my pandemic website projects come to a successful close, just in time for other kinds of new releases at the end of the month!
- Monday, February 08, 2021:
2021 is off to a productive start with 2 completed side projects in my portfolio.
First up is a new Janny Wurts - Official Forum that finally replaces the ancient Perl-based forum that ran from 1999 to 2021.
The new forum is based on Discourse and was pretty straightforward to configure. The most challenging part of this move was migrating 17,000 old posts into the new software. These posts weren't in a nice tidy database, but 1,400 separate HTML files which allowed the forum to work without an additional database hosting cost. The company behind the old software actually went out of business in 2012, so I had reverse engineer the data format and write a data pipeline that cleans the old...
- Monday, December 28, 2020:
Advent of Code Day
Another 2nd place finish ($200) for me this year! I was actually in 3rd place on the night before the final puzzle and only inched into 2nd through luck and competitor exhaustion.
The competition for Advent of Code this year was ridiculous, partially due to COVID-19 keeping everyone at home with nothing better to do. In fact while Novetta usually gets a huge number of people in the Global Top 100 throughout the month, I had the only global record this year, and it was only because I was persistent with hitting F5 during the first day's server outage (due to the competition's unexpected popularity). Here is a reenactment of the insane technical skill I needed to get this record.
- Wednesday, December 02, 2020:
Advent of Code Day
Advent of Code , the annual midnight coding competition has started! You can follow my daily progress on my company's Fastest Solve Times page. It's kind of nice that, ever since I moved my office down to the basement, I have a guest bed to crash in before and after. I no longer have to worry about waking up the light sleepers of the household.
- Monday, August 17, 2020:
Introducing the new and improved Official Website of Janny Wurts !
Janny is the creator of the Wars of Light and Shadow series as well as the co-author of the Empire Trilogy with Raymond E. Feist. Her website had lingered in the aughts, as previous website administrators naturally moved on to other things in life. Having corresponded with her over the past 13 years as I built the Wiki for her main book series and in search of another quarantine project, I volunteered to help her modernize the site.
The key requirements upfront: simplify navigation (sites that have been around for over 20 years, like my own, tend to build up a lot of content warrens), make it work on phones...
- Friday, December 27, 2019:
Advent of Code Wrap-up
After 25 nights of stowing a sleeping bag near the computer so I could wake up at midnight, Advent of Code has come to a close. I did much better in my second year, taking about 30 hours to finish every puzzle (vs. 38 last year).
Although the company competition goes until the end of the year to allow people to catch up, it's looking like I'll snag 2nd place and a $200 prize (vs. 4th place and $0 last year). This works out to about $6.67 per hour, which is more than I earned in my first internship at PEPCO in 1996. I was definitely helped by the vagaries of real life -- one top competitor had a new infant halfway through the month while another spent a week at the AWS re:Invent conference in Vegas with shoddy ...
- Monday, December 02, 2019:
Advent of Code Day
The annual Advent of Code competition started yesterday morning at midnight. After some dithering about whether to participate in real-time this year, I decided to do it for as long as I can maintain enough sleep to deal with a two-year-old during the day. The hard part isn't waking up in the middle of the night to solve a puzzle -- it's trying to get back to sleep afterwards when your brain is buzzing with speed-coding adrenaline.
It has now been about two and a half years since I last coded for a living. I was worried that my skills would have become permanently crippled (not unlike my trumpet embouchure). Thankfully, the mechanics of coding seem to be ingrained now -- I was able to reflexively write worki...
- Wednesday, June 26, 2019:
Cloud Cert Day
My 7th cloud certification came with a free sandwich and small drink.
- Wednesday, December 26, 2018:
Advent of Code Wrap-up
Advent of Code wrapped up yesterday (although the comapny's internal competition will continue through December 31 to allow people to catch up at their leisure). I did much better than expected, managing to be one of the first 10 people to finish each puzzle every night. It took me about 38 hours to finish every puzzle.
In addition to earning all 50 stars for 2018, I went back and completed all 50 stars for 2017 (which was very helpful for discovering reused concepts and algorithms between years, shaving some time off of my 2018 attempts). I also wrote a blog post for the official company blog detailing my experiences with a healthy dose of company rah-rah incorporated.
- Monday, December 03, 2018:
I've decided to participate in the annual Advent of Code competition this year as a way to flex the programming skills that have lain dormant since 2017. Advent of Code is a global competition where people compete to solve daily two-part logic puzzles (like this one ) as fast as possible using any programming language they want (Some masochists have done it in BASIC, Oracle functions, and even Excel!). My company is one of the corporate sponsors.
Rather than investing in personal growth by using this opportunity to learn a new language, I'll play it safe and go back to my Eclipse/Java/JUnit roots. I have no hope of getting on the global leaderboards (the fastest global solve time for bot...
- Monday, August 06, 2018:
Data Day: The Technology Timeline For My Career
- Tuesday, April 26, 2016:
It's now been almost two months since I released Sparkour , the open-source collection of programming recipes for Apache Spark. Unlike DDMSence, which remained a niche oddity for its whole six year lifespan, Sparkour began to get traffic from Google almost immediately. Publishing DDMSence was like cornering the market on ergonomic attachments for a pasta maker -- only 10 people actually own a pasta maker in the world, and only 2 of them care enough about repetitive pasta injuries to buy your product.
There have been 442 unique visits to Sparkour since it was released, from a mix of countries, not all of which you would expect to have a thriving data science scene:
More interesting th...