Posts Tagged as programming

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  1. Monday, August 06, 2018:
    Data Day: The Technology Timeline For My Career  
  2. Tuesday, April 26, 2016:
    Sparkour Day  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...
  3. Wednesday, March 02, 2016:
    Sparkour Day   My latest side project is  Sparkour , an open-source collection of programming recipes for Apache Spark. Designed as an efficient way to navigate the intricacies of the Spark ecosystem, Sparkour aims to be an approachable, understandable, and actionable cookbook for distributed data processing.   Spark is the latest buzzword around BIG DATA, providing a way for developers to analyze and transform vast quantities of data very quickly. If you aren't in the programming world, Apache Spark probably means nothing to you. As a translation, I devoted 80 hours of my own time and $60 worth of books and hostnames over the past two weeks to learning about something new, writing about it, and publishing it to be torn...
  4. Friday, March 13, 2015:
    Cloud Day   I passed the Amazon Web Services Certified Developer - Associate exam on Tuesday morning, which gives me the right to use this logo image in any non-obscene contexts, and the right to end any and all conversations by asking, "Well why don't you put it in the cloud?". I got an 81%, and although the actually passing grade seems to be a close-held secret based on fuzzy math and fuzzier peaches, the general consensus seems to be that it's somewhere around 65%.   Altogether, it took about a month of regular after-work study to train for the exam, and the questions were surprisingly applicable to real world knowledge (not just variations on memorizing arbitrary numbers or trick questions). Of course, I can't reveal the ac...
  5. Wednesday, July 23, 2014:
    Zone Updates Complete    I'm finished giving the URI! Zone code base a much needed refactoring. All code, no matter the source, grows uglier over time -- even if you haven't touched it at all. I cleared out a bunch of detritus from the days when it was written in PHP, and the even-earlier days when it used Netscape 3.0 Gold JavaScript to dynamically write every page.   All of the pages listing my musical compositions are now database-driven. I should have done this a long time ago, since I'm no longer composing anything new, and spent a good 4 hours every new release trying to edit the 80 static HTML pages that made up the Music section.   I also modified the directory structure of News Post images from  /yymm/dd.jpg&nbs...
  6. Friday, January 03, 2014:
    Auricle Day    Today, I have released v0.1.0 of  Auricle , a free, open-source resource for mastering music fundamentals and ear training skills. Weighing in at 86 hours of development effort, the initial release is pretty bare bones: you can login, and practice with a single fundamentals topic (Basic Notation). However, laying out the frameworks and infrastructure is the hardest part, so I should be able to make faster progress on future exercises.   The first exercise is a "see" exercise, which is essentially a multiple-choice quiz. Future exercises will also include "hear" exercises, for pitch and interval recognition, and "play" exercises, for keyboard input.     You can give it a try with thes...
  7. Tuesday, October 29, 2013:
    Auricle Day  I'm about 60 hours into  Auricle  now, and still in the stage where I'm writing infrastructure rather than anything actually musical. I have the progression mechanism set up, so students can earn medals and travel the map, with their progress automatically spit out to an activity feed that will motivate other students to do better.     Next up, I'll be writing the code that does the actual quizzing -- randomly generating a set of questions and responses, recording the amount of time it takes to answer a question, and saving discrete metrics like the types of question a student seems to get wrong most often. The initial batch of exercises will be traditional question/answer exercises, with the aural and keybo...
  8. Friday, October 04, 2013:
    Auricle Day  I didn't get quite as far as I had planned this week, having been distracted by Tomb Raider and Breaking Bad, but I did manage to finish the "world map" logic so it can quickly be templated for future worlds.   
  9. Tuesday, October 01, 2013:
    Auricle Day   To date, I've put in about 44 hours planning out  Auricle , and have a pretty decent vision of where I want to go with it. It's easy to come up with course topics -- the difficult part is how they are presented, right?   I've decided to split exercises into three types:     See : Standard online quiz format with visual questions and visual answers, such as "Select the P5 out of the 4 displayed chords", completely divorced from any piano keyboard visualization.    Hear : Classic aural skills questions with audio questions and visual answers, such as "Identify this interval", again without keyboard.    Play : A mix of hear/see questions, but...
  10. Tuesday, September 03, 2013:
    Weekend Wrap-up  With no travel plans for the extended weekend, our time was mostly dedicated to low-key activities, like a lunch at Jackson's with Rebecca's parents on Saturday, and the third birthday party of Rebecca's cousin in Bethesda on Sunday.   I also started a new character in Skyrim, with my appetite whet from open worlding in Far Cry 3, and played it for longer than 5 levels, thanks to a new mod that let's you skip over the tedious four-hour tutorial-on-rails section.    On Monday, I officially demoted Bugler into my "unfinished projects" folder, to be replaced by  Auricle , an aural skills application. I originally dabbled with this project back in  2003  but never got very far on it. ...
  11. Tuesday, June 25, 2013:
    List Day: 5 Lessons Learned from Bugler 0.4.0    There are way too many frameworks in software development now. My   page shows that I already have over 20 dependencies on existing software libraries and I'm nowhere near done. While it's nice to rely on other peoples' proven works to save time, some of that time is lost by virtue of the fact that you have to learn and integrate all of these frameworks upfront before you even get to the work you want to do.  For non-programmers, suppose you want to write a short story in English. You know the rules of English grammar and what makes a compelling story, so it should be straightforward. However, you then learn that there's a special pencil that will ensure that your sentence structure is correct and will beep on e...
  12. Friday, November 16, 2012:
    Training Day: Hadoop for Laymen  I've spent this past week in a company-provided training course, which has had a few decent nuggets of information (and free lunches) to balance out the otherwise slow pace of the course and the need to drive to Tysons Corner during rush hour. There are also people in the class from some of our "sister companies" that remind me of the CS majors from my undergrad: eager to showcase their knowledge, catch the instructor in a fallacy, or drive the discussion off a tangential cliff of irrelevant details. I learn best on my own, so I would usually read ahead in the slides, do the exercises, and then tune out the rest of the day on Reddit or doing my day job.   The material that we learned is based on the concept of MapReduce, ...
  13. Wednesday, March 24, 2010:
    (In-Hold-Out) Release Day    DDMSence (pronounced " dee-dee-em-Essence ") is the result of three months' worth of unpaid work, and the prime reason why I don't hang out with you anymore (besides the foul odor you call a deodorant). It is an open source Java library (released under the LGPL license) which supports the  . A complete technical write-up of the library can be found at the  DDMSence website .   For the uninitiated, DDMS is not what girl gamers experience once a month during their tabletop games -- it is a specification which defines a consistent set of "card catalog" details for any resource you might want to make available or discoverable. If everything has a common set of metadata, ordered in a common forma...
  14. Tuesday, October 02, 2007:
    Newsday Tuesday    A storm seems to be brewing in the IT job market. Pay raises have continued to outpace inflation, and bonuses are downright impressive - 11.6% on average. Yet, as the 2007 Network World Salary Survey finds, dissatisfaction over the salary package is rampant.           Based on the results of this survey, I'm guessing that I'm  not  a typical IT worker in the United States. Sure there are some minor annoyances in my job, and I wouldn't kick a bigger salary out of bed, but at the end of the day, I'm pretty happy with my package (and I've heard that the ladies are too, but that is a topic for another day -- in fact it might even span multiple days. ROWR!)   ...
  15. Wednesday, August 22, 2007:
    Quick Sketch Day   what I've been up to this week       Sunday, 2:30 PM : Sat down to do some work from home but found that the VPN server was down. Took a trip into the office and stayed there until late. Had leftover shrimp lo mein and beef with mushrooms for dinner.       Sunday, 10:30 PM : It was so pleasant out that I decided to open all the windows and air out my house (no doubt, the scent of manliness and success permeated the premises).         Sunday, 1:00 AM : The "perpetually running free until picked up by animal control then running free again" Alaskan Husky from two doors down, who I have named Miguel, got...
  16. Wednesday, February 28, 2007:
    How the Sugar Daddy Makes His Money   After a development cycle more cranked up than an ADHD two-year-old with a caffeine IV, my company released the next major version of the Metadata Registry to the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Department of Defense yesterday, to much cheering and applause. You can browse a few of the unrestricted pages here  , but since most of you are pothead hippies, Russian spies or dirty Canadian socialists, getting an account is not bloody likely. Stupid hippies.    Since my evening was taken up with the installation, followed by some miscellaneous gallivanting in Falls Church, I was unable to write my original update for today:  How to make a paper mach? Amber statue . To fill the void, I thought ...
  17. Tuesday, December 05, 2006:
    Software Engineer does what? Part II    Defects and Enhancements : No engineer is perfect, and eventually a defect will be logged against the system. This might come from a user in the field using an operational version of the system, or a tester in-house getting things ready to ship. Honestly, most defects occur as the result of a user using the system in unexpected ways or fat finger typos in the code -- very few defects can ever be traced back to engineer incompetence because it's surprisingly hard to just get a solution completely wrong (engineer incompetence only makes things run very very slowly). This makes fixing the bug very easy, but the tough part is tracking down the location of the bug in the first place. Defect fixing is a fun stage for p...
  18. Monday, December 04, 2006:
    Software Engineer does what?   People who aren't software engineers often picture us as albino code monkeys, hovering over a phosphorescent screen in an office cave, endlessly typing lines of code on a keyboard buried in three layers of Chipotle take-out wrappers. Since the vast majority of my readership is non-technical, I thought I'd describe some of the tasks that make up a typical day for me as a public service.   Requirements : The customer gives us a list of requirements that should be met in the next version of the product, but they're usually high-level and far-reaching. The engineer's first job is to translate those customer requirements into more specific technical requirements. For example, if the requirement were, "The sys...
  19. Wednesday, February 19, 2003:
    Untitled Post   One thing I'm going to miss about leaving music as a career is the relative cost of books and research materials. As a software engineer, you have to constantly keep up with new technologies, and the books required to self-teach those skills can run anywhere from $30 to $60. For my current project, I have eight books on different langauges, programs, and technologies on my shelf. All of them will be speaking to others at some point in the life of the project and none of them are replaceable (I even have a ninth book on the way from Amazon that covers some spots I was shady in). For the cost of just those eight books, I could have eaten seventy-two delicious meals at Popeye's, or rented eighty-six movies at Blockbuster. &nbs...

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