Thursday, 30 December 2010

*that* Lotus Esprit Turbo

BBC's 5th Gear special:

Weather forecast

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, no snow, snow, snow, snow

Two days without snowing, but .....

Long range weather forecast from Foreca for Sipoo, Finland at 13h00, Dec 30 2010...

Happy Birthday IO Monad

Interesting post from the Haskell mailing list....

[Haskell-cafe] The IO monad is 45 years old

An old (1994) paper on category theory monads and functional
programming included an interesting historical side-note. It turns out
that the RealWorld-passing trick underlying the implementation of the
IO monad, the trick that made it possible to embed truly side-effecting 
operations into pure Haskell -- the trick is 45 years old. It has been
first published in February 1965.

That 1965 paper also anticipated State and Writer monad, call/cc,
streams and delayed evaluations, relation of streams with co-routines,
and even stream fusion.

First, here is the historical aside, cited from 

   Jonathan M. D. Hill and Keith Clarke
   An Introduction to Category Theory, Category Theory Monads,
   and Their Relationship to Functional Programming. 1994



Friday, 17 December 2010

I Hate [sic] Math!

I don't and this article by way of NPR might change your mind:

I Hate Math! (Not After This, You Won't)
10:04 am December 16, 2010
by Robert Krulwich

Vi Hart calls herself "a recreational mathemusician currently living on Long Island." She talks faster than a machine gun, loves math, and draws like a dream. Her newest video: "Doodling in Math Class: Snakes + Graphs" is eye-popping.

ps: Maths not Math....

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Frequency Annotated Rail Map of France

Really interesting...would like to see something similar for Finland or the UK...

Voyager 1

Voyager 1 Has Outdistanced the Solar Wind
by Nancy Atkinson on December 13, 2010

The venerable Voyager spacecraft are truly going where no one has gone before. Voyager 1 has now reached a distant point at the edge of our solar system where it is no longer detecting the solar wind. At a distance of about 17.3 billion km (10.8 billion miles) from the Sun, Voyager 1 has crossed into an area where the velocity of the hot ionized gas, or plasma, emanating directly outward from the sun has slowed to zero. Scientists suspect the solar wind has been turned sideways by the pressure from the interstellar wind in the region between stars.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Agile Development

Maybe some sense at last rather than Agile wouldn't believe how many projects get screwed by "agile" processes (the ones that look remarkably like waterfalls) could always look here for an interesting use of formal methods in an agile (true sense of the process) manner:

Ian Oliver (2007) Experiences of Formal Methods in Conventional Software and Systems Design. BCS-FACS Meeting on Formal Methods in Industry. December 2007

The moral here is that being "agile" isn't about the languages and processe but rather the state-of-mind used:
  • understanding your long-term goals
  • understanding how your chosen languages and techniques etc work
  • understand the need for abstraction, refinement, retrenchment
  • understand the difference between modelling and architecting (see point above!)
  • understand what your models are for, how they are to be used, what they tell you and how they are structured and related to each other
  • make sure that you have a good set of tests (stop implementing individual use cases: this leads to madness, intractible feature interactions etc, use then as tests and validations to your system!)
  • validate/verify/test/animate/simulate your system often
  • understand what these validations/verifications/tests/animations/simulations tell you
  • interact with the customer often - show them your results
  • repeat until done.

Anyway, here's the blog posting:

What Agile Isn't
Posted by Eugene Wallingford, September 22, 2010 4:38 PM

Traffic on the XP mailing list has been heavy for the last few weeks, with a lot of "meta" discussion spawned by messages from questioners seeking a firmer understanding of this thing we call "agile software development". I haven't had time to read even a small fraction of the messages, but I do check in occasionally. Often, I'll target in on comments from specific writers whose expertise and experience I value. Other times, I'll follow a sub-sub-plot to see a broader spectrum of ideas.

Two recent messages really stood out to me as important signposts in the long-term conversation about agile software development. First, Charlie Poole reminded everyone that Agile Isn't a "Thing".

The ongoing thread about whether is always/sometimes/not always/never/ whatever "right" for a given environment seems to me to be missing something rather important. It seems to be based on the assumption that "agile" is some particular thing that we can talk about unambiguously.

It isn't.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Mexican, a Kiwi and a Nigerian walk into a bar…

Worth reading...

A Mexican, a Kiwi and a Nigerian walk into a bar…

Joris Luyendijk, The Guardian, Saturday 4 December 2010

The best way to understand another country is to get to grips with its sense of humour, says Joris Luyendijk. Our foreign correspondents let us in on local gags

I particularly like this one from Iceland:

A Norwegian, a Faroese and an Icelander are about to be executed. Each one gets a final wish. The Faroese asks for a final feast of sour shark and dried whalemeat for everyone. The Icelander asks to be allowed to compose an epic poem in the old style about how cruelly he is being treated and about how great Iceland is. The Norwegian thinks for a while, and then says: "Can I be executed before the poem is read and the food is served?" Valur Gunnarsson


Interesting website about the designa and implementation of PacMan

Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior
Posted on December 2, 2010

It only seems right for me to begin this blog with the topic that inspired me to start it in the first place. Not too long ago, I came across Jamey Pittman’s “Pac-Man Dossier”, which is a ridiculously-detailed explanation of the mechanics of Pac-Man. I found it absolutely fascinating, so this site is my attempt to discover and aggregate similarly-detailed information about other games (albeit in much smaller chunks). However, as a bit of a tribute, I’m going to start with Pac-Man as well, specifically the ghost AI. It’s an interesting topic, and hopefully my explanation will be a bit more accessible than Jamey’s, due to focusing on only the information relevant to ghost behavior.

and finally Jamey Pittman's superb PacMan Dossier.