Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Anyone else noticed blogs are dying

Has anyone else noticed how a lot of bloggers just aren’t posting anymore.  Has the initial buzz gone away.  Of course some blogs are going strong like coding horror, but even that took a hiatus while they built Stack Overflow.

Maybe its moved to Facebook pages instead as they are easier to make.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Brevity leading to obfuscation

I ran into this article today. In 25 lines of code a guy created a python spelling checker.

Now its impressive to be able to do that but at the end of the 4,500 word explanation I realised that the code was obfuscation for the sake of brevity. He has named functions and variables with reasonable names, and I could guess initially at what some things were doing.

So what are the obvious readability problems with the code.

The explanation mentions edit distances, the code doesn't, it mentions edits1.
Even though I knew about edit distances and my initial thoughts were it must use them somehow, you really have to guess that edits1 is returning those strings with string edit distance of 1 from the original string.

The explanation uses Bayes theorem, something I am familiar with, the code doesn't mention probability or Bayes or anything of a statistical nature in any words.

The code has functions like train, but it doesn't say what its trying to produce or how its training it. Is it creating a list of probabilities? From the code you have to guess.

The code leaves no hints as to what data structures it is using other than maybe lists.

He ran into a bug or two but that's not a big deal, nearly all code has bugs. He also did it quite rapidly, so for that I salute him.

But as for maintainable by another programmer who might have had to pick it up, I seriously doubt it. This code requires 4500 words of comments to be maintainable.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Android take over

Woah this is so spot on

Android to take over the mobile phone market unless windows phone 7 can compete, they may have to sell the Windows Phone OS cheaper. Its good to live in interesting times.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

On Intelligence

Just got myself a copy of Jeff Hawkins "On Intelligence", stay tuned for a review. I'm one chapter in and so far it seems an easy read. The main thrust of his ideas seem sound, we shall see what evidence he presents and how his argument develops.

I agree with him on his initial misgivings with 80's AI research. Basing AI on symbols and language parsing seems such a silly idea now.

I ran into it at the numenta web site and bought it from bookdepository in the UK. Free shipping!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Poem in chinese entirely made up of Shi

This is a poem entirely made up of the syllable Shi. Impressive.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Response to Google and Verizons Open Internet proposal

I feel I have to respond to this
open internet proposal by google and verzion.

For some reason they seem to have allowed wireless boradband not have net neutrality enforced. This seems to be a fundamental flaw. If it allows providers to make more money by throttling services then it will push incentive to develop further wireless brodband and disincentivise wired broadband development. In the longer term we will be threatened with a purely wireless internet that is dominated and controlled by corporations.

This could happen within 20 years given the pace of change of technology.

Verizon and Google have got to give this idea up and go full net neutrality for all types of providers.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Kingdom and Quick Answers

Finally watching “The Kingdom” from 2007.  Gosh its bloody, violent and full of dodgy stereotypes.  Why would Islamic militants not manage to hit the broadside of a barn with 2,000,000 bullets and yet 4 FBI agents are all crack marksmen.

Not a great movie.

Anyway found a new thing on CodeProject the other day. Quick Answers. Its neat, but it doesn't seem to have the momentum yet of a StackOverflow or a ExpertsExchange. Time will tell