“Portable” Package Management is Bullshit {Mostly}

October 25, 2007

I don’t always want to code in Java. In fact, I’ve recently wanted to not program in Java and get a feel for everything else that’s neat and nifty and blah blah blah. But Java spoiled me. I got used to having my libraries distributed with my package, and having it work on other systems pretty easily. So imagine the fun times I had trying to get MySQL and SMTP support working in other languages…
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Bloom Filters

September 21, 2007

I’ve been getting more into my programming roots lately, and after I read this CodeKata, I decided to give it a try. The idea is to write a Bloom Filter, fiddle with the parameters that make it what it is, and test its performance. That being said, let’s look at it.
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It’s Everyone’s Fault

September 18, 2007

…and no one’s. We have an infrastructure that is ridiculously difficult to maintain and even more difficult to make “simple” changes to. It’s often come up as to whose fault it is that it ended up this way. But it’s my opinion that it’s all of our faults, and at the same time, none of our faults.
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New Topics for Fall 2007

September 14, 2007

So I start up classes at UCSB in two weeks, so don’t be surprised to see some new posts deviating from the normal formula (MATLAB 🙂 ) Specifically, I’m taking a class on “GPU Power and 3D User Interfaces”, “Parallel Computer Architectures”, and an intro seminar to Cognitive Science.

At the moment, I’m looking into exploiting the GPGPU and virtualization on the Cell architecture, but I’ll write more about it when I have some more concrete details.

What is the deal with not using HTTPS?

September 6, 2007

If you are running an enterprise application that authenticates a user for any reason, YOU NEED TO USE HTTPS! I’ve been irked lately by the large number of companies that have customers (or users) log into their accounts where things of great security are kept (social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.), but send everything you would need to get to them over cleartext.
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HOWTO: Converting Simple OpenGL Code from C++ to Perl

August 22, 2007

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to learn OpenGL. However, I’ve had a miserable time trying to get various implementations of it to work on my Mac, notably with C++ and Java. I was surprised to learn that installing the Perl OpenGL implementation (or POGL) is pretty simple, and that converting OpenGL code written in C++ to Perl is also reasonably easy. The following is a heuristic method you can use to do the same, using an example from the OpenGL SuperBible by Richard S. Wright, Jr. The code is freely available from his site at http://www.starstonesoftware.com/OpenGL/, and feel free to use my Perl conversion of his code.
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Xenosaga Episode 2: Greatest Combat System Ever? :(

July 23, 2007

I love RPGs. I love a good challenge in a video game every once in a while. But some of the stuff that goes down in Xenosaga Episode 2 is completely bullshit. I know, this isn’t a particularly recent game, but I picked it up recently since Episode 1 was good but not $50 good so I waited until this went down a lot in price.

That being said, I liked the storyline in Episode 2. Granted, some of the cut-scenes were long, and a couple were longer than a half an hour, but that way ok for me. What was not ok for me was the battle system. It has the standard RPG look (attack, use magic, use an item), but uses a combo system that provides an incentive to time your attacks very precisely. It and all the complicated features of the game (like team attacks) are explained in about ten seconds at the very beginning of the game and there’s no way to look back at it later, so you end up left in the dark about it even if you spend a decent amount of time leveling up.
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