Friday, December 14, 2012

Stuff to read

Another random collection of links; maybe you'll find something interesting in them...

  • I like when somebody takes a stand on a topic, especially when it's a controversial stand. So even though I'm not 100% in agreement, I enjoyed Richard Rodger's Why I Have Given Up on Coding Standards
    Other people are smarter than you. Not some of them. All of them. The coder writing the user interface? They are smarter than you … about the user interface. You’re not writing the code. Why don’t you trust them? No, that’s not the right question. They will still mess up. Why are you making a bigger mess by telling them what to do?
  • A deep dive in to recent work in the Xen memory manager implementation: Improving block protocol scalability with persistent grants
    To avoid having to allocate a very large amounts of shared memory at start, Xen shared ring allocates at start only the minimum amount of memory to be able to queue the requests and responses (that is a single memory page), but not the data itself. The data is allocated using grants, which are memory areas shared on request, and references to those grants are passed along with the request, so the driver domain can map those areas of memory and perform the requested operations.
  • Nice essay on The Networking Nerd about IPv6 and NAT: The Five Stages of IPv6 and NAT
    I’ve been accused of hating NAT. Yes, it’s true. I dislike any protocol that breaks basic connectivity and causes headaches for troubleshooting and end-to-end communications.
  • I love this blog full of detailed, clearly-explained examples of how to do graphics and animation for games: 2D Game Art for Programmers using inkscape, gimp, & co.
    I fell in love with helicopters. They just make great game assets.

    Back then it was all pixeled and took what seemed like forever to create. In the game there were a few helicopters with limited variations.

    Creating a similar object in vectors allows for easier manipulation and variations. It also makes animations a lot easier and more flexible.

  • Andrew Hays has a nice photo-essay illustrating the benefits of customizing and tweaking the user interface of your programming tools: Love Your Terminal
    You have to stare at your command prompt all the time. You’re constantly typing in commands, and the only useful information that your prompt is giving you is the directory that you’re in. Make your prompt work for you. And make it pretty.
  • An entire wiki full of contributed articles about how to write an operating system:
    This website provides information about the creation of operating systems and serves as a community for those people interested in OS creation
  • A deep deep deep dive about the details of trying to write a program that tests memory, as part of an overall approach to try to figure out which customer-reported crashes are actually due to hardware problems on the user's computer: Redis Crashes
    So what about testing memory just when a crash happens? This would allow Redis to test the memory of every single computer where a crash has happened. The bug report will be annotated with the result of the test, providing an interesting hint about the state of the memory without further help from the user.

    And even better, the test will test exactly the memory as allocated at the moment of the crash! It will test exactly the physical memory pages that Redis is using, that is just perfect for environments like EC2.

    The problem is, how to do it?

  • A nice essay about the traps and pitfalls of trying to make a program run faster: The Treacherous Optimization
    Put another way, grep sells out its worst case (lots of partial matches) to make the best case (few partial matches) go faster. How treacherous! As this realization dawns on me, the room seemed to grow dim and slip sideways. I look up at the Ultimate Unix Geek, spinning slowly in his padded chair, and I hear his cackle "old age and treachery...", and in his flickering CRT there is a face reflected, but it's my ex girlfriend, and the last thing I see before I black out is a patch of yellow cheese powder inside her long tangled beard.
  • Still looking for more stuff to read? Don't miss's collection of "best long reads of 2012": guest posts tagged "best of 2012". There are some superb suggestinos in these lists

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