Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring is in the air ...

... and an old man's thoughts turn to Abe Maslow's (corrected) hierarchy of needs...

  • Essentials of Garbage Collection
    How do we teach students the essential ideas behind garbage collection?

    A garbage collector (GC) implementation must address many overlapping concerns. There are algorithmic decisions, e.g., the GC algorithm to use; there are representation choices, e.g, the layout of the stack; and there are assumptions about the language, e.g., unforgeable pointers. These choices, and more, affect each other and make it very difficult for students to get off the ground.

  • Stanford NetSeminar - Teemu Koponen (Nicira/VMware)
  • Privacy technologies: An annotated syllabus
    Last semester I taught a course on privacy technologies here at Princeton. Earlier I discussed how I refuted privacy myths that students brought into class. In this post I’d like to discuss the contents of the course.
  • Jeremy Cole: InnoDB
    I’ve written the following posts about InnoDB internals, structures, and behavior
    I particularly liked B+Tree index structures in InnoDB
    However, the root page itself can't actually be split, since it cannot be relocated. Instead, a new, empty page is allocated, the records in the root are moved there (the root is "raised" a level), and that new page is split into two. The root page then does not need to be split again until the level immediately below it has enough pages that the root becomes full of child page pointers (called "node pointers"), which in practice often means several hundred to more than a thousand.
  • The Matasano Crypto Challenges
    Most of the challenges take the form of practical attacks against common vulnerabilities, many of which will be sadly familiar to you from your own web apps. To keep things fun and fair for everyone, they ask you not to post the questions or answers online. (I cleared this post with Thomas to make sure it was spoiler-free.)
  • The Planetary Super-Surface of San Bernardino County
    As it happens, though, huge volumes of empty space framed by walls and ceilings are something of the ultimate testing ground for robot intelligence: "Once upon a time, a warehouse was where you stored things for weeks or months, such as toys and canned food that retailers would grab to restock their shelves. Sorting, organizing and moving the inventory was a constant challenge."

    However, now, in this age of empty architectural airspace, "Tracking goods in the modern age of bar codes, scanners and computers is a comparative breeze. The location of every widget can be identified with pinpoint accuracy and fetched by robots that can lift and carry 3,000-pound loads with ease."

  • Text of SXSW2013 closing remarks by Bruce Sterling
    And yes — the moral here is that you’re a lot like that. Only they managed to pull that off for one hundred and fifty years, while you’re only twenty-six years old. If I was going to compare you to the Sinagua people of the Southwest, we’d have to imagine this as South By South West 150.
  • What are Ethernet, IP and TCP Headers in Wireshark Captures and How Headers Encapsulate in the OSI stack
    Each device along the path from source to destination (user to Youtube in this case) strips the header it is concerned with and imposes the new information in another header wrapping the packet back up for its next hop. The payload remains the same along the way outside of fragmentation but these days Path MTU Discovery (PMTUD) has alleviated the need to fragment packets thus reducing overhead on devices in the path.
  • The Well Deserved Fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin creator, Visionary and Genius
    The graphs were made by a new block chain analysis technique I tested that consist on tracking the ExtraNonce fields in the coinbase field of the coinbase transaction, which is the one that creates bitcoins.
  • A Practical Intro to Data Science
    There are plenty of articles and discussions on the web about what data science is, what qualities define a data scientist, how to nurture them, and how you should position yourself to be a competitive applicant. There are far fewer resources out there about the steps to take in order to obtain the skills necessary to practice this elusive discipline.
  • Lastly, my former colleague Dave Kellogg is blogging again (Hurray!)
    • Startup CEOs and the Three Doors
      I think most people fail to grasp the commitment that hired (non-founder) CEOs make when joining a startup. First, the new CEO is are typically leaving a perfectly reasonable job to join the startup, so there can be a significant opportunity cost. Second, and more importantly, the new CEO is voluntarily signing up for a situation from which there are only three exit doors — because from the board’s perspective (and the venture capitalists on it) there are really only three possible outcomes
    • The Self-Fulfilling 3x Pipeline Coverage Prophecy
      What management should do is to beat on salesreps to show the real pipeline, as they believe it exists, using well-defined staging and valuation rules. They should never mention the 3x, nor institutionalize any coverage ratio because, once you do so, you can be certain of only on thing: you will have that coverage ratio in your pipeline.

Enjoy your weekend!

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