Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday afternoon reading

Various random stuff I'm reading; as usual, presented with little or no comment, except to note it seems like you might find it interesting too.

  • Toyota Acceleration Case
    NASA reported not running all the code in simulation due to a lack of tooling. Now, the new panel of experts appears to have actually managed to simulate the system, and found ways to make it crash in the interaction between multiple tasks. The fact that, as EETimes report, a certain task crashing can cause acceleration to continue without control, is pretty indicative of issues arising in integration rather than unit testing.
  • The Saddest Moment
    Watching a presentation on Byzantine fault tolerance is similar to watching a foreign film from a depressing nation that used to be controlled by the Soviets—the only difference is that computers and networks are constantly failing instead of young Kapruskin being unable to reunite with the girl he fell in love with while he was working in a coal mine beneath an orphanage that was atop a prison that was inside the abstract concept of World War II.
  • Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?
    The Windows light usage battery life situation has not improved at all since 2009. If anything the disparity between OS X and Windows light usage battery life has gotten worse.
  • Comments on the 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems
    There’s generally an excessive focus on Gartner’s perception of vendors’ business skills, and on vendors’ willingness to parrot all the buzzphrases Gartner wants to hear.
  • Drilling Network Stacks with packetdrill
    Testing and troubleshooting network protocols and stacks can be painstaking. To ease this process, our team built packetdrill, a tool that lets you write precise scripts to test entire network stacks, from the system call layer down to the NIC hardware. packetdrill scripts use a familiar syntax and run in seconds, making them easy to use during development, debugging, and regression testing, and for learning and investigation.
  • Distributed Systems Archaeology: Works Cited

    That's a very nice reading list, even if it is basically from the previous millenium. In particular, I had not seen the new textbook by Varela before.

  • I Failed a Twitter Interview
    I am upset that the interviewer didn't ask me the right questions to guide me towards the right train of thought. I don't know why Justin told me "this should work," when my solution in fact didn't . I know that this should have come up in the test cases he asked for, but since I missed the flaw when coming up with the algorithm, I didn't think of testing for it.
  • Chuck Moore's Creations; Programming the F18; The Beautiful Simplicity of colorForth
    He is endlessly willing to rethink things from a truly clean slate. It's astonishing how simple things become when you're willing to do that and design something bottom up with that perspective; the "bottom" being raw silicon. He said in his talk that the colorForth compiler is "a dozen or so lines of code." This is shocking to most people. It's because tokenization is done at edit-time and there is almost a one-to-one correspondence between the primitive words in the language and instructions on the chip. The compiler is left with not much to do other than maintain the dictionary and do very straightforward instruction and call/jump packing. This "brutal simplicity" is possible because every aspect has been rethought and carefully orchestrated to work perfectly together.
  • Dance Your Ph.D. Finalists Announced!
    This is the 6th year of the contest, which challenges scientists to explain their doctoral research through the medium of interpretive dance. The finalists were selected from 31 dance submissions by the winners from previous years of the contest. The production value has increased considerably from the live Ph.D. dance event that launched the contest in 2007. The goal is to do away with jargon -- indeed, to do away with spoken words altogether -- and use human bodies to convey the essence of scientific research.

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