I began my computer programming career roughly 20 years ago with a trial-by-fire in the smoldering ashes of Control Data. Control Data was once a giant in the industry as much as Microsoft and Google are today, and Minneapolis was a nucleus of the tech world. When Control Data went under, it gave birth to a number of spin-offs, including the company that I worked for, PLATO Learning. As a young 18-year-old kid, I learned a lot from the former Control Data engineers. I ate lunch with them every day. I picked their brains. I heard their stories about the dawn of computer science, Star Trek, and … cats.
One thing about Control Data programmers was certain… they were not intimidated by real programming tasks. They were around when computer programs were written on punch cards. Many had been working on the same product lines for 28 or more years. The PLATO learning system was a platform that pioneered some of the very first multi-player games, and featured the very first plasma display to ever go to market. Continue reading “How to NOT be a Terrible Software Executive: An Anecdotal Study.”
I’ll be up front about it. I’m not a fan of Linux or any other Unix variant. This includes BSD and Debian and Android and all those other little pet names they give the various distributions of Unix that are far too variable to count. Over the years, Linux enthusiasts loved to tout all the reasons that their beloved open source operating system was superior to Windows, citing “stability” and “security” being two of the biggest reasons.
Now from the perspective of a guy who works mostly with Windows but is forced to tolerate Unix variants from time to time, I have to say that all the reasons people choose Unix over Windows are just completely baseless, especially in these modern times with just one notable exception: Windows has a price, and open source operating systems are typically free. Continue reading “4 Myths Propagated by Delusional Linux Enthusiasts”
I’ve been fascinated by the idea that a computer could potentially do more than one thing at the same time since before I got my hands on my first Pentium Pro back in the 90’s. I was so fascinated by this concept, I decided to build a Dual Processor Pentium III machine as soon as it became reasonably affordable for 20-year old kid to have one in his home. I was fascinated by the idea of unlocking the potential of this second processor and predicted that maybe one day, all home computers would have multiple processors, or multiple cores on a single processor. I was right.
I generally obsess over threads and multi-processing, and now I run multiple machines with both Intel i7 processors (8 virtual cores) and AMD chips featuring 8 integer cores coupled with 4 floating point cores. It can be quite the challenge to take full advantage of 8 cores. You really need to have something significant for each core to do. Additionally, unless you’re smart about your threading, you can waste valuable CPU cycles and time just creating and destroying threads. Continue reading “A universally useful Thread class without all the guesswork.”
There’s all kinds of stuff happening in the regulatory world in attempt to shutdown the digital currency known as “BitCoin”. The unregulated nature of BitCoin seems to be paying for a lot of Ferrari’s for lawyers these days and who have more-or-less declared war on the digital currency.
I’m not sure if BitCoin will hold up very long, nor gain legitimacy as a result, however, today the BitCoin is trading at $140USD, up from $126 a week ago. It has always been known to be volatile, however.
For every Jimmy Hendrix out there, there’s a thousand kids outplaying him in a closet somewhere. Watch these kids deliver a nearly flawless musical performance of a very challenging track, “46 and 2″ by Tool. I actually think this version sounds a bit tighter and clearer than the original, but obviously Tool was absolutely brilliant in its composition of the song.
There are lots of guys out there that swear by recording audio only at 44.1khz citing that recording at anything higher introduces quatization errors when down converted for CD-Audio formats and require “dither noise” to compensate for.
Wikipedia, has some interesting articles that explain how quantizing your audio can add bad resonant frequencies to your audio and emphasizes how dither noise can solve this problem. I’m not going to explain them again here, but, what I WILL do is point out what these examples are NOT. It is important to note that the examples are *intentionally modified* from real-world scenarios so as to explain what quantization errors are and how adding noise (dither noise) to a recording can be used to reduce the harmonic errors introduced from (poor) sample rate conversion. Continue reading “Dither noise in audio recording… in “today’s” reality.”
After writing a post regarding the future prospects of the virtual currency known as BitCoin, I stumbled upon this fascinating little cult of people who call themselves “Bitcoin Miners”… and eventually got around to tinkering with some of the available programs out there that perform Bitcoin Mining. Continue reading “Virtual Gold Mining for Nerds — the Rush is over already”
BitCoin has been getting a lot of buzz in the media recently. The people who love BitCoin are proclaiming it to be the currency of the future and love to point out that the US Dollar has dropped 90% against the BitCoin in recent months. BitCoin has gained much media buzz due to the notable support of the Winklevoss brothers who are famous of suing Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their idea for “The Facebook” (which they called “Harvard Connection” and then “ConnectU”) Continue reading “BitCoin is not GOLD, and It’s value will decrease to pennies on the dollar within a decade.”
I’m a coder. I code. Coding involves a a lot of typing. Coders are known to be stubborn when it comes to switching away from editors that they’ve grown accustomed to. Ask a dozen developers what their favorite editor is and you’ll find at least 1 or 2 that still love the hell out of “vi”, an old-school, but definitely archaic, editor which, for whatever reason, they find still useful today. VI was designed for a time when computers didn’t have arrow keys so you can’t even cursor through your documents without doing some wonky key combination involving some control keys. I don’t use “vi” so I’m not the best person to speak of its history, but if you’re curious I’m sure there are plenty of fan pages out there dedicated to it. Continue reading “Steve Jobs, please return from the dead and give me back my Home and End Keys!”
I have a pleasure of working for an eccentric start-up that deals with music applications and devices. A requirement of a couple of projects I’m working on are that they be able to send MIDI data (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) wirelessly to a Mac, iPAD, or iPhone.
There are lots of ways to do this and a few different open standards out there. Of all the protocols available Apple chose RTP-MIDI as its standard for wireless MIDI communication between iPADs, iPhones, and Mac computers. Continue reading “RFC4695 – “RTP MIDI”: A Protocol Not Fit for Consumption.”