January 2010 Archives

Code musing

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Interesting framing by Carl Masak:

Code generation and stone soup

Every type of control flow in programming languages is just convenient sugar for if statements and while loops.

ifs and whiles are the stone soup to which all the rest of our control flow can be added as seasoning. ifs let you conditionally skip ahead in code, and whiles allow you to conditionally skip back. That's all you need.

Hadn't quite heard it put it like that before.

I'm as likely as not to try and turn a given task into an operation on lists -- filter with grep, process with map, repeat and fade.

I guess if you could squint you could look at map as a flavor of while and grep as your if.

On not wasting opportunities

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Smart advice from Matt Deatherage to anyone who has the chance to ask Apple honchos a question in public.

Recommend reading the whole thing; it really highlights the value of lurking in a space before speaking (and on Apple conference calls, lurking is all most people can do).

Deatherage has apparently been listening to the calls for almost 14 years...

What analysts should ask Apple: Apple holds an earnings call Monday--here are some dos and don'ts for analysts [via @timbray]

Reporters can call and listen live ... but Apple hasn't taken a question from reporters during a quarterly conference call in well over a decade. Only financial analysts are allowed to query the company's executives.

That can be a darned shame, because a few times each year, well-meaning analysts let loose with giant stink bombs of questions.

...i.e. unproductive questions which an experienced attendee knows will be swattted aside. A couple of his suggested questions instead:

On their retail stores: "Is your retail operation exposed to any of the CRE problems, including GGP's bankruptcy?"

...someone needs to ask those executives, point blank, "How long do you believe the filter-and-review model for every application on your worldwide mobile platform is sustainable?"

Top 100 movies of the decade


..or of a decade, if you're fussy about when it starts & stops. I'm agnostic.

Kevin C. Murphy over at Ghost in the Machine has gone to a lot of trouble to put together a review of the best 100 movies of the last 10 years, according to him (I think by the end he's reviewed more like 115, but who's counting).

Worth your attention.

Kevin, 3 things:

  1. Wow that was a lot of time you put in, both watching & reviewing.
  2. Thanks! Found several new things I should put in (or move way up in) my movie queue.
  3. Thanks for reminding me of Tom Hanks' Mr. Short Term Memory. This was my favorite sketch of his:

    Mr. Short-Term Memory : [ looks at the card ] What is this? "Tony Randall"? What you just hand these out to people you meet? That's a little sad.
    Tony Randall : You just asked me for it! You begged!
    Mr. Short-Term Memory : Wha- [ turns to Tony again] Tony Randall!

    Host [Phil Hartman] : Here's today's showcase, spend your thousand on whatever you want.
    Mr. Short-Term Memory : Oh Cool um, I-I'll take the color TV for 300.
    Host : Alright that leaves you with 700.
    Mr. Short-Term Memory : And let's see, uh, I'll take the color TV for 300.
    Host : ... Fine, that leaves you with 400.
    Mr. Short-Term Memory : Oh! A color TV! I need one of those!

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