October 2008 Archives

GSOC08 pictures from Selena

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Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2008: Part 3

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I can barely keep track of all the things that I've learned and seen in the last 48 hours, there were so many interesting sessions on topics I've never delved into and about really exciting projects that I hadn't come across. There was a lot of talk about virtual machine research, the Jikes RVM seems really interesting. From the main page:

A distinguishing characteristic of Jikes RVM is that it is implemented in the Java™ programming language and is self-hosted i.e., its Java code runs on itself without requiring a second virtual machine.

I also attended the Parrot Toolchain talk, which described in detail how a High Level Language (Parrot currently supports over 10 in various stages) is turned into Parrot Assembly and then finally Parrot bytecode. This nicely describes why virtual machines simplify many problems of platform dependent code.  

More soon, and check out the pics:


Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2008: Part 2

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Ok, so breakfast was tasty. Swag obtained so far:

  • Another free tshirt
  • Google moleskin (yes!)
  • free Naked Juice (ultra tasty)
  • Google foldable frisbees

 People are now chaotically trying to decide session topics via post it notes and large white boards. I believe this is a nondeterministic chaotic process. 

Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2008: Part 1

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I am getting excited about going to the Googleplex and getting to bang ideas off the heads of some of the best open source programmers from around the world. It is being billed as an "unconference", which means that we basically create the schedule by measuring interest in different topics and breaking out into different groups. I have proposed to talk about open source scientific computing in general and SWIG/NCI in particular. Can't wait to get my nerd on!

GitX rocks

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If you are a git user and an OS X user, then you probably have realized that gitk, while being freaking awesome in Linux, does not have an intuitive native interface for OS X users. For instance, I can scroll by using two fingers on the touchpad, but gitk has Tk scrollbars, which knows nothing of this wonderful behavior. GitX has this and lots more, like a nice GUI commit interface (if you are into that.) It is also on github
Review for: 

Short version: I would definitely buy this book for myself. 


This book is quick and to the point and brings a new voice that has the guts to mention "refactoring" and SQL in the same sentence. It is lucidly written, often from a refreshing birds-eye view of the many levels that refactoring can be done. It eschews perusing optimizer plans and instead explains some concepts with spirals, with various influences "pushing" the optimizer in various directions. This is a great working concept that helps one attempt to "think like an optimizer."

 Possibly the best part of the book is the schematic representation of SQL queries: black boxes for tables from which data is returned, gray for which filtering conditions apply, white for "glue" tables, dark arrows for joins, dotted arrows for outer joins. It's like Feynman diagrams for databases! It allows one to see and show others inefficiencies pictorially. This is extremely efficient when you are dealing with monstrous queries.

 He consistently builds on using basic principles to analyze and refactor SQL, often  giving various different refactorings, some which build on each other, while others branch off in different directions. I especially like that there is a chapter named "Testing Framework."

  • Timings are for MySQL, Oracle and SQL Server. It would have been nice to have seen  at least some mention of Postgres.
  • Small typo: On page 129 the GNU Statistical Library is referenced. This should be the GNU Scientific Library, which indeed does have over 60 different types of random number generators. I would know 'cause I hack on the Perl bindings!


Great book. 

Perl is moving to Git

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Perl 5 core developement is going to git. Yay.

Starting Fresh!

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Old imported half-broken wordpress entries are gone, cheers to a fresh slate.

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