Monday, November 29, 2010


Inspired by Jeff Atwood's excellent blog about the keyboard cult, I was excited to receive my new Unicomp Customizer 104, delivered just today. To my disappointment, however, it arrived inoperable.

The box itself was in fine condition. 

As I removed the keyboard from its packaging, however, I heard an subtle but ominous rattling noise. 

I turned the keyboard toward me, and the tilde key fell to the floor. It just fell right off without out any persuasion or cajoling, like it couldn't get away from its compatriots fast enough.

Shortly after that, I noticed that the "CapsLock," "Shift," and "Ctrl" keys on the left side of the keyboard would not depress at all. The underside of the keys overlapped the plastic molding.

The "Enter" key, et al., on the right side had more than adequate spacing.

But the "Esc" key and a few friends were distinctly off-kilter.

I'll give the company call tomorrow and arrange for a working replacement. I hope to report a good customer service experience.

UPDATE (11/30): I got a hold of Chad in the support department. He was very friendly and helpful. Unicomp is sending a replacement today, along with a return label for the original keyboard. So far, so good!

UPDATE (12/02): No longer a bummer! The new keyboard arrived in great shape, and works like a charm. I was hoping for a good customer service experience, and I got it. Thanks, Unicomp!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Be mindful that Tuesday morning problems don't become Friday afternoon problems.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Elegance: The modesty not to draw attention to the difficulties one has surmounted." paraphrasing Alain de Botton via @spolsky

Friday, August 13, 2010

Minimum number of moves to solve any Rubik's cube configuration (aka "God's Number"): 20

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just read online: "I feel like dancing a marimba." Mambo? Meringue? With a marimba? It's a mystery.

On technical debt

"Bad code isn't Technical Debt, it's an unhedged call option"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Autism has unique vocal signature, new technology reveals

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It costs 1.5 cents to make a penny. A nickel costs 6 cents. In 2009, the U.S Mint lost $22 million making these coins.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grails 1.3.1 dependency resolution

After upgrading Grails to 1.3.1 from 1.2.2, I repeatedly received "UNRESOLVED DEPENDENCIES" errors. After an inordinate amount of troubleshooting, I stumbled upon the sole archived message on the Internet that recommended deleting (or renaming) the %USER_HOME%\.ivy2 directory. Sure enough, this worked like a charm, so I post the resolution here for posterity. It seems there were some transitive dependencies that weren't getting sorted out. It's all good now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Light Bulb Is Not Yet On

I have reset on going through Essentials of Programming Languages, and struggling my way through learning Scheme. I wrote a working answer (at least as tested) for a problem in the second chapter, but I feel like I happened upon it through test-driven development. I suppose in some ways that's a good thing, but I can say that it is not a terribly comfortable feeling to write some code but not really grok what it's doing. Anyway, here is the paraphrased problem, and my solution (test cases included):

Exercise 2.2.9, #3. (car&cdr2 s slst errvalue) generates a procedure composition that, when evaluated, produces the code for a procedure that takes a list with the same structure as slst and returns the value in the same position as the leftmost occurrence of s in slst. If s does not occur in slst, then errvalue is returned.

(define (contains? s los)
(if (null? los)
(if (symbol? (car los))
(if (eq? s (car los))
(contains? s (cdr los)))
(if (contains? s (car los))
(contains? s (cdr los))))))

(define (car&cdr2 s slst errvalue)
(if (contains? s slst)
(car&cdr2-help s slst 'car)

(define (car&cdr2-help s slst lst)
(if (symbol? (car slst))
(if (eq? s (car slst))
(list 'compose lst (car&cdr2-help s (cdr slst) 'cdr)))
(if (contains? s (car slst))
(list 'compose 'car (car&cdr2-help s (car slst) 'cdr))
(list 'compose lst (car&cdr2-help s (cdr slst) 'cdr)))))

Here are the tests (schemeunit):
(define-test-suite 2.2.9
(test-case "3."
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'a '() 'fail)
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'a '(a) 'fail)
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'a '(b) 'fail)
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'a '(a b) 'fail)
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'b '(a b) 'fail)
'(compose car cdr))
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'c '(a b c) 'fail)
'(compose car (compose cdr cdr)))
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'd '(a (b c) d) 'fail)
'(compose car (compose cdr cdr)))
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'dog '(cat lion (fish dog) pig) 'fail)
'(compose car (compose cdr (compose car (compose cdr cdr)))))
(check equal?
(car&cdr2 'c '((a b) c) 'fail)
'(compose car cdr))))

Any Schemers care to give me pointers? I sure could use the help.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stupid coding tricks.

In a fit of distraction one day, this was the most ridiculous "solution" for converting a test score to a letter grade I could muster.
public static char S2G(int s) {
return (char)(1249078710>>s/10*3&7|64);

DailyWTF-worthy, I say.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NCAA Wrestling Championships + ESPN Hi-Def == great television.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Estimation and planning

A 2008 survey of 500 software practitioners found that four of the top five “Most Damaging Classic Mistakes Overall” in software development are directly related to project estimation and planning. Each mistake was rated as having a severe and serious impact to projects in which the mistakes occur. In order of frequency and severity, these four mistakes are:

1. Unrealistic expectations
2. Overly optimistic schedules
4. Wishful thinking
5. Confusing estimates with targets