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Everything in the Events vocabulary

"Events" is used for: Convention Post, Page, Story.

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My presentation on Haskell typeclasses

Recently at the Austin Functional Programming meetup I gave a presentation on Haskell typeclasses. I based the presentation on the University of Pennsylvania course CIS194, Spring 2013 edition, Homework 5. This course is online and is a good tool for teaching yourself Haskell.http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~cis194/spring13/hw/05-type-classes.pdf. Here is my presentation.

Angular with Redux, Store, and Effects: an introduction

There are many tutorials on how to get started with the Redux pattern in Angular 2, and how to use its essential concepts like store or effects. But often you'll find that those tutorials don't work for you -- maybe the author omitted something that was self-explanatory to them, or maybe (and that's a fact) Redux-related packages in npm change so often that the code in the tutorials from a few months ago does not compile anymore. So let's throw in another tutorial that will be obsolete just as soon, shall we?

Neal Stephenson's talk in Austin, October 1, 2003

October 1, 2003 Neal Stephenson was at Book People in Austin, TX, where he signed copies of his latest book "Quicksilver", the first book in "The Baroque Cycle" trilogy, and answered audience's questions. Below is an approximate transcript of his talk. Due to the poor quality of the tape recording it was hard to pick out the exact words that were said, so I can't guarantee the accuracy of either audience's questions or Neal Stephenson's answers. The places I couldn't hear I paraphrased the best I could.

One of the most remarkable things about this interview is that Neal Stephenson introduced the audience to the word "steampunk" and had to assure them he didn't make it up. Who could have guessed that in a few years steampunk jewelry will be sold at Walmart!

Other curious bits from the interview: the pronunciation of the Qwghlm islands, and Neal Stephenson's reading tastes (actually you may regret finding out about that one). Also, a very interesting observation of what we mean by "technology".

Creating a virtualenv with Python 3 on Windows 10

(* if you have both Python 2 and Python 3 on your machine. If you only have Python 3, you probably don't need this article.)

I wanted to install Python 3 on Windows 10, and use it in a virtualenv. Eventually I wanted to get my Flask web application to run on Python 3.

The steps for that are not too difficult, but there are a few gotchas along the way. And you know what that means, Gentle Reader. It means that when I have to do it again -- let's say, months from now -- I will have to hunt down the solutions to all the gotchas again. So I decided to take lessons from the past and write it all down. And share it with those of you who don't want waste time hunting down the answers. So, this is what I did.

Running a Python Flask app under Apache: simplest possible configuration

Let's say you are an ordinary developer, not a wizard at administrating the Apache server. You are looking for a place to host your side project, a Flask application (Flask is a Python web framework). To have the most control at only a small price, you provision a cloud server at your friendly cloud hosting company (Dreamhost, in my case). Perhaps you were not satisfied with free hosting sites, because they give you so little computing power that you quickly max out your available database connections. And so you decide to run it on your own server.

Just to be clear, this article does not deal with production-caliber Flask applications. It describes a minimal, very basic deployment options for simple applications such as your side projects or hobby projects. It does not address, for example, Python virtualenv. Maybe in the future.

Customizing Angular tooltips with your own directive

Tooltips are a useful thing. Just last year, as a volunteer web developer, I built an event website for a nonprofit. The website had a page with the event program grid. The event had several parallel tracks, each of them jam-packed of back-to-back panels, and each panel had several panelists. Understandably, the web page real estate was at a premium, and the page for the panel grid listed the participants by only their last name. No other info.

Biologically Inspired Robots: a Linucon 2004 panel

P548 The Babbling Robot Head, a Robot Group project exhibited at Linucon

The panelists reiterated the relevant discoveries that were new in 2004: growing organs in another location of recipient's own body (whether human or animal) -- while those discoveries weren't about growing a robot from biological cells, that could potentially be a potential future use. Modeling robots after roaches, rats, or other small animals that can pass through narrow spaces -- for example, to lay computer cables. Attaching sensors to a swarm of very small, fast, disposable robots the size of a grain of rice. What the state of artificial intelligence looked like in 2004, years before the significant advances made by neural nets -- not very promising. Our panelists thought that since our brain is wet and analog, we won't be able to simulate it in digital systems. Researchers are inspired to generate power from biological sources, because batteries running out are a common problem with robots, whereas a human body can do a whole lot on just a peanut butter sandwich.

Brian Greene in Austin, March 2005

P640 Brian Greene in Austin in March of 2005, promoting his book "The Fabric of The Cosmos".

On March 7, 2005 Brian Greene, a string theorist and author of "The Elegant Universe" and "The Fabric of The Cosmos", gave an interview at a Barnes & Noble in Austin. He was interviewed by Jeff Salomon from Austin-American Statesman and took questions from the audience.

The topics involved: What kind of experiments can possibly verify string theory? How and why would you look for astronomical evidence of strings? Would it make sense to look for confirmation of string theory in the possible violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics? What is Brian Greene's own interpretation of quantum entanglement? What does it mean that space and time are not fundamental? In what sense is space-time analogous to temperature? What's next for physics after TOE? Will there be anything left to do, or will science come to an end? And, umm... does Brian Greene feel a need to reconcile psychic phenomena with the unified physical theory?

The talk also revealed some things you would not immediately think of Brian Greene. By his own admission, he finds physics hard and visualisation helps him enormously to understand physics concepts. That's one reason why he never condescends to his audience. (Another may be that he is simply a nice person.) Also, did you know that Brian Greene's books can cause people to quit drinking and start reading?

Note: I could not hear everything that was said or write it down verbatim, so I paraphrased some places the best I could. Most of them are in angle brackets.

Ted Chiang on lifelogging: a speech and a discussion with the audience at ArmadilloCon 2014

IMG_1482 Ted Chiang speaks about lifelogging at the ArmadilloCon 2014.

Lifelogging is an emerging trend of recording every, or nearly every moment of your life. A simple example of lifelogging would be wearing a video recorder that would record continuous video and audio of everything you see and do. Ted Chiang used this example to speculate about how lifelogging would change our society. At the end he answered the audience's questions and engaged in a discussion regarding some points, such as: would lifelogging encourage us to craft our lives as stories, and thus become better people? Doesn't forgetting play a big role in getting over a trauma? Doesn't forgetting go a long way towards forgiving? What if your memories are hacked? Who has control over shared memories?

Getting all the notes in a notebook with Evernote API and Python

My impression of Evernote API documentation is that it is not very friendly to Python beginners, and rather short on examples. So I wrote this document on how to write a simple script that will get notes from a notebook.