Category Archives: school

links for 2008-11-14

Take Stanford’s iPhone Programming Class For Free
– I would love to take this class. The internet-connected iPhone’s multi-touch interface and powerful multimedia features provide an amazing playground for programmers, if you can stomach Apple’s strong-armed policies on application distribution in the App Store. (BTW here is a site that tracks activity of iPhone apps in the App Store, and posts information about apps that aren’t yet available in the App Store:

bitalizer – bending bits into structure – Upload a file, and this site will turn its binary contents into a simple set of rules governing an interesting image rendering process.

Bitalizer v1.1 – shell32.dll from Brian Reavis on Vimeo.

A visualization of the bits that make up the common “shell32.dll” library file found on Windows machines.

The Pomegranate Phone – A really well-done marketing campaign for a new touch-screen GPS-enabled smartphone that also makes coffee, projects video, instantly translates your voice into other languages, has a built-in shaver, and works as a harmonica. And doesn’t really exist. Instead, it is an elaborate ad campaign created by the Nova Scotia government to generate interest for the Canadian province. The little videos included in the ad are a good touch.

Child’s Play Charity – Donate games to sick children – For my birthday, Chris and Angel donated video games in my name to a Roanoke hospital using this site. Terrific idea!

As real as it gets – This is what Photoshop would look like if it were made out of the physical world.

Frequently Forgotten Fundamental Facts about Software Engineering – A coworker sent me this great list. It was originally published in 2001 and its tenets remain true today.

In closing, a silicon haiku from our IRC robot:

like stars winking out
the woman has lost her screen
opening your toad

Iris’ big day

She looked mildly pensive as the flashing bus squawked to a stop, door agape to accept new children. She climbed confidently on board and surveyed the busy seats. Moments later the bus bore her away to Kindergarten, to continue her great quest for knowledge.



Chris sent me this funny email he received this morning:

From: terptix
Sent: Mon 10/22/2007 1:38 AM
To: Chris
Subject: Ticket Notification

This is just a reminder that the Request and Claim period for student
tickets for the @Sport game vs. @Opponent on @EventDate will begin
shortly online. Please check the student ticket website for exact
schedule information.

Somebody needs to put some data behind that template!

Use an ashtray!

A few weeks ago, I brought Iris to her preschool, and we were alarmed to see that a fire crew was there. It turned out they were just putting out a small fire in the nearby woods. Someone must have dropped a cigarette there or something. I walked Iris into the school, and we talked about the fire for a while. I mentioned to her that I thought it was caused by a cigarette thrown from somebody’s car. But Iris had another theory. She said: “I think a bad birdy did it.”

She may be right.

(illustration unceremoniously lifted from Dave Shelton’s site).

An unrelated Iris story:

Iris has a pair of pants that have little embossed hearts attached to the botom of the legs. After several washings, the hearts started the crack a bit. So, one day, she takes a look at the pants, and says to us, “my heart is broken!”

Dry academia

Despite its rigorous, almost unapproachable mathematical foundations, Doug Zongker’s groundbreaking academic research paper remains one of the most important scientific studies you will ever read.

Doug Zongker himself presenting his paper:



I get no respect.

My online Data Mining course has a web-based forum that students can use to post questions. The course instructor asked how everybody was doing on the first homework assignment. I replied, and in my reply, I asked the instructor if I was on the right track for one of the homework problems. The subject of the reply was quite surprising:

Man, that’s cold!

Wow. Harsh. I know that these instructors are very stressed graduate students; but this can’t be good for bumping up the enrollment numbers.

Sadly, the source of the subject wasn’t as dramatic as true malice, because the subjects are simply generated from the first parts of the responses. Here is the real reason the subject was so insulting:

Oh. Not REALLY fighting words.

Technology is the culprit. One day it will enslave us all! (Wait… I think this has already happened…)