Concurrent Programming in Erlang - Winning by Failing (week two)

No one wants to fail. We'd like to succeed in life, to pass our exams, advance in our jobs, achieve our goals. And when we become bored with the usual challenges, we see who can eat the most hotdogs, throw a horse's shoe the farthest and get the most sacks of corn in a hole. Winning, and avoiding failure at all costs, is deeply ingrained in us. That's what makes Erlang so unusual as a language. Failure is expected and even embraced. It's easy to get defensive when you're writing a program. You don't want your application to crash - »

Concurrent Programming in Erlang - Do All the Things! (week one)

This past weekend was great weather-wise. Sunny and 70. Summer's around the corner but in Ohio there are never any guarantees... the weekend before it snowed 4 inches. We had places to go and errands to run (as always), but I got some work done outside, took the kids on a bike ride, and met some new neighbors down the street who were cutting up trees they'd taken down (free firewood!). Sunday ended with a nice cookout, a good vanilla stout, and watching "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" with the kids. All-in-all, it was pretty awesome. This is »

Cooking with Simon Monk - Raspberry Pi Cookbook

It’s been too long since I messed with the Raspberry Pi. It started with Hacktoberfest a few months ago, then we had a baby, and then I got it in my head to write a Chrome extension and… life happened. So I picked up a copy of Raspberry Pi Cookbook by Simon Monk to jump-start things again. I assumed it’d have “recipes” for some cool projects, but it ended up being much more comprehensive. It takes you from the very basics of unpacking your Pi and setting it up, to installing Raspbian and creating your first Python script, »

Book Review: Getting Things Done, Part 1

Do you ever get exhausted, thinking of everything that needs to be done? I do. I always have this feeling that there’s tons of “stuff” to do – some that needs to get done and a lot I want to get done, some at the forefront of my thought and some I just have a nagging feeling about. There’s stuff I wanted to do years ago that I still kind of intend to do, maybe, if and when I magically formulate a plan. Or more like, when the plan formulates itself. Most of it’s so vague that I »

Learning Python for the Raspberry Pi

Once you’ve connected the peripherals, installed NOOBS, and gotten your Raspberry Pi up and running, pat yourself on the back and take a moment to bask in the glow of the large raspberry on your Raspbian desktop. Whee. Okay, that’s enough gloating, ya narcissist. So now what? Choosing a Language After getting my first Raspberry Pi 2 up and running last weekend, and taking some cursory glances at the sample apps, I wanted to get into some actual development. After all, if we can’t tell it to do anything, then it’s not much more than a »

Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi 2

I got a Raspberry Pi 2 for Christmas, and finally took it for a spin this weekend… just as the community is getting ready to celebrate the Pi’s 4th birthday. After using it for a few hours, here’s what I’ve learned so far. Invest in a Starter Kit The base Raspberry Pi 2 board is only about $35, but it comes with nothing else, not even an ac adapter. If you happen to have spare parts lying around, this may not be a problem. Unfortunately, I dumped my boxes of computer parts years ago when I stopped »

Charles Townes, The Laser, and Fostering Curiosity

When I hear about a discovery or invention, it sometimes seems inevitable that the people involved should’ve ended up where they were, doing what they did, as if they were handed the situation or the whole thing were preordained. At the very least, I don’t give much thought to what in their lives led them to that eventual point of discovery. I doubt I’m alone in this. In science, there is usually no cold, objective inevitability to discovery or the accumulation of knowledge, no overarching logic that controls or determines events. . . . One has ideas, does experiments, meets »

Review: Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook, by Jeff Martins and Richard Banks

I was recently offered a complimentary copy of Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook. This was timely, since I focus primarily on the Microsoft stack and use Visual Studio 2012 daily, and our team at work is considering upgrading soon. Before you read further, note that this book is neither an in-depth guide to Visual Studio for someone who’s never used it before, nor a complete tutorial on the C# language, .NET 4.5 / 4.51, or any particular construct(s) therein. Instead, this book is split between general enhancements, such as the Quick Find box and continuous testing, and enhancements »