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Fear of Command Lines

Anyone know if there is a psychological term for fear of command lines and configuration files? A name for this phobia would be incredibly useful as I keep bumping in to circumstances where supposedly technical users downgrade a tool just because it doesn’t have a GUI and assume it must be “hard to use” if it is not driven by a point and click interface. Read More...

The Management Equivalent of Infinite Postponment

In scheduling there is a concept called infinite postponement (more correctly indefinite postponement) where a job that is ready to be executed is starved of resources because other jobs keep coming along that are a little bit more fit to be run according to the scheduling algorithm.

This behaviour occurs in management as well. Read More...

Don't forget your keys

Data cleansing is the process of taking the data contained in a data base and correcting the errors in it. It is probably one of the most hated jobs in the industry as it tends to be both tedious and exacting. The final two nails in its coffin is that it is almost never finished and almost never completely correct. All in all a miserable and mostly unsatisfying experience.

One of the secrets to success in data cleansing is in selecting keys i.e. the fields that allow the identification of the record to be updated. Read More...

Dunning-Kruger effect

I bumped into the “Dunning-Kruger effect” an affect on a mailing list and discovered an effect that has been haunting my existence and just crying out for a name. Read More...

The Power of Random

A few years ago I spent a great deal of time thinking about parallel programming. One of the counter intuitive things that emerged was that organisation in a massively parallel system can be detrimental to performance. A recent article on LinkedIn by Don P (To Be More Successful, Study Failures) which mentioned under sampling reminded me of one of my key counter intuitive conclusions. Read More...

Low cost LeoStick based Serial Switch

The farm is connected to the Internet by a WiMax based wireless service which occasionally has a problem which needs the WiMax modem / router to be rebooted.

A low cost USB powered switch connected to one of the computers at the farm solved the problem nicely.

Read More...

Python Serving HTTPS with CGI

One of the claims often made about Python is that it is so easy to extend the language and change the behaviour of an object. The classic example of this is turning the standard library http server into an https server. Unfortunately, although there are hundreds of examples on the web about how to do this - made even more numerous by the move to Python 3 - days of testing here failed to get them to work with CGI scripts. Ordinary pages worked fine, but CGI would fail silently. Apparently these same examples worked on PCs.

The problem turned out to be a quite subtle implementation difference between the Mac and Unix handling of CGI processes and the PC approach in the Python library. Read More...

Android on the Desktop - Keyboard adventures

Having deployed our Android boxes we encountered a couple of interesting issues relating to the origins of the platform. Read More...