Category Archives: Geek

Nerdy stuff.

Pseudo-Numeric Identifiers

Let’s say you’re a programmer, and your application uses Library of Congress Control Numbers for books, e.g., 2001012345, or ZIP codes, like 90210. What data types would you use to represent them? Or maybe something like the Dewey Decimal System, which uses … Continue reading

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Removing Magic

So this was one of those real-life mysteries. I like crossword puzzles. And in particular, I like indie crossword puzzles, because they tend to be more inventive and less censored than ones that run in newspapers. So I follow several … Continue reading

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Programming Tip: Open and Close at the Same Time

One useful programming habit I picked up at some point is: if you open or start something, immediately close it or end it. If you open a bracket, immediately write its closing bracket. If you open a file, immediately write … Continue reading

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Nigerian Scammers Are Good People

Via Slashdot comes an IEEE Spectrum article about a new scam from Nigeria. In brief, instead of asking you for money directly, they redirect your business email. They wait until someone orders something from your company, then rewrites the bank … Continue reading

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If You Use Unix, Use Version Control

If you’ve used Unix (or Linux. This applies to Linux, and MacOS X, and probably various flavors of Windows as well), you’ve no doubt found yourself editing configuration files with a text editor. This is especially true if you’ve been … Continue reading

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There Are Days When I Hate XML

…and days when I really hate XML. In this case, I have an XML document like <?xml version=”1.0″ ?> <foo xmlns=”http://some.org/foo”&gt; <thing id=”first”/> <thing id=”second”/> <thing id=”third”/> </foo> and I want to get things out of it with XPath. But … Continue reading

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Would You Get Off the Plane?

There’s an old joke about an instructor who asks, “if you were on a plane, and found out that the inflight systems were controlled by a beta version of software written by your team, would you get off the plane?” … Continue reading

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