One Big Fluke

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!not-important
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I want the Kardashian game, but starring Elon Musk.
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How to Internet

  1. Read a cool blog post you find interesting
  2. Leave a supportive comment and link to related ideas
  3. Receive an email from the post’s author saying your comment is spam
  4. They delete your comment

Ahh… wondrous delight. Just another day.
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Tweet storms

1/ Tweets that are numbered are annoying. Please stop being lazy and use a blog.

2/ If it’s not important enough for you to edit, it’s not important enough for us to read.

Just stop! You’re wasting everyone’s time.
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The Data Triumvirate

There’s a huge focus right now on building products and services that do data analysis. Developing these systems involves three distinct groups of stakeholders that have opposing viewpoints.

  • The product managers are trying to sell something. They want the data to show what they’re selling is working for someone (themselves, customers, end-users). They want impact.
  • The statisticians are trying to ensure correctness. They want the data to be unbiased. They want the methodology for finding results in the data to be defensible the their peers.
  • The engineers are trying to ship the simplest thing possible. They want to minimize the complexity of analyzing the data. They want a data pipeline that is maintainable and extensible.

The tension between these roles is crucial. If one outlook dominates a joint effort you’re setting yourself up for failure.

  • If the product managers always get their way you’re letting a fox guard the hen house. They’ll find significance in the data at the expense of bias and methodological validity. You’ll be selling snake oil.
  • If the statisticians get their way you’ll never ship your product. Compensating for every bias in a dataset is nearly impossible. You’ll never have the 99% confidence they want for every measure.
  • If the engineers get their way your product will be too simplistic. The most maintainable implementation will undermine the statistical methods. The impact measured won’t be compelling enough to sell.

If you’re doing analysis, make sure you’re part of a data triumvirate. It’s similar to the relationship between product managers and tech leads. You need a balance of power to build the right thing.
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Damn! If only there were more static site generators to choose from.
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It’s “Temps Universel Coordonné” or “Coordinated Universal Time” — Why do we call it UTC?
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Python, C++, and Go as bicycles

I’m still trying to find the boundaries between Python, C++, and Go when building something new. The split between Python and C++ is a clear tradeoff of bare-metal performance for developer productivity. The split between Go and C++ is easy for me because of scars from templates and the difficulty of concurrent programming in C++.

What’s been difficult is finding the dividing line between Python and Go. What I’ve been able to come up with so far is a trite analogy involving types of bicycles.

Python is a touring bicycle. It’s approachable and easy for anyone to learn how to ride. It has features like a basket, fenders, lights, and a pump that make it practical for almost every situation. Its limited gears mean it’s dependable, but slow unless you pedal hard.



C++ is a race bike. It’s difficult to ride and easy to crash. It has multiple sets of handlebars and every other feature a bike could offer for maximum speed. Its fragility makes it impractical for simple riding, but it can get you there faster than anything else.



Go is a modern cyclo-cross bike. It’s simpler and safer than a race bike, but still fast. It has most of the features you want (light-weight, aerodynamic) and some that are uniquely surprising (durability, knobby tires). It’s a whole new category of riding.



Continuing with the bad joke, Java would be the bicycle factory factory. Okay — the analogy breaks down quickly. But it’s not so awful.

For an unexpected adventure I’d choose the touring bike (Python): quickly building something new, handling all environments easily, everything I need built-in. For competing on a more well-defined course with treacherous obstacles I’d choose the modern cyclo-cross bike (Go): speed, versatility, safety. For a time trial on smooth roads with no obstacles I may even risk riding the race bike (C++).

That’s the best assessment I’ve got for now. Where do you draw the line?
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from turtle import *

Did you know Python has turtle built-in?
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Quilla now uses HTTPS by default for everything.
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