week 05, 2020

Are you ready to work remotely?

Remote work is fantastic. You avoid a commute, have control over your work environment, and save money on lunches. However, it has downsides. You need a fast internet connection, you must be disciplined, over communicate and stay on task. You have to be OK with relative solitude.

Source: Are you ready to work remotely?, an article by Dan Moore.

Keeping Secrets in Emacs with GnuPG and Auth Sources

Storing your secrets in plain text is Bad Idea whether it’s your Vogon Poetry or your e-mail credentials. Depending on your level of paranoia (it’s not paranoia if they really are watching you…) the advice in this article may not be enough; but for most, though, keeping your secrets encrypted on your file system is an easy way of keeping your secrets secret.

Emacs, obviously, can do this for you, and in a variety of ways.

Source: Keeping Secrets in Emacs with GnuPG and Auth Sources, an article by Mickey Petersen.

An Opinionated Guide to ML Research

In this essay, I provide some advice to up-and-coming researchers in machine learning (ML), based on my experience doing research and advising others. The advice covers how to choose problems and organize your time. I also recommend the following prior essays on similar topics:

My essay will cover similar ground, but it’s more tuned to the peculiar features of ML.

Source: An Opinionated Guide to ML Research, an article by John Schulman.

Iron Gold: Excellent

In the morning I finished Iron Gold, the fourth book in the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. I like this book a lot, especially the four different story lines. Of the four books I've read in this series, so far, I like the first the most, and Iron Gold comes on a solid second place. Highly recommended.

Dark Age

A decade ago Darrow led a revolution, and laid the foundations for a new world. Now he’s an outlaw.

Cast out of the very Republic he founded, with half his fleet destroyed, he wages a rogue war on Mercury. Outnumbered and outgunned, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will he become the very evil he fought to destroy?

In the evening I started in Dark Age, the fifth book in the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown.

Some Useful Probability Facts for Systems Programming

Probability problems come up a lot in systems programming, and I’m using that term loosely to mean everything from operating systems programming and networking, to building large online services, to creating virtual worlds like in games. Here’s a bunch of rough-and-ready probability rules of thumb that are deeply related and have many practical applications when designing systems.

Source: Some Useful Probability Facts for Systems Programming, an article by Simon Arneaud.

Swift’s closure capturing mechanics

Closures are an increasingly important part of Swift, both in terms of the overall direction of the language itself, and when it comes to the ways that both Apple and third party developers design libraries and APIs using it. However, closures also come with a certain set of complexities and behaviors that at first can be quite difficult to fully grasp — especially when it comes to how they capture values and objects from their surrounding context in order to perform their work.

Source: Swift’s closure capturing mechanics, an article by John Sundell.

Mallard couple

On the way back to home I took a photo of a mallard couple, Anas platyrhynchos.

Mallard couple
Mallard couple, Anas platyrhynchos. Female left, male right. In the back an Eurasian coot, Fulica atra.

The Shapes of Code

Every piece of code we write is unique, or pretty much. However, there are things that are common in a lot of code, even across various codebases, and even across various languages: the physical shape that code has.

Beyond the mere visual aspect of code, the shape of a piece of code can carry information by itself. Being able to decipher this information allows to glean indications about the code at a glance, even before starting to read it. This information is valuable in itself, and afterwards during the reading of the code itself.

Source: The Shapes of Code, an article by Jonathan Boccara.