Artsy Recycling: follow-up

June 28, 2012

A while ago I wrote to my mayor to ask for better recycling of electronics and other technological items in my home town. The mayor responded rapidly with good news!

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Asking the Right Question

June 5, 2012

There are many reasons why you’d like to know if your user liked something or not. It can be used later for recommendation, for example, or to assess whether or not the users want the new feature you’ve just added. And it seems to me that not only the question but also the choices of answers offered matters a lot.

So, let’s say you add an (optional) survey to your application to collect feedback. You can ask a yes/no question like “do you like the new feature?”. The obvious yes/no answer isn’t so obvious. If the users select yes, it means yes, but what if they click no?

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Herding Cats

April 10, 2012

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression herding cats before. When you’re trying to manage programmers, the expression certainly comes to mind. What if programmers were cats, which one would you be?

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Suggested Reading: Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction 2

December 30, 2011

John Austin — Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction 2 —
Build A Secret Agent Arsenal
 — Chicago Review Press
2011, 260 pp. ISBN 978-1-56976-716-0

(Buy at

A quite amusing little books on needlessly complicated hacks, but that can bring quite the ruckus in the office/school. Q-Tip launchers, (paper) ninja stars, rubberband weapons, CD periscopes, … all built from readily available office supplies. In fact, they are all way too complicated, but sooo much fun.

Run, Python, Run!

September 13, 2011

I still can’t figure out exactly which operations are expensive in Python. My C/C++ can’t help me much because it seems that things aren’t implemented like I’d’ve expected—like lists that aren’t lists, but array lists, leading to O(n) for operations you would otherwise expect to be O(1).

But a friend of mine—Olivier—showed me a simple, basic, yet rather effective tool to profile Python programs (I’m not sure if I should say script or not).

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Log Books

June 21, 2011

The other day, I was discussing with a friend about my log books, and it seems that, while it’s fairly common with scientists of all sorts, it’s not a generalized practice amongst computer scientists and programmers. But it should: the log book is not only for chemists.

First, the log book serves as… a log. A written trace of your activity during the day. While this sounds silly, it may be useful in retrospect when it is needed to assess time spent on a particular (class of) task(s), to get a good idea of were you are spending your time at work.

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Simple Color Management with Gnome

June 7, 2011

Some time ago, I complained about laptops having sucky screens, but it seems there is a way to deal with rather bad colors in Gnome.

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