Introduction to Precision Farming

[My father, David Regehr, encouraged me to write this piece, provided some of its content, edited it, and agreed to let me use data from his farm.] [For readers outside the USA: Alas, we do not farm in metric here. In case you’re not familiar with the notation, 10″ is ten inches (25.4 cm) and …

Classic Bug Reports

A bug report is sometimes entertaining either because of the personalities involved or because of the bug itself. Here are a collection of links into public bug trackers; I learned about most of these in a recent Twitter thread. GCC’s magnum opus, its War and Peace, is Bug 323: optimized code gives strange floating point …

Inversions in Computing

Some computer things change very slowly; for example, my newish desktop at home has a PS/2 port. Other things change rapidly: my 2010 iPad is kind of a stone-age relic now. This kind of differential progress creates some funny inversions. A couple of historical examples: Apparently at one point in the 80s or 90s (this …

What I Accomplished in Grad School

I often talk to students who are thinking about grad school. The advice I generally give is a dressed-up version of “Just do whatever the hell will make you happy.” But if we all had solid ideas about what would make us happy then, well, we’d probably be a lot more happy. Here’s a list …

Automatically Entering the Grand C++ Error Explosion Competition

G++ can be comically verbose; developers sometimes like to wallpaper their cubes with choice error messages from Boost or STL programs. The Grand C++ Error Explosion Competition asks the question: how large can we make the ratio between error output and compiler input? I’m not much of a C++ person but when the contest was …

Funniest Computer Book?

The other day Eric Eide noticed The UNIX Hater’s Handbook on my desk and remarked that there aren’t enough funny computer books. This is undeniably true. So now I’m trying to find the funniest computer book and I’d appreciate some help. Here are a few guidelines: Not really looking for a Dilbert collection. Let’s just …