Fixing Computers

Pretty often, a friend or relative asks if I can fix something that’s wrong with their computer. Because I’m very irritable in some respects, my first impulse is always to┬ásay something like “Sure! And I bet a brain surgeon would love to put a band-aid on that ouchie, too.” Usually, I manage to resist. Over […]

Making the Sentence Structure of Paragraphs Apparent

This post is about a tiny thing that makes a big difference in practice because I spend so much time writing. Usually, people compose paragraphs as monolithic blocks of text. For several years now, I’ve written paragraphs like this: Integer overflow bugs in C and C++ programs are difficult to track down and may lead […]

Intel vs. ARM

“Intel vs. Arm” returns 65,000 hits from Google, and in general much is made of the contrast between Intel’s near-dominance in the high-performance market and ARM’s near-dominance in the phone/tablet market. But it seems that: Intel’s important asset is its massive fab capacity. In a web-based and mobile world, their aged ISA is increasingly irrelevant. […]


As people probably noticed, lately someone hacked my WordPress installation and turned this blog into a pharmaceutical link farm. I asked Dreamhost for help and they sent me sort of a friendly “have fun fixing that!” message, but they did run an automated scan indicating that something was wrong with my wp-config.php file. Sure enough, […]

Google House

Although I use Google Earth fairly often, I generally leave “3D buildings” turned off since my machines tend to have the crappiest possible graphics cards. But the other day I randomly turned it on and was surprised to find that Salt Lake City is now heavily populated with building models, even including some residential neighborhoods. […]

Embrace WTF

Most people who do quantitative work, especially involving computers, mutter “What the fuck?” or something similar pretty often. Lately I’ve been thinking about WTF in more detail. WTF is good because it stems from dawning recognition of one’s own ignorance, and without recognizing ignorance we cannot eliminate it. Here I am only discussing serious WTF, […]

Polar Bears 2011

My work life, as readers of this blog have probably gathered, seems to mainly involve trying to keep funding agencies happy, teaching concepts like deadlock avoidance to bored undergraduates, exhorting grad students to work harder, going to pointless meetings, and spending any remaining time responding to emails. Of course I have a blog where I […]