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2017.01.16

How to avoid redoing manual corrections

Say you have an automated process to create a report, which you then have to polish by hand, because there are adjustments that require human judgment. After three hours of polishing, you realize that the report is full of errors due to a bug in the initial reporting process. Is there a way to salvage the three hours of work you put into it?

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2017.01.03

Debugging PCSecrets Synchronization

A reader of my Effective Debugging book commented that debugging is learned through experience. I think he's partly right, so I'll periodically describe here techniques and tools I use when debugging. A problem I faced today was the inability of the PC-based PCSecrets program to sync with the Secrets for Android counterpart. Here is how I troubleshot and solved the problem.

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2017.01.01

As it Happened: Leap Second 37

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2016.12.02

Computer vs Human 0-1

Earlier today the Athens State Orchestra played the Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 by Camille Saint-Saens, which is also known as the Organ Symphony. The French organist and composer Thierry Escaich was supposed to play the organ. There was a slight delay at the beginning: a lady appeared on stage and explained that there were technical problems with the organ's "brain".

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2016.11.17

The State of Software Engineering Research

At the 2016 Foundations of Software Engineering conference, a panel discussed the state of software engineering research. The panelists were asked to reflect on three questions.

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2016.10.27

Netdata on a Raspberry Pi

A couple of days ago I had the privilege to see a demo of netdata by Costa Tsaousis, the person behind this project. The project offers comprehensive real time monitoring of a Linux computer with low overhead in a single easily-installed and self-contained system. I thought this was too good to be true, but the number of users and installations hinted that this could well be the case. I therefore decided to install the system on a Raspberry Pi I'm configuring to replace an ancient 20 year old IBM PS/2 server.

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2016.10.13

Debugging a File Synchronization Problem

In Effective Debugging I write that if a web search doesn't return you any useful results, then maybe you're barking at the wrong tree. Here's an example.

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2016.09.13

Revision Control Smells

As software developers, we talk about code smells, design smells, and even configuration smells. While reviewing some code, it occurred to me that revision control smells are also distinguishable and important. Here are some obvious ones and my recommendations for avoiding them. An orderly revision control repository is a sign of professionalism.

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2016.05.07

The Computer Tube

I've been reading the book ENIAC in Action, which details the fascinating ten-year history of the first general-purpose programmable electronic computer. In it I found a reference to 7AK7, the so-called computer tube, which improved the reliability of tube computers.

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2016.03.18

Verifying the Substitution Cipher Folklore

A substitution cipher has each letter substituted with another. Cryptography folklore has it that simple substitution ciphers are trivial to break by looking at the letter frequencies of the encrypted text. I tested the folklore and the results were not quite what I was expecting.

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.