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2015.01.13

What's the Best Time and Day to Tweet?

I've seen big variations in interactions of similarly interesting (to me at least) tweets that I send, and I think that a deciding factor is the day or the hour I send them. Although there's plenty of material on the web on this topic, as you will see below, personalized results can capture important factors associated with the realities of global interactions.

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2015.01.10

Raspberry Pi and Scratch Control Lego Power Functions

Lego Power Functions is a system of motors, receivers, and remote control units, which can be used with Lego blocks. Scratch is a free programming environment aimed at children. The Raspberry Pi is credit card sized low cost computer with the ability to interact with the outside world. Wouldn't it be neat to use the three together to control Lego toys with Scratch?

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2014.09.25

First, Do No Harm

Let’s face it: not all software developers are superstar programmers (and, trust me, not all luminary developers program in a sane way.) This means that when we maintain existing code, we must be very careful to avoid breaking or degrading the system we work on. Why? Because a failure of a running system can affect operations, people, profits, property, and sometimes even lives. Here are the rules.

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2014.08.08

Impact Factor of Computer Science Journals 2013

The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has published the 2013 Journal Citation Reports. Following similar studies I performed in the past sever years (2007, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13) here is my analysis of the current status and trends for the impact factor of computer science journals.

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2014.07.30

Service Orchestration with Rundeck

Increasingly, software is provided as a service. Managing and controlling the service’s provision is tricky, but tools for service orchestration, such as Rundeck, can make our lives easier. Take software deployment as an example. A well-run IT shop will have automated both the building of its software using tools like make, Ant, and Maven and the configuration of the hosts the software runs on with CFEngine, Chef, or Puppet (see the post “Don’t Install Software by Hand”). Furthermore, version control tools and continuous integration will manage the software and the configuration recipes, handling developer contributions, reviews, traceability, branches, logging, and sophisticated workflows. However, these tools still leave a gap between the software that has been built and is ready to deploy, and the server that has been configured with the appropriate components and libraries and is ready to run the software.

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2014.04.24

Developing in the Cloud

Running a top-notch software development organization used to be a capital-intensive endeavor, requiring significant technical and organizational resources, all managed through layers of bureaucracy. Not anymore. First, many of the pricey systems and tools that we developers need to work effectively are usually available for free as open source software. More importantly, cheap, cloud-based offerings do away with the setup, maintenance, and user support costs and complexity associated with running these systems. Here are just a few of the services and providers that any developer group can easily tap into (you can find many more listed here):

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2014.01.15

Bespoke Infrastructures

In the 1920s, the Ford Motor Company embarked on an ill-fated attempt to establish an industrial town in an Amazon rainforest as a way to secure a cultivated rubber supply for its cars’ wheels. At the time, it already owned ore mines, forests, and a steel foundry to produce the raw materials for its cars; today, it buys from external suppliers, even its cars’ electronic control units. How do these two phases of the automotive industry’s history relate to the way we currently develop and adopt infrastructure in our profession?

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2013.12.11

The Birth of Standard Error

Earlier today Stephen Johnson, in a mailing list run by the The Unix Heritage Society, described the birth of the standard error concept: the idea that a program's error output is sent on a channel different from that of its normal output. Over the past forty years, all major operating systems and language libraries have embraced this concept.

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2013.12.06

The Frictionless Development Environment Scorecard

The environment we work in as developers can make a tremendous difference on our productivity and well-being. I’ve often seen myself get trapped in an unproductive setup through a combination of inertia, sloth, and entropy. Sometimes I put-off investing in new, better tools, at other times I avoid the work required to automate a time-consuming process, and, also, as time goes by, changes in my environment blunt the edge of my setup. I thus occasionally enter into a state where my productivity suffers death by a thousand cuts. I’ve also seen the same situation when working with colleagues: cases where to achieve a simple task they waste considerable time and energy jumping through multiple hoops.

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2013.10.21

A Better Air Gap

Bruce Schneier recently published ten rules for setting up an air-gapped computer; a computer that even the NSA can't hack, because it's not connected to the internet. His rules are practical and make sense, but, given the number of vulnerabilities regularly found in modern operating systems, I think that they need strengthening.

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Creative Commons License Last update: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 12:31 am
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.