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November 17, 2008

Any Laptop Recommendations?

Well, my laptop's hard drive died yesterday. While I could think of replacing it, it has some other troubles too and so I kind of don't think it is worth it.

Anyone have any recommendations for a new one? Really don't need anything special - only real requirements are nice, full laptop size keyboard, and can run firefox and putty and such; expect I will stick with Windows. Cheap good too given my limited needs for it.

Posted by aarondf at 02:21 PM | Tech | Comments (0)

March 20, 2008

Project Euler update

Made it into the Top 1000 after yesterday and problems remain interesting.

Couple of ones lately I found interesting were #79 with just how easy it was - did in less than 5 minutes by hand and #58. On this one, it first took me a while to realize the magnitude of the numbers one is dealing with before one gets to the result. Realizing this, I had to shift my approach but I didn't want to individually test for primality an insane number of numbers (mostly for primes I have just been reading in a list of them from a file but it only goes up to like 20 million and here one needs to go way beyond that). I first tried to do a Sieve of Eratosthenes but my computer couldn't handle the memory requirements of a 300+ million element array in Perl. Doing this in C++ with Booleans probably would have solved this but decided not to go that route. I finally ended up using a hybrid approach that was acceptably fast. Read in my primes list file and for numbers under 2 million check against it and then for bigger numbers (by which point one is only needing to test 1 in 1000+ numbers) individually check them.

Posted by aarondf at 03:50 PM | Tech | Comments (0)

March 14, 2008

Project Euler

Has anyone done Project Euler? It is a quite interesting set of math/programming problems. Really think would be a great way to learn a new programming language but I am just doing them in my primary language, Perl, at the moment. I have done 51 problems so far including all of the first 50 except for #46 which I am kind of stuck on. If by any chance you have done #46 (or go ahead and do it after reading this), can you drop me a note? I'd really like to know the magnitude of the answer.

I've been really enjoying solving these. Haven't worried about speed or elegance and just hacking code to get an answer although in a few cases I had to completely rethink/optimize my approach for one reason or another (#11 and #26 in particular). Think some of this will get into math that is somewhat over my head so not sure whether I will keep trying to solve them all and how far into it I will go. Need another 15 or so to make the top 1000.

By the way, I mentioned this to a friend as a good way to learn a new language and we both agreed but of course these are all mathematical in nature and there is a lot of ground they wouldn't cover. Does anyone know of a site with like N (being 10 or 20 or something I expect) problems to do (probably starting with "Hello World" and then getting much more involved fast) after which one should have a basic understanding of the main elements of a language?

Posted by aarondf at 05:36 PM | Tech | Comments (1)

November 12, 2003

SpamAssassin is Wonderful

Boston University where I work and get all my email just recently enabled SpamAssassin on all mail through the central server. I have now made sure that all my mail goes through this server and it is a godsend. Previously I was maintaing a .procmailrc file by hand and it took a bunch of time and was only moderately effective. SpamAssassin is vastly more effective and after a tiny bit of initial setup, there is basically no additional maintenance.

For anyone out there who gets a ton of spam and doesn't have an effective filtering program, I think there is probably almost no investment of time worth more than getting SpamAssassin or another good program installed on your system.

Posted by aarondf at 05:30 PM | Tech | Comments (0)

October 23, 2003

Amazon: Full Text Search of 120,000 scanned books

Amazon introduced a very cool feature today. They have scanned and OCR'd 120,000 books and made the full text available as part of their standard search. If something is found, it also links to the scan of the book it is from for context and all. Super cool and on my couple of tests it worked perfectly including letting me update the attribution for one of my Collected Quotations. There is a Wired article about this as well. Apparently they will keep adding to their database. This could turn out to be a seminal moment in moving the web even more towards its promised land of nearly Universal Research Tool.

Thanks BoingBoing and others for the pointer.

Posted by aarondf at 05:04 PM | Tech | Comments (1)

September 09, 2003

Google and the Web - Wow

This isn't at all a new thought but I had such amazing results with a couple of searches today that more and more I realize the Web is coming into its own as the global encycopedia of all knowledge with Google as the index.

I realized the power of the Web from almost the first moment I used Mosaic but over the years it has grown amazingly to meet that potential and Google has appeared to allow us to exploit it.

These are two of the searches I did today. I wanted to know the distance from Seattle to Portland and so did a search on it and not only did the first result give me an exact distance and estimated travel time it did it without me having to even visit the actual page. I also wanted to look up the name of a cooking store in Paris and found that as like the 3rd link with the store's name that I couldn't remember but could recognize again on the Google page without having to visit the linked page. This is for a country with a different language and a pretty vague search!

A toast to the WWW and Google!

Posted by aarondf at 01:46 PM | Tech | Comments (0)

June 10, 2003

Disappearing post

Hmmm, just noticed that my post yesterday regarding the NBA Finals isn't there. Did I just not publish it? Strange but I am not going to bother to try to recreate it but the series is now 2-1 halfway to my predicted 4-2 result with the Spurs inside game being a bit better than the Nets outside game despite too many turnovers and poor freethrow shooting.

Also, congratulations to the New Jersey Devils on winning the Stanley Cup. I was out at dinner for a friend's 40th birthday and only caught a few minutes of the game on the radio but it was a pretty solid win. I had slightly favored Anaheim but have only ever really followed hockey for a my first couple of undergrad years at Penn when my roommate was a big fan of the Flyers and I got into following them for a while. Still my favorite team but I really don't watch almost any hockey.

Posted by aarondf at 02:27 PM | Tech | Comments (0)

April 02, 2003

Playing with MT/CSS

Although I write a lot of web pages, I for the most part try to keep them quite simple, supporting ancient browsers. This is going to be my first site where I don't worry at all about old browsers.

Freed from this restriction, I get to play with CSS and am learning by doing MT's way of doing things. So far so good.

Oh, one other general comment. I expect this blog to have less links in the entries than most. I have a LOT of links on my main pages and lots of stuff is easy to look up (for example; games and movies via the 'Resources' links in the sidebar) so I will only make things be links if I am referring to a specific site or piece of content. If you want to look them up, you'll have to find games and movies and such yourselves.

Posted by aarondf at 11:46 AM | Meta , Tech | Comments (0)