posted on 2007-11-24 07:31:25
Random blog post thingie. I didn't really expect to post anything but frequent, random and disjointed is a lot easier than occasional and structured/intelligent. So here goes.
First of all, many of you may know/love XKCD
. I mentioned to some of you but for some reason didn't think to post that I found this great little talk
that the author of XKCD, Randall Munroe, gave at a programming conference. It's actually totally worth watching for at least the first 10 to 20 minutes just to hear some of his funny stories about FAA Regulations on Kite Flying and other such craziness. After that he talks for another hour about other stuff and there's comedy interspersed but it's not quite as constant.
There were some reassuring thoughts after having watched the first hour or so of that. One significant one being that Randall Munroe doesn't think he's a very good programmer because he can settle for "good enough" style hacks. The other being that here's this guy who's clearly pretty intelligent but maybe not interested in "the real world" and managed to go off and be interesting and do his own thing that he's interested in. He created a successful job that I couldn't have imagined and that certainly if it had been mentioned in table conversation as a future aspiration would've been laughed at. But look at him now. It makes me feel like you really can come up with some crazy thing and maybe actually live off it. Then again he might just be extraordinarily entertaining.
Two other thoughts:
What if hiring companies (you know, outsourced HR) did hiring like mutual fund and brokerage groups do investment? What if employees were low, medium, and high risk and selected by experts in a given sector of business? Certainly would change things a bit wouldn't it? And if people are really the biggest investments a company makes why isn't this done? (I'm thinking of this in terms of software and in response to a lot of things I've read lately including the latest raganwald post
and some resumes. It's an interesting thought though isn't it?)
Finally, I read a really cool blog entry
by a pretty smart and experienced guy (intimidating resume, don't know that mine could ever look like that) about an Erlang-based OS running on Minix 3. It's really a what-if kind of thing but very interesting none the less and compelling if one considers the fact that we are moving away from the present single processor, non-parallel, side effect laden nature of software.
posted on 2007-08-17 12:27:58
So, I apparently asked a good question
on Patrick Logan's blog
. And he gave me a good answer:
"I can see someone making the argument in some domain I don't usually work in that shared memory threads are better than shared nothing message passing for performance reasons. Some hard-real time scenario, some huge number crunching scenario, etc. where every byte and every cycle has to count in the extreme. But the irony then is that STM seems far more suited to a language like Haskell, which is also unlikely to be suited for these performance scenarios.
My only fear is that for the masses including myself, we need *simple* mechanisms, and the fewer of those, the better. Shared nothing messages seem to scale up, out, and down. STM seems more complicated, and an incomplete solution, and only a solution for shared memory."
Indeed. Aside from Andre Pang's Erlang and Concurrency talk
, I've watched Adam Welc's Google Tech Talk on Transactional Memory
and am planning on listening to Simon Peyton-Jones OSCON talk on STM
later today. Now, whether I'll end up listening to the other two
Google Tech Talks on Transaction Memory I don't know. I have, as mentioned, read Sweeney's POPL slides
So far, I end up thinking two things hearing these talks.
1) This is an ugly hack.
2) Overhead, overhead, overhead.
At any rate, It's nice to be involved in a high-level nerd conversation with very smart people. That's always fun.
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