July 2020

Talks & Podcasts

  • AI Podcast with Lex Fridman – #104 - David Patterson: Computer Architecture and Data Storage

    I had previously heard the name ‘David Patterson’ but I didn’t realize his work is everywhere. In this podcast he is interviewed about instruction set architectures (ISAs) in general, the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) versus Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC) debate, his time contributing to RISC processor architectures and the 2010 RISC-V open standard ISA. They also discuss whether Moore’s Law is dead or not – Patterson: technically the number of transistors on a chip is not doubling anymore, so it’s definitely dead. Also: MLPerf.

Blog Posts

  • Things I wish I’d known about CSS

    One of the things I do in my part-time job is teach a remote 3-day course on HTML and CSS. The fundamentals are easy to grasp, but only few get to the point where they understand that wanting to specify exactly where elements should be positioned is swimming against the current. The idea is that you specify elements’ behavior. This post applies that line of thinking, and it might be a nice one to share with the students at the end of the course.

  • Daniel Näslund – Views on Error Handling

    Daniel summarizes various views on error handling from various people who’ve contributed to various languages in various ways. Various, various!

Cool Projects

  • MLPerf

    As mentioned by David Patterson in the podcast linked above: a set of benchmarks for measuring training and inference performance of ML hardware, software and services.

  • Rich

    Also for my part-time job, this month I’m writing a command-line tool that lets students start and test our assignments. I’m considering using Rich, which is a Python library for rich text, tables and colors in the terminal. It’s designed to work intuitively and features nice example code.

Music

  • Nir Felder - II

    Finally! I’ve been listening to Nir Felder’s previous album Golden Age for years. I went as far as asking a saxofonist I knew he previously played with – Bob Reynolds – if he knew what Nir Felder was up to. Well, it was worth the wait! I especially like the tracks ‘Fire in August’ and ‘Coronation’ because they have such strong melodies. In general I think Nir Felder is simultaneously great at creating and playing an absolutely demolishing, powerful melody, and at playing light on his feet with tight, chromatic lines as well as wide sweeps. Added bonus: weirdo guitarist sound effects.

  • Reijseger Fraanje Sylla – Live at the Bimhuis

    One hour of a live music with cello, piano and Senegalese vocals and percussion. Beautiful melodies and cheerful rhythms, at nicely recorded as well.

Snippets

  • Piping HTML to Firefox

    I use Pandoc a lot to convert various markup formats into PDF or HTML. It’s nice to set up a live preview workflow with something like entr, but when I’m just quickly modifying a single file I found myself often doing something like:

    pandoc examle.rst -o example.html
    firefox example.html
    

    I do this just to see if it would render OK, only to then delete the example.html-file immediately afterwards. I was wondering if you could pipe it to Firefox directly to skip that extra step, and of course you can. Now I have this in my bash profile:

    alias pipefox='firefox "data:text/html;base64,$(base64 -w 0 <&0)"'
    

    And I do this when I quickly want to preview an HTML-file:

    pandoc example.rst -t html | pipefox