There was a rant that bounced up and down the tubes of the internet this week, talking about how one poor fellow migrated all of his important data into google services, only to have google pull the digital rug out from under him by deleting his account after it was algorithmically flagged. This sucks, but one thing I have always been pestered about is the importance of regular backups. Just because google is “the cloud” doesn’t mean your data is in a deadly limbo state of potential destruction if you don’t back it up. The problem is, backing up a machine you control is damn easy, while backing up your cloudified data is not. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking of writing an astronomical toolkit for Arduino, to help users build their own go-to telescope mounts, satellite trackers, heliostats, and other cool amateur astronomy equipment. As anyone who has ever worked with astronomical coordinate systems know, since astronomers treat the sky as a 2 dimensional spherical surface, most calculations involving positions on this surface involve a good deal of trigonometry. While the Arduino library includes built-in functions for sine and cosine, it lacked the inverse trigonometric functions arcsine and arccosine. These are necessary if you ever need to convert a length ratio into an angle. It is impossible to convert between different sky coordinate systems (like Horizontal and Equatorial, the two most common) without access to these functions. In today’s post, I’ll show you how I wrote my own arcsin() and arccos() functions using Taylor polynomials.
Yoghurt advertisements are the funniest thing on TV. First, they are marketed almost exclusively to women – apparently those of us with a Y chromosome are not deemed by the marketing gurus to delight in fermented milk and fruit chunks with quite the same enthusiasm as the fairer sex. Second is the sheer creativity and variety that they manage to apply to marketing what is a fairly standard product.
But my favourite yoghurt marketing technique of all is the super-pseudo-scientific Patented Proprietary Probiotic Cultures – the glorious amalgamations of biological jargon and pseudo-Latin, such as Activia’s “Bifidus Actiregularis” or “L. casei Defensis”. These names, carefully crafted in the bowels of some advertising agency, are calculated to suggest that what you’re getting is the latest in Yoghurt Technology – when in actuality it is merely a proprietary strain of the same bacteria you will find in any yoghurt.
But why should big food companies be having all the fun? Why can’t you and I have our own patented organisms, too? I think we can. And in order to facilitate this, I have created the Proprietary Probiotic Culture Generator. Click the button below to get your own name – perfect for over-hyping any bacteria-based food products you may wish to market in the future!
(Warning: due to Microsoft’s terrible support for open web standards, the above link may not render properly in Internet Explorer)
I had one of those frustrating days where you spend hours and hours searching around for what should be a simple coding solution, to no avail. Finally I was able to patch together enough disparate knowledge to achieve my goal: namely, storing and retrieving a java BitSet on a MySQL database. Below is the solution, which I hope might help any other unfortunate souls looking for this answer.