I am subscribed to the Fermat’s Library newsletter. Their paper of the week is The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp. The author, R. A. Radford, observed the life of the prisoners and their economic interactions. I guess this is a coping mechanism in a way. Use what you know to understand the situation you are in and survive the best way you can.
Radford’s paper and the use of cigarettes as currency reminded me also of the use of rum as currency in 1790 Australia (the most popular form in fact). Which also came with its own set of problems: Farmers had no incentive to produce crops only to be paid in rum. They had to pay workers in rum and with many workers drinking their pay, productivity was lowered.
It reminds me also of the book Games Prisoners Play, where its author Marek M. Kaminsky, while imprisoned in Communist Poland, started mapping the dynamics between groups of prisoners and analysing them using Game Theory.
Williams: A Different Kind of Life by Virginia Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a very important book regardless of whether you are a F1 fan or not. Actually there is very little F1 racing in the book. This is a book about pivotal life changes. It describes the life Virginia Williams had with Frank before and after the accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
As such this book is about caregivers; the untrained, totally unprepared family members who are suddenly efforted to be a complete support infrastructure 24×7.
There are many books about disabled persons who overcame and thrived. There are none about caregivers and what it means to them.
I recognized every bit of hope, pain and frustration expressed in the book. Even to the point of (over)using painkillers as a crutch to make it though the day dealing with both the emotional and physical pain.
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I do not remember the podcast episode where the guest mentioned something that stuck with me: JVM is the single piece of software that has been so thoroughly engineered. Exaggeration aside, the guest was mostly right. We deploy tons of stuff that runs on JVM and we have to turn a multitude of knobs (usually by copy-pasting from SO/SF) until it somehow works. That’s why I learned Groovy. To be able to write 10 lines of code that would run on the JVM.
Erlang’s BEAM is another platform that needs to be mentioned. It still does not have the adoption it should given that we now run distributed systems all the time and need to orchestrate stuff. We prefer to hit our hammers on Kubernetes instead. Maybe this is because of the Prolog-like feeling of Erlang. That’s why Elixir has been in my bucket list. I’ve not written a single line of code yet.
Golang is the obvious suspect when you’re paid to run stuff on Kubernetes. The combination is like C and Unix: Go and Kubernetes. There’s nothing more to add here.
LLVM is other thing to look into. It seems to be the compiler backend, especially when you’re not writing a compiler of your own. Guess what? Julia is the thing I’m looking into. At a point in time, you’re going to need something different than Python and Pandas or other combination. My bet is Julia. I have written 10 lines of code in it :)
Anything more exotic? Well, as I am approaching 50, I’m thinking of visiting APL. But not without a project at hand.
I could have invested all this time and learn a single language instead: C++
Sometimes you need a proxy server. Not because you really want to proxy and cache stuff, but because you want to study the behavior. Yesterday was such a day for me. I just wanted to see what calls were made by a program and I needed something to intervene. Not something fancy. I went to DockerHub searched for squid in the box and sure enough, Canonical has an image uploaded:
docker run --rm -p 3128:3128 ubuntu/squid
That single line pushed things a bit forward for me last night.
Things that returned to my mind as I sat today in front of the screen:
- The Datacenter as a Computer, book. A PDF can be found here.
- AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba, Digital Ocean
- Thomas Watson saying “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”
- Ken Thompson saying “The future of OS is just a stream to the cloud. Doesn’t see “universal cloud computer” Companies will try to dominate.” Cloud Drives, your music from a streaming service, even your Office documents, etc.
Right now I am subscribed to two cloud drives and am battling migrating from one to the other. It took about a year for one client to not crash when downloading the whole content locally.
- An old post of mine that I never expanded on, just like this one.