Posts Tagged ‘video’

10th December
2010
written by Therese

To add to our blog post series about fun machines in Lego (Turing, most useless, 3D-printer and so on) here is a video of the antikythera mechanism built in Lego – that is the functionality is simulated with a machine built in Lego, but it certainly doesn’t look like the original.

If you don’t remember what the antikythera mechanism is then let wikipedia enlighten you:

“The Antikythera mechanism … is an ancient mechanical computer[1][2] designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck,[3] but its complexity and significance were not understood until decades later. It is now thought to have been built about 150–100 BCE. The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to late medieval Swiss watchmaking.[citation needed] Technological artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.[4]”

The modern version is explained in this video:

A really really old computer rebuilt in Lego – what’s not to like?

29th October
2010
written by Therese

Most of the time startups focus on getting investors and optimizing for how much money they/we get out of it. But is that really the best strategy?

Github founder Tom Preston-Werner doesn’t think so. Github has never taken founding from VCs or Angel investors. Tom believes that you should optimize for happiness instead and actually that could also have a positive effect on the money part of things. If you build it they will come…

I recently found a video of Tom giving a presentation at startup school. I really likes his way of thinking:


Watch live video from c3oorg on Justin.tv

I was (as I previously mentioned) at a talk by Tom Preston-Werner a few weeks ago at JAOO about Github and Git. He is a really great speaker and his star in my book did not fade because he and the other github-people sponsered a drinkup during JAOO. I got to talk to some really interesting people and that lead to an idea that I’m going to work on in the future. It seems like what Tom is talking about in the video really works.

My main takeaways from Toms presentation: creating win-win situations, helping luck through proximity and being creative in not paying for things. It seems like I have been on the right path all along ;-).

If you have to chance to hear Tom present, don’t miss it. He is a laid-back, really cool guy.

15th September
2010
written by Therese

So far all my code versioning needs has been covered by CVS and SVN, but recently I keep hearing about distributed version control. Git and Mercurial are very popular topics in certain parts of my social circle, so I decided that I need to look into the topic (some very painful personal experience with a large programming project on Subversion also had some motivational influence on that decision).

So where to start?

I decided to start looking into Git. This was not a deliberate deselection of Mercurial but motivated by my attendance at the IT-conference JAOO in a months time and at JAOO Scott Chacon from GitHub will host a Git 101 tutorial, which I am considering attending (oh, and one of the GitHub founders, Tom Preston-Werner, will do a presentation called “Mastering Git Basics”, which also could be interesting).

My starting point was wikipedia and as it mentions that Git is designed and originally developed by Linus Thorvalds, I googled Git together with his name to see what he had to say about the subject. The result was this Tech talk from Google, that I quite enjoyed:

Then I told my twitter friends that am looking into Git and as always they give great feedback. My favorite was from jlouis666, who pointed me to a page with the Pro Git book by aforementioned Scott Chacon (the guy hosting a Git tutorial at JAOO), which is available online. I’m hoping to look into it before his tutorial.

So far I have not had time to really play with Git. Because all my existing projects are in SVN and migrating between two such different systems would probably be unwise/a pain I am saving my practical experience with Git for my next project. I hope that these things I am looking into will prepare me for the practical experience, but any advise you have could really help too…

After JAOO I plan to look into Mercurial/hg – If you know of good sources of information for that I would love to hear about it. (I guess with all the Git-stuff at JAOO they didn’t have any time slots left for Mercurial or maybe they have just chosen their favorite…)

22nd August
2010
written by Therese

As I have said before – I love the RSA Animate videos. This one is about enlightenment, which I as a scientist at heart feel is a very important subject.

Because of our upcoming trip I can’t help but to read an extra level of enlightenment of travel into this video and the term “global empathy” really hit the nail on the head for me. I hope to learn much from our journey through the world and feeling the global empathy more is one of those fields I hope to improve in. Sometimes it is about the journey and not the destination.

8th August
2010
written by Therese

First of all: I’m not really the backpacking type. The reality is that I’m going travelling for what right now looks like a year, but as my husband says: “Don’t put an end date on it. It will just confuse people if we decide to come back after 3 months or 3 years.” And he’s probably right.

Secondly, I’m too old for budget backpacking and cheap hotels. I like a comfy bed and running hot water IN my hotel room. I like to dress up to go out in the evening and I can’t live without WiFi and my computer. I’m probably a “medium” budget traveller: no 5 star hotels for me unless they are really cheap, but I’ll prefer a 3 star minimum and I love swimming pools.

We have decided to tour a bit of Asia with stops in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and maybe more but we really like the thought of just “winging it” as we go along, so nothing is set in stone. We need to keep expenses at about 3500 USD/20000 DKK a month to be able to stay for 12 months, that is if we do not produce anything of value as we go along. (The plan is to code up some of our own projects, that we have been neglecting and if some of those projects produce an income that would allow us to tweak the budget. Of course this blog is also a very small source of income through Google Ads.)

So… what to pack for such a trip? I found inspiration in this video:

As Nick mentions:
A security pouch, passport, copy of passport, credit card, cash, comfy shoes, clothes (in his case mens clothes), underwear, a first aid kit, medicine, sun screen, sun hat, a flashlight (head lamp), an iPod, travel alarm clock, light towel, rain jacket, rain poncho for you AND backpack, water bottle, a backpack with a day bag, camera and sunglasses.

As a girl (geek) and a more luxury traveller I will also bring:
dressy shoes,
3 dresses and a skirt,
bathing suit,
vaccination papers,
duct tape (and I really think Nick forgot this or maybe it is in his first aid kit),
a book,
a computer (and all the computer cords that comes with that),
a computer sleeve,
an extension cord,
computer speakers,
an external hard drive,
an external computer battery possibly with solar panel,
insurance papers,
pen,
my idea book (long story),
makeup and other beauty products (in DK the chemical levels are closely monitored and regulated – I don’t know if that is true for products bought in Asia).

But I will leave (with a heavy heart) at my parents house:
my wedding ring and all my real gold and diamond jewelry that I can’t bear see lost or stolen,
All my other shoes and clothes,
my library of great books and
all gadgets, computers and consoles not fit for travelling.

Of course there is probably a few things on my list that I could buy during my travels instead of packing them, but these are the things I like to have with me from day one. Can you help me tweak this list? What have I forgotten? What would you leave out if you were taking this trip?

14th July
2010
written by Therese

Our industry is plagued by an epidemic of very bad code

– Robert C. Martin (known as Uncle Bob), founder of ObjectMentor and author of several books including Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship.

Of course Uncle Bob would say that because it serves his purpose of selling the Clean Code-book, but I would still agree with him on this one. I often hear a lot of programmers complaining that in a world of perpetual recurring short deadlines there will be a lot of technical debt and code debt in our line of work. Unfortunately.

But what can we do about it? There is never time for a spring cleaning and the business usually can’t see the point of such an activity, but hey, they are not the ones having to live in that messed up codebase.

Sometimes I even hear the technical debt argument as a anti-agile argument – because an organic not-designed-up-front architecture is inevitably going to end up with a lot of technical debt IF NOT REFACTORED on a regular basis. My answer to that, is that refactoring is a part of any agile programmers job – your story is not finished before you have refactored the code and considering architectural refactoring should be part of sprint planning.

A similar point is made by Uncle Bob in this video from the IT-conference JAOO (about 7 minutes in);
When Uncle Bob asks Pete McBreen how a programmer can get the time to write good code and his answer is: “you should cheat the boss – just write good code without permission to use the time”, Uncle Bob comments, that he doesn’t consider that cheating – he considers that professionalism!

I still believe that an organic REFACTORED architecture is better than an up-front-planned architecture, that is outdated and worked around when adding new features.

Is your work also impeded by bad code? Do you consider it professionalism to cheat your way to a liveable codebase?

P.S. Michael Feathers (also in the video) just wrote a blog post about learning from bad code. Please consider helping him with this project.

11th July
2010
written by Therese

TEDAs a geek I love going META – and a TED talk about TED talks is a hit with me.

Sebastian Wernicke analyzed TED talks and concludes that when you deliver one you should talk about how “french coffee spreads happiness in your brain” because that is the top words from the most popular talks. He also concludes that if you want to make a bad TED talk the top 5 words you should mention are:

  1. So
  2. Oxygen
  3. Aircraft
  4. Project
  5. Girls

Considering how popular a topic number five is in other places of the Internet that is quite funny. Other unpopular words include “computer”, “feet” and “design” (and I conclude from that, that you shouldn’t be giving TED talks about how you designed a creative way to control computers with your feet)… et cetera, et cetera…

Watch the video:

I wonder if these facts are transferable to any kind of talk – like maybe a thesis defense?

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3rd July
2010
written by Therese

My previous post about the Lego Turing Machine could (for some) be a contender for the title of “The most useless machine ever built in Lego”, but it is certainly a step up from this useless but entertaining machine: A machine that turns itself off.

Useless but cute. How do people even think up these things?

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1st July
2010
written by Therese

>”Honey, you’re my treasure.”
>”No, the Lego is the treasure. Dad – We’re Lego rich!”

Combining TED talks and Lego is a winning formula. This guy is really Lego-geeky – I love his story:

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