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 These days, I mostly post my tech musings on Linkedin.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanmcgrath/

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Fractals revisited

The fractint site brings back memories. I used to play with fractals when I worked developing graphics software in the financial futures industry in the early Eighties. I remember one weekend in particular, in the offices of Dave Croydon, Software Writer, just outside Brighton. I had a 1024x1068 graphics card (a Texas Instruments something-or-other) plus a glorious high res CMYB photo-quality printer. The printer worked with ultra fancy paper and made four runs over the paper - one for Cyan, one for Mangenta, one for Yellow and one for pure black. I had coded up a Fractal Fern Leaf generator using the IFS algorithm. I let the generator run on Saturday night, let the print run on Sunday night and spent all day Monday showing off the print.
Was I a geek or what! (s/was/am/).

Thursday, May 15, 2003

From standalone program to (standalone program + module of other programs) - the inevitable evolutionary path of iterative software development

I write a lot of stuff in Python. It goes like this. I need a program to do X. I write it. I use it. Then I find that the program would be useful as a module of another program. No problem - its already a *module* - thanks to Python.
Here Guido van Rossum gives some tips on refining your standalone Python programs so that they are also good modules for larger programs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Why are presentation slides boring? + The need for outliners...or something.

A peice for ITWorld about the eternal mystery that underlies the power of presentation slides to induce stupor just short of general anaesthesia. Why are presentations boring

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


I got a good look at an Apple Powerbook for the first time today. Drooooolllllllll.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

A must-have tool for those who think in words

I think in terms of words when I work. DOS/Unix, whatever. I sit at the command line (actually in Emacs in a shell, on the command line, but it amounts to the same thing). I navigate through directory-space which, for me, is a hierarchical set of words - not a set of pictures. I use applications which again, are words - not pictures - and I invoke them through language.
GUIs have their place of course - I use GUI apps for mail and WP etc. One my pet peeves is the mismatch between pictures-land (GUI) to words-land (CLI) - how to use pictures to do cli type things and how to use cli's to do picture type things.
If what I'm saying makes even a modicum of sense to you, check out ActiveWords.
Hint, I'm in by browser, editing a blog entry. I got here from a mail client (GUI) by typing Cntrl-Space and then "blog". This word invoked my browser at the right URL to directly edit my blog. Beautiful. "wurd" fires up MS Word. "att" gets me to "C:/program files/qualcomm/eudora/attach", you get the idea.
A perfect tool if you think in words but live in pictures.