Mind your tail

I will baptize February the Month of the Long Tail. Discussions about the impact of fat distributions have been high on my radar lately.


Heroku has hit Hacker News‘ top 10 multiple times in the last few days. RapGenius has been unhappy about the performance of their Rails application and posted an in-depth analysis of performance issues on Heroku’s Bamboo and Cedar stacks.

RapGenius unearthed issues in Heroku’s stacks that made it scale badly. Heroku posted a post-mortem a few days later and promised some fixes.

There are some interesting lessons to learn from this tale.

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Assorted links, 3/feb/2013

  1. The Twitter Stack is interesting. I haven’t used their tools yet, but I have no reason to believe they are not as good as all the other great stuff that Twitter released as open source. The blog post provides a good overview of the services that clouds are made of. Twitter is a Scala-centric world, but their Scala School is a good starting point for the language.
  2. Europe maps in the last two thousand years. I just came back from a trip to Hungary and a visit to Budapest History Museum. These maps help a lot to digest what I learned there.

    By the way, if you happen to be in Budapest in the near future, I highly recommend the current exhibition on images in the printed press and their effect on society. I didn’t know that images came much later than movable type, and that they were as much a revolution as the printing press itself was or the Internet is.
  3. Google released C++ B-Tree based containers that implement map, set, multimap, multiset. They can reduce memory consumption by 50% to 80% compared to the common STL implementations that uses Red-Back trees. Highly recommended when you have inexpensive key-compare functions.

On Girlfriends and Chaos

It is common knowledge that singles, particularly bachelors, live in complete chaos and their dwellings remember troll caves rather than human houses. Once they get married, their place magically change into perfect —or at least passable— residences. (Well, until they have kids.)

I want to challenge this discriminating notion about singles. Demonstrating, with a little math, that it’s not a problematic male trait but just a consequence of the situation.

By the way, it’s not just males that are weird when they live alone:

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Assorted links, 26/jan/2013

  1. Data is Eating Clocks, by Venkatesh Rao, author of “Tempo: timing, tactics and strategy in narrative-driven decision-making“. A book that’s been sitting on my reading list for too long.
  2. Small Wars Journal is always interesting. The Military deal with complex and messy situations and can provide many insights that are often lost to civilians. Tip: search past articles for discussions of “Design” theory.
  3. Wolfram Alpha powered up its “facebook report“. It provides lots of interesting analysis about your social network.
  4. John D. Cook highlights how programming is like “Teaching an imbecile to play bridge“, as William Kent wrote in “Data & Reality“.

Blogging, Personal Branding and the Big Corporation

You may have notice that this blog lately is much less about its title, “Lupi on Software…“, and much more about its subtitle, “…and everything else“. The fact is, I am struggling with my new status as an employee of a big corporation that excels at my art.

When you grow up professionally as a lone player, blogging becomes less of a mean of self-expression and more of an exercise of personal branding.

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Assorted links, 20/jan/2013

Some highlights from what I have been reading this weekend:

  1. The Deification of Hugo Chávez, by  (Abandoned Footnotes), a Venezuelan who teaches political theory and political science at Victoria University of Wellington.
  2. A long essay on interaction rituals, by Randall Collins, professor of sociology at University of Pennsylvania:

    IR theory is an explanation of what people will think, as well as what they will do. At any particular moment, people are speaking certain words or thinking certain thoughts; the thoughts that go through one’s head are internalized from previous talk with other people; more innovative thoughts are assembled out of the ingredients of verbal ideas already internalized. The world is a network of conversations, and what people think at any point in it is a product of what has circulated in previous conversations.

    It has interesting applications for entrepreneurs, companies and startups. In my personal experience, the most successful companies I worked for where the ones who had the best organizations and cultures. They also were the most innovative and the less competition-shy ones, but that was as much an effect as it was a cause of their success.

  3. My friend Ilaria Mauric reports her experience attending a UX course at Cooper U (in Italian): intro, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4.