Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

After my talk: Guy: so who coded your demos? Me: I did G: so you used a GUI? M: no I coded it G: you code? M: yes G: no, like actual code — Sarah Drasner (@sarah_edo) April 8, 2017 I realized this morning that, out of a team of eight people, there are only […]


The DIM Epiphany

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

When I was 13 years old, I laid my hands on my first true computer. It was a DEC PDP-11/44, later upgraded to a PDP-11/70, running RSTS/E and the BASIC/PLUS shell environment. Live every teenage boy, I started out by writing video games. Bad ones, naturally, since all we had was the ANSI escape codes […]

I wrote an example of Bob Nystrom’s “Baby’s First Garbage Collector,” which I’ve been wanting to implement for a while in order to understand it better. To make the problem harder (as I always do), I decided to write it in C++, and to make it even more fun, I’ve implemented it using the new […]

At work, I’ve earned a bit of notoriety for being a code style commisar. I’ve been part of the group that from the bottom has been pushing people ot use flake8 and eslint, and I even wrote a tool to make polyglot testing easier. My latest kick is types. After experimenting with them for two […]

In my ever-shrinking spare time, I write stories. When I’m writing a particularly long story, or dabbling in the 300-odd episodic space opera I’ve been working on for twenty-five years or so, I have to read and re-read the story to make sure that every plot thread of the story has been closed in a […]


If you write Python, you should use MyPy.

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

I’ve discovered MyPy at work, and it works with Python 2.7 so amazingly well that I’m here to say, if you haven’t added it to your workflow, you need to immediately. The last project I worked on at my day job, an automated inventory and services manager, was 2200 lines of one class object. When […]

Infoworld has an article entitled “The seven most vexing problems in programming.” The first two are “multithreading” and “closures.” I call bullshit. Neither of those are hard problems. Both of those are problems of programmer laziness. (Not compiler laziness, of which I’ve recently become a fan.) It’s really hard to believe closures are a problem […]

University computer science libraries have fallen into a sad and tragic state. I went by the University of Washington Engineering Library. When I was at Isilon, that library was a kind of miracle; if we needed to know anything interesting going on in the world of data management, you could go to the library and […]

I can’t remember where I found it, but there was a brilliant explanation of how functional code maps value. Remember, in a functional program, the basic notation is x → y, that is, for every function, it maps value x to another value y. Things like map() map an array to another array, while reduce() maps […]

“I really should commit to [project]. I’m just afraid of it becoming popular.” — Garrett Wollman (@garrett_wollman) August 11, 2016 This feels like something that deserves clarification. It’s not that I fear any and all of my projects becoming popular. I would love for some of them to become very popular. Polyloader would be […]

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