Some of My Favorite Articles

Sometimes, I read an article, and some idea deeply resonates with me and makes a long lasting impression. It changes the way I approach some topic. Fred Brooks’ essay “no silver bullet” was one of the very first article I read that had this effect. The concepts of esssential and accidental complexity are very powerfull, deeply resonate with me, and shaped the way I see … Continue reading Some of My Favorite Articles

Stuff Matters

Stuff Matters is a very nice little book about the materials that surround us. Organized in ten chapter, each tracing the history of a class of material (metal, paper, glass, plastics, chocolate, gels, graphene, concrete, ceramics, biomaterial), we get to better appreciate how much tinkering and research took place over centuries to discover all these materials and their properties. Most materials in the book are … Continue reading Stuff Matters

Why a Calendar App is a Great Design Exercise

To check if a salesman is good, one classic is the “Sell me this pen” test. To check if a software designer is good, I propose the “Design me a calendar app” test. That was one of the topic we chose for the software engineering lab, and I loved the results. There are several reasons why it works well as a design exercise: Everybody can … Continue reading Why a Calendar App is a Great Design Exercise

The Brain and Probabilities

The brain is a wonderful machine with an impressive computing power. We can make sense of complex information effortlessly and almost instantly. But it has one big flaw: it does not understand probabilities. When presented with information, the brain tries to explain it by building a coherent story out of it. To do so quickly, it relies on some shortcuts, which largely ignore probabilities. So … Continue reading The Brain and Probabilities

Mind Blown

There’s lots of things to learn and know. Some are funny trivialities, some are joyful discoveries, some are intriguing theories, some are insightful lessons, … and some are mind-blowing revelations. Here’s my top 10. Some of them still blow my mind! Things are only impossible until they’re not. — Jean-Luc Picard Have fun! Public-key cryptography Lamport’s bakery algorithm for mutual exclusion Meta-circular evaluation and homoiconicity … Continue reading Mind Blown

Using Multiple Google Calendars with iOS 5

With Google calendars, you can create additional calendars linked to your account. This is convenient, say, to split your own events from events of others that don’t use any online calendar but that you want to track. With iOS 4, adding a google account would display only the primary calendar, not the auxiliarary ones. The solution then was to add them individually as WebCal calendars. … Continue reading Using Multiple Google Calendars with iOS 5

Fun with iTune Shuffle and Probabilities

I recently tagged and imported all my mp3 into iTune. I noticed then that there were lots of albums that I had only partially listened to and I decided to use the feature “Party Shuffle” to listen to my library randomly and eventually hear all the songs. After a couple of weeks, I observed that some songs would reappear in the playlist and were picked … Continue reading Fun with iTune Shuffle and Probabilities

Keep your desktop clean: a checklist

I found a post-it on my desk this morning that was actually there since several months (if not year). It’s a short checklist with questions to answer before deciding whether I will trash or retain a document. I tend to retain too many documents (electronic and paper)  that consumes space and are useless — I will anyway never read them. This short post-it helps me … Continue reading Keep your desktop clean: a checklist