28 July 2009

[Link] Sixth Sense from MIT Labs


[Link] Ksplice: Update Computers Without Rebooting


[Link] Google Squared


Bacterial Computer is Not a Computer

The scientists in the field of micro cellular biology and mathematics managed to build a "computer" using bacteria. To be more precise E. coli bacteria.
There was a lot of fuss on the web about this subject but I found no real academic comment about this break through (as they call it).

As I see it, there is no real break through at all, it's genetic algorithms implemented in real genetic material. Clearly you must be a genius to think that genetic algorithms could work if implemented in real genetic material instead of a silicon based computer :)

The computer works like this: you encode the problem in the genetic material of bacteria, you encode the solution detector and then leave the bacteria to multiply. When the solution is found the solution detector will highlight the colony that found the solution. Then sequence the bacteria DNA and get the solution.

All these could take a while, so I don't think that this "computer" could provide you a valid solution faster than a real computer for a NP complete problem.

It's still unclear to me how they managed to realize the solution detector but undoubtedly this is a good start point for organic computers.

Imagine how a computer virus and anti-virus looks like for a future bacterial computer :)

You can read the abstract for more information about "Solving a Hamiltonian Path Problem with a bacterial computer".

How to Lose 4 Kg in 4 Days Moving Only Your Fingers

I know I'm not skinny :) and surely I'll lose 20Kg this summer but I've found the secret of losing weight rapidly and effortless. I'll call it:
"Code Therapy - 6000 LOC in 4 days" © Seneka.
The secret is too get yourself involved in a time consuming project (like a bachelor dedegree) and don't do anything for it. One week before the deadline start coding like you never did before. For me it worked like this (4 days program):
  • Day 1: wake up, realize you're in deep shit, start coding, write and test about 2000 LOC (lines of code), go to bed;
  • Day 2: wake up, realize that you're still in a deep shit, start coding, write about 2750 LOC, go to bed;
  • Day 3: wake up, realize that you're half way through, start coding, test the lines you wrote tha day before, delete about 50% of the code you wrote, refactor the rest, write another 1000 LOC, go to bed;
  • Day 4: wake up, realize that you wrote a fucking big application in 3 days, try to remember all its functionality, test it, do some minor bug fixes, drink 4 beers and go to bed;
After these 4 days the adrenaline rush disappears and you'll realize that is time to eat something because your stomach forgot how food looks like.

The result in my case was obvious 102 Kg --> 98 Kg.

DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home (or at work place), starvation can cause severe health problems (permanent problems). I'm not responsible for any damage you suffered in case you follow this therapy (because you're a bigger idiot than I am). In case you are convinced that this is a solution to your problems see a doctor before (to be read as "see a shrink").

Happy coding!

The Liar, The Truth Teller and The Random Answerer

While working for bachelor degree project a month ago, Bulă decided to to cheer me up with a brain twister puzzle, which in my opinion is the best puzzle I ever solved:

There is a truth teller (always tells the truth), a liar (always lies), and one that sometimes answers truthfully and sometimes lies. Each man knows who is who. You may ask three yes or no question to determine who is who. Each time you ask a question, it must only be directed to one of the men (of your choice). You may ask the same question more than once, but of course it will count towards your total. What are your questions and to whom will you ask them?

Let me give you an advice: if you have something important to do just read the solution on brainden.com.

If you want more puzzles the brainden.com has a "best puzzles" category that is worth seeing.
Happy mind twisting and if you find different solutions from those at brainden.com please share them with us.

XL97: Data Not Returned from Query Using ORACLE Data Source

I know that some bugs may be mind braking for developers but no developer with self-esteem would accept such a workaround unless it works for...

SYMPTOMS: When you try to return data from Microsoft Query 97 to a Microsoft Excel 97 worksheet, the spinning globe icon (which signifies that a query is processing) may appear for a long time, and then the query returns no data to your worksheet.

WORKAROUND: If you move your mouse pointer continuously while the data is being returned to Microsoft Excel, the query may not fail. Do not stop moving the mouse until all the data has been returned to Microsoft Excel.
The other workarounds can be found here but this is the clever one.

I must presume that the developers don't have access to M$ Help and Support server to avoid any frustrations it may cause to the 15000 developers worldwide.

Thanks to Geek Hero Comic for all the fun.