The “Barefoot” Craze

I just bought some Merrell “Barefoot” style shoes. They have practically no heel so are supposed to be better for you as you walk more naturally. I thought they were interesting because they are very lightweight and good for travel. We’ll see how they go.

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Bitcoin and the Byzantine Generals’ Problem

One of the main problems that Bitcoin solves is how to stop double spending. This is a hard problem to solve in a distributed currency, and is the reason why a lot of early digital currencies relied on a central server for storing the transaction history.

The creator of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto describes how Bitcoin solves the double-spend problem in this email. It’s an extremely elegant solution, and Satoshi presents it in an easy-to-understand way.

Mnemonics for Maths

I have been studying maths for quite a few years now, but I still find it a struggle to remember various formulas/equations, especially when starting a new topic. I’ve been thinking about developing my own mnemonic system for math symbols to help me memorize equations easily.

I would need to relate various mathematical operators to something else that is easy to visualize. The bracketing of expressions is problematic, you would need to have a way of visualizing a collection of things that the operator acts on.

I think that having a mnemonic system for maths would help internalize the ideas and models within a domain. It’s obviously still a work in progress!

Long-Term Unemployment and Job Prospects

There is a very scary article on the Atlantic about how you essentially become shunned by employers after 6 months of unemployment. It is about an experiment by Rand Ghayad of Northeastern University. He applied for 600 job openings using fake resumes, within which he varied 3 factors – how long the applicant had been out of work, how often they had switched jobs, and how much experience they have. What he found is that how long you’ve been out of work is the most important thing that employers look at. People prefer to hire someone with no experience, than someone that has been out of a job for more than 6 months. Scary stuff.

Reflections on Google Code Jam

Last weekend I competed in the qualification round of Google Code Jam. I went into it cold (i.e. not having read any of the previous problem sets), and found it a little harder than I expected. The first 2 questions were easy. The last 2 were easy in principle, but I found my implementation didn’t scale well to the large data sets, given the limits involved. I still got well over the required score to get me into the next round.

My take-aways from the process are as follows:

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Bug with streaming audio to Apple TV

So it appears that there is a occasionally a problem in streaming music to the Apple TV from the Mac. The symptom is that you can see the “Audio TV” device in your Sound -> Output window, but every time you try to select it, the selection reverts to the “Internal Speakers” line.

The easiest way to reset this, is to go up to the menu bar at the top of the screen and switch off your Wifi Network, leave it off for a second, then switch it back on. When you reconnect to your wifi network you should be able to select the “Apple TV” device in your Sound/Output pane in the System Preferences.