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.

Hacking the EZ430 Chronos Watch on the Mac

Today my TI EZ430 Chronos Watch arrived, and I spent a little bit of time hacking it on my MacBook Air. It turns out that even though the documentation seems to require either a Windows machine or a Linux box, you can communicate with the watch from the Mac by modifying the serial port information in the TCL source. I learnt this from a Google Groups post, and I’ve copied the modified TCL source onto my Github account.

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Developers as Capital

I’ve just been reading this Forbes article called “The Rise of Developeronomics”. The author argues that because increasingly software is the core value proposition that differentiates companies from each other, that software developers are more and more becoming the wealth creators in society. The author recommends investing in software developers as a way of leveraging your own capital. This article builds on an earlier article by David Kirpatick called “Now Every Company is a Software Company”.

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Rewiring the Brain

There is an absolutely awesome bit of Neal Stephenson’s book Reamde, that goes like this: The brain “was sort of like the electrical system of Mogadishu. A whole lot was going on in Mogadishu that required copper wire for conveyance of power and information, but there was only so much copper to go around, and so what wasn’t being actively used tended to get pulled down by militias and taken crosstown to beef up some power-hungry warlord’s private, improvised power network. As with copper in Mogadishu, so with neurons in the brain. The brains of people who did unbelievably boring shit for a living showed dark patches in the zones responsible for job-related processes, since all those almost-never-exercised neurons got pulled down and trucked somewhere else and used to beef up the circuits used to keep track of NCAA tournament brackets and celebrity makeovers.”

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