Links of the Week 5/18
Fifth in my almost-regular series (I managed 4 weeks in a row, then skipped one, so I think it’s now fair to say almost-regular), here’s some things I found this week that I thought were cool and wanted to share:
- Bread Github: A Github repo with bread recipes. It’s intended to be open-source, collaborative, so pull requests of new bread recipes are encouraged. Maybe I’ll submit my brioche recipe sometime, or try one of their recipes. I’ve been thinking about making a whole-grain sandwich bread…
- Transparent Tomato Soup: This guy’s transparent pie went viral a few months ago, which I saw but didn’t look into. Seeing an actual YouTube video explaining some of the refinement process and thought process is pretty interesting. It’s similar to the professional baker recreating popular snacks videos from Bon Appetit.
- Subscription Hell: This article went mildly viral on HackerNews, and it brings up some pretty interesting points. I have only a few subscriptions that I pay for, but there are a number of services I use that have a paid option that I’ve considered in the past, but are just a bit too niche to spend money on. A subscription aggregator would be something I would seriously consider - in fact, I already have a bundled Spotify + Hulu subscription.
- LaTeX Enumeration/Itemization Customization: I never actually knew that LaTeX enumerators were customizeable besides, I assumed, editing the .sty file. I suppose I should have figured that they were customizeable, because everything about LaTeX is. I’ll just tuck this little tidbit away for future use.
- Subdomain Hijacking: This is kinda scary, but at least the fixes are super simple. I have even less surface area for attack than this guy, since my site is (currently) hosted on Github Pages, but I turned on Google Alerts anyway.
- Amazon Aurora Backtrack: This article reminds me quite a bit of some of the data structures we studied in 6.851 (Advanced Data Structures, taught by Erik Demaine). It also sorta makes me wish I’d taken databases at MIT, but I focused more on ML and Algorithms than systems.
- Ubuntu 18.04: My data server is still running 16.04, but my desktop VM runs 17.10 currently. I’ll probably upgrade to 18.04, but I might try out Kubuntu. I haven’t been a fan of GNOME since I grew up with Ubuntu on Unity, but that’s mostly due to not knowing the keyboard shortcuts. I’m sure if I learned the new keyboard shortcuts, it would be fine. That said, I’ve heard lots of good things about KDE, and if I’m going to be learning some new keyboard shortcuts anyway, might as well try it out.
- Pyre: Facebook’s static type-checker for Python. I know that Dropbox has an internal typing system for Python, and it looks like mypy has also existed for a while too. After working with Java for a summer, static type-checking seems like a godsend for larger projects. It’d be nice if Python had some version of this that worked in an IDE, too.
- Adafruit Feather: I’ve never encountered the Feather/Wing series from Adafruit, but it looks pretty cool actually - a variety of dev boards, stackable, standardized. There’s also lots of great documentation, which is always a plus.
- Google TPU: Google TPUs are pretty neat - the first round of them came out while I was interning at Google, and I remember reading the paper about them. They’re basically an ASIC plus RAM, and the ASIC is pretty much just a giant multiplication block. It’s really simple conceptually, but turns out matrix multiplications are exactly what neural nets are, so the speedup is pretty good. Efficiency is still only marginally better than GPUs, but far less optimization was put into TPUs than modern GPUs. I expect that the efficiency margin will improve with each release.
- Pi-hole: Maybe once I have my own apartment and my own network, I’ll install one of these. My primary motivation would be to decrease my system load - adblockers use a surprisingly large chunk of CPU and RAM, which seems unnecessary.
- FreeNAS and automation: I had a FreeNAS server very briefly freshman year, but it ran on junk hardware and I only gave it some random 80 GB hard drive. I’m happy with my current Ubuntu/ZFS + Samba setup, but it would be a good idea to add a bunch more automation to ensure drive integrity.
- The Assault on Intelligence: This looks like it might actually be a really interesting book, maybe I’ll give it a look.
- Final Block 5 launch: SpaceX is a company that’s actually doing some really cool things. I considered applying for an internship at one point, but due to a variety of external factors, didn’t wind up following through on that.
- NYC in 12K: This is my new favorite test footage. It looks fantastic on my 4K monitor, and I’d love to give it a try on an 8K monitor at some point. This is also right up my alley - expensive camera equipment being used in a precision manner to produce beautiful footage.
- Websites with free things: Another nice list to just file away.
- One space vs two: This article states that two spaces is correct following a period. They are wrong. Any decent modern font will appropriately space sentences with just a single space - the article used courier new, which is fixed-width, and thus in a completely different playing field.
- The Plane that Accidentally Circumnavigated the World: This is a pretty random, but interesting and engaging article. One of those little pieces of trivia to file away for later.
- Directed Energy Missions for Planetary Defense: Got this paper from a thread on ec-discuss about the best (most hilarious) papers from various fields. This looks hilarious - one of my favorite things is when silly discussions get a full scientific treatment and analysis.
- Adam Savage Dropped in Bubble Wrap: Tested has been posting a handful of videos of Adam answering questions from SVCC, and they’re all wonderful. Adam has a ton of great stories.
- JJ Abrams/Stephen Colbert Times Square: This is just plain fun.
- Pun Competition: Puns are great. Coming up with puns on the fly is one of the most satisfying things to do - as the article states, quick, clever quips are a thing to be respected, not derided.
- Cockney rhyming slang: This is fascinating. I actually feel like my friend group, especially MITERS, does some similar things - less rhyming, but the substitutions are definitely there, and MITERS has a certain way of modifying words to abbreviate or add humor.
- Flight of the Good Idea: This is part of the reason I started this website - to document things. I also keep a notebook, and recently started using Google Keep to jot random things down. The general population of CNC manufacturing/business people (NYC CNC, Grimsmo knives, Pierson workholding, etc) mention pretty frequently that information shouldn’t be stored in heads, it should be written down, catalogued, and put where it can be seen and actually remembered. I definitely believe that.
- Factorio Clusterio 60K SPM: Like the laser article, fun things taken to the extreme are always entertaining.
- Factorio Autorio oil beacons: Again, fun things taken to extremes (or, in this case, automated).
- GCN Bikepacking: This looks stunning. GCN has also posted a couple of “Epic Rides” (Gran Canaria, Andalucia, Alpe D’Huez, and Taiwan KOM Challenge, to name a few), and it really makes me want to go vacation purely to go cycling in beautiful locations. I was considering cycling around Taiwan this summer, but those plans fell through. Maybe this winter, or sometime in the future. I also have a friend that biked from Seattle to LA along Route 1, which looks pretty beautiful as well.
As always, thanks for reading! :)