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If war stories of things like shaking wire-wrapped boards to make the assembler code work right; combined with a degree of pragmatism towards programming that you only get after discovering for the umpteenth time that the problem wasn’t your code but a bad EPROM burn (or after discovering that your colleague with the wonderful new ideas on Agile programming has actually never seen a command line in his life) sounds like a stonking good read to you, you need to read DadHacker. Set aside a few hours. Add it to your google reader or whatever feedreader you’re using or just into your daily links. Yes, it is that good.
via Ewan’s blog.… Read the rest

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Implementing HAT-Tries in Java

As I said in an earlier post detailing the CCHashTable, it formed a part of a larger data structure, the HAT-Trie. The HAT-Trie is a recent variant on the trie data structure, published by Askitis and Sinha in last year’s Australasian conference on Computer science (the original paper is here). The problem they were addressing was that while the trie is very fast, it’s also very expansive in memory; and while some variants of it like the radix trie (or Patricia trie) and the related burst-trie, are less expensive in terms of memory space, they aren’t as fast as they could be because they don’t take into account caches in their design.

Consider for a moment, the standard trie node, with its array of pointers to all possible following characters.… Read the rest

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Ubuntu upgrades and fundamental problems

New job, new machine. So the last two days I’ve been setting up hardware platforms for work (one linux desktop machine, one win32 laptop, and some cool toys like an iPod Touch and a Nokia N800 – there are more to come, but it’s more than enough to start with). I’ve been using Kubuntu for work for a few years, and Xubuntu on my ancient (and now breaking) laptop at home (an Inspiron 1100, which should tell you why it’s xubuntu and not kubuntu there as well). So, no-brainer, other people have had no problems so just download the latest ISO and do a quick install, right?

Well, yes and no. … Read the rest

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