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54RE: My Random Ideas Page

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  • Shlomi Fish
    Jun 5, 2002
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      Note to Hacker-ILers: I'm CCing this message here because it bears great
      relevance to computers.

      On Wed, 5 Jun 2002, Chen Shapira wrote:

      >
      >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      >
      > > 1. "What do you care what other people think?" by Richard P.
      > > Feynman (his
      > > previous book "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman" was
      > > excellent, and this
      > > seems OK for now)
      >
      > IMO the second book isn't as good as the first.
      > BTW. I strongly suspect that some of the stories in the first book are not
      > true stories.
      > One of the pocker stories looked quite similar to a story I've read by Damon
      > Runyon. Perhaps the editor mixed up something in Feynmans notes?
      >

      Or maybe the story happened to two difference persons? In the book
      "Innumeracy", John Allen Paulos sais that two different people having the
      same dream is actually quite probable (and proves it). But it is possible
      some of the stories were fabricated.

      > > 3. "The Mythical Man-Month" - I started reading it yesterday,
      > > and it is
      > > very interesting so far. This book has a very good reputation among
      > > software engineers.
      >
      > The book has excellent reputation.
      > On first read I've found it boring, but I found myself rereading many parts
      > on diffrent occasions and my opinion of it improved.
      > Every now and then I feel a compulsion to reproduce some of his data
      > (development rate against # of team members) using data availble about
      > open-source development in source-forge and likes.
      >

      The problem with open-source development (maybe we should forward it to
      Hackers-IL?) is that in any project there are many lurkers, etc. Some
      projects become inactive after a while, and some of them are brought back
      to life (re: sys-call-track). Usually, there are one or two people doing
      most of the work.

      I'm not sure how much what Brooks says about team management and software
      engineering cannot be directly implied to open-source. In many open-source
      projects the developers are more concerned of playing with the elements,
      and the final product is a beneficial side-effect of it. In many
      commercial or commercially-sponsored projects, it's the other way around.

      > > 4. The Dragon Book - not too interesting, but quite important
      > > stuff, for
      > > those who actually deal in compiler theory or something similar.
      >
      > I found it pretty interesting actually, but I guess it depends on one's
      > interests. For some reason, I'm interested in parsing techniques.
      >

      Actually, I found the chapter about parsing techniques very tedious. I
      eventually stopped reading it and moved to a later chapter. What I really
      like was the chapter about lexical analysis.

      > Lately I'm spending more time reading on statistics, and the more I read the
      > more fascinating it becomes. I sort of found myself studying statistics by
      > mistake, but it is probably one of the best things that happened to me. A
      > wide field on interesting studies that was completly hidden until now.
      > I'm not sure how much it interests people here, but I can write a short list
      > of recommended statistics books, to complement the well known CS list.
      >

      I find the field of statistics relatively interesting: all this stuff
      about collecting, analyzing and verifying data, and all those tests,
      buzzwords and processes. As an electrical engineer we have to deal
      extensively with Probability Theory, which is a sister subject of
      statistics, that I found to be fascinating.

      Of course, one should always remember what Benjamin D'israeli said:

      "There are three kind of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics"

      ;-)

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

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      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
      "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
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