Jakewins on data, food and technology.

To my friends in California

Letter to the editor of The Daily Californian, about the protests this weekend.

To my friends in California,

“First they came for the Muslims, and we said not this time mother fucker”. The quote set a tone for the national opposition. But the Niemöller original does not start out with ethnic groups. The original starts with “First they came for the Socialists,” and there is a reason Martin begins his list with the political opposition.

How we use Dynamic Programming to find the best price for our customers.

A friend of mine, I won’t share his name for privacy reasons1, told me he had an interesting realization one day. Thinking back to the projects he’d done for big banks before his current job, each and every one of his software algorithms had eventually ended up in The Guardian under a headline like “Giant Bank Inc. indicted for massive automated customer fraud system, AGAIN!”.

I gave commit rights to someone I didn't know, I could never have guessed what happened next!

(Spoiler: trusting your contributors works)

Some years ago, I polished up and released an abandoned project for storing financial data in Django. It let you declare “Money” fields on your models, dealing with proper storage and currencies for you.

My use case for the library, django-money eventually faded, but it ended up teaching me a useful lesson in trust and OSS abandonware.

Caring for blisters on sweaty feet

Athletic tape

I’ve tried most any method I’ve found on caring for hot spots and blisters when hiking. Turns out most outdoor writers don’t have the kind of sweaty feet I do - here’s a list of all the expensive foot treatment I’ve had fall off my feet this summer, and the things that didn’t.

Asynchronous transactional patterns

Transactions are not very hip anymore - so unhip, in fact, that people started building databases without them. Alas, as people who decided to try those databases found out, transactions remain a fundamental aspect of applications that don’t break horrifically.

Except, it turns out that even if you have transactions, it’s surprisingly easy to shoot yourself in the foot.

How gun control was solved elsewhere

As an immigrant in America, I sometimes feel uncomfortable raising my voice about some of the mine-field political issues that sweep the country; abortion, religion, health care and so on.

I particularly feel uncomfortable when my opinions are so clearly colored by where I grew up. I don’t want to be the person that seems to think things were better where he came from. I’m here for a reason, I love this country very much and am very thankful I’ve been allowed to move here.

But in the case of gun control, I feel I have a legitimate claim to a voice and a less common perspective. I do live here, a resident of the American Heartland, I am a gun owner and, crucial to the point I want to make, I’ve lived in a country with much stricter gun control.

What are hybrid plants?

Devil plants

It turns out the wheat I ordered is hybridized. I’ve read all about this now, and it appears that for the greater good my little plot will have to be burned and buried under concrete.

Planting wheat

Pasta plants

Any meal fit for human consumption must contain pasta - and home grown meals are no exception. But how do you grow pasta in the back yard?