The Kitchen Computer : If she can only cook as well as Honeywell can compute…

Chanced upon this very interesting trivia in the Wired article on the new book by Chris Anderson (FREE):

Honeywell Kitchen Computer Advertisement

Honeywell Kitchen Computer Advertisement

“Honeywell Kitchen Computer, priced at $10,600”

“the Kitchen Computer was aimed at housewives and featured integrated counter space. Those housewives would, however, require a programming course (included in the price), since the only way to enter data was with binary toggle switches, and the machine’s only display was binary lights. Needless to say, not a single Kitchen Computer is recorded as having sold.”

The text of the advertisement read (source: Wikipedia):

“Her souffles are supreme, her meal planning a challenge? She’s what the Honeywell people had in mind when they devised our Kitchen Computer. She’ll learn to program it with a cross-reference to her favorite recipes by N-M’s own Helen Corbitt. Then by simply pushing a few buttons obtain a complete menu organized around the entree. And if she pales at reckoning her lunch tabs, she can program it to balance the family checkbook. 84A 10,600.00 complete with two week programming course. 84B Fed with Corbitt data: the original Helen Corbitt cookbook with over 1,000 recipes $100 (.75) 84C Her Potluck, 375 of our famed Zodiac restaurant’s best kept secret recipes 3.95 (.75) Corbitt Epicure 84D Her Labaird Apron, one-size, ours alone by Clairdon House, multi-pastel provencial cotton 26.00 (.90) Trophy Room”

Hmmmm …

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Fatherly Advice to Programmers by Chuck Jazdzewski

Chuck Jazdzewski gives very topical advice to programmers in a post on his blog [link].

The main bullet points:

  • Keep Learning
  • Learn to communicate
  • Be Predictable
  • Own up to Your Mistakes
  • Never let Bad Code off your Desk
  • Programming is Fun but Shipping is your Job

Needless to say, the last one is my favourite :-)

Interactive Game on Youtube

I found this game on youtube where you have to drive a car to safety by clicking on annotations they present at seemingly random places during the video’s playback. While a little lame to call it a game, it sure is a way to make youtube interactive and a little more engaging, and perhaps something YouTube team itself might like to experiment with [via pluggd.in]

This has been made by Hexolabs, an IIT Kanpur startup.

EasyEclipse – Making life easy for Developers

Link: http://www.easyeclipse.org

I went back to Java after quite sometime, and had a tough time installing some plugins (Visual Editor in particular, it is not supported as yet on the current Europa release and only on the previous Callisto) this site is really handy in case you want to get a setup with everything you need already installed. They have bundled everything together and everything just works!

They have also divvied it up into broad areas such as ‘Desktop’, ‘Web’, ‘LAMP’ and so on — targeted towards programmers in that category. Apart from the fact that they have these distros, it was also a great place to find out what were the most useful plugins for development on the eclipse platform. I didn’t even know they have very useful plugins even for things like database management and SVN.

A life saver for people not experts on eclipse, I must say.

Poetry in Kernel Documentation

And indeed, it has happened. Poetry has finally infiltrated the bastion of the uber-geek — the Linux Kernel. Rusty Russell, who contributes as lguest, likes to submit patches with verse in their documentation. Wordsworth would definitely approve, though Linus thinks otherwise. Sample these:

There once was a virtualization coder,
Whose patches kept getting older,
Each time upstream would drop,
His documentation would slightly rot…

The ballads were hard to stay/ And Alan Cox jumped into the fray:

There once was a man they called rusty
Who patches were terribly crusty…

Perhaps there should be a programming language written in verse. With the poetic license, semantics would be hard to freeze, wot say?

[Via Linux Today]

Making your blog (and websites) scale

Making web-sites scale is a non-trivial thing to do. It requires a lot of knowledge of the operating system, the web servers, databases, using php scripts and so on. However, a very simple technique is to use add a lot of caching, and wring out as much productivity and efficiency as you can out of the hardware/software.

This article describes some of these techniques and I know for sure that a bunch of them work quite well (such as the PHP-accelerator which caches compiled php files). Give it a try!

Another simpler option which lazy bums like me would prefer is to use a managed hosting solution like that of WordPress.

Lines of Code

A quick way to find the lines of code under a subdirectory:

find | grep “.cs$” | awk ‘//{print “\””$0″\””;}’| xargs wc

It recursively finds all the files under a directory, passes through a grep filter (which you would have to update based on your preferred language of development), awks it to enclose it with quotes and then passes to wc using xargs. Neat!

My current project now has about 31k lines of code, out of which about 9.5k is mine. Messy!

[Thanks to Robin for help with the commands]

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