Foundations of Programming Ebook

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Crayola peaksOne of the recommended links from the Code Camp was the Foundations of Programming Ebook by Karl Seguin. It’s a good read with straight-forward explanations of modern software development ideas; here are a few quotes and comments:

Maintainability is the cornerstone of enterprise development.

Much agreed, and perhaps one of the things that sets enterprise development apart from projects with less longevity. Often, though, this mandate is overlooked as schedule becomes the main driver.

YAGNI - You Aren’t Going to Need It is an Extreme Programming belief that you shouldn’t build something now because you think you’re going to need it in the future.

This is a powerful idea from agile and one that really helps you get to having something “done” and ready for the customer faster. And given how often things change, it likely saves you the pain and waste of changing or discarding something built too early.

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Data Recovery, Round 2

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Data Recovery, Round 1 left my drive on it’s way to ESS Data Recovery with “symptoms of a severe head crash” that were beyond the capabilities of Aero Data Recovery. ESS turned around an initial evaluation within a few days:

Recovery Chance: Good (70-84%)

Medium Failure Details:

Disk Head Failure

Rotational Scoring Present (moderate)

Evaluated Cost: $995.00 - 10% = $895.50

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Portrait Professional Review

Monday, August 25th, 2008

DIY Photography is giving away a few copies of Portrait Professional as prizes in a portrait contest, so I decided to take a look at a demo of the software. I find myself doing more with Aperture’s retouch and clone tools and was curious if this would be a more automated way of cleaning up wrinkles, imperfections, and the circles under the eyes everyone seems to be sporting today.

Portrait Professional is different in that it’s not a localized retouching tool, but rather one for global enhancement based on a training set of beauty images. (The former artificial intelligence student in me wonders what kind of neural network or other training system they use.) You define key points on the face (eyes, nose, mouth), and it maps the enhancements onto them. The various changes are adjustable, and they also have localized tools for fine-tuning.

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Data Recovery, Round 1

Monday, August 18th, 2008

For all the computers and crashes I’ve been through, I’ve never lost anything I couldn’t bear to loose, but a few days after my MacBook’s hard drive failed, I decided I really wanted my lost photos from Colorado. A few days before, someone in my delicious network bookmarked a data recovery site, and it turned out he had already found the best deal.

So I opened a case with Aero Data Recovery and shipped them both the dead drive and a new external USB-powered drive for the recovered data. Traditionally, data recovery has cost thousands of dollars and only been affordable to businesses with very valuable data. Now companies seem to be filling their downtime with $279 flat-rate, free-estimate jobs for consumers willing to bite the bullet.

About a week after the drive arrived, I got an email that the it “exhibits symptoms of a severe head crash”. That was beyond their capabilities, but they recommended two other companies that could continue the investigation once the drive was direct shipped. The prognosis is still hopeful, though I have no idea what this next tier will cost after the free estimate - I shudder to think what it would cost to have somebody with an electron microscope transcribe the 1s and 0s that make up my photos of Rocky Mountain

Continue to Data Recovery, Round 2