At the Foothills of Eccentricity



Right and wrong ways to pick random points inside a sphere

Last things first I’m going to cut to the chase: I could not find a way to choose uniformly distributed random points inside the volume of a unit sphere that was faster than picking one in the 8-unit cube, testing to see if it was inside the unit-sphere, and trying again if it wasn’t – but I did come real close. But that’s getting ahead of myself. Before we come to the stunning conclusion, there are many rabbit holes and digressions awaiting. Read more →

Pipedream: an incomplete review of the literature

Previously on this blog, I introduced the idea of Pipedream, a novel system for creating and understanding software1. This post is meant to sketch out some of the historical work on similar systems, in order to help understanding of the new ideas. Sweet. Yes. On with it! Values and visions If I thought that the way programming was typically done was mostly OK, I wouldn’t need to make something like Pipedream. Read more →

Pipedream: an ideal system for creating software

What’s going on here? Hi, I’m Joe, and I’m describing Pipedream, taking inspiration from the Houyhnhnm Computing chronicles. Pipedream? Pipedream is my currently-mostly-vaporware software project for creating software. It’s a coherent fusion of multi-modal, multi-sensory interface, functionality, and integrated idiomatic automation whose sum total is meant to make creating software orders of magnitude faster and easier. This post is meant to sketch out its form in advance of it existing fully, as a way to help me stay on point, and to help others understand what I’m talking about. Read more →

Say no to corporate-friendly licenses

In which I commit to anti-capitalism I want to start this with a little story about working at Industrial Light & Magic. For those not in the know, ILM is the visual effects studio that George Lucas started in order to make his indie space-adventure movie, Star Wars, a tale of a man who became absolutely corrupted by his power and was, thankfully, eventually destroyed. When the movies came out, they absolutely captured the imagination of nearly an entire generation, at which point, George Lucas held onto that imagination as a cultural hostage1 2, and demanded payment from anyone else who foolishly tried to play with the storyblocks Lucas had made. Read more →

Minor thoughts on a major thing

Last week, I started my three-month “batch” at the Recurse Center, which is described as a “tuition-free self-directed educational retreat for programmers.” The point of it is to get better at programming computers, by spending your days hanging out with 50 or so other people who are there for the same reason. Attending RC is something I’ve wanted to do for several years, but until very recently, I never thought I’d be able to (due to time and money, mostly, but I suddenly found myself with a ton of the former and a mild surplus of the latter). Read more →

Playing with color

Setting the stage Some time ago, I found something on the internet that I thought was pretty nifty: http://whatcolourisit.scn9a.org/. If you’d like to take a moment to check it out, go for it; it won’t take long. In case you were lazy (in which case, my hat’s off to you), or possibly confused at what it was, the idea is cute: treat the time components as hexidecimal HTML color specifiers, and make the background whatever color is currently indicated by the time. Read more →