Philadelphia Central High Robotics Team is Going to the World Championship!

Watch the inspiring news segment on the RoboLancers at NBC10. Go RoboLancers!

Watch: Jacob Kaplan-Moss Keynote at Pycon 2015

35 minutes that are absolutely worth it. Watch Jacob Kaplan-Moss at PyCon 2015 explain why he is a ‘mediocre programmer’ and why we need to take a hard look at our industry, how we define our careers, and the myths we tell, because they are flawed, and we are all the lesser as long as it remains so:

IGN: 7 Reasons Star Wars Rebels is Superior to the Prequels

If the Prequels damaged your enthusiasm for Star Wars, and you look to the new movies with dread, give Star Wars: Rebels a try on Disney XD. They feel as if they were written in the same spirit as the originals. We’re enjoying them immensely, but don’t just listen to my thoughts on them, check out what IGN is saying:

Reading “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

In distributed systems, failure is normal. Hardware failures that are rare, when multiplied by thousands of machines, become common. Therefore failures are assumed, designs work around them, and software anticipates them. Failure is an expected part of the landscape.
— Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup, Christina J. Hogan, “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

Reading “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

It is human nature to look for patterns and to assign them meaning when we find them. Kahneman and Tversky analyzed many of the shortcuts we employ in assessing patterns in data and in making judgments in the face of uncertainty. They dubbed those shortcuts heuristics. In general, heuristics are useful, but just as our manner of processing optical information sometimes leads to optical illusions, so heuristics sometimes lead to systematic error. Kahneman and Tversky called such errors biases. We all use heuristics, and we all suffer from biases. But although optical illusions seldom have much relevance in our everyday world, cognitive biases play an important role in human decision making. And so in the late twentieth century a movement sprang up to study how randomness is perceived by the human mind. Researchers concluded that “people have a very poor conception of randomness; they do not recognize it when they see it and they cannot produce it when they try,” and what’s worse, we routinely misjudge the role of chance in our lives and make decisions that are demonstrably misaligned with our own best interests.
— Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup, Christina J. Hogan, “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

Reading “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

To manage a large distributed system, one must have visibility into the system. The ability to examine internal state—called introspection—is required to operate, debug, tune, and repair large systems.
— Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup, Christina J. Hogan, “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

Reading “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

A typical response to a risky process is to do it as rarely as possible. Thus there is a temptation to do as few releases as possible. The result is “mega-releases” launched only a few times a year. However, by batching up so many changes at once, we actually create more risk. How can we be sure thousands of changes, released simultaneously, will all work on the first try? We can’t. Therefore we become even more recalcitrant toward and fearful of making changes. Soon change becomes nearly impossible and innovation comes to a halt.
— Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup, Christina J. Hogan, “The Practice of Cloud System Administration”

Seven Habits Reread

Correct maps will infinitely impact our personal and interpersonal effectiveness far more than any amount of effort expended on changing our attitudes and behaviors.
— Steven Covey, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

Seven Habits Reread

In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do. We all know it. There are people we trust absolutely because we know their character. Whether they’re eloquent or not, whether they have the human relations techniques or not, we trust them, and we work successfully with them.
— Steven Covey, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

On the 10th Anniversary of the Return of Doctor Who

We recently re-watched “Rose” for a movie night and the episode held up fantastically well.

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The show was radically reimagined from the old series, and yet still worked in a way no other movie or story reboot ever could. Maybe it’s because the idea of reinvention, or regeneration, is built into its foundation, but I think more crucial was that, unlike so many other reboots that have come over the years, this one held onto its core, not as a collection of gimmicks or winks to throw at fandom, but out of a love for what it was and represented.

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I love Star Trek and Star Wars, but Doctor Who has always had a special place for me. Craig Ferguson called it, “the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism”. I can’t think of a better way to explain it really.

At io9 they posted a good piece today explaining why Christopher Eccleston was perfect in the role and for the time to bring it back:

If the Ninth Doctor had not been the man he was, from looks to personality, there stands a very good chance that there would be no Doctor Who to talk about today.

Over at Tor.com, they review the “Rose” covering why it was a perfect reintroduction:

Whatever Doctor Who has become, whatever it might be in the future, that is where it began (again). With Rose Tyler running onto the TARDIS, grinning and giddy, perpetually inviting us on the adventure of our lives. And ten years later, we’re still along for the ride.

And to mark the occasion, over at Radio Times, they’ve quoted a number of Doctor Who alumni’s happy birthday wishes and gave Peter Capaldi, the latest Doctor, who himself was a lifelong fan before getting the role, the closer:

Peter Capaldi on the 10th anniversary of the return of Doctor Who

Here’s a video of Capaldi saying the above:

Doctor Who has some really talented fans. One of them put together this great retrospective (BBC hire this guy!):

Happy Birthday Doctor Who.