asher553: (Default)
You get good at anything by practicing it a lot, and that includes mathematics. I wanted to bring my foundational math skills up to a good strong level, and I didn't want to schlep around a lot of textbooks. So after a little poking around I discovered Kuta Software (based in Istanbul), which markets a line of "Infinite" math worksheet programs aimed at the grade school to college levels.

I started using the software last night and I'm very happy with the product. Right now I'm working on solving polynomials by completing the square; this is one of those operations that you can learn step-by-step in a few minutes, but it's only by working many practice problems that it becomes natural.

The topics covered range from arithmetic to calculus. You set the parameters for your worksheet (topic, number of problems, easy/hard, involves fractions or doesn't, etc.) and the program spits out as many worksheets as you want, with fresh problems each time. You can refresh the random values each time so you never run out of problems - hence, "Infinite".

Now that I'm officially working in the IT field, I'm going to want to make sure my technical skills are strong, and notwithstanding my age I'm still hoping to get around to finishing that BS degree in Physics or Engineering. An endless supply of practice math problems will help me stay in the game.
asher553: (Default)

'f course, the brain didn’t evolve to perform arithmetic. So it does that rather badly. But it excels at processing a continuous stream of information from our surroundings. And it acts on that information—sometimes far more rapidly than we’re aware of. No matter how much energy a conventional computer consumes, it will struggle with feats the brain finds easy, such as understanding language and running up a flight of stairs.

If we could create machines with the computational capabilities and energy efficiency of the brain, it would be a game changer. Robots would be able to move masterfully through the physical world and communicate with us in plain language. Large-scale systems could rapidly harvest large volumes of data from business, science, medicine, or government to detect novel patterns, discover causal relationships, or make predictions. Intelligent mobile applications like Siri or Cortana would rely less on the cloud. The same technology could also lead to low-power devices that can support our senses, deliver drugs, and emulate nerve signals to compensate for organ damage or paralysis. ...'
asher553: (Default)
 ... threatened software for underwater naval vessels.  Although to be honest, I'd have been leery of a product called "Windows for Submarines" in any case.
asher553: (Default)


Feb. 27th, 2013 05:55 pm
asher553: (asher63)
I haven't decided yet whether to style it in all caps or not, but I've been working on a system to transliterate modern English into Hebrew characters. (Well, you WERE wondering what I do with my free time, weren't you?) (Don't laugh, somebody has got to do it.) Anyway, I call the system simply "Anglo". It's based on Yiddish and Modern Hebrew, but it is its own thing.

Details here:

The short vowels were the biggest challenge, because no other major language has to deal with the sounds of "cat in the hat" and "dot com" and "up above". Hebrew in particular is utterly unequipped for it. Vowels in general are the biggest problem. Modern Hebrew, like Spanish, has only five vowels (represented by three letters) whereas English has around 12 to 15.

This is mostly an idle pursuit for my own amusement, but it's not entirely without practical value. If you happen to be a native English speaker who has gone to Israel with a smattering of Hebrew, you know how desperately the Israelis need a consistent way of representing English words in Hebrew. Anyway, it's a work in progress, but there it is.
asher553: (Default)
Drew Olanoff vs. cross-posting:
'When I’m on Twitter, I tweet. When I’m on Facebook, I post a status update or other media. Why should I place the same things on both networks? And automatically, to boot. It seems like overkill to me, so that’s why I didn’t get upset over Facebook’s bug.'

That's kind of how I feel about it, too.
asher553: (Default)
If you're wondering about those cryptic verbal constructions I posted the other day, it's sort of an experiment, mostly a gimmick to jump-start my creativity. I wrote a Mathematica script to produce a series of random English words, and then selected and arranged words from the list - in other words, electronic refrigerator poetry. Milton it ain't, but it's strangely addictive.

In case you're curious, the Mathematica code for a 20-word list is


and it gives you something like




And now it's time to get out of my repentant nightgown and get ready for work.
asher553: (Default)

Why is it that higher-quality video sometimes looks inferior to people? My theory is that when improvements in quality (resolution or framerate, for example) are incremental, your brain compares the new, upgraded image against the previous iteration, comparing like to like. But when there's a sudden, dramatic jump in the quality of the image, your brain discards the old standard of comparison, and instead judges the image against reality, or against imagination, and the image inevitably suffers.

OTOH, there's also the element that higher-quality images make defects more visible, and any change in the medium requires artists (e.g. video directors and editors) to adjust.

I'm a layperson with no particular expertise in video or digital imaging, but this sort of question intrigues me. Thoughts?


May. 2nd, 2012 09:32 am
asher553: (Default)
... for those who appreciate this sort of thing.
Read more... )
asher553: (Default)
It was only a matter of time, but -

Nevertheless, there are some really kool things in the world. Otter Box for your cellphone is one of the koolest IMO. Stylish, sturdy, and helps you keep your grip. And if you're prone to abusing your phone - like a certain adolescent gentleman of my acquaintance - it's a must.

I'm getting in touch with my inner bardophile and preparing to start on the tetralogy, beginning with Richard 2. I watched Henry 4 + 5 on DVD a few years ago and loved the plays. Looking forward to experiencing the whole Henriad again from the beginning.

The job is going well - details in a flocked post. This morning was a challenge, but I think the toughest part is over.
asher553: (Default)
"Determine the distance from O to P."

Not from C to P. From O to P.

RTFQ, Einstein. Grrrrr.
asher553: (Default)
Armstrong to NASA: "lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable". (

All about ... just what the title says. (

The Metric System caught on. The ten-day work week proved less popular. (

If you're into fringe - but not necessarily on the corners of your garments - check out Unpious (

If you happen to enjoy looking at pictures of naked women, you need to think about friending the Sexy Photo group (
asher553: (Default)
So please don't be jealous.  But right now, there's another calculator in my life:
asher553: (Default)
Finally got over my phobia of using the freshly downloaded SPICE software for my microelectronic design courses from UCBX. Opened a file, entered the data, and got the desired result in ohms and watts, just as advertised!

The three courses I'm taking (X30, X31, and X32) are fun and exciting and just at the right level for me. I was worried that the material would be either too advanced and I'd be lost, or too elementary and I'd be bored. But no, it's interesting and challenging - and all those years of my misspent childhood, hanging out in Radio Shack and playing with electronic hobby kits, finally paid off!
asher553: (Default)

This article from the Times of India is short on specifics of how the Bloom Box operates, but claims it is already in use by Google and FedEx.

More than just another cold-fusion hoax? We'll have to wait and see.

Company link is here:
asher553: (Default)
And I know you're all excited about this as I am: I just wrote a successful script to test the user's ability to add single-digit hexadecimal numbers.

Read more... )

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