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Best books/resources for learning audio programming
I haven't delved into this sort of thing at all, but I've seen a few demonstrations / talks about Overtone, which is music processing in Clojure, and it looks really cool. Clojure isn't hard to learn if you know Ruby. There are some interesting talks online if you google "clojure music". It's pretty far from embedded programming, though.

I agree that for embedded programming you're probably best off learning C. The cool kids are moving to Rust these days, but… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 11:27 PM on April 17, 2017

When to git?
One other advantage of making lots of small commits is that if you've introduced a subtle bug somewhere in your code but you're not sure when you introduced it, you have a better opportunity to track it down with git bisect if you have lots of small commits to work with.

For small personal projects I tend to commit changes after every few edits where things are compilable / not broken. When you're collaborating with other people your commit habits might change somewhat -… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:53 PM on November 16, 2015

Name our gaming blog/website!
Maybe something related to a prominent female character in a game you like? Sisters of Samus or something?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 12:45 PM on August 23, 2015

Strategy games for the Kindle Tablet
I'm a big fan of Elder Sign: Omens and Rebuild (Rebuild 3 is in beta and should be coming soon). Strategy games for Android are weirdly few and far between, though. I think you can get X-Com for Android now, and I know Majesty is available, though I haven't played either one extensively on Android.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:38 PM on August 15, 2015

Help me transition into a career in Programing!
Hopping in late here to add that with your math background you might be an ideal candidate for the emerging, vaguely defined field of "data science" which a lot of companies are looking to hire people for. It tends to be more based on statistical analysis using things like python-notebook and less based on classical software engineering where you're ultimately building a product of some kind (be it an app, a web site, or custom device drivers), so in that sense not having tons of… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:34 PM on August 15, 2015

Should the Kid Learn to Program? If So, What?
I agree that Javascript and Python are good languages for a beginner to learn. Python will teach some good habits and get him used to object-oriented programming. Javascript is immediately usable for doing web-related stuff, has a huge community of users, and is very practical for getting an entry-level job, but the language itself is more complex and full of weird little gotchas. I'd actually recommend learning both languages, since it can be very instructive to see how their approaches differ.… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:13 PM on August 15, 2015

How to add multiple books to Aldiko Books in an Android Lollipop tablet
I'm not sure if this will help you, but I found it much easier to set up Calibre to share my e-book library over wireless and get files into Aldiko that way than it was to mess around with Dropbox or with dragging files to the right place. I do think, though, that you can import a bunch of files by dragging them into some folder you create (via Android File Transfer etc) and then going to "Get Books / Files" in Aldiko and hitting the checkbox on the folder.

If… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 9:45 PM on August 15, 2015

NYC boat rental recommendations for private birthday party?
As it happens we didn't find a boat rental that made sense, but we're going to book a big party at this floating restaurant-on-a-boat. It's a moveable feast!
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 9:25 PM on April 3, 2015

Looking for an mp3 player with physical buttons (vs a touchscreen)
Another vote for the Clip - it's small, battery lasts a long time, and as a bonus you can install RockBox on it, which gives you a lot of options for the software (you can even play chess on it). The built-in firmware is unusually good for a non-Apple product, too.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 6:13 AM on March 4, 2015

Looking for a Kindle Paperwhite cover that works as a stand in bed
_Mona_, does that work on both sides or just the one side? My old Kindle cover looks similar, but I can only tent it when I'm lying on my right side.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:06 AM on December 26, 2014

Exploring Judaism when you weren't raised Jewish
lots of synagogues will have classes you can take, in the evening geared towards adults, just to learn more about the history of Judaism and aspects of its culture

I have been to one of these sort of intro classes with my partner, who is in a similar boat as you (she feels culturally Jewish, but has had very little exposure to the religious side of Judiasm; I am a gentile). The classes were given by a student Jewish organization at a local university,… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 12:03 PM on November 7, 2014

The best ingredients for a RaspberryPi (or Arduino, other equivalent)?
I terms of pure programming, I found the Pi was a good deal easier to get started with than the Arduino (it's a tiny PC instead of a microcontroller, so you can use your regular Linux trickery to set it up, and use higher-level languages than C to program it). But ultimately it depends on what you're trying to do. I agree with miyabo's rough breakdown of "network stack or video: pi; reactive electronics which don't necessarily talk to other things: arduino."

A… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 9:44 AM on November 7, 2014

Really? The computer that used to come in "Blueberry"?
Another thing to keep in mind with an iMac is that recent models come with the RAM soldered onto the motherboard, so you can't upgrade it once your computer inevitably starts to feel a little pokey in a year or two. I got a high-end iMac in 2010 and it's still plenty fast for what I need it for and has a fantastic screen, but I'm not happy with the thought that once the computer itself is too slow to be useful the upgrade path is basically to throw it in the trash and buy a new one.… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 3:37 PM on July 13, 2014

Trade Blogs and Publications for Online Publishers?
You've already covered most of the specialized sites I see in my morning "daily clip report" email at $large_journalism_company. The other ones that spring to mind are the Columbia Journalism Review and Capital New York, plus of course the actual media reporting at traditional journalist sites like the NYT, WSJ and the Guardian.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:24 PM on July 11, 2014
Oh, also re/code, though it's focused more on the tech side of things.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:26 PM on July 11, 2014

Help me understand the electronics in my doorbell
Thanks spacewrench, that's super helpful. I have been reading about optoisolators on wikipedia. To clarify a few things:

There are indeed buttons on the outside of the case which short the various pairs of terminals (corresponding to the text on the image).

I can buzz somebody in without anyone having dialed my apartment - in the lobby there are just 8 buttons for the different apartments, and when someone pushes the one for mine I hear a loud… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 9:18 PM on April 4, 2013

Good ISP in NYC
Thanks for the replies, everybody. I've just signed the lease on a place (in Carroll Gardens). From the various online service-finders, it looks as though I can't get FIOS, RCN or Cablevision at my apartment, so it looks as though my options are Verizon DSL or Time-Warner cable. From the comments above, I'm going to rule out Verizon DSL (and Panix, which appears to just resell it), so it looks like I'm left with one of the four ISPs that resell TWC.

Having done a… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 3:36 PM on June 29, 2011
Well, having looked at all of my options it looks like I'm going to be going for RoadRunner's wideband service, which is "up to" 50Mbps down / 5Mbps up for $100 per month. In some positive news, it looks as though my girlfriend's company will pay for at least some of this, which takes some of the sting out of the price tag. FiOS is supposedly coming soon to my neighborhood, but for now Verizon just offers DSL there. I also briefly considered ClearWire, but their offer of about 3-6… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 11:40 AM on July 14, 2011

I can already smell the bay air...
The Speakeasy brewery is awesome, but so far from public transit that I wouldn't recommend it for a short trip, though it might be doable by taxi.

Just north of the Ferry Building is The Plant Cafe, which has good foodie food but is more of an expensive / sit-down place in relation to the stuff in the Ferry Building itself.

For burritos near you, your best bet might be Tlaloc, I like it but of course everyone has their own opinions. Definitely… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 12:40 PM on March 30, 2011

MP3 player for audiobooks, podcasts, and lectures with variable playback speed?
I've got the Sansa Clip (original model, not the Clip+ which I've also used and would recommend). It has three settings: slow, normal and fast. At a guess, fast is 2X normal speed. It will also run Rockbox, FWIW, but to me it's one of the rare MP3 players whose firmware doesn't need much improvement. You can get it for around $40 shipped and it comes with a built-in FM radio.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 3:26 PM on August 25, 2010

Is HTML-formatted e-mail still bad netiquette?
I used to be in the "plaintext 4 lyfe" camp, but I've gone over to the dark side and I mostly send HTML mail these days (from Thunderbird or gmail, largely). The reasons?


Most people I email regularly use gmail, hotmail, Thunderbird, Outlook, or another client which can do basic HTML rendering.

I like being able to use inline hyperlinks instead of having to work out a footnoting scheme in plain text, or else awkwardly… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 1:40 AM on July 14, 2010

What are some movies with moral beauty?
Spring, Summer, Winter Fall... and Spring is a lovely, simple story with the feeling of a Buddhist fable. And Kieslowski isn't exactly someone who desires to deliver a moral lesson, but his series The Decalogue includes a bunch of moral tales (based loosely on the biblical ten commandments). Looks like juv3nal beat me to that one.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 11:35 AM on September 22, 2009

What are the least interesting landmarks in NYC?
Please keep them coming. As a little refinement on the question, though, classic New York tourist destinations are a little too obvious (Times Square), and I'm looking for particular destinations, rather than just regions, like is there a specific place I could go to in Staten Island? Grant's Tomb is the perfect combination of inconvenient location and uninteresting attraction.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 11:21 AM on September 16, 2009

Python vs java in threading
As far as jython is concerned, it is implemented with native JVM threads and does not have the GIL problem. It would also appear that the Jython developers don't intend to add it:

Jython 2.5rc3 (Release_2_5rc3:6384:6385, May 26 2009, 15:51:41)
[Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (Sun Microsystems Inc.)] on java1.6.0_07
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>>… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:52 AM on September 15, 2009

I.T. Lingo
I've always been fond of the term "christmas tree packet," meaning one that has all of its flags set to on.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:09 PM on July 31, 2009

How can I use my PC's DVD drive from my netbook?
Well, I guess I'm resigned to a hardware solution, but I'm still surprised that no software options exist for this - it seems like if the necessary USB protocol can be embedded in the firmware of an external USB enclosure, it could surely be emulated in a hackable OS such as Linux. (It also seems like this would be a handy bit of software for USB manufacturers to use for testing.)

Thanks for the ideas, though - particularly I'd never heard about the USB / IDE adapter… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 12:23 AM on May 21, 2009
Well, for what it's worth, my BIOS is capable of booting from a USB CD drive (or thumb drive, external hard disk, etc). I just don't get why the device on the other end of the cable needs to be the firmware of a CD drive, rather than a fully-functional PC pretending to be a CD drive.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:02 PM on May 21, 2009

What 70's or 80's serial killer movie is this?
Thanks iconomy! I'm almost positive that it is Cat o' Nine Tails from the lengthy description on that Amazon review - the scene involving the barber matches up exactly, and the auxiliary blind character also comports to my memory of the movie. I had no idea it was Argento.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 9:46 PM on May 11, 2009

Python or Java ...
I'm not familiar with your problem domain, and I'm not sure if you're looking to port over your math code to Python as well, but Python does have some fairly robust (or at least, long-lived) number-crunching stuff with its NumPy package. It's got plenty of string-handling stuff to read in your files, and it's fairly easy to make GUI applications via wxPython - the documentation can be a little sketchy sometimes, but the example code is amazingly good, and there's a book available as well.… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:49 PM on March 20, 2009

Who has delighted you?
I bought a T-Shirt and a CD from the band The Octopus Project and they included a bunch of weird little knickknacks, like a glow-in-the-dark spider ring, and a bunch of candy. They have more types of merch available than usual for a band, but I'm not certain their selections would appeal to anyone who wasn't into their music (which I really enjoy, personally).
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 5:51 PM on September 1, 2008

vista compatible podcatcher
I was using Ziepod on Vista for a while and it seemed to work fine. Since then I've abandoned Vista, however (and Ziepod itself seems to have been abandoned, which is a pity since it's the only client I actually liked). Were you getting an error with it or something?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 6:46 PM on August 25, 2008

Geeky things to see in San Francisco without a car?
If you're into art, there's a show of contemporary Chinese art at the SF MOMA right now that I thought was pretty interesting (they've also got a Frida Kahlo show going, which costs $5 extra and which I wasn't blown away by). While you're in the area you can walk down two blocks to Blue Bottle Coffee and check out their weird space age coffee-dripper things. The Comic Art Museum is between these.

If you are interested in biking, you can rent a bike, go over the Golden… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:57 PM on August 19, 2008

Neither co-optin nor hatin.
I think a single-speed is definitely doable in the city, but having switched from an enormously heavy three-speed bike that might as well have been single-speed because of its uselessness on hills to a used ten-speed road bike I really appreciate the flexibility I have with planning my route. Some cool places in SF are just plain on top of a hill, and it's nice to know you can get to them without getting off your bike and walking. You can always leave your bike in one gear to get the… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 1:45 PM on August 19, 2008 marked best answer

A tree doesn’t grow in San Francisco
Here is an extremely interesting article from SPUR which also addresses the public/private spaces that iamabot mentioned. It compares San Francisco's architectural style unfavorably to the "classic rowhouse model" of such neighborhoods as Park Slope and Chelsea. In terms of why things came to be this way, the article largely places the blame on the automobile.

Much of San Francisco was built or rebuilt after the advent of the private car in the… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2008

ZomBay Critical Mass
The enterprising necromancer will easily be able to obtain human remains by manufacturing them from their natural source: the accursed, hated living. If he or she is willing to venture briefly onto land, such a dark lord could raise a small squad of revenants from the Mission Dolores graveyard; such a squad could easily infiltrate one of the many ferries which cross the bay daily and send a boatload of hapless tourists and commuters to a watery grave.

This method will… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 4:08 PM on August 14, 2008

MUNI naming scheme
Of possible interest is sfmunicentral.com, which contains both a live snapshot and an explanation of that cryptic Muni map that you see in most of the downtown stations. Fun fact: the whole thing is generated by having a web cam(!) pointed at a screen somewhere in the Muni control station.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 11:23 AM on August 10, 2008

Video Spawned the Radio Star
Ladyhawk(e)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:26 PM on August 7, 2008
Oh yeah, for an obscurer one Jets to Brazil is named after a poster which appears in the movie version of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 8:28 AM on August 8, 2008

Please, help me find more prose poetry dealing with love, sex, community, spirituality?
Russell Edson, though his work is less, ah, prosaic than Carson's. And seconding the anthology PhoBWanKenobi mentioned and "Glass, Irony and God."
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 8:24 AM on August 8, 2008

Can you tunnel via SSH to access Gmail via IMAP in Outlook when the ports are blocked?
Sure - what you want is "dynamic port forwarding," where you'd set up PuTTY with a fixed source port (say, 666), and a dynamic destination port. Then you'd set up Outlook to use localhost:666 as a SOCKS proxy; it will forward SMTP, IMAP, POP3, or whatever else you want to go through the tunnel out to the Dreamhost server.

The only thing I'm not certain about is whether you can set Outlook up to use the proxy for your external mail but ignore it for your work… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:18 AM on August 7, 2008

Listening in on someone else's occupation
Philosophy Bites features a bite-sized, accessible interview with a philosopher on a particular topic once a week or so. I don't have much background in philosophy and I really enjoy it.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2008

San Francisco exercise/fitness courses?
Thanks everyone! The term "parcourse" is new to me, and that's helpful. A little more googling has turned up this one in the Marina in addition to the Polo fields one and the Mountain Lake one. Please keep the suggestions coming; I'm hoping to find one that's a relatively quick bike ride from my place at Church and Market.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 1:46 PM on July 31, 2008

Fun with a purpose?
This might be a little out of left field, but if it interests you at all I'd suggest trying a bit of meditation in order to provide a counter-example to the work = productivity equation. If you can get into the idea of it, meditation provides you with an activity (mindfulness) which you can sort of overlay over any other activity that you're doing, be it exercise, dishwashing or serving tea.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:07 AM on July 27, 2008

Help My Stepsons Not Be Bored in the Bay Area
These are all good suggestions. One of my recommendations for visitors used to be the Musee Mechanique, but I haven't actually been to its newer location, which is in a super-touristy area. You might also browse through sf.funcheap.com to see if there are any particular events happening at the time you'll be here.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 7:04 PM on July 21, 2008

Creep me out, literally
For SF/Fantasy stuff, Lucius Shepard has some good short stories and novels which have a sort of oppressive dread about them. And it tends to vary widely in tone, but at least one chapter of Thomas Pynchon's V has a similar feeling. Poetry-wise you're not going to do much better than Poe, But A. E. Housman had a morbid streak a mile wide and might end up in the area you're looking for from time to time.

If you're after more classic stuff, you… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 6:40 PM on July 21, 2008

Chuck Taylor durability techniques?
I probably wear them about once every other day, maybe a little more often than that, but they still seem to fall apart awfully quickly.

parmanparman, what do you mean by waxing the bases? Is that the inside of the shoe? And wax them with what? (I'm not very familiar with shoe-related technology, as you can see.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 12:03 PM on July 14, 2008
I'm not using any foot powder, no, and I almost always wear socks with the shoes. I don't usually put them in the washing machine, either.

What's the theory behind rotating shoes? I mean, assuming I'm doing approximately the same things, won't two pairs of Chuck Taylors just give me twice the lifespan of one pair? (That is, what's the advantage of buying two pairs at once over just buying them one after another?)

Have you contacted… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 2:00 PM on July 14, 2008

Don't read me a bedtime story.
John le Carré is an excellent reader of his own books, which are English to their core and require someone with a good English accent. Along the same lines, Jonathan Cecil does such an incredibly good job at rendering Jeeves and Wooster that I can't listen to a PG Wodehouse book read by anybody else.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 7:45 PM on July 7, 2008 marked best answer

Favorite obscure pop/rock tracks from the 1990s
I've found the 1998 Kill Rock Stars + Lookout Records double-disc compilation A Slice of Lemon to be a great source of obscure tracks (so obscure, in fact, that I've been on the verge of posting questions about some of the bands on it, because they seem to not exist apart from the tracks on that comp). In particular the tracks from Red #9 and Solid Gold are awesome. There are lots of awful songs on the record too.

Beyond that, Unwound side project Long Hind Legs has a… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2008

Blogs that teach?
Python Module of the Week covers one module from the Python standard library every week.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by whir at 10:40 AM on July 3, 2008

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