Dragons in the Algorithm
Adventures in Programming
by Michael Chermside

Using a Mix of Computers and Humans for Security

Suppose that your bank offers currency conversion as a service: give them a deposit or make a withdrawal in euros and they'll adjust your balance in dollars. They don't do this out of the goodness of their hearts: today's conversion rate is around 1.28 $ / €, so they'd give you 0 …

Read more

Posted Tue 10 January 2012 by mcherm in Security

Binary Backward Compatibility

I saw this interesting article about a weakness in the Scala language. The weakness applies not just to Scala, but to pretty much any language: the community using the language cannot grow past a certain point until it somehow solves the problem of libraries depending on other libraries in a …

Read more

Posted Wed 07 December 2011 by mcherm in Programming

Election Guide for Nov 8, 2011

My election guide for November 8, 2011.

My endorsements in Bold.

Retention of Judge, Pennsylvania Supreme Court (retain or not):

  1. Michael Eakin

NO, do not retain! -- In 2006, The PA State Legislature voted itself a pay raise in direct violation of the plain wording of the state constitution which states …

Read more

Posted Mon 07 November 2011 by mcherm in Politics

Story Points

If you have complete and accurate requirements for your project which won't change, and your development team is spot-on in estimating and highly consistent in their development pace. and there are no surprises, then you can produce highly accurate project timeline estimates up front. Such accurate estimates are (or, more …

Read more

Posted Wed 28 September 2011 by mcherm in Programming