Wgot 2007 CD

Posted on March 19, 2008 by Steve

Last year's collection is now available to HOB fans whose mailing address is known to the author.

This year got off to a slow start after the wget script started misbehaving. Somehow one of my favorite bits of code was commented out:

oldIFS="$IFS"; IFS="

This causes the list of wgotten mp3 files to be parsed by line, rather than by space. Without it, my working directory was sprayed with dozens of annoying empty file fragments, each one having the name of a single word in an mp3 title.

That's fixed now, and auditing of 250 new tracks began last week. This produced so few picks that I began to doubt the adage that (only) 99% of what's on the internet is crap. The best of the worst:

Jim Noir: Don't You Worry

The Postal Service: Brand New Colony fair warning: contains 8-bit indy pop

There were also inordinately many drunk/drinking songs this time, many of which I tracked down to one generous post. Here's the only one I kept from the lot:

Tom Waits: The Piano Has Been Drinking

Age and wisdom

Posted on March 18, 2008 by Steve

REM Rootfinder Program
REM Finds Roots using Newton-Raphson method of equation
REM f(x) = 9.34 - 21.97x + 16.3x^2 - 3.704x^3

PRINT "Use Rootfinder to locate roots of equation"
PRINT "f(x) = 9.34 - 21.97x + 16.3x^2 - 3.704x^3"
INPUT "Initial Guess: ", x
INPUT "Stopping Criterion (% Relative Error): ", EC

ITER = 0
ET = 1 + EC
DEF FNG (x) = x - (9.34 - 21.97 * x + 16.3 * x ^ 2 - 3.704 * x ^ 3) / (-21.97 + 32.6 * x - 11.112 * x ^ 2)

WHILE (ET > EC) AND (I < 100)
Y = FNG(x)
IF (Y <> 0) THEN ET = ABS((Y - x) / Y) * 100
PRINT "Iteration: "; ITER, "Estimate: " Y, "Error: "; ET
x = Y

PRINT "Function value at last iteration:"
PRINT "x = "; x; ", f(x) = "; 9.34 - 21.97 * x + 16.3 * x ^ 2 - 3.704 * x ^ 3

This was a homework assignment for my Numerical Methods class dated 8 April 1993. I found the dot-matrix printout while sorting through papers in the basement. The professor wasn't too impressed; he gave me a score of 50/75. He didn't catch the undeclared variable I in the WHILE condition, but circled "IF (Y <> 0)" and wrote "Can you explain what is being checked here?" Seems clear to me, though an ELSE statement would have been a nice touch. He also scribbled "Try both stopping criteria?" and, after checking my result of 0.9535033 in 7 iterations, asked "largest root?" (it wasn't).

One reason I held on to a bunch of school papers was so I could test myself to see if I would gradually get stupider after completing my formal education. I am happy to report that there has not been a precipitous decline. In the copy of the PSAT test that I saved from high school, I couldn't find a single problem in the math section that was hard enough to merit being worked out. Meanwhile, I recently solved my 100th problem on Project Euler, and hope to knock off a few more before dementia sets in.

Turkish Quiz

Posted on March 07, 2008 by Steve

Here's another item stolen from Games magazine, April 1998 issue. Match the Turkish words on the left with their English equivalents on the right.

14.otocarn.live wire
18.purdelir.record player
20.sinema filimit.rubber
21.sirku.safety razor

On the subject of Turkish vocabulary, I found the list of Basic English words I had intended to learn back in August. My proficiency was still around 50% or less, but I got a few more translations and memorized one or two. Seems technique is of little importance compared to actually putting in some effort regularly.