Stories for Outcasts

A deep dive into APL

Friday, February 12, 2016

A few years back, I stumbled across this video while looking for something new to geek out about:

It shows a man live-coding Conway's Game of Life as a way of introducing the viewer to the APL language. He seemlessly types the greek characters iota and omega, set theory symbols, and unicode symbols that are specific to APL, such as a tilde with an umlaut over it. He expresses concepts such as rotation of columns and rows around a matrix's axes, out


Combinatorics, brute force, and a surprising coding challenge

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Recently I've been checking out coding tutorial sites, including Hour of Code, Khan Exercises, Codecademy, freeCodeCamp (fCC). This last site interested me because of its promise to hook budding coders up with nonprofits, and also because their codebase is on GitHub, under active development, and references modern libraries and tools (D3/CodePen, for instance).

The fCC tutorial includes incremental instructions on how to write basic HTML and JavaScript, challenges to solve, and links to Wikiped


JavaScript dates, trains, Passover, and Henry VIII

Friday, October 30, 2015

Measuring time is more nebulous than you might imagine. The length of a year isn't constant, neither is the length of a day, owing to planetary physics, e.g. the pull of gravity from other planets, and the gyroscopic effect of the rotation of Earth's axis (think of a spinning top wobbling as it slows) approximately every 26,000 years. Neither a year nor a lunar month complete in a whole number of days, and to complicate matters, their lengths are very close to a quarter day and a half day, respe


Bare-bones WebGL and the math behind 3D graphics

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This introduction is designed for programmers who are wholly unfamiliar with WebGL and 3D graphics. It will take you through the basics of feeding vertex and color data to a WebGL buffer, the (surprisingly simple) math behind 4x4 translation matrices, and more complex topics like homogenous coordinates, orthographic versus perspective projections, Euler angles, gimbal lock, quaternions, and the like.

The official spec for the WebGL API can be found at [The khronos.org website](http://www.khrono


Calculating e with Javascript

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"In showing a painting to probably a critical or venomous lady, anger dominates. O take guard, or she raves and shouts." - Martin Gardner

The odd quote above is from one of Gardner's mathematical puzzles columns in Scientific American, and is a mnemonic aid for building the mathematical constant e based on the lengths of each word, where the "O" from "O take guard" represents zero. Here's a quick Javascript console snippet showing how it wor


5 coding interview questions

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recently I took a contract with Automattic to build a WordPress plugin for them. We parted amicably with a Dear John letter instead of an offer letter, as the friction between our operating styles was greater in reality than it should have been on paper. I'll spare you the details.

Part of their onboarding ordeal is a coding challenge. In my case, it was to modify a dummy plugin to add a feature to it, with 7 days to polish it up. I bring this up only because what I expected, but which apparent


Debunking Anti-Homebirth Rhetoric

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"There is no honor in vaginal birth and it is despicable for anyone to insist that there is." -Amy Tuteur

("The only thing that makes you an honorable parent is loving your child. However to equate submission to the medical establishment during pregnancy and birth with feminist ideals is insane, and a slap in the face to women who have fought for independence and self-determination." -Curtis)

Since my wife, Liberty, and I planned for our daughter Adelaide's birth in 2011, I've become a passion


Emrys

Monday, September 16, 2013

First picture of Emrys

I'm 42 years old, and starting fatherhood anew with a glad heart. My 4th daughter, Emrys Hadley Allerding, was born this Sunday, September 15, 2013, at 9:30pm, weighing 8 lbs, 4 oz, 21" long. As an archetypal Sunday's child, she is bonnie and blithe, and good and gay. "Blithe" is a trait that I share with my wife and our children, and which is typically not meant as a complement. However, I think of being b


7 Creative Leaps in Zombiedom

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I originally wrote this in 2009 on my Blogger Blog. I think the list still holds up pretty well, and to it I'd add some gems I've seen on Netflix or in the box office, the main criteria being that they add something new to the genre:


The last sojourn before baby #4

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The missus and I have been married for 5 years now. Each of us has a child from a previous relationship, and in 2011 we had one together. I was 40 then, and anxious to have one last swan song, a quickening of an aging man who loves having kids underfoot. And we both wanted a kid in a stable, atomic family, without the headache of negotiations with the kids' other parent to cope with. Adelaide was a boon for both of us, and we contemplated having one more kid, maybe a few years out after Addie wa