Nov 092017
 

Strings

As a computer programmer for more than a quarter of century, I don’t think I have ever thought much about strings. I knew the basics. In every language I’d worked with, strings were a data type unto themselves. Superficially they are a sequence of characters, but behind the scenes, computers store and manipulate them as arrays of one or more binary bytes. In programs, they can be stored in variables or constants, and often show up in source code as literals, ie., fixed, quoted values like “salary” or “bumfuzzle.” (That is my new favorite word, btw.) Outside of occasionally navigating the subtleties of encoding and decoding them, I never gave strings a second thought.

Even when I first dipped my toe into the waters of natural language processing, aka NLP (not to be confused with the quasi-scientific neuro linguistic programming which unfortunately shares the same acronym), I still really only worked with strings as whole entities, words or affixes, As I made my through familiarizing myself with existing NLP tools, I didn’t have to dive any deeper than that. It was only when I started programming my own tools from the ground up, did I learn about the very formal mathematics behind strings and their relationship to sets and set theory. This post will be an attempt to explain what I learned.

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Feb 022016
 
Learning Python Book Cover Learning Python
Mark Lutz
Computers
O'Reilly Media; Fifth Edition edition (July 6, 2013)
July 6, 2013
1594

Get a comprehensive, in-depth introduction to the core Python language with this hands-on book. Based on author Mark Lutz's popular training course, this updated fifth edition will help you quickly write efficient, high-quality code with Python. It's an ideal way to begin, whether you're new to programming or a professional developer versed in other languages. Complete with quizzes, exercises, and helpful illustrations, this easy-to-follow, self-paced tutorial gets you started with both Python 2.7 and 3.3 - the latest releases in the 3.X and 2.X lines-plus all other releases in common use today. You'll also learn some advanced language features that recently have become more common in Python code.

Dec 272015
 

Dot

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but my daughter got a robot for Christmas, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, I was totally unfamiliar with Dot,  the cute, roughly 3.5 inch, sensor-packed, “brains of a robot” by San Mateo-based Wonder Workshop,  Inc. Now that I’ve had some hands on time with Dot and read up about her mobile sibling Dash, I have to say that I am impressed with these learning tools in disguise.

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Jul 122015
 

Vex Starter Kit Components in the BoxThis post is a throwback to March, 2006 when I purchased the original Vex Robotics Design System v0.5. I had originally posted these pictures and their respective comments on Flickr.

I had forgotten all about them when I happened to stumble upon them today. Although I think I was more surprised to find that Flickr was still a thing. Either way, I think they belong here. I’m still using this kit so maybe soon I’ll post some of the things I have done with it.

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