Robert A. Uhl

Advent of Code 2018, day 1

I’ve decided to participate in the Advent of Code this year. The idea is that each day two simple puzzles are released, and folks use their favourite programming language to solve them. Folks compete to be the first person to submit a solution (only the first 100 count for points, though). Following Javier Olaechea’s example, I’ll track each day’s solution and post notes here. Sum numbers I decided to just drop the input in as a string. Read more →

Multi-device end-to-end encryption & identity

I had an idea late last night about how to handle multi-device end-to-end encryption and identity. An issue with end-to-end encryption is how to support multiple devices: I may want to read messages on my laptop, my phone, my desktop and my tablet, but I don’t want a central server to be able to read those messages. This can be handled with encryption: when someone sends me a message, he encrypts it for all of my devices. Read more →

How to write a spelling corrector — in Lisp

Back in 2007 Peter Norvig shared a simple spelling corrector (last updated in 2016); I thought that I’d share my translation into Lisp, with some comments. Norvig’s original article explains the actual algorithm he’s using; I’ll focus on stuff specific to my own version.

I’m definitely not a Lisp wizard (although I’ve been using it for many years), so it’s entirely possible that I’ve messed one thing or another up — I’m glad to receive corrections or comments.

Read more →

Towards a dumber smart phone

Nathan Toups has an interesting set of suggestions for a dumber smartphone, intended to retain utility while reducing their potential for addiction. They’re good ideas, but I do have a few quibbles. I think that it’s fine to retain non-addictive entertainment, in order to use the phone with e.g. a Chromecast. Thus it’s okay to have YouTube, Hulu or Netflix, but it’s still good to get rid of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram &c. Read more →

Fifty unlikely Linux users

noöne runs Linux, right? Well, not quite: here’s a list of fifty Linux users you might not expect. From our own government, to foreign states, to aircraft, to some of your favourite websites, Linux is everywhere. Why not give Ubuntu a spin today? Read more →