Anatomy Without a Scalpel

September 12, 2012

Anatomy Without a Scalpel by Lon Kilgore can’t escape the simple fact that anatomy is, in no small part, mind-numbing. It does give a good try. Kilgore is probably known to many readers as the coauthor, with iconic strength coach … Continue reading

The title alone will have driven off everyone from my non-weights circle of friends. Optimizing Strength Training is a book by William J. Kraemer and Steven J. Fleck. Quite aside from the American fondness for initialling their names in print, … Continue reading

3 Weightlifting Books

August 13, 2012

I bought a bunch of weightlifting-related books recently, some from IronMind and some from Amazon.com. Today I’ll briefly review three of them. Olympic-Style Weightlifting for the Beginner and Intermediate Lifter by Jim Schmitz. Bought from IronMind. This is not really … Continue reading

One of the unsung benefits of stable employment in a place with a relatively rigid union contract is that you are expected and required to take your full lunch break. No subtle hints are dropped that we could really use … Continue reading

The two faces of Amazon.com

Amazon is a marvel of the modern age. Cheap books, shipped worldwide at ever-cheaper rates. Very cheap indeed if you bought a Kindle (I have a DX. I love it).

There’s one problem: sometimes you don’t actually buy the book from Amazon. It’s coming from a third party.

Today I placed an order for several books. One cost $59.38.

And when I got the Amazon confirmation, I saw that this book was being sold from a third party who proposes to charge me $59.95 to post a single book to me. The rest of the books being sent by Amazon are costing $20 to ship.

I’ve sent a message requesting a cancellation.

In future my view is that if something on Amazon isn’t being fulfilled by Amazon, then it’s simply not available on Amazon.

Posted in Rants | Comments Off on The two faces of Amazon.com

A not-so-brief aside on reigning in chaos

Everything that humans touch eventually becomes complex, whether we like it or not.

(Blog posts too. This one started out as a comparison of three competing software system alternatives and subsequently bloated into a discussion of chaos in computer systems.)

The problem is that being humans, we design systems. Design is less about the desired purpose of a system and much more about the limits of the designers. We’re trying to optimise in two dimensions: the problem space itself, and then according to the limits of human cognition. Within the problem space we can make incremental progress along an ostensibly continuous axis. In terms of human understanding … well that gets tapped out much more quickly.

That’s why I say to people that computer science is about the limits of computation; software engineering is about the limits of the engineers.
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Posted in Robojar, Software Engineering, Systems, Technical Notes | 27 Comments

Micropayments claims another victim

So it appears that one of the companies I’d have been competing with, Readability, have thrown in the towel.

Robojar (my effort) has a similar but distinguishable model. And others have tried and failed in this space with similar-but-distinguishable models.

Nobody as yet has cracked the right permutation of small adjustments to the micropayment concept to make it work. I believe that I have the secret ingredients, but based on historical evidence I have every chance of being wrong.

I look forward to finding out.

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Fat and Simple

In my trade we commonly mention the truism that “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I bring this up because I’m about to do what every smart person likes to do: drastically simplify a complex phenomenon.

Specifically: If all you have is systems thinking … everything looks like a system.

Today’s subject is: how do people get fat?

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Posted in Diet, Systems | 21 Comments

War and Peace and War

May 14, 2012

Grand theories of history never quite go out of fashion. The impossible complexity of human society so cheerfully refutes our understanding that we have to fall back on intuitive pattern-matching to make sense of it (after a while, this becomes … Continue reading

How I am training currently

My main hobby is Olympic-style weightlifting. Normally this means I focus on the two competition lifts, with work on the side to improve technique and to increase strength.

A few months ago I partially tore the meniscus of my left knee. It’s been taking its sweet time healing up, in part because I kept performing certain exercises. I figured for about 8 weeks that if I didn’t feel pain, doing an exercise was OK. I was wrong.

So now I have dropped all work involving either knee extension or flexion. This includes the Olympic lifts, squats, deadlifts, romanian deadlifts, good mornings … in fact, all the exercises that form the staple of weightlifting training.

Instead I’ve been stranded with upper body work.

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Posted in Weightlifting | 8 Comments