In the last few years in Seattle, I’ve met
the Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland,
the President of Ireland,
and now the Queen of Ireland.
Title: The Queen of Ireland
Director: Conor Horgan
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Keywords: documentary, ireland, lgbt
Watched: 2 June, 2016
The Queen of Ireland is a documentary about Ireland’s best-known drag queen,
Panti Bliss (Rory O’Neill), who became an accidental activist
and the face of marriage equality in Ireland.
Filming started in 2010.
In early 2014, O’Neill appeared on an RTÉ chat show
and alleged that some individuals in Irish journalism are homophobic.
They threatened to sue and RTÉ backed down, apologizing and paying them €85,000.
This became known as …continue.
Yesterday, while at PyCon,
I whipped up a quick, brute-force answer
to the HouseCanary PyCon2016 Progamming Challenge
in a few minutes.
That was sufficient to pass the first two test cases
and win me a very pretty HouseCanary t-shirt.
The answer ran in O(n⁴) time, so it failed miserably on the larger problem sets
in the third and fourth cases.
I mulled it over and came up with an O(n²) solution that runs in reasonable time
on the larger problem sets.
On the second test case, input1.txt, runtime drops from 5.2s to 0.2s.
I submitted my new answer.
I’ll learn on Monday if I won the speed challenge.
Title: Jimmy the Kid
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Narrator: Brian Holsopple
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Keywords: crime, humor
Listening period: 27–31 May, 2016
I rarely listen to audiobooks, except on long driving trips.
We listened to another Dortmunder book on our drive
down to and back from Portland for PyCon.
Dortmunder’s jinxed associate Andy Kelp spends a few days in jail
and reads a book called Child Heist by Richard Stark,
which Kelp believes to be the blueprint for a perfect crime.
Dortmunder, always wary of Kelp’s schemes,
doesn’t appreciate having a plan brought to him,
since he’s always been the planner of the crew.
Some of the crew aren’t eager …continue.
Title: A Colder Kind of Death
Author: Gail Bowen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Reading period: 27–28 May, 2016
Joanna Kilbourn’s husband, Ian, was senselessly murdered
along the Trans-Canada Highway six years ago.
Now the killer has been murdered in prison.
And his vile girlfriend, who was acquitted of Ian’s murder, is making threats.
Then she’s found dead, strangled by Joanna’s scarf, and Joanna is the prime suspect.
Joanna, who is a quietly competent mother, professor, and political commentator,
starts digging and she finds things that alarm her about Ian’s past,
things that she had missed in her fog of grief after his murder.
I made a number of updates to the FlyingCloud Documentation tonight.
I hope to give a lightning talk about FlyingCloud
at PyCon on Monday evening or Tuesday morning,
and I put together some slides for that too.
We drove down to Portland, Oregon yesterday for PyCon.
No trip to Portland would be complete without a trip to Powell’s bookstore.
I don’t have much time this trip, but we did manage to spend an hour there last night,
before they closed at 11pm.
There’s nothing like it in Seattle.
I like Elliott Bay Bookstore but it’s a pale shadow of Powell’s.
A long time ago, someone described Powell’s to me as “the best bookstore in Seattle”—meaning that Seattleites who want to visit a world-class bookstore
have to visit Portland.
I got out lightly.
I spent only $85.
Title: Mars Crossing
Author: Geoffrey A. Landis
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Keywords: hard sf
Reading period: 22–27 May, 2016
Five astronauts are stranded on Mars.
Their only hope is to find the vehicle of an earlier crew who died—but that ship is at the north pole and they’re south of the equator.
And so they trek north across Mars.
They know that the other ship can’t hold them all,
and some of them start dying along the way.
Landis is a NASA scientist who writes “hard science fiction”;
i.e., SF that’s solidly based in science,
some of which is known for plodding writing and dull characters.
Landis’s characters have …continue.
Our poster designer sent me a PDF of this year’s Bloomsday poster.
I thought the file was too large at 7.2MB and I wanted to reduce the file size
without significant loss of image quality.
I was unable to achieve this in Preview or Acrobat Reader,
but Ghostscript did the trick,
thanks to an answer on AskUbuntu:
gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 \
-dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH \
The results speak for themselves.
Crop of the Original PDF, size 7.2MB.
Crop of -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen. PDF size: 78KB
Crop of -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook. PDF size: 234KB
Crop of -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress. PDF size: 1.75MB
The power suddenly went out at work today about 11:30am.
There was a technician who was running wires,
standing on a ladder next to us,
who disclaimed all responsibility.
Since the wires were Ethernet cables, we believed him.
It quickly became apparent that it was not just our office or even our building,
but many blocks of downtown Seattle that had lost power.
One person was trapped in the elevator in our old Pioneer Square building.
Within half an hour, everyone had left the office.
Although most of us have laptops,
no electricity meant no Internet.
I drifted up to Capitol Hill and spent the afternoon
working with two colleagues in a …continue.
I spent a couple of frustrating hours this evening
trying to figure out an easy way to deploy a Docker container on AWS.
I tried out the EC2 Container Service and got lost
in a sea of Clusters, Tasks, and Services.
I couldn’t connect to the EC2 instance where my container supposedly lived.
I tried Elastic Beanstalk and gave up in exasperation.
When you create a new Docker environment,
there’s no way to pull an existing image from an external repo
that I could see.
We have some tools for deploying a Docker image to Elastic Beanstalk,
but they were so cryptic that I didn’t want to pursue that.
Eventually I went old …continue.