George V. Reilly

Mole Removal

I had a mole excised today.

I have a few moles on my body, mostly on my legs. My doctor has disliked the look of some of my moles for years. After my most recent annual physical, I went to see a der­ma­tol­o­gist a month ago. There was only one mole that she wanted to treat, low on my left calf. She took a biopsy, using a tiny little saw to peel the top layer off after the area had been numbed with a local anesthetic.

Before Biopsy

The results came back a week later. The mole was “abnormal” but not cancerous. It was rec­om­mend­ed that the rest be removed. The skin is tight on my lower continue.

PuPPy Startup Row Pitch Night

Last night, Adam Porad and I were one of five teams pitching our startups at the PuPPy-organized PyCon Startup Row Pitch Night:

Techstars Seattle and PuPPy [Puget Sound Pro­gram­ming Python] presents PyCon Startup Row Pitch Night. The time has come again for you, the members of PuPPy, to select Seattle’s startup rep­re­sen­ta­tive to travel to PyCon in Portland to represent our Python community and startup scene at the annual conference produced by the Python Software Foundation.

We were pitching MetaBrite and our technology that captures receipts, yielding receipt in­for­ma­tion to users and onsumer insights. We use Python ex­ten­sive­ly—we’ve written 120,000 lines of Python code for web services, web apps, machine learning, image processing, and scripting.

We continue.

Review: A.K.A. Jane

Title: A.K.A. Jane
Author: Maureen Tan
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 319
Keywords: thriller
Reading period: 13 March, 2016

Jane Nichols, burnt-out MI5 agent and novelist, has gotten out of the Service, but she wants revenge on the man who caused the death of her lover. The target, Jim O’Neil, is a re­spectable busi­ness­man in Savannah, Georgia. Jane rents a room from the Savannah chief of police, sexy Alex Callaghan, posing as the novelist she is, so that she kill O’Neil. She gets tangled up in Callaghan’s serial killer case too.

En­ter­tain­ing, fast-paced thriller with a likeable and believable lead character.

Review: The Annunciate

Title: The Annunciate
Author: Severna Park
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Eos
Copyright: 1999
Pages: 294
Keywords: sf
Reading period: 10–13 March, 2016

Three people are nearly all that’s left of the elite “Meshed” caste. They stay one step aside of the hunters and live off the proceeds from making and selling the highly addictive “Staze”. They flee to a long-abandoned planet and discover a new lifeform, which takes over in both meatspace and the shared virtual reality, infecting the dreams of the Staze-addicted.

While there were some in­ter­est­ing ideas in this book, I didn’t enjoy it very much.

Review: The God's Eye View

Title: The God’s Eye View
Author: Barry Eisler
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 417
Keywords: thriller
Reading period: 3–10 March, 2016

An NSA analyst spots a suspicious cor­re­la­tion between the NSA station chief in Ankara and a crusading journalist, and she reports it to the director of the NSA. The station chief promptly dies in a car crash and the journalist is abducted by Syrian terrorists, and she starts to worry. As the ever-more au­thor­i­tar­i­an director goes further off the deep end, her worry grows—with good reason. And the director’s hatchet man who is assigned to monitor her un­ex­pect­ed­ly turns out to have human feelings.

This is a classic paranoid continue.

Review: Big City, Bad Blood

Title: Big City, Bad Blood
Author: Sean Chercover
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper­Collins
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 304
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 2–3 March, 2016

Ray Dudgeon is a Chicago PI hired to guard a Hollywood location manager who witnessed the Outfit at work. The client is murdered, Ray gets caught up in a Mafia power struggle, and the body count rises.

A well-written, fast-paced story that I gobbled up.

Quoting in Bash

Various Bash guides recommend putting quotes around just about everything. I had a script that contained this line:

sudo apt-get install --yes $(cat "$BUILD/install_on_aws_ubuntu.txt")

While refac­tor­ing, I put another set of quotes around the $(cat ...) out of an abundance of caution:

sudo apt-get install --yes "$(cat "$BUILD/install_on_aws_ubuntu.txt")"

Several other changes later, I couldn’t figure out why my script had stopped working.

Here’s what happened:

$ cat $HOME/tmp/demo.txt

$ echo $(cat "$HOME/tmp/demo.txt")
foo bar quux

$ echo "$(cat $HOME/tmp/demo.txt)"

The new outer quotes retained the newlines; the original replaced newlines with spaces.

The Bash FAQ has more: specif­i­cal­ly Command Substition and Word Splitting.

Review: The Fourth Secret

Title: The Fourth Secret
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Mondadori
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 77
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: February 28–March 2, 2016

A quirky novella about Com­mis­sario Montalbano of the Italian Polizia. A series of “ac­ci­dents” have been happening at con­struc­tion sites. Montalbano receives an anonymous letter warning that another “accident” will happen, too late to prevent it. He attempts to cover it up, while still in­ves­ti­gat­ing, and realizes that he’s infringing on the carib­inieri‘s ju­ris­dic­tion, a no-no.

Moderately en­ter­tain­ing.

25 Years Out as Bisexual

My birthday today marks the 25th an­niver­sary of my coming out as bisexual, a major milestone in my life.

I hid my bi­sex­u­al­i­ty for a decade before coming out in 1991. Ireland was not a welcoming place for LGBT youth in the 1980s. Nor were most other places.

I discovered soc.motss, the gay newsgroup on Usenet, in the late 1980s and I lurked there for a couple of years, half-intending to come out but never quite finding the courage. Then my old friend Éamonn came out to me—to my utter sur­prise—and I im­me­di­ate­ly came out to him. Then I sat on everything for a few months. Eventually, late on the night of my continue.

Happy Pi Day

3/14 is considered to be Pi Day by many geeks, as π is ap­prox­i­mate­ly 3.14. I wish I could say that I had celebrated by eating pie, but I didn’t.

π is surely the most important irrational number, which has been known since antiquity.

π shows up in so many different formulas. My own favorite is Euler’s Identity, eiπ + 1 = 0. (This marks the first use of the re­Struc­tured­Text math role in my blog.)

I am also find of the ap­prox­i­mate fraction 355 ⁄ 113.

The Wikipedia article on π has much more on π.

Update: Wonkblog: 10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi

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