The business of software. A guide for dummy programmers

I spent 6 hours today trying to buy a printer … and failed.

  • There is money set aside for this purchase in my bank account.
  • There are printers on the shelves
  • Websites advertise printers for sale

The reason I was unable to purchase a printer was because a corporation with a near monopoly on the Canadian market, one of the largest privately owned retailers in Canada, could not tell me which printers they had available for sale.

Let that sink in:

A multi-billion dollar retailer could not tell me if they had anything to sell me.

On the surface this…


A personal experience with network failures

Within my organisation, we have been moving toward modern web based platforms. This offers many benefits to our users in terms of availability, sustainability, growth capability, and I have been one of the leading proponents for it.

While modern web-based services are the norm, and desirable, there are risks associated with them that should be considered for mitigation. Primarily, these risks revolve around the centralisation of service, as well as the network availability of clients. …


A tribute to James Randi for dummy programmers

James Randi died October 20, 2020.

The Amazing Randi was a successful stage magician, famously surpassing many of Harry Houdini’s achievements. Later in his career, James Randi took his mastery of magic and used it to turn a critical and skeptical eye to claims of paranormal powers. Claims of divine healing powers, telekinesis, and psychic powers were all put to the test with what grew to a $1,000,000 reward to anyone who could prove their powers.

The “Randi Prize” was never claimed during its 50 years.

Modern Product Development

Edward Deming once said, “In God we trust, all others must bring data”.

Over…


An introduction for Dummy Programmers (using the Smith-Waterman Algorithm)

Some time ago, I was teaching introductory python, and basic browser programming. During this time, I wrote an application that compares pieces of software code and presents their similarity in a force directed and tornado diagram. I ran this software semi-regularly (weekly) and, very early on, a significant problem appeared with my solution.

It took a really long time to solve. A really long time. A painfully long time.

I needed to find a way to speed up the processing.

The points are computer programs, and the orange line represents the progress of a comparison. With 36 comparisons, this takes … long enough that I get bored.

At the time I wrote the tool, GPU processing was hot and everyone was talking about how this was going…


A Simple Pencil and Paper Computer

This article is based on an activity originally designed as a classroom micro-activity to introduce some concepts of Visualisation in Data Analysis, in a fun and interactive way. The activity is suitable for children aged 12 to 120.

I would like to thank my wife, Sharon Cave, for her invaluable assistance in developing this activity.

Most people rely on their natural human intuition for decision making, and human intuition is based on interacting with the physical world around us. Computers, on the other hand, deal in abstracts ideas; something humans just aren’t well equipped to deal with.

What goes on…


An introduction for dummy programmers

Over the course of about 1000 generations, a Markov Network Brain evolves dumb bugs (left) into something capable of finding food immediately (right). The “bugs” achieve this with no awareness of their environment beyond their physical bodies and antennae

Click here for the demo (known to work with FF 68.0.1, not 100% cross-browser)

A couple of months ago, I was at a wedding and (naturally) the conversation turned toward the capabilities and limitations of Artificial Intelligence.

I am not an AI expert, and my exposure to it has been sketchy at best. I have implemented algorithms but have never really done a deep dive into any of them to really understand the mechanics. …

Jefferey Cave

Having discovered a passion for business data analysis in my teens, I love to share the beauty of data and complex systems with other devs and clients alike.

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