Technical Writing

Toccata & Fugue in the Key of Blockchain

The origins of the underlying data structure has everything to do with ensuring a document or set of documents can be proved published in a particular form at a certain time. In this context, a document could be an image, audio file, movie, or other computer file. This is incredibly general and adaptable to many different circumstances.

Does Blockchain Generate Trust?

Generating trust from nothing is one of the first major feats blockchain is hyped to do, but blockchain itself doesn’t generate trust out of nothing. It actually derives from the system in which blockchain is used. A blockchain is actually just a chain of blocks of data having a particular structure which ensures its self-integrity, it can only be used to guarantee the data written to the chain was done so in a certain way. Multiple blockchains can be created with the same data up to a certain point — in fact, Bitcoin does this all the time in the mining process and the fork stays around until a majority of nodes choose the fork which grows longest.

What Can We Do About Net Neutrality?

Only by replacing ISPs with our own providers built to be more open from the ground up, can we bypass their newfound ability to control what travels over their networks.

Bitcoin is An Energy Hog -- and its value seems tied to that fact

The price of bitcoin from around 2015 until mid-October 2017, tracks with the price of electricity in China. From August and October, it correlates with the average US cost of energy. In November, it goes on a space walk to a new energy level. By the start of December, it moves with the average cost of electricity in NYC.

The Hypothetical Future of Space Communications

Imagine being on Mars, giving a presentation at a conference on Earth with real time audio and video (or VR even). All it might possibly require is a sufficient amount of planning to store separated entangled photon pairs in both locations and proper timing of a signal to initiate the protocol a suitable time before the presentation. This means we’d still experience a delay, but it would only happen before the stream starts — like a sort of quantum buffering. Of course, this is my imagination running wild. Science will still have see if it’s even possible.

Towards a portable solar/wind replacement for gas generators

This is a general overview of how to design a solar power system, preferably a portable one. This takes a look at the power density disparities between gas powered generators and solar power systems. It also provides an overview of energy requirements for a few common tools, appliances, and home health needs. It then guides the reader through the calculations and decisions needed in order to build a proper solar power system.

Abbreviating Huge and Minuscule Numbers with Math and JavaScript

I’m sure there are quite a few ways to do this. What if we could write something with only two non-repeated conditionals using a few math concepts in eight lines of code?

What to Look for in PHP 5.4.0

PHP 5.4.0 will arrive soon. The PHP team is working to bring to some very nice presents to PHP developers. In the previous release of 5.3.0 they had added a few language changes. This version is no different. Some of the other changes include the ability to use DTrace for watching PHP apps in BSD variants (there is a loadable kernel module for Linux folks). This release features many speed and security improvements along with some phasing out of older language features (Y2K compliance is no longer optional). The mysql extensions for ext/mysql, mysqli, and pdo now use the MySql native driver (mysqlnd). This release also improves support for multibyte strings.

The State of Functional Programming in PHP 5.3.x

A few weeks ago, I started looking into the possibility of functional programming in PHP. I stumbled across the capability of defining anonymous functions — starting with PHP 5.3.0. These can be used to define closures with bound variables and also for partial application or currying. Higher order functions can also be defined.

Documentation for gRaphael: g.line.js

gRaphael provides an easy way of creating charts through JavaScript. Unfortunately, many people have complained about how poorly it is documented. In the interest of seeing more good looking charts on websites, I decided to go through the code and post documentation here.

Centering Map Viewports Near Locations while Preserving Privacy

What geoloqi needs is a method of offsetting the current location which statistically cannot be tricked or munged into reproducing one’s current location. This is the major constraint: How does one ensure that a dedicated (stalker/zombie/attacker/real life spamer/salesman) cannot reproduce one’s location, given the algorithm and a set of data requested from the public API for the map center?

Profound Similarities

I was messing around with some ideas the other day and noticed some similarities between some very beautiful identities.

Duplicating VirtualBox Machines the Hard Way

Exactly what it says on the tin. I had yet to learn about the built in method for duplicating images.

Interesting Fibonacci Goodness

Last year I was working on deriving a matrix based method for translating and rotating various polygons around pentagons. In the process of this I got sidetracked and started to look into the golden mean. People swoon over how it defines the most beautiful rectangles! It crops up inside pentagons and various 3-D polyhedra. It’s glorious. It’s just like how a circle has the ratio pi, and it has a name too: phi. I’ll be writing it down in Greek from here on out (it’s originally from there anyway). So learn this shape: \varphi Sometimes people write it out like this: \phi Either way it’s just a variable name. Sometimes it refers to something other than the golden mean, but here it’s the golden mean. As I found powers of \varphi , I kept noticing certain values popping up in sequence. It turns out that one can find powers of \varphi through the following formula: