David Brownman

    • ruby
    • programming
    • statistics

    Bogosort in Practice

    For whatever reason, there's a lot of humor in programming. From bogus HTTP responses to fun jargon, we're a funny bunch. In practice, the only thing funnier than an idea is an idea that actually runs, so I decided to see how awful Bad Code could really be.

    The searching and sorting of arrays is a popular (and central) topic in computer science. There's been a lot of time and effort spent ensuring we can sort array as efficiently as possible. Typically, efficiency in sorting methods is measured as a function of input length vs number of loops. A great sort won't appreciably increase ruznning time as the input gets longer. A bad sort, on the other hand...

    When the topic of bad searches come up (at parties or whatever, as it does), a crowd favorite is always the infamous bogosort. The idea is simple: take an array, randomize it, and check if it's sorted. If not, repeat! In the best case, you got really lucky and this sort is very fast. Most of the time, you're less lucky and this is actively awful. Let's see how this would shake out in practice.

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    • security

    How Hackers Steal Your Data (and How to Make it Harder for Them)

    Your data is in constant danger.

    Your address, credit card number, and anything else you have available online is ripe for the taking should an attacker gain access to your accounts. If you use the internet at all (and you're reading this, I know you do), there are people out there that would happily sell access to your account to the highest bidder, forever compromising that password and any data associated with it.

    When you think of a hacker, you might think about ridiculous scenes from movies. A shadowy figure's fingers fly over a keyboard in a poorly lit room as green text cascades down their four monitors. The reality of the situation is much more banal; programs run over the course of hours, breaking protected versions of passwords into their plaintext form. Once that's done, a hacker has unfettered access to any accounts they unlocked directly, plus anything else that reused that password. While nothing can keep you completely safe from a dedicated hacker, you can make yourself as tough of a target as possible. To best understand this, let's take a journey through the steps of a typical hack, what makes it dangerous, and steps you can take to mitigate your risk.

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    • movies
    • X-Men

    A Few Good X-Men

    Spoiler note: Everything up until the Big Bold Warning is strictly spoiler free!

    Spanning multiple reboots, timelines, and source material, Fox's X-Men franchise can be a lot to get a handle on. In preparation for seeing Logan, I wanted to go back through and watch all of the X-Men movies. There's a hitch though- there's no defined order to watch them in. Star Wars has Machete Order, but with the X-Men's contradicting timelines, it's hard to know the best way to experience them as a first time (or repeat) viewer.

    As a series, the X-Men movies tell the saga of Wolverine. As the only character (and actor) in every movie, he is the thread that binds them all. Following his journey gives us a fairly straightforward look into how it actually happens.

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    • boardgames
    • books
    • lookback
    • movies
    • television
    • videogames

    A Few of My Favorite Things

    Editors Note: This was originally written to go out on Dec 31 but it was delayed. Nevertheless, it's written as if it was posted then.

    As 2016 draws to a close, it's a convenient time to look back on the last 12 months to some of the media I've enjoyed the most this past year. It might have been a tire fire as far as politics and celebrity deaths go, but there are a lot of metrics trending in the right direction.

    On a personal level, I started getting into tracking what I read, watched, and played in earnest this year. In an effort to share the fruits of that labor, I thought I'd make a year-end list of some of my favorites. This endeavor is inspired in no small part by Viticci's list of a similar nature. Though my picks weren't necessarily released in 2016, this calendar year is the first time I experienced (or finished) them. It's highly subjective, but hopefully there's interests we have that overlap.

    Let's get to it!

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    • television
    • Sherlock Holmes

    Holmesword Bound

    If you're just interested in the episode list, you can jump to it here.

    Every year on Christmas Eve, my family found ourselves without any plans. Being Jewish, we had no particular family events to attend so we usually spent the day on or around the couch. My dad's proclivity for black & white films and/or murder mysteries lead to the yearly exploration of the many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes.

    There have been a few versions released recently, mostly notably Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, BBC's Sherlock, and CBS's Elementary. Each have their merits and "the best" has been widely discussed, but I wanted to take some time this holiday season to shed some light on what may be my favorite adaptation: season one of Elementary.

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