technology from back to front

Archive for September, 2012

On considering switching to OS X…

As this is a bit of a controversial topic, let me first note that all operating systems (including OS X) suck. The how and the why can be debated elsewhere, but in conclusion it’s a matter of finding one who’s bits that suck don’t annoy you too much such that you can gain the benefits of the bits that don’t.

Right now, I’m a big Debian fan. It rocks. I’ve been using it for over a decade on desktops, servers, laptops and every other bit of not-locked-down hardware I use for any serious period of time. I contribute bug reports and patches back to the project; I’ve sold t-shirts for them at FOSDEM; and I’ve seriously considered going through the complex process that is becoming one of the formal Debian Developers. Before that I’ve used Red Hat, Slackware, SuSE, and had a shot at installing Gentoo. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Windows as well, but purely in “paid project” situations during recent years, and I’ve also previously used OS X before (on a Mac Mini as a fixed-purpose system), but not seriously for about 7-8 years.

However, I’m starting to get annoyed about one aspect of Debian, and that’s resulting in my revisiting my using it as a desktop OS, and as a result I’ve spotted a few other things I’d like to get fixed along the way. Read more…

by
Tom Parker
on
30/09/12

Decomposing the Ulam spiral

The Ulam spiral is a well-known mystery to mathematicians: draw a 1 in a grid, 2 in the cell to the right, 3 above the 2, and so on in a spiral:

17 16 15 14 13
18 5 4 3 12
19 6 1 2 11
20 7 8 9 10
21 22 23 24 25

Colour the primes:

17 16 15 14 13
18 5 4 3 12
19 6 1 2 11
20 7 8 9 10
21 22 23 24 25

For reasons unknown, long diagonal chains of primes appear. In this very small Ulam spiral, we don’t really see them (19, 7, 23), but we will.

Read more…

by
Frank Shearar
on
27/09/12

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