Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

  • Will Voyager 1 and 2 come back as V’Ger?

    In Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), V’Ger was an immense alien spacecraft that threatened Earth. V’Ger turned out to be evolved form of Voyager 6, a fictional unmanned probe that in our reality has (so far) never been launched (apologies if that spoils the movie for anyone, but was more than 40 years ago, […]

  • The Footbridge Project

    I have a creekbed that runs through my yard. Most of the year it’s dry (we live in California), but it has a short span of time in the winter when water flows after the rains. Even when it’s dry, it is inconvenient to cross, because it’s between 3 – 4 feet deep, and the […]

  • Maximum Memory Warnings Are Rubbish

    Many people use MySQLTuner, as a guide to MySQL Server configuration values and they are alarmed when they see things like this: You should be aware that the “maximum memory” warning from MySQLTuner is rubbish. It is a misleading and impractical estimate, because it has no real chance of happening. The memory usage they base their […]

  • Beginner Web Programming Projects

    Can someone suggest a web application project for beginners? What would be a good project? Should I follow a how to make a tutorial or figure it out on my own? This is a frequent question from new programmers. I wrote a post in 2020 about this. Below is a reproduction of my post. It was […]

  • Why is Software So Complex?

    Q: Why is most modern software so mindbogglingly complex, with multiple layers of abstraction stacked on each other? Why do they not make simple, efficient software like they used to earlier? This question was asked on Quora recently. I answered that it is due to a few major reasons: 1. Code Maintenance There’s an old […]

  • How do Software Engineers cope with stress?

    The typical sources of stress for software engineers are not caused by technology. They’re caused by managers and projects. Work tasks are not described clearly. If I’m given unclear work requirements, I ask for more details. I make it clear that I can’t give an estimate for the cost or the time of completion until […]

  • The Case Against The Case Against Auto Increment in MySQL

    In the Pythian blog today, John Schulz writes The Case Against Auto Increment In MySQL, but his blog contains some misunderstandings about MySQL, and makes some bad conclusions. The Concerns are Based on Bad Assumptions In his blog, Schulz describes several concerns about using auto-increment primary keys. Primary Key Access “…when access is made by […]

  • The Private Option

    There’s a famous case of a fumbled rollout of a website: HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange used by independent insurance customers in about two-thirds of states in the USA. These days, the an updated version of HealthCare.gov functions fine, so you’re wondering what the hubbub was about when it was launched. Poor Debut Proponents said […]

  • Thoughts on Wonder Woman

    The first Wonder Woman film was released this month, and it was worth the wait. It has generated a lot of commentary. You don’t see this kind of attention paid to most superhero films. There’s a lot to recommend the film. Here is a summary of the plot (WARNING: SPOILERS): In youth, the protagonist continually […]

  • Running PHP at a Windows 10 Command Line

    Running PHP at a Windows 10 Command Line

    A technical writer friend of mine asked me to help her this week. She needs to run PHP scripts at the command-line on Windows 10. She installed WAMP Server which includes PHP. I think she just needs to change the PATH so when she runs “php” in a command window, it will find the PHP interpreter. I […]

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