We’re sorry to inform you

Once upon a time there was a little-known patent clerk in Bern who received a disappointing annual performance review in ’05

Did you guess who is meant?

If you did, you should read the full article! It features five of the most important papers of computer science and why they should be rejected from publishing.

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Published in: on October 20, 2007 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How to get going as a blogger

This blog now has somewhere around 100 daily readers, so i consider it a good start. Here is my biggest tip for aspiring bloggers: Marketing

In the computer science world the attitude often is against marketing and commerce. The assumption is “marketing” means “selling shit to stupid people”. This assumption is false.

Marketing means to find out “what people want and how to satisfy them”.

In the case of blogging you probably already know what people want i.e. you know what you want to write about. The second part is to satisfy.

  1. They need to know you exist. Get your blog public. My biggest success comes from submitting my posts to programming.reddit, but every single link is important. Comments on other blogs are very good too.
  2. They need to understand how to get your articles. Subscribing via feed is the obvious way, but you probably can do better than you do now. It helps to get a big orange button or to encourage to subscribe after every article. Some people prefer email, cater them!
  3. They need to enjoy it. Make your blog beautiful und useable. Some pictures are nice, too.

There is plenty of blogging advice available. For example ProBlogger. Read and follow! This post is motivated by his Birthday Bash action.

Get blogging! Especially if you write about computer science. I’d like to have some colleagues.

Published in: on October 3, 2007 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Read also: xkcd

Eiffel tower, ParisI’m currently on a trip to Paris and won’t write anything for some days. My recommendation until my next blog entry here is: xkcd – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

The drawing is simple, but the humor is great. You’ll need some geekyness to understand the jokes.

Hint: There is always an additional text hidden in the title attribute of the img tag. Your browser probably pops up a text box, if you keep the mouse on the comic for a second.

Published in: on September 13, 2007 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Advice on writing a thesis

There is another Andreas out there and he wrote a nice post on How to write a thesis. He knows, because he just wrote his Master Thesis on the social dynamics of the Ubuntu open source community.

His advice is quite open, like “Be overly pedagogical!” or “Hack the data!”. Enjoy!

Published in: on September 7, 2007 at 8:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Read also: Good Math, Bad Math

Everybody gets a Niche in the blogosphere. With me in the computer science Niche is Good Math, Bad Math by Mark Chu-Carroll. He blogs for two reasons:

  1. To ramble about the beauty of mathematics, and try to share enthusiasm for the subject.
  2. To track down the bozos who use bad math to lie, distort reality, and in general support bad arguments; demonstrate their errors and their dishonesty; and generally mock them.

The “bozos” are mostly christian creationists and he really isn’t nice to them. On the other hand he just points out factual and logical errors.

I especially recommend his posts in “good math” category. He posts for example about graph theory, fractals and built a little programming language on the π-calculus.

Way to go, Mark!

Published in: on September 4, 2007 at 11:11 am  Comments (1)  

Where do you want to go today?

Now i’m through my list of 69 people to ask the Hamming question: What are the most important problems in computer science? Some were famous Turing Award winners (the Nobel prize of computer science) and some were mere mortals.

Not everybody has an email address published and i sent one snail mail. You can read the 11 replies i got so far. 38 are still unanswered, which gives me a good reply rate of 22%.

The question is where to go from here?

  1. Wrap up and close down – the purpose was to collect the answers and that’s probably done now. Time to switch off the lights.
  2. Continue – get more people on the list, send more emails, send snail mail, where no email address can be found.
  3. Embrace and extend – Widen the purpose and grow.

I’ve decided to go the third way, since i’m still motivated. This blog will now feature more general computer science topics. I made some changes to the user interface according to all the tips you can find on the web.

The direction of this blog is a little unclear now. I’ll nail it down over time, but now is a good point to let my readers (Yes, both of you!) comment on this. Where would you like this blog to go? What would you like to read about computer science?

Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 8:12 am  Comments (6)