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Gary Robinson
Bangor, ME
Solo Software Developer, married to eye surgeon in Bangor, Maine; 2 wonderful kids.
Interests: my family, my business, great music of all kinds (classical, late bebop-period jazz, interesting songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman), programming, statistics, songwriting (I play guitar and write), movies...
Recent Activity
Nope, didn't know that about the numpy function. Thanks for commenting, it's amazing to see this post still reaching anyone after 10+ years!
From the Unix & Linux StackExchange: Q: We've noticed that some of our automatic tests fail when they run at 00:30 but work fine the rest of the day. They fail with the message "gimme gimme gimme" in stderr, which... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Derek Sivers asks: How do you know when you've found the right solution? Is the ugly solution ever the best solution? ... Which got me wondering how other programmers handle this situation: when you've written something that WORKS, but goes... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2016 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I can't let this go unremarked. This may be one of the greatest milestones in the history not only of technology, but of humanity, and it is not being noticed at all by the vast majority of people. A machine... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2016 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I assume everyone reading this has heard by now of the LIGO experiment detecting gravitational waves for the first time. The discovery is encapsulated in this very short YouTube. It is a little confusing without explanation. I saw the video... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2016 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Inspired by “Git in 5 Minutes”, I decided to take things a step further, and create guide for git that takes even less time to get through. Of course, this is very minimalistic git! But it’s enough be useful for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I was impressed by the hate-filled speech of one of the Ferguson cops (who had something like 35 years on the force). He seemed to have no doubt whatsoever about his opinions, most of which seemed quite irrational to this... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Gary Robinson's Rants
An observation found on a t-shirt my son owns, and which I also noticed today on Hacker News: There are 10 people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't. The first reply on Hacker News: There... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2013 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Durandal provides the Durandal Test Framework for unit testing. This test framework uses [PhantomJS]( and [Jasmine]( As shipped with Durandal, it's focused on testing Durandal's own internal components. But it can easily be adapted for your own unit testing needs.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I love Python and have posted a number of Python tips on this blog. And I've been involved in the creation of sizable web sites using Django. But I've come to feel that for many types of web sites, doing... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I've always been pretty mystified about the use of the word "disc" ending in "c" for CD's and the like. Why?? The world seemed to have gotten along pretty well with "disk" ending in "k" for a few centuries. Still... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
The ASPN site yesterday presented a technique to eliminate a lot of verbosity in Python __init__() methods where a bunch of arguments to __init__() are assigned to instance attributes. Such assignments are a frequent source of error due to forgetting... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
A while ago I posted a suggestion for how to eliminate some mindless code in python __init__() methods when you want to assign instance attributes from __init__() args. Henry Crutcher postedhis own solution on Thursday in the Python Cookbook. I've... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
The source code link presented at the main post for my singleton mixin classes was bad until now. It pointed to an earlier version that didn't have thread safety or various other improvements. Sorry. Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Here's a quite complete Singleton mixin class for Python, including such niceties as thread safety for singleton creation. Public domain. Based in part on ideas I found on this wiki page, followed by a substantial number of enhancements based on... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
A few times, I've had a problem where the progress bar would stop progressing when I tried to empty the OS X Trash. Even going into the Terminal and trying to delete the files via sudo rm causes that command... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Please allow me to take a brief moment here to give me deepest, most heartfelt thanks to Maine-based periodontist Dr. Laura Reidy and her husband, dentist Dr. Jonathan Tozer, and one of their staff – whose name I am very... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I have resigned from Emergent Discovery, LLC. I'm the main founder of the company (although I wasn't the CEO), so it is a sad thing. But I finally came to feel I'd be happier doing something else, and that my... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I came across a stackoverflow question about multiplying the numbers in a Python list. Suggestions there included: def product(list): p =1 for i in list: p *= i return p and from operator import mul reduce(mul, list) Adding my own... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Selenium's WebDriver is a great way to interact with web sites in an automated way. It's primarily for testing, though I've also had occasion to use it for other purposes (with the permission of the relevant site owners). In order... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2011 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I've been paying particular attention to one Egyptian who's been tweeting about events, whose Twitter ID is Sandmonkey. I don't know about you, but when I start following somebody via blogs or twitter and they are expressing what matters to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2011 at Gary Robinson's Rants
...if you're a luthier, that is. I was wondering why a Yamaha classical guitar I purchased a few years ago always seems out of tune, and started a discussion about it in a guitar forum, including measuring the pitch while... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2010 at Gary Robinson's Rants
A friend of mine, Tom Sulcer, with whom I like to harmonize on tunes like the Beatle's "If I Fell," posted a fairly massive article called "Mentally Healthy Mind" in a Google knowl. It touches on everything from deliberative democracy... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2010 at Gary Robinson's Rants
[Edited Dec 6, 2010 to mention another solution based on zip and iter.] Suppose you want to divide a Python list into sublists of approximately equal size. Since the number of desired sublists may not evenly divide the length of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2010 at Gary Robinson's Rants
[Most recently updated: Oct 29, 2013.] One of the sweet things that comes with a Python installation is the ability to start up an http server in just one line. Since just about every modern computer (not counting tablets and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2010 at Gary Robinson's Rants