Search Results

Search found 1325 results on 53 pages for 'factor'.

Page 6/53 | < Previous Page | 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13  | Next Page >

  • Musings on the launch of SQL Monitor

    - by Phil Factor
    For several years, I was responsible for the smooth running of a large number of enterprise database servers. We ran a network monitoring tool that was primitive by today’s standards but which performed the useful function of polling every system, including all the Servers in my charge. It ran a configurable script for each service that you needed to monitor that was merely required to return one of a number of integer values. These integer values represented the pain level of the service, from 10 (“hurtin’ real bad”) to 1 (“Things is great”). Not only could you program the visual appearance of each server on the network diagram according to the value of the integer, but you could even opt to run a sound file. Very soon, we had a large TFT Screen, high on the wall of the server room, with every server represented by an icon, and a speaker next to it that would give out a series of grunts, groans, snores, shrieks and funeral marches, depending on the problem. One glance at the display, and you could dive in with iSQL/QA/SSMS and check what was going on with your favourite diagnostic tools. If you saw a server icon burst into flames on the screen or droop like a jelly, you dropped your mug of coffee to do it.  It was real fun, but I remember it more for the huge difference it made to have that real-time visibility into how your servers are performing. The management soon stopped making jokes about the real reason we wanted the TFT screen. (It rendered DVDs beautifully they said; particularly flesh-tints). If you are instantly alerted when things start to go wrong, then there was a good chance you could fix it before being alerted to the problem by the users of the system.  There is a world of difference between this sort of tool, one that gives whoever is ‘on watch’ in the server room the first warning of a potential problem on one of any number of servers, and the breed of tool that attempts to provide some sort of prosthetic DBA Brain. I like to get the early warning, to get the right information to help to diagnose a problem: No auto-fix, but just the information. I prefer to leave the task of ascertaining the exact cause of a problem to my own routines, custom code, intuition and forensic instincts. A simulated aircraft cockpit doesn’t do anything for me, especially before I know where I should be flying.  Time has moved on, and that TFT screen is now, with SQL Monitor, an iPad or any other mobile or static device that can support a browser. Rather than trying to reproduce the conceptual topology of the servers, it lists them in their groups so as to give a display that scales with the increasing number of databases you monitor.  It gives the history of the major events and trends for the servers. It gives the icons and colours that you can spot out of the corner of your eye, but goes on to give you just enough information in drill-down to give you a much clearer idea of where to look with your DBA tools and routines. It doesn't swamp you with information.  Whereas a few server and database-level problems are pretty easily fixed, others depend on judgement and experience to sort out.  Although the idea of an application that automates the bulk of a DBA’s skills is attractive to many, I can’t see it happening soon. SQL Server’s complexity increases faster than the panaceas can be created. In the meantime, I believe that the best way of helping  DBAs  is to make the monitoring process as simple and effective as possible,  and provide the right sort of detail and ‘evidence’ to allow them to decide on the fix. In the end, it is still down to the skill of the DBA.

    Read the article

  • A Knights Tale

    - by Phil Factor
    There are so many lessons to be learned from the story of Knight Capital losing nearly half a billion dollars as a result of a deployment gone wrong. The Knight Capital Group (KCG N) was an American global financial services firm engaging in market making, electronic execution, and institutional sales and trading. According to the recent order (File No.3.15570) against Knight Capital by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission?, Knight had, for many years used some software which broke up incoming “parent” orders into smaller “child” orders that were then transmitted to various exchanges or trading venues for execution. A tracking ‘cumulative quantity’ function counted the number of ‘child’ orders and stopped the process once the total of child orders matched the ‘parent’ and so the parent order had been completed. Back in the mists of time, some code had been added to it  which was excuted if a particular flag was set. It was called ‘power peg’ and seems to have had a similar design and purpose, but, one guesses, would have shared the same tracking function. This code had been abandoned in 2003, but never deleted. In 2005, The tracking function was moved to an earlier point in the main process. It would seem from the account that, from that point, had that flag ever been set, the old ‘Power Peg’ would have been executed like Godzilla bursting from the ice, making child orders without limit without any tracking function. It wasn’t, presumably because the software that set the flag was removed. In 2012, nearly a decade after ‘Power Peg’ was abandoned, Knight prepared a new module to their software to cope with the imminent Retail Liquidity Program (RLP) for the New York Stock Exchange. By this time, the flag had remained unused and someone made the fateful decision to reuse it, and replace the old ‘power peg’ code with this new RLP code. Had the two actions been done together in a single automated deployment, and the new deployment tested, all would have been well. It wasn’t. To quote… “Beginning on July 27, 2012, Knight deployed the new RLP code in SMARS in stages by placing it on a limited number of servers in SMARS on successive days. During the deployment of the new code, however, one of Knight’s technicians did not copy the new code to one of the eight SMARS computer servers. Knight did not have a second technician review this deployment and no one at Knight realized that the Power Peg code had not been removed from the eighth server, nor the new RLP code added. Knight had no written procedures that required such a review.” (para 15) “On August 1, Knight received orders from broker-dealers whose customers were eligible to participate in the RLP. The seven servers that received the new code processed these orders correctly. However, orders sent with the repurposed flag to the eighth server triggered the defective Power Peg code still present on that server. As a result, this server began sending child orders to certain trading centers for execution. Because the cumulative quantity function had been moved, this server continuously sent child orders, in rapid sequence, for each incoming parent order without regard to the number of share executions Knight had already received from trading centers. Although one part of Knight’s order handling system recognized that the parent orders had been filled, this information was not communicated to SMARS.” (para 16) SMARS routed millions of orders into the market over a 45-minute period, and obtained over 4 million executions in 154 stocks for more than 397 million shares. By the time that Knight stopped sending the orders, Knight had assumed a net long position in 80 stocks of approximately $3.5 billion and a net short position in 74 stocks of approximately $3.15 billion. Knight’s shares dropped more than 20% after traders saw extreme volume spikes in a number of stocks, including preferred shares of Wells Fargo (JWF) and semiconductor company Spansion (CODE). Both stocks, which see roughly 100,000 trade per day, had changed hands more than 4 million times by late morning. Ultimately, Knight lost over $460 million from this wild 45 minutes of trading. Obviously, I’m interested in all this because, at one time, I used to write trading systems for the City of London. Obviously, the US SEC is in a far better position than any of us to work out the failings of Knight’s IT department, and the report makes for painful reading. I can’t help observing, though, that even with the breathtaking mistakes all along the way, that a robust automated deployment process that was ‘all-or-nothing’, and tested from soup to nuts would have prevented the disaster. The report reads like a Greek Tragedy. All the way along one wants to shout ‘No! not that way!’ and ‘Aargh! Don’t do it!’. As the tragedy unfolds, the audience weeps for the players, trapped by a cruel fate. All application development and deployment requires defense in depth. All IT goes wrong occasionally, but if there is a culture of defensive programming throughout, the consequences are usually containable. For financial systems, these defenses are required by statute, and ignored only by the foolish. Knight’s mistakes weren’t made by just one hapless sysadmin, but were progressive errors by an  IT culture spanning at least ten years.  One can spell these out, but I think they’re obvious. One can only hope that the industry studies what happened in detail, learns from the mistakes, and draws the right conclusions.

    Read the article

  • Database Migration Scripts: Getting from place A to place B

    - by Phil Factor
    We’ll be looking at a typical database ‘migration’ script which uses an unusual technique to migrate existing ‘de-normalised’ data into a more correct form. So, the book-distribution business that uses the PUBS database has gradually grown organically, and has slipped into ‘de-normalisation’ habits. What’s this? A new column with a list of tags or ‘types’ assigned to books. Because books aren’t really in just one category, someone has ‘cured’ the mismatch between the database and the business requirements. This is fine, but it is now proving difficult for their new website that allows searches by tags. Any request for history book really has to look in the entire list of associated tags rather than the ‘Type’ field that only keeps the primary tag. We have other problems. The TypleList column has duplicates in there which will be affecting the reporting, and there is the danger of mis-spellings getting there. The reporting system can’t be persuaded to do reports based on the tags and the Database developers are complaining about the unCoddly things going on in their database. In your version of PUBS, this extra column doesn’t exist, so we’ve added it and put in 10,000 titles using SQL Data Generator. /* So how do we refactor this database? firstly, we create a table of all the tags. */IF  OBJECT_ID('TagName') IS NULL OR OBJECT_ID('TagTitle') IS NULL  BEGIN  CREATE TABLE  TagName (TagName_ID INT IDENTITY(1,1) PRIMARY KEY ,     Tag VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL UNIQUE)  /* ...and we insert into it all the tags from the list (remembering to take out any leading spaces */  INSERT INTO TagName (Tag)     SELECT DISTINCT LTRIM(x.y.value('.', 'Varchar(80)')) AS [Tag]     FROM     (SELECT  Title_ID,          CONVERT(XML, '<list><i>' + REPLACE(TypeList, ',', '</i><i>') + '</i></list>')          AS XMLkeywords          FROM   dbo.titles)g    CROSS APPLY XMLkeywords.nodes('/list/i/text()') AS x ( y )  /* we can then use this table to provide a table that relates tags to articles */  CREATE TABLE TagTitle   (TagTitle_ID INT IDENTITY(1, 1),   [title_id] [dbo].[tid] NOT NULL REFERENCES titles (Title_ID),   TagName_ID INT NOT NULL REFERENCES TagName (Tagname_ID)   CONSTRAINT [PK_TagTitle]       PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED ([title_id] ASC, TagName_ID)       ON [PRIMARY])        CREATE NONCLUSTERED INDEX idxTagName_ID  ON  TagTitle (TagName_ID)  INCLUDE (TagTitle_ID,title_id)        /* ...and it is easy to fill this with the tags for each title ... */        INSERT INTO TagTitle (Title_ID, TagName_ID)    SELECT DISTINCT Title_ID, TagName_ID      FROM        (SELECT  Title_ID,          CONVERT(XML, '<list><i>' + REPLACE(TypeList, ',', '</i><i>') + '</i></list>')          AS XMLkeywords          FROM   dbo.titles)g    CROSS APPLY XMLkeywords.nodes('/list/i/text()') AS x ( y )    INNER JOIN TagName ON TagName.Tag=LTRIM(x.y.value('.', 'Varchar(80)'))    END    /* That's all there was to it. Now we can select all titles that have the military tag, just to try things out */SELECT Title FROM titles  INNER JOIN TagTitle ON titles.title_ID=TagTitle.Title_ID  INNER JOIN Tagname ON Tagname.TagName_ID=TagTitle.TagName_ID  WHERE tagname.tag='Military'/* and see the top ten most popular tags for titles */SELECT Tag, COUNT(*) FROM titles  INNER JOIN TagTitle ON titles.title_ID=TagTitle.Title_ID  INNER JOIN Tagname ON Tagname.TagName_ID=TagTitle.TagName_ID  GROUP BY Tag ORDER BY COUNT(*) DESC/* and if you still want your list of tags for each title, then here they are */SELECT title_ID, title, STUFF(  (SELECT ','+tagname.tag FROM titles thisTitle    INNER JOIN TagTitle ON titles.title_ID=TagTitle.Title_ID    INNER JOIN Tagname ON Tagname.TagName_ID=TagTitle.TagName_ID  WHERE ThisTitle.title_id=titles.title_ID  FOR XML PATH(''), TYPE).value('.', 'varchar(max)')  ,1,1,'')    FROM titles  ORDER BY title_ID So we’ve refactored our PUBS database without pain. We’ve even put in a check to prevent it being re-run once the new tables are created. Here is the diagram of the new tag relationship We’ve done both the DDL to create the tables and their associated components, and the DML to put the data in them. I could have also included the script to remove the de-normalised TypeList column, but I’d do a whole lot of tests first before doing that. Yes, I’ve left out the assertion tests too, which should check the edge cases and make sure the result is what you’d expect. One thing I can’t quite figure out is how to deal with an ordered list using this simple XML-based technique. We can ensure that, if we have to produce a list of tags, we can get the primary ‘type’ to be first in the list, but what if the entire order is significant? Thank goodness it isn’t in this case. If it were, we might have to revisit a string-splitter function that returns the ordinal position of each component in the sequence. You’ll see immediately that we can create a synchronisation script for deployment from a comparison tool such as SQL Compare, to change the schema (DDL). On the other hand, no tool could do the DML to stuff the data into the new table, since there is no way that any tool will be able to work out where the data should go. We used some pretty hairy code to deal with a slightly untypical problem. We would have to do this migration by hand, and it has to go into source control as a batch. If most of your database changes are to be deployed by an automated process, then there must be a way of over-riding this part of the data synchronisation process to do this part of the process taking the part of the script that fills the tables, Checking that the tables have not already been filled, and executing it as part of the transaction. Of course, you might prefer the approach I’ve taken with the script of creating the tables in the same batch as the data conversion process, and then using the presence of the tables to prevent the script from being re-run. The problem with scripting a refactoring change to a database is that it has to work both ways. If we install the new system and then have to rollback the changes, several books may have been added, or had their tags changed, in the meantime. Yes, you have to script any rollback! These have to be mercilessly tested, and put in source control just in case of the rollback of a deployment after it has been in place for any length of time. I’ve shown you how to do this with the part of the script .. /* and if you still want your list of tags for each title, then here they are */SELECT title_ID, title, STUFF(  (SELECT ','+tagname.tag FROM titles thisTitle    INNER JOIN TagTitle ON titles.title_ID=TagTitle.Title_ID    INNER JOIN Tagname ON Tagname.TagName_ID=TagTitle.TagName_ID  WHERE ThisTitle.title_id=titles.title_ID  FOR XML PATH(''), TYPE).value('.', 'varchar(max)')  ,1,1,'')    FROM titles  ORDER BY title_ID …which would be turned into an UPDATE … FROM script. UPDATE titles SET  typelist= ThisTaglistFROM     (SELECT title_ID, title, STUFF(    (SELECT ','+tagname.tag FROM titles thisTitle      INNER JOIN TagTitle ON titles.title_ID=TagTitle.Title_ID      INNER JOIN Tagname ON Tagname.TagName_ID=TagTitle.TagName_ID    WHERE ThisTitle.title_id=titles.title_ID    ORDER BY CASE WHEN tagname.tag=titles.[type] THEN 1 ELSE 0  END DESC    FOR XML PATH(''), TYPE).value('.', 'varchar(max)')    ,1,1,'')  AS ThisTagList  FROM titles)fINNER JOIN Titles ON f.title_ID=Titles.title_ID You’ll notice that it isn’t quite a round trip because the tags are in a different order, though we’ve managed to make sure that the primary tag is the first one as originally. So, we’ve improved the database for the poor book distributors using PUBS. It is not a major deal but you’ve got to be prepared to provide a migration script that will go both forwards and backwards. Ideally, database refactoring scripts should be able to go from any version to any other. Schema synchronization scripts can do this pretty easily, but no data synchronisation scripts can deal with serious refactoring jobs without the developers being able to specify how to deal with cases like this.

    Read the article

  • Sitting Pretty

    - by Phil Factor
    Guest Editorial for Simple-Talk IT Pro newsletter'DBAs and SysAdmins generally prefer an expression of calmness under adversity. It is a subtle trick, and requires practice in front of a mirror to get it just right. Too much adversity and they think you're not coping; too much calmness and they think you're under-employed' I dislike the term 'avatar', when used to describe a portrait photograph. An avatar, in the sense of a picture, is merely the depiction of one's role-play alter-ego, often a ridiculous bronze-age deity. However, professional image is important. The choice and creation of online photos has an effect on the way your message is received and it is important to get that right. It is fine to use that photo of you after ten lagers on holiday in an Ibiza nightclub, but what works on Facebook looks hilarious on LinkedIn. My splendid photograph that I use online was done by a professional photographer at great expense and I've never had the slightest twinge of regret when I remember how much I paid for it. It is me, but a more pensive and dignified edition, oozing trust and wisdom. One gasps at the magical skill that a professional photographer can conjure up, without digital manipulation, to make the best of a derisory noggin (ed: slang for a head). Even if he had offered to depict me as a semi-naked, muscle-bound, sword-wielding hero, I'd have demurred. No, any professional person needs a carefully cultivated image that looks right. I'd never thought of using that profile shot, though I couldn't help noticing the photographer flinch slightly when he first caught sight of my face. There is a problem with using an avatar. The use of a single image doesn't express the appropriate emotion. At the moment, it is weird to see someone with a laughing portrait writing something solemn. A neutral cast to the face, somewhat like a passport photo, is probably the best compromise. Actually, the same is true of a working life in IT. One of the first skills I learned was not to laugh at managers, but, instead, to develop a facial expression that promoted a sense of keenness, energy and respect. Every profession has its own preferred facial cast. A neighbour of mine has the natural gift of a face that displays barely repressed grief. Though he is characteristically cheerful, he earns a remarkable income as a pallbearer. DBAs and SysAdmins generally prefer an expression of calmness under adversity. It is a subtle trick, and requires practice in front of a mirror to get it just right. Too much adversity and they think you're not coping; too much calmness and they think you're under-employed. With an appropriate avatar, you could do away with a lot of the need for 'smilies' to give clues as to the meaning of what you've written on forums and blogs. If you had a set of avatars, showing the full gamut of human emotions expressible in writing: Rage, fear, reproach, joy, ebullience, apprehension, exasperation, dissembly, irony, pathos, euphoria, remorse and so on. It would be quite a drop-down list on forums, but given the vast prairies of space on the average hard drive, who cares? It would cut down on the number of spats in Forums just as long as one picks the right avatar. As an unreconstructed geek, I find it hard to admit to the value of image in the workplace, but it is true. Just as we use professionals to tidy up and order our CVs and job applications, we should employ experts to enhance our professional image. After all you don't perform surgery or dentistry on yourself do you?

    Read the article

  • IsNumeric() Broken? Only up to a point.

    - by Phil Factor
    In SQL Server, probably the best-known 'broken' function is poor ISNUMERIC() . The documentation says 'ISNUMERIC returns 1 when the input expression evaluates to a valid numeric data type; otherwise it returns 0. ISNUMERIC returns 1 for some characters that are not numbers, such as plus (+), minus (-), and valid currency symbols such as the dollar sign ($).'Although it will take numeric data types (No, I don't understand why either), its main use is supposed to be to test strings to make sure that you can convert them to whatever numeric datatype you are using (int, numeric, bigint, money, smallint, smallmoney, tinyint, float, decimal, or real). It wouldn't actually be of much use anyway, since each datatype has different rules. You actually need a RegEx to do a reasonably safe check. The other snag is that the IsNumeric() function  is a bit broken. SELECT ISNUMERIC(',')This cheerfully returns 1, since it believes that a comma is a currency symbol (not a thousands-separator) and you meant to say 0, in this strange currency.  However, SELECT ISNUMERIC(N'£')isn't recognized as currency.  '+' and  '-' is seen to be numeric, which is stretching it a bit. You'll see that what it allows isn't really broken except that it doesn't recognize Unicode currency symbols: It just tells you that one numeric type is likely to accept the string if you do an explicit conversion to it using the string. Both these work fine, so poor IsNumeric has to follow suit. SELECT  CAST('0E0' AS FLOAT)SELECT  CAST (',' AS MONEY) but it is harder to predict which data type will accept a '+' sign. SELECT  CAST ('+' AS money) --0.00SELECT  CAST ('+' AS INT)   --0SELECT  CAST ('+' AS numeric)/* Msg 8115, Level 16, State 6, Line 4 Arithmetic overflow error converting varchar to data type numeric.*/SELECT  CAST ('+' AS FLOAT)/*Msg 8114, Level 16, State 5, Line 5Error converting data type varchar to float.*/> So we can begin to say that the maybe IsNumeric isn't really broken, but is answering a silly question 'Is there some numeric datatype to which i can convert this string? Almost, but not quite. The bug is that it doesn't understand Unicode currency characters such as the euro or franc which are actually valid when used in the CAST function. (perhaps they're delaying fixing the euro bug just in case it isn't necessary).SELECT ISNUMERIC (N'?23.67') --0SELECT  CAST (N'?23.67' AS money) --23.67SELECT ISNUMERIC (N'£100.20') --1SELECT  CAST (N'£100.20' AS money) --100.20 Also the CAST function itself is quirky in that it cannot convert perfectly reasonable string-representations of integers into integersSELECT ISNUMERIC('200,000')       --1SELECT  CAST ('200,000' AS INT)   --0/*Msg 245, Level 16, State 1, Line 2Conversion failed when converting the varchar value '200,000' to data type int.*/  A more sensible question is 'Is this an integer or decimal number'. This cuts out a lot of the apparent quirkiness. We do this by the '+E0' trick. If we want to include floats in the check, we'll need to make it a bit more complicated. Here is a small test-rig. SELECT  PossibleNumber,         ISNUMERIC(CAST(PossibleNumber AS NVARCHAR(20)) + 'E+00') AS Hack,        ISNUMERIC (PossibleNumber + CASE WHEN PossibleNumber LIKE '%E%'                                          THEN '' ELSE 'E+00' END) AS Hackier,        ISNUMERIC(PossibleNumber) AS RawIsNumericFROM    (SELECT CAST(',' AS NVARCHAR(10)) AS PossibleNumber          UNION SELECT '£' UNION SELECT '.'         UNION SELECT '56' UNION SELECT '456.67890'         UNION SELECT '0E0' UNION SELECT '-'         UNION SELECT '-' UNION SELECT '.'         UNION  SELECT N'?' UNION SELECT N'¢'        UNION  SELECT N'?' UNION SELECT N'?34.56'         UNION SELECT '-345' UNION SELECT '3.332228E+09') AS examples Which gives the result ... PossibleNumber Hack Hackier RawIsNumeric-------------- ----------- ----------- ------------? 0 0 0- 0 0 1, 0 0 1. 0 0 1¢ 0 0 1£ 0 0 1? 0 0 0?34.56 0 0 00E0 0 1 13.332228E+09 0 1 1-345 1 1 1456.67890 1 1 156 1 1 1 I suspect that this is as far as you'll get before you abandon IsNumeric in favour of a regex. You can only get part of the way with the LIKE wildcards, because you cannot specify quantifiers. You'll need full-blown Regex strings like these ..[-+]?\b[0-9]+(\.[0-9]+)?\b #INT or REAL[-+]?\b[0-9]{1,3}\b #TINYINT[-+]?\b[0-9]{1,5}\b #SMALLINT.. but you'll get even these to fail to catch numbers out of range.So is IsNumeric() an out and out rogue function? Not really, I'd say, but then it would need a damned good lawyer.

    Read the article

  • Learn Many Languages

    - by Phil Factor
    Around twenty-five years ago, I was trying to solve the problem of recruiting suitable developers for a large business. I visited the local University (it was a Technical College then). My mission was to remind them that we were a large, local employer of technical people and to suggest that, as they were in the business of educating young people for a career in IT, we should work together. I anticipated a harmonious chat where we could suggest to them the idea of mentioning our name to some of their graduates. It didn’t go well. The academic staff displayed a degree of revulsion towards the whole topic of IT in the world of commerce that surprised me; tweed met charcoal-grey, trainers met black shoes. However, their antipathy to commerce was something we could have worked around, since few of their graduates were destined for a career as university lecturers. They asked me what sort of language skills we needed. I tried ducking the invidious task of naming computer languages, since I wanted recruits who were quick to adapt and learn, with a broad understanding of IT, including development methodologies, technologies, and data. However, they pressed the point and I ended up saying that we needed good working knowledge of C and BASIC, though FORTRAN and COBOL were, at the time, still useful. There was a ghastly silence. It was as if I’d recommended the beliefs and practices of the Bogomils of Bulgaria to a gathering of Cardinals. They stared at me severely, like owls, until the head of department broke the silence, informing me in clipped tones that they taught only Modula 2. Now, I wouldn’t blame you if at this point you hurriedly had to look up ‘Modula 2′ on Wikipedia. Based largely on Pascal, it was a specialist language for embedded systems, but I’ve never ever come across it in a commercial business application. Nevertheless, it was an excellent teaching language since it taught modules, scope control, multiprogramming and the advantages of encapsulating a set of related subprograms and data structures. As long as the course also taught how to transfer these skills to other, more useful languages, it was not necessarily a problem. I said as much, but they gleefully retorted that the biggest local employer, a defense contractor specializing in Radar and military technology, used nothing but Modula 2. “Why teach any other programming language when they will be using Modula 2 for all their working lives?” said a complacent lecturer. On hearing this, I made my excuses and left. There could be no meeting of minds. They were providing training in a specific computer language, not an education in IT. Twenty years later, I once more worked nearby and regularly passed the long-deserted ‘brownfield’ site of the erstwhile largest local employer; the end of the cold war had led to lean times for defense contractors. A digger was about to clear the rubble of the long demolished factory along with the accompanying growth of buddleia and thistles, in order to lay the infrastructure for ‘affordable housing’. Modula 2 was a distant memory. Either those employees had short working lives or they’d retrained in other languages. The University, by contrast, was thriving, but I wondered if their erstwhile graduates had ever cursed the narrow specialization of their training in IT, as they struggled with the unexpected variety of their subsequent careers.

    Read the article

  • At times, you need to hire a professional.

    - by Phil Factor
    After months of increasingly demanding toil, the development team I belonged to was told that the project was to be canned and the whole team would be fired.  I’d been brought into the team as an expert in the data implications of a business re-engineering of a major financial institution. Nowadays, you’d call me a data architect, I suppose.  I’d spent a happy year being paid consultancy fees solving a succession of interesting problems until the point when the company lost is nerve, and closed the entire initiative. The IT industry was in one of its characteristic mood-swings downwards.  After the announcement, we met in the canteen. A few developers had scented the smell of death around the project already hand had been applying unsuccessfully for jobs. There was a sense of doom in the mass of dishevelled and bleary-eyed developers. After giving vent to anger and despair, talk turned to getting new employment. It was then that I perked up. I’m not an obvious choice to give advice on getting, or passing,  IT interviews. I reckon I’ve failed most of the job interviews I’ve ever attended. I once even failed an interview for a job I’d already been doing perfectly well for a year. The jobs I’ve got have mostly been from personal recommendation. Paradoxically though, from years as a manager trying to recruit good staff, I know a lot about what IT managers are looking for.  I gave an impassioned speech outlining the important factors in getting to an interview.  The most important thing, certainly in my time at work is the quality of the résumé or CV. I can’t even guess the huge number of CVs (résumés) I’ve read through, scanning for candidates worth interviewing.  Many IT Developers find it impossible to describe their  career succinctly on two sides of paper.  They leave chunks of their life out (were they in prison?), get immersed in detail, put in irrelevancies, describe what was going on at work rather than what they themselves did, exaggerate their importance, criticize their previous employers, aren’t  aware of the important aspects of a role to a potential employer, suffer from shyness and modesty,  and lack any sort of organized perspective of their work. There are many ways of failing to write a decent CV. Many developers suffer from the delusion that their worth can be recognized purely from the code that they write, and shy away from anything that seems like self-aggrandizement. No.  A resume must make a good impression, which means presenting the facts about yourself in a clear and positive way. You can’t do it yourself. Why not have your resume professionally written? A good professional CV Writer will know the qualities being looked for in a CV and interrogate you to winkle them out. Their job is to make order and sense out of a confused career, to summarize in one page a mass of detail that presents to any recruiter the information that’s wanted. To stand back and describe an accurate summary of your skills, and work-experiences dispassionately, without rancor, pity or modesty. You are no more capable of producing an objective documentation of your career than you are of taking your own appendix out.  My next recommendation was more controversial. This is to have a professional image overhaul, or makeover, followed by a professionally-taken photo portrait. I discovered this by accident. It is normal for IT professionals to face impossible deadlines and long working hours by looking more and more like something that had recently blocked a sink. Whilst working in IT, and in a state of personal dishevelment, I’d been offered the role in a high-powered amateur production of an old ex- Broadway show, purely for my singing voice. I was supposed to be the presentable star. When the production team saw me, the air was thick with tension and despair. I was dragged kicking and protesting through a succession of desperate grooming, scrubbing, dressing, dieting. I emerged feeling like “That jewelled mass of millinery, That oiled and curled Assyrian bull, Smelling of musk and of insolence.” (Tennyson Maud; A Monodrama (1855) Section v1 stanza 6) I was then photographed by a professional stage photographer.  When the photographs were delivered, I was amazed. It wasn’t me, but it looked somehow respectable, confident, trustworthy.   A while later, when the show had ended, I took the photos, and used them for work. They went with the CV to job applications. It did the trick better than I could ever imagine.  My views went down big with the developers. Old rivalries were put immediately to one side. We voted, with a show of hands, to devote our energies for the entire notice period to getting employable. We had a team sourcing the CV Writer,  a team organising the make-overs and photographer, and a third team arranging  mock interviews. A fourth team determined the best websites and agencies for recruitment, with the help of friends in the trade.  Because there were around thirty developers, we were in a good negotiating position.  Of the three CV Writers we found who lived locally, one proved exceptional. She was an ex-journalist with an eye to detail, and years of experience in manipulating language. We tried her skills out on a developer who seemed a hopeless case, and he was called to interview within a week.  I was surprised, too, how many companies were experts at image makeovers. Within the month, we all looked like those weird slick  people in the ‘Office-tagged’ stock photographs who stare keenly and interestedly at PowerPoint slides in sleek chromium-plated high-rise offices. The portraits we used still adorn the entries of many of my ex-colleagues in LinkedIn. After a months’ worth of mock interviews, and technical Q&A, our stutters, hesitations, evasions and periphrastic circumlocutions were all gone.  There is little more to relate. With the résumés or CVs, mugshots, and schooling in how to pass interviews, we’d all got new and better-paid jobs well  before our month’s notice was ended. Whilst normally, an IT team under the axe is a sad and depressed place to belong to, this wonderful group of people had proved the power of organized group action in turning the experience to advantage. It left us feeling slightly guilty that we were somehow cheating, but I guess we were merely leveling the playing-field.

    Read the article

  • Hadoop, NOSQL, and the Relational Model

    - by Phil Factor
    (Guest Editorial for the IT Pro/SysAdmin Newsletter)Whereas Relational Databases fit the world of commerce like a glove, it is useless to pretend that they are a perfect fit for all human endeavours. Although, with SQL Server, we’ve made great strides with indexing text, in processing spatial data and processing markup, there is still a problem in dealing efficiently with large volumes of ephemeral semi-structured data. Key-value stores such as Cassandra, Project Voldemort, and Riak are of great value for ephemeral data, and seem of equal value as a data-feed that provides aggregations to an RDBMS. However, the Document databases such as MongoDB and CouchDB are ideal for semi-structured data for which no fixed schema exists; analytics and logging are obvious examples. NoSQL products, such as MongoDB, tackle the semi-structured data problem with panache. MongoDB is designed with a simple document-oriented data model that scales horizontally across multiple servers. It doesn’t impose a schema, and relies on the application to enforce the data structure. This is another take on the old ‘EAV’ problem (where you don’t know in advance all the attributes of a particular entity) It uses a clever replica set design that allows automatic failover, and uses journaling for data durability. It allows indexing and ad-hoc querying. However, for SQL Server users, the obvious choice for handling semi-structured data is Apache Hadoop. There will soon be an ODBC Driver for Apache Hive .and an Add-in for Excel. Additionally, there are now two Hadoop-based connectors for SQL Server; the Apache Hadoop connector for SQL Server 2008 R2, and the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) connector. We can connect to Hadoop process the semi-structured data and then store it in SQL Server. For one steeped in the culture of Relational SQL Databases, I might be expected to throw up my hands in the air in a gesture of contempt for a technology that was, judging by the overblown journalism on the subject, about to make my own profession as archaic as the Saggar makers bottom knocker (a potter’s assistant who helped the saggar maker to make the bottom of the saggar by placing clay in a metal hoop and bashing it). However, on the contrary, I find that I'm delighted with the advances made by the NoSQL databases in the past few years. Having the flow of ideas from the NoSQL providers will knock any trace of complacency out of the providers of Relational Databases and inspire them into back-fitting some features, such as horizontal scaling, with sharding and automatic failover into SQL-based RDBMSs. It will do the breed a power of good to benefit from all this lateral thinking.

    Read the article

  • Separating text strings into a table of individual words in SQL via XML.

    - by Phil Factor
    p.MsoNormal {margin-top:0cm; margin-right:0cm; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; } Nearly nine years ago, Mike Rorke of the SQL Server 2005 XML team blogged ‘Querying Over Constructed XML Using Sub-queries’. I remember reading it at the time without being able to think of a use for what he was demonstrating. Just a few weeks ago, whilst preparing my article on searching strings, I got out my trusty function for splitting strings into words and something reminded me of the old blog. I’d been trying to think of a way of using XML to split strings reliably into words. The routine I devised turned out to be slightly slower than the iterative word chop I’ve always used in the past, so I didn’t publish it. It was then I suddenly remembered the old routine. Here is my version of it. I’ve unwrapped it from its obvious home in a function or procedure just so it is easy to appreciate. What it does is to chop a text string into individual words using XQuery and the good old nodes() method. I’ve benchmarked it and it is quicker than any of the SQL ways of doing it that I know about. Obviously, you can’t use the trick I described here to do it, because it is awkward to use REPLACE() on 1…n characters of whitespace. I’ll carry on using my iterative function since it is able to tell me the location of each word as a character-offset from the start, and also because this method leaves punctuation in (removing it takes time!). However, I can see other uses for this in passing lists as input or output parameters, or as return values.   if exists (Select * from sys.xml_schema_collections where name like 'WordList')   drop XML SCHEMA COLLECTION WordList go create xml schema collection WordList as ' <xs:schema xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"> <xs:element name="words">        <xs:simpleType>               <xs:list itemType="xs:string" />        </xs:simpleType> </xs:element> </xs:schema>'   go   DECLARE @string VARCHAR(MAX) –we'll get some sample data from the great Ogden Nash Select @String='This is a song to celebrate banks, Because they are full of money and you go into them and all you hear is clinks and clanks, Or maybe a sound like the wind in the trees on the hills, Which is the rustling of the thousand dollar bills. Most bankers dwell in marble halls, Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits and discourage withdrawals, And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe betides the banker who fails to heed it, Which is you must never lend any money to anybody unless they don''t need it. I know you, you cautious conservative banks! If people are worried about their rent it is your duty to deny them the loan of one nickel, yes, even one copper engraving of the martyred son of the late Nancy Hanks; Yes, if they request fifty dollars to pay for a baby you must look at them like Tarzan looking at an uppity ape in the jungle, And tell them what do they think a bank is, anyhow, they had better go get the money from their wife''s aunt or ungle. But suppose people come in and they have a million and they want another million to pile on top of it, Why, you brim with the milk of human kindness and you urge them to accept every drop of it, And you lend them the million so then they have two million and this gives them the idea that they would be better off with four, So they already have two million as security so you have no hesitation in lending them two more, And all the vice-presidents nod their heads in rhythm, And the only question asked is do the borrowers want the money sent or do they want to take it withm. Because I think they deserve our appreciation and thanks, the jackasses who go around saying that health and happi- ness are everything and money isn''t essential, Because as soon as they have to borrow some unimportant money to maintain their health and happiness they starve to death so they can''t go around any more sneering at good old money, which is nothing short of providential. '   –we now turn it into XML declare @xml_data xml(WordList)  set @xml_data='<words>'+ replace(@string,'&', '&amp;')+'</words>'    select T.ref.value('.', 'nvarchar(100)')  from (Select @xml_data.query('                      for $i in data(/words) return                      element li { $i }               '))  A(list) cross apply A.List.nodes('/li') T(ref)     …which gives (truncated, of course)…

    Read the article

  • When things go awry

    - by Phil Factor
    The moment the Entrepreneur opened his mouth on prime-time national TV, spelled out the URL and waxed big on how exciting ‘his’ new website was, I knew I was in for a busy night. I’d designed and built it. All at once, half a million people tried to log into the website. Although all my stress-testing paid off, I have to admit that the network locked up tight long before there was any danger of a database or website problem. Soon afterwards, the Entrepreneur and the Big Boss were there in the autopsy meeting. We picked through all our systems in detail to see how they’d borne the unexpected strain. Mercifully, in view of the sour mood of the Big Boss, it turned out that the only thing we could have done better was buy a bigger pipe to and from the internet. We’d specified that ‘big pipe’ when designing the system. The Big Boss had then railed at the cost and so we’d subsequently compromised. I felt that my design decisions were vindicated. The Big Boss brooded for a while. Then he made the significant comment: “What really ****** me off is the fact that, for ten minutes, we couldn’t take people’s money.” At that point I stopped feeling smug. Had the internet connection been better, the system would have reached its limit and failed rather precipitously, and that wasn’t what he wanted. Then it occurred to me that what had gummed up the connection was all those images on the site, that had made it so impressive for the visitors. If there had been a way to automatically pare down the site to the bare essentials under stress… Hmm. I began to consider disaster-recovery in the broadest sense – maintaining a service in spite of unusual or unexpected events. What he said makes a lot of sense: sacrifice whatever isn’t essential to keep the core service running when we approach the capacity limits. Maybe in IT we should borrow (or revive) the business concept of the ‘Skeleton service’, maintaining only the priority parts under stress, using a process that is well-prepared and carefully rehearsed. How might this work? Whatever the event we have to prepare for, it is all about understanding the priorities; knowing what one can dispense with when the going gets tough. In the event of database disaster, it’s much faster to deploy a skeletal system with only the essential data than to restore the entire system, though there would have to be a reconciliation process to update the revived database retrospectively, once the emergency was over. It isn’t just the database that could be designed for resilience. One could prepare for unusually high traffic in a website by designing a system that degraded gradually to a ‘skeletal’ site, one that maintained the commercial essentials without fat images, JavaScript libraries and razzmatazz. This is all what the Big Boss scathingly called ‘a mere technicality’. It seems to me that what is needed first is a culture of application and database design which acknowledges that we live in a very imperfect world, and react accordingly when things go awry.

    Read the article

  • Documentation and Test Assertions in Databases

    - by Phil Factor
    When I first worked with Sybase/SQL Server, we thought our databases were impressively large but they were, by today’s standards, pathetically small. We had one script to build the whole database. Every script I ever read was richly annotated; it was more like reading a document. Every table had a comment block, and every line would be commented too. At the end of each routine (e.g. procedure) was a quick integration test, or series of test assertions, to check that nothing in the build was broken. We simply ran the build script, stored in the Version Control System, and it pulled everything together in a logical sequence that not only created the database objects but pulled in the static data. This worked fine at the scale we had. The advantage was that one could, by reading the source code, reach a rapid understanding of how the database worked and how one could interface with it. The problem was that it was a system that meant that only one developer at the time could work on the database. It was very easy for a developer to execute accidentally the entire build script rather than the selected section on which he or she was working, thereby cleansing the database of everyone else’s work-in-progress and data. It soon became the fashion to work at the object level, so that programmers could check out individual views, tables, functions, constraints and rules and work on them independently. It was then that I noticed the trend to generate the source for the VCS retrospectively from the development server. Tables were worst affected. You can, of course, add or delete a table’s columns and constraints retrospectively, which means that the existing source no longer represents the current object. If, after your development work, you generate the source from the live table, then you get no block or line comments, and the source script is sprinkled with silly square-brackets and other confetti, thereby rendering it visually indigestible. Routines, too, were affected. In our system, every routine had a directly attached string of unit-tests. A retro-generated routine has no unit-tests or test assertions. Yes, one can still commit our test code to the VCS but it’s a separate module and teams end up running the whole suite of tests for every individual change, rather than just the tests for that routine, which doesn’t scale for database testing. With Extended properties, one can get the best of both worlds, and even use them to put blame, praise or annotations into your VCS. It requires a lot of work, though, particularly the script to generate the table. The problem is that there are no conventional names beyond ‘MS_Description’ for the special use of extended properties. This makes it difficult to do splendid things such ensuring the integrity of the build by running a suite of tests that are actually stored in extended properties within the database and therefore the VCS. We have lost the readability of database source code over the years, and largely jettisoned the use of test assertions as part of the database build. This is not unexpected in view of the increasing complexity of the structure of databases and number of programmers working on them. There must, surely, be a way of getting them back, but I sometimes wonder if I’m one of very few who miss them.

    Read the article

  • Secure Yourself by Using Two-Step Verification on These 16 Web Services

    - by Chris Hoffman
    Two-factor authentication, also known as 2-step verification, provides additional security for your online accounts. Even if someone discovers your password, they’ll need a special one-time code to log in after you enable two-factor authentication on these services. Notably absent from this list are banks and other financial institutions. It’s a shame that you can use two-factor authentication to protect your in-game currency in an MMORPG, but not the real money in your bank account. Secure Yourself by Using Two-Step Verification on These 16 Web Services How to Fix a Stuck Pixel on an LCD Monitor How to Factory Reset Your Android Phone or Tablet When It Won’t Boot

    Read the article

  • SQL Server - Rebuilding Indexes

    - by Renso
    Goal: Rebuild indexes in SQL server. This can be done one at a time or with the example script below to rebuild all index for a specified table or for all tables in a given database. Why? The data in indexes gets fragmented over time. That means that as the index grows, the newly added rows to the index are physically stored in other sections of the allocated database storage space. Kind of like when you load your Christmas shopping into the trunk of your car and it is full you continue to load some on the back seat, in the same way some storage buffer is created for your index but once that runs out the data is then stored in other storage space and your data in your index is no longer stored in contiguous physical pages. To access the index the database manager has to "string together" disparate fragments to create the full-index and create one contiguous set of pages for that index. Defragmentation fixes that. What does the fragmentation affect?Depending of course on how large the table is and how fragmented the data is, can cause SQL Server to perform unnecessary data reads, slowing down SQL Server’s performance.Which index to rebuild?As a rule consider that when reorganize a table's clustered index, all other non-clustered indexes on that same table will automatically be rebuilt. A table can only have one clustered index.How to rebuild all the index for one table:The DBCC DBREINDEX command will not automatically rebuild all of the indexes on a given table in a databaseHow to rebuild all indexes for all tables in a given database:USE [myDB]    -- enter your database name hereDECLARE @tableName varchar(255)DECLARE TableCursor CURSOR FORSELECT table_name FROM information_schema.tablesWHERE table_type = 'base table'OPEN TableCursorFETCH NEXT FROM TableCursor INTO @tableNameWHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0BEGINDBCC DBREINDEX(@tableName,' ',90)     --a fill factor of 90%FETCH NEXT FROM TableCursor INTO @tableNameENDCLOSE TableCursorDEALLOCATE TableCursorWhat does this script do?Reindexes all indexes in all tables of the given database. Each index is filled with a fill factor of 90%. While the command DBCC DBREINDEX runs and rebuilds the indexes, that the table becomes unavailable for use by your users temporarily until the rebuild has completed, so don't do this during production  hours as it will create a shared lock on the tables, although it will allow for read-only uncommitted data reads; i.e.e SELECT.What is the fill factor?Is the percentage of space on each index page for storing data when the index is created or rebuilt. It replaces the fill factor when the index was created, becoming the new default for the index and for any other nonclustered indexes rebuilt because a clustered index is rebuilt. When fillfactor is 0, DBCC DBREINDEX uses the fill factor value last specified for the index. This value is stored in the sys.indexes catalog view. If fillfactor is specified, table_name and index_name must be specified. If fillfactor is not specified, the default fill factor, 100, is used.How do I determine the level of fragmentation?Run the DBCC SHOWCONTIG command. However this requires you to specify the ID of both the table and index being. To make it a lot easier by only requiring you to specify the table name and/or index you can run this script:[email protected] int,@IndexID int,@IndexName varchar(128)--Specify the table and index namesSELECT @IndexName = ‘index_name’    --name of the indexSET @ID = OBJECT_ID(‘table_name’)  -- name of the tableSELECT @IndexID = IndIDFROM sysindexesWHERE id = @ID AND name = @IndexName--Show the level of fragmentationDBCC SHOWCONTIG (@id, @IndexID)Here is an example:DBCC SHOWCONTIG scanning 'Tickets' table...Table: 'Tickets' (1829581556); index ID: 1, database ID: 13TABLE level scan performed.- Pages Scanned................................: 915- Extents Scanned..............................: 119- Extent Switches..............................: 281- Avg. Pages per Extent........................: 7.7- Scan Density [Best Count:Actual Count].......: 40.78% [115:282]- Logical Scan Fragmentation ..................: 16.28%- Extent Scan Fragmentation ...................: 99.16%- Avg. Bytes Free per Page.....................: 2457.0- Avg. Page Density (full).....................: 69.64%DBCC execution completed. If DBCC printed error messages, contact your system administrator.What's important here?The Scan Density; Ideally it should be 100%. As time goes by it drops as fragmentation occurs. When the level drops below 75%, you should consider re-indexing.Here are the results of the same table and clustered index after running the script:DBCC SHOWCONTIG scanning 'Tickets' table...Table: 'Tickets' (1829581556); index ID: 1, database ID: 13TABLE level scan performed.- Pages Scanned................................: 692- Extents Scanned..............................: 87- Extent Switches..............................: 86- Avg. Pages per Extent........................: 8.0- Scan Density [Best Count:Actual Count].......: 100.00% [87:87]- Logical Scan Fragmentation ..................: 0.00%- Extent Scan Fragmentation ...................: 22.99%- Avg. Bytes Free per Page.....................: 639.8- Avg. Page Density (full).....................: 92.10%DBCC execution completed. If DBCC printed error messages, contact your system administrator.What's different?The Scan Density has increased from 40.78% to 100%; no fragmentation on the clustered index. Note that since we rebuilt the clustered index, all other index were also rebuilt.

    Read the article

  • Move a sphere along the swipe?

    - by gameOne
    I am trying to get a sphere curl based on the swipe. I know this has been asked many times, but still it's yearning to be answered. I have managed to add force on the direction of the swipe and it works near perfect. I also have all the swipe positions stored in a list. Now I would like to know how can the curl be achieved. I believe the the curve in the swipe can be calculated by the Vector dot product If theta is 0, then there is no need to add the swipe. If it is not, then add the curl. Maybe this condition is redundant if I managed to find how to curl the sphere along the swipe position The code that adds the force to sphere based on the swipe direction is as below: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; using System.Collections.Generic; public class SwipeControl : MonoBehaviour { //First establish some variables private Vector3 fp; //First finger position private Vector3 lp; //Last finger position private Vector3 ip; //some intermediate finger position private float dragDistance; //Distance needed for a swipe to register public float power; private Vector3 footballPos; private bool canShoot = true; private float factor = 40f; private List<Vector3> touchPositions = new List<Vector3>(); void Start(){ dragDistance = Screen.height*20/100; Physics.gravity = new Vector3(0, -20, 0); footballPos = transform.position; } // Update is called once per frame void Update() { //Examine the touch inputs foreach (Touch touch in Input.touches) { /*if (touch.phase == TouchPhase.Began) { fp = touch.position; lp = touch.position; }*/ if (touch.phase == TouchPhase.Moved) { touchPositions.Add(touch.position); } if (touch.phase == TouchPhase.Ended) { fp = touchPositions[0]; lp = touchPositions[touchPositions.Count-1]; ip = touchPositions[touchPositions.Count/2]; //First check if it's actually a drag if (Mathf.Abs(lp.x - fp.x) > dragDistance || Mathf.Abs(lp.y - fp.y) > dragDistance) { //It's a drag //Now check what direction the drag was //First check which axis if (Mathf.Abs(lp.x - fp.x) > Mathf.Abs(lp.y - fp.y)) { //If the horizontal movement is greater than the vertical movement... if ((lp.x>fp.x) && canShoot) //If the movement was to the right) { //Right move float x = (lp.x - fp.x) / Screen.height * factor; rigidbody.AddForce((new Vector3(x,10,16))*power); Debug.Log("right "+(lp.x-fp.x));//MOVE RIGHT CODE HERE canShoot = false; //rigidbody.AddForce((new Vector3((lp.x-fp.x)/30,10,16))*power); StartCoroutine(ReturnBall()); } else { //Left move float x = (lp.x - fp.x) / Screen.height * factor; rigidbody.AddForce((new Vector3(x,10,16))*power); Debug.Log("left "+(lp.x-fp.x));//MOVE LEFT CODE HERE canShoot = false; //rigidbody.AddForce(new Vector3((lp.x-fp.x)/30,10,16)*power); StartCoroutine(ReturnBall()); } } else { //the vertical movement is greater than the horizontal movement if (lp.y>fp.y) //If the movement was up { //Up move float y = (lp.y-fp.y)/Screen.height*factor; float x = (lp.x - fp.x) / Screen.height * factor; rigidbody.AddForce((new Vector3(x,y,16))*power); Debug.Log("up "+(lp.x-fp.x));//MOVE UP CODE HERE canShoot = false; //rigidbody.AddForce(new Vector3((lp.x-fp.x)/30,10,16)*power); StartCoroutine(ReturnBall()); } else { //Down move Debug.Log("down "+lp+" "+fp);//MOVE DOWN CODE HERE } } } else { //It's a tap Debug.Log("none");//TAP CODE HERE } } } } IEnumerator ReturnBall() { yield return new WaitForSeconds(5.0f); rigidbody.velocity = Vector3.zero; rigidbody.angularVelocity = Vector3.zero; transform.position = footballPos; canShoot =true; isKicked = false; } }

    Read the article

  • Why is my implementation of the Sieve of Atkin overlooking numbers close to the specified limit?

    - by Ross G
    My implementation either overlooks primes near the limit or composites near the limit. while some limits work and others don't. I'm am completely confused as to what is wrong. def AtkinSieve (limit): results = [2,3,5] sieve = [False]*limit factor = int(math.sqrt(lim)) for i in range(1,factor): for j in range(1, factor): n = 4*i**2+j**2 if (n <= lim) and (n % 12 == 1 or n % 12 == 5): sieve[n] = not sieve[n] n = 3*i**2+j**2 if (n <= lim) and (n % 12 == 7): sieve[n] = not sieve[n] if i>j: n = 3*i**2-j**2 if (n <= lim) and (n % 12 == 11): sieve[n] = not sieve[n] for index in range(5,factor): if sieve[index]: for jndex in range(index**2, limit, index**2): sieve[jndex] = False for index in range(7,limit): if sieve[index]: results.append(index) return results For example, when I generate a primes to the limit of 1000, the Atkin sieve misses the prime 997, but includes the composite 965. But if I generate up the limit of 5000, the list it returns is completely correct.

    Read the article

  • Why is my implementation of the Sieve of Atkin overlooking numbers close to the specified limit?

    - by Ross G
    My implementation either overlooks primes near the limit or composites near the limit. while some limits work and others don't. I'm am completely confused as to what is wrong. def AtkinSieve (limit): results = [2,3,5] sieve = [False]*limit factor = int(math.sqrt(lim)) for i in range(1,factor): for j in range(1, factor): n = 4*i**2+j**2 if (n <= lim) and (n % 12 == 1 or n % 12 == 5): sieve[n] = not sieve[n] n = 3*i**2+j**2 if (n <= lim) and (n % 12 == 7): sieve[n] = not sieve[n] if i>j: n = 3*i**2-j**2 if (n <= lim) and (n % 12 == 11): sieve[n] = not sieve[n] for index in range(5,factor): if sieve[index]: for jndex in range(index**2, limit, index**2): sieve[jndex] = False for index in range(7,limit): if sieve[index]: results.append(index) return results For example, when I generate a primes to the limit of 1000, the Atkin sieve misses the prime 997, but includes the composite 965. But if I generate up the limit of 5000, the list it returns is completely correct.

    Read the article

  • R how to find NA values after using addNA function

    - by screechOwl
    I have a data frame with a bunch of categorical variables. Some of them contain NA's and I use the addNA function to convert them to an explicit factor level. My problem comes when I try to treat them as NA's they don't seem to register. Here's my example data set and attempts to 'find' NA's: df1 <- data.frame(id = 1:200, y =rbinom(200, 1, .5), var1 = factor(rep(c('abc','def','ghi','jkl'),50))) df1$var2 <- factor(rep(c('ab c','ghi','jkl','def'),50)) df1$var3 <- factor(rep(c('abc','ghi','nop','xyz'),50)) df1[df1$var1 == 'abc','var1'] <- NA df1$var1 <- addNA(df1$var1) df1$isNaCol <- ifelse(df1$var1 == NA, 1, 0);summary(df1$isNaCol) df1$isNaCol <- ifelse(is.na(df1$var1), 1, 0);summary(df1$isNaCol) df1$isNaCol <- ifelse(df1$var1 == 'NA', 1, 0);summary(df1$isNaCol) df1$isNaCol <- ifelse(df1$var1 == '<NA>', 1, 0);summary(df1$isNaCol) Also when I type ??addNA I don't get any matches. Is this a gray-market function or something? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Read the article

  • How can you transform a set of numbers into mostly whole ones?

    - by Alice
    Small amount of background: I am working on a converter that bridges between a map maker (Tiled) that outputs in XML, and an engine (Angel2D) that inputs lua tables. Most of this is straight forward However, Tiled outputs in pixel offsets (integers of absolute values), while Angel2D inputs OpenGL units (floats of relative values); a conversion factor between these two is needed (for example, 32px = 1gu). Since OpenGL units are abstract, and the camera can zoom in or out if the objects are too small or big, the actual conversion factor isn't important; I could use a random number, and the user would merely have to zoom in or out. But it would be best if the conversion factor was selected such that most numbers outputted were small and whole (or fractions of small whole numbers), because that makes it easier to work with (and the whole point of the OpenGL units is that they are easy to work with). How would I find such a conversion factor reliably? My first attempt was to use the smallest number given; this resulted in no fractions below 1, but often lead to lots of decimal places where the factors didn't line up. Then I tried the mode of the sequence, which lead to the largest number of 1's possible, but often lead to very long floats for background images. My current approach gets the GCD of the whole sequence, which, when it works, works great, but can easily be thrown off course by a single bad apple. Note that while I could easily just pass the numbers I am given along, or pick some fixed factor, or use one of the conversions I specified above, I am looking for a method to reliably scale this list of integers to small, whole numbers or simple fractions, because this would most likely be unsurprising to the end user; this is not a one off conversion. The end users tend to use 1.0 as their "base" for manipulations (because it's simple and obvious), so it would make more sense for the sizes of entities to cluster around this.

    Read the article

  • How to extend this design for a generic converter in java?

    - by Jay
    Here is a small currency converter piece of code: public enum CurrencyType { DOLLAR(1), POUND(1.2), RUPEE(.25); private CurrencyType(double factor) { this.factor = factor; } private double factor; public double getFactor() { return factor; } } public class Currency { public Currency(double value, CurrencyType type) { this.value = value; this.type = type; } private CurrencyType type; private double value; public CurrencyType getCurrencyType() { return type; } public double getCurrencyValue() { return value; } public void setCurrenctyValue(double value){ this.value = value; } } public class CurrencyConversion { public static Currency convert(Currency c1, Currency c2) throws Exception { if (c1 != null && c2 != null) { c2.setCurrenctyValue(c1.getCurrencyValue() * c1.getCurrencyType().getFactor() * c2.getCurrencyType().getFactor()); return c2; } else throw new Exception(); } } I would like to improve this code to make it work for different units of conversion, for example: kgs to pounds, miles to kms, etc etc. Something that looks like this: public class ConversionManager<T extends Convertible> { public T convert(T c1, T c2) { //return null; } } Appreciate your ideas and suggestions.

    Read the article

  • Function keys on Dell laptop work double as OEM keys

    - by Factor Mystic
    I'm working with a new Dell Studio 1555, and the F1-F12 keys at the top of the keyboard are dual function with OEM keys such as volume and screen brightness. The problem is, is that the OEM keys are the default, and you have to press the Fn key to get the F- key to work. For example, this means you have to hit Alt+Fn+F4 to close a window, instead of the regular Alt+F4. This is really annoying. Is there a way to reverse the default functions of the F- keys in Windows? Ideally this is possible without some kind of third party hotkey manager.

    Read the article

  • Screenshot utilities for Windows

    - by Factor Mystic
    What are some good screenshot programs for Windows, preferably free? Obviously I know I can hit the Print Screen key and paste that into Paint and save it, but I'm looking for something that makes it simple. Bonus points if it can automatically upload to an image host.

    Read the article

  • Flex/bison, error: undeclared

    - by Imran
    hallo, i have a problem, the followed program gives back an error, error:: Undeclared(first use in function), why this error appears all tokens are declared, but this error comes, can anyone help me, here are the lex and yac files.thanks lex: %{ int yylinenu= 1; int yycolno= 1; %} %x STR DIGIT [0-9] ALPHA [a-zA-Z] ID {ALPHA}(_?({ALPHA}|{DIGIT}))*_? GROUPED_NUMBER ({DIGIT}{1,3})(\.{DIGIT}{3})* SIMPLE_NUMBER {DIGIT}+ NUMMER {GROUPED_NUMBER}|{SIMPLE_NUMBER} %% <INITIAL>{ [\n] {++yylinenu ; yycolno=1;} [ ]+ {yycolno=yycolno+yyleng;} [\t]+ {yycolno=yycolno+(yyleng*8);} "*" {return MAL;} "+" {return PLUS;} "-" {return MINUS;} "/" {return SLASH;} "(" {return LINKEKLAMMER;} ")" {return RECHTEKLAMMER;} "{" {return LINKEGESCHWEIFTEKLAMMER;} "}" {return RECHTEGESCHEIFTEKLAMMER;} "=" {return GLEICH;} "==" {return GLEICHVERGLEICH;} "!=" {return UNGLEICH;} "<" {return KLEINER;} ">" {return GROSSER;} "<=" {return KLEINERGLEICH;} ">=" {return GROSSERGLEICH;} "while" {return WHILE;} "if" {return IF;} "else" {return ELSE;} "printf" {return PRINTF;} ";" {return SEMIKOLON;} \/\/[^\n]* { ;} {NUMMER} {return NUMBER;} {ID} {return IDENTIFIER;} \" {BEGIN(STR);} . {;} } <STR>{ \n {++yylinenu ;yycolno=1;} ([^\"\\]|"\\t"|"\\n"|"\\r"|"\\b"|"\\\"")+ {return STRING;} \" {BEGIN(INITIAL);} } %% yywrap() { } YACC: %{ #include stdio.h> #include string.h> #include "lex.yy.c" void yyerror(char *err); int error=0,linecnt=1; %} %token IDENTIFIER NUMBER STRING COMMENT PLUS MINUS MAL SLASH LINKEKLAMMER RECHTEKLAMMER LINKEGESCHWEIFTEKLAMMER RECHTEGESCHEIFTEKLAMMER GLEICH GLEICHVERGLEICH UNGLEICH GROSSER KLEINER GROSSERGLEICH KLEINERGLEICH IF ELSE WHILE PRINTF SEMIKOLON %start Stmts %% Stmts : Stmt {puts("\t\tStmts : Stmt");} |Stmt Stmts {puts("\t\tStmts : Stmt Stmts");} ; //NEUE REGEL---------------------------------------------- Stmt : LINKEGESCHWEIFTEKLAMMER Stmts RECHTEGESCHEIFTEKLAMMER {puts("\t\tStmt : '{' Stmts '}'");} |IF LINKEKLAMMER Cond RECHTEKLAMMER Stmt {puts("\t\tStmt : '(' Cond ')' Stmt");} |IF LINKEKLAMMER Cond RECHTEKLAMMER Stmt ELSE Stmt {puts("\t\tStmt : '(' Cond ')' Stmt 'ELSE' Stmt");} |WHILE LINKEKLAMMER Cond RECHTEKLAMMER Stmt {puts("\t\tStmt : 'PRINTF' Expr ';'");} |PRINTF Expr SEMIKOLON {puts("\t\tStmt : 'PRINTF' Expr ';'");} |IDENTIFIER GLEICH Expr SEMIKOLON {puts("\t\tStmt : 'IDENTIFIER' '=' Expr ';'");} |SEMIKOLON {puts("\t\tStmt : ';'");} ;//NEUE REGEL --------------------------------------------- Cond: Expr GLEICHVERGLEICH Expr {puts("\t\tCond : '==' Expr");} |Expr UNGLEICH Expr {puts("\t\tCond : '!=' Expr");} |Expr KLEINER Expr {puts("\t\tCond : '<' Expr");} |Expr KLEINERGLEICH Expr {puts("\t\tCond : '<=' Expr");} |Expr GROSSER Expr {puts("\t\tCond : '>' Expr");} |Expr GROSSERGLEICH Expr {puts("\t\tCond : '>=' Expr");} ;//NEUE REGEL -------------------------------------------- Expr:Term {puts("\t\tExpr : Term");} |Term PLUS Expr {puts("\t\tExpr : Term '+' Expr");} |Term MINUS Expr {puts("\t\tExpr : Term '-' Expr");} ;//NEUE REGEL -------------------------------------------- Term:Factor {puts("\t\tTerm : Factor");} |Factor MAL Term {puts("\t\tTerm : Factor '*' Term");} |Factor SLASH Term {puts("\t\tTerm : Factor '/' Term");} ;//NEUE REGEL -------------------------------------------- Factor:SimpleExpr {puts("\t\tFactor : SimpleExpr");} |MINUS SimpleExpr {puts("\t\tFactor : '-' SimpleExpr");} ;//NEUE REGEL -------------------------------------------- SimpleExpr:LINKEKLAMMER Expr RECHTEKLAMMER {puts("\t\tSimpleExpr : '(' Expr ')'");} |IDENTIFIER {puts("\t\tSimpleExpr : 'IDENTIFIER'");} |NUMBER {puts("\t\tSimpleExpr : 'NUMBER'");} |STRING {puts("\t\tSimpleExpr : 'String'");} ;//ENDE ------------------------------------------------- %% void yyerror(char *msg) { error=1; printf("Line: %d , Column: %d : %s \n", yylinenu, yycolno,yytext, msg); } int main(int argc, char *argv[]) { int val; while(yylex()) { printf("\n",yytext); } return yyparse(); }

    Read the article

  • sshd: How to enable PAM authentication for specific users under

    - by Brad
    I am using sshd, and allow logins with public key authentication. I want to allow select users to log in with a PAM two-factor authentication module. Is there any way I can allow PAM two-factor authentication for a specifc user? I don't want users - By the same token - I only want to enable password authentication for specific accounts. I want my SSH daemon to reject the password authentication attempts to thwart would-be hackers into thinking that I will not accept password authentication - except for the case in which someone knows my heavily guarded secret account, which is password enabled. I want to do this for cases in which my SSH clients will not let me do either secret key, or two-factor authentication.

    Read the article

  • Which type of motherboard i should buy and why?

    - by metal gear solid
    If budged is not a problem. I just need best performance with less power consumption. I can purchase any cabinet , power supply and Motherboard. Is Power supply has any relation with Form factor? Is the size of motherboard and number of Slots only difference between all form factors? Is there any differences among form factors, related to performance of motherboard? Is bigger in Size (ATX) motherboard always better? Is it so smaller in Size motherboard will consume less power? What are pros and cons of each Form factor? What there are so many Form factor were created?

    Read the article

  • processing an audio wav file with C

    - by sa125
    Hi - I'm working on processing the amplitude of a wav file and scaling it by some decimal factor. I'm trying to wrap my head around how to read and re-write the file in a memory-efficient way while also trying to tackle the nuances of the language (I'm new to C). The file can be in either an 8- or 16-bit format. The way I thought of doing this is by first reading the header data into some pre-defined struct, and then processing the actual data in a loop where I'll read a chunk of data into a buffer, do whatever is needed to it, and then write it to the output. #include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h> typedef struct header { char chunk_id[4]; int chunk_size; char format[4]; char subchunk1_id[4]; int subchunk1_size; short int audio_format; short int num_channels; int sample_rate; int byte_rate; short int block_align; short int bits_per_sample; short int extra_param_size; char subchunk2_id[4]; int subchunk2_size; } header; typedef struct header* header_p; void scale_wav_file(char * input, float factor, int is_8bit) { FILE * infile = fopen(input, "rb"); FILE * outfile = fopen("outfile.wav", "wb"); int BUFSIZE = 4000, i, MAX_8BIT_AMP = 255, MAX_16BIT_AMP = 32678; // used for processing 8-bit file unsigned char inbuff8[BUFSIZE], outbuff8[BUFSIZE]; // used for processing 16-bit file short int inbuff16[BUFSIZE], outbuff16[BUFSIZE]; // header_p points to a header struct that contains the file's metadata fields header_p meta = (header_p)malloc(sizeof(header)); if (infile) { // read and write header data fread(meta, 1, sizeof(header), infile); fwrite(meta, 1, sizeof(meta), outfile); while (!feof(infile)) { if (is_8bit) { fread(inbuff8, 1, BUFSIZE, infile); } else { fread(inbuff16, 1, BUFSIZE, infile); } // scale amplitude for 8/16 bits for (i=0; i < BUFSIZE; ++i) { if (is_8bit) { outbuff8[i] = factor * inbuff8[i]; if ((int)outbuff8[i] > MAX_8BIT_AMP) { outbuff8[i] = MAX_8BIT_AMP; } } else { outbuff16[i] = factor * inbuff16[i]; if ((int)outbuff16[i] > MAX_16BIT_AMP) { outbuff16[i] = MAX_16BIT_AMP; } else if ((int)outbuff16[i] < -MAX_16BIT_AMP) { outbuff16[i] = -MAX_16BIT_AMP; } } } // write to output file for 8/16 bit if (is_8bit) { fwrite(outbuff8, 1, BUFSIZE, outfile); } else { fwrite(outbuff16, 1, BUFSIZE, outfile); } } } // cleanup if (infile) { fclose(infile); } if (outfile) { fclose(outfile); } if (meta) { free(meta); } } int main (int argc, char const *argv[]) { char infile[] = "file.wav"; float factor = 0.5; scale_wav_file(infile, factor, 0); return 0; } I'm getting differing file sizes at the end (by 1k or so, for a 40Mb file), and I suspect this is due to the fact that I'm writing an entire buffer to the output, even though the file may have terminated before filling the entire buffer size. Also, the output file is messed up - won't play or open - so I'm probably doing the whole thing wrong. Any tips on where I'm messing up will be great. Thanks!

    Read the article

< Previous Page | 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13  | Next Page >