Exciting news everyone! I love simplicity so I just created a Chrome extension for Browserling. The extension lets you quickly access all the platforms and browsers with one click. No need to go to browserling.com first to start cross-browser testing. Just install the extension and you're ready to go.
Try it out now and let me know what you think!
Give it 5 stars. :)
It's been another year and this blog is now officially 8 years old. I got catonmat.net in 2005 but started blogging in 2007. When I started blogging all I had was this big dream to create a popular programming blog. I worked hard and now 8 years later my blog gets visited by over a million people. Hard work pays off and dreams come true.
Here's traffic statistics for Jul 2014 - Jul 2015:
Statcounter traffic statistics for Jul 1, 2014 - Jun 30, 2015.
Catonmat was visited 1.32 million times and had 1.69 million page views. Quick comparison between last and this year:
This year: 1,318,518 uniques. 1,690,927 page views.
Last year: 784,992 uniques. 1,376,933 page views.
Delta: +533,526 uniques. +313,994 page views.
I've written some great articles this year that explains +half a million uniques this year. The traffic spike in April happened because of my new article series about my favorite books. I've about 250 articles in drafts so stay tuned for even more interesting articles soon!
Subscriber statistics: At 20,316 (email+rss) subscribers. Last year 16,343. Delta +3,973. subscribe.
Github stats: At 1,900 followers this year. Last year 1,700. Delta +200. follow me.
Total articles written: 19. Top 10 most read articles:
- My Top 100 Programming, Computer and Science Books: Part One (151,341 views)
- Being good at programming competitions doesn't mean you'll be good on the job (148,455 views)
- I was interviewed by Fog Creek (75,677 views)
- My Top 100 Programming, Computer and Science Books: Part Three (70,758 views)
- My Top 100 Programming, Computer and Science Books: Part Two (67,245 views)
- A new browsing URL scheme for Browserling (54,480 views)
- Creating outgoing bandwidth summary for Rackspace cloud servers (54,250 views)
- How to remember ./configure script arguments a year later (51,487 views)
- Creating tables with console.table in Chrome (48,096 views)
- cards.dll - a fun dll that came with windows (47,696 views)
My personal top 5 favorite articles:
- My new workstation for the next two years (with pics)
- How to pay $400 instead of $70,000 in Delaware franchise tax
- Announcing Browserling's Live API
- My Top 100 Programming, Computer and Science Books: Part One
- I was interviewed by Fog Creek
Here are catonmat's goals for year 9:
- Publish at least 10 parts of My Favorite Books.
- Start a new article series about my favorite scientific papers.
- Start a new article series about Linux networking.
- Grow the blog to 1.5 million uniques, 2 million page views.
That's all folks! Now let's have some 8 year birthday cake,
And let's meet for cake next year again! See you!
This time I'm sharing my favorite books about fundamentals of computation, mathematical foundations of cryptography, type-directed functional programming, low level bit hacks, and visual thinking.
I love reading. The most fun part about reading a lot is that you never know how ideas will click together and where you'll need them. The more I read the more cross-linked ideas I've. Here's an interesting insight about how I approach reading. I rarely have time to read books cover to cover in one sitting as I'm so busy running Browserling. I split reading the whole book into reading 5 pages a day, put every reading session in calendar and a month or two later later I'm done with the book. Actually I apply this approach to getting anything done. Split it in parts. Get each part done separately. Merge results. Divide and conquer in real life (except with one execution branch). Just like I've split writing this article series five books at a time. It will take me 5 or 10 years to finish this series but the end result is going to be awesome and I'll get the whole series done.
I read a lot. This is my bookshelf.
Here are this week's five books.
#16 Feynman Lectures on Computation
A timeless classic by Feynman. It's one of Feynman's least known books but it's also one of his best books, especially if you love computers, theory of computation and physics. In this book Feynman explores the fundamental ideas in theory of computation, information theory and physical limits of computing processes.
This book is geek's dream come true. It's a pleasure to read as it's written in Feynman's pedagogical writing style and is packed with so many topics. Feynman starts with basic logic gates, proceeds to finite state machines, Turing machines, and Halting problem. Then he discusses coding and information theory, Hamming codes, Shannon's theorem, and Huffman coding. He then explains reversible computation and thermodynamics of computing, entropy in thermodynamics and information theory and Maxwell's daemon. This chapter demonstrates a billiard ball computer, which is a reversible computer that can actually do calculations. Mind=blown. The book ends with a brief introduction to quantum computing (quantum computing was just starting when the book was written), and then explains physical aspects of computation.
Maxwell's Demon at work.
Author: Richard P. Feynman
#17 A Course in Number Theory and Cryptography
I won't be sharing too many textbooks but this one needs attention. Written by Neal Koblitz, one of my favorite mathematicians and the inventor of elliptic curve cryptography. I love two of his books. This is one of them. I'll keep the other book secret until the next part of the series. I love Neal's book because he gets straight to the point and uses a smaller font in his books to pack more information on one page.
This is one of the first books I ever read on mathematical foundations of cryptography. It says graduate on the cover but don't listen to that. It's really an undergraduate level book. All you need to know is a bit of algebra. Book starts with a review of several key number theory topics, moves to finite fields, then to the public key cryptography, RSA, zero-knowledge proofs, then primality testing, factoring and finally elliptic curves.
This book follows definition-theorem-proof-example style that I like and it has many exercises with answers. If you like math but don't have experience with fundamentals of cryptography then this is the book to get to quickly get yourself up to speed. Fundamentals don't change and once you master what's in this book (shouldn't take more than a week or two if you're smart and dedicated), you'll be able to read any crypto text.
Asymptotic running time of quadratic sieve algorithm.
Author: Neal I. Koblitz.
#18 The Little MLer
The Little MLer takes you on a new super fun adventure! This book teaches you programming with types, pattern matching, lambdas, recursion, type inference, schonfinkeling, exceptions, and modular programming with signatures, structures and functors (keep in mind functors mean different things in different languages). After the first few chapters your mind will bend. After the next few chapters your hat won't fit anymore. This book will really make you think. A willingness to use pen and paper to ensure understanding is absolutely necessary!
You'll truly appreciate this book only after having read the other books in the series. Get those first, and then read this book. And then read all the books again for full effect.
Chapter 7, Functions are people, too.
Here's my github repository with all the exercises and code examples from The Little MLer, including the hidden code for loyal Schemers: the-little-mler github repo. My repository also contains a very detailed review of all 10 chapters of the book.
I just can't hide my excitement for these books. In a few weeks another book in this series will be released called The Little Prover. The Little Prover will teach inductive proofs as a way to determine facts about computer programs. I can already imagine how fun this book is going to be. I haven't even seen it but this book has already made it to my favorite books because I've such high expectations for it. I preordered my copy already a month ago! Preorder yours too! I will in fact take a day off at Browserling for the first time in years just to read this book cover to cover in one sitting.
Authors: Matthias Felleisen and Daniel P. Friedman.
#19 Hacker's Delight
Any book with the word "hacker" catches my attention. I probably have 10 books or more with this word in the title. This book is special because it was the first books with the word "hacker" that I ever got. The word "hacker" in this book is meant in original sense of an aficionado of computers - someone, who enjoys making computers do new things, and do old things in a new and clever way.
Hacker's Delight is another timeless classic. It's a collection of small programming tricks that the author, Harry Warren, software veteran with 50 years of experience, has come across in his career. These programming tricks exclusively revolve around low-level bithacks, creative arithmetic, and finding the most effective ways to count the number of 1 bits in a word, transposing bit matrices, permuting bits, reversing and rearranging bits and bytes, dividing by constants, and many more.
Some of the most interesting parts of the book include computing reminders without computing quotient, cyclic redundancy checking (CRC), Hamming SEC-DED algorithm and error correcting codes, unusual bases for number systems, such as bases -2 and -1+i, generating Hilbert curves, and formulas for generating primes, and a gallery of graphs of discrete functions.
Sheep and goats function SAG(x, m). Read pages 161-165 for explanation.
If you spend more than a week with this book you'll start dreaming in binary and hex, and your brain will get filled with tons of geeky magical numbers, such as, 0x40490FDB and 0x7F80000.
The author has also composed a poem about division, found on page 202 (1st Edition) and page 278 (2nd Edition):
I think that I shall never envision
An op unlovely as division.
An op whose answer must be guessed
And then, through multiply, assessed;
An op for which we dearly pay,
In cycles wasted every day.
Division code is often hairy;
Long division's downright scary.
The proofs can overtax your brain,
The ceiling and floor may drive you insane.
Good code to divide takes a Knuthian hero,
But even God can't divide by zero!
Author: Henry S. Warren, Jr.
#20 Proofs Without Words: Exercises in Visual Thinking
Wow! When I found these books I immediately fell in love. I'm a visual thinker and I love visual proofs. These books have no words but have hundreds of proofs. One proof per page. I wish I had more time to work through all these proofs. Some of the proofs take a few seconds to understand but many others take hours. These books are the real vitamins for the brain.
Here are some of my favorite proofs from these books. Proof that sum of odd numbers always gives a perfect square:
1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n-1) = n2.
Proof that 1/4 + 1/16 + 1/64 + ... = 1/3:
1/4 + (1/4)2 + (1/4)3 + ... = 1/3.
Proof that eπ > πe:
eπ > πe.
Author: Roger B. Nelsen.
Until next time!
As always, I hope you liked these five book recommendations. Let me know in the comments what your favorite books are, subscribe to my blog, follow me on twitter, and until next time! I can't wait to publish the next part already.
Very exciting news at Browserling - we just launched multiple Windows platforms! You can now cross-browser test your apps in all the browsers on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Browserling now also has a new browser sharing scheme:
For example, here's a URL to my blog in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista:
Browserling's Live API supports multiple OS platforms too via
Next we're adding Windows 8.1 and Androids. Shortly after that OSX, iOS, and Linux browsers.
Browserling is an interactive cross-browser testing service. It lets you test your website in older Internet Explorers such as IE 6, IE 7, IE 8, IE 9, IE 10, and Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari!
For updates follow @browserling and until next time!
This blog post is a repost of the original announcement on Browserling's cross-browser testing blog: Browserling now supports multiple operating systems.
This time I'll be sharing my favorite books about Unix, logic programming, thermodynamics, and mathematical foundations of computer science.
In one of the next posts I'll create a neat pdf with all the books listed so far and keep updating it as I write more posts.
Here are this week's five books.
#11 The Unix Haters Handbook (free pdf)
This book is true Unix classic. If you know and love Unix, you'll love this book. This is one of the first books I ever read and I love it. I'm a huge fan of Unix and computing history and this book taught me tons of facts and trivia about both topics. It contains hundreds of hilarious stories about what Unix gets wrong (and also right). It's a bit outdated but for true geeks it shouldn't matter, it's still a very fun read.
Here's what preface says about Unix: Modern UNIX is a catastrophe. It's the "Un-Operating System": unreliable, unintuitive, unforgiving, unhelpful, and underpowered. Little is more frustrating than trying to force UNIX to do something useful and nontrivial. Modern UNIX impedes progress in computer science, wastes billions of dollars, and destroys the common sense of many who seriously use it. An exaggeration? You won't think so after reading this book.
Chapter 1 is called Unix is the world's first computer virus, and this is how the book illustrates C++ is written:
How C++ is written according to The Unix Haters Handbook.
Unix barf bag that comes with the book.
Authors: Simson Garfinkel, Daniel Weise, and Steven Strassmann.
#12 Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook
I call this book the Unix bible. I got this book (third edition) 13 years ago and read it pretty much cover to cover in a few weeks. Even 13 years later I still refer to it every now and then, and I always find something new. This book is a true classic and pretty much the only general Unix sysadmin book you will ever need. If you're just starting with Unix and Linux, then this is the book to get. At over 1000 pages, it's packed with tons of useful information and not only you'll become a Unix expert, but also add a ton of points to your geekiness levels. I remember how I spent several nights setting up my own caching
bind server after reading the chapter on DNS. Fun times!
This book covers the major variants of Unix and Linux distributions such Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, and Ubuntu, Suse, Redhat. This book is divided into three large chunks - basic administration, networking, and other stuff.
Section one - Basic system administration.
Basic administration presents a broad overview of Unix and Linux from a system administrator's perspective. The chapters in this section cover most of the facts and techniques needed to run a stand-alone system, such as managing storage and file system, controlling processes, setting up backups and configuring the kernel.
Section two - Networking.
The networking section describes the protocols used on Unix systems and the techniques used to set up, extend, and maintain networks and Internet-facing servers. High-level network software is also covered here. Among the featured topics are the routing and network management, the network file system, electronic mail, and network security.
Section three - Stuff.
Other stuff includes a variety of supplemental information. Some chapters discuss optional features such as printing, server virtualization, eco-friendly computing and the politics of running a system administration group. Quote from part three: Good sysadmins have both technical skills and “soft skills.” The ability to organize a group of administrators and make sure they meet the organization's needs can be the difference between an OK administrator and a great one.
This book also has an insanely cool domain name admin.com.
Authors: Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Trent R. Hein, and Ben Whaley.
#13 The Reasoned Schemer
This book takes you on the next adventure. The Little Schemer taught lists and recursion, The Seasoned Schemer taught computation and now Reasoned Schemer teaches you logic programming and relational programming. Relational programming describes what you want in the result rather than how to get to result. As any book in the Schemer series, it's extremely fun to read and it will bend your mind. It will make you think from the first page. All in all this book teaches the essence of Prolog - the most well-known logic programming language.
Oleg Kiselyov is one of the authors. He's the craziest functional programming guy I know. I'm a big fan of his work. I once said that anything by Oleg Kiselyov gets an automatic upvote and so does this book. Oleg also implemented the logic programming language used in this book. It's called Kanren. If you're working through this book you've to download Kanren and run all the examples through it. It will help you to get through the book.
Only the true schemer fan will understand this message.
Authors: Daniel P. Friedman, William E. Byrd, and Oleg Kiselyov.
Now from computers to physics. This is a classic science book by one of the great physicists of all time, a Nobel Prize winner and one of the chief developers of quantum mechanics - Enrico Fermi. The text is elementary in treatment and remarkable for its clarity and organization. It covers the core of thermodynamics - thermodynamic systems, laws of thermodynamics, entropy, ideal and real gases, and other core topics.
Everyone should read this book to be a well rounded person. At 150 pages, it's pretty easy to go through. From my own experience this book can be worked through in two full nights. I did that right before the exams. :)
As I was writing about this book I remembered the puzzle of using a barometer to measure height of a building. How would you do that? One of the solutions is to use the ideal gas law to come up with the solution. Here's my solution to this puzzle.
Author: Enrico Fermi.
#15 Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science
Yet another classic. Concrete Mathematics is the second most accessible book by Knuth as one of the co-authors. Concrete Mathematics is a blending of CONtinuous and disCRETE mathematics. This book focuses on practical skills rather than theory. It contains many examples, tricks of trade, and problems with solutions. This book is also fun to read. After reading this book you will be very comfortable manipulating sums, recurrences, discrete probabilities, and number theory.
I learned most of the math used in computer science during my studies but I still got this book to see what I missed. I have read parts of it and the material is very accessible and at the right density, meaning trivial steps from one equation to the next are left out but the most difficult steps are explained.
This is not a comment.
Authors: Ronald L. Graham, Donald E. Knuth, and Oren Patashnik.