Willghatch Blog

Here are some posts. Also, links to RSS and atom feeds.

Lamenting poor writing

:: writing

I have not faithfully written in this blog. A large part of that is that I have struggled to set aside time to write. There are many blog posts that I want to write. But it takes so long to write and edit a good blog post. You may notice that so far I have no good blog posts — they are all poorly written. This happens because I start writing, run out of time for the day, and then have a decision: I can either publish a post as it is, poorly planned, hastily written, and generally rough, or I can wait until I edit it. Every post in my blog so far is the result of a decision to post something rough rather than to wait until I eventually edit it. For every blog post that I have published, there is another that I started but left languishing. For every blog post awaiting edition, there is another that I wanted to write but decided not to even start because I knew I wouldn’t edit it. The key takeaway: I never come back to edit. After one bout of writing, I am out of steam.

LLVM IR optimization overview for a toy program

:: computers, compilers

In my compilers class this semester we’ve been talking about static analysis and optimizations. We’ve written a little LLVM frontend compiler for a toy language with s-expression (lisp) syntax. We’ve also added an option to our compiler to add arithmetic overflow and division error checks to the compiler output. We’re going to look at the output of this compiler with arithmetic checks on a toy program, and see what the optimizer does to it.

US Politics Needs Ranked Voting

:: politics

In the United States of America, citizens generally get one vote in a race, and whoever gets the most votes wins. It’s straightforward. But it’s one of the reasons we have a two party system with such a huge partisan divide and so much insanity in politics. But there is a better way. Ranked voting means you vote for multiple candidates in order of preference. There are many specific ways to determine the winner of such an election (the most famous of which seems to be Instant Runoff voting, which I don’t like compared to some others), but any of them are better than our simple “first past the post” system.

Botnet or Pulseaudio

:: computers, networking

The other day I was sitting at home when I realized that my network switch was going crazy. The switch in question is a gigabit switch that is connected to my home server (which is my home’s gateway device — the one connected to the modem), to a wireless router, and to a desktop machine that acts as a media box (it’s connected to a TV and stereo system). By “going crazy” I mean that all the lights were flashing as fast as they could. There is a light for each connected device, and when it flashes it means that that device is either sending or receiving data — meaning that in this case packets were going to or from my server, my media box, and my wireless router (which by proxy means my laptop, my phone, my wife’s phone, etc) apparently about as fast as possible. Recently there have been some high profile DDOS attacks by botnets of unprecidented size. “Am I part of a botnet?”, I wondered. “Did I make some serious security mistake, despite generally being much more careful than average about security?”.

IPv6 setup

:: ipv6, computers, technical

Some time ago I was finally in a position where my ISP had IPv6 capabilities and I was in full control of my internet setup (IE it wasn’t controlled by landlords or shared with roommates who had stronger opinions than mine). So naturally I decided to join the internet of the future (that should have been the internet of the 90’s) and get IPv6 set up.

Why I hate emojis

:: rant, computers

I have often voiced disdain for emojis, and my unhappiness that they are taking an ever-growing section of the Unicode space. Let me tell you why.

configuration tips

:: introductory, technical, computers

As an avid computer configurator, I want to share some tips about how to effectively customize and keep track of your configuration. I want to highlight the different types of configuration needs that exist, and suggest some good ways of managing them.