Wrapping up 2008

It’s that time of the year, where one reminisces, remembers, recalls, regrets, reflects, and other activities starting with re’s. I was going through the posts I wrote this year, and some of the posts made me react with “Huh, I wrote that?”, “What was I thinking?!” and other epic reactions. So here are some of the posts, and if I can remember them, the unsaid reasons for writing them.

The post on Fibonacci sequence and its relation to the golden ratio was quite popular. It still comes up in search results every now and then. The story of the thriving rabbit population came from a childhood encyclopedia (yes, I still have the entire set).

The barber paradox is one of my favourite concepts. I read about it when flipping through my university textbook on logic. Basically, if you hit a stumbling block in your logic, you might find that challenging your original assumption reveals the answer to the stumbling block.

In May 2008, I managed to dupe persuade Guy Kawasaki into including me in the Programming section of Alltop. That was awesome, since I was trying to improve awareness of my blog and the concept I’m pushing for (multi-disciplines). Getting listed helped.

I also created a new site called Ragnarok Code. It was meant to be a code playground for me. I do a lot of .NET work and I want to do some stuff that I can’t on this blog (though there are ways to get around my PHP problem…). Wanted to code something with Silverlight and I never really got to it… That said, check out the OpenStreetMap application by Philip. It’s totally awesome.

Then I tried my hand at mixing storytelling and puzzles with the Mind Trap series. I planned for 5 parts, but failed to find interesting puzzles to weave into the story. In the end, I only had 3.

Alas, the full story of our trapped hero Ryan may never be revealed…

I also started a mini-series dubbed “Please ConvertToEnglish()“. It’s a play on the .NET functions such as Convert.ToInt32() and so on. What I had in mind was to explain certain code or human behaviour (mainly because of code) in simple English. I don’t see an end to it, since I draw inspiration from what I encounter… *smile*

There’s something else that came up often in my search results: The puzzle on 7 points and 6 lines (and the 2nd solution with corrections from a reader, Eric).

Then came the first (known) hack attempt on my blog. It was targetting SQL Server, so I was safe… I think… That analysis involved the use of a few pieces of information.

I also had a visit from Raymond Chen for something I wrote about rotating a matrix, which is different from a rotation matrix. Read the proof by Mathew which is simpler than mine, and it even looks like what I would write on paper with all the subscripts and superscripts.

My next embarrassing public humiliation was when I asked for advice on field of view (FOV). I was called on my article by two people no less (thanks to David and Jason aka xero)… That article sprung up from a university assignment, and was one of those questions where I never really got an answer. Like the one on using pointer arithmetic instead of array syntax. Wait, I didn’t write about that one…

In October, I wrote what I think was my crowning achievement then, the article on the use of bilinear interpolation in image rotation. It required the combination of a few pieces of information to work:

  • Knowledge of raster, Cartesian and polar coordinate systems
  • Linear interpolation and as a corollary, bilinear interpolation
  • The “direction” of assignment

Strangely, the post on the digital clock puzzle came up moderately frequently in search results. I guess a lot of people were stumped… Great answer by Steven, though I couldn’t award him any prizes. I’ll have to get my hands on some noteworthy gifts…

I also started to get involved in the Singapore social media slash blogging scene. Got to know some really nice people, and there were also a few programmers too!

Then I tackled the hitherto unimaginable math problem on swinging doors. It was interesting. It was spontaneous. It was … alright, I was a bit bored. I also made a major mistake while discussing that, which I corrected with another post. Talk about barber paradoxes…

I finally came to terms with the lengthy name of my blog, and shortened what I am to being a Polymer. I still want to publish something more on it, maybe a manifesto. Still collecting my thoughts on this…

And I was a guest in a Tech56 podcast, a local production about technology and general geeky stuff. I was also at their 100th episode celebration/podcast event.

On the topic of podcasts, I submitted a question which was answered in Stack Overflow podcast episode 33. I asked for an opinion on reducing costs (in a software business, since Jeff and Joel probably won’t know much about the industry of the company I’m working at). In summary, the answer was to stop worrying about reducing costs and start thinking about increasing value.

Recently, I talked about digital image processing. It was something I wanted to write about for a long time, but never really got down to it. I also didn’t do justice to the topic, and I originally planned for something more fleshed out. I’ll leave it as it is till I can’t stand it anymore and I’ll follow up on it. And that image processing course I took was one of the most interesting classes in my entire university life.

And that’s 2008 for me. Have fun with the rest of December, and I’ll see you next year.

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