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As a computer scientist, I have always listened in amazement at the seemingly magic things that biologists have told me and thought up a million questions.  Most prevalent in this, is how do DNA, RNA and cells actually work? Where do they come from? Why do we talk about having X chromosomes and yet sometimes refer to DNA as a big long string of AGCT. These are the things that torment me. That make me feel like a small child who has walked into the crazy world of wall street. Information flying everywhere and people yelling incoherent sentences that make me stare in amazement. All the while wondering 'how do these people know what's going on, where is the logic, where does it begin?'.


Well folks, that is my grand question.

Continue reading A Computer Scientists foyer into Cellular Biology

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Turning Emacs into a helpful Haskell IDE

I imagine I'm like a great many programmers who feel they learn best by just jumping straight into writing some code. The issue with this: I am a lazy programmer and I like to make my development environment do all of the work! And therefore I encounter an issue where if I don't have a smart IDE I start to make huge mistakes that take forever to spot.

Continue reading Haskell-ing in Emacs

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I haven't had the chance to write a decent post on my current IY for a few weeks, I would say unfortunately but not so as I've been having a blast!

I've been  getting to play with all sorts of hardware that I had no idea about until recently. I got to spend a few days researching methods of creating movement through electronics, magnets and pneumatic (not the thing you get from being too cold, I made that mistake too).

The gif (pronounced with a hard G) above shows one of my little contraptions that  I was extremely excited to build.  It mostly took me a bit to interpret how the wiring of our actuators matched to the inner coils, after that it was 6 wires to a H-Bridge and 4 pins to the arduino to give signals of direction essentially. Here's the code I've been using as a super simple demo just to test the wiring is working (If you haven't played with an Arduino then go get one, super cheap, super easy, super open-source electronics)

I should have probably mentioned by now that there is an actual point of these weight lifting devices, as I mentioned in previous posts load-cells are generally ill-suited to continuous weighing, particularly in environments where the conditions don't like to stay the same. I am attempting to design a cost

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Compared to a lot of software engineers I've not been programming long but 8+ years is long enough to get into some pretty horrible habits. The worst of which I managed to shake off only a few years ago (a crippling dependence on MS Visual Studio).

Once I got serious into wanting to become a better programmer I started hopping around editors and Integrated Development Environments. I stuck for a long time on the JetBrains suite that covers the languages I use most (Python, C/C++, SQL and *shudders* Java). JetBrains produces some amazing tools which made me feel far more powerful in programming that Visual Studio ever did. It made everything I wanted to do so easy:

  • Linking libraries? Done
  • Adding cross compiler functionality? Done
  • Simple Git Integration? Done
  • Generating tags and hoping around large systems such as the Linux Kernel? Done (and quick to boot!)

The point being that a good IDE makes the world of difference to those of us who write software!

A few months ago I stopped using all these IDEs that I depend upon and love so much...

Continue reading Why I persisted to learn Emacs

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