Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I found a link to an interesting article indicating that Most Britons have lied about the books they read on reddit today. Before anyone accuses me of Brit bashing, let me just say that I'm sure most Americans are just as quick to inflate their own literary tastes. I only mention this because it expands on my own prior observations about the books that programmers don't really read.

On 24 last night, an FBI analyst broke an AES block cipher in under 30 seconds. The really strange part was that the cipher was used to encrypt the 5-digit combination to an electronic door lock.

Someone needs to tell Hollywood writers that if I'm cracking an N-digit code, and I already know N-1 digits, it won't take my computer a few more seconds to figure out the last digit, no matter how much tension it builds. Most 10 year olds could figure it out in a few seconds.

John Cook posted a couple of good articles on floating point numbers on his blog, The Endeavor, recently. Floating point numbers are a leaky abstraction and Anatomy of a floating point number are both good reads for anyone interested in math or programming.

John's regular and high-quality posts have made The Endeavor one of my favorite blogs on the 'Net. Anyone who reads this blog should give it a try. I think you'll really enjoy it.

1 comment:

Tim Kington said...

I was thinking the same thing watching that episode. This just proved that Janice is no Chloe. She would have tried:


and gotten it in ten tries at most :)