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AMC: There's A Gremlin In The Stock Market And That's Just Fine

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  Second chances. I refer not to the car manufactured by American Motors Corporation, but to the movie theater company AMC Entertainment. Like a gremlin, AMC stock mischievously defied fundamentals hitting a high of $72.62 last week after being left for dead around $2 back in January. Financially,  AMC's second chance comes from deals with professional capital management firms , but the amazing amount of attention AMC garnered can be credited to Wall Street Bets (WSB), a trading group on Reddit. They are often portrayed as rough and tumble individuals, with names like " Deep F-ing Value ," but they aren't too different from the professional traders I've met working as a software developer in New York's financial district. Sometime in the 80s, a few of us were having lunch at a restaurant with a name I can no longer remember. Glancing up, I noticed a jungle of neckties dangling from the pipes and fixtures. The trader explained that it was a tradition here. When

Privacy

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  Based on YouTube ads, Google classifies me as an overweight young adult who likes video games but struggles with arthritis. Clearly, Google has me confused with someone else, which is both amusing and a relief. Back in November 2020, I ran a little experiment where I enabled ad personalization for a period of 3 months. I was feeling a little... um...  Grouchy about privacy, and wanted to see if targeted ads hit or miss their Marx . Ads that pegged me as a college student or young adult included Grammarly , Dr. Squatch Soap , and video games. Admittedly, I watched most of the video game ads in their entirety, and by doing so, I likely misled the algorithm to my alleged youthfulness. But then there were ads I found intellectually insulting and wished I could block. They were from Prager U and The Epoch Times, and they would present news and commentary on politics, family, and climate change in a facile and seductive manner, rather than in a thoughtful and sincere way.  Even when I ski

Resource Limits

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It is apropos that after Earth Day , my thoughts turn to resource limits on my computers. rlimit is a small utility I wrote for myself decades ago. When introduced to new platforms, whether HP-UX, Linux, Raspberry Pi, or more recently, Apple's M1, rlimit let me get to know the system better. Sysadmins have an array of commands to do likewise, and on large servers, they have offered me detailed profiles and configurations to suit my needs. Still, I preferred a limited programmer's view, at least to start with.  For example, sometimes all I wanted to know was how many files I could have open in a given process, and how much I could increase it programmatically. Below is the code for rlimit , and it compiles on both Linux and MacOS. One improvement would be to display the output in friendlier units other than bytes and micro-seconds.  To build: $ gcc rlimit.c -w -o rlimit I used the -w option to supress the warning of printing  rlim_t as an unsigned long .  To run: $ rlimit Sa

The Art of Making Misteaks

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  Ask forgiveness, not permission.  -- Admiral Grace Hopper Move Fast and Break Things.  -- Mark Zuckerberg Don't repeat old mistakes. Make new and innovative ones. -- Me These quotes are variations of a theme: don't be afraid to make mistakes. There are differences though. In the case of Admiral Hopper, she knew things moved slowly in a military bureaucracy, and recommended that if you have a good idea, go ahead and pursue it. With Mark Zuckerberg, the early days of Facebook required constant and rapid innovation, although today, the "break things" part seems reckless, and has indeed produced undesirable consequences. My take is that mistakes happen, and when they do, make it a new one. Repeating old mistakes is possibly the worst kind of mistake, suggesting that nothing was learned or addressed. Making no mistakes at all, however, indicates that you and your team aren't trying. Or worse, that your work environment shoots the messengers, throws staff members unde

Apple Watching The New Year

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Those wearing their Apple Watch at midnight were treated to a digital fireworks display. It was fun, thoughtful, and shows how a small detail can engage the fan base. I imagined 2020 as the year of perfect vision -- normally a good thing -- but looking back, my eyes still hurt. A friend and colleague wrote "sometimes, it's best to not see what's ahead." 2021 might be a more fortuitous year, as it ends with blackjack.  When I wrote Pi and Free Will , I proved, at least to myself, that the future was fluid rather than pre-determined. The nature of Pi is irrational, going on forever without repeating, and thus making determinism simply not possible because determinism requires 100% accuracy, or perfect knowledge. I neglected to mention that Pi isn't alone, and it's noteworthy that Pi has a lot of irrational friends: the square root of 2, Euler's number, and the Golden Ratio, to name three of the more famous ones. I also forgot about the Heisenberg Uncertainty

A View From Santa's Sleigh

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  Happy Holidays!

Bookshelf: UNIX A History and a Memoir

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  A man page will give you, in black and white, specific information about UNIX. Brian Kernighan's new book adds color and depth about UNIX you won't find anywhere else. I'm not a gray beard (yet), but I imagine they would plow through the book knowingly, but at the same time, learn a few things. Those new to UNIX -- recent college grads or those experimenting with Raspberry Pi -- would be better off starting with Chapter 8 which describes more relatable events and the descendants of UNIX, including Minux and Linux. It's when they start to ask questions like "Where does UNIX come from?" and "Why is Gamora grep?" that they should start from the beginning: Bell Labs, 1969. Kernighan opens with a birds-eye-view of Murray Hill New Jersey, zooms in on the buildings, the offices, the significance of Center 1127, and offers a brief look at some of the key players there. As I progressed through the book, the two factors that made UNIX not just possible, bu