Sunshine Boy

Post by Kenneth Kinyanjui:

Sunshine Boy

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Why do some guys put the toilet seat down before urinating?

Answer by Anon User:

Ok this is funny: When I was at school at Portland State I had a friend who was sharing an apartment with 3 other guys (we were all foreign students getting a masters degree). They would frequently find urine splattered on the toilet seat after one of them used the restroom. So one day about a month into the quarter they finally decided to confront him. He insisted the toilet seat was not a "seat" but a splash guard to protect the bowls sitting edge from urine so the bowl is not contaminated with urine when you sit on it!

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The Bathtub

Post by Garrick Saito:

The Bathtub

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The Shepherd

Post by Garrick Saito:

The Shepherd

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Software Engineering: Does a good engineering culture matter?

Answer by Adam D'Angelo:

A "good" engineering culture directly benefits a company in a few ways:

  • The company gets the ability to hire better engineers. Many of the best engineers prefer to work with other great engineers in a good engineering culture, and that gives the company a recruiting and retention advantage. For an example see: How did Larry and Sergey find Jeff Dean? "I figured Google would be better [than AltaVista] because I knew more of the people there, and they seemed like they were more technically savvy."
  • Engineers are more productive, independent of their skill. This is a result of better infrastructure that builds up over time, a better codebase, more reuse of others' work, less time spent dealing with technical debt, bugs, and firefighting. The differences here can be huge, like 2-5x over an average company and even more when compared against a particularly bad culture.
  • The organization can adapt to change more quickly. This is the result of a lot of small cultural effects adding up. For example, in a good culture it's easy to start a new project and have everyone immediately be on the same page about how code is going to be written, how services will be operated, and what is going to be reused from other projects. It's also easy for engineers to go into a project that's already been finished and extend it to support a new feature.

In terms of business outcomes, the sum of all this makes it possible for the company to build products and features that other companies can't, or get things done faster, keep infrastructure costs lower, stay on top in its market, and break into new markets. Here are some examples I can think of:

  • The quality of Gmail in 2004 over other webmail products was a direct result of Google's stronger engineering team and culture.
  • MySpace just couldn't keep up with Facebook's product development pace, even when it had a much bigger engineering team. I remember talking to an engineer who worked there who told me about how they had this huge list of regular expressions to try to prevent cross site scripting attacks, and whenever there was a new one they would make a new regex to try to fix it, rather than sanitizing html the right way. Things like that add up to a lot of time wasted that could otherwise go into making a product great.

There is obviously a lot more than engineering ability that goes into making a company successful, and it matters more in some markets than others. If a company's engineering strength is directed toward building things that don't matter, the company will be beaten by a competitor with a worse engineering team that's more efficient at getting outcomes.

To address Amazon: My impression is that Amazon has really good processes and it does a lot of other things well aside from engineering culture that make up for its weakness there. Also, I'm sure it still ends up much better at engineering than Barnes and Noble and most of the other companies it competes against.

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Writing a simple Web Crawler

HYUNYOUNG SONG


from XKCD

Although I shouldn’t really be procrastinating, writing for hours makes me depressed. Learning a new programming language makes me happy. Hence, for the past 2~3 weeks, I spent like 2~3 hours on Saturdays or Sundays to build a web crawler which I never done before. The crawler was implemented to capture and import posts from my Korean blog to this wordpress blog. In order to do this, I learned a new language, python.

This is what I did:
1. I opened up a http connection using urllib2 module.
2. In order to parse the content of interest, I used BeautifulSoup module. It is built on top of regular expressions and sgml. I can traverse the html tree very easily and can search a node using regular expressions.
3. I dumped it out to a text file in Movable Type format, which was inserted into wordpress import system.

I…

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A WEEK OF CULTURE

Kimathi University woke up on Monday 12th November to what was to be a weeklong celebration of culture dubbed Kimathi Cultural week. The event is usually hosted by the student body KUTSO once a year and involves various activities that stretch through the week. Different dress codes are laid for each day; a norm for the social event. Monday was for the old school wear that saw guys bringing the old school tough in their outfits. Tuesday was for casual wear while Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday were for crazy, official, sporty and general wear. The day that brought many to attention was Wednesday’s crazy wear seeing a couple of dudes dressing like the ladies. On spot was a first year male student that put on a waist-high dress that was matched with a bra that was kept on check with two cups; the look was sealed with a shoe on one foot and a sandal on the other. Kababa, a second year I.T student was also part of this and put on a feminine clad that was to see him win the crazy wearer of the day. 
The crazy lads
The event had a slow start with the first day being dedicated to tree planting. It picked up by Wednesday seeing some students being ferried to Nyeri town for the town clean up. Each day was wrapped up with an evening show hosted by local artist C.J on which contenders for the dressing codes battled out and eventually winners crowned in both gentlemen and ladies categories. The evening shows were well attended as everyone tried to catch a glimpse of what was happening on an otherwise overcrowded podium at the school’s student center. A deejay face-off that was scheduled for Friday evening was shifted to Saturday afternoon and later to Saturday evening during Mr. and Miss Kimathi night. This arose mixed reactions from the students with some criticizing the organizing body for what they termed a shoddy work. Well, everything turned out right in the end. 
The purpose of the event was to appreciate our culture, give back to the community and largely for students to have fun. A closer look and one could see that the first years this time round were much active and put up a spirited fight for the evening cash rewards for the rest of the other groups, bingo! Kimathi media group wishes to congratulate the organizing team for the good job on their part and ensuring the event was a success.

Kimathi, A Home of Cultures

Just like a jungle comprised of animals with different species, different ways of life and eating habits, a university setting is a clear image of the same environment. In a jungle,there is struggle for existence for the minority ones while the superior are said to run the ‘business’. On the contrary, KUCT stood out as an institution where cultural diversity is something worth bragging about. The integration of different cultures, apart from enhancing peaceful co-existence between students it has also boosted the efforts by various government institutions to enhance national unity.
The recently concluded cultural week gave a platform to various appreciation of cultures that the university is wealthy of. The Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Luo and Luhya cultures were among the many that were appreciated. The students hailing from these communities had demonstrations of their favorite meals and dances. It was pomp and color as the stage was filled to the brim with students dancing to the tunes of various songs from different cultural backgrounds.
The Luhya community opened the stage with their Isukuti and kamaveka dances thanks to the preparations made by KUMSA. Their favorite meal ingokho and traditional vegetable isucha was served with ugali. Women dressed in their traditional outfits served men as a show of respect as expected of them in the Luhya culture. It was all jeers as they left the stage dancing to the tune of the famous Mukangala song. What a culture!
The Luo community followed on stage with their Ohangla dance well organized by the Ramogi association. As the dances went down, one could tell how the whole crowd cheered and joined them in their peacock like moves. Thefamous Tony Nyadundo hits graced their time at the stage with the mammoth crowd singing and dancing to the tunes.
The Kalenjin community came third on stage with the famous hit, Emilly chepchumba by Motomoto band. Mouth-watering dishes prepared by the team were served to the students. The aroma of murisik,isochot and kimyet filled the entire hall as the lucky bit had a chance to taste the delicacies. The stage was made full to capacity when the hit kiptindinyo was put. The security personnel had to come in to limit the number of people on stage as dancing styles from all walks of life were up for grabs. Thanks to the preparation made by Kirisa-Kitwek association as the whole demonstration was a success!
The Kikuyu community closed the session with Mugithi almost bursting up the roofs of the strongest building around, the Catholic hall! It wasn’t a stage anymore since everybody was up on their feet dancing to the tunes of Ken Wamaria. As the DJ ended the songs it was all heckling at him with dissatisfaction for they all wanted the songs to continue. What a lovely evening!
As the decks and turntables were bundled up and the music dwindled off it was all lessons well learnt! Appreciating one another regardless of their origin was a virtue to borrow from the crowd moving events. The esteemed academicians were reminded of their roots but at the same time the fact that that should not be a basis of disunity among them was emphasized. Just as everyone danced to the tunes of different origin and enjoyed the delicacies as a united KUCT,the same is expected of us in our daily activities. It is our responsibility to shun away tribalism then sit back and enjoy the cultural diversity the KUCT community brags of. Unity moves mountains, trust me.
by: Juma Stephen

THE KIMATHI CULTURAL WEEK

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