What I’m reading

I started reading “Working Effectively with Legacy Code”.  Here’s a great quote:

In poorly structured code the move from figuring things out to making changes feels like jumping off a cliff to avoid a tiger. You hesitate and hesitate. “Am I ready to do it? Well, I guess I have to.
Avoiding change has other bad consequences. When people don’t make changes often they get rusty at it. Breaking down a big class into pieces can be pretty involved work unless you do it a couple of times a week. When you do, it becomes routine. You get better at figuring out what can break and what can’t, and it is much easier to do. The last consequence of avoiding change is fear. Unfortunately, many teams live with incredible fear of change and it gets worse every day. Often they aren’t aware of how much fear they have until they learn better techniques and the fear starts to fade away.

SEC more responsible for crisis

So the SEC in 2004 gave 5 firms an alternative rule to operate under, basically
loosening the standards. Guess what happened? Ah, the joys of a Republican
administration.
[Ex-SEC Official Blames Agency for Blow-Up of Broker-Dealers](http://www.nysun.com/business/ex-sec-official-blames-agency-for-blow-up/86130/)

The SEC allowed five firms the three that have collapsed plus
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to more than double the leverage they were
allowed to keep on their balance sheets and remove discounts that had been
applied to the assets they had been required to keep to protect them from
defaults.


The net capital rule also requires that broker dealers limit their
debt-to-net capital ratio to 12-to-1, although they must issue an early
warning if they begin approaching this limit, and are forced to stop
trading if they exceed it


the SEC, under its new Consolidated Supervised Entities program,
allowed the broker dealers to increase their debt-to-net-capital
ratios, sometimes, as in the case of Merrill Lynch, to as high as
40-to-1.

More on Anthrax and Dr. Ivins

Some lessons can only be learned in hindsight. One of the claims that the
anthrax letters came from Iraq was because of the presence of silicon to make it
more easily air borne. So it turns out that the person that made this claim is
an expert but in a different area. Of course, since what he said is what people
wanted to hear his views were widely publicized and believed
Lesson 1: People’s area of expertise matters, not just that they are an expert
in something close. For example, football knowledge may help but doesn’t carry
over to hockey:
Scientist concedes ‘honest mistake’ about weaponized anthrax – Los Angeles Times

“I believe I made an honest mistake,” Jahrling said in
response to questions e-mailed to him for this article, adding that he had been
“overly impressed” by what he thought he saw under the microscope.
I should never have ventured into this area,” said Jahrling, who is a
virologist, referring to his analysis of the anthrax, which is a
bacterium. Jahrling’s initial analysis — and his briefing of officials at the
White House — was first detailed in a 2002 book by bestselling author Richard
Preston.

Of course, it’s horribly convenient for the FBI. One of
the arguments against Dr. Ivins being the person that sent the anthrax was that
he lacked the skilll to add the silicon. Now the person that made that claim
said he was wrong.

CLR and Unhandled exceptions

Nice article on unhandled exception handling 🙂
CLR Inside Out: Unhandled Exception Processing In The CLR

In the case of Figure 3, if the CLR can’t find a managed exception handler in Main, the exception will reach the native frame within the CLR where the thread started. In this frame, the CLR has established an exception filter that will apply the policy to swallow (which is semantically equivalent to blindly catching) exceptions, if applicable. If the policy indicates not to swallow the exception (which is the default in the Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0 and later), the filter triggers the CLR’s unhandled exception processing.

Renaissance

I watched an animated movie called Renaissance. It’s the ultimate in film-noir: it’s entirely (except one brief scene with a little color) monochromatic. It’s set in Paris, 2054. I wouldn’t call it Dystopian but the characters inhabit the underside of society and the worse aspects of corporate giants.
Karas is a police detective, more action then words, trying to track down a kidnapped woman. It’s long and complicated. The second viewing is even better because you get to enjoy the story and visuals more.
DVD Player001.png
It’s all shadows, light, and reflections:
DVD Player002.png