Step thru the process of building & training a custom NLP sentiment analyzer.

Could we apply sentiment analysis to Vulcans? Maybe not… Wiki Commons Photo [0]

Do Vulcans express sentiment without emotion? With the power of Machine Learning, we can find out. We shall evaluate famous Spock Quotes using this (yet another) basic guide to Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Sentiment Analysis (SA) methods.

“Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” — Mr Spock & Sherlock Holmes


How World War II, Toyota Motors, Harvard, MIT, and a Vietnam Ace Pilot Changed the World

The late Stephen Hawking whose book title I borrowed for this — Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Google “HBR Agile” (or “McKinsey Agile”) and you will find pages of articles — while I don’t consider either as gospel, it does mean the business world has taken serious notice of Agile in and beyond software. I suspect Agile & Scrum may be in a bubble as an answer to all development methods — either way it is worthy of a historical interlude.

The simple origin is Jeff Sutherland who invented the software version of Scrum and Harvard Researchers that coined the term 9yrs prior. However, the roots of Agile & Scrum go much further back to Japan and…


Interesting and inspirational computer scientists of the past and present that I admire

Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

I love reading about the scientists and engineers who have contributed to computer science over the years. It inspires me to learn about their amazing work — some had no formal education and most had less access to research than we do now. This is not a list of the best just some of my favorites.

John von Neumann

Johnny (as his friends call him) would have undoubtedly won a Turing Award had he not passed away before the era of the award. There is a great article on Johnny published by Cantor’s Paradise that details a lot of his background.

His talents…


A Bug in the Boeing 787 software requires a reboot every month or total loss of plane control — why is it so hard to write bug-free code?

Photo by Dion Tavenier on Unsplash

Boeing is just one example of a firm under fire due to software defects that at least partly caused lives to be lost. They aren’t alone — there is a history of high-impact software failures from today’s 737-MAX and 787 glitches to the Therac-25 defect decades ago that roasted patients alive at the doctor’s office. This article explores software testing and why it remains so difficult to get right.

Some real and anecdotal defects:

  • The Boeing 787 has a rumored integer overflow date/time counter such that the FAA requires the system to be rebooted every 51 days to prevent total loss of control.
  • If you…


What an expert programmer should know about regex internals like DFA & NFA state machines

Kleene Star Closure courtesy of Wiki Commons

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems. — Jamie Zawinski

Like most programmers, I’ve been using simple regular expressions/pattern matching like “/^Foo(bar).*/” for years, but I admit when I need a complex one like a basic email checker:

/^([a-zA-Z0–9._%-]+@[a-zA-Z0–9.-]+\.[a-zA-Z]{2,6})*$/

  1. I often hacked my way to finding the right regex with Google’s help
  2. I had a very shallow understanding of how it really works

This article explores the fundamentals of regex that solid engineers must know, but also dives into the less known details of how they are implemented…


Fun and scary stories writing software for the Wolves of Wall Street!

View of a Trading desk courtesy of Wiki commons

I worked on a few of these trading floors just like the photo above. Somewhere in the maze of monitors and screaming sales & trading sits a humble programmer like myself.

The environment is quite snobbish with bigshot traders running the show (and earning all the money) — everyone else there to serve the money makers. You can have a PhD in Physics from MIT but to the trader, you aren’t much different from the telephone help or the person who dumps the trash.

I have many dozens of these stories, but here are a few:

1. The 5 pm Meeting

There was a futures…


A relatively unknown player aiming to de-throne Snowflake, Redshift, and BigQuery

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

I honestly had not heard of Firebolt until last week. I think this is probably the case with most of the tech community. Their performance claims over the data warehousing competition are something this article aims to dive into in a technical way.

What we know about the Technology

“Firebolt has spent several years innovating at the file format, indexing, and query engine levels “ — CEO Eldad Farkash

Materials on their tech is a bit sparse given their startup and stealth nature, but some highlights:

  • It appears that Firebolt “is built cloud-native from the ground up in C++” (clarified by FireBolt head of product marketing…


Evolution of data warehouses and technical analysis of why Snowflake has a major technical advantage over others

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It intrigues me how a small startup like Snowflake can almost come out of stealth mode to taking away $1 billion in sales mainly from Redshift (but also Azure, GCP and Oracle) using the same ecosystem on AWS.

In this article, we do an in-depth analysis of how Snowflake differs and why it is doing so well. We’ll start with a little history of Data Warehouse platforms so we can really understand the evolution. (TLDR: It is native cloud meaning not a hack on top of existing RDBMS engines).


Everything in software engineering has changed within a decade

Old technology
Old technology
Photo by Ugi K. on Unsplash.

I was a hands-on technologist 20 years ago, turned to management ten years ago, and am now hands-on again as a consultant. I’m amazed by some changes and surprised by others. Here is a basic rundown of what almost caused my early demise.

Unix Is Back for the Developer (Silver Lining)

In the ‘80s and early ‘90s, a lot of professional software was developed on expensive Unix workstations like a Sun Sparc or NeXT Station. …


Great article -- btw can I borrow your photo of the 3 firms ? I'll link to your page as (c) if you dont mind

Doug Foo

Tech Manager by Day, ML Hacker by Night — founder: foostack.ai

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