Mary Rose Cook's notebook

The public parts of my notebook.

My homepage.


Springs, weights and the morning light

Springs, weights and the morning light

The essays:



Tom Klein Peter wrote a wonderful series essays (see above) about being the lead dev at Audiogalaxy. The excerpt below is one of my favourite pieces of writing about programming. It combines an analogy of springs and weights that illustrates the way programming can change the way you think about systems, and a description of the loveliness of the light in the morning after a night spent programming that illustrates how the demands of your art can show you the world in a new way.


In short, it demonstrates how a part life of productivity and a part life of fun can enrich each other to produce something that makes your head explode with associative pyrotechnics.


As we worked through the bugs, the uptime turned into minutes, then hours, and eventually the service virtually never crashed. With hundreds of instances deployed, we got so much traffic that we were able to remove all the bugs we were likely to run into. We had one or two machines that would crash every month or two with inscrutable core files. Because it was always the same machine, I eventually attributed this to faulty memory. The idea that you could write software that was more reliable than hardware was fascinating to me.


In fact, almost everything about the scale of the software fascinated me. I found that a system with hundreds of thousands of clients and thousands of events per seconds behaved like a physical machine built out of springs and weights. If one server process stalled for a moment, effects could ripple throughout the cluster. Sometimes, it seemed like there were physical oscillations – huge bursts of traffic would cause everything to slow down and back off, and then things would recover enough to trigger another burst of load. I had never even imagined that these sorts of problems existed in the software world and I found myself wishing I had taken control theory more seriously in college.


Keeping up with the traffic at this time was difficult, but in retrospect, it was really a lot of fun. I had graduated from UT in December of 2000 and moved downtown within walking distance of both 6th Street and the office. I spent the summer on a completely nocturnal cycle, partially because of the Texas heat, but mainly because restarting services was easier at 3 in the morning. I was tired of staying up late to deploy new code, so I just changed my schedule. Audiogalaxy users had led me to a set of live trance mixes from clubs in Europe which turned me into a diehard electronica fan, and driving around Texas to catch DJs on the weekend was much easier if staying up until 8am was normal. I bought some turntables and a lot of vinyl. And a couch. The light in my apartment when I got home in the morning was very lovely.


#notebook

Slint, Washer

Slint, Washer

04 Washer.mp3


#notebook

Moonface, Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums

Moonface, Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums

Dreamland EP_ marimba and shit-drums.mp3


One of Spencer Krug’s side projects. I would often listen to this as I walked home from a party, across Berlin, at eight a.m.


"The girls, all ready in their swimsuits

They are sitting on the pier

I will swim to them like a fish

I have ridden on these waves

I will be there in no time"


#notebook

A fascinating discussion between David Fincher and the design agency he chose to make the credit sequence for the US version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A fascinating discussion between David Fincher and the design agency he chose to make the credit sequence for the US version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) — Art of the Title


#notebook

Hobbes gives Calvin a haircut

Hobbes gives Calvin a haircut


#notebook

Joanna Newsom, Sawdust & Diamonds

Joanna Newsom, Sawdust & Diamonds

03 Sawdust & Diamonds.mp3


"I wanted to say ‘why the long face?’

[slowly slip away with your long face]

Sparrow perch and play songs of long face

Burro buck and bray songs of long face

Sings ‘I will swallow your sadness and eat your cold clay just to lift your long face

And though it may be madness, I will take to the grave

Your precious long face

& though our bones they may break & our souls separate

Why the long face? Milkymoon

And though our bodies recoil from the grip of the soil

Why the long face?'"


#notebook

Hurray for the Riff Raff, Look Out Mama

Hurray for the Riff Raff, Look Out Mama

Hurray for the Riff Raff - Look Out Mama | Notes from Mt Pleasant - YouTube


#notebook

Fee Reega, Trostlied für einen Erfrierenden

Fee Reega, Trostlied für einen Erfrierenden

TrostliedfureinenErfrierenden.mp3


I listened to Fee Reega a lot when I lived in Berlin. Her music is very beautiful, and it helped me improve my German.


#notebook

(I Won’t Say) I’m in Love

(I Won’t Say) I’m in Love

Hercules - I Won't Say I'm In Love


From Disney’s Hercules.


#notebook

Electrelane, To the East

Electrelane, To the East

02 To The East.mp3


#notebook

Circle Takes the Square somehow compose their music as an expression of artistic crisis. (Taken with instagram)

Circle Takes the Square somehow compose their music as an expression of artistic crisis. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Des Ark, My Little Bantam Rooster

Des Ark, My Little Bantam Rooster

des ark.mp3


#notebook

At the airport to wave off my sister in her round the world gap year trip *sob* (Taken with instagram)

At the airport to wave off my sister in her round the world gap year trip *sob* (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

My costume for my friend’s Bad Tattoos party (Taken with instagram)

My costume for my friend’s Bad Tattoos party (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

My niece the hipster. (Taken with instagram)

My niece the hipster. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

My niece hanging out in her princess’s castle (Taken with instagram)

My niece hanging out in her princess’s castle (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Coming in hot with Jelly Tots. (Taken with instagram)

Coming in hot with Jelly Tots. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Amen Dunes, Dia

Amen Dunes, Dia

dia.mp3


I love how he sounds like he is wailing, futilely, in the dark.


#notebook

My niece doing some tidying (Taken with instagram)

My niece doing some tidying (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Playing my first game of Ninja (Taken with instagram)

Playing my first game of Ninja (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Women love weddings. Especially their own. (Taken with instagram)

Women love weddings. Especially their own. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Goodies from Bocoup

Goodies from Bocoup


#notebook

Boston (Taken with instagram)

Boston (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Orin and I made a Captain America shield (Taken with instagram)

Orin and I made a Captain America shield (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Rae Spoon, country techno (Taken with instagram)

Rae Spoon, country techno (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Gang Gang Dance killing it (Taken with instagram)

Gang Gang Dance killing it (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Push button for a hug. (Taken with instagram)

Push button for a hug. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

I’m going in, chaps. (Taken with instagram)

I’m going in, chaps. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

For my niece.

For my niece.


#notebook

My Dad’s illustration of a plaice.

My Dad’s illustration of a plaice.


#notebook

Lion.

Lion.


#notebook

New glasses

New glasses


#notebook

3D

3D


#notebook

MI5

MI5


#notebook

Card from my Dad (Taken with instagram)

Card from my Dad (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Max’s Venn diagram. (Taken with instagram)

Max’s Venn diagram. (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

No fun (Taken with Instagram at Pusher HQ)

No fun (Taken with Instagram at Pusher HQ)


#notebook

My niece (Taken with instagram)

My niece (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Taken with instagram

Taken with instagram


#notebook

Rainstorm in Shoreditch (Taken with instagram)

Rainstorm in Shoreditch (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Call of Duty at New Bamboo (Taken with instagram)

Call of Duty at New Bamboo (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Amberley 2011 (Taken with instagram)

Amberley 2011 (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Graveyard Shift Realm of the Zombies, by Scobie (Taken with instagram)

Graveyard Shift Realm of the Zombies, by Scobie (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

Scobie, my friends’ son, being a zombie (Taken with instagram)

Scobie, my friends’ son, being a zombie (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

An early sketch for project Death Squad (Taken with instagram)

An early sketch for project Death Squad (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

My sister and my niece (Taken with instagram)

My sister and my niece (Taken with instagram)


#notebook

My niece and some of her lunch. (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)

My niece and some of her lunch. (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)


#notebook

My niece in her new t-shirt (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)

My niece in her new t-shirt (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)


#notebook

Presents for my niece (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)

Presents for my niece (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)


#notebook

House of Leaves (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)

House of Leaves (Taken with Instagram at Cambridge)


#notebook

Pages: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11