Opinion: With Apache Beam, Tread Carefully

Machine learning teams today often want to process data in real-time. They also standardize on Python as a programming language. Apache Beam supports Python and gives a lot of hope, but my opinion is that this combination is practically too complex and unreliable to put in production.

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Implementation Notes on LLMs for the Enterprise Use-Case

Note: My blog posts are (still) 100% handwritten, without any contribution from an AI model.

Large language models (LLMs) are very powerful, as ChatGPT has demonstrated very successfully. In this post, I will document some caveats, tips and pointers if you are interested in utilizing an LLM for an enterprise use-case.

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Tutorial: Understanding Beam with a Local Beam, Flink and Kafka Environment

This is a tutorial-style article. I wrote it in June/July 2022, but found time to clean up and make a blog post only in September 2022. This tutorial is relevant to software engineers and data scientists who work with Apache Beam on top of Apache Flink. Our goal is to set up a local Beam and Flink environment that can run cross-language Beam pipelines. Specifically, in this tutorial, I will discuss how to set up your laptop to run a Beam pipeline that: [Read More]

Barrett on the Human Brain

In the past, I have written here about the theory of psychology. One weak point about it is that it’s a lot of, well, theory. However, what if there was an underlying physical reality to it, i.e. to how our brains develop and work? I recently read two books by Lisa Feldman Barrett. I think she provides this much-needed connection.

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In Search of Lost Time

As the year 2021 draws to an end, it is a good time to write about In Search of Lost Time. I found a graphic novel adaptation of it and bought it for my fortieth birthday. The title seemed quite apt.

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Throwback Thursday: Daylight hours across time and location

Back in 2006, I wrote a script (in Perl!) to plot daylight hours over the year, given a location. From what I remember, I was curious about how it changed with the seasons: was it a straight line or a curve, and how did it look in the polar regions? (If any image below looks blurry, open it in a separate tab or save it to disk to see it in actual size. [Read More]

Religion as a Salve for Existential Truths

Today is Christmas, an apt time to write a little about religion. I’m not a Christian, I cannot even call myself religious, but more on it in a bit. The Four Existential Truths I have long wondered about the purpose of religion, but a couple of years ago, I found an answer in a book by Irvin Yalom.1 He’s certainly not writing about religion; he’s not a priest or a preacher, but a psychotherapist. [Read More]

A meditation on time and change

About a year ago, I read this in a book on psychotherapy1: There cannot be change without loss. It struck me as a profound statement, because it carries many implications with it. I want to expand on what change means, looking behind and ahead in time, especially in our times. In retrospective, change is loss We often talk of “big life changes”: graduation, marriage, childbirth, and so on. But it’s wiser to think of them in terms of loss: what did I lose with this change? [Read More]

Throwback Thursday: Linux in the 2000s

In the years between 2000 and 2005, I spent a lot of time trying out many different operating systems. Linux was a big one: Red Hat, Debian, SuSE. So also the BSD Unices: FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD. There was Solaris from Sun Microsystems. I also checked out MINIX (educational, from a CS prof), BeOS (good media support) and QNX (real-time OS). I tried dual- and multi-boot installations, also tried installing within VMWare. [Read More]

Underrepresented Senses in the Electronic Age

There’s a disparity in how our smartphones and computers cater to our senses. They rely heavily on the eyes and the ears. What’s left out is touch, smell and taste. Not strictly a sense, but scale of size is another I would add to this list – it’s the difference between looking at a T. rex in a museum vs a TV documentary. These can be a differentiator for brick-and-mortar stores.

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