Monday, September 09, 2013

Recurring to a Great Memory...

In between other chores and writing duties, I have been playing with the non-recursive traversal of a binary tree - oh yes it can be done - and other oddities as I proceed in my new NON-fiction series Case Studies in Computer Science. Those topics will be part of the introductory volume, The Problem with "Problem-Solving Skills".

In future volumes you'll hear about:
(1) rRNA sequence analysis and strings with WILDCARDS, being a retelling of my doctoral work with some interesting new stuff;
(2) the tech side of local ad insertion, the philosophy of which is discussed in my Subsidiarity;
(3) and a very curious and difficult problem I faced in 1978... which sometimes reveals more than one is expecting.

Meanwhile, since we crossed from August into September, I felt I ought to repost this interesting little document again. Yes, I firsdt posted it in 2005, in memory of a great thing now vanished into history, and many good friends.

Do stay tuned - the release of the long-awaited novel about Joe Outis and his job in the Control Room of AC&TG is approaching!

The Legend of Lance the Bird

In memory of the species
Lancenidifactor retefrangens
- the net-breaking big-dish nest-builder -
that built a nest in our satellite dish...

The legend lives on
From the field-techs on down
Of the place owned by Harold Fitzgerald.
The inserters they say
Will make the spots play
While the cue-tones remain unimperilled.

In a corporate park
In the light or the dark
In the farmlands just east of West Chester
There's a small high-tech firm
Nothing more than a worm
To a bird that they call "big-dish-nester."

This place you will find
An unusual kind
Doesn't make DNA or steel girders,
The commercials you see
On your cable TV
Are played back on their own ad-inserters.

To do this they send
To each cable headend
The commercials wove in MPEG flannel,
A scheduling list
By which they insist
On the spot and the time and the channel.

A signal they get
Makes ads play on your set
The cue-tones that start things in motion -
All sent with a swish
By a satellite dish
Out in back of their place in East Goshen.

The signal comes then
And the ads play (it's ever so thrilling)
Then there's just one more bump
The logs go back through PUMP
And the whole thing is ready for billing.

And spots they will make
To sell wood or cake,
Take photos of cars and of houses,
The time in a box,
Crawling weather and stocks,
Birthdays wishes for friends or for spouses.

By night and by day,
Close attention they pay
If something goes wrong or is needed:
When red comes they dialed
Thus "who watches the watcher?" is heeded!

So they sell Land Rovers
At the CHESes and DOVErs
And the plaque-on-the-wall-singing-fishes;
And things were quite well
Till the day I must tell
When that bird came to nest in their dishes!

This bird was a pest -
Just building a nest
At the transmitter dish's main focus:
No one could foresee
That this fowl thing would be
The straw in the blockage that broke us!

They saw it fly past,
Now slower, now fast,
Carrying straw that's so meager
It piled sticks and twine
On the satellite line...
Soon the signal began to get weaker.

CNN missed a cue,
Then Headline missed too
Then Ferry and Pump stopped their sending -
The control room guy said,
"Hey - the whole field is red!"
(Could it be all the systems were ending?)

Nextels tore the air:
"Beep-beep: hey, Pete, you there?"
Joe P. Ann and Scott were alerted...
They hung up some owls,
Brought in cats with their howls,
But the bird still remained undiverted.

Then "Control-room-guy Joe"
Interrupted: "I know!
'Hey bird, come out of your bower -
That dish is your tomb!'"
To the transmitter room
He ran - and he turned up the power!

So the whole gang did feast,
(No, no, not on roast beast)
But on microwave-turkey-like dinner;
All the field-techs and ops
Said, "Hey Joe, you're the tops -
Of the dish-game you sure are the winner!"

Now Traffic with CAM
Builds a schedule in RAM
Stargate puts it on HOME then for sending.
Starburst follows Pump's wish
Through Gilat to the dish
Ferry takes to the engines unending.

Tapes piled high in lots
Are converted to spots
(When VidLib is down it's impeded.)
Then Pump will extend
A multicast send
So the spots will get out where they're needed.

And Cue 2 and Cue 1
Also add to the fun
UDP (tripled to avoid botching)
And the engines send back
(Through HOME runs the track)
UDP also makes lights for watching.

But those ads must be bought:
Logs to Stargate are brought...
With billing comes payday and resting;
And no one will doubt
That our signal goes out
If the dish is still kept free from nesting.

The legend lives on
From the field-techs on down
Of the place owned by Harold Fitzgerald.
All birds, stay away!
'Cause the cook's in today...
Thus the cue-tones remain unimperilled...

Nov/Dec 2000


At 09 September, 2013 18:09, Blogger Belfry Bat said...

Non-recursive traversal... That sounds like counting in binary; only, I'd have to know the maximal depth of the tree before starting, or I'd give up.

At 09 September, 2013 18:20, Blogger Dr. Thursday said...

If you know the depth you can do tricks, relying on the wonderful powers of two - but this is a practical algorithm, just non-recursive. Sort of like my algorithm for the Towers of Annoy (which will also be in this book) and other oddities.

I've given up on many puzzles, but almost always come back (the boss kinda insisted, ahem) and swatted them. That's why I thought such a book would be both fun to write and USEFUL.


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