Nikolaus Rath's Website

MATLAB is a terrible programming language

I consider it fairly uncontroversial that, as a programming language, MATLAB is a terrible choice. However, I found out that to some people this isn't actually obvious at all - especially when their first exposure to programming was through MATLAB. Explaining why the MATLAB language is so bad isn't easy to do in a quick hallway conversation, so I wrote this blog post as a resource I can refer people to.

This post is inspired by Eevee's excellent PHP: A fractal …

My swapalease.com experience

I recently found myself in the situation of wanting to get out of a lease before its contractual maturity date. The most cost-effective way to do so is to transfer the lease to someone else. swapalease.com is one of the companies that promises to bring together people for such transactions.

I will say straightaway that I was very skeptical. Swapalease charges not just a provision when the lease is actually transferred, but you also have to pay to list …

BTRFS Reliability - a datapoint

A little while ago I blogged about SSD caching under Linux and promised to report back should I encounter any problems with the (rather complex) stack of btrfs on dm-crypt on lvm on bcache. I have now run this setup for several months and indeed encountered a few issues.

The first issue is that attempting to read from a freshly created file sometimes results in I/O errors that persist until the system is rebooted. With hindsight, I expect that …

Why you should give Mercurial a shot

Git has arguable become the most widely used version control system in the open-source and free software communities. However, if you can live without GitHub and don't need to manage a code base as large as e.g. the Linux kernel, you are much better of using Mercurial. Here is why.

Resolving (apparent) Windows Update freeze when "Checking for Updates"

I recently set up a fresh Windows 7 system. While the installation completed without hassles, I was worried that an attempt to run Windows Update seemed to freeze in the "Checking for Updates" state.

The problem with Windows problems

In my opinion, there are two major issues that make fixing any problems with a Windows system a major headache. The first one is the completely absence of error messages, and the second one is the preponderance of bad advice on …