October 12, 2009

HTPC update

Filed under: HTPC, Tech — Chris @ 7:43 pm

I’ve spent some more time on the HTPC project over the last week, taking into consideration advice I got from my last post, and looking more carefully at the cost and requirements of a DIY system.

Stephen pointed me toward the “digital media player” category, like the Apple TV or the Roku Digital Video Player. These only solve half the problem: they get digital video onto your TV, but they provide little or no storage space for your media. We are badly in need of storage space (like I said, the Mac that holds our iTunes is close to dying). The natural storage solution for a media player is network-attached storage, like the Apple Time Capsule, but then you’re probably losing money—and certainly flexibility and upgradability—compared to a more integrated approach.

Cheng-Hong suggested a (hacked?) Playstation 3, essentially as a digital media player with the added benefit of Blu-ray movies and games. The built-in storage on a Playstation is both over-priced and scant, so this suffers from the same problems as above.

Manu sent me a link to this HDMI HTPC Howto, which I will place in my reference pile alongside the Linux HTPC Howto and Engadget’s budget HTPC project. This Howto reminds me that one must be careful setting up a system with HDMI if a goal is to play Blu-ray movies: to satisfy the DRM, every link in the chain from the player to the television must be “fully protected.” It seems this can be a particular problem with audio, though I have no intention to set up 8-channel sound in our living room any time soon.

I found this wishlist blog post helpful, especially his suggestion to use a cheap, low-power, single-core processor for video processing. Looking at this (somewhat outdated) CPU benchmark, I had convinced myself the best “bang for the buck” was probably a AMD Phenom X4 quad-core CPU, which would have plenty of extra capacity to do HD transcoding if it comes to that. The trouble is that quad-core CPUs run at 95-125W, compared to as little as 45W for a single-core, and keeping things as cool as possible is essential for a nice, quiet living room PC.

This highlights a more general question. I can go “low end,” with a smaller case, a slower/cooler CPU, and less room for expansion, and just accept that if I, say, decide I really want to record HDTV off an antenna that I’ll have to reinvest in more expensive equipment; or I can spend a bit more to have some expansion capacity, and maybe buy a bit more HTPC than I really need. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet. I’m going to worry on it for a few weeks.

Here’s a very tentative first draft “shopping list” for a DIY HTPC. Prices given are what I see online as of the time of publishing, not including tax and shipping.

  • Motherboard: ASUS M3N78-VM Micro-ATX (includes on-board graphics, sound, and networking; does not include FireWire) Price: $75 (Note that the set “AMD Micro-ATX motherboards with on-board NVIDIA graphics AND HDMI AND FireWire” appears to be uninhabited.)
  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200 2.7GHz 65W Dual-Core Price: $60
  • Memory: Wintec AMPX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 SDRAM Price: $30 (I’m pretty shocked at how expensive RAM is. I expected 4GB for this price.)
  • Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200rpm Price: $80 (I will probably also scavenge a two-year-old 400GB drive from the G4.)
  • Optical drive: Samsung SH-S222A DVD+RW Price: $30
  • Case: Antec Fusion (includes power supply and remote control) Price: $140 [CORRECTION: The Antec Fusion Remote does not include a power supply]
  • Keyboard: IOGEAR GKM561R Wireless Keyboard with Trackball Price: $55

These components meet all my minimum requirements at a total price of $470 (or, to put it another way, about six months of Time Warner cable). An HDTV tuner card would add $80-100. A Blu-ray player would add $30-90. A Windows license to make the Blu-ray player fully functional would add $100 (at least. There’s too many damn versions to know for sure).

(Aside: I’m a bit confused how Engadget’s 3-month-old “budget” HTPC managed to cost nearly $1000. They included 2 HDTV tuners and a Blu-ray player, a quad-core CPU, and “couldn’t resist” upgrading to non-integrated sound and video cards (couldn’t resist how, exactly?). All that, plus a Windows license, adds up to an extra $580. The only parts that seem the least bit necessary are the tuner cards and the Blu-ray player, and they contribute less than half of the cost. Seems to me they featherbedded it because $750 isn’t a good headline price point.)

October 9, 2009

Ash Turns the Color of an Avocado When Mike V. Drives Down the Street in His El Dorado

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 8:11 pm

Gosh, this week featured one of the loopiest Judges’ Tables in a long time. First, we had Ash’s bizarre sycophantic praise of Michael—which had the doubly unhelpful effect of making Ash look dispensible while emphasizing that Michael was almost entirely responsible for a failed dish—followed by Ashley’s exhausted failure to give the judges a single reason to let her stay. On a first viewing, I thought it was strange that the judges focused on Ashley and let Eli off the hook. On a rewatch, it’s clear that Ashley, in staying loyal to her teammate, took the bulk of the blame for both the undercooked prawns and the over-salted gnocchi. Probably, per Rule C, the undercooked prawns were enough to send her home. Throw in a sprinkle of Rules D and E and she was done for.

Predictions: I’m going to stick with Laurine for next week. There’s just as good a chance of it being Ash or Robin, but I’ll feel stupid if I switch.

Random observations

  • Kevin’s “High Stakes Quickfire” choice this week was a no-brainer. At minimum, his chance of making it through this round was 9 out of 10. In reality, his chance of making a worse dish than Ash and Ashley and Eli and Laurine and Mike and Robin all at the same time was very, very close to zero. At minimum, his chances of winning the $100,000 grand prize at this point are 1 in 10. In reality, his chances of winning are more like 1 in 5 (roughly equal with Bryan, Jennifer, and Michael, with a 25% wildcard factor) and aren’t going to change much until some of the heavy hitters get axed. In addition, the marginal value of being eliminated in Episode 7 versus Episode 8 is neglible. Kevin is already going to benefit a great deal from his run on the show, no matter how much farther he goes.
  • I really miss the Tom Colicchio kitchen walkthroughs in the first half of the season.
  • Mike is lucky to not have faced a Rule F elimination this week. Who do you think would have gone home if that tuna and scallops dish had fallen short, when he had consciously and none-too-subtly marginalized Robin through the whole process?
  • The only thing more important to me than winning this competition is my visceral hatred of womankind.

    The only thing more important to me than winning this competition is my visceral hatred of womankind.

  • To Tyler Florence, on behalf of every Top Chef viewer in the world: of course you can take “the power went off” as an excuse. It’s, like, the best excuse ever.
  • Also in re Mr Florence: Is it the fate of all young attractive male food celebrities to pork out and make everybody sad?

October 3, 2009

An HTPC project/bleg

Filed under: HTPC, Tech — Chris @ 1:59 pm

The time has come for new audio-visual technology in our home. The 8-year-old PowerMac G4 that stores our iTunes Library has reached the outer limits of its useful life. Our cable box is an aggravating piece of junk. Our DVD player takes about thirty seconds to decide whether it wants to open its tray, or close it, or open it then quickly close it again before you can do anything with it.

The time has come for one box to rule them all. This one box will be expected to:

  • Store all of our music and photos.
  • Provide entertainment in the form of moving pictures. This could include:
    1. Playing digital videos, including DVD movies and streaming content, on our TV. (required)
    2. Playing Blu-Ray movies. (optional)
    3. Recording standard- or high-definition TV broadcasts from an antenna or cable. (very optional, quite probably unnecessary)
  • Be upgradeable, so I don’t bitterly regret decisions made about storage, memory, or other hardware in the future.

Based on these requirements, it would seem that we need a Home Theater PC. That is, a computer with:

  • A case that will fit comfortably on top of the stereo receiver.
  • A hard disk big enough to hold our entire music library (preferably in FLAC for the music ripped from CDs) and some reasonable amount of hi-def video (say 30 hours). Our music library is currently about 90 GB, as medium-to-high quality MP3s. I figure I need a terabyte or more.
  • A DVD or Blu-Ray player.
  • HDTV-quality video output (HDMI, I guess).
  • Decent 3.0-5.1 channel audio output (digital coax or optical)
  • An IR receiver for use with a remote control and/or wireless keyboard and mouse.
  • A clever cooling system so that it doesn’t make an infernal racket in the living room.

Since we don’t want to use Windows software or Mac hardware, it will evidently have to run Linux. This poses the following difficulties:

  • Playing Blu-Ray movies is not currently possible on Linux, due to DRM restrictions. This is the case even if you paid for the Blu-Ray disc in the first place.
  • Recording non-free HDTV programming (e.g., pay cable) is not currently possible on Linux (or even on any device that was not specifically made for the purpose by some giant corporation), due to DRM restrictions. This is the case even if you paid for the programming in the first place.

I’m willing to compromise on both of these points. I have no reason to believe that either won’t become technically possible in the future (though probably not legally).

From my research online, I haven’t been able to find anybody who will build me such a computer without installing Windows on it. The alternatives seem to be to (1) build my own box from scratch, buying the case, motherboard, CPU, etc. separately and assembling them myself, or (2) pay a premium of several hundred dollars for a pre-built computer running Windows and install Linux on it.

I don’t mind paying a premium to have an expert assemble my computer, but the portion of the premium in (2) that goes towards paying Microsoft monopoly rents galls me.

I’m willing to pursue (1), but it seems like a really big hassle. I’ve never built a PC from scratch before and there are a million choices for any given component. I’m a bit paralyzed by the fear that I will make some epically bad choices.

Talk to me people. Does anybody know of an outfit that will sell me a pre-built Linux HTPC? How about a bare-bones OS-less HTPC “starter kit”, e.g., a case with the power supply, motherboard, CPU, and heat sink pre-installed and the various ports pre-wired? (I can handle RAM and disk drives, no problem.) Any advice on building my own?

September 27, 2009

Problematizing Paella

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 9:43 pm

I should start off by noting, in deference to Andy, a change in the wording of Rule E. Instead of, “Be prepared to defend your dish at Judges’ Table”—which gives perhaps too much of a hint of Danny/Gene/Mattin-like defensiveness— we will heretofore say, “Be prepared to critique your dish at Judges’ Table.” The idea, as I stated in comments last week, is that you must:

(a) clearly state what you were trying to achieve, so the judges can see you put some thought into it, and (b) clearly state how and why you fell short, preferably with reference to some circumstance beyond your control. You want to be the guy who screwed up, but could do it better next time, not the guy who is oblivious to his own faults.

Moving on to the episode, this might be a condescending way to look at things, but it seems a little, I don’t know, culturally biased to eliminate Ron on the “deconstruction” challenge. I mean, “deconstructed” (actually “decomposed“) food should be an entry on Stuff White People Like. Ron clearly wasn’t with the program from beginning to end (though I wonder if Kevin and Eli’s pep talk didn’t send him off in the wrong direction, à la Tim “I am woeful, Johnny” Gunn).

I’m not even going to count this as a Rule E elimination, because Ron was just so overmatched and overwhelmed, he never had a chance. On the other hand, note that both Ash and Laurine at least got it on the record that essential components of their dishes didn’t make it to the plate (in both cases potatoes, puréed and fried, respectively). This serves as a nice example of Rule E and Rule D (” Be prepared to change your plan”)—it’s always better to send out an incomplete plate then to serve something that didn’t work).

Toby, I'm going to beat you to death with a pie-ell-ur-ah

Toby, I'm going to beat you to death with a pie-ell-ur-ah

It also would have helped if Ron’s paella had been delicious. I’m going to mark this one down for Rule C (“Respect your proteins”), for the overcooked fish.

Predictions: 3 for 6! If that doesn’t sound impressive to you, please check in on my Top Chef Masters posts.

I don’t think Robin will make it to the final, but I think her fellow cheftestants are being a bit harsh in their assessment of her. For instance, it’s really not clear why they think she’s so much worse than Mattin. I think that they just don’t like her because she’s somewhat annoying and are letting that cloud their judgment (see Rule F). On the flip side, Eli and Mike seem to get included in the “deserve to be here” category just because the other, better cheftestants like them.

But none of that matters. This is Laurine’s week to go home.

September 20, 2009

Cowboys are Frequently Secretly Fond of Ceviche

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 3:15 pm

All right, class, let’s see if you’ve been paying attention: why did Mattin go home for a mediocre ceviche instead of Robin for inedible, potentially dangerous shrimp?

Anybody who said Rule E (”Be prepared to defend your dish at Judges’ Table”), give yourself 5 points. Robin knew she screwed up and admitted it: “I’m not making excuses. I’m not proud of what I put out today.” She didn’t have much to say for herself besides—she didn’t even mount an argument that the shrimp had gone bad out in the hot sun and she shouldn’t be blamed—but she also didn’t fight an uphill battle against the judges’, um, judgment. What did Mattin do? He went the Danny route and said, “I was very happy [with my dish] and I’m actually very surprised to be here.” Not smart. Now, you’re not just unlucky or off your game; you’ve called your own judgment into question. That’s a self-inflicted wound you don’t recover from. As Tom said, incredulously, “The biggest problem is he claims to have tasted those ceviches and thought they were good?!

Predictions: I had Ashley pegged wrong. She not only kept her shit together, she stayed focused, thought things through, and excelled.

Robin and Ron are fighting it out down at the bottom. Ashley and Laurine are more marginal cases: they both have talent, but are too unreliable and streaky. I don’t think either has the grit to win this competition. My guess is Ron has finally hit his limit.

Looking out further, I’m going to call it now: the finale will be Jennifer vs. Bryan (who will have Michael oh-so-heart-warmingly on his prep team). Bryan will win, after which he will betray an emotion.

Random thoughts:

  • I was really surprised that Tom Colicchio’s much-promoted spit-out in the bushes was just chewy, too-raw ceviche and not a piece of bad shellfish (like, oh, say, shrimp). I would have thought it would take more than that—something dangerous to eat instead of just lousy (although Tim Love did say it made him feel sick).
  • Tim Love, to Robin: “‘I wanted to play off steak, so I decided to give you sausage and shrimp.’ That’s ridiculous.”
  • Ron, why in the world would you make an alcoholic beverage if you don’t drink? Also, the judges never like things served in coconuts.
  • On his blog, Tom Colicchio defines “correctly seasoned” as “whether it was salted correctly, because salt has the ability to bring out the other three types of taste you experience on your tongue, i.e., sweetness, bitterness and sourness.” That’s what I thought that meant, but I always assumed there was at least a little more to it.

September 13, 2009

Don’t Get Saucy With Me, Béarnaise

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 8:58 pm

In spite of the fact that he straight-up broke Rule C (“Repect your proteins”), I was surprised that Hector went home for a piece of beef that didn’t get cooked through in time. A stubborn piece of meat is a misfortune that can befall even the most talented chef on a time limit. On the other hand, one could argue that: (a) the beef could have gone into the oven sooner and/or been pulled out rarer, (b) there was evidence of uneven cooking and thus of inept food prep (though, to be fair, this reduces to (a) since, given adequate time to plate, the less evenly cooked slices could have been discarded), and (c) the meat was underseasoned (read: not salty enough).

I also think that Rule E (“Be prepared to defend your dish at Judges’ Table”) inarguably leaned in Ash and Hector’s favor. They both clearly understood what had gone wrong with their dish (the meat hadn’t rested) and could easily have fixed it given another chance. Ashley and Mattin, on the other hand, had almost nothing to say in their own defense, a fact that Gail Simmons bemoaned at Judges’ Table. Ashley weakly offered that they could have incorporated the asparagus into the sauce. But she wasn’t willing to openly confront Mattin when he told the judges he didn’t shoot her down. If Hector’s beef hadn’t been such a disaster, it’s hard to guess whether Ashley or Mattin would have gone home instead.

Predictions: Goodbye, Jesse! 2 for 4! A campfire challenge will favor the cool, the collected, and the rustic over the tightly wound, the scatter-brained, and the classically trained. I’d say that puts Robin on the firing line, along with bottom dwellers Ashley, Laurine, Ron, and Mattin. I’m guessing Ashley, who seems the least apt to keep her shit together.

Random thoughts:

  • Does Ron have a problem with women or is he just the worst team player ever?
  • Jennifer and Michael sitting in a tree…
  • H proposes the following unofficial rule: always cook with bacon. Evidence: Bryan’s Elimination win last week and Kevin’s Quickfire win this week. (Mattin’s velouté is the exception that proves the rule.)
  • Mike obviously learned his lesson last week. He didn’t go so far as to steal credit from Bryan for his “deconstructed Béarnaise,” but he made damn sure the judges knew it was a collaborative effort to which he and Bryan contributed just about equally. The judges weren’t buying it—the top prize went to Bryan without much ado—but this time they let his coat-tail riding slide. (Aside: You know that sauce was damn good, because there’s nothing the judges would like better than to roll their eyes and sneer at a “deconstructed” anything.)
  • Hector was pissed when he got eliminated. No “thank you” to the judges. No hand shaking with his peers. He made a beeline for the exit.

September 6, 2009

Top Chef: Right into the Danger Zone

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 5:59 pm

What did we learn this week? For one thing, we learned that that some of the airmen at Nellis Air Force Base are returning from deployment in theater and others are preparing to deploy and that it is therefore a matter of great pride and no little emotion to prepare for them a buffet lunch. More importantly, we learned that one must never let any consideration—seasonality, balance, the preferences of the quote-unquote customers—come before the goal of making a dish that will “wow” the judges.

We’ve seen it time and time again: the cheftestants are asked to collaboratively prepare a meal and, in service of the master plan, some schnook gets stuck making a salad or a dessert or a side of potatoes. And the judges look at the schnook and say, “How in the world did you think you were going to win this competition with a salad or a dessert or a side of potatoes?” And the schnook says, “No meal is complete without a salad or a dessert or a side of potatoes!” And the judges say, “Go home.” Don’t put yourself in that position. If that means serving eight courses of pork belly, go right ahead. Do you want to be the person who says, “We already had seven courses of pork belly, so I made… pasta salad.” Rule A, people. Learn it, love it, live it.

(I can tell you, for the record, that pasta salad is on Tom Colicchio’s list of dishes that could never possibly “wow” him. I have struggled long and hard, but I actually can’t think of a way that a pasta salad could ever possibly be a successful dish on Top Chef. You might get lucky and not get kicked off for it, but you’re sure as hell not going to win.)

Things started off looking pretty good for my predictions. Jesse and Ron got paired up for the express reason that all the other cheftestants didn’t want to work with them. They immediately established a negative rapport. They decided to make chowder on a hot summer day—a decision that raised eyebrows from their fellow cheftestants and the judges—and then squabbled with the other cheftestants over access to the proper equipment with which to prepare it. But, in the end, the chowder was pretty tasty and they didn’t even get called out for being among the worst. Lesson learned: you don’t get kicked off Top Chef for making a pretty tasty chowder—even on a hot summer day—if some other knucklehead made pasta salad.

After landing herself at Judges’ Table with that ill-considered salad, Preeti once again distinguished herself with a disregard for Rule E (“Be prepared to defend your dish at Judges’ Table”). While Laurine admitted that the dish was weak and showed just enough sense to save her own skin, Preeti dug in her heels and talked her way into elimination (“I thought our dish was really good. In terms of flavor, I thought it was better than a lot of the other dishes.” Uh-huh). It didn’t help that, by refusing to turn on each other or provide any specific information about who did what and why, Preeti and Laurine forced the judges to make a decision based almost solely on Judges’ Table conduct.

Predictions: The weakest links are pretty obviously Jesse, Ron, Laurine, and Mattin. I say, in the absence of an unscheduled meltdown, Jesse is the next to go.

Random Thoughts:

  • Just what exactly did Michael do to that slab bacon that Tom Colicchio found so impressive?
  • Mike was all class this week. He actually talked himself into the bottom group by failing to take any credit at all for Michael’s winning dish. He also fell prey to the Ashley fallacy that association with one good dish will immunize you from criticism for a bad one. It might save you from elimination (as it did here), but it won’t stop the judges from griping. They would have preferred he hadn’t made the shrimp salad and just basked in Michael’s reflected glory (like Eli did, apparently).
  • There is some talk of Jennifer being the season’s designated villain. I don’t get it. Sure, she can be a bit curt in the kitchen and she fits into the “pushy woman” box along with Tiffani from Season 1. But, if anything, the other cheftestants seem to appreciate Jennifer’s no bullshit, no drama, results-oriented approach. In this weeks episode, she was ending fights, not starting them.

August 31, 2009

Food Processing Prometheus

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 9:53 pm

To: All my food processing comrades at the Park Slope Food Co-op

I had a cheese wrapping epiphany during my shift today. You know how it’s really annoying to pull out and tear off the Cling Wrap while you have the plastic gloves on? Here’s what I want you to do: grab a knife and cut the Cling Wrap. You can just keep the roll next to the cutting board, pull the wrap across the board, then slice the wrap with the tip of the knife. Your life will improve, at least for two hours and forty-five minutes.

BONUS TIP: To listen to a personal music player on the stereo, plug it into the headphone jack that’s lying on top of the stereo receiver, then flip the “Tape Mon” switch. Also, there’s an index of the “Food to Process Music By” CDs taped to the right side of the fridge next to the stereo.

A Shot at Love with Top Chef

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 11:09 am

This week was full of great examples of rules foolishly broken and wisely followed. To start with, Ashley landed herself at Judges’ Table by carelessly ignoring Rules A (“Never make a salad or dessert”), B (“Play it safe”), and D (“Be prepared to change your plan”). She made a panna cotta for dessert, even though nobody asked her to. She made two dishes, even though her team members practically begged her not to. And she served the panna cotta, even though it hadn’t set. So Ashley found herself in the ridiculous situation of facing elimination for a weak dish that she didn’t have to make and shouldn’t have served, when she had a second dish—the one she had set out to make in the first place—that the Judges really liked.

I think the record will show that the reason Eve went home this week instead of Jesse is pretty clearly the observance of Rule E (“Be prepared to defend your dish at Judges’ Table”). In both of her appearances at Judges’ Table, Eve was incoherent. It’s not so much that she demonstrated poor judgment as that she just made no sense. She did not give the Judges a reason to keep her on (Tom: “I don’t think, in her mind, she knows what she’s trying to accomplish.”). In contrast, both times Jesse clearly conveyed that she understood the flaws of her dish and the mistakes she had made in its preparation. This can only get you so far (note Gail’s comment: “How long can Jesse keep making this mistake?”), but it can get you through a couple of close eliminations.

I’m not sure what the hell happened with Preeti. She seems like a mediocre talent. Her dish was not well composed or seasoned, by the Judges’ lights. She probably should have ditched the shiso leaves when they started wilting in the hot sun. She went back to the Stew Room and determinedly refused to learn from the Judges’ critique (“It’s a crowd pleaser!”). I don’t think she’s in this for the distance.

Predictions: Eve is my first successful elimination prediction since Arriane was eliminated from Top Chef: New York (and that includes an entire season of Top Chef Masters)! Huzzah, I am back on top!

The obvious choice this week is Jesse. She’s been up for elimination twice now; she does not seem to have her head in the game. But Top Chef never shakes down that way—a cheftestant can be up for elimination twice, then win in the next episode. My guess is one of the middle-of-the-packers will make a spectacular error in judgment. Maybe Ron?

Random thoughts:

  • Were those comically giant dice or is Padma a much tinier person than I had realized?
  • It’s not just me, right? Michael and Bryan seem to hate each other?
  • Jennifer shows an excellent grasp of Rule D: “The octopus is frozen, but it seems like a good product and, if it’s not, I will make something else up on the fly.”
  • Mike: “People get tired of me. Real quickly.” I have no doubt that this is true, but, you know, I find this kind of charming. More self-deprecating prickliness and less “girls are icky” douchebaggery, Mike.
  • Hector ends up in the top four with a tofu dish. The exception that proves the rule?

August 26, 2009

BibTeX Journal Abbreviations

Filed under: LaTeX — Chris @ 3:17 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, a list of BibTeX’s built-in journal abbreviations, of which Google is largely ignorant:

acmcs: ACM Computing Surveys
acta: Acta Informatica
cacm: Communications of the ACM
ibmjrd: IBM Journal of Research and Development
ibmsj: IBM Systems Journal
ieeese: IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
ieeetc: IEEE Transactions on Computers
ieeetcad: IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits
ipl: Information Processing Letters
jacm: Journal of the ACM
jcss: Journal of Computer and System Sciences
scp: Science of Computer Programming
sicomp: SIAM Journal on Computing
tocs: ACM Transactions on Computer Systems
tods: ACM Transactions on Database Systems
tog: ACM Transactions on Graphics
toms: ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software
toois: ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems
toplas: ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems
tcs: Theoretical Computer Science

The availability of the above will depend on your chosen bibliographystyle. They are provided by all of the built-in styles (e.g., plain, abbrv, unsrt, etc.).

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