Reader's Corner for November 2012

November 30, 2012

He leaned out, frantically waving to the people below, smoke billowing out behind him. Surely someone would help him get down to safety if he drew their attention?

Reading this made me sad.

November 29, 2012

Pay what you want starting at $1 for Company of Heroes and its two expansions, Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Saints Row: The Third, and heart pounding soundtracks -- all while supporting wonderful charities! All the games are ready to go, Windows-only through Steam!

They have some pretty good games this time, too bad it's windows only.

November 23, 2012

Here in Canada, we gave our proverbial thanks over a month ago, and since all the Americans at Techdirt have taken off for the weekend, I thought I'd take a moment to put together some advice on preparing a great Thanksgiving...

I hope none of you folks violated these patents while cooking turkey yesterday.

November 21, 2012

A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice.

I approve of this message.

November 20, 2012

Insider news about SQL Server and Microsoft's Information Platform

"As for academic references, we’re glad to see that Oracle is reading from the Microsoft Research Database Group. But crowing triumphantly that there is “no mention of papers dealing with in-memory databases” [your emphasis] does not serve you well. Couple of suggestions for Oracle: Switch to Bing; and how about this VLDB paper as a starting point."

Burn. (and it's always fun to see companies argue like kids.)

"Live in the future and build what seems interesting."

That's what I'd advise college students to do, rather than trying to learn about "entrepreneurship." "Entrepreneurship" is something you learn best by doing it. The examples of the most successful founders make that clear. What you should be spending your time on in college is ratcheting yourself into the future. College is an incomparable opportunity to do that. What a waste to sacrifice an opportunity to solve the hard part of starting a startup — becoming the sort of person who can have organic startup ideas — by spending time learning about the easy part. Especially since you won't even really learn about it, any more than you'd learn about sex in a class. All you'll learn is the words for things.

November 17, 2012

They need an export to .jpeg so that I can easily make new screensavers.

16 Nov 2012Why I cycled a hundred miles to meet my first customerWhen I started selling CycleLove t-shirts, I made myself a quiet promise: that I would deliver my first order in person, and by bike.It seemed like a simple way of celebrating this small but important milestone in my new venture.CycleL...

Good read, good pictures.

Live. Kittens.

November 16, 2012

President Obama's reelection campaign brought 40 engineers into their ranks to build the technology they needed to get the president reelected. This is the very human story of how they helped out, even if they never fit in.

This is really long, but equally interesting.

November 15, 2012

It may be the worst scandal in FBI history: Joseph Salvati spent three decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit. He was put there by u

The FBI helped frame four men for a 1965 murder in order to protect an informant. Two died in prison; the other two served more than 30 years before being exonerated.

November 14, 2012

Startup founder: "It’s unbelievable. I’m probably not going to leave the house."

I want to move now...

November 13, 2012

Two days ago, (one of my favourite success stories in China) racked up an unbelievable 19bn RMB of sales.... in a single day.

$3.06 billion in sales, in one day. (Yes, billion with a B).

Holy [insert expletives here].

We support gay marriage. Here's why you should too.

Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862) was an American writer, poet, philosopher and one of the leading figures of thetranscendentalismmovement. Besides writingCivil Disobedience, which inspired such revolutionaries as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jnr, Thoreau is most well-known for his bookWalden, in whic...

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

The image illustrates it beautifully.

Ten years ago, if asked what company would revolutionize computing, a book merchant with a tech edge probably did not come to mind

"(In comparison, Facebook uses a programming language called AJAX that taxes servers less.)"


November 7, 2012

If you haven't seen this before then I urge you to have a guess now. Is it 180 people? More than that? Fewer than that? What do you think?

In the above calculations there were at least three occasions where I recognised things because I was familiar with them, had used them, had played with them, and they were, in a sense, my "friends."

People often ask "Why did you make that approximation?" or "How did you know that would work?" The short answer is often "I didn't, but it felt right."

People often ask why they need to memorise formulas, or why they need to practice solving equations, when they can simply look stuff up whenever they need it, and on-line computer algebra systems can solve equations faster than they can, and more reliably.

But this is an example of why the ability simply to look stuff up is near useless on its own. Searches are deep and wide, and you need intuition to guide you. You need to recognise what might work, things you've seen before, directions to take that are more likely to be fruitful.

Or profitable.

The day probably will come when computers can do all of that better that we can, but that day isn't here yet. We still need human intuition, built from experience and practice, to guide the computer searches, to know what is more likely to work.

If you already know how to do this sort of calculation then you're probably nodding. If you don't, and you can't see how someone can possibly do this kind of stuff, this comment is for you. Practice and experience.


Once you play with things, the ability to invent and improvise is unleashed.

Things kick off with a massive game ofJourney to the End of the Nighton November 10, followed by our opening party atSOMArtson November 17. The games at the exhibition will be open to the public until December 8, and we’ll have weeknight games of Undercover Assassins on November 27 and Jericho on No...

Looks like the next few weekends shall be fun.

In a world that celebrates romance and finding The One, people can be rather rude to single people, writes James Friel.

November 5, 2012

AeroFS allows you to sync, share, and backup files easily between all your devices and your friends!

Anyone want/need an invite? I have 2.

[Bob] [Alice] [Eve]

November 4, 2012

MAA publications for students, professors, and anyone interested in math

This is a pretty fun read.

November 3, 2012

Dr. Neumann, an 80-year-old computer scientist at SRI International, is leading an effort to redesign computers and software from a “clean slate” to make them more secure.

It's always good to step back, count my blessings, realize how good life is; and realize how lucky I am to have the chance to work in the same department as Dr. Neumann and other extremely smart and wise people.

November 1, 2012

I'm no physicist, but this was certainly an enjoyable read. [2003, so it's a bit dated]