Reader's Corner for August 2014

August 29, 2014

After two years of development, the Silicon Valley company reveals to The Atlantic that it has substantial research effort into building flying robots than can deliver products across a city in a minute or two.

"A decade traveling the continent for The Economist, reporting on everything from jihadis to the spread of cheap Nokia cell phones has convinced him that a technological paradox will permeate poor countries in the 21st century.

“A community will have access to a flying robot even though it will not have access to clean water, or security, or be able to keep its girls in school.”

This may sound absurd, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be the future we live."

These seem really useful.

D&D Summarized.

db-readings - Readings in Databases

Amazing list of database readings.

Caffeinate immediately before napping and sleep for 20 minutes or less. You won't regret it.

I should try this.

August 28, 2014

that the true experience of working at a startup is much more textured. Since college I?ve been working in startups at various stages and I?ve met hundreds of employees at other startups as well.

Well worth reading.

Feds call it “twelve triple three”; whistleblowers says it's the heart of the problem.

1. CIA created black propaganda in USSR linking Soviets and international terrorists to foment dissent in Russia.
2. Somebody picked it up from outside and wrote a book about Soviet-terrorism links.
3. CIA director read the book, took it seriously, freaked out, lobbied for more powers.
3a. CIA people told new director, "er, boss, that was actually us".
3b. CIA director does not believe his own people.
4. CIA and NSA got more powers.

August 27, 2014

You are bad at giving technical interviews. Yes, you. You're looking for the wrong skills, hiring the wrong people, and actively screwing yourself and your company. Without changing anything about your applicant pool, you can hire different people and your company will do better and you will enjoy y…

This really really rings true.

August 26, 2014

Surveys of top colleges found virtually no change from the 1990s to 2012 in enrollment of students who are less well off despite a huge increase in the number of such students going to college.

Mozilla, known for its Firefox web browser, is venturing into the low-cost smartphone war by launching a cellphone priced at about $33 in India.

This is pretty awesome

The fundamental problem of programming language package management Why are there so many goddamn package managers? They sprawl across both operating systems (apt, yum, pacman, Homebrew) as well as for programming languages (Bundler, Cabal, Composer, CPAN, CRAN, CTAN, EasyInstall, Go Get, Maven, npm,…

Package management and dependency hell

Norway is one of the richest places on earth, yet displays of ostentatious wealth are rare. How has Norway avoided the pitfalls of mineral wealth, and what comes after the oil runs out?

This is quite interesting

To be a part of the Internet, CloudFlare buys bandwidth, known as transit, from a number of different providers.

Some interesting stats

Match. Build. Survive.

This was made by the folk who made "A Dark Room".
Here goes my productivity...

Gogs(Go Git Service) is a GitHub-like clone in the Go Programming Language

gogs is insanely easy to set up; I just decided to self host most of my code.

August 25, 2014

Around 2006, my friend Dan Christensen created a fascinating picture of all the roots of all polynomials of degree ≤ 5 with integer coefficients ranging from -4 to 4:

Math is beautiful.

gogs - Gogs(Go Git Service) is a painless self-hosted Git Service written in Go.

This is awesome for self hosting code.

"Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website are pleased to present this online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Now, anyone with internet access and a web browser can enjoy reading a high quality up-to-date copy of Feynman's legendary lectures."

Catch - A modern, C++-native, header-only, framework for unit-tests, TDD and BDD

This library seems really useful.

The Napa Earthquake was the strongest to hit Northern California in 25 years. See how it impacted the sleep of UP wearers in the Bay Area.

An analysis showing how people woke up during the earthquake.

Twitch is the world's leading video platform and community for gamers.

Amazon buys twitch for over a billion.

I'm just so happy it's not being bought by google.

GlassWire is a free network security monitoring tool and analyzer that visualizes your network activity on an easy to use graph, alerts you of possible threats, manages your firewall, and more.

Finally a desktop app with a beautiful UI

August 20, 2014

In the eighties, an animal-rights activist fell in love with Bob Robinson and had his child. Years later, she learned that Bob Robinson was Bob Lambert, and Bob Lambert was a spy. Lauren Collins reports.

"The revelation of the extent of the British police’s spying, and the dubiousness of some of their tactics, caused a scandal that has yet to be resolved. Reporters and activists have confirmed that at least nine police officers—including one woman—conducted sexual relationships with unsuspecting citizens during their undercover deployments. At least twelve women, including Jacqui, are suing the Metropolitan Police for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office, and negligence. Those whose relationships began after 2000 are also bringing suit under the Human Rights Act, arguing that the Met’s “systemic abuse of female political activists” breached Articles 3 and 8, which forbid inhumane treatment and guarantee the right to private life. Jacqui has said that she feels as though she were “raped by the state.”"

The monstrous Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 towers over the city! Pay what you want for up to 8 games.

Man this bundle looks awesome.

August 19, 2014

VisuAlgo was conceptualised in 2011 by Dr Steven Halim as a tool to help his students better understand data structures and algorithms, by allowing them to learn the basics on their own and at their own pace. Together with some of his students from the National University of Singapore (see "Team"),…

These are absolutely amazing and really helpful for anyone looking to learn data structures and/or algorithms.

August 18, 2014

Time exchange rate17 August 201417 August 2014JohnComputingAt some point in the past, computer time was more valuable than human time. The balance changed long ago. While everyone agrees that human time is more costly than computer time, it’s hard to appreciate just how much more costly.You can rent…

This is an important note. Though it does come with caveats (consider user cpu time, doesn't apply at scale, premature optimization is the root of all evil etc)

When Kenneth Jarecke photographed an Iraqi man burned alive, he thought it would change the way Americans saw the Gulf War. But the media wouldn’t run the picture.

I don't want to get into a political debate but it surprises me how, in the US, it seems the media likes to talk about violence often but doesn't really show horrific images of war - it seems people aren't shown how bad it can be.

I have seen a distinct lack of dead/bloody bodies on the news since moving to the US (not that I watch too much news). I feel like people should just scroll down and see the first picture, even if they don't read the article.

Most people don’t notice I’m polite, which is sort of the point. I don’t look polite. I am big and droopy and need a hai…

I don't know why, but this really resonated with me.

"People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches."

August 17, 2014

Britain is one of the world's largest consumers of puffed, flaked and sugared breakfast cereals. How did that happen when many were said to contain less nutrition than the boxes they come in? Felicity Lawrence investigates

Time to stop eating cereal.

August 16, 2014

In the murky world of unpaid-bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.

I knew debt collection was messed up but this takes the cake. An interesting perspective into a totally different world.

August 14, 2014

David Thomas's website.

This is a great intro to ARM assembly.

August 13, 2014

The message arrives on my “clean machine,” a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. “Change in plans,” my contact says. “Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.”

"One day an intelligence officer told him that TAO—a division of NSA hackers—had attempted in 2012 to remotely install an exploit in one of the core routers at a major Internet service provider in Syria, which was in the midst of a prolonged civil war. This would have given the NSA access to email and other Internet traffic from much of the country. But something went wrong, and the router was bricked instead—rendered totally inoperable. The failure of this router caused Syria to suddenly lose all connection to the Internet—although the public didn't know that the US government was responsible. (This is the first time the claim has been revealed.)"

Windows 1.0 and the Applications of Tomorrow

This is from 2005, but the nostalgia...

"I know that many of you swear by assembly language for PC programming and I’m very sympathetic. The PC wouldn’t be where it is today without assembly language. And many of you are hesitant about using high-level languages like C because of the performance issues."

Proposing technology for pure mathematics: curating concepts, constructs, theorems, & literature; precise symbolic language; automated computations...

This is fascinating.

August 11, 2014

Topics touched: Oracle RDBMS, Itanium, copy-protection dongles, LD_PRELOAD, stack overflow, ELF, win32 PE file format, x86-64, critical sections, syscalls, TLS, position-independent code (PIC), profile-guided optimization, C++ STL, OpenMP, win32 SEH.

This is really cool

August 10, 2014

An app that tackles one of the world's most pressing problems has arrived. Now, with a simple few taps, you too can realize what it's like to live in the year 2014.

This app is going to revolutionize all our lives.

#firstworldproblems couldn't get any worse.

August 9, 2014

This work will be presented in CHES 2014 and published in its proceedings. An extended version (PDF, 5.3MB) is available.

This is scary. Side channels are scary.

August 8, 2014

The development of Coccinelle is supported in part by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) under the contract ANR-09-BLAN-0158-01.

Why had I not known of this before? This is amazing

August 7, 2014

Sharing cool github projects just got easier!

This list is awesome.

An addictive incremental game that was made during the CERN Webfest 2014. It takes the player on a historic journey through modern particle physics.

CERN came out with a clicker game. What is the world coming to?

August 4, 2014

Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass.

So much for us making fun of CSI. This is mind blowing.

British designer duo Bompas & Parr, who designed the world’s first edible fireworks and are best known for their ambitious and sometimes monumental jelly-based sculptures, traveled to Syracuse, New York, this summer to try out their idea for the world’s most extreme barbecue session—grilling meat ov…

I want this, now.

This one ends with me going into a Good Guys electronics store in a suburb of Boston, flashing my employee badge and saying “I’m from Apple. Take me to your Newtons.” I wanted to use a deep G-man voice, but I didn’t have the build for it. Also, I was wearing the slightly redonkulous khaki-pants and…

"The Guy from Apple exits Good Guys, checks it off the list, and proceeds to the next store on his assignment. G-Man is surprised what we was able to do by flashing his Apple badge and adopting some bluster; just walk in, make some demands and start cracking open merchandise. That’s kind of disturbing, really."

This is a really great story about patching devices in the 90s. Also kind of worrying how easy it was/is to do social engineering.

Critics have raised an outcry over Sovaldi, a hepatitis C drug heralded as a breakthrough but costing $84,000 for a typical person’s total treatment.

Yay for insanely expensive drugs.

Localizing Papers, Please Papers, Please was released on August 8th, 2013 without multilingual support. Even though it would’ve been great to support other languages besides English, I decided to push...

This is another reason why computers suck. Localization is difficult. Really long 2-part article.

Imagine one day you are struck with a flash of inspiration: freshly seared onto your mind is a story, one that is undoubtedly the greatest tale ever conceived by Man. It has all the elements of a great narrative: a gripping plot, nuanced characters, and an evocative setting.

This is beautiful and engrossing - I wish some game designers took lessons from here.

Sunita’s family in the north Indian village of Mukimpur were given their first toilet in February, one of millions being installed by the government to combat disease. She can’t remember the last time anyone used it.

"“The fact that India’s health administrators failed to spread mass awareness on diarrhea management speaks volumes of the inefficiency of previous programs,” he said in a written statement on July 28."

August 3, 2014

blocky - C++ Library for Random Linear Network Coding

I clearly had too much time on my hands, so I wrote some code.

August 1, 2014

The burial detail, which had come for the corpses in the pigpen, was surprised. The “dead” were getting up and speaking English.…

"War, Richardson taught us, can be as out of our control as a summer thunderstorm. The least we might do is check the forecast."