Reader's Corner for October 2015

October 31, 2015

Remember how chaotic Twitch Plays Pokemon was? Now we have a much harder challenge: install Arch Linux. Every ten seconds, the most popular keystroke in Twitch chat will be entered into an Arch Linux virtual machine.

The first correctional officer I saw had two teeth. I came in with a young black guy who mumbled and a 40-ish Chinese man who spoke broken English, but at least I could decipher their words. The correctional officer, or CO, was impossible to understand. Manchester Federal Correctional Institution is…


I've been lamenting the demise of the Unix philosophy: tools should do one thing, and do it well. The ability to connect many small tools is better than having...

"The first person to create a tool that can pipe a table from a browser into a spreadsheet, a Google doc, or even a text file without massive pain will be my hero."

"I respectfully direct the government to explain why the application is not moot."

October 30, 2015 #RiotTechBlog

October 29, 2015

A very nice editor at Huffington Post contacted me yesterday, and asked me if I would be willing to grant permission for the site to republish my post about the seven things I did to reboot my life. Huffington Post has a lot of views, and reaches a pretty big audience, and that post is something I'd…

Damn, HuffPo

If you’ve ever been a Homejoy customer this should piss you off. “Fly Maids” has all your data and they seem pretty awfu…

This is crazy nuts

October 28, 2015

Remote and offshore software outsourcing was a perfect business concept ten years ago. Not anymore. Here is why.

Interesting POV

In 1996, The Simpsons passed The Flintstones as the longest running prime-time animated show. In the 30-year interim, the tenor of adult cartoons had shifted dramatically: The Simpsons was more...


CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Stop teaching C! very well put

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

A good overview of the algorithms in the STL

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Sustainability lessons for large-scale monolithic c++ codebases

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Crazy template metaprogramming

Amy Clipston had a request that was a new one for her daughter's first-grade teacher.
Many parents had marched in to demand that their children, even those who couldn't tie their shoes yet, get more homework. Clipston was the first to request the opposite - that her daughter opt out of homework…

Facebook is starting '2G Tuesdays' so all its employees can see what it feels like to have a super slow connection in emerging markets like India.

October 27, 2015

Potentially massive news.

This will be interesting

A judge compares a request to force Apple to unlock an iPhone to one compelling a drug firm to put aside a conscientious objection to executions

Kickstarter was supposed to ignite a renaissance in video gaming. Developers would propose games they’d envisioned, making their pitch in video and vision-statement form. Gamers would fund projects based on these appeals, not to mention the reputations of the people making them. We’ve gotten some gr…

I played PA when it was still in early access. It's pretty fun

Obese children who cut back on their sugar intake see improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol readings and other markers of health after just 10 days, a rigorous new study found.

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

moar metaprogramming

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Crazy template metaprogramming

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

c++ text templating engines

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Start with sanitizers, move on to fuzzers

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Alexandrescu's talk on allocators is really spot on and a refreshing take on redesigning a piece of cruft.

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Don't be Goofus. Test your code properly.

CppCon2015 - Presentation Materials from CppCon 2015

Slides are finally up. Time to go through all of them

Today, the WHO issued a report that says, in essence, processed meats and red meats are carcinogens. This has been repor…

A new book by Erika Lee explores how systemic racism has pervaded the Asian-American experience.

"The president of the American Federation of Labor said that the presence of the Chinese in America was a matter of “Meat vs. Rice—American Manhood vs Asiatic Coolieism.”

This article paints a pretty scary historical picture that I was mostly unaware of

Will the home-cleaning revolution be Uberfied? One company tried, and spectacularly bombed.

Solid article

Crazily fast hashing with carry-less multiplications We all know the regular multiplication that we learn in school. To multiply a number by 3, you can multiply a number by two and add it with itself. Programmers write:a * 3 = a + (awhere a means "shift the bit values by one to the left, filling in…

In May of this year, Facebook announced Facebook Instant Articles, its foray into innovating the Facebook user experience around news reading. A month later,...

An interesting perspective

Both panels appear to have been dedicated to exploring issues that have polarized the gaming community since last year, when an online movement known by the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate first formed.

October 26, 2015

A powerful earthquake has struck south Asia, with tremors felt in northern Pakistan, India and Afghanistan


Good Practices for Writing Rust Libraries Saturday, October 24th 2015 • by Pascal Hertleif • about 2,000 words A few tips on how to make your projects easy to work on: rustfmt, lints, clippy, lots of metadata, continuous integration, automatically generated documentation, and homu. For about a bit m…

October 25, 2015

The long read: Amid the mayhem that has turned some areas into no-go zones, reporters risk their lives to make sense of a crime wave that is virtually an insurgency

"He burst out laughing. “I am very proud.” He paused. “When you are on a terrorist hitlist, everybody knows that you’re a real journalist.”"

Let's find out how well you know computers! All of these programs have a variable NUMBER in them. Your mission: guess how big NUMBER needs to get before the program takes 1 second to run.

October 24, 2015

Fri 23 October 2015 Copyright is broken Undertale is a fantastic game. I might even write about it sometime. But not right now. See, Undertale’s creator said a few weeks ago that taking Undertale commissions is fine, but selling unofficial merch is not. I said yesterday that I think this is kind of…

A great read. Makes some solid arguments

October 23, 2015

FAYETTEVILLE, NC—Moments after taking generous servings from the first several steam trays at all-you-can-eat restaurant Pepper’s Kitchen, local man Lucas Schultz was reportedly kicking himself Friday for squandering precious plate space at th...

I can definitely relate to this

A great read as usual

They want fairness.

From jeans to dating partners and TV subscriptions to schools, we think the more choices we have the better. But too many options create anxiety. Could one answer lie in a return to state monopolies?

The end of an "untenable, egregious and unconscionable" system.

October 22, 2015

US-based data company StatDNA provides expert analysis guiding everything from identifying new players to post-game tactical analysis

What if you're a scientist looking for the latest published research on a particular subject, but you can't afford to pay for it?

When people who care about technology look back at the year 2015, they will remember October as the month when the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor collapsed. An international legal agreement that has been in place for 15 years was invalidated in a single day. On Oct. 6, the Court of Justice of the European Unio…

This is a really good read from Microsoft's legal chief

The hacker who allegedly broke into CIA Director John Brennan's private AOL email account tells WIRED how he did it.

YouTube made its video creators an offer they literally couldn't refuse, or they'd have their content disappear. Today YouTube confirmed that any creator that..

What the f***

Today Google is rolling its Play Music on-demand service into a new $9.99 subscription for ad-free viewing across all of YouTube that will launch October..

Interesting play, but...

October 20, 2015

An article published in The New York Times two months ago, detailing Amazon’s work culture, drew a lengthy response on Monday from the company’s senior vice president for global corporate affairs.

"It is even more unusual for the company to share information from its personnel files to challenge an article, as it did for Mr. Olson and others. “Amazon wants to rewrite story by releasing personal details about employees,” Glenn Fleishman, a freelance journalist who worked at Amazon briefly in the late ’90s, wrote on Twitter."

Amit Singhal in 2011 showing a comparison of search volumes from mobile and "early desktop years". Photo by Niall Kennedy on Flickr. Amit Singhal, Google's head of search, let slip a couple of inte...

October 18, 2015

Germany allows inmates to wear their own clothes, cook their own meals, and have romantic visits. Could that work in the United States?

This is an absolutely amazing read

I decided to upgrade my Mac to El Capitan, but my computer said, on one condition: I must "carefully" read and agree with something. It even provided a tiny cozy display window for viewing it: And ...

I took one look at my local real estate listings and bought an old VW bus instead.

October 16, 2015

Don’t Feed the Beast – the Great Tech Recruiter Infestation “Don’t move to that London” warned my northern grandfather once.  “It’s full of spivs”. The Oxford Dictionary (somewhat chauvinistically) defines a spiv as: A man, typically a flashy dresser, who makes a living by disreputable dealings “But…

"Picture a wideboy from some Essex sink estate – all swagger and hairgel. Reptilian, devoid of all talent, a sociopathic disregard for others. Hungers for success, for fast cars and fit birds and gassy lager and awful nightclubs. He’s watched The Apprentice and finks he knows wot business is abaat. He’s got a shiny suit and practises his take-me-seriously-face in the mirror every day. His name could be Spencer or Kai, Nathan or Chardonnay, but I’m going to call him Shithead."

October 15, 2015

There have been rumors for years that the NSA can decrypt a significant fraction of encrypted Internet traffic. In 2012, James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a “computing breakthrough” that gave them “the ability to crack curr…

October 13, 2015

The Little Printf: why do we code? This text is a transcript of a presentation I have given on October 9, 2015, at the CityCode conference in Chicago. This content is also available in video, and as a PDF Document better suited for printing. — Chapter 1 I've been lucky enough to have been born befor…

I think everyone who works with software should read this. Pretty spot on and pretty moving. So many amazing quotes, don't know where to begin.

"Little printf was surprised to meet an expert who seemed so disinterested in helping others, yet so annoyed by their perceived lack of skill. It was a bit sad that this man narrowed his vision of himself to just the one area he knew, to the point where he didn't do anything else than create problems for himself to fix!"

October 12, 2015

In response to the many people who have asked me whether I am leaving Berkeley, it is true that the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department has fired me. More precisely, the then Chair of the Mathematics Department, Arthur Ogus, emailed me on October 31st 2014 saying that my employment would be terminate…


October 10, 2015

A shocking story about the biggest company in the US's most profitable industry

I've only read one chapter so far, and I'm absolutely horrified.

“All the big pharmas” have lawsuits, the analyst concluded, sipping an espresso. “It’s just not a big deal.”

"Indeed, with before-tax profits of $20.6 billion for 2014, putting aside $500 million or even $1 billion a year over 15 years to cover payouts for boys with 46DD breasts and other claims that might come along doesn’t put much of a dent in the company’s financials. As Johnson & Johnson declared in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission three weeks before the analysts’ conference, “In the Company’s opinion … the ultimate outcome of legal proceedings, net of liabilities accrued in the Company’s balance sheet, is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position.”"

"However, the fact that this illegal conduct is not a “big deal” on Wall Street and only the occasional subject of news coverage should make it a big deal to the rest of the world: The drug companies seem to be able to break the rules with relative impunity, or at least without suffering the kind of punishment that would actually hurt—their stock prices taking a hit or senior executives being held personally responsible."

A Japanese mathematician claims to have solved one of the most important problems in his field.

"Three years on, Mochizuki's proof remains in mathematical limbo — neither debunked nor accepted by the wider community. Mochizuki has estimated that it would take an expert in arithmetic geometry some 500 hours to understand his work, and a maths graduate student about ten years. So far, only four mathematicians say that they have been able to read the entire proof."

October 9, 2015

Volkswagen's cheating on emissionswith the use of software in diesel cars was not a corporatedecision, but something that "individuals did," its U.S. chiefexecutive told lawmakers on Thursday.

Just a few engineers? really?

October 7, 2015

Our mission at YC is to enable as much innovation as we can. Mostly this means funding startups. But startups aren’t ideal for some kinds of innovation—for example, work that requires a very long...

This is an awesome move.

"Many of the best researchers in the world are forced to choose between high-paying engineering work to support their families or doing the work they really want to do; the fact that this is an either/or choice is bad for all of us."

We’ve been talking about Windows 10 for over a year now and today we started our next chapter, with new devices designed for Windows 10. Today I stood on stage in NYC along with members of my team ...

This is exciting

October 6, 2015

phpunit-vw - VW PHPUnit extension makes your failing test cases succeed under CI tools scrutiny

We should all use this, clearly.

The Safe Harbor agreement allowed US tech companies to transfer data between the US and Europe.

I wonder how this will play out. If the inverse also happens, say goodbye to reasonable latencies for requests that cross continents (or, depending on legal wording, say goodbye to friends across continents)

October 5, 2015

Everyone knows about the spread of war and the hopeless intractability of poverty. But everyone is wrong.

Clickbait headline; but raises a good point about media bias towards only reporting the negative.

October 4, 2015

In the 1970s and 80s, the red M&M mysteriously disappeared, a victim of horribly unsound FDA testing.

"In the aftermath of Red No.2’s ban, the media went on a frenzy, denouncing the dye as a carcinogenic, tumor-inducing agent. Americans, already on edge from a Swine Flu scare a few months earlier, panicked. A hysteria ensued that saw hundreds of brands recalling their Red No.2-infused products: hot dogs were pulled from grocery aisles, dog food was discarded in droves, ice cream treats were left to melt in landfills -- and the red M&M disappeared."

Losing sight Posted in Real life on October 3rd 2015 I don’t know who will read this. I don’t even know why it has suddenly become important to write it, but for whatever it’s worth, this is an account of an event in my life that changed everything. I lost my sight over the course of 12 months from…

This is depressing, moving, enlightening and encouraging all in one go.

It's about literally losing sight due to poorly managed diabetes

October 3, 2015

The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade.

FLIF is a novel lossless image format which outperforms PNG, lossless WebP, lossless BPG and lossless JPEG2000 in terms of compression ratio.

This is really interesting and promising but:

1. GPLv3? Why?!
2. I don't know how they brush aside the patent issue
3. What's the Weissman score?

When you're so bad that people will pay $5 to cancel your service

October 2, 2015

Criminal justice reform is a contentious political issue, but there’s one point on which pretty much everyone agrees: America’s prison population is way too high. It’s possible that a decline has already begun, with the number of state and federal inmates dropping for three years straight starting i…

October 1, 2015 Inc. is flexing its e-commerce muscles to gain an edge on competitors in the video-streaming market by ending the sale of devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

WTF Amazon?

Sure, let's make ourselves look petty and anti-competitive (this pretty much admits that their devices just aren't as good as their competitors).

And let's screw over our main business while we're at it - since Prime will no longer be the one-stop shop where you can get everything under the sun.

Just 38 percent of students who have graduated college in the past decade strongly agree that their higher education was worth the cost, according to results of 30,000 alumni polled by Gallup-Purdue Index.

The long read: Joris Luyendijk spent two years talking to hundreds of City insiders. They revealed how close we came to disaster – and how quickly finance went back to business as usual

"Seven years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it is often said that nothing was learned from the crash. This is too optimistic. The big banks have surely drawn a lesson from the crash and its aftermath: that in the end there is very little they will not get away with."

Issue The secret developers of the video game industry by Matt Leone @LattMeone In July 2015, developer Comcept launched a Kickstarter campaign for its game Red Ash. It didn’t go...

A new study finds that people today who eat and exercise the same amount as people 30 years ago are still fatter.

A strange thing happened at 1:20 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 29. I was learning more about the Google Domains interface, and typed google.c