Reader's Corner for September 2015

September 30, 2015

Final Fantasy V just came out on Steam. This is a beloved classic game, but the way they've done the HD upgrade just makes me cringe. This particular version is a port from the mobile version, and the even more...

This is a long and great read on graphics, art, and games.

A major advance in computational complexity reveals deep connections between the classes of problems that computers can — and can’t — possibly do.

Model X combines the space and functionality of a sport utility vehicle and the uncompromised performance of a Tesla.

This is really cool

Volkswagen and Cheating Software For the past six years, Volkswagen has been cheating on the emissions testing for its diesel cars. The cars' computers were able to detect when they were being tested, and temporarily alter how their engines worked so they looked much cleaner than they actually were.…

Like almost anyone else that happens to be in technology, both in the Valley and beyond, I've often wondered about who the f% Startup L. Jackson is. Carmel DeAmicas outlines SLJ's appeal in Recode:

A great read on hunting for the man

Card-swiping, anticipatory computing, and the problem with Netflix, iTunes, and Foursquare

The HN community feels like it owns HN, and we like it that way. HN has become an important institution in the tech community, and though it was initially developed for YC founders it's clearly...

September 29, 2015

Built to get the best out of the world’s most popular OS, Nexus is the ultimate Android experience. You’re always among the first to receive software and security updates4. And you’ll have the freshest, fastest version — Android 6.0 Marshmallow — working for you right out of the box.

Let's see how the new phones turn out

Dr. Laura J. Esserman strikes a different note in response to conventional wisdom on treating some kinds of breast lesions.

Make $18–25/hr delivering packages for Amazon with your car and smartphone. Be your own boss: deliver when you want, as much as you want. Sign up now!

It was only a matter of time. A new incumbent in the sharing economy?

For the past eleven months I’ve been the tech lead for Twitter’s Engineering Effectiveness group. Engineering Effectiveness is our name for what elsewhere might be called Developer Tools, Developer Productivity, Engineering Infrastructure, or Developer Efficiency. We provide the tools and processes…

A great talk and a great read. Productivity increases are definitely a multiplier

28 Sep 2015One Weird Trick to Write Better Code Developers hate him! We'll cover some standard tips and tricks here, but we're not really interested in those. We're looking for the One Weird Trick to rule them all. Hopefully each trick we encounter brings us closer to coding Mecca. In the beginning…

This is a good read

One nurse tells the story of what it’s like to watch patients struggle to get an $84,000 pill.

This whole system is seriously messed up from start to finish.

"Those who don’t get the medication can die “some of the worse deaths I’ve ever seen,” Bush said. People with end-stage liver disease vomit blood, feel confused, and turn yellow and bloated. “At the end you die not knowing who you are, your belly looks 12 months pregnant, you're malnourished, and you're bleeding to death,” she said."

Today, publishing platform Medium announced that it has brought in $57 million in new capital in a series B led by new investor Andreessen Horowitz. That..

September 2015 I used to think the debate about capital punishment was a matter of abstract questions like when it is permissible to kill someone. In practice it isn't. In practice the problem...

"I used to think the debate about capital punishment was a matter of abstract questions like when it is permissible to kill someone. In practice it isn't. In practice the problem with the death penalty is the incompetence of the people we entrust with it."

September 28, 2015

Google’s design process is the touchstone guiding a team experimenting with dozens of small changes that will save big money throughout the federal government.

This year for Burning Man, I built a networked light badge for my theme camp, “The Institute”. Walking in the desert at night with no light is a dangerous proposition – you can get run over by cars, bikes, or twist an ankle tripping over an errant bit of rebar sticking out of the ground. Thus, the o…

This is some really cool tech and a fun experiment

While almost all heads of universities clear more than six figures, the average part-time professor earns about $20,000 a year.

Paranoid CIA heads blamed Soviet moles, but the real reason for the repeated disasters was much simpler

Logical deduction at its finest

For many students, quiet time is key for the learning process.

Airbnb has recently been attacked by San Francisco politicians for driving up the price of housing in the city.  San Francisco has tried, and will continue to try, to ban Airbnb in various ways....

"What should the politicians actually be doing about the housing crunch? The obvious answer would be to support building more housing and fixing the supply side of the equation. But instead they’re doing the opposite (e.g. a moratorium on new construction in the Mission) and trying to turn Airbnb into a scapegoat."

Scientists looked to dark streaks that form each summer on the slopes of Martian mountains, craters and canyons.

This is exciting

Mayor de Blasio is winning widespread praise for his recent promise that, within 10 years, all of New York City’s public

"I’ve known so many programmers who would have been much more successful in their careers if they had only been better writers, better critical thinkers, better back-of-the-envelope estimators, better communicators. And aside from success in careers, we have to ask the broader question: What kinds of people do we want children to grow up to be?"

The most awesome place to host, share, and discuss fiction.

A place to share and discover fiction

gatsby - Transform plain text into dynamic blogs and websites using React.js

The live reloading looks awesome

Network scientists have discovered how social networks can create the illusion that something is common when it is actually rare.

To get started, check out our video. You'll see that we built a switch that does everything you need to get ready for a Netflix marathon with just one press. It turns on your TV and brings you right to Netflix, dims your lights, silences your phone, and even orders you food. Intrigued? Follow along…

This is awesome

IN 2003 Peter Morley-Souter, a British teenager whose hobby was drawing comic strips with his sister Rose, was sent a parody of “Calvin and Hobbes”, a strip...

On porn, society, social norms, and addiction

We don't know how much drugs 'should' cost

Students from wealthy backgrounds are more likely to get really good jobs because they've learned how to play the right games.

"One of your most counter-intuitive arguments is that students from working class and lower-middle class backgrounds are less likely to get elite jobs, because they concentrate on studying rather than their social life at college. That’s the opposite of what the conventional wisdom would suggest."

September 27, 2015

An amulet, a treasure hunt, and a legion of readers mobilized by those false patterns our brains create to make sense of the world around us. 

This is really well written and describes a great, engrossing story. Well worth a read for people interested in human behaviour.

"For the most part, Kit [Alice] seemed enchanted, if a bit baffled, by the breadth and depth of mistaken conviction his fans were able to generate. ”They are far more complex than anything I had imagined,” he told the New York Times Magazine in 1981, of Masqueraders’ wide-ranging solutions, ”and yet they fit the book. It’s a scientific principle that if you want something to work badly enough, you organize the facts so that it does.” "

Welcome to procedural_city_generation’s documentation! In this page we will give an overview of all the things you need to know to get started with this project.

Definitely getting bookmarked

Osama Shukir Mohammed Amin reveals the importance of a newly discovered tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh featuring additional parts about the Cedar Forest.

Natural Language Basics with TextBlob by Allison Parrish In this chapter, we’ll use a Python library called TextBlob to perform simple natural language processing tasks. “Natural Language Processing” is a field at the intersection of computer science, linguistics and artificial intelligence which ai…

This is pretty helpful

What have we done to face-to-face conversation?

Working on Wordsum was a personal test for me. I had been attempting to make games for around 10 years. Most of my time was spent learning the basics, building prototypes and completing lots of tutorials. All of this effort amounted in 0 games completed. My projects were either too ambitious or requ…

A new study has failed to find evidence of gravitational waves, but that doesn't mean Einstein was wrong about their existence.

Fifty years after Gordon Moore made the galvanizing prediction known as Moore’s Law, growth in computing power is slowing, leading many to ask what’s next.

Why every engineer shouldn't necessarily work directly on the product, and why good tools are like good food

Investment in basic research — the fundamental building block for innovation and economic advancement — has steadily declined as a share of the economy.

September 26, 2015

Describes a regular expressions technique to match a word or pattern except in certain contexts: excluding tags, ignoring contents, word blacklist.

It's time to get radical on pharmaceutical costs.

Andrew Bosworth was supposed to go on vacation. But then Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked him to find a way to make big money from mobile ads.

An interesting read on the Ads ecosystem

React Native changed one iOS developer's mind about web development. Will it change yours?

Memory layout of multi-dimensional arrays September 26, 2015 at 06:06 Tags Math , Programming When working with multi-dimensional arrays, one important decision programmers have to make fairly early on in the project is what memory layout to use for storing the data, and how to access such data in t…

In this quick tutorial I will go over a simple method to generate the data needed for representing an island for a game or graphic application.

Cool stuff

From Goldman Sachs to the NYSE, here's an inside look at in-house dining facilities.

In March 2011, I drafted an article explaining how the team responsible for Google Chrome ships software. Then I promptl…

Margaret Gould Stewart says asking women speakers to talk about work life balance and raising children rather than their achievements in technology is bad for women and bad for the industry.

"As I see it, you have two choices: you can either ask everyone these questions about their private lives and their role as a parent, or you should ask no one."

In the sport of coding, there’s one superstar and a lot of contenders looking for scholarships and job interviews.

"He first began freaking people out in second grade, at age 8, when he took second place in a major Belarusian coding competition. To put this achievement in perspective, the score was high enough for Korotkevich to be granted automatic enrollment in a top technical university without needing to pass any other entrance exams. At 12, he placed 20th at the International Olympiad in Informatics, the most prestigious high school-level event, and then went on to set a record by winning the competition three times."

antirez 1 minute ago. 27 views. If you know me, you know I’m not the kind of guy that considers competing products a bad thing. I actually love the users to have choices, so I rarely do anything like comparing Redis with other technologies. However it is also true that in order to pick the right sol…

A controversial underground industry known as birth tourism is booming in the Bay Area.

antirez 1 minute ago. 38 views. Everybody knows Redis is single threaded. The best informed ones will tell you that, actually, Redis is *kinda* single threaded, since there are threads in order to perform certain slow operations on disk. So far threaded operations were so focused on I/O that our sma…

Interesting approach to finally making redis multi threaded

Terence Tao successfully attacks the Erdős Discrepancy Problem by building on an online collaboration.

Co-founder of Sync Ninja. Ex-Googler, ex-Independent Consultant. Backend and scalability developer motivated by work that solves real-world problems.

As a new software engineer, you’re bound to make a number of tactical mistakes due to a lack of experience. Maybe you build some functionality on your own only to learn later that there’s a common …

Applies for everyone, not just engineers

Early this summer, I was approached outside BART by a man with a clipboard, collecting signatures for a ballot initiativ…

Prop F sounds crazy

Urbit is a pretty great, fresh approach to modern computing

THERE WAS A SIMPLE AIM at the heart of the top-secret program: Record the website browsing habits of “every visible user on the ...

The program names are funny

September 25, 2015

A tax expert retained by former Vanguard Group tax lawyer David Danon in his whistle-blower complaints against the mutual fund giant has sent the IRS a report estimating the company's unpaid federal income tax liabilities at $34.6 billion from 2007 to 2014.

Uh oh

In a remote village in the Dominican Republic girls become boys at puberty because of a rare genetic disorder

Hi, this is Anthony Park, VP of Engineering at Netflix. We've been working with Oculus to develop a Netflix app for Samsung Gear VR. The app includes a Netflix Living Room, allowing members to get the Netflix experience from the comfort of a virtual couch, wherever they bring their Gear VR headset.…

Carmack is awesome as always

Consumer interest in ad-blocking, fueled in part by Apple’s new mobile software release, has given rise to a cottage industry hoping to profit from it.

""According to Mr. [Alice], he isn’t adding the option for financial gain, but rather to make sure publishers aren’t overburdened by all-out blocking of ads on their sites.""

So the creator of Crystal, one of the first Adblocking apps on the iOS, is already selling out. That didn't take long.

September 24, 2015

In the years since the financial crisis, Joseph Stiglitz has been among the loudest and most influential public intellectuals decrying the costs of inequality, and making the case for how we can use government policy to deal with it.

An interesting take from a respectable (Nobel winning) economist

This is awesome!

With readers on a reverse migration to print, the “e-book terror has kind of subsided” for bookstores and publishers.

With the right people and a little effort, we could have the internet we always wanted.

Can Google change a car-centric culture in its own backyard? Data to the rescue.

A few weeks ago, Hensen et al., of the Delft University of Technology and Barcelona, Spain, put out a paper reporting the first experiment that violates the Bell inequality in a way that closes off the two main loopholes simultaneously: the locality and detection loopholes.  Well, at least with ~96%…


Chris Poole Back in 2011, USV invested in Chris Poole’s startup Canvas. I worked closely with Chris on that investment and they built something great called DrawQuest. But it did not turn into a sustainable business and eventually Chris shut it down. All through this time, Chris ran and managed 4cha…

September 23, 2015

CppCoreGuidelines - The C++ Core Guidelines are a set of tried-and-true guidelines, rules, and best practices about coding in C++

A talk on basically turning C++14 into Rust (Writing good C++14 by default)

Every large Haskell program almost inevitably contains space leaks. This post examines three space leaks I found while experimenting with a space-leak detection algorithm. The first two space leaks have obvious causes, but I remain mystified by the third.

This is the text version of a talk I gave on September 14, 2015, at the FREMTIDENS INTERNET conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This is mind blowing and an amazing read on technology, ads, and privacy that everyone should read.

"Advertisers end up right back where they started,still not knowing which half of their advertising budget is being wasted. Except in the process they've destroyed our privacy."

I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary at Google and decided to take the opportunity to share some of my reflections on the past decade. Prior to joining Google, I was on the faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, where I founded the databas…

At Y Combinator, the partners often say, “Startups die of suicide, not homicide.” It’s a startling statement, but it’s t…

This is ugly

None of the companies that have collected royalties on the "Happy Birthday" song for the past 80 years held a valid copyright claim to one of the most popular songs in history, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled on Tuesday.

September 22, 2015

Far from destroying it, he’s exposing all its phoniness and corruption in ways as serious as he is not. And changing it in the process.

"Some kind of farce, nonetheless, is just what the modern presidential campaign has devolved into. By calling attention to that sorry state of affairs 24/7, Trump’s impersonation of a crypto-fascist clown is delivering the most persuasively bipartisan message of 2016."

A couple weeks ago, word started getting around trendy programming circles about a new file that had appeared in the SQLite fossil repo named json1.c. Then last Friday, Dr. Hipp posted to the sqlite-users mailing list requesting feedback for a draft of the json1 module APIs, so I thought the Python…

Wait, SQLite is adding json support?

About a year ago, I blogged about some Python bindings I wrote for the embedded NoSQL document store UnQLite. One year later I'm happy to announce that I've rewritten the library using Cython and operations are, in most cases, an order of magnitude faster.

UnQLite looks interesting

Turns out, you don’t need a car to see America. Traveling coast-to-coast across the United States by train is one of the world’s greatest travel experiences. Amazingly, it’s also one of the world’s greatest travel bargains...

This is another set of plagiarized photos (same guy who did the Singapore Airline stuff) but the article is interesting nonetheless. I didn't know it was just $213 to go coast to coast like this.

When I visited Chernobyl 7 years ago, I didn’t think that a similar disaster could take place anywhere ever again, and certainly not in Japan.

Awesome set of pictures

This is interesting

Borrowers get loans to refinance their credit cards, consolidate their debt or finance a home improvement at a better rate than their banks would give them. Lenders get a return on their investment that is typically much better than traditional Certificate of Deposit or Saving Accounts.

Interesting data viz

Facebook and its chief economist have devised a system for buying ads that prevents advertisers from cheating–at least in theory.

rough idling Computers are kind of fast these days, which means a lot of little inefficiencies vanish from sight. In theory an idle system with nothing to do should be doing nothing, but frequently enough it turns out to be doing nothing. A couple examples. In the early days of smtpd, the master pro…

It's taking the US vegetarian world by storm.

Over the last few weeks a discussion has flourished over the FCC’s Notification of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on modular transmitters and electronic labels for wireless devices. Some folks have fe...

Commentators are looking hard for what’s wrong with startups in Silicon Valley.  First they talked about valuations being too high.  Then they talked about valuations not really meaning anything. ...

September 21, 2015

“The difference between something that can go wrong and something that can’t possibly go wrong is that when something that can’t possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.”

"Who is our generation's [Alice] Bond? Jason Bourne. He can’t trust his employer, who demanded ultimate loyalty and gave nothing in return. In fact, his employer is outsourcing his work to a bunch of foreign contractors who presumably work for less and ask fewer questions. He’s given up his defined benefit pension (Bourne had a military one) for an individual retirement account (safe deposit box with gold/leeching off the gf in a country with a depressed currency). In fact his employer is going to use him up until he’s useless. He can’t trust anyone, other than a few friends he’s made on the way while backpacking around. Medical care? Well that’s DIY with stolen stuff, or he gets his friends to hook him up. What kinds of cars does he have? Well no more company car for sure, he’s on his own on that, probably some kind of import job. What about work tools? Bourne is on is own there too. Sure, work initially issued him a weapon, but after that he’s got to scrounge up whatever discount stuff he can find, even when it’s an antique. He has to do more with less. And finally, Bourne survives as a result of his high priced, specialized education. He can do things few people can do – fight multiple opponents, hotwire a car, tell which guy in a restaurant can handle himself, hotwire cars, speak multiple languages and duck a surveillance tail. Oh, and like the modern, (sub)urban professional, Bourne had to mortgage his entire future to get that education. They took everything he had, and promised that if he gave himself up to the System, in return the System would take care of him.

It turned out to be a lie.

We’re all Jason Bourne now."

The war in Afghanistan proved that we can't just rely on new technology, but the Pentagon wouldn't listen—and troops paid the price.

"Like other American combat troops in Afghanistan, the SEALs sometimes found that high-tech gear couldn’t reliably get the job done, or that cheaper, lower-tech solutions worked better. This is how the US military almost adopted the A-29 Super Tucano, a $4 million turboprop airplane reminiscent of WWII-era designs that troops wanted, commanders said was “urgently needed,” but Congress refused to buy."

Sci-fi's reigning king of war fiction on 3D-printed weapons, why interstellar war is impossible, and how, one day, we might actually see the end of war.

I'm going to have to grab this book

The price of the drug, called Daraprim, a standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection, went to $750 a tablet from $13.50.

I don't know how this is legal

The American military’s policy has been to look the other way on “boy play” by Afghan commanders. One Marine’s father believes it was a factor in his son’s death.

September 20, 2015

Twenty-somethings are scaling back on the partying so heartily embraced by previous generations.

"“Everyone’s been pushed out of the downtown center,” she said. ”We’re so isolated. I live over one bridge that takes a half-hour to walk to, which I chose based on cost, and everyone else thinks I’m in the middle of nowhere. Young people used to live in houses near the university, but now only families can afford them. Little shacks that college kids used to live in are now $2 million homes.”"

September 19, 2015

Interesting curiosity.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation, accusing VW of installing software known as a “defeat device” in 4-cylinder vehicles.

"The Environmental Protection Agency accused the German automaker of using software to detect when the car is undergoing its periodic state emissions testing. Only during such tests are the cars’ full emissions control systems turned on. During normal driving situations, the controls are turned off, allowing the cars to spew as much as 40 times as much pollution as allowed under the Clean Air Act, the E.P.A. said."


CppCoreGuidelines - The C++ Core Guidelines are a set of tried-and-true guidelines, rules, and best practices about coding in C++

I've only started to go through these, but a lot of these are quite sensible.

Now to somehow have these enforced on diff review automatically

Meet the unknown people behind the best-known songs.

September 18, 2015

When it comes to discussions surrounding free to play, people often focus on monetization tactics based on their experiences as a player. Folks commonly get upset based on the disruption of the historical precedent that games should have a price tag, that you pay, then get the game. It's unders

"And if you are a whale, we take Facebook stalking to a whole new level. You spend enough money, we will friend you. Not officially, but with a fake account. Maybe it’s a hot girl who shows too much cleavage? That’s us. We learned as much before friending you, but once you let us in, we have the keys to the kingdom. We will use everything to figure out how to sell to you. I remember we had a whale in one game that loved American Football despite living in Saudi Arabia. We built several custom virtual items in both his favorite team colors and their opponents, just to sell to this one guy. You better believe he bought them. And these are just vanity items. We will flat out adjust a game to make it behave just like it did last time the person bought IAP. Was a level too hard? Well now they are all that same difficulty."

This is depressing

This is a story about what happens when bullies grow up. The same kids that used to tease us for our love of gadgets, pu…

Idea guys and software guys fighting it out. Hilarity (and a mess) ensues

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is criticized for delaying access to data about its antidepressant paroxetine (Seroxat, Paxil) that would have shown earlier that it is neither safe or effective in adolescents

In this interview with Kerri Miller, Lead Software Engineer at LivingSocial, we discuss how to hire and interview developers. We typically don't get trained on interviewing and we've all experienced the haphazard approaches of those new to it - poor organization, repeated questions, fizzbu

"“You want them leaving the interview process regretful that they didn’t get hired, not resentful that they didn’t get hired”"

Distinctive ‘cross-checking’ tradition helps explain extraordinary accuracy in 21 stories about dramatic sea level rises between 7,000 and 18,000 years ago

Keep Out! An action-packed adventure playable for free in your browser. Explore the dungeon, fight monsters and unlock epic weapons!

This is awesome, and really well done.

Historical and psychological factors have combined to make them seem less like criminals and more like celebrities.

We spent less than $100 to give a completely fake business a great online reputation.

"“Everyone online needs to use their best judgment,” she said. “Just because a product has good reviews doesn’t mean it’s good. You can’t believe everything you read online.”"

After fourteen years of being immersed in the bloody wars of our era, C.J. Chivers came home.

"An aircraft, a pilot, put a guided munition very near to me on a piece of ground where I was standing that was unquestionably out of the Qaddafi forces' hands, and then proceeded to brief the strike publicly as if it was a valid strike. They said things that were not true. They may have believed them. Either way, it's a problem, right? It shows that they don't know what they're bombing in many instances, and they convince themselves that they do, which is an incredibly dangerous use of lethal power. And it just was extremely useful to see that and consider other things they may be saying to you on one story or another. Because there's no question to me about what happened. "

September 17, 2015

The list of talks looks really interesting.

Facebook's lovefest with the news industry continues.

Instead of the programs I had hoped for, there came only a shuddering blackness and ineffable loneliness; and I saw at last a fearful truth which no one had ever dared to breathe before — the unwhisperable secret of secrets — The fact that this language of stone and stridor is not a sentient perpetu…

This book is quite exciting

We speak to the legal detectives and expert programmers bringing old games back from the dead.

Kyle didn’t think twice about the buyer’s request. It was mid-June, and he had posted four tickets to Game Four of the NBA Finals on Craigslist. When the buyer, Michael, said he preferred to pay the $4,800 through Venmo, Kyle wasn’t bothered. He had only recently signed up for the...

"Finally on Jan. 22, from Eran Kimchi, Venmo’s head of fraud, whom Movassaghi emailed directly in a final attempt to recover his money and alert the company to what he saw as a dangerous and pervasive scam: “Venmo has a complete understanding of the scam plot you fell victim to … there is nothing Venmo can do to comfort you. … You made an innocent mistake, and you paid for it.”"


By Andy Mitchell, Director of Media Partnerships We’ve heard from journalists that they want an easy way to make Facebook a more vital part of their newsgathering with the ability to surface relevant trends, photos, videos, and posts on Facebook...

This is pretty exciting, from my usage so far

September 16, 2015

A 14-year-old boy in Irving, Texas named Ahmed Mohamed was taken into police custody after he brought a homemade clock to school. The boy, who, according to a..

"The newspaper quoted a police spokesman, [Bob] McLellan, as saying that [Alice] never claimed his device was anything but a clock, and the police have no reason to think it was dangerous.
But officers still did not believe [Alice] was giving them the whole story.
“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” Mr. McLellan said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.
“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”"

It's sad that our views on education have gotten to the point where everything has to be done for a purpose. Can't people understand that someone would want to make something just for the thrill of making it and learning from that experience?

Republished with permission, the following article from Medium provides insight into what refugees bring when they run for their lives...

In a new opinion piece, designer and Divide by Zero Games founder James Portnow looks at design approaches to unsharding MMOs, in order to create more immersive, integrated game worlds.

This is informative and enlightening

Hewlett-Packard said it plans to cut between 25,000 and 30,000 jobs.


Update (13 October): I emailed David MacKay to get his opinion on some of the critical comments responding to this blog post. David is a physicist at Camb

"The only way to make a plane consume fuel more efficiently is to put it on the ground and stop it. Planes have been fantastically optimized, and there is no prospect of significant improvements in plane efficiency."

In early 1999, during the halftime of a University of Washington basketball game, a time capsule from 1927 was opened. Among the contents…

"We predicted cell phones, but not women in the workplace."

Earlier, I removed this post from Medium, but I decided to post it again.


Hello, declarative world A computer is an imperative machine. Its CPU reads a list of instructions and performs one operation after another, with each operation modifying the state of its registers and memory. But that doesn’t mean we always have to write our computer programs as imperative step-by-…

Declarative stuff is cool

Cellular clocks are almost everywhere. Clues to how they work are coming from the places they’re not.

"“You’ve got to retract this paper,” Schibler recalls Wuarin saying. “It’s all fake. It doesn’t exist.” When Wuarin performed the isolation, the transcription factor had failed to appear. Schibler, taking his concerns seriously, tried the procedure himself. He found the transcription factor easily.

After a number of weeks, Wuarin realized why he couldn’t find it himself: He and the postdoc had been performing the isolation at different times of day. The postdoc, a late riser, usually arrived around 11 a.m., killed the rats, and had the transcription factor in hand by midafternoon. “But [Wuarin] was a farmer’s son,” Schibler explains. “He got up at 5, milked the cows, then came to lab and killed the rats at 7. And at that time, this protein’s just not there.”"

Hacking Team, Computer Vulnerabilities, and the NSA When the National Security Administration (NSA) -- or any government agency -- discovers a vulnerability in a popular computer system, should it disclose it or not? The debate exists because vulnerabilities have both offensive and defensive uses. O…

September 14, 2015

This post was inspired by my recent view of this YouTube. The video is by a gentleman by the name of Jon Blow, who's talking about a new language for game development. I'm not going to talk much ab...

In a raging flood, a man risks his life to save a swept away child, but two years earlier he voted against strengthening the levee whose breaching caused the flood. During an epidemic people work tirelessly to help the stricken, but ignored elementary sanitation processes that could have prevented t…

"We become better humans when we learn to shape and amplify that wild but amazing tool between our ears without becoming captive to it."

Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist Posted on 2012-04-10 by tmurphy 67 views this month; 0 overall Some while back, I found myself sitting next to an accomplished economics professor at a dinner event. Shortly after pleasantries, I said to him, “economic growth cannot continue indefinitely,…

This is 3 years old. But well worth reading for everyone, especially economists (not to drag on the profession); given how everything is about growth

"Physicist: Wow. Do you really believe that? A physically limited resource (read scarcity) that is fundamental to every economic activity becomes arbitrarily cheap? [turns attention to food on the plate, somewhat stunned]

Economist: [after pause to consider] Yes, I do believe that."

A recent cryptographic breakthrough has proven difficult to put into practice. But new advances show how near-perfect computer security might be surprisingly

September 13, 2015

Posted on September 12, 2015 by Glenn Fiedler Is it just me or is networking really hard? Last week I found this discussion on Reddit: I’ve been trying to understand and implement networking in a game for the last few months, and every attempt I make at it has some kind of flaw; whether that’s unrel…

"And yet, here we are in 2015 and there are still a bunch of people out there who just don’t [bleep] get it."

Helping prospective college students find the right school.

Some interesting data sets

This post was prompted by the automated support feedback email. I recently opened the Uber app to find it had forgot my authentication and was prompting me for a password. Unfortunately there were …

Nice going.

All charges against the Temple University professor were dropped after it became apparent the Justice Department had misinterpreted a key piece of evidence.

"It was an embarrassing acknowledgment that prosecutors and F.B.I. agents did not understand — and did not do enough to learn — the science at the heart of the case before bringing charges that jeopardized Dr. Xi’s career and left the impression that he was spying for China."

Will anyone be getting fired over this?

16GB is a Bad User Experience September 10th, 2015 Yesterday Apple announced the fall lineup of new hardware, including the iPhone 6s/6s Plus. Overall the announcements were pretty solid, with one bright, glaring exception…the base model iPhone starting at 16GB. This detail makes me both sad and a b…

September 12, 2015

A few days ago I was reading up on variadic templates and it occurred to me that they could be used to automate dependency injection. So I started playing with some code and here's what I got. Note: this post assumes at least some level of familiarity with the newer C++ features in general, and vari…


HomeMirror - Android application powering the mirror in my house

This is an awesome idea

September 11, 2015

But with 50 plus opaquely named services, we decided that enough was enough and that some plain english descriptions were needed.

SO BAD are the seasonal wildfires sweeping America’s tinder-dry north-west that Alex Thomason, a public-spirited lawyer in Washington state, bought himself a...

I'm James Hague, a recovering programmer who has been designing video games since the 1980s. Programming Without Being Obsessed With Programming and Organizational Skills Beat Algorithmic Wizardry are good starting points. For the older stuff, try the 2012 Retrospective.

This is gold

Molly Graham helped forge a work culture at Facebook that's withstood huge amounts of growth. Today, she's something of a rapid scaling expert. Here's the key to doing it right, she says.

This is a really great read

Objectives. The global burden of burnout cost is in excess of $300 billion annually. Locally, just under half of working Australians experience high levels of occupational burnout. Consequently, burnout interventions are paramount to organisational productivity. ...

September 10, 2015

Scientists in South Africa have discovered a new human-like species, which could change ideas about our early relatives.

The Hardest Program I've Ever Written ↩ September 08, 2015 code dart The hardest program I’ve ever written, once you strip out the whitespace, is 3,835 lines long. That handful of code took me almost a year to write. Granted, that doesn’t take into account the code that didn’t make it. The commit hi…

Code formatters!

A great read on microservices at SoundCloud.

"I think a lot of mathematics is really about how you understand things in your head. It's people that did mathematics, we're not just general purpose machines, we're people. We see things, we feel things, we think of things. A lot of what I have done in my mathematical career has had to do with fin…

These are awesome!

The answer depends on what you mean by college.

"Why Rust?"

An awesome read

This guy got it right, 3 years ago

September 9, 2015

Popcorn Time, the piracy service that has put Hollywood in emergency mode, started in Buenos Aires, in Federico Abad's (29) bedroom.

"– I am convinced that the Popcorn Time-killer is going to be a Netflix without borders. They should remove national restrictions for films, making them available in cinemas and in streaming services simultaneously everywhere, regardless of platform for phone, tablet and TV, wherever you want, with subtitles. Had they done so, it would kill Popcorn Time once and for all, Abad says."

Exciting things to come from my favorite newsletter: "Let’s do this together” by @readthisthing_

This is really useful.

Earlier this year, Marcelo Vergara, an app developer in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, lost two members of staff, fired the company that maintains his servers and started hunting for smaller premises. It might sound as if his company, Propaganda3,

"It is a story shared by countless nearby towns. Ferguson, famous for the police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager last year, is a three-hour drive away. Even now, the schools in Kansas City, Missouri, are effectively segregated, with almost all white children at private schools. Just nine per cent of pupils in the state system are white. Almost 90 per cent are on free lunches."

Here is a new post from pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, author of a number of popular posts on this blog, including “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today,” as well as “The right — and surprisingly wrong — ways to get kids to sit still in class” and “How schools ruined [……

It's pretty crazy how pervasive the rat race has gotten

HTTP is broken. It's time for the distributed, permanent web.

Content centric networks are the future IMO

Fifty years ago, a book by Thomas Kuhn altered the way we look at the philosophy behind science, as well as introducing the much abused phrase 'paradigm shift', as John Naughton explains

WHEN Ken Martin, a hat-seller, pays his monthly child-support bill, he uses a money order rather than writing a cheque. Money orders, he says, carry no risk of going...

September 8, 2015

The year 2015 isn't over yet - there's still time for a few more interesting things to happen. Maybe you're wondering what those things are? Then click here!

[Alice], [Bob], Ameena [Mallory], Hasnain [Eve]

The year 2015 isn't over yet - there's still time for a few more interesting things to happen. Maybe you're wondering what those things are? Then click here!

[Alice], [Bob], Ameena [Mallory], Hasnain [Eve]

TSA Master Keys Someone recently noticed a Washington Post story on the TSA that originally contained a detailed photograph of all the TSA master keys. It's now blurred out of the Washington Post story, but the image is still floating around the Internet. The whole thing neatly illustrates one of th…

I graduated college at 19. I landed a tenure-track job at 29. Now I'm quitting academia for good.

In July, the BBC published a video explaining that 40% of Americans do not take all of their vacation days. We asked the audience why - and the response was overwhelming.

Kathryn DeWitt had put on her Penn Face. But living up to expectations — her own and others’ — was just too much. Dying seemed the only way out. It wasn’t.

"Correction: August 2, 2015
An article on Page 14 this weekend about student mental health on campus misstated the suicide rate among 15- to 24-year-olds. It was 11.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2013 and 9.6 in 2007, not 11.1 percent and 9.6 percent."

That's a big typo to make

Tech analyst Startup L. Jackson believes that Twitter’s Product is Fucking Fine and that the company’s next CEO needs to simply give the current team some room to get stuff done. No. I think Twitter badly needs to do at least five things to... | Dustin Curtis | Villain.

Welcome to Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces (now version 0.90 -- see book news for details), a free online operating systems book! The book is centered around three conceptual pieces that are fundamental to operating systems: virtualization, concurrency, and persistence. In understanding the con…

September 7, 2015

In two previous posts we've discussed how to receive 1M UDP packets per second and how to reduce the round trip time. We did the experiments on Linux and the performance was very good considering it's a general purpose operating...

I ask of you greetings and money.

Broke college students: 1220's edition

Forget body language or eye movements. There are much better ways to identify the deceitful, says David Robson.

Interesting read. But the question is, will it ever be applied? Especially given how the current approach easily gives a cover for racial profiling

You may be able to get your phone to project bright colors if your window sensor detects a burglar, but what is protecting you from your phone?

Danish researchers have recently made a shocking suggestion - that queuing on the basis of last-come-first-served may sometimes be more efficient. Really?

You're probably wrong about caching Mike Solomon There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things –Phil Karlton Caching is a great tool. Lots of useful data fits easily in memory–so cache it! Improve your latencies, ease the load on your database, reduce your…

Clickbait title. But it does have a good list of pitfalls

September 6, 2015

Software - shaken, not stirred

Each Unplugged activity is available to download in PDF format, with full instructions and worksheets. Background sections explain the significance of each activity to computer science, and answers are provided for all problems. All you need for most of these activities are curiosity and enthusiasm.…

An editor called me up to ask me if I’d like to write a book. I smelled a rat, but I played along…

How have German universities been able to abolish tuition fees when English universities are charging £9,000?

Budget cuts increasingly mean indigent defendants don’t get their constitutional rights in court.

"I’ve been asked by my family members, my friends and my hairdresser why I represent criminals. The answer is that I, and other public defenders, don’t represent criminals. We represent poor people who are facing criminal charges — charges on which they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court."

Microservices without the Servers by Tim Wagner | on 05 SEP 2015 | in AWS Lambda | Permalink | Comments Tim Wagner, AWS Lambda General Manager At LinuxCon/ContainerCon 2015 I presented a demo-driven talk titled, “Microservices without the Servers”. In it, I created an image processing microservice,…

This is pretty cool

September 5, 2015

I was in grade eleven, and it was already late in the school year when I returned to the principal’s office after my five day suspension. My dad was sitting next to me while the principal–a tall, stoc

Interesting read

We want to understand the world. Why? Because we believe that's the only way to move toward a world that's more open and connected.

September 4, 2015

CB Insights Newsletter Email Forms

You'll like this. Sign up.

September 3, 2015

With the tech industry awash in cash and 100 “unicorn” start-ups now valued at $1 billion or more, Silicon Valley can’t escape the question. Nick Bilton reports.

"SF tech culture is focused on solving one problem: What is my mother no longer doing for me?”.

"We need to be worth a billion dollars to be able to recruit new engineers. So we decided that was our valuation."

My story of the long tail of startup success

September 2, 2015

Microsoft Corp. responded swiftly to a pre-dawn fax from the FBI in January. The two terrorists who killed a dozen people at the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris had Microsoft e-mail accounts stored on servers in the U.S., and 45 minutes later their contents were en route to the agency, to be shared…

The cars have been involved in a smattering of minor accidents because they observe traffic laws to the letter — and people don’t.

So much for "smart" cars

How a bug in Visual Studio 2015 exposed my source code on GitHub and cost me $6,500 in a few hours

Click bait, but ... ouch

I try to avoid making predictions1. It’s a no-win proposition: if you’re right, hindsight bias makes it look like you’re pointing out the obvious. …

Idris Elba nearly plunged to his death filming Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation." The indie drama, about an African tyrant known as “the commandant” who recruits an innocent boy into his army o...

The year was 2005. My interest in writing a content management system in Java for the company that bought our startup had been steadily draining away, while my real passion was working on compilers and other programming language infrastructure (mostly SBCL). One day I spotted a job advert looking fo…


stronglink - A searchable, syncable, content-addressable notetaking system

"C Programming Substance Guidelines"

Lots of gold in here

There's nothing wrong with app install ads, but too often now, you click on a mobile search result, and when the site loads, a giant app install interstitial..


September 1, 2015

The long-awaited Portal-themed board game collaboration between Cryptozoic Entertainment and Valve Software was playable at this year's Gen Con. Polygon had hands-on time with the $49.99 board game,...

This looks exciting

Haskell is a 25-year-old programming language that isn't all that popular. But Facebook uses it, and that's a sign of things to come.

As you know, Sandstorm’s mission is to bring open source and indie web apps to a wider audience. To run open source web apps, you need your own server – the developers aren’t a big corporation with resources to run servers for you. And for everyone to run open source web apps, everyone needs control…

Thisnis exciting

For a while I’ve been working on a garbage collector for Rust with Michael Layzell. I thought this would be a good time to talk of our design …