To say that about me there is nothing interesting would be to overstate the case.

  • Why We Should Build Software Like We Build Houses | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

    Blueprints help architects ensure that what they are planning to build will work. “Working” means more than not collapsing; it means serving the required purpose. Architects and their clients use blueprints to understand what they are going to build before they start building it.

    But few programmers write even a rough sketch of what their programs will do before they start coding.

    Writing specifications is hard. Nobody likes to do it, especially if the joy of coding still runs through their veins. However, it can save you a lot of time down the road, both in implementing your design and showing others what you’re up to.

  • A justification for “seenthis”:

    World Wide Wasteland | Zemanta BlogZemanta Blog

    There are no more links

    The anchor tag is still with us!

    But it’s only used to get people from one part of a website to another part. Well, most websites are one-page apps anyway … due to something about cross-device compatibility.

    But external linking is completely dead.

    A long time ago, back in the day, a hyperlink was almost magical. It was the science fiction of Ted Nelson’s “Dream Machines” — or even Gibson’s “Neuromancer” brought to life. I could go from one machine (with its store of knowledge and information) to another (with a completely different focus and purpose). Either (or both) could be on the other side of the world! What could possibly be more awesome than that?

    However, the idea and concept of “Search Engine Optimization” and other games to play with Google has subverted the original purpose of links to connect related information into increasing the apparent reputation of sites that have nothing useful to say. The links are created by machines, pretending to be human. In turn, they are read by other machines, also pretending to be human.

    All these machines pretending to be human — I’ve wondered recently if true human-like artificial intelligence is most likely to arise from a sufficiently complex spam filter.

  • John Carmack discusses the art and science of software engineering | Bits and Behavior

    On the soft­ware devel­op­ment side, you know there was an inter­est­ing thing at E3, one of the inter­views I gave, I had men­tioned some­thing about how, you I’ve been learn­ing a whole lot, and I’m a bet­ter pro­gram­mer now than I was a year ago and the inter­viewer expressed a lot of sur­prise at that, you know after 20 years and going through all of this that you’d have it all fig­ured out by now, but I actu­ally have been learn­ing quite a bit about soft­ware devel­op­ment, both on the per­sonal crafts­man level but also pay­ing more atten­tion by what it means on the team dynam­ics side of things.

    If 90 percent of software engineering is getting the right data into the right slots at the right time, the other 90 percent is doing it in such a way that your fellow programmers will understand what you were doing and more importantly, why.

    Carmack points out that programmers make a lot of mistakes — the languages that game developers primarily work in are certainly prone to them — but he also points out that good practice is not very well defined and even he is not sure how to define it objectively... yet.

  • Beloved High-Speed Film Camera Faces Extinction | Raw File | Wired.com

    For more than five decades, the Charles A. Hulcher Co. filled an important niche in the camera world. Their cameras, which shot up to 100 frames per second, were used to make photos of everything from Space Shuttle launches to Major League Baseball games.

    But as digital cameras came to dominate, Hulcher saw business decline steeply, and today the company is down to just four employees.

    Film cameras in general are headed the way of the dinosaur, but it’s a sad thing to have specialist cameras like these go away as well. There was a lot of craft in figuring out how to build these machines that directly transcribed light to chemicals, with no virtual intermediaries.

    At one time, the camera shop on the Paramount lot (staffed by expatriate German camera makers!) could build any kind of camera to get any kind of shot. Now they get the standard rigs from PanaVision like anyone else.

  • R.I.P. Harry Harrison, creator of the Stainless Steel Rat, Bill the Galactic Hero, and Soylent Green

    And long before steampunk was considered a whole book genre, Harrison was writing Victorian alternate history with fantastical technologies in Transatlantic Tunnel, a book that’s just starting to be rediscovered thanks to a nifty new edition.

    Sometimes Harrison was a bit too silly for me, but he was certainly an important and visionary writer. I loved the Stainless Steel Rat growing up and I’m in the middle of reading “A Transatlantic Tunnal, Hurrah!”, which I got from a used book store.

  • TheFreeDictionary.com

    Cockroach Theory
    A non-scientific market theory that bad news comes in large bunches, rather than a little at a time. In other words, the cockroach theory states that if one company in a sector or industry is revealed to have problems, it is likely that other companies in the same sector or industry have problems as well. For example, when it was revealed that Enron’s accounting had been deliberately falsified, it was soon known that other companies, notably WorldCom, also had massive accounting problems. See also: Enron scandal.

    I always thought the cockroach theory was that “if you’ve seen one, there’s a million you can’t see...”

  • FAQ - anic - Faster than C, Safer than Java, Simpler than *sh - Google Project Hosting

    Q: Faster than C? How is that possible?

    A: Traditional programs are single-threaded; in most cases, this is the category that C programs fall into.

    In that sense, however, these programs are limited in the resources they can leverage; they can’t take advantage of parallel execution on multiprocessor architectures, the kind that we’re seeing become ever more prevalent today (and this trend looks like it’s here to stay). Of course, if you’re comfortable with juggling chainsaws, you can write multithreaded programs in C, but ask anyone who’s worked on a large multithreaded system written in C and you’ll see them cringe. C is an inherently single-threaded language with ugly multithreading support tacked on once the goof of originally omitting it was obvious. That means ugly code and cluttered binaries that will never run as fast as they could in a language designed from the ground up to be based around parallel execution.

    That’s the kind of language ANI is; in fact, ANI is so parallel that it’s actually difficult to write traditional sequential programs in it. But the point is you should never have to: single-threaded programs are a thing of the past. The future lies in concurrency.

    This is a very interesting idea, which looks to implement the piping algorithms used by network based programs (Houdini, Fusion, etc.) into a programming language.