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Four short links: 22 September 2009

Cities, How Things Work, Stylish Google, EC2 Numbers

  1. The City is a Battlesuit for Surviving the Future (IO9) — a great essay by Matt Jones, based on his talk at Webstock this year. Urban design is how we created alternate realities before we had iPhones, and the new technology lets us choose which science fiction future we want to inhabit. We are now a predominantly urban species, with over 50% of humanity living in a city. The overwhelming majority of these are not old post-industrial world cities such as London or New York, but large chaotic sprawls of the industrialising world such as the “maximum cities” of Mumbai or Guangzhou. Here the infrastructures are layered, ad-hoc, adaptive and personal – people there really are walking architecture, as Archigram said. Hacking post-industrial cities is becoming a necessity also. [...]
  2. How and Why Machines Work (MIT Open Course Ware) — Subject studies how and why machines work, how they are conceived, how they are developed (drawn), and how they are utilized. Students learn from the hands-on experiences of taking things apart mentally and physically, drawing (sketching, 3D CAD) what they envision and observe, taking occasional field trips, and completing an individual term project (concept, creation, and presentation). Emphasis on understanding the physics and history of machines. (via Hacker News)
  3. Google Style Guide — how Google codes. Useful if you’re working on their code, starting a job there, or want to mock them for not specifying K&R braces/four space tabs/<insert One True Way here>. (via Hacker News)
  4. EC2 Usage Guessed From Sequential IDsThe Superseries ID changes so rarely that originally I had assumed it was some kind of checksum. This would have been odd as it limits the total available IDs to 224 = 16.8 million. Up to very recently, the Superseries ID for all resource types – instances, images, volumes, snapshots, etc. – was 69 (in the us-east-1 region (for eu-west-1 the Superseries ID is 74). These days, new instances use the Superseries ID 68. This subtle change, unnoticed by the industry, may hint at an astonishing achievement: 8.4 million instances launched since EC2’s debut! (Instance IDs are even so 8.4M = 16.8M / 2.) (via mattb on delicious)
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