Four short links: 17 December 2010

Systems Programming, Peer Review, Web Mining, Facebook Design

  1. Down the ls(1) Rabbit Hole — exactly how ls(1) does what it does, from logic to system calls to kernel. This is the kind of deep understanding of systems that lets great programmers cut great code. (via Hacker News)
  2. Towards a scientific concept of free will as a biological trait: spontaneous actions and decision-making in invertebrates (Royal Society) — peer-reviewed published paper that was initially reviewed and improved in Google Docs and got comments there, in FriendFeed, and on his blog. The bitter irony: Royal Society charged him €2000 to make it available for free download. (via Fabiana Kubke)
  3. Bixo — an open source web mining toolkit. (via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
  4. How Facebook Does Design — podcast (with transcript) with stories about how tweaking design improved the user activity on Facebook. One of the designers thought closing your account should be more like leaving summer camp (you know a place which has all your friends, and you don’t want to leave.) So he created this page above for deactivation which has all your friends waving good-bye to you as you deactivate. Give you that final tug of the heart before you leave. This reduced the deactivation rate by 7%.
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