Four short links: 3 January 2013

Historic Social Media, Latency Numbers, Quantified Auto, and I Feel Old

  1. Community Memory (Wired) — In the early 1970s, Efrem Lipkin, Mark Szpakowski and Lee Felsenstein set up a series of these terminals around San Francisco and Berkeley, providing access to an electronic bulletin board housed by a XDS-940 mainframe computer. This started out as a social experiment to see if people would be willing to share via computer — a kind of “information flea market,” a “communication system which allows people to make contact with each other on the basis of mutually expressed interest,” according to a brochure from the time. What evolved was a proto-Facebook-Twitter-Yelp-Craigslist-esque database filled with searchable roommate-wanted and for-sale items ads, restaurant recommendations, and, well, status updates, complete with graphics and social commentary. But did it have retargeted ads, promoted tweets, and opt-in messages from partners? I THOUGHT NOT. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Latency Numbers Every Programmer Should Know (EECS Berkeley) — exactly that. I was always impressed by Artur Bergman’s familiarity with the speed of packets across switches, RAM cache misses, and HDD mean seek times. Now you can be that impressive person.
  3. Feds Requiring Black Boxes in All Vehicles (Wired) — [Q]uestions remain about the black boxes and data. Among them, how long should a black box retain event data, who owns the data, can a motorist turn off the black box and can the authorities get the data without a warrant. This is starting as regulatory compliance, but should be seized as an opportunity to have a quantified self.
  4. Average Age of StackExchange Users by Tag (Brian Bondy) — no tag is associated with people who have a mean age over 30. Did I miss the plague that wiped out all the programmers over the age of 30? Or does age bring with it supreme knowledge so that old people like me never have to use StackExchange? Yes, that must be it. *cough*
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  • Two things on the average age of StackExchange users:

    1- I didn’t even know you could enter your age as part of the profile. What percentage of profiles had an empty value?

    2- The birthday field says “YYYY/MM/DD, only used for displaying age”, guess that turned out not to be true if they are sharing this with others.

  • On the StackExchange link:

    What you missed was to scroll down in these lists. They’re sorted by age :-)

    • Nathan Torkington

      D’oh, thanks! Though, I have to say, if people were truly programming from 20 to 60 then we’d expect to see a mean age of 40. Instead, the maximum mean age is 35. Do all old programmers move into management? I’d love to see some research on age, ability, attitudes, and so on.