ENTRIES TAGGED "cs"
Android Firefox, CloudPlayer Licenses, Github Lessons, and Data Structures
- Firefox for Android — faster than stock browser, apparently.
- Amazon CloudPlayer Needs No Licenses (Ars Technica) — that’s what Amazon claim, anyway. Because users upload the files (rather than accessing a central single copy of the ripped music), Amazon think they need no license. If this holds, expect Google and Amazon to follow suit.
- Ten Lessons from Github’s First Year — Your customers are most likely early adopters and love to see new features roll out every few weeks. If this results in a little bit of downtime, they’ll easily forgive you, as long as those features are sweet. In the early days of GitHub, we’d deploy up to ten times in one afternoon, always inching closer to that target. Make good use of that first year, because once the big important customers start rolling in, you have to be a lot more careful about hitting one of them with a stray bullet. Later in the game, downtime and botched deploys are money lost and you have to rely more on building instruments to predict where you should aim. Thoughtful take on agile and continuous deployment, among other things.
- What Are The Lesser-Known But Cool Data Structures? (Stack Overflow) — I have no joke here, I just like to say “cool data structures”. (via Joshua Schachter)
Commandline for Story, Dystopic Predictions, Studying Failures, and Two Great Tastes
- Curveship — a new interactive fiction system that can tell the same story in many different ways. Check out the examples on the home page. Important because interactive fiction and the command-lines of our lives are inextricably intertwined.
- Egypt’s Revolution: Coming to an Economy Near You (Umair Haque) — more dystopic prediction, but this phrase rings true: The lesson: You can’t steal the future forever — and, in a hyperconnected world, you probably can’t steal as much of it for as long.
- Why Startups Fail — failure is a more instructive teacher than success, so simply studying successful startups isn’t enough. (via Hacker News)
- Computer Science and Philosophy — Oxford is offering a program studying CS and Philosophy together. the two disciplines share a broad focus on the representation of information and rational inference, embracing common interests in algorithms, cognition, intelligence, language, models, proof, and verification. Computer Scientists need to be able to reflect critically and philosophically about these, as they push forward into novel domains. Philosophers need to understand them within a world increasingly shaped by computer technology, in which a whole new range of enquiry has opened up, from the philosophy of AI, artificial life and computation, to the ethics of privacy and intellectual property, to the epistemology of computer models (e.g. of global warming). I wish every CS student had taken a course in ethics.
Data Structures, Technoptimism, China, and Web Math
- Synopsis Data Structures for Massive Data Sets (PDF) — survey of data structures that reduce the problem space when dealing with large data sets. (via Pete Warden)
- Optimism — you build what you’re thinking of. Time to figure out the optimistic future and build that. “Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.” –attributed to Alasdair Gray.
- Velocity China — in case you were wondering, yes: China is on our radar.
- Interview with Marcin Wichary (Ajaxian) — interview with the creator of Google’s Pacman logo, the original HTML5 slide deck. One of the first popular home video game consoles was 1977′s Atari VCS 2600. It was an incredibly simple piece of hardware. It didn’t even have video memory – you literally had to construct pixels just moments before they were handed to the electron gun. It was designed for very specific, trivial games: two players, some bullets and a very sparse background. All the launch games looked like that. But within five years, companies figured out how to make games like Pitfall, which were much, much cooler and more sophisticated. Here’s the kicker: if you were to take those games, go back in time, and show them even to the *creators* of VCS, I bet they would tell you “Naah, it’s impossible to do that. The hardware we just put together won’t ever be able to handle this.” Likewise, if you were to take Google Maps or iPhone Web apps, take your deLorean to 1991 and show them to Tim Berners-Lee, he’d be all like “get the hell out of here.” (via Russ Weakley)
- Liberating Lives — The historian Tim Hitchcock, behind projects such as the Old Bailey Online and London Lives, has reflected on the impact of digitisation on our access to archives. Archives, he notes, tend to reflect the assumptions and practices of the institutions that created them. But by providing new ways into these records systems, technology can undermine the power relations that persist within their structures. Read the entire post, which has a moving description of the bureaucracy of Australia’s racism and the modern-day projects built on it. (via spanishmanners on Twitter)
- Deblurring Images — interesting research work reconstructing original scenes from blurred images. (via anselm on Twitter)
- 50 Years of Cyborgs: I Have Not the Words (Quinn Norton) — We need language that lets us talk about the terrorism of little changes. Be they good or bad, they are terrible in aggregate. Thought-provoking essay pushing our ideas of change, future, technology, and culture until they break. (via kevinmarks on Twitter)
Leaky Phones, Clustering Tweets, CS Unplugged, and Margaret Atwood on Twitter
- Researchers Show How To Use Mobiles to Spy on People — Using information from the GSM network they could identify a mobile phone user’s location, and they showed how they could easily create dossiers on people’s lives and their behavior and business dealings. They also demonstrated how they were able to identify a government contractor for the US Department of Homeland Security through analyzing phone numbers and caller IDs. [...] The researchers have not released details of the tools they developed, and have alerted the major GSM carriers about their results. Bailey said the carriers were “very concerned,” but mitigating these sorts of attacks would not be easy. In the meantime there is little mobile phone users can do to protect themselves short of turning off their phones. Oh joy. (via Roger Dennis)
- A Torrent of Tweets: Managing Information Overload in Online Social Streams (PDF) — PARC and MIT built a Twitter client that clusters messages in a useful way. Publicly accessible client due in summer.
- Interview with Tim Bell (MP3) — author of Computer Science Unplugged, which teaches computational thinking in a fashion that can have five year olds understanding error correction codes, and one of the people behind a new high-school curriculum for CS in New Zealand.
- How I Learned to Love Twitter (Guardian) — fascinating piece from writer Margaret Atwood. The Twittersphere is an odd and uncanny place. It’s something like having fairies at the bottom of your garden is one of my favourite things that’s ever been written about Twitter but the whole article is delightfully written.
Government Dashboard, Science Code Errors, Scaling Online Games, Information Theory
- Track DC — informative drill-down report from Washington DC government about the different departments. (via Sunlight Labs blog)
- Errors in Scientific Software — a 1994 study of scientific software that found inconsistent interfaces (1 in 7 for Fortran, 1 in 37 for C) and poor use of arithmetic such that significant figures declined from 6sf in the data to 1sf in the result. (via “If you’re going to do good science, release the computer code too” in the Guardian)
- How Farmville Scales — 75M players/month (28M/day), 1/4 of disk activity is writes, 50% higher load spikes, 3G/s traffic go between Farmville and Facebook at peak, LAMP stack, nagios+munin+puppet. (via Hacker News)
- Mathematical Philology — when two manuscripts of the same text differ, which is correct? This PLoSONE paper looked at all such discrepancies in Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura and found that the traditional principle of choosing the more difficult reading (on the grounds that errors are from humans unconsciously simplifying) has a strong information theory justification for it. Interesting to see this less than a week after an MIT Technology Review article on quantum teleportation remarked, There is a growing sense that the properties of the universe are best described not by the laws that govern matter but by the laws that govern information.