"nitty gritty tech" entries

Random OSCON Tidbits

Some things I learned about at the Django/Python meetup in downtown Portland during OSCON: JS Bridge: a Python to Javascript bridge for all Mozilla applications, still under very active development (i.e., changing daily). 960.gs: a grid framework for Javascript (replacing Blueprint CSS) with a naming scheme that makes prototyping designs a lot less painful. Dojo has Django Templates: I take…

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Special Purpose Computing Focuses on Energy Efficiency

Researchers turn to specialized hardware design to reduce supercomputer power consumption by an order of magnitude.

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Review Board is good software

After having tried and failed to have useful code reviews at several different companies, and after feeling deep envy for Mondrian, Google's web-based code review tool, I'd been looking for some tool that would help make code reviews more painless. I think I've found what I was looking for in Review Board. Code reviews usually amount to infrequent lunchtime sessions…

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NYT and Sun on Concurrency

Two interesting stories on concurrency came past my browser this morning: NYTimes on Microsoft's concurrency efforts and Allan Packer from Sun on open source databases. The NYT piece is about Microsoft's efforts to produce multicore programming tools, which include hiring a bunch of supercomputing veterans. “Industry has basically thrown a Hail Mary,” said David Patterson, a pioneering computer scientist at…

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Hey, AT&T, What's the Value of a Closed Network Again?

Closed networks, its proponents maintain, offer a trade-off. Individuals or outside developers can't make any changes or improvements to it. But since the network and its applications are controlled at a single source, individuals are supposed to get an easier experience in which they don't have to think about the network, just what they're doing on it. Trust the network….

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Parrot and Multi-threading

Over on the O'Reilly Network, Kevin Farnham has an interesting blog post about the connection between Parrot and the arrival of multi-core processors (Radar posts.) Kevin makes a number of good points, especially how changing fundamentals can help a technology to "arrive." (Think of how Ruby on Rails made Ruby suddenly the language of choice after ten years as a…

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Shared nothing parallel programming

I agree strongly with Tim and Nathan's belief in the importance of parallel computing. I've been following this space since 2000, when I took Gurusamy Sarathy's initial work on making perl multi-threaded and finished it for the 5.8 release. The initial perl threading released in 5.5 had a traditional architecture: all data was shared between all threads. The problem with…

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Saying only new (-ish) things about the iPhone

We've all read about how cool flicking is and how lame EDGE is. Enough on that. Below are some things I haven't already read a thousand times about the iPhone. Full disclosure: I've owned one Newton, two Blackberrys, three Palms, and three Treos (geeeeeeek!), and I'm switching from a Treo 650 to an 8GB iPhone. The iPhone kicks the Treo's…

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Google's Acquisition of Peakstream

Google's acquisition of Peakstream is obviously relevant to the theme we've been sounding here recently about the importance of concurrent programming. Nat wrote about this in backchannel email after my previous blog post, but I thought his comment was appropriate to share more widely. Nat picked up on one of Adam Beberg's comments about Folding@home's use of GPUs from the…

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Google's Folding@Home on the "Multi-Core Crisis"

There's been a fascinating exchange about programming for multi-core computers on Dave Farber's Interesting People List. It started when Andrew Donoho wrote in a thread about the need for US colleges to retool their programming classes: It is very clear that the software industry is going to hit a programming wall some time in the next 6 years (4 Moore's…

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