ap + recommended   90

Lego Friends | Maritsa Patrinos @ Seasonal Depression
If you want to appeal to girls, you don’t need to, like… make a whole *separate* line of toys. You just need to add *one* piece.
recommended  feminism  :comic  ! 
december 2014 by ap
The Map Is Not the Territory: An Essay on the State of Economics | John Kay @ The Institute for New Economic Thinking
[In] 1995, Lucas described his seminal model [which] developed into the dominant approach to macroeconomics today, now called Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium. […] All science uses unrealistic simplifying assumptions. […] But Lucas and those who follow him were plainly engaged in a very different exercise […] The distinguishing characteristic of their approach is that the list of unrealistic simplifying assumptions is extremely long. […] Lucas was explicit about his objective – “the construction of a mechanical artificial world populated by interacting robots that economics typically studies”. […] Consistency and rigour are features of a deductive approach, which draws conclusions from a group of axioms – and whose empirical relevance depends entirely on the universal validity of the axioms. The only descriptions that fully meet the requirements of consistency and rigour are complete artificial worlds, like those of Grand Theft Auto […] Much of the modern research agenda of the economics profession is thus unconnected to the everyday world of business and finance. [… Becker claims that] a priori deduction from a particular set of unrealistic simplifying assumptions is not just a tool but “the heart of the economic approach”. […] Believing that economics is like they suppose physics to be – not necessarily correctly – economists like Becker regard a valid scientific theory as a representation of the truth – a description of the world that is independent of time, place, context, or the observer. […] If there were to be such a universal model of the economic world, economic agents would have to behave as if they had knowledge of it […] This is a 𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰 𝘢𝘥 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘶𝘮 argument, which demonstrates the impossibility of any universal model – since the implications of the conclusion for everyday behaviour are preposterous [… But] since the followers of this approach believe strongly in the premise – to deny that there is a single pre-specified model that determines the evolution of economic series would, as they see it, be to deny that there could be a science of economics – they accept the conclusion that expectations are formed by a process consistent with general knowledge of that model. […] This is not science, however, but its opposite.
economics  history  recommended  ! 
march 2014 by ap
Toward Better Master Passwords | Jeff Shiner @ AgileBits
[To] get the most security out of it, you should combine Diceware with your own private system. Create a short random password, including digits and symbols and use that in place of one of the dicewords in your final password. So going back to my dogs, Molly and Patty, I might create a weak password like “2dM&P”, and suppose my rolls of the dice gets me “cleft cam synod lacy”, I could then create a master password like “cleft 2dM&P cam synod lacy”, which would be a very good master password.
security  advice  recommended  ! 
march 2014 by ap
Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person... | Gina Crosley-Corcoran
I, maybe more than most people, can completely understand why broke white folks get pissed when the word “Privilege” is thrown around. As a child, I was constantly discriminated against because of my poverty and those wounds still run very deep. But luckily my college education introduced me to a more nuanced concept of Privilege; the term Intersectionality. The concept of Intersectionality recognises that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not privileged in others.
recommended  ?  ! 
january 2014 by ap
Why diversity matters (the meritocracy business) | Eric Ries
And yet, when I suggest this practice to hiring managers and recruiters alike, they rarely do it. Hiring managers say, “the recruiter would never go for it” while recruiters say, “the hiring manager won’t accept it.” What I think we’re really saying is: “I don’t want to know if I am biased.” That’s understandable – it’s embarrassing! Even if our biases are only implicit and not consciously held, the systems we build can still contain bias. When we change a hiring policy, especially if we do it in a visible way, we reap two benefits. We actually improve our hiring process and also signal our commitment to meritocracy.
diversity  cognition  bias  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2013 by ap
Racism And Meritocracy | Eric Ries @ TechCrunch
I previously described on my blog one simple change I made to the hiring process at my last company. I asked all of our recruiters to give me all resumes of prospective employees with their name, gender, place of origin, and age blacked out. This simple change shocked me, because I found myself interviewing different-looking candidates – even though I was 100% convinced that I was not being biased in my resume selection process. If you’re screening resumes, or evaluating applicants to a startup school, I challenge you to adopt this procedure immediately, and report on the results.
I asked if they were planning to apply. Their response: “oh, no, it’s a waste of time. Y Combinator doesn’t accept people like me.” Where did they get that idea? Surely not from YC’s partners, who as far as I can tell are scrupulously fair in their dealings with entrepreneurs. Rather, they got that impression by inferring that there is probably implicit bias in YC’s admissions process, and that they’d be better off spending their time doing something else other than applying to YC. […] There are qualified minority applicants who are choosing – rationally – to invest their time and energy elsewhere.
diversity  cognition  bias  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2013 by ap
The neuroscience of Bob Dylan’s genius | The Guardian
Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they’ll never invent an original line. […] When a poet needs to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables or an adjective that fits the iambic scheme, he ends up uncovering all sorts of unexpected connections; the difficulty of the task accelerates the insight process.
cognition  creativity  recommended  ! 
april 2012 by ap
Angry Birds, Farmville and Other Hyperaddictive ‘Stupid Games’ | NYTimes.com
Game-studies scholars (there are such things) like to point out that games tend to reflect the societies in which they are created and played. […] The enemy in Tetris is not some identifiable villain (Donkey Kong, Mike Tyson, Carmen Sandiego) but a faceless, ceaseless, reasonless force that threatens constantly to overwhelm you, a churning production of blocks against which your only defense is a repetitive, meaningless sorting. […]

When I spoke to Frank Lantz, the creator of Drop7, he seemed humbled by his own game. He said Drop7 felt less like something that he and his team had created than something they had discovered — “a little corner of the universe that people hadn’t visited before, that predates us and will be around after we’re gone.” […]

“There’s no word for that in English, for a thing that does both of those at the same time. But it’s wonderful.” I asked him if he knew a word for that in another language. He said no, but then he thought for a minute.
games  cognition  psychology  sociology  beauty  recommended  ! 
april 2012 by ap
Things I don’t like about Twitter 4 for IOS
Much of what made Twitter useful in the first place – Hashtags, @user and many other little Twitter specific conventions are hacks that were first adopted by users because Twitter didn’t support several key functions like groups or addressing a note to a specific user. Twitter has made the mistake of trying to integrate these workarounds into the base DNA of their service.


Twitter appears to have fallen into the trap of blindly listening to its users and failing to understand what its users are trying to accomplish. Don’t pay attention to what your users ask you for, pay attention to what they are trying to achieve.
twitter  usability  rant  recommended  :quotation  ! 
february 2012 by ap
Fatal Frame 2: I want that hour back | jwz
I have *an actual car* in which I can play that game!
games  rant  recommended  ! 
november 2011 by ap
Free Energy and the Meaning of Life | Sean Carroll @ Cosmic Variance
Because the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that entropy increases, the history of the universe is the story of dissipation of free energy. Energy wants to be converted from useful forms to useless forms. But it might not happen automatically; sometimes a configuration with excess free energy can last a long time before something comes along to nudge it into a higher-entropy form. Gasoline and oxygen are a combustible mixture, but you still need a spark to set the fire. This is where life comes in, at least according to one view.
science  physics  chemistry  evolution  complexity  life  recommended  ! 
july 2010 by ap
How To Destroy A Black Hole | arXiv blog
What would a black hole without its event horizon reveal? That’s where physics turns philosophical. The mathematics here indicates that spacetime becomes infinitely curved, creating what astrophysicists call a singularity. ¶ To any ordinary physicist, a singularity is an indication that a theory has broken down and some new theory is needed to describe what is going on. It is a matter of principle that singularities are mathematical objects […] Astrophysicists are different. They have such extraordinary faith in their theories that they believe singularities actually exist inside black holes. The likes of Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking have even proved that singularities are inevitable in gravitational collapse. ¶ For them, removing the event horizon around a black hole raises the exciting prospect of revealing a singularity in all its naked glory. When that happens, we will be able to gaze at infinity.
science  physics  mathematics  astronomy  recommended  :quotation  ! 
june 2010 by ap
Our great…grandmother was a proton-powered rock | Nick Szabo
[From the comments:] “Before this theory, I ran some sample numbers and concluded I had to be against biogenesis [sic]. Without absurd assumptions, I got a number on the order of 10^1000 trials to get free-floating life to reliably reproduce. (There are roughly 10^80 particles in the universe.)”
biology  geology  chemistry  evolution  science  recommended  ! 
may 2010 by ap
Raj, Bohemian | Hari Kunzru @ The New Yorker
“Placements. Why are you making that face? You’re looking at me like I’m some kind of freak.”
recommended  fictional  culture  marketing  sociality  ! 
may 2010 by ap
The Rhetoric of the Hyperlink
In the Web of hyperlinks, writing has found its wall.
culture  history  writing  philosophy  cognition  media  art  language  web  recommended  ! 
march 2010 by ap
After feminism: what are girls supposed to do? | Amelia Hill @ The Guardian
Who wouldn't feel confused and unhappy being raised in this brave new world that demands super-skinny, super-sexy and super-brainy all at the same time?
feminism  sociology  society  sexuality  culture  media  recommended  ! 
march 2010 by ap
Final edition: Twilight of the American newspaper | Richard Rodriguez @ Harper's Magazine
We no longer imagine the newspaper as a city or the city as a newspaper. […] The truth is we no longer want to live in Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor. Our inclination has led us to invent a digital cosmopolitanism that begins and ends with “I.” Careening down Geary Boulevard on the 38 bus, I can talk to my my dear Auntie in Delhi or I can view snapshots of my cousin’s wedding in Recife or I can listen to girl punk from Glasgow. The cost of my cyber-urban experience is disconnection from body, from presence, from city. […] So what is lost? Only bricks and mortar. (The contemptuous reply.)
journalism  history  society  culture  media  future  recommended  ! 
march 2010 by ap
Engines of Democracy | FastCompany.com
The plant is General Electric’s aircraft-engine assembly facility in Durham, North Carolina. [… It] has more than 170 employees but just one boss: the plant manager. Everyone in the place reports to her. Which means that on a day-to-day basis, the people who work here have no boss. They essentially run themselves. [… How] can something so complicated [as jet engines], so demanding, so fraught with risk, be trusted to people who answer only to themselves? Trust is a funny thing. It is the mystery – and the genius – of what goes on at GE/Durham. […] “I think what they’ve discovered in Durham is the value of the human being,” says McEwan.
collaboration  managerialism  recommended 
march 2010 by ap
A Few Billion Lines of Code Later: Using Static Analysis to Find Bugs in the Real World | Communications of the ACM
In the lab the user’s values, knowledge, and incentives are those of the tool builder, since the user and the builder are the same person. Deployment leads to severe fission; users often have little understanding of the tool and little interest in helping develop it (for reasons ranging from simple skepticism to perverse reward incentives) and typically label any error message they find confusing as false. A tool that works well under these constraints looks very different from one tool builders design for themselves. [[Followed by a veritable litany of social problems. —Ed.]]
software-development  programming  politics  depressing  recommended  ! 
march 2010 by ap
Germany’s Choice | STRATFOR
The only way for Germany to matter is if Europe *as a whole* matters. If Germany does the economically prudent (and emotionally satisfying) thing and lets Greece fail, it could force some of the rest of the eurozone to shape up and maybe even make the eurozone better off economically in the long run. But this would come at a cost: It would scuttle the Euro as a global currency and the European Union as a global player.
politics  economics  gfc  recommended  ! 
march 2010 by ap
Zero One Infinity Rule
Simply stated: You will either need zero of a thing, one of a thing, or an arbitrary number of the thing. Programmers and architects ignore this at their own peril. Arbitrary fixed limits are a CodeSmell.
programming  recommended  ! 
february 2010 by ap
Ravioli Code
In the structured programming world, when things got messy your code became SpaghettiCode. Everyone knows what SpaghettiCode is. It has been said that with objects you get RavioliCode: thousands of little classes everywhere and no one knows how to find the places where things really happen.
programming  oo  recommended  ! 
february 2010 by ap
The screen mimics the sky, not the earth | Stefano Mazzocchi
This second argument is new and interesting, but I can’t stop wondering if it’s innate or a learned behaviour.
perception  recommended  ! 
february 2010 by ap
Personify every object | Joel Stickley @ How To Write Badly Well
The hat, old and disillusioned, sat on Leo’s head like a passenger on a bus which is not only late, but has forgotten which route it was supposed to be taking. The feather drooping pathetically from the hat’s side seemed to have given up any hope of escape and was now, to all intents and purposes, playing dead. Leo shuffled his shoes, which were not having the best day, on the gravel; first the chewing gum they had picked up two miles back and now this. As for the chewing gum, it was just disappointed to be stuck to a pair of shoes with such a low tolerance for discomfort.

Leo’s grimy, tactless finger hovered hesitantly over the unsuspecting doorbell for a second before pushing it. The sound of the chimes filled the inside of the house like a sumo wrestler in a minicab before dying away like a sumo wrestler on life support. The silence which followed outstayed its welcome like a guest at a party which didn’t want to be thrown, much like a shot-putt entertaining thoughts of retirement in a country cottage which sits contentedly on a hilltop which reaches for the clouds like a dieter for cream cakes which wish they didn’t have to be eaten.
recommended  writing  funny  ! 
january 2010 by ap
Is Money Useless to Open Source Projects? | Jeff Atwood
“Open Source is to Traditional Software as Terror Cells are to Large Standing Armies – if you gave a terrorist group a fighter jet, they wouldn’t know what to do with it. Open source teams, and culture, have been developed such that they’re almost money-agnostic. Open source projects run on time, not money. So, the way to convert that currency is through bounties and funded internships. Unfortunately, setting those up takes time, and since that’s the element that’s in short supply, we’re back to square one.” —John Galloway
libre-software  software-development  economics  recommended  ! 
december 2009 by ap
Pictorial Webster’s: Inspiration to Completion | John Carrera @ Vimeo
From the discovery of the 1898 International Dictionary to linotyping the entries to printing the last print on the vandercook to cutting the fingertabs of the deluxe edition, this video gives a quick overview of the process of creating the Pictorial Webster’s fine press edition.
print  design  typography  illustration  art  craft  history  recommended  :video  ! 
november 2009 by ap
Why I hate Star Trek | Charlie Stross
Ron Moore […] described how the writers would just insert “tech” into the scripts whenever they needed to resolve a story or plot line, then they’d have consultants fill in the appropriate words (aka technobabble) later. […] “It was so mechanical that we had science consultants who would just come up with the words for us and we’d just write ‘tech’ in the script. You know, Picard would say ‘Commander La Forge, tech the tech to the warp drive.’ I’m serious. If you look at those scripts, you’ll see that. […] It’s a rhythm and it’s a structure, and the words are meaningless. It’s not about anything except just sort of going through this dance of how they tech their way out of it.”
startrek  scifi  writing  :quotation  recommended  ! 
november 2009 by ap
There’s more than one way to null a pointer | David Mandelin
Thinking about that, I got an idea so dumb it was clever. I knew I wanted to know the code point that set dslots to null. And I knew the only real piece of data about the crash I could get was the crash address. So, clearly, the answer is to make each code point that sets dslots to null use a different null address. […] Debugging this kind of crash is all about trying to sort things out that make no sense with almost no data
programming  hacking  recommended  ! 
november 2009 by ap
What are financial derivatives? | Ben Tilly
So there we have it. Financial derivatives are just contracts. People enter into them for all sorts of reasons. They are traded in large volumes. They can be arbitrarily complex. They can mitigate or create risk. We have theories on how to price them. When financial derivatives are set up correctly, apparently free money is created. This money comes with associated risk. Honest mistakes about the pricing or risks can lead to disaster. Warren Buffett has written on this topic with extreme warnings about this exact issue. Securitization is a way of bundling lots of little streams of cash into nice bonds. Securitization brought us increased local financial stability, which has been to our general benefit. But systemic mistakes in securitization also brought us a real risk of global collapse. ¶ If you understood that then you likely understand financial derivatives better than half the talking heads you see on TV.
finance  economics  gfc  recommended  ! 
october 2009 by ap
Why Are PHBs Stupid? | John Cowan
Historically, [… y]ou began by doing the work, and if you got good at it, you ended up telling other people with less experience or less competence how to do it instead. […] Two factors undermined this, though: the sense that promoting high-quality workmen instead of continuing to take advantage of their work made no sense, and the idea that management was or could be a profession abstracted from the particular work being managed. […] Making management a profession was arguable; the associated notion that you could manage workers with no understanding of what they did was a disaster.
managerialism  capitalism  recommended  ! 
october 2009 by ap
A hard rain's gonna fall on exoplanet COROT-7b
COROT-7b has a similar density and silicate rock makeup to that of Earth. However, the planet and its host star are separated by only 1.6 million miles […] One side of COROT-7b […] is thought to have a temperature of 4220°F [2330°C]. ¶ As rocks vaporize at that heat it is believed that COROT-7b’s precipitation is pebbly. But when a “front moves in” pebbles condense out of the air and run into lakes of molten lava on the surface below. Scientists used a computer system that ran different variants yet yielded consistent results – rock showers. ¶ Much like the Earth’s atmosphere causes water cloud to form resulting in water droplets, COROT-7b’s atmosphere is believed to form rock clouds that then rain little pebbles and other forms of rock.
astronomy  space  recommended  ! 
october 2009 by ap
Incidental Redundancy | Chris Ammerman
A repetition of code syntax or semantics that tempts the programmer to refactor, but if carried out the refactoring could damage the elegance and discoverability of the program. The difference between incidental redundancy and regular redundancy in code is that the redundancy does not arise because of any *substantive*, or at least *relevant*, similarity between the two problems in question.
programming  advice  recommended  ! 
august 2009 by ap
Design versus construction | Chris Siebenmann
The process of getting something physical constructed is generally divided into two phases: design, the intellectual engineering work, and construction, which is theoretically mere unintelligent physical labour.
programming  software-development  engineering  complexity  recommended  ! 
august 2009 by ap
The Pursuit of Happiness | John Perry Barlow
No more need be said. But such is human nature that the more succinctly we state the truth, the better we become at ignoring it. So, despite the completeness of the above homily, I’ll proceed, hoping that my volume may insinuate into your worldview what Chuang-Tzu’s brevity might not.
culture  society  philosophy  advice  recommended 
july 2009 by ap
What to Know Before Debating Type Systems | Chris Smith
Dynamic and static type systems are two *completely* different things, whose goals happen to partially overlap. A static type system is a mechanism by which a compiler examines source code and assigns labels (called “types”) to pieces of the syntax, and then uses them to infer something about the program’s behaviour. A dynamic type system is a mechanism by which a compiler generates code to keep track of the sort of data (coincidentally, also called its “type”) used by the program. The use of the same word “type” in each of these two systems is, of course, not really entirely coincidental; yet it is best understood as having a sort of weak historical significance.
programming  compsci  static-analysis  type-systems  reference  recommended  ! 
july 2009 by ap
Reply to alester’s response to Tim’s response to Ruby’s resp | Scott Walters @ use.perl.org
If office culture is opposed to sexism and you’re opposed to office culture then you just might decide that you’re pro sexism. The main reason offices are so vocally anti-sexism is they’ve traditionally been complete boys clubs and they’re trying to change their image. If these kids knew their history, they’d see that the office anti-sexism is a bit of a sham and their attempts to be contrary to office culture would lean them to be honestly, legitimately egalitarian. […] Also, getting a bit far afield here, males have been having a bit of an identify crisis since the feminist movement. […] I think the males of the younger generation have a legitimate question of how to style themselves. […] An alpha geek would love to be an alpha male, but they’re not even sure what those look like, so they guess.
diversity  culture  rant  recommended  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Nothingness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
This survey starts with nothingness at a global scale and then explores local pockets of nothingness.
philosophy  metaphysics  recommended  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Occasionally, even experienced Wikipedians lose their heads and devote every waking moment to edit warring over the most trivial thing. This page documents our *lamest* examples. It isn’t comprehensive or authoritative, but it serves as a showcase of situations where people lose sight of the big picture and obsessively expend huge amounts of energy to fighting over something that, in the end, isn’t really so important.
wikipedia  culture  funny  recommended  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Six Stages of Debugging
1. That can’t happen.
2. That doesn’t happen on my machine.
3. That shouldn’t happen.
4. Why does that happen?
5. Oh, I see.
6. How did that ever work?
programming  funny  :fullquote  recommended  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Immutable Data Structures (cont.) | Yuval Kogman
The guiding principle here is to shift the update operations upwards, towards the root of the data instead of near the leaves.
algorithm  complexity  recommended  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Madness With Methods | Matt S. Trout
Which makes you wonder… what can come after the $ sign – it’s something that’s producing a scalar so… what about other ways of getting a scalar out of that? Well: `$obj->${\sub { "baz on a ".ref($_[0]) };`
perl  hacking  amusing  recommended  ! 
may 2009 by ap
Wutmäander zur Qualitätsdebatte | Stefan Niggemeier
Ist es nicht eine bizarre Verklärung, die relativ kleine Elite professioneller Journalisten mit _Draußen_ und _In der Welt_ gleichzusetzen, die vielen Menschen, die aber dort sind, wo die Journalisten erst hingehen sollen, als Stubenhocker zu beschreiben, die den Blick nicht vom heimischen Computer nehmen?
journalism  rant  recommended  :de  ! 
may 2009 by ap
The Value of Measurement | Mike West
In general, engineers understand and can relate well to automated A/B testing, and designers understand and can relate well to more personal usability testing. The two are, however, not the same, don’t provide the same data, and ought not be conflated.
design  recommended  ! 
may 2009 by ap
Datapocalypso! | Jason Scott
They *could* have made the timetable 6 months instead of 4 weeks. And, once the data was down, they *could* have provided a read-only, FTP-only, or otherwise non-browsable accessibility point that a person with the proper credentials could retrieve said data from for months from now, just like (for another real world example) a commercial entity will tell you that the material you used to keep with them is now being kept in a new location and with proper ID, you can retrieve it. They don’t just *burn the fucking building down and then put up a sign saying “We burned the building! Thanks for visiting!“* ¶ […] ¶ [ARCHIVE TEAM would] go to a site, spider the living crap out of it, reverse engineer what they could, and then put it all up on archive.org or another hosting location, so people could grab things they needed. Fuck the EULAs and the clickthroughs. This is history, you bastards.
life-in-the-cloud  rant  recommended  ! 
february 2009 by ap
MC Hammer and Shorty Awards | Jesse Selengut @ tinpanbluesband.com
Behind us is a huge screen. On the screen is a steadily updating feed of tweets from all over the world. [...] Gradually a real-time debate develops on the screen behind us about the merits of what we were doing. It was totally surreal. The brainstorm hits to begin incorporating the text from the screen behind us into the lyrics. It has an immediate impact on the screen behind us.
participatory  music  recommended  ! 
february 2009 by ap
HOPL: an interactive Roster of Programming Languages
The History of Programming Languages […] is concerned with the idea-historical treatment of the development of programming languages as a means of human expression and creation. […] This site is all about […] why people designed and implemented languages and what influenced them when they did so (historically, philosophically, politically as well as theoretically). This site lists 8512 languages, complete with 17837 bibliographic records featuring 11064 extracts from those references. It is in effect a family tree of languages with 5445 links, making it not only the biggest programming language family tree around, but also one of the largest idea-genealogical projects undertaken.
programming  history  reference  recommended  ! 
january 2009 by ap
The Zen of Comprehensive Archive Networks
There is no magic. All it takes is a few people that sit down and get first something running, a rough cut. Then iteratively enhance it. Don’t try to create a master plan that will get everything right in one fell swoop. The only one that will get swooped is you.
system-architecture  complexity  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2009 by ap
Science.jpg (JPEG Image, 500×400 pixels)
[[I want a 5-foot print of this to put on my wall. —Ed.]]
science  :picture  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
The Incredible Convenience of Mathematica Image Processing | Theodore Gray @ Wolfram Blog
Every time you move a slider, it’s reprocessing ten images automatically. Now that’s integration, real power that comes from taking core functionality and combining it with powerful, general-purpose tools like `Manipulate` and symbolic processing. Not to belabor the point, but this is really a fundamental advantage of _Mathematica_ over any other system out there.
mathematics  visualisation  hci  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
RailsConf Git Talk | Scott Chacon
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on the talk that I gave at RailsConf 2008 and a number of people have requested that I do a voiceover of the slides, so here you go. It’s not quite as lively as in person, as I gave the talk at 6:30 in the morning in my living room to my cats, but you get the idea. Overall, it should serve as a pretty good Git primer for those of you that are new to Git. Hope you enjoy it.
git  reference  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
Reftests | Robert O’Callahan
David Baron came up with the idea of writing automated tests for layout and rendering where each test comprises two pages and the test asserts that the renderings of the two pages are identical. This works much better than comparing test pages to reference images (although you can use an image as a reference if you want), because you can easily write tests that work no matter what fonts are present, or what the platform form controls look like, or what platform antialiasing behaviour is, and so on. There are almost always many ways to achieve a particular rendering effect in a Web page, so it’s very easy to write reftests for parsing, layout, and many rendering effects.
software-qa  algorithm  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
How Videogames Blind Us With Science | Clive Thompson
[Constance Steinkuehler] and her co-author, Sean Duncan, downloaded the content of 1,984 posts in 85 threads in a discussion board for players of World of Warcraft. What did they find? Only a minority of the postings were "banter" or idle chat. In contrast, a majority -- 86 percent -- were aimed specifically at analyzing the hidden ruleset of games. [...] These are all hallmarks of scientific thought. Indeed, the conversations often had the precise flow of a scientific salon, or even a journal series
games  culture  science  education  future  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
Why I Blog | Andrew Sullivan @ The Atlantic Online
To use an obvious analogy, jazz entered our civilization much later than composed, formal music. But it hasn’t replaced it; and no jazz musician would ever claim that it could. Jazz merely demands a different way of playing and listening, just as blogging requires a different mode of writing and reading. Jazz and blogging are intimate, improvisational, and individual—but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both.
web  journalism  weblogging  culture  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy | Clay Shirky
If you were in a bookstore and you said “I’m done,” you’d walk out. If you were in a coffee shop and said “This is boring,” you’d walk out. You’re sitting at a party, you decide “I don’t like this; I don’t want to be here.” And then you don’t leave. That kind of social stickiness is what Bion is talking about. And then, another really remarkable thing happens. 20 minutes later, one person stands up and gets their coat, and what happens? Suddenly everyone is getting their coats on, all at the same time. […] There’s this very complicated moment of a group coming together, where enough individuals, for whatever reason, sort of agree that something worthwhile is happening, and the decision they make at that moment is: This is good and must be protected. And at that moment, even if it’s subconscious, you start getting group effects. And the effects that we’ve seen come up over and over and over again in online communities.
web  sociology  psychology  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
Sorted Books project | Language/translation | Nina Katchadourian
Culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. […] The clusters from each sorting aim to examine that particular library's focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies […] Click on the images below to see the full series from each sorting.
language  art  recommended  ! 
october 2008 by ap
The System of the World Wide Web: How the Web won | Leonard Richardson
I think the web won because of the URI. Go ahead, laugh. That’s what people did when these cryptic addresses started showing up in magazine ads. And on billboards. And business cards. And television.
web  system-architecture  recommended  ! 
august 2008 by ap
Quantum Primer | Stephen Lower
A student’s “quantum catechism” [[Extremely accessible intro to quantum theory. Little math and none of it mandatory, but no explanation by metaphor or other intellectual hand-holding, just straight exposition. —Ed.]]
physics  recommended  ! 
july 2008 by ap
The Internet’s Chorus of Calumny | Rogers Cadenhead
For all of the talk about how bad it is to be the focus of an angry mob, an angry Internet mob gums its prey rather than biting. Once you get used to the slobber it’s not so bad.
web  culture  sociology  :quotation  recommended  ! 
july 2008 by ap
Narcissism of small differences | Wikipedia
The term describes the manner in which our negative feelings are sometimes directed at people who resemble us, while we take pride from the “small differences” that distinguish us from them.
psychology  recommended 
april 2008 by ap
Why, oh WHY, do those #?@! nutheads use vi?
Your keyboard becomes a huge specialized text-editing gamepad with almost a hundred buttons. […] You have the best-designed text-editing machine there is, and it shows. [[Great examples and thoughtful myth rebuttals showing what makes vi great. —Ed.]]
vim  recommended  ! 
march 2008 by ap
The case of the 500-mile email | Trey Harris
I almost regret posting the story to a wide audience, because it makes a great tale over drinks at a conference. :-) […] “Yes, and she’s produced a map showing the radius within which we can send email to be slightly more than 500 miles.”
funny  networking  physics  sysadmin  amusing  recommended  ! 
march 2008 by ap
Bassline Baseline, 2005 | Nate Harrison
A video essay that investigates the invention, failure and subsequent resurrection of the mythic Roland TB-303 Bass Line music machine in the last two decades of the 20th century. The narrative seeks to invite thoughts on technological mediation within product innovation and creative expression. The dead-panned “documentary” video attempts to explore how and why creative tools fail and how increasingly more options, parameters or intermediaries devised during a tool’s research and development phase don’t necessarily lead to increased expressivity or virtuosity during the tool’s lifetime of actual use, unless the super-structure of its cultural context is dramatically reconsidered.
music  technology  culture  history  recommended  ! 
february 2008 by ap
Can I Get An Amen?, 2004 | Nate Harrison
A critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break. It begins with the pop track Amen Brother by 60’s soul band The Winstons, and traces the transformation of their drum solo from its original context as part of a “B” side vinyl single into its use as a key aural ingredient in contemporary cultural expression. The work attempts to bring into scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that “information wants to be free” – it questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent. This as well as other issues are foregrounded through a history of the Amen Break and its peculiar relationship to current copyright law.
music  intellectual-property  culture  history  recommended  ! 
february 2008 by ap
Re: Versioning modules in a package | BrowserUk @ Perl Monks
Long, long ago, in days of yore, I was brought up using 3-level version numbers: XX.YY.ZZ
software-development  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2008 by ap
Notes from the [Varnish] Architect | Poul-Henning Kamp
I have spent many years working on the FreeBSD kernel, and only rarely did I venture into userland programming, but when I had occation to do so, I invariably found that people programmed like it was still 1975.
memory-allocation  programming  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2008 by ap
Conversions: All in a Day’s Work | Arjen Poutsma
Each library used a different string, so conversion was all in a day’s work. Imagine my joy when I started programming in Java, some 10+ years ago. “Woohoo! Just one string type! And garbage collection too!”
depressing  programming  funny  recommended  ! 
january 2008 by ap
All markup ends up looking like XML | David Megginson
Nearly all comparisons between XML and JSON look something like this, and I have to admit, it’s a slam dunk […] On the other hand, I rarely see any data structures that are really this simple, outside of toy examples in books or tutorials
xml  json  recommended  ! 
december 2007 by ap
Software Is Hard | Kyle Wilson
Software scheduling is an NP-complete bin packing problem where the sizes of the bins are hidden! […] Software is easy to make, except when you want it to do something new.
software-development  complexity  recommended  ! 
october 2007 by ap
Your paranoia is justified | Brennen Bearnes
The government where you live is careening ever-closer to a totalitarianism overhauled by the fundamental realization that mundane and implicit evil mixed well with broadcast commercial soul-rot has a half-life that makes Stalin and Hitler look like complete chumps.
privacy  security  technology  politics  rant  recommended  ! 
october 2007 by ap
Formal Weirdness | Eric Meyer
Form controls are impossible to describe with current CSS; and […] the handling of form control styling is going to be a very unstable branch of our field for the foreseeable future. Herein, I scratch the surface of this entire mess.
css  recommended  ! 
september 2007 by ap
On the Goodness of Binary Search | Tim Bray
There’s a story I heard from a prof, that the basic Binary Search idea was around when Alan Turing was still in diapers, but that the first 18 published implementations were buggy. And I know for a fact that the first few times I coded it I got it wrong. […] So the recipe is: […] Once you get used to it, you can code it up without having to think too much. I got the body of the `search1` method up there right, character for character, the first time I typed it in.
algorithm  reference  recommended  ! 
august 2007 by ap
Extensibilized | Bill de hÓra
We’re not so much building on the programming state of the art as continually have each generation of programmers rediscover it.
programming  semantic  :quotation  recommended  ! 
july 2007 by ap
Evolution is Not Just a Theory
There is nothing higher, or better, than a theory. Laws describe things, theories explain them.
science  language  evolution  recommended 
july 2007 by ap
10 Ways to Eliminate the Echo Chamber | Chris Pirillo
Say something original at least once a day. Believe me, this is a tremendous challenge. […] […] Wait a week before publishing your thoughts on hot topics […] when everybody’s talking and nobody’s listening, what are we really accomplishing?
weblogging  advice  recommended 
july 2007 by ap
Mistakes in Experimental Design and Interpretation | Peter Norvig
By scrutinizing experiments against the checklist provided here, you have a better chance of separating truth from fiction. [Broad high-level overview covering the common pitfalls in designing an experiment and in interpreting its results. —Ed.]
science  statistics  advice  recommended  ! 
june 2007 by ap
My crush on Spyro, what Flash animations remind me of, and what the past will look like someday | Mark Pilgrim
Long after the no-doubt-teenager who cracked Spyro 3 has grown up [… it] will be remembered. Unfortunately, it will also be associated with that damn ugly crack screen, because no other versions will exist. This is what the past will look like someday.
drm  intellectual-property  history  recommended  ! 
may 2007 by ap
Free Form for All | Khoi Vinh
A fairly straightforward piece of work with most (but not all) of the common form elements complying with my layout intentions with a reasonable degree of faithfulness. I tested it in every browser at my disposal and it looks passable in all of them
css  webdesign  accessibility  usability  recommended  ! 
may 2007 by ap
The Science of Word Recognition, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bouma | Kevin Larson
I will [describe] the word shape model and serial and parallel models of letter recognition, [show] data that was used as evidence, […] evaluate the models in terms of their ability to support the data, [and describe a] model that is currently popular
perception  cognition  psychology  science  typography  recommended  ! 
april 2007 by ap
PHP in contrast to Perl
[The canonical hand-out link.]
php  perl  rant  recommended  ! 
march 2007 by ap
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