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ACM Awards 2009 Turing Prize To Alto Creator Charles Thacker 49 49

scumm writes "This year's Turing Prize has been awarded to Charles Thacker, whom they describe as (among other things) the 'creator of the first modern personal computer.' From the ACM's announcement: 'ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery today named Charles P. Thacker the winner of the 2009 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his pioneering design and realization of the Alto, the first modern personal computer, and the prototype for networked personal computers. Thacker's design, which he built while at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), reflected a new vision of a self-sufficient, networked computer on every desk, equipped with innovations that are standard in today's models. Thacker was also cited for his contributions to the Ethernet local area network, which enables multiple computers to communicate and share resources, as well as the first multiprocessor workstation, and the prototype for today's most used tablet PC, with its capabilities for direct user interaction.' For further reading, the Wall Street Journal has an article providing more background about Mr. Thacker and the Turing Prize. In the spirit of full disclosure, the submitter feels compelled to point out that this Mr. Thacker is his uncle, and that he thinks this is really cool."

Comment Re:Javascript is actually a great language (Score 2, Informative) 531 531

All strings coerce to boolean true in JS, as they do in C (with the exception of the empty string):

char* a = "false";
if (a) {
    printf("a is true?\n");
}

In fact, most values coerce to true except integer zero, NaN, undefined, null and empty string.

Comment Re:Park Plus (Score 2, Insightful) 863 863

Yep, I've used Park Plus here in Calgary and I think it's great. It's convenient for first time users (walk to any Park Plus box, enter your license plate and leave). For more frequent users, the mobile version is even easier.

Being able to pay only for the parking time you need is fantastic.

Comment Re:Pictures versus digital photos... (Score 1) 345 345

Exactly - copyright has never been to encourage "hard work", though it may in some cases. It is primarily for progressing the state of the arts and sciences:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"

A small (but trivial) counterpoint: many aspects of mechanical work could involve copyright, but they would have to be genuinely creative (ie: copyrighting your specific plans for laying out a mechanical motor).

Comment Re:The cool thing is... (Score 2, Informative) 192 192

The source for the disassembler is pretty simple.

http://src.chromium.org/viewvc/chrome/trunk/src/courgette/disassembler.cc

Porting that to parse x86 out of ELF or another executable container wouldn't be too difficult. Porting it to parse x64 or PPC would be tougher.

Comment Re:Piracy Wars and the Halting Problem... (Score 1) 460 460

If they were smart, they'd release the keys for ripping after a month and get everyone but the most dedicated pirates out of the loop. I'd feel a lot better about buying BD disks if I knew a guaranteed rip was coming one month later. As it stands right now, I'll rent them but hold off on buying them until I could possibly rip them (which I might or might not, but I like to have the choice).

"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970

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