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Comment Re:Sounds to me... (Score 5, Informative) 1067

Xerox PARC was certainly responsible for many innovations, nobody can deny that. However, claims that Xerox single handedly invented the WIMP interface (Windows, Icons, Pointer, Menus) and that Apple copied that interface exactly as created by Xerox are simply incorrect.

Englebart's NLS created the first implementation of Windows, and of using a Pointer to access Menus. The only addition made by Xerox PARC was the addition of Icons. NLS had bitmapped WYSIWYG graphics, but did not come up with the idea of using Icons to represent commands, using text based menus instead.

Here is a bit of Alto History for you:

The Alto was first conceptualized in 1972 in a memo written by Butler Lampson, inspired by the On-Line System (NLS) developed by Douglas Engelbart at SRI, and was designed primarily by Chuck Thacker.

Going back farther, NLS was inspired by work done by Ivan Sutherland who created a program called Sketchpad as his Ph.D thesis.


is considered to be the ancestor of modern computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs as well as a major breakthrough in the development of computer graphics in general. For example, the Graphic User Interface was derived from the Sketchpad as well as modern object oriented programming. Ivan Sutherland demonstrated with it that computer graphics could be used for both artistic and technical purposes in addition to showing a novel method of human-computer interaction.

Some video of Sketchpad in action is available online. (Jump to the four minute mark.)

Going back still farther, Everyone I've mentioned points back to an article by Vannevar Bush published in 1945 describing an imaginary personal computer called the Memex as a huge inspiration.

The Memex (a portmanteau of "memory" and "index", like Rolodex an earlier index portmanteau common at the time) is the name given by Vannevar Bush to the theoretical proto-hypertext computer system he proposed in his 1945 The Atlantic Monthly article As We May Think. The memex is a device in which an individual compresses and stores all of their books, records, and communications which is then mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. A document can be given a simple numerical code that allows the user to access it after dialing the number combination. Documents are also able to be edited in real-time. This process makes annotation fast and simple. The memex is an enlarged intimate supplement to one's memory.

To sum things up...

Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad was inspired by Vannevar Bush's idea of the Memex.

Douglas Engelbart at SRI was inspired by Sutherland's Sketchpad when he created NLS.

Xerox was inspired by NLS when they created Alto.

Apple was inspired by Alto when they created Lisa and Macintosh.

None of these was a direct copy of the other. Learn some history, and STAY OFF MY LAWN!

(BTW - Neither Alto nor Macintosh were written in an object oriented programming language.)

Comment Re:can we tag the article flamebait ? (Score 5, Interesting) 520

    The last gig I did, I sat opposite the other developer who I needed frequent contact with. Everyone else got me by email, and I would initiate return phone calls. This avoided unnecessary interruptions in my workflow, and I could queue their requests to allow me to optimize my time.

    In the past I've used similar setups. Do all the developers need almost constant face time with each other? Probably not. Then why stuff them in the same room?

    At one company, everyone in the same office suite had their own office. That was maybe 1/3 of the development and systems staff. The rest were around the world. Communications were generally by email, except when live interaction was required. This kind of setup worked very well for me, so I could be at home, the office, or the datacenter, and there was no interruption to my workflow, except when I was traveling. It all worked out very well. It didn't matter what timezone someone was sitting in, the communications flow worked fluidly. That was a situation where all of the members of the crew were very good at their tasks, and didn't have to ask for help for stuff very much. Communications were limited to status updates and functionality interaction statements. Well, we'd BS sometimes, which was good for morale and to get to know each other better. I worked with a developer in Russia for probably two years before I ever heard his voice, and never did see him in person. I did know his work was accomplished properly, and his requests to me were usually "I need this functionality on these servers." I may ask for clarification, but since he knew what he was talking about his request were usually very clear.

    I guess if you have a team who are going to have lots of questions because they aren't totally clear on what they're doing, stuffing them all in a room is a good idea. A well thought out and documented project plan would alleviate a lot of those problems though. I can imagine a room with 10 developers who can shout questions to each other would create an amazingly high amount of unwanted distractions. Verbal communications also reduce the paper trail. If everything is done via email, no one can say "I asked you for ..." and it wasn't done because it hadn't actually been asked for. The simple "You requested X at 3:30 and I responded it was completed at 5:00" is amazingly useful down the line. It completely eliminates mistakes in memory where we thought something was asked.

    I've annoyed a few people before where I've told them to always email the requests to me. When they've failed to do so, but insist that they did ask for it, I can usually recite the conversation verbatim, and then they'll remember that they had only intended to ask for it, and never actually said to do it. That's usually enough to initiate the email papertrail so the same mistake doesn't happen again.

Comment Re:Welcome to the new world! (Score 1) 711

At least Microsoft never prevented you from putting your product on theirs.

Actually, they did. They threatened PC manufacturers who wanted to bundle Netscape/Realplayer with their PCs.

And they never said you had to buy all your software through their store.

Obviously you haven't followed the news about Windows Phone 7.

Comment Re:Hindsight is useless. So try foresight next tim (Score 1) 973

The fact remains they were wrong.

Interesting thing to note is that even the ground troops through the camera guy had an RPG on him.

They didn't even try to be sure

The armed guards had weapons, that much was clear. They asked for a go according to the rules of engagement and likely because this civilian reporter was stupid enough to not inform the military of his movements caused his untimely death.

they just started shooting and laughed about it

It's a common coping strategy to deal with extreme situations. Something one learns in the first year of psychology.

Comment Do The Math (Score 1) 437

There's just a wee bit of difference between, at most, 5W of non-ionizing radiation transmitted by a mobile phone (which, at best, could transfer 50 millijoules to an IC), and the 50 Joules in a charged particle at near-relativistic speed. A cellular base station does transmit more effective radiated power but that's mostly due to the gain in the antenna array. Solution: Don't drive up the cellphone base station mast.

The Professor Irwin Corey of the Internet (Wikipedia) points to an article in Scientific American (2008-07-21), 'Solar Storms: Fast Facts' which declared "Studies by IBM in the 1990s suggest that computers typically experience about one cosmic-ray-induced error per 256 megabytes of RAM per month."

I won't compare Apples to Priuses directly, but three order of magnitude difference in energy between cosmic radiation and mobile phones should give a clue to the clueful.

Comment Re:All of My Electrons are Certified Organic (Score 4, Informative) 98

You mean like Strange matter? I honestly think they just aren't creative sometimes and just say "It's weird stuff, we can't think of a name for it, we're wasting time...let's just call it strange matter."

The term "strange matter" has a lot more history behind it than you make it sound. The origin of the term "strange" was in connection with mesons observed in cosmic ray data which, given our then-current understanding of QCD, had unusually long ("strange") lifetimes. Eventually it was discovered that the long-lifetime mesons contained quarks which had not been seen before. The quark was thus named the "strange" quark because it was one of the keys to understanding the strange mesons. Now, imagine a non-negligible assembly of matter consisting of mesons and baryons with strange quarks. This matter is called strange matter.

Yes, the term "strange" was originally used because it was a "WTF?" kind of moment, but that happened a long time ago. Strange matter is perfectly well-understood.

Comment Re:floaties? (Score 1) 132

Learn to ballast, idiot. It would be dependent on the strength of the pumps and ballast tanks. Look at the pic. There aren't any ballast mechanisms or even elevation control surfaces other than two vertical propellers. Think of ABE as an undersea helicopter(or autogyro to be precise) rather than a submarine.

Also, it's hull markings indicate NCC-1701 B. Badass.

Comment Re:Call wikipedia (Score 1) 356

RMS is just another kind of average, the "quadratic mean", which has the nice property of telling us about the magnitude and variance of a set of numbers that would uselessly cancel each other out with other mathematical tools.
Just as importantly Pavg=(Vrms)^2/R and similarly Pavg = (Irms)^2R

This is at least in electronics why rms is preferable to the mean of the modulus.

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