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Submission + - Indians beat Isaac Newton to Infinite Series

at_$tephen writes: According to this article in ScienceDaily Indians knew about Pi and infinite series about 250 years before Isaac Newton did. To be meaningful they would have had to have developed some systematic symbolic analysis tools and logic to deal with infinite series. Folks like Archimedes in ancient Greece had already been exploring infinite series using geometric methods which were not readily amenable to easily stating and proving theorems on infinite series that the methods introduced by Newton and Leibniz allowed in a systematic manner. One of the true geniuses of infinite series is, of course, the Indian mathematician Ramanujan.

Comment Ajax Design Patterns by Michael Mahemoff (Score 1) 43

I think Mahemoff does an excellent job on "Ajax Design Patterns". He is clearly well schooled in the traditional design patterns of Gamma et al and does an excellent job using a similar spirit vis a vis Ajax. He covers an impressive number of sites, many of whom I would never have heard about if it were not for his diligent research. He has a catalog of the specific patterns he covers such as Ajax App, Ajax Stub, Browser-Side Cache, and Data Grid. However, the actual book is organized in five main areas beginning with a great intro to basic Ajax (the section "Anatomy of a Server Call" is particularly good). After the intro the other areas covered are (1) Foundational Technology Patterns (including web remoting); (2) Programming Patterns, with a great intro to web services and clarity on what qualifies as a Restful service and why it is popular + DOM + code generation; (3) Functionality and Usability Patterns (widgets, page architecture, visual effects, etc); and (4) Development Patterns (diagnosis, testing). He spends a great deal of time discussing the tradeoffs in the performance of Ajax calls and even has a link to a back of the envelope calcs of the latency of ajax calls. It's filled with all sorts of neat Ajax tricks to optimally give the illusion of continuity as the user browses over a large dataset (eg in maps). Lots of technologies are covered in sufficient detail and really anyone with enough interest can understand it. This is just a solid programming/engineering book period. When I read a book like this I am awed at the power of the individual to organize. I would have taken ages to dig up Ajax related stuff here and there (and even in many books I perused), but when I found this book I was like, "Ok, I've found my guide!". You can't go wrong buying this book. At each step he brings attention back to the underlying pattern and when one understands the pattern , one is freed from the details just as the Gamma et al authors intended. So, fellow coders, this may be another book to add next to your desktop coding bibles (Gamma et al, etc...). Enjoy....
United States

Submission + - High-Skilled Workers Protest for Green Cards

at_$tephen writes: Businessweek has an article describing a peaceful Gandhi-style protest by highly skilled workers in the US due to the long and unpredictable time spent in limbo while green card applications are being processed. There is nothing worse than uncertainty in obtaining certain basic human needs. A recent admin glitch by the State Department raised false hopes that many would soon have their applications processed. Highly-skilled immigration processing problems are probably the biggest challenges affecting US high tech competitiveness. Not only does it prevent companies from obtaining necessary workers as smoothly as possible, but it affects the growth of the industry through the entrepreneurial efforts of those workers who are under H-1B while trying to create the next HP or Google. Countries like Canada and the UK are much more sophisticated in handling immigration issues and will lead the way in turning the American dream into a global dream.

Submission + - MySpace successfully sued by France's "The But

at_$tephen writes: The Register writes that French comedian Jean-Yves Lafesse has successfully sued MySpace for copyright infringement. Says the article: "The court ordered the site to remove the unauthorized videos or pay 1,000 euros for each day it remains online". "Fesse" means "Buttock" in french, and Lafesse is like the Baron Cohen of France. Over the last few years I've noticed so many interesting digital copyright lawsuits emerge from France and it pays to keep track of what's going on down there. Let's not forget that the French revolution against unfair treatment towards the citoyen heavily influenced the framers of the American constitution. Today, the undeniable prevalence of digital media in all aspects of our lives is forcing the world to rethink the fair rights of the digital owner, the digital distributor, and its consumers. 1,000 euros a day is not pocket change, especially when the dollar is taking a nosedive. Perhaps MySpace can mount a successful appeal, but what of the many struggling Web 2.0 companies that suddenly find themselves on the wrong end of a copyright infringement suit?

Submission + - Would Buffett Approve IBM's Huge Share Buy Back?

at_$tephen writes: In today's New York times I was stunned to read the following article on how IBM borrowed $11.5 billion to buy back its stock. I cannot imagine how the move can be good for its shareholders. This is a lot of money and it adds to its already huge liability. In fact, it is the first article that has led me to suspect that all is far from well at IBM, although I would have to read through annual reports and do my own due diligence to make a better assessment. Right now this is just a gut instinct partly influenced by my failure to grasp its long term business strategy particularly with Linux, Aix, and mainframes. It's possible that they did the debt issue through something like a long term zero coupon convertible bond, in which case the effect is similar to IBM writing a covered call option to the banks with the strike paid in advance — which is ok if the stock does well over the long period but can backfire if not since that strike needs to be given back. The banks that loaned the money don't care because they'll probably just turn around and hedge the deal through a cascading network of hedge funds. Mr. Market may also be tricked by the meaningless earnings per share boost of such a deal since it is easily fooled in the short term. For a very long time I have admired IBM and still do. The research that the company has created is almost second to none in the tech world. As a tech entrepreneur who loves both the business and technical aspects of technology I have been inspired by the efforts of Thomas Watson Sr and Thomas Watson Jr in building such a great corporation like IBM. Great corporations are built by great men and women. I would hope that IBM focuses more on straight forward value creation and less on financial gymnastics. As a disclaimer, this is just my $0.02 and I have no knowledge of any particulars of the deal nor have I any business affiliation with IBM either as a shareholder or otherwise.

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5