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Comment Re:Proud tradition (Score 1) 161

You credit the environment, which was certainly spectacularly nurturing at Bell Labs. But don't conflate that with the sort of corporate development that produced these new languages (Swift, Go, Hack). Corporate entities may produce invaluable Technical Journals etc. but rarely, if ever, elegant, inspiring ideas, products, or books like K&R.

Comment Re:Proud tradition (Score 2) 161

Bell Labs didn't develop C; in fact I think Bell Labs hardly knew what to do with it. Two (brilliant) people -- Keringhan and Ritchie -- working in Bell Labs wrote C and developed Unix so that they could do what they wanted, better and quicker, on the minicomputers around their labs. Their slim volume "The C Programming Language" is amazingly engaging, concise, and deeply instructive. Modern IDEs are great for many things but they also constitute a significant hurdle to actually coding, which K&R had you doing pronto in a succinct, introductory tutorial chapter.

Submission + - Apple Deleted Users' Non-iTunes Music (

KatchooNJ writes: Engadget is reporting that Apple deleted users' non-iTunes music and didn't tell them about it. From the article:

Tell us if this sounds familiar: You grabbed Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster from Amazon MP3 in 2009, threw it in your iTunes library, went to sync your 160GB iPod classic and got an error message saying you needed to restore the device's factory settings. According to The Wall Street Journal, upon restoring, non-iTunes music would disappear. In the courtroom for the anti-trust case, prosecuting attorney Patrick Coughlin said that Apple directed the software to not tell users about their now-missing songs, too. Cupertino countered by saying that its actions were to thwart any attempts at hacking into iTunes and that users were kept in the dark for a reason. As security director Augustin Farrugia testified:

"We don't need to give users too much information... We don't want to confuse users."

Comment Re:Don't evolutionary arms races shape ALL genomes (Score 2, Interesting) 33

absolutely -- everything is in the race. It's like suggesting more complex beings (e.g. humans) are "more evolved", when in fact they (we) were pushed out of the simpler niches by "better evolved" organisms. There's virus that uses 5 of the 6 available reading frames along a stretch of its genome... THAT is good coding (humans use 1, very rarely 2, and often none (non-protein coding)).

Submission + - MagicJack Inventor Dan Borislow Dead at Age 52 (

Nightwraith writes: Dan Borislow, whose “MagicJack,” peddled in television infomercials, helped pioneer free phone calls through the Internet, has died. He was 52.

His death was confirmed by Brad Shewmake, a spokesman for MagicJack Vocaltec Ltd., the maker of the device. Borislow was the founder and former chief executive officer of the company, based in Netanya, Israel, and West Palm Beach, Florida.

He died yesterday of a heart attack after playing in a soccer game in West Palm Beach, according to an e-mail today from his friend, Douglas Kass, founder of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Dan was a true telecom pioneer whose vision, creativity, energy, passion and single-minded focus was the driving force behind the success of MagicJack,” the company’s CEO, Gerald Vento, said today in a statement. Vento replaced Borislow as the company’s chief executive on Jan. 1, 2013.

Comment run (Score 1) 3

Oh, Reagan would say plenty of rah-rah things about toughing it out and standing up to the bad guys. But once a few hundred marines got killed, he'd cut-and-run like he did in Lebanon.

Comment Re:I think you're thinking of the B1B (Score 1) 190

The B1 was a huge waste of money -- about $100 billion back then, probably over $200 billion in today's dollars. It was obsolete before it was built because low-level (below radar) bombers were impractical. Carter cancelled it and pushed the stealthy B2 but Reagan wanted to buy toys for his "Defense" Department and needed to pay off contractors, mostly in SoCal. The B1 has hardly ever done anything and never anything that couldn't have been done by another plane.

Comment Re:Right. (Score 1) 379

How many Macbook Airs are used as business machines? Less than 2% at a guess..

Yippee! I'm in the 2%!

(Mostly I use Citrix to connect to the corporate environment but also Word and Excel on the Air. Mine is over 3 years old -- (still) a great laptop; instant on/off with the cover, reliable, good keyboard, very light weight.)

Comment Ben Franklin was joking... (Score 1) 310

...when he proposed to tax shutters and wake people at sunrise by ringing bells and firing cannons. In his recounting, he had gone "home, and to bed, three or four hours after midnight, with my head full of the subject" (of artificial lighting), as well as probably a few bottles of French wine. The premise is that he is surprised that the sun comes up so early and doubtful that anyone gets up before noon ("it will be difficult to induce them to rise before noon").

Translation here:

Thus, Franklin demonstrated the challenge of using satire to communicate your ideas; even a genius will be often misunderstood (QED).

Comment Re:Wikipedia is utterly broken anyway. (Score 1) 112

...The second worst thing is that it tries to pretend that you can eliminate biased people, rather than acknowledge that bias exists and tackle how to be open about it.

Doesn't the fact that Wikipedia "tries to pretend that you can eliminate biased people" necessarily include that they "acknowledge that bias exists"? Full disclosure: my bias is that I love Wikipedia (and send them money every year).

Comment Re:in other words... (Score 1) 341

Similarly, I would recommend David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter" about the Korean War. Only a few years after the WWII triumph on two fronts, the US was completely unprepared in Korea and woefully led. Military reductions played a role but careerism within the military, and particularly toadyism within MacArthur's staff, was even more to blame. The book helped inform me about this little-remembered war and political era in the US.

NY Times review:

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