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Submission + - Google: Lessons Learned from a decade of containers (

phantomfive writes: Google has been using containers for over a decade. Internally, they've built (at least) three different container system tools. The latest edition of ACM Queue has a retrospective analyzing what went right, and what went wrong. A good read if you want to understand how we got to where we are going with distributed systems.

Submission + - Windows is Dying (at least, the revenue) ( 1

phantomfive writes: For years, Windows was the cash cow for Microsoft, the crown jewel. Now, it accounts for less than 10% of Microsoft's revenue. Microsoft's cloud service is the biggest segment of revenue, prompting CEO Nadella to say, "The enterprise cloud opportunity is larger than any market we've ever participated in." This could explain why Microsoft has been porting software to Android.

Submission + - All Code is Legacy

phantomfive writes: A post about programming, pointing out that all code you write (assuming it's successful) will be soon called "legacy code" by someone else. With trillions of dollars of code in existence, including billions written in COBOL, rewriting it all is not cost effective.

Submission + - The Programmer's Oath

phantomfive writes: Uncle Bob Martin (the author of Clean Code and huge advocate of unit tests) has written a proposed code of conduct for programmers, things all professional programmers should do. It start's with "I will not produce harmful code." Do you wish your coworkers would follow this list?

Submission + - Google paid $1 billion to Keep Search on iPhone ( 1

phantomfive writes: As the Google vs Oracle copyright case drags on, court records released show that the Google paid $1 billion USD to keep their search engine on the iPhone.

Google and Apple both later requested that the information be redacted from the record, but once something is released on the internet, sometimes it stays there.

Submission + - Bruce Schneier and the LA Schools DOS

phantomfive writes: Bruce Schneier wrote a post asking about the LA Schools DOS attack. He says, "given the choice between overreacting to a threat and wasting everyone's time, and underreacting and potentially losing your job, it's easy to overreact," and calls it CYA security. He contrasts it with the more reasonable approach of the NY School system, to a similar threat.

The email address that was used to send in the bomb threat:

Submission + - Book Review: If Hemingway Wrote Javascript (

phantomfive writes: If Hemingway did write Javascript, it would be straightforward, unadorned and precise; because that's how he wrote English. You wouldn't see any fancy meta-programming from him!

If Hemingway wrote Javascript is a book to remind you of the good parts of programming. A book for a cold evening with hot chocolate and the warm glow of a monitor. An alternate title might have been, Programming: the Fun Parts.

The author was frustrated with his day job and the culture of Silicon Valley, so he turned to writing as an escape. It didn't take long for him to remember that programming is actually fun. On Slashdot we've known that for a while, that's why there's open-source programming. This book is priced at less than $20, and considering the high-quality printing, it seems more an attempt to share ideas than make money.

Each chapter contains Javascript 'written' by a different famous author. Twenty-five authors make an appearance, including Chaucer, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K. Rowling, and Franz Kafka. Kafka's Javascript doesn't quite work, the execution metamorphoses into a bug. That's the kind of humor you'll find in this book. To give you an idea of what the code looks like, here is a function written by Douglas Adams. This function calculates prime numbers and displays them to the user (but somehow always returns the number 42).

// Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to write JavaScript...
function kevinTheNumberMentioner(_){
/* mostly harmless --> */ with(l) {

// sorry about all this, my babel fish has a headache today...
for(ll=!+[]+!![];ll<_+(+!![]);ll++) {
// I've got this terrible pain in all the semicolons down my right hand side

// you're really not going to like this...
return [!+[]+!+[]+!+[]+!+[]]+[!+[]+!+[]];

This sample takes advantage of Javascript's weird type conversion. !+[] is an empty array added to a not-false, which gets coerced into a boolean, then into an integer value of one. The clause !+[]+!![] gets resolved into an integer value of two.

Some of the authors are a little obscure. If you don't pay attention to the Man-Booker Prize recipients, you may never have heard of Arundhati Roy. If you've even heard of Andre Breton, you might be surprised to find he was a writer, not just a painter.

To help you through these sections, the book includes an explanation of each author's style. If you've ever wondered why anyone would want to read a book by Hemingway, consider this explanation: "In his fiction, he describes only tangible truths: dialog, action, superficial traits. He does not attempt to explain emotion; he leaves it alone....His intent is to create a vacuum so that it might be filled by the reader's own experience. Emotion is more easily felt than described with words."

The book is not above mocking the authors. Of Dan Brown, it says, "He'll often use the same adverb multiple times in a paragraph. In the prologue to The Da Vinci Code almost every action happens "slowly;" in Inferno we're told no less than four times that Langdon's doctor has "bushy eyebrows." Yet Dan Brown has a unique and recognizable style, and that qualifies him for inclusion in the book.

At various interludes, we find original poetry, related to programming, in the style of other famous authors; who apparently couldn't write Javascript but still wanted to contribute. From Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, it degenerates to this doggerel: "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I struggled with JQuery/ Sighing softly, weak and weary, troubled by my daunting chore...." Notice how accurately the rhythm is replicated, though. Rhythm is something missing when a lot of people try to write poetry, but not here.

The artwork is fun to look at, even aside from the text. Jane Austen is drawn with an impish little smile to denote her subtle sarcasm, Jack Kerouac shows up in a mug-shot that indicate his wild writing, and Lewis Carrol has a kindly look that suggests he is looking at some poor confused person who is reading what he wrote.

Each author also is quoted, explaining what they think of Javascript. Charles Dickens says, "It was the best of languages, it was the worst of languages." J K Rowling says, "There's more to Javascript than waving your wand and saying a few funny words." Bolano says, "We dreamed of Javascript and woke up screaming."

This book is most certainly a good read. The primary criticisms I have are that the Angus Croll (who wrote the book) is both better at writing Javascript than the authors he chose, and worse at writing English than the authors. He would have done better, in trying to describe the style of the authors, to include more examples of their writing and less of his own. Sometimes his descriptions get too wordy. The editor should have removed some redundancy: whole sentences could be redacted and would only improve readability. He likes playing dress-up with his nouns, giving them adjective after adjective; sometimes making it hard to figure out what is a noun and what is an adjective. Surprisingly, considering how well he matched the rhythm of The Raven, he seems unaware of the cadence of his prose.

Despite these faults, the book is a worthy read. If you've forgotten that programming is fun, not just a profession, maybe this will remind you.

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