Obviously Yahoo is still trying to fight back against Google’s dominance of all things big and cloudy. It will be interesting to see if their approach of trying to claim some sort of ethical high ground by pitching their new cloud system at research and education pays off.
Cloud computing testbed – new research centre announced by Yahoo, Hewlett Packard and Intel | Sheila’s work blog
This is interesting, in that it is a backlash against REST, which has otherwise been one of the darlings of the software world. I’m not entirely sure if this article is an honest attempt at a refutal, or whether it is merely an attempt to stir up some discussion. But it’s worth reading anyway.
Could we be looking at it all wrong?: Putting REST to rest
A typical InfoQ summary of an interesting discussion, this time about the merits and problems of polling REST resources, and how some other approaches might help solve these problems.
InfoQ: Beyond Polling? Consider PubSub, Push and MOM
A nice little story about fault diagnostics. I find it hard to believe that any company would really spring for an engineer to take dinner with a family for several nights in a row just to solve some intermittent fault, though.
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This story reminded me of one of my favourites from Jon Bentley’s Programming Pearls.
… an anecdote from IBM’s Yorktown Heights Research Center. When a
programmer used his new computer terminal, all was fine when he was sitting
down, but he couldn’t log in to the system when he was standing up. That
behavior was 100 percent repeatable: he could always log in when sitting and
never when standing.
Most of us just sit back and marvel at such a story; how could that terminal
know whether the poor guy was sitting or standing? Good debuggers, though,
know that there has to be a reason. Electrical theories are the easiest to
hypothesize: was there a loose with under the carpet, or problems with static
electricity? But electrical problems are rarely consistently reproducible.
An alert IBMer finally noticed that the problem was in the terminal’s keyboard:
the tops of two keys were switched. When the programmer was seated he was a
touch typist and the problem went unnoticed, but when he stood he was led
astray by hunting and pecking.
– “Programming Pearls” column, by Jon Bentley in CACM February 1985
On the way home from work this evening I came upon a queue of traffic waiting at some temporary traffic lights by some road works. I came to a halt but the driver following me did not stop so well, and crunched into the rear of my car just after I stopped. The car is due to go to a local garage for assessment and repair tomorrow. I hope it can be repaired, I love my little Seat.
My car, looking healthy from the front
Initially it doesn’t look too bad from the back
Until you look past the plastic bumper at the bent metal behind
Now I just have to go through the trouble of sorting out insurance claims etc.
Nice article from Jay Fields about the difference between a head-down, crank-out-whatever-I’m-asked-for hacker and a wiser developer who thinks to ask the business about the overall value and reason for the work.
I have seen this very strongly in my work.
However, and this is one of my pet rants, a major part of the problem is the education system. I have studied with a variety of organisations and can’t recall a single situation where questioning the reason and value of a programming assignment was treated with anything but scorn.
Colleges and universities routinely stunt the minds of software developers and effectively force them either into the “hacker” mentality or out of the business. The reason that wise developers who care to question have become so valuable, is because of their rarity, and that in turn is due to a lack of supply.
Jay Fields’ Thoughts: Developers needed; Hackers need not apply
Any kind of public web development eventually bumps into SEO (search engine optimisation). It’s a notoriously tricky area where opinions and trusted techniques can become obsolete overnight. I recently read a recommendation for the following, so I’m blogging it here for later reference.
Learn From SEO Experts. Become an Expert.
Smalltalk is not at the top of my list of languages to practice with right now, but if you are interested, this seems like an excellent resource – a whole collection of legit Smalltalk books as free PDF downloads.
Stéphane Ducasse :: Free Online Books
Another neat little Git-related tool. This one allows an arbitrary script to be run against every version of the software in the history. The example uses it to generate a simple code-size graph, but the possibilities are much bigger.
lixo.org :: Git Iterator
This is an aspect of personalization which we don;t really cover in our product – personalizing to the user’s abilities.
Looks like a good article, even if I distrust bald statements such as
Supple can reduce the performance gap between people with disabilities and those users who don’t have any by 62 percent.
Wired Campus: Every User Deserves a Personalized Interface – Chronicle.com
An unrelated discussion at work led to a mention of the original Colossal Cave text adventure (a.ka. “Crowther and Woods”, “adventure”, or even just “advent”), and no mention of that game is complete without a reference to Dennis Jerz’s legendary paper on the subject.
DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original Adventure in Code and in Kentucky
Although phrased in terms of sharing educational resources and content, the simple rules presented in this post make for a good start for making anything shareable.
I might consider adding something along the lines of “documented”. I have seen plenty of open source software, for example, which meets all the other criteria. Without adequate descriptive and instructional documentation, though, most of the criteria might as well not apply. It’s hard to gauge quality, edit or repurpose something if you can’t make sense of it.
Phil’s JISC CETIS blog» Blog Archive » Shareability
An article drawing an analogy between the architecture of software systems and the structure of businesses. Might be useful, but the commenters hanve a lot of reservations.
InfoQ: Thoughts On Software Architecture and Corporate Structure
SitePen Blog » window.name Transport
My current work is centred around Java, and all our applications are deployed in java containers. It might one day be useful to deploy JRuby applications, and in particular rails apps, to these same containers. Here’s a list of things to beware of in such situations.
This has all the attributes of an interesting article – distributed version control, “web 2.0″ application, and so on. However, I can’t quite make it out without more exploration than I can afford right now. They seem to assume that readers know without explanation!
Here’s the Gist of it — GitHub
Can you get the gist of it?
Obviously, “cloud computing” is the hot topic right now. Here’s another system which seems to be addressing the same space as Amazon’s EC2.
InfoQ: Grails Gains Cloud Hosting with Morph AppSpace
An average article about the nature of the mobile market to teenagers. Do read some of the pro/anti iPhone comments, though!
For teens, the future is mobile | News – Digital Media – CNET News.com