Monthly Archives: December 2011

Pay Your Programmers $200/hour

Which situation would your rather be in: risking $100,000 investment for a $200,000 return, or risking $1,000,000 investment for a $50,000,000 return? This might seem like a self-answering question, but virtually all programming hires fall into the first category.

The rebuttal from the first comment is by far more interesting that the article itself:

I will counter with this — what if I could invest 1 dollar to get a possible return of 206,000,000 … the lottery is an AWESOME INVESTMENT… wait, odds of success matter, dam

How the Boston Globe Pulled Off HTML5 Responsive Design

I think up until now it has only been used in blogs and portfolios and things like that. The pieces have been there but it just hasn’t been put together. I think it is also having a client that is that this is brave enough to say that this important for their business and makes the leap. Because it does take more time and more testing and things like that than your typical Web developer that can just throw something together.

Badly edited but technically interesting interview with the people behind responsive redesign of Unfortunately, Ethan Marcotte, who invented the term “responsive design” and participated in the project too, didn’t take part in the interview.

Mindy Kaling: “Flick Chicks”

I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from “Alien” and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fakey razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it.

The gallery of female stereotypes from romantic comedies.

Stanford Free Classes – A review from a Stanford Student

Stanford “free” classes aren’t free. Stanford students have to pay for them. The fact that I’m paying for them doesn’t bother me, the fact that people who aren’t paying for them have changed the class more than the ones who have, does. I’m sorry, but if I’m going to have to pay $50,000 a year to go to Stanford then the classes should be tailored to fit the students – not a working professional who wants to learn a little machine learning on the side. That is why I propose that they should separate the classes. Then if the assignments aren’t clear enough or whatever, the online public version can tailor to suit their needs and the in-person version can tailor to suit the students.

A critical perspective on free online courses published by Stanford University, like this one.


How much then, for one day with what my family has right now? How much? Everything.

The truth is, I’m the luckiest person in the world today. I hope you are too.

Gruber brings out his best guns to make me type “carpe diem”.

The New Twitter (R.I.P. Tweetie)

What also worries me is that these changes suggest not only a difference in opinion regarding how a Twitter client should work, but also regarding just what the point is of Twitter as a service. The Twitter service I signed up for is one where people tweet 140-character posts, you follow those people whose tweets you tend to enjoy, and that’s it. The Twitter service this new UI presents is about a whole lot more — mass-market spoonfed “trending topics” and sponsored content. It’s trying to make Twitter work for people who don’t see the appeal of what Twitter was supposed to be. It all makes sense if you think of the label under the “#” tab as reading “Dickbar” instead of “Discover”.

Gruber on new Twitter UI and the change in the company’s direction it may represent.

I am Neil deGrasse Tyson

If a space traveling entity approached you with an opportunity to visit any celestial object from any distance and allow you bring one scientific instrument of your choosing, where would you go and what would you bring? The size of the instrument does not matter, but keep in mind the farther away your object of choice is, the more it may have changed (i.e. if you hoped to visit the recently discovered supernova SN 2011fe, you would arrive 21 million years after the event).

neiltyson: I’d bring my iPhone, as the most compact representation of modern culture there is. And I’d visit a civilization on a galaxy 65 million light years away. Assuming I can get there instantaneously, I would look back to Earth with their presumably super telescopes and witness the extinction of the dinosaurs – the light of which is just now reach them.

more on

Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed by the readers of Reddit. Buried in the answers is the link to this excellent video interview with out-of-character Stephen Colbert.

The Secret History of Kim Jong Il – By Kim Hyun Sik

Despite such vigorous displays of bravado, Kim Il Sung did not appear satisfied. “That’s all very well,” he replied. “But what if we lose? What shall we do if we lose?”

Kim Il Sung’s prodding was unexpected. The moment that their Great Leader uttered the word “lose,” the generals’ lips closed and remained tightly shut. As they sat still in extreme anxiety, the 51-year-old Kim Jong Il suddenly stood up. Raising his clenched fists, Kim yelled out, “Great Leader! I will be sure to destroy the Earth! What good is this Earth without North Korea?”

Kim Il Sung looked at his eldest son and smiled.

“That is surely the answer. I am pleased to see that a new North Korean general has been born at this very gathering. Henceforth, I transfer to you the operational command of the North Korean military.”

A former high school teacher of Kim Jong Il shares his memories of the Dear Leader and the life in North Korea.

Physics World reveals its top 10 breakthroughs for 2011

Steinberg’s work stood out because it challenges the widely held notion that quantum mechanics forbids us any knowledge of the paths taken by individual photons as they travel through two closely spaced slits to create an interference pattern.

This interference is exactly what one would expect if we think of light as an electromagnetic wave. But quantum mechanics also allows us to think of the light as photons – although with the weird consequence that if we determine which slit individual photons travel through, then the interference pattern vanishes. By using weak measurements Steinberg and his team have been able to gain some information about the paths taken by the photons without destroying the pattern.

What happened in physics in 2011, beside almost-but-not-quite search for Higg’s boson and possibly faster than light neutrinos.

The John Carmack Archive

I settled on combining all forms of input into a single system event queue, similar to the windows message queue. My original intention was to just rigorously define where certain functions were called and cut down the number of required system entry points, but it turned out to have much stronger benefits.

With all events coming through one point (The return values from system calls, including the filesystem contents, are “hidden” inputs that I make no attempt at capturing, ), it was easy to set up a journalling system that recorded everything the game received. This is very different than demo recording, which just simulates a network level connection and lets time move at its own rate. Realtime applications have a number of unique development difficulties because of the interaction of time with inputs and outputs.

Transient flaw debugging. If a bug can be reproduced, it can be fixed. The nasty bugs are the ones that only happen every once in a while after playing randomly, like occasionally getting stuck on a corner. Often when you break in and investigate it, you find that something important happened the frame before the event, and you have no way of backing up. Even worse are realtime smoothness issues – was that jerk of his arm a bad animation frame, a network interpolation error, or my imagination?


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Reading the archive of John Carmack’s notes from developing Quake 3.