Monthly Archives: March 2012

1k Rose

I’ve participated in the love themed 4th edition of js1k. My submission is a static image, a procedurally generated 3d rose. You can take a look of it here.

It is made by Monte Carlo sampling of explicit piecewise 3d surfaces. I’m going to try to explain all a bit in this article.

Excellent tutorial. Yes, it gets technical.

Manufacturing: The end of cheap China

Fourth, China’s supply chain is sophisticated and supple. Professor Zheng Yusheng of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business argues that the right way to measure manufacturing competitiveness is not by comparing labour costs alone, but by comparing entire supply chains. Even if labour costs are a quarter of those in China to make a given product, the unreliability or unavailability of many components may make it uneconomic to make things elsewhere.

When we were not paying attention, China graduated from a mere supplier of cheap labor to a country with the most efficient and flexible supply chain on the planet, making manufacturing elsewhere – wasteful.

Charlemagne: Mario, put on your toga

If Mr Monti’s economic competence was to be expected, his diplomatic agility has been a pleasant surprise. Italy, a founder member of the European Union, has returned to the centre of policy-making after the marginalisation and mockery of the Berlusconi years. Having signed the fiscal compact on budgetary discipline, Mr Monti wants the EU to adopt an “economic compact” to promote growth, especially by releasing the potential of the single market. As one diplomat puts it, Mr Monti seeks “more Europe in Italy, and more Italy in Europe.

While it was easier for Monti to appear competent after his predecessor, this glowing review by The Economist is still impressive.

Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh

That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.

So was the “Think Different” campaign an elaborate plot to get Samsungs of the world to chase exactly the wrong goals?

A Patent Lie: How Yahoo Weaponized My Work

Yahoo tried and failed, over and over again, to build a social network that people would love and use. Unable to innovate, Yahoo is falling back to the last resort of a desperate, dying company: litigation as a business model.
more on wired.com

It’s been few years now since any not-depressing news came out from Yahoo.

10 Questions for Neil deGrasse Tyson

If you could meet any scientist who ever lived, who would it be? Larry Bassett THORNWOOD, N.Y.

Isaac Newton. No question about it. The smartest person ever to walk the face of this earth. The man was connected to the universe in spooky ways. He discovered the laws of motion, the laws of gravity, the laws of optics. Then he turned 26.

more on time.com

Q&A with celebrity-scientists and one of the coolest people on the planet, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The day Bill Gates called me rude — and other lessons in user experience

At one particularly frustrating moment, I offered the following: “Bill, a shower, a toilet, and a water fountain all have mechanisms to control water flow, places where the water comes out, some sort of porcelain basin to hold the water, and a drain, but we don’t combine them into one thing to reduce their learning curve. We don’t merge them into one object because each of them are in use in fundamentally different ways at different times.

It seems that calling this designer rude was not enough and after the years he still didn’t get what Gates was trying to tell him.

Is Intelligence Self-Limiting?

Once a FOOMing intelligence is smart enough to understand its own design and can redesign itself at will, motivational signals are vulnerable to the strategy employed by robot 0x2A: the simplest solution to any motivational problem is to tinker with the motivational signals themselves. If this leads to a serious disconnect between external and internal reality, it amounts to death by Occam’s Razor.
more on ieet.org

Interesting concept obscured by unnecessary acronyms.

America, the Beautiful (And Nutty): A Skeptic’s Lament

Now consider this: Some 70 percent of Americans believe in some aspect of the paranormal — ESP, devils, ghosts, homeopathy, and spiritual healing. More than 25 percent believe there are humans who can “psychically” predict the future. About 20 percent believe it’s possible to talk to dead people (and that the dead talk back).
more on wired.com

All of these beliefs are inherent to Christianity, so if anything is a surprise here, it’s that the numbers are so low.

Why I left Google

Under Eric Schmidt ads were always in the background. Google was run like an innovation factory, empowering employees to be entrepreneurial through founder’s awards, peer bonuses and 20% time. Our advertising revenue gave us the headroom to think, innovate and create. Forums like App Engine, Google Labs and open source served as staging grounds for our inventions. The fact that all this was paid for by a cash machine stuffed full of advertising loot was lost on most of us.

Suddenly Eric Schmidt has become a champion of the “good old times” and not the cold “business guy” he used to be. Instead a technical founder is driving the company in the direction clearly incompatible with the hacker ethos.

Secondly… Everything in this post makes sense, but… Microsoft? Really?