Monthly Archives: May 2012

the perl 5.16.0 epigraph

It makes me think back to a lightning talk at OSCON 2011, when someone said, “When we say that this community requires a thick skin, it means we’re self-selecting for only people with thick skin.” It also means that we’re doomed to cycle back into nastiness as the group’s average skin thickness and willingness to flame grows higher and higher.

How abusive behavior is tolerated and reinforced in open source community.

Seeing the Future in Science Fiction

Given the era in which this happened to me, I soon became acquainted, too, with J. G. Ballard, Michael Moorcock, Samuel Delany, and Ursula K. Le Guin, the otherness quotient actually climbing, nosebleed high. And, given my age at the time, and the ideological company that this second wave kept, I simultaneously found Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. There my own Golden Age of Science Fiction came, in some sense, to an end, the othernesses of my adolescence joining up with the wider tributary of literature, the mother of all otherness. Had science fiction not found me when it did, on the counter at Woolworth’s and in the iconography of the steering wheel in my father’s Olds, I suspect I might not have found that river. Or else, finding it, I might not have recognized it, and turned away.

William Gibson reflects on his journey to literary fiction.

After Facebook fails

Now, as targeting for online advertising gets more and more accurate, the signal is getting lost. On the web, how do you tell a massive campaign from a well-targeted campaign? And if you can’t spot the “waste,” how do you pick out the signal?

Very interesting thoughts on the future and (potential) fallacy of personalized advertising, which is an unquestioned Holy Grail of marketing today.

I don’t see people moving away from Facebook to managing ‘relationships in their own ways, using standardized tools that embrace the complexities of relationship’ anytime soon, but the article makes several good observations about the state of advertising on Facebook.

Medical devices: A ticking time-bomb

Of over 1,700 devices checked, only 3% were found to be accurate to within three seconds. One in five were off by more than 30 minutes; one ultrasound machine was running 42 years (and some minutes) early. The average error was a staggering 24 minutes.

“When I reflect what kind of engineer I am, I am afraid to go to a doctor. Oh, wait, I AM a doctor?!”

Germany sets new solar power record, institute says

German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

I would like to be proven wrong and see Germany really being able to replace nuclear plants with renewables by 2022.

How Tim Cook is changing Apple

Indeed, the vibe, in the words of a former employee, is of an Apple that is becoming “far more traditional,” meaning more MBAs, more process, and more structure. (In point of fact, 2,153 Apple employees reference the term “MBA” in their LinkedIn profiles out of a nonretail workforce of nearly 28,000. More than half the employees who reference “MBA” have been at Apple less than two years.)

Wall Street loves Cook, but the above sounds more scary than Jobs’ psychopathic traits.

Buying Adobe Photoshop CS6

I’m back on the support chat with another Adobe support team member. By this time, the 48-hour window had passed for both the processing of my order and for the escalation of my support request. Neither had been fulfilled.

Adobe will be able to get away with the sales model more suitable for 19th century as long as there’s no decent competitor. However, for now we only have substandards alternatives and petitions for something better.

Don’t mention income inequality please, we’re entrepreneurs

Before streaming video, TED was a conference — it is not named for a person, but stands for “technology, entertainment and design” — organized by celebrated “information architect” (fancy graphic designer) Richard Saul Wurman.
more on salon.com

This is a wonderful demonstration of author’s competence on the subject of information architecture.

The rest of the article doesn’t even try to conceal the scorn for TED or to be balanced. But to be fair, Chris Anderson really made himself an easy target discarding a bad talk using all the wrong arguments.

Surprise! China’s Stealth Jets Are 2 Years Ahead of Schedule

Last year, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was greeted in Beijing by China’s experimental stealth jet buzzing over his head. Gates didn’t sweat it: He proclaimed that the J-20 wouldn’t be ready until at least 2020. Oops.

The Pentagon’s top China official has now revised that estimate. The J-20, China’s first stealth jet, will be operationally ready “no sooner than 2018,” David Helvey, deputy secretary of defense for East Asia and Asia Pacific Security Affairs, told reporters Friday.

more on m.wired.com

News on American struggles and China’s slow but steady progress in military airplane technology.