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Web/Tech

October 21, 2014

Another modern problem rears its ugly head

Forget ISIS and Ebola, this is really, really bad: modern technology has made it much more difficult to be a music snob.

My record collection is no longer a lifestyle, a biography, a status. The identities that I and a generation of fellow aesthetes spent our lives fashioning are suddenly obsolete. They turned out to be mere patterns of consumption, no more resilient than the patterns of production that provoked them. Not content to ruin music for the first three decades of my life, the major labels have collapsed and ruined dating too. I will probably never forgive them, if I ever get around to forgiving myself.

October 02, 2014

"Here's What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About The Apple Nude Celebrity Photo Attack"

If accurate, this is very interesting.

But buried in an extensive interview with Charlie Rose, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Jennifer Lawrence and her fellow celebrities fell victim to something called a "phishing scam."

September 25, 2014

"Development of Tiny Thorium Reactors Could Wean the World Off Oil In Just Five Years"

I can't evaluate the science or engineering, but if this even half right, shouldn't we have an Apollo-like project to do this ASAP?

(Or maybe this: "What If Giant Space-Based Solar Panels Could Beam Unlimited Power To The Earth?")

September 22, 2014

"The Downside of Giving Every Student a Laptop"

I believe it

A new study suggests the policy may be doing more harm than good. It finds public school students in North Carolina who gain their first regular access to a home computer between the fifth and eighth grades experience “a persistent decline in reading and math test scores.”

In their analysis of data from 2000 to 2005, economist Jacob Vigdor and his colleagues warn that, for disadvantaged youngsters, the positive impact of having access to online instruction “may be negated by counterproductive use of computers, particularly by students in unsupervised home environments.”

Makes L.A.'s initiative seem all the more dopey: "Supt. Deasy's early and avid support of iPads under intense scrutiny".

September 17, 2014

"A Pakistan-Based Developer Is Building A Huge House For His Family After Selling One WordPress Theme"

You gotta love PCs and the Net

September 02, 2014

"The Future Could Work, if We Let It"

Nice piece by Farhad Manjoo about technological change in general but focusing on cars in particular

September 01, 2014

"The 101 Most Useful Websites"

If you want to be on the Net on this holiday, this list should give you some things to look at.

August 20, 2014

". . . why Python is steadily eating other languages' lunch"

Tal Yarkoni:

The increasing homogenization (Pythonification?) of the tools I use on a regular basis primarily reflects the spectacular recent growth of the Python ecosystem. A few years ago, you couldn’t really do statistics in Python unless you wanted to spend most of your time pulling your hair out and wishing Python were more like R (which, is a pretty remarkable confession considering what R is like). Neuroimaging data could be analyzed in SPM (MATLAB-based), FSL, or a variety of other packages, but there was no viable full-featured, free, open-source Python alternative. Packages for machine learning, natural language processing, web application development, were only just starting to emerge.

These days, tools for almost every aspect of scientific computing are readily available in Python. And in a growing number of cases, they’re eating the competition’s lunch.

See also this much earlier piece by Eric Raymond, "Why Python?"

August 18, 2014

"Looking for a Job? How's Your COBOL?"

". . . hardware may come and hardware may go, but software is forever."

August 11, 2014

"Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops"

Guess. Go ahead, guess.

The second reason:

Hoboken school officials were also worried they couldn’t control which websites students would visit. Crocamo installed software to block pornography, gaming sites and Facebook. He disabled the built-in web cameras. He even installed software to block students from undoing these controls. But Crocamo says students found forums on the Internet that showed them how to access everything.

“There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo.

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