Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Here's something that would start you thinking about how long you can tread water: losing an engine over two hours out from HNL on an ETOPS flight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cell phones, free talks by McKusick

Since the topics aren't related, this should be two postings. First, cell phone spying and criming have been in the news lately:
  • From IEEE Spectrum, details of how "extremely smart hackers" tapped the Prime Minister of Greece's cell phone. Wired has an article about how CIA agents were tracked through Italian cell phone networks.
  • Second, two free talks by Marshall Kirk McKusick of UNIX fame, both sponsored by UC Berkeley extension, but actually located in San Francisco: "A narrative history of BSD" (the "Greatest Piece of Software Ever") on 26 September, and "Bulding an Running an Open Source Community" on 3 October, both from 5:30-7:30pm.

Bonus: Checkers has been solved computationally, but not in the way you might think by evaluating a game tree the way many of us were taught.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lives (First and Second) and interfaces

Here are some links to interesting stuff that's popped up recently:
Second Life
One favorable article and two that are more skeptical: Technology Review has a very interesting article about combing aspects of Second Life with Google Earth in the article "Second Earth" (you might need to register free). On the other hand, Time magazine lists Second Life on its Five Worst Websites list here. Finally, the Los Angeles Times discusses how retailers might be bailing out.

Interfaces and design
You really need to watch this five minute video of Jeff Han discussing multitouch interfaces and their implications for collaboration. Also Bruce Sterling discusses design in this video and talks about how a typical public telephone is designed "like a cactus" versus how Google would design a public telephone.

Finally, here is a bonus link from Technology Review. Is Artificial Intelligence dead or just misguided?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Over 20,000 computer terminals!

Deep in the Alcatel-Lucent website are some videos of famous Bell Labs employees. Here's a two minute video about the UNIX operating system -- see what fashonable geeks were wearing in 1969. Hear Ken Thomson talk about making computing simple, and Dennis Ritchie about fellowship and "communal computing". Far out.