15 June 2014

The rat

We were sitting in a neighborhood café when I saw her. Someone had lost interest in their lunch, and had dumped a plate half-full of food onto the top of the gray plastic tub where the used coffee cups go. She was sitting nearby, nibbling at a piece of pita bread she had grabbed from the plate, her whiskers glinting in the afternoon sunlight. I sipped my iced coffee and watched. ... Read more

14 June 2014

Bitcoin: Where the impossible takes slightly longer

Late last year I wrote about forking and extending Bitcoin to increase the number of coins. Since then, numerous tulipheads have angrily informed me that I’m an idiot, that Bitcoin cannot be forked, and that you’d need to control more than 51% of the mining capacity even if it could be. Martin Fisch via Compfight Well, funny story: An anonymous individual now runs a mining pool which controls 51% of the Bitcoin mining capacity, and people are talking about the necessity of the minority “investors” carrying out a hard fork so that they aren’t subject to the whims of Bitcoin’s anonymous de facto controller. ... Read more

12 June 2014

Who to believe, revisited

First, while we did discuss legal compliance requirements with the government as reported last week, in none of these discussions did Microsoft provide or agree to provide any government with direct access to user content or the ability to break our encryption. — Microsoft MS, working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal with the new SSL. — NSA News story here, documents here, OCRed text. ... Read more

3 June 2014

A Swift look through Apple programming language history

So, Apple has a new dynamic programming language, confusingly given the same name as an existing programming language. Let’s look at some of Apple’s past experiments in programming language development, to see how this might turn out. 1987: Apple launches HyperTalk, a dynamic object-oriented programming language for rapid application development. After HyperCard’s inventor left Apple, the company lost interest, and eventually Steve Jobs killed the project in 1998, so it never made it to OS X. ... Read more

28 May 2014

Extreme keyboard geekery

I bought a new keyboard for my work computer. Let me tell you about it. There are a lot of “ergonomic” keyboards out there. They tend to have fancy shapes: However, over the decades I’ve come to the conclusion that the precise shape of the keyboard is relatively unimportant. What’s absolutely critical is the feel of the keys. The “free” keyboard you get with a generic PC these days is usually a full-travel membrane keyboard. ... Read more

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