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David Kramer's high-entropy blog

Blank Is The New Black

From Slashdot: DJ Danger Mouse Releases Blank CD-R To Spite EMI.

DJ Danger Mouse famously fought with EMI over his Beatles/Jay-Z mashup, ‘The Grey Album,’ and now seems to be battling with the label again. Rather than release his latest album and face legal issues with EMI, Techdirt is reporting that Danger Mouse will be selling a blank CD-R along with lots of artwork, and buyers will be responsible for finding the music themselves (yes, it’s findable on the internet) and burning the CD.

I find it fascinating how many of our largest staple industries are screwing themselves over by not keeping up with the times.  The music, auto, banking, telecommunications, and power industries are all in deep kimchee because the world changed around them (their supply, demand, competition, regulations, ecology), and they just stood there and said “This is the way my father did it, and the way my father’s father did it…”  Their advisers tell them to cleanse their blood with leaches and stay out of the night air.

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Google’s Next Semantic Web Move

We all love Google.  And I’m not just saying that because I would love to work there.  Sure, there are other search websites, but for general use, Google works best for me.  And I’m not saying that because it usually brings me to the right Wikipedia page as the first result, or the cool logos.  They get the whole metadata thing.  They get the whole “The Web As A Database” thing, as does Yahoo.

Just the other day, Google announced on their Webmaster Central blog a new technology that will allow web devleopers to specify content for their website’s Rich Snippets (I found this on Dries Buytaert’s blog post, posted on a LinkedIn group).  Rich Snippets are tiny sections of a website that appear next to the link on Google’s search results page.  Depending on the kind of website, it might show reviews of the company/product, contact information for that person, etc.  That information is automagically derived from that page and related pages. Read on…

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Nominate A Robot For The Robot Hall Of Fame

The Robot Hall Of Fame is a Carnegie Mellon University project.

The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University established the Robot Hall of Fame to honor landmark achievements in robotics technology and the increasing contributions of robots to human endeavors.  Two categories of robots are honored in the Robot Hall of Fame: Robots from Science and Robots from Science Fiction

They are currently accepting nominations for new inductee robots.  At the head of the pack right now is my personal favorite, Bender Bending Rodriguez from Futurama (yes, I voted for him.  Bite my shiny mettal a**.)  However, I found this entry quite intriguing.  This is an actual mechanical robot automaton from the 18th century that looks like a man, but can draw several complicated drawings and reproduce a few poems.  All mechanically.  Fascinating!  The website at The Franklin Institute has videos of it working and its output, as well as its complex history.

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A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

Honestly, I lost where I got this link from.  Maybe Slashdot.  But it’s brilliant in its snarkiness and honesty at the same time.  From James Iry’s blog, One Div Zero, I bring you A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages.

A few of my favorite entries on his list to tempt you:

  • 1842 – Ada Lovelace writes the first program. She is hampered in her efforts by the minor inconvenience that she doesn’t have any actual computers to run her code. Enterprise architects will later relearn her techniques in order to program in UML.
  • 1970 – Niklaus Wirth creates Pascal, a procedural language. Critics immediately denounce Pascal because it uses “x := x + y” syntax instead of the more familiar C-like “x = x + y”. This criticism happens in spite of the fact that C has not yet been invented.
  • 1972 – Dennis Ritchie invents a powerful gun that shoots both forward and backward simultaneously. Not satisfied with the number of deaths and permanent maimings from that invention he invents C and Unix.

If you’re more interested in actual facts (that’s crazy talk!), there’s The Programming Languages Genealogy Project, and The History Of Programming Languages.

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