Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can't check - "A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it's talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia's pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm." (via; previously ;)
Untrusted, a game you can't win unless you change it.
Vivek Wadhwa's article about hiring in the tech industry makes some startling assertions.
For the past three days, the world of streaming gaming has been riveted by an unlikely phenomenon: Twitch Plays Pokemon. Consisting of a live Twitch.TV chatroom hooked up to a classic Game Boy emulation of Pokémon Red, the program is set to recognize a limited number of commands and execute them in real time, allowing an audience of tens of thousands to collectively control the action as they watch. An astonishing amount of progress has been made, including the dramatic last-second defeat of a third gym leader (GIF) and the solution of a notoriously tricky puzzle on the very first attempt. But all for naught, it seems, as Team Twitch finds itself hilariously stranded on the ledges of Route 19 where, as one viewer explained, "they basically have to walk a small path for about ten spaces without anyone pushing down and jumping Red off the ledge," a grim democratic reality the dedicated subreddit /r/twitchplayspokemon has had all kinds of fun with over the last dozen ludicrous hours.
"As a developer and a gamer I always wanted to make games, but I never actually did it. To change that I threw myself a public challenge: build a new game every week in html5." [more inside]
Many programmers' careers were launched by playing an innovative computer game called Robot Odyssey. [more inside]
Programmers will tell you that coding is one of the most approachable skills there is. If you want to learn, there's Code Academy, or perhaps LearnPython.org. There are major non-profits that want to help you learn, free books, and videos. Great! Finished with all of those? [more inside]
It was not the first time that Adam Magyar has had to explain his work to mystified observers. Born in Hungary in 1972, Magyar began taking pictures in his late twenties, roaming the streets of Asian cities and capturing images of Indian street vendors, Hindu holy men, and Himalayan students. His work evolved rapidly from conventional documentary photography to surreal, radically experimental imagery that reflects his obsession with finding innovative new uses for digital technology. A self-taught engineer and software designer who assembled his first computer while in his teens, Magyar captures his images using some of the world’s most sophisticated photographic equipment, modified with software he writes himself. Additional code, also of his own design, removes nearly all distortion, or “noise,” from his data, producing images of remarkable clarity.[more inside]
For your Sunday reading, a couple of stories of ye olden computing days: Why MacPaint's Original Canvas was 416 Pixels Wide and A Great Old Timey Game Programming Hack.
Produce the number 2014 without any numbers in your source code ☠ Write a program that always outputs “2012” - even if it's modified! ☠ Obfuscated Hello World ☠ Print your code backwards - reverse quine ☠ Shortest code to print a smiley face ☠ Write the shortest program that generates the most compiler warnings and errors [more inside]
Source Code in TV and Films reveals what the code for that GUI interface in Visual Basic is really for.
The problem with time.
Greg Wilson talks about What We Actually Know About Software Development, and Why We Believe It's True (slides for one iteration of this talk) [more inside]
In the wake of a questionable article about feminist programming languages, a group of trolls leapt on the idea to create a parodic implementation. GitHub promptly removed the code repository, as did BitBucket, but the latter restored it amid the controversy. More commentary from Slashdot and Twitter.
The PLT Games are a monthly programming language competition. At the beginning of every month, a new theme is picked and developers begin work on a language that they think best fits the theme. At the end of every month, developers submit their projects and entries are submitted during the next month. [more inside]
King James Programming – "posts generated by a Markov chain trained on the King James Bible and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs." SLTumbler
What could be more impressive than learning to program, and then writing a complete new music notation program? Doing it with your feet.
Pyret is a new programming language for teaching from Brown University that blends Python, Racket, and OCaml. [more inside]
I signed up for an account on Healthcare.gov last week. It wasn’t the smoothest process, but I was able to create an account. Some parts are slow; sometimes you have to reload a page to make progress. But it’s starting to work. It will be fixed, because it has to be. And now that the launch and inevitable crash has finally happened, in a way the worst is over. Real-world traffic is providing programmers all the debugging data that they could ever want, and “all bugs are shallow with the president watching,” as Paul Ford writes in Bloomberg Businessweek, paraphrasing the open-source-software advocate Eric Raymond’s assertion that “with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” -- Rusty Foster in The New Yorker
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
To my daughter's high school programming teacher: "I spent 16 years raising a daughter who had all the tools and encouragement she needed to explore computer programming as a career. In one short semester, you and her classmates undid all of my years of encouragement."
Professor Matthew Kirschenbaum, as part of his larger interest in the problem of software preservation, asks the provocative question What are the 10 most influential software programs of all time?
Cosmos returns in the year 2014. "A Personal Journey" becomes "A Space-Time Odyssey". Presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey will be aired on FOX and follow a similar format to the beloved Sagan classic, available here.
Quine Relay. A quine is a program that produces its own source code as output. This is what happens when you write a program that outputs the source of a program in another language, that outputs the source of a program in another language, and so on through fifty different languages until you get out the source of the program you started with.
Gustav Jens Tech Tips. Start with the basics, then works your way through programming HTML, CSS, Java, LUA and Python . For anyone interested in learning programmings.
Why StarCraft crashed frequently during development, How we could have fixed the most common causes, The Starcraft Path-finding Hack The making of Warcraft - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 . Game development articles thanks to Patrick Wyatt (about) who led the development efforts on Starcraft, programmed extensively on Diablo and Diablo II and later left Blizzard to help run ArenaNet and release Guild Wars.
'Lets Grid' is an online programming environment that is designed to get people into programming. I tried to strip away all of the complicated set-up that goes along with real-world programming and just give students the very basics they need to create cool things and share their creations with the world.
Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams Detailed and thoughtful exploration of clockwork and automata as a phenomenon in the 17th Century and their development into machines that could imitate human activity - eventually leading to the famous Mechanical Turk (eventually exposed as fake) and the truly astounding "Silver Swan" built by John Joseph Merlin. (Definitely not a fake) [more inside]
Hexagonal Grids. For when you have a game that needs grids that are made of hexagons.
The year was 1986, and Lynda had just joined a small cadre of female engineers working for FI, a groundbreaking IT firm that laid the foundations for outsourced development and women’s rights in the workplace. The company, originally called Freelance Programmers, was founded in the early 1960s by Stephanie Shirley, a German who had been evacuated to Britain — along with many fellow Jewish children — as part of the kindertransport shortly before the Second World War.Gender equality is still a major issue in the technology industry, but 50 years ago one British company was blazing trails.
Do you contribute to open source projects on github? Want to know how you're doing? Check your Open Source Report Card.
After years of silence, enigmatic programmer/musician/surrealist why the lucky stiff is publishing to the web again (temporarily). Five days ago he released a number of short collages; today, his site is outputting a number of stories and essays, which are being collected in several Scribd repositories. _why writes about a strange old Oprah show starring guests who've removed themselves from society [parts 2 3 4 5 6], discussing M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening with a friend [2 3 4 5 6], and suffering a personal crisis after reading the complete works of Kafka [2 3 4 5 6 7]. (One final story, "Dentist", has been uploaded to a public Dropbox account [2 3 4 5 6 7 8].) There's also this somewhat ominous web site. [more inside]
Kids In Vietnam Are Crazy Good At Programming - '11th graders in Vietnam are so good at programming that they could easily pass an interview at Google' (via)
Genetic algorithms are useful for solving all kinds of problems and their implementations can be quite mesmerizing to watch. Re-producing Mona Lisa, a human face or bull cave painting. Playing Super Mario, Tetris and more Tetris. Simulating a soccer team, fishes, ant colony or Santa's flight path. A documentary about using genetic algorithms in design, e.g. deciding the optimal antenna placement on a Humvee, creating search and destroy behavior for UAVs and designing more efficient wind turbine blades. Should probably learn how to stand and jump and stand again before driving.
Every programmer knows that debugging is hard. Great debuggers, though, can make the job look simple. " That attitude is illustrated in an anecdote from IBM's Yorktown Heights Research Center. A programmer had recently installed a new workstation. All was fine when he was sitting down, but he couldn't log in to the system when he was standing up. That behavior was one hundred percent repeatable: he could always log in when sitting and never when standing." [more inside]
Using computer systems for doing mathematical proofs - "With the proliferation of computer-assisted proofs that are all but impossible to check by hand, Hales thinks computers must become the judge." [more inside]
A visualization of 826 days of Minecraft development, from alpha 1.2 to release 1.5, shown in 8~ minutes. [more inside]
But like anything, the original Photoshop was a product of its time. Knoll’s foundations grew to support functionality he’d never imagined; as the features piled on, more staff was added. What started as mostly a photography tool turned quickly into a graphic design powerhouse. And when a port to Windows became inevitable, things started to really get messy.
Photoshop is a city for everyone: how Adobe endlessly rebuilds its classic app.
Photoshop is a city for everyone: how Adobe endlessly rebuilds its classic app.