FAA (pdf link): A Boeing Model 787 airplane that has been powered continuously for 248 days can lose all AC electrical power due to the generator control units (GCUs) simultaneously going into failsafe mode. This condition is caused by a software counter internal to the GCUs that will overflow after 248 days of continuous power. We are issuing this airworthiness directive to prevent loss of all AC electrical power, which could result in loss of control of the airplane. Guardian article: "In the latest of a long line of problems plaguing Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which saw the company’s fleet grounded over battery issues and concerns raised over possible hacking vulnerabilities, the new software bug was found in plane’s generator-control units." [more inside]
Dealing with the digital afterlife of a hacker It’s been three months since Michael died, and Beth has only been able to access and understand a sliver of what he left behind in the digital world. Kalat, who has been working closely with Beth to access Michael’s data, says this ought to be a wake up call to everyone who spends a significant amount of their life online—not just hackers.
Your new kidney is in the cloud. When former software developer David Jacobs was fortunate enough to get a kidney transplant eleven years ago, it occurred to him that there had to be a better way to match recipients with potential donors... so he bankrolled a company, and designed the cloud-based software needed to do it. As a result, thanks to paired kidney exchanges, a single kidney donation in San Francisco is saving six lives over the next few days... and will soon be saving a total of twelve lives, while removing people from the kidney waiting list, reducing the organ wait time for patients who don't have the time to spare.
This article, about a software rollback, explains that drone maker DJI can use software updates to limit the places where drones can take off.
The New York Times looks back at the Stanford Class of 1994 and what they are all up to today.
If you've ever typed anything into a Google Doc, you can now play it back as if it were a movie — like traveling through time to look over your own shoulder as you write.James Somers (previously) introduces Draftback. [more inside]
This is possible because every document written in Google Docs since about May 2010 has a revision history that tracks every change, by every user, with timestamps accurate to the microsecond; these histories are available to anyone with "Edit" permissions; and I have written a piece of software that can find, decode, and rebuild the history for any given document.
Interested in art, architecture, design, numismatics, software? Then you will be fascinated by Dutch artist Stani's detailed description how he won the competition to design the 2008 commemorative 5 Euro coin themed "Netherlands and architecture". A brilliant insight into the designer's thought process and the technology used to implement his concepts.
A different kind of standardized testing. Why the debate over ISO 29119, the proposed international standard for software testing, might matter to you. [more inside]
Georgia Teens Develop App to Document Police Abuse - Five-O, allows citizens to enter the details of every interaction with a police officer. It also allows them to rate that officer in terms of courtesy and professionalism and provides the ability to enter a short description of what transpired. [more inside]
The Adobe Illustrator Story. Watch the Illustrator story unfold, from its beginning as Adobe’s first software product, to its role in the digital publishing revolution, to becoming an essential tool for designers worldwide
101 Useful Websites is "a frequently updated list of lesser-known but wonderful websites and cool web apps. Here are some of the most useful websites on the internet that you may not know about. These web sites, well most of them, solve at least one problem really well and they all have simple web addresses (URLs) that you can memorize thus saving you a trip to Google." [more inside]
8088 Dominion is a production by demoscene programmer Jim Leonard (a.k.a. Trixter) displaying full-motion color video with audio on a 1981 IBM PC 5160. The production is a followup to a similar 2007 demo, 8088 Corruption, but with improved graphical fidelity. [more inside]
The US Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency tasked with protecting the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, visiting heads of state, and others, posted a work order on Monday seeking the development of social media analytics software capable of detecting sarcasm online.
TrueCrypt is dead, and in an extremely bizarre way. Discussion on /r/netsec, /r/sysadmin, Hacker News and Ars Technica. A popular theory is that the bizarreness is a warrant canary.
Digger is a classic IBM PC game from 1983 made by Windmill Software. You can play it online via HTML5, online via Java or download a version for platforms both common and obscure. More ports are on the Links page. [more inside]
Each week, the Internet Archive's tumblr account is completely transformed by a digital resident along a theme of their choosing. [more inside]
Geogebra is an interactive geometry tool which started as a free clone of Geometer's Sketchpad, but is now also an algebra, statistics and calculus tool. It is available for download for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, or as a web app. [more inside]
(TOP SECRET/COMINT) NSAs operation ORCHESTRA has been a resounding success again this year. This year's status report will update decision makers and programme liasons on the goals, achievements and means of ORCHESTRA. This is the NATO headquarters, right? Cool! No, no, I was just surprised that nobody was in uniform today, but I guess it's the weekend, eh? That's so cool -- I wish we were allowed to do that too. It's quite a crowd isn't it? I had no idea you had so many people with COMINT clearance over here... Amazing really. Anyway, lets get started, shall we? [more inside]
"I can't choose whether someone is offended by my actions. I can choose whether to care.. . . While I cannot be responsible for what my ancestors did, I can take responsibility to play what small part I can in cleaning up their mess." By Martin Fowler, author of many books on foundational concepts of modern software engineering.
DissidentX is a new steganography tool by Bram Cohen of BitTorrent fame designed to “vastly simplify the implementation of new steganographic techniques, and allow a universal decoder and encoding of multiple messages to different keys in the same file.” In particular, DissidentX allows encoding multiple plain texts into the same cover text with different keys, so called deniable encryption.
Model View Culture is a new online publication that concerns itself with technology, culture and diversity. [more inside]
Scott Hanselman has updated his much appreciated list of great tools for Windows. Still don't get Windows 8? Here's the guide and instructional video you've been waiting for. [more inside]
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]
Vooza is synonymous with bold innovation. Vooza is making our world a better place. Vooza engineers run far ahead of the pack. Vooza lives and dies by its design. Vooza is uncompromising in its pursuit of integrity. Learn more about Vooza here.
You might now be running in your head to a well worn path of justified resistance, phoning up the ol’ gang, circling the hippocampian wagons of amygdalian resistance. Hold on a sec, pilgrim. Yahoo urges its employees to switch from using outlook to Yahoo Mail in a bizare internal email. Meanwhile, as Microsoft abandons the hated practice of stack ranking Yahoo adopts it as its own. But hey, they have Katie Couric now!
Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year. -- Reuters journalist Scot J. Paltrow investigates how the US military's bad accounting not only wastes taxpayers money, but helps ruin the life of ordinary soldiers and veterans. [more inside]
HCI people discover bugs by receiving a concerned email from their therapist. Systems people discover bugs by waking up and discovering that their first-born children are missing and “ETIMEDOUT ” has been written in blood on the wall.The Night Watch - James Mickens [SLPDF]
Should software makers be held financially liable for the insecurity of their products? "The joke goes that only two industries refer to their customers as “users.” But here's the real punch line: Drug users and software users are about equally likely to recover damages for whatever harms those wares cause them." [more inside]
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?
Facebook Software Updates in Real Life: Parody [SYTL 2min 20sec] 'Facebook Updates in Real Life' illustrates that not all of the mobile user base is happy with the current 'Facebook Home' improvements. [more inside]
"I am a master at sullying my own name and, all things considered, being associated with the worst software on the planet ranks way down the pole." John McAfee (previously) answers questions about his latest shenanigans
After 10 years Adobe is retiring it's Creative Suite, and boxed versions of Photoshop, InDesign and other CS programs along with it. it will be replaced by the subscription only Creative Cloud.
CourseSmart software enables professors and teachers to track how much of the assigned reading students have completed.
A new software program grades essay answers automatically. While not the first to do so, the program released by EdX is expected to gain more traction as it will be used to give instant feedback for the non-profit's free online courses offered by top universities. Critics have already found ways to game the system.
The Commotion Wireless Project is a free, open-source (but still early beta) software platform for creating decentralized wireless mesh networks. [more inside]
Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
This is the story of an artist who was able to take numerous photos of a sculpture of a horse's head, "Head of a horse of Selene" now found in the British Museum - but originally from near the Acropolis in ancient Greece (circa 438-432 BC) - and who then fed the said photographs (taken from many different perspectives) to a revolutionary (free) software/app called 123D Catch (by AutoDesk, makers of AutoCAD), which then created the wireframes needed to print out exact replicas (in pieces that must then be assembled) on a 3D printer. The artist makes it available on Thingiverse, if you'd like to make one on your own on your 3D printer. If the demo video for 123D Catch doesn't blow your mind, your mind has probably already been blown. With apologies to Dr. Hook
A life well lived. On October 4, 1973, Josh Miele (4) was permanently blinded in an acid attack by his neighbor (pdf). 40 years later, Dr. Miele has worked for NASA on the Mars Rover project, he's helped develop "WearaBraille", a virtual Braille keyboard interface, and has a new project launching this month: the Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX), which will allow "sighted video viewers to seamlessly add audio description to DVDs as they watch." [more inside]
As Microsoft prepares to retire its unfashionable Hotmail in favor of Outlook.com this summer, let's remember the viral marketing revolution that Hotmail invented. Journey back seventeen years to Hotmail's origins, the birth of the dot.com millionaire, and the boozy optimism of a pre-crash web industry in full-growth mode (Wired, December 1998) .
Marc Andreessen predicts the end of traditional retail.
Retail chains are a fundamentally implausible economic structure if there’s a viable alternative. You combine the fixed cost of real estate with inventory, and it puts every retailer in a highly leveraged position. Few can survive a decline of 20 to 30 percent in revenues. It just doesn’t make any sense for all this stuff to sit on shelves. There is fundamentally a better model.
Alan Cooper and the Goal Directed Design Process The heart of the problem, he concludes, is that the people responsible for developing software products don’t know precisely what constitutes a good product. It follows that they also do not know what processes lead to a good product. In short, they are operating by trial and error, with outcomes like customer satisfaction achieved by little more than blind luck. By Hugh Dubberly, first published AIGA GAIN Journal, 2001