I love Lin Clark’s code cartoons, as much for her incredibly clear explanations as for her fearless choice of advanced and in-the-weeds topics. Her latest, a three part series delving into some new low level capabilities that will make concurrent and high performance programming more possible in the browser is no exception.
Sebastian Anthony at Ars shares a good level of detail on what’s new and worthwhile in the just released Firefox 54. The add on manager shows what may prevent multiprocess on your system. Probably worth getting used to check there with some of the changes in adopting Web Extensions mentioned in the article.
A tidy bit of analysis by a friend and former colleague of mine, Kevin Bankston. He has long advocated for many of the benefits to be found at the intersection of science fiction and policy. His article is rich with excellent examples, demonstrating a growing and broadening set of trends of purposeful exploration via science fiction.
Gnu Privacy Guard, an open source crypto tool compatible with OpenPGP and laterally supporting dozens of different uses is trying to raise funds for a few months of some additional developers time. I use GPG daily, including signing and encrypting my mail, securing online chats, keeping my password store safe, and so much more. Please check it out and help if you can. If you want to know more ways to use GPG, find me on Freenode at #cmdln or keybase.
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Brian Barrett at Wired has a good explainer on the challenges of scaling as the backbone of Moore’s Law. He goes over the transistor design that has helped keep the trend of price to performance going in the last few years as well as a new approach IBM is optimistic will keep the trend going for several more years. No mention in the article of where miniaturization reaches physical limits but that threshold is still out. Unlike this particular development, at a certain point the realities of physics at ridiculously small scales will required shifts away from transistors and silicon.
Nitasha Tiku at Wired has a fascinating look at a potential shift in competition law with regards to technology, fueled by trends in privacy and big data. Lina Khan, a former colleague of mine, is quoted extensively, offering some very sharp opinions and questions. Well worth a read.
Klint Finley at Wired shares a good summary of the findings an some research Github conducted to understand the diversity of open source contributors. The results aren’t surprising and Finley highlights one of the most important consequence, how the low level of contribution from non-white, non-male people could make their ability to enter the profession that much more difficult. The article includes some good, broad advice for both companies supporting open source and community leaders.
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Mike Loukkides defines defensive computing through a few examples and more importantly argues in broad strokes why we need it. Definitely bolsters my argument that neither technology nor policy on their own are sufficient to defend our online interests, such as privacy. We need smart technology that deals with the actual realities of how networks work and smart policy that shores up our expectations with strong accountability.
Some good news in the realm of copyright, the US Supreme Court has ruled against Lexmark in their attempt to lock out the ability to re-manufacture and sell ink cartridges at much more reasonable prices. I still am amazed that this case got this far given how strained an interpretation of copyright Lexmark’s stance was to begin with.
This Wired article makes me think of @starstryder and helps me understand in retrospect why she and I have chatted so much about programming and tech over the years despite our very different fields. Given the data intensive nature of modern astronomy, this pressure to bring more capabilities from the realm of software development, from big data to machine learning, is hardly surprising. Kind of makes me want to find some volunteer opportunities to help where I can.