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"Most day-to-day programmers have only a general idea of how compilers transform human-readable code into the machine language that actually powers computers. In an attempt to streamline applications, many compilers actually remove code that it perceives to be undefined or unstable — and, as a research group at MIT has found, in doing so can make applications less secure. The good news is the researchers have developed a model and a static checker for identifying unstable code. Their checker is called STACK, and it currently works for checking C/C++ code. The idea is that it will warn programmers about unstable code in their applications, so they can fix it, rather than have the compiler simply leave it out. They also hope it will encourage compiler writers to rethink how they can optimize code in more secure ways. STACK was run against a number of systems written in C/C++ and it found 160 new bugs in the systems tested, including the Linux kernel (32 bugs found), Mozilla (3), Postgres (9) and Python (5). They also found that, of the 8,575 packages in the Debian Wheezy archive that contained C/C++ code, STACK detected at least one instance of unstable code in 3,471 of them, which, as the researchers write (PDF), 'suggests that unstable code is a widespread problem.'"

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Original author: 
Aaron Souppouris

Userexperience_large

Using a new TV, smartphone, or computer for the first time can be a disorienting experience for a lot of people — the modern gadget has so many functions, buttons, and options to memorize and master, novice users don't know where to begin. In an article for Fast Company, designer Philip Battin draws inspiration from videogames to pitch a novel system with an achievement / XP paradigm to help people get to grips with their electronics. Giving the example of a Samsung Smart TV, Battin proposes only giving people access to a select few functions at a time. Starting with basic volume-changing and channel-switching targets, users would gradually be introduced to the program guide, wi-fi settings, app installation, and DVR functions....

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Neurocomic

If you're interested in learning more about how our brains work, you might just want to pick up a comic book — or, at least, one very specific comic. Artist Matteo Farinella is teaming up with neuroscientist Dr. Hana Ros to create a graphic novel called Neurocomic, which is aimed at teaching readers about how our minds really work. It'll also feature giant squids and talking sea slugs, as well as famous neuroscientists. The adventure takes place inside of a human brain, where the two creators will tackle a range of neurological questions, including "how cells use electricity to communicate, how drugs work, and what happens during brain disorders." The book is slated to launch in the UK sometime this year, alongside a documentary...

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gif art

Nowadays, the word "GIF" has become all but synonymous with the frivolous and whimsical, but Croatian Paolo Čerić is proving that there's more to the medium than just cats and LOLs. Čerić, 22, is currently studying at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, where he experiments with new ways to create art from code. His animations, published to his Patakk Tumblr, are equal parts mesmerizing and perplexing — complex geometric formations that undulate and pulsate across the page.

Čerić tells Colossal that he began experimenting with the GIF format two years ago, when he was a relative novice. He began by imitating other animations he'd seen on the web, but soon developed his own style, which now ranges from...

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Press2ToContinue writes "I came across this page that asks the question, 'what are the unwritten rules of deleting code?' It made me realize that I have seen no references to generally-accepted best-practice documents regarding code modification, deletion, or rewrites. I would imagine /.'s have come across them if they exist. The answers may be somewhat language-dependent, but what best practices do /.'s use when they modify production code?"

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Life of a C++ Standard

Google Tech Talk May 30, 2012 Presented by Dean Michael Berris ABSTRACT With Google now moving to the new C++11 standard, this talk aims to provide a view into how Google is involved in the standard committee and how a new standard is actually developed. It also gives a sneak peek at what to look out for in the next iteration of the standard. It will also cover a discussion on what happened in the most recent ISO C++ committee meeting in Kona, Hawaii last February. This talk is for those interested in participating in the process and in the evolution of C++ in general. SPEAKER INFO Dean Michael Berris, Technical Solutions Engineer at Google, alternate member of C++ committee representation of Google.
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