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Hey! You're looking at the front page of recorder.sayforward.com which is a temporary storage place for articles I didn't read/evaluate yet. I also use this platform to prepare new content to post sayforward.com where audio/video/image material is hosted completely on my server. On the recorder instead, media is loaded from external sources, so don't get mad if some of them don't work anymore.

Please note that the content posted here is explicitly intended to help me remember certain things, i.e. it is not intended to entertain you in any way (although you certainly will find stuff that fulfills this criteria).

Now: Happy Browsing!

Star Citizen’s Biggest Goal Yet: A Procedural Gen Team:

Star Citizen is going to be colossal. That was never in question. Then it became even more not in question with the crowdfunded additions of everything from first-person combat to facial capture tech to a collaboration with Kingdom Come to probably, like, the virtually reanimated consciousness of Chris Roberts himself, a beaming face of ceaseless […] via Rock, Paper, Shotgun

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Peter Norvig's 9 Master Steps to Improving a Program:

Inspired by a xkcd comic, Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google and all around interesting and nice guy, has created an above par code kata involving a regex program that demonstrates the core inner loop of many successful systems profiled on HighScalability.

The original code is at xkcd 1313: Regex Golf, which comes up with an algorithm to find a short regex that matches the winners and not the losers from two arbitrary lists. The Python code is readable, the process is TDDish, and the problem, which sounds simple, but soon explodes into regex weirdness, as does most regex code. If you find regular expressions confusing you’ll definitely benefit from Peter’s deliberate strategy for finding a regex.

The post demonstrating the iterated improvement of the program is at xkcd 1313: Regex Golf (Part 2: Infinite Problems). As with most first solutions it wasn’t optimal. To improve the program Peter recommends the following steps:


via High Scalability

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Two Days of C++ with Bjarne Stroustrup and Herb Sutter:

Learning from the C++ masters via Dr. Dobb’s All

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ZeroMQ: The Design of Messaging Middleware:

A look at how one of the most popular messaging layers was designed and implemented via Dr. Dobb’s All

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vs Ableton Push:

This is … real. This is really the famed “crack-smoking” mayor of Toronto, laying down a beat live with Ableton Live and Ableton Push. And it’s definitely not an official Ableton artist endorsement, nor is Rob Ford a certified Ableton trainer. (Though if he does want to consider another career…) Well, some people do find … Continue →

The post Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vs Ableton Push appeared first on Create Digital Music.

via Create Digital Music

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The ASCII art of the 1930s:

via The Verge - All Posts

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The bacteria that turns water into ice: Meet Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterium that causes disease in plants and helps make snow machines work. It all has to do with ice nucleation — the process that forms ice crystals in the atmosphere and, thus, snow.

    



via Boing Boing

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Book Review: Sudo Mastery: User Access Control For Real People: Saint Aardvark writes “If you’re a Unix or Linux sysadmin, you know sudo: it’s that command that lets you run single commands as root from your own account, rather than logging in as root. And if you’re like me, here’s what you know about configuring sudo: 1.) Run sudoedit and uncomment the line that says “%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL”. 2.) Make sure you’re in the wheel group. 3.) Profit! If you’re a sysadmin, you need to stop people from shooting themselves in the foot. There should be some way of restricting use, right? Just gotta check out the man page…. And that’s where I stopped, every time. I’ve yet to truly understand Extended Backus-Naur Form, and my eyes would glaze over. And so I’d go back to putting some small number of people in the ‘wheel’ group, and letting them run sudo, and cleaning up the occasional mess afterward. Fortunately, Michael W. Lucas has written Sudo Mastery: User Access Control for Real People.” Keep reading for the rest of Saint Aardvark’s review. Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.




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Ray Kurzweil Talks Google's Big Plans For Artificial Intelligence: Nerval’s Lobster writes “Ray Kurzweil, the technologist who’s spent his career advocating the Singularity, discussed his current work as a director of engineering at Google with The Guardian. Google has big plans in the artificial-intelligence arena. It recently acquired DeepMind, self-billed ‘cutting edge artificial intelligence company’ for $400 million; that’s in addition to snatching up all sorts of startups and research scientists devoted to everything from robotics to machine learning. Thanks to the massive datasets generated by the world’s largest online search engine (and the infrastructure allowing that engine to run), those scientists could have enough information and computing power at their disposal to create networked devices capable of human-like thought. Kurzweil, having studied artificial intelligence for decades, is at the forefront of this in-house effort. In his interview with The Guardian, he couldn’t resist throwing some jabs at other nascent artificial intelligence systems on the market, most notably IBM’s Watson: ‘IBM’s Watson is a pretty weak reader on each page, but it read the 200m pages of Wikipedia. And basically what I’m doing at Google is to try to go beyond what Watson could do. To do it at Google scale. Which is to say to have the computer read tens of billions of pages. Watson doesn’t understand the implications of what it’s reading.’ That sounds very practical, but at a certain point Kurzweil’s predictions veer into what most people would consider science fiction. He believes, for example, that a significant portion of people alive today could end up living forever, thanks to the ministrations of ultra-intelligent computers and beyond-cutting-edge medical technology.” Share on Google+

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Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics: malachiorion writes “Have you heard the one about the Christian college in North Carolina that bought a humanoid robot, to figure out whether or not bots are going to charm us into damnation (dimming or cutting our spiritual connection to God)? The robot itself is pretty boring, but the reasoning behind its purchase—a religious twist on the standard robo-phobia—is fascinating. From the article: ‘“When the time comes for including or incorporating humanoid robots into society, the prospect of a knee-jerk kind of reaction from the religious community is fairly likely, unless there’s some dialogue that starts happening, and we start examining the issue more closely,” says Kevin Staley, an associate professor of theology at SES. Staley pushed for the purchase of the bot, and plans to use it for courses at the college, as well as in presentations around the country. The specific reaction Staley is worried about is a more extreme version of the standard, secular creep factor associated with many robots. “From a religious perspective, it could be more along the lines of seeing human beings as made in God’s image,” says Staley. “And now that we’re relating to a humanoid robot, possibly perceiving it as evil, because of its attempt to mimic something that ought not to be mimicked.”’” Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.




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The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World: pacopico writes “About 24 years ago, a tiny chip company came to life in a Cambridge, England barn. It was called ARM, and it looked quite unlike any other chip company that had come before it. Businessweek has just published something of an oral history on the weird things that took place to let ARM end up dominating the mobile revolution and rivaling Coke and McDonald’s as the most prolific consumer product company on the planet. The story also looks at what ARM’s new CEO needs to do not to mess things up.” Share on Google+

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via Slashdot

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Drive-by Android Malware Exploits Unpatchable Vulnerability: An anonymous reader writes “Attackers have crafted the E-Z-2-Use malware code that exploits a 14-month-old vulnerability in Android devices. The vulnerability exists in the WebView interface a malicious website can utilize it to gain a remote shell into the system with the permissions of the hijacked application. Vulnerable devices are any device that is running a version earlier than 4.2 (in which the vulnerability was patched) which is a staggeringly large amount of the market. The vulnerability is in Android itself rather than the proprietary GMS application platform that sits atop the base operating system so it is not easily patched by Google.” Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.




via Slashdot

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Riecoin: A Cryptocurrency With a Scientific Proof of Work: An anonymous reader writes “Enter decentralized, open source mining with the first scientific proof of work. Riecoin is a decentralized (p2p), open source digital currency. Proof of work is about finding Hardy-Littlewood k-tuples. Ultimately miners are verifying the Riemann hypothesis. Unlike for Primecoin the probability of accepting a false positive goes to zero as the network grows. Primecoin uses Fermat Test which runs the risk of accepting so called Carmichael numbers. Riecoin uses a stronger test to ensure correctness.” Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.




via Slashdot

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Collect & Reward System: What you think and what they feel - by Hamidreza Nikoofar:

A short look at Collect & Reward systems in videogames. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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Another Thought on Game Design Theory and Puzzles - by Matthew Yeoman:

I’m looking at the claim that puzzles are not games dueto four inherent problems they face. This was recently brought up by Toni Sala in the post titled “Game Design Theory Applied: the puzzle of designing a puzzle game.” via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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Data Is Not Fun - by Declan Kolakowski:

As player data becomes more widely available than ever before and metrics driven design dominates more and more of the industry’s mind-share, have we thought deeply enough about what design using player data really means? via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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Termite-Inspired Robots Build With Bricks: sciencehabit writes “A termite mound is a model of insect engineering. Some are meters high and consist of a complex network of tunnels. Even more impressive, millions of the bugs work together to build the mound, all without a blueprint or foreman telling them what to do. Could robots do the same? That’s a question that has now been tackled by Justin Werfel, a computer scientist at Harvard University Today, he and his colleagues introduced a computer program that figures out how autonomous robots can make specific structures, including small-scale skyscrapers and pyramids, simply by following the same set of rules. The researchers started small, tasking three compact robots, or bots, with making a one-story, three-pronged structure all on their own, a job they completed in 30 minutes.” Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.




via Slashdot

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New Fractal Art Tool:

Comments via Hacker News

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The Power of Abstraction - Barbara Liskov:

submitted by incredulitor
[link] [comment] via Computer Science: Theory and Application

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The Road To VR: An anonymous reader writes “Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood has posted about how much progress we’ve made toward commercially viable virtual reality gaming — and how far we have to go. The Oculus Rift headset is technologically brilliant compared to anything we’d have before, but Atwood says there are still a number of problems to solve. Quoting: ‘It’s a big commitment to strap a giant, heavy device on your face with 3+ cables to your PC. You don’t just casually fire up a VR experience. … Demos are great, but there aren’t many games in the Steam Store that support VR today, and the ones that do support VR can feel like artificially tacked on novelty experiences. I did try Surgeon Simulator 2013 which was satisfyingly hilarious. … VR is a surprisingly anti-social hobby, even by gamer standards, which are, uh low. Let me tell you, nothing is quite as boring as watching another person sit down, strap on a headset, and have an extended VR “experience”. I’m stifling a yawn just thinking about it. … Wearing a good VR headset makes you suddenly realize how many other systems you need to add to the mix to get a truly great VR experience: headphones and awesome positional audio, some way of tracking your hand positions, perhaps an omnidirectional treadmill, and as we see with the Crystal Cove prototype, an external Kinect style camera to track your head position at absolute minimum.’ Atwood also links to Michael Abrash’s VR blog, which is satisfyingly technical for those interested in the hardware and software problems of VR” Share on Google+

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via Slashdot

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Ripping off Flappy Bird: the murky world of app cloning:

Flappy Bird is gone, but its influence remains. The overnight hit disappeared from App Stores nearly a week ago, but search for “Flappy Bird” on an online jobs site today and you’ll get dozens of hits.

None of these listings are for opportunities to work on the actual Flappy Bird, of course. Instead, they are job ads from companies and cash-seeking entrepreneurs seeking to get rich quick with their own version.

It’s a fact of the mobile industry that whenever a successful game comes along, dozens of clones aren’t far behind. It’s a gold rush for those who can code - or who can afford to pay a coder - to get the job done and a copy released as quickly as possible.

Read more…

via Eurogamer.net

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How Emergence Changes The Business Model - by Kevin Gliner:

Emergence lets us use the underlying mechanics of the game itself to drive discovery, increase player life expectancy, and reduce development expense. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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How Will the Oculus Rift Change Game Design? - by Jay Weston:

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, as I’m an indie developer that recently got a hold of the first dev kit. What exactly will change in terms of game design and mechanics, or what can we do differently now that the Oculus has arrived? via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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How free to play poisoned the core industry - by Alex Nichiporchik:

Investors are looking at the successes on the mobile/free-to-play side of the business and demanding more ROI, putting pressure on executives — this causes disasters in core game companies. My take on free to play games. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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Unity Android Performance Optimization in Domingos – part 1 - by satish chandra:

part 1 of two part series on how we optimized the performance of our game - The Domingos, made in Unity 3D, for Android Platform. via Gamasutra.com - All Blogs

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8 Ways Stardog Made its Database Insanely Scalable:

Stardog makes a commercial graph database that is a great example of what can be accomplished with a scale-up strategy on BigIron. In a recent article StarDog described how they made their new 2.1 release insanely scalable, improving query scalability by about 3 orders of magnitude and it can now handle 50 billion triples on a $10,000 server with 32 cores and 256 GB RAM. It can also load 20B datasets at 300,000 triples per second. 

What did they do that you can also do?


via High Scalability

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Letter from America: 8-bit classics that deserve a remake:

While I was enduring a long-haul flight a few weeks ago, I started thinking about old classic games that deserve a remake. With gaming history now spanning five decades, there are plenty of ideal candidates for a modern-day makeover - but which ones should make the cut?

I started with a long list of potential games that I eventually boiled down to just five - all classics from the mid-80s that were released on either Atari 8-bit micros or the Commodore 64. I’ll be creating further articles like this, and my next five picks will likely be ZX Spectrum games. Not just because there are some great Speccy games that were way ahead of their time that would make amazing new games - but to also introduce USgamer’s American readership to some of the classics that defined the British micro boom of the 80s.

Once you’ve had a look at my five remake picks, I’d love to hear which old classic games you think would kick ass in modern-day form.

Read more…

via Eurogamer.net

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How Next Big Sound Tracks Over a Trillion Song Plays, Likes, and More Using a Version Control System for Hadoop Data:

This is a guest post by Eric Czech, Chief Architect at Next Big Sound, talks about some unique approaches taken to solving scalability challenges in music analytics.

Tracking online activity is hardly a new idea, but doing it for the entire music industry isn’t easy. Half a billion music video streams, track downloads, and artist page likes occur each day and measuring all of this activity across platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, and more, poses some interesting scalability challenges. Next Big Sound collects this type of data from over a hundred sources, standardizes everything, and offers that information to record labels, band managers, and artists through a web-based analytics platform.

While many of our applications use open-source systems like Hadoop, HBase, Cassandra, Mongo, RabbitMQ, and MySQL, our usage is fairly standard, but there is one aspect of what we do that is pretty unique. We collect or receive information from 100+ sources and we struggled early on to find a way to deal with how data from those sources changed over time, and we ultimately decided that we needed a data storage solution that could represent those changes.  Basically, we needed to be able to “version” or “branch” the data from those sources in much the same way that we use revision control (via Git) to control the code that creates it.  We did this by adding a logical layer to a Cloudera distribution and after integrating that layer within Apache Pig, HBase, Hive, and HDFS, we now have a basic version control framework for large amounts of data in Hadoop clusters.

As a sort of “Moneyball for Music," Next Big Sound has grown from a single server LAMP site tracking plays on MySpace (it was cool when we started) for a handful of artists to building industry-wide popularity charts for Billboard and ingesting records of every song streamed on Spotify. The growth rate of data has been close to exponential and early adoption of distributed systems has been crucial in keeping up. With over 100 sources tracked coming from both public and proprietary providers, dealing with the heterogenous nature of music analytics has required some novel solutions that go beyond the features that come for free with modern distributed databases.

Next Big Sound has also transitioned between full cloud providers (Slicehost), hybrid providers (Rackspace), and colocation (Zcolo) all while running with a small engineering staff using nothing but open source systems. There was no shortage of lessons learned in this process and we hope others can take something away from our successes and failures.

How does Next Big Sound make beautiful data out of all that music? Step inside and see…


via High Scalability

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How Google Backs Up the Internet Along With Exabytes of Other Data:

Raymond Blum leads a team of Site Reliability Engineers charged with keeping Google’s data secret and keeping it safe. Of course Google would never say how much data this actually is, but from comments it seems that it is not yet a yottabyte, but is many exabytes in size. GMail alone is approaching low exabytes of data.

Mr. Blum, in the video How Google Backs Up the Internet, explained common backup strategies don’t work for Google for a very googly sounding reason: typically they scale effort with capacity. If backing up twice as much data requires twice as much stuff to do it, where stuff is time, energy, space, etc., it won’t work, it doesn’t scale.  You have to find efficiencies so that capacity can scale faster than the effort needed to support that capacity. A different plan is needed when making the jump from backing up one exabyte to backing up two exabytes. And the talk is largely about how Google makes that happen.

Some major themes of the talk:

  • No data loss, ever. Even the infamous GMail outage did not lose data, but the story is more complicated than just a lot of tape backup. Data was retrieved from across the stack, which requires engineering at every level, including the human.

  • Backups are useless. It’s the restore you care about. It’s a restore system not a backup system. Backups are a tax you pay for the luxury of a restore. Shift work to backups and make them as complicated as needed to make restores so simple a cat could do it.

  • You can’t scale linearly. You can’t have 100 times as much data require 100 times the people or machine resources. Look for force multipliers. Automation is the major way of improving utilization and efficiency.

  • Redundancy in everything. Google stuff fails all the time. It’s crap. The same way cells in our body die. Google doesn’t dream that things don’t die. It plans for it.

  • Diversity in everything. If you are worried about site locality put data in multiple sites. If you are worried about user error have levels of isolation from user interaction. If you want production from a software bug put it on different software. Store stuff on different vendor gear to reduce large vendor bug effects.

  • Take humans out of the loop. How many copies of an email are kept by GMail? It’s not something a human should care about. Some parameters are configured by GMail and the system take care of it. This is a constant theme. High level policies are set and systems make it so. Only bother a human if something outside the norm occurs.

  • Prove it. If you don’t try it it doesn’t work. Backups and restores are continually tested to verify they work.

There’s a lot to learn here for any organization, big or small. Mr. Blum’s talk is entertaining, informative, and well worth watching. He does really seem to love the challenge of his job.

Here’s my gloss on this very interesting talk where we learn many secrets from inside the beast:


via High Scalability

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Little’s Law, Scalability and Fault Tolerance: The OS is your bottleneck. What you can do?:

This is a guest repost by Ron Pressler, the founder and CEO of Parallel Universe, a Y Combinator company building advanced middleware for real-time applications.

Little’s Law helps us determine the maximum request rate a server can handle. When we apply it, we find that the dominating factor limiting a server’s capacity is not the hardware but the OS. Should we buy more hardware if software is the problem? If not, how can we remove that software limitation in a way that does not make the code much harder to write and understand?

Many modern web applications are composed of multiple (often many) HTTP services (this is often called a micro-service architecture). This architecture has many advantages in terms of code reuse and maintainability, scalability and fault tolerance. In this post I’d like to examine one particular bottleneck in the approach, which hinders scalability as well as fault tolerance, and various ways to deal with it (I am using the term “scalability” very loosely in this post to refer to software’s ability to extract the most performance out of the available resources). We will begin with a trivial example, analyze its problems, and explore solutions offered by various languages, frameworks and libraries.

Our Little Service

Let’s suppose we have an HTTP service accessed directly by the client (say, web browser or mobile app), which calls various other HTTP services to complete its task. This is how such code might look in Java:

via High Scalability

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Robotic construction crew needs no foreman:

On the plains of Namibia, millions of tiny termites are building a mound of soil—an 8-foot-tall “lung” for their underground nest. During a year of construction, many termites will live and die, wind and rain will erode the structure, and yet the colony’s life-sustaining project will continue. Inspired by the termites’ resilience and collective intelligence, a team of computer scientists and engineers has created an autonomous robotic construction crew. The system needs no supervisor, no eye in the sky, and no communication: just simple robots—any number of robots—that cooperate by modifying their environment. via Artificial Intelligence News — ScienceDaily

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Bizarre attack infects Linksys routers with self-replicating malware:

Some 1,000 devices have been hit by the worm, which seeks out others to infect.

    



via Ars Technica

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