monthly programming summary december 2015

Dec 26, 2015  

A second installment of “interesting stuff I came across this month” …

(Aside: I shouldn’t call this a “programming” summary, but I can’t think of anything better – it’s more of a “math + science + computers” newsletter)

  • The highlight of the last month for me was the realization of the dream of an ultra-cheap computer, the Raspberry Pi Zero, which is cheaper than several drinks at Starbucks.

  • Yes, ants displaying “collective intelligence” is old stuff (I first encountered a reference to it in the pages of Godel, Escher, Bach), but this article is something else altogether, showing how “living bridges” are dynamically adjusted by the constituent ants, in response to foraaging needs.

  • “Get Lamp” (link to trailer) is an interesting documentary on the history of interactive text-based fiction, mostly adventure games. If you’ve ever telneted to a MUD, you will like this.

  • I lap up everything by Bret Victor, and hope for him to turn out as the Alan Kay of our time. This is aanother recent piece where he insists we haven’t really used computers well at all.

  • Finally, this Popular Mechanics article blew me away – before there were “real” computers, the B-29 Superfortress had high-tech computing way ahead of its time, to remotely operate its gun turrets. Obligatory youtube video below:

This month’s QOTM is from Bret Victor’s piece above:

Now we’re staring at computer screens and moving our hands on a keyboard, but it’s basically the same thing. We’re computer users thinking paper thoughts.”