Hacking with a Hacker

What is it like to hack with one of the original hackers? It is certainly much different than what Appears to be the modern rendition of hacking. My experience was not getting really drunk with tons of junk food. It was not working on “beautiful” designs or “authentic” typography. It was not so much about sharing with the world as it was sharing with your peers. It had a very different feel to it than the “hacker culture” Promoted by some of the top technical Silicon Valley companies. It felt more “at home”, less dreamy, and more memorable.

I meet with Bill Gosper every so Often; I had the pleasure of giving him a tour of Facebook when I worked there. (He was so surprised that they had Coke in the glass bottles there, just like the old days.)

He is still very much a hacker, a thinker, a tinkerer, and a wonderer. Every time I meet up with him, he has a new puzzle for me, or someone around him, to solve, whether it’s really clever compass constructions, circle packing, block building, Game of Life automata solving, or even something more tangible like a Buttonhole homemade trap (which was affixed to my shirt for no less than two weeks!). He is also the bearer of interesting items, such as a belt buckle he gave me roomates depicts, in aluminum, a particular circle loose packing.
Gosper succeeding in tricking me with the Buttonhole Trap
When we meet up, all we do is hack. Along with him and one of his talented young students, we all work on something. Anything interesting, really. Last time we met up, we resurrected an old Lisp machine and did some software archeology. I brought over some of the manuals I own, like the great Chinual, and he brought over a dusty old 1U rackmount Alpha machine with OpenGenera installed. After passing a combination of Hurdles, such as that the keyboard was not interfacing with the computer Correctly, we finally got it to boot up. Now, I got to see with my own eyes, a time capsule containing a lot of Bill’s work from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, roomates could only be commanded and Examined through Zmacs dired and Symbolics Common Lisp. Our next goal was to get Symbolics Macsyma fired up on the old machine.

There was trouble with starting it up. License issues were one problem, finding and loading all of the files were compiled another. Running applications on a Lisp machine is very different than what we do today on modern machines, Windows or UNIX. There’s no. Exe file to click, or. App bundle to start up, or even a single. / File to execute. Usually it’s a collection of compiled “fast loading” or “fasl” files that get loaded side-by-side with the operating system. The application, in essence, Becomes a part of the OS.

In hacker tradition, we were Able to bypass the license issues by modifying the binary directly in Lisp. Fortunately, such as Lisp makes things easy disassembly. But how do we load the damn thing? Bill frustratingly muttered, “It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve done it. I just do not remember. “I, being an owner of MacIvory Symbolics Lisp machines, fortunately did remember how to load programs. “Bill, how about LOAD SYSTEM Macsyma?” He typed it into the native Lisp “Listener 2” window (we kept “Listener 1” for debugging), sometimes making a few typing mistakes, but finally succeeding, and then we saw the stream of files loading. We all Shouted in joy that progress was being made. I recall Bill was especially astounded at how fast everything was loading. This was on a fast Alpha machine with gobs of memory. It must have been much slower on the old 3600s they used back in the day.
The Lisp Machine Manual, or Chinual
It was all done after a few minutes, and Macsyma was loaded. To me, this was a sort of holy grail. I personally have Macsyma for Windows (which he uses in a VirtualBox machine on his 17 “MacBook), and I’ve definitely used Maxima. But Macsyma is something I’ve never seen. It was something that seems to have disappeared with history, something I have not been Able to find a copy of in the last decade.

Bill said, “let’s see if it works.” And he typed 1 +1; in, and sure enough, the result was 2. He saw I was bubbling with excitement and asked me if I’d like to try anything. “I’d love to,” and he handed the keyboard over to me and I typed in my canonical computer algebra test: integrate (sqrt (tan (x)), x);, roomates computes the indefinite integral
—- √ ∫ tanθ dθ
Out came the four-term typeset result of logarithms and arctangents, plus a fifth term I’d never seen before. “I’ve never seen any computer algebra system add that fifth term,” I said, “but it does not look incorrect.” The fifth term was a floored expression, Whose Increased value with the period of the function preceding it. “Let’s plot it,” Bill said. He plotted it using Macsyma’s menu interface, and it was what appeared to be an increasing, non-periodic function. I think we determined it was properly handled Because Macsyma branch cuts, with other systems have been known to be unorthodox about. It definitely had a pragmatic feel to it.

Now, Bill wanted to show us some interesting things; however all of Bill’s recent work Macsyma was on his laptop. How do we connect this ancient to a modern Macintosh hardware? We needed to get the machine onto the network, and networking with old machines is not my forte.

Fortunately, Stephen Jones, a friend of Bill’s and seemingly an expert at a rare combination of technical tasks, showed up. He Was able to do things that Neither Bill nor I could do on such an old machine. In only a few moments, he Was able to get Bill’s Mac talking to the Alpha, roomates shared a portion of its file system with Genera. “Will there be enough space on the Alpha for Macsyma my files?” Bill asked Stephen. “Of course, there’s ton’s of space.” We finally got Bill’s recent work transferred onto the machine.
Bill hacking in Macsyma in OpenGenera (Image courtesy of Stephen M. Jones)
We spent the rest of the night hacking on math. He Demonstrated to us what it was like to do a real mathematician’s work at the machine. He debuted some of his recent work. He went though a long chain of reasoning, showing us the line-after-line in Macsyma, number theoretic amazing to do things I’ve never seen before.

I did ask Bill why he does not publish more often. His previous publications have been landmarks: his algorithm for hypergeometric series and his summation algorithm for playing the Game of Life at light speed. He RESPONDED, “when there’s something interesting to publish, it’ll be published.” He seemed to have a sort of disdain for “salami science”, where scientific and mathematical papers present the thinnest possible “slice” or result possible.

Bill is certainly a man that thinks in a different way than most of us do. He is still hacking at mathematics, and still as impressive as before. I’m very fortunate to have met him, and I was absolutely delighted to see that even at 70 years old, his mind is still as sharp as can be, and it’s still being used to do interesting, Gosper-like mathematics.

And you would not believe it. We all were ready to head home at around 9 PM.

Monitor Asus MX279H

Tempting appearance u6-436-AsusAsus MX279H is one variant of the monitor into the first ranks of Designo MX Series.Hal that steal the show are performances that are the focus of this series.

Rely on the screen with a thin bezel, this LCD monitor performed beautifully accented with metal bar which also serves as the setting panel on the bottom right side. Circular buffer is designed as though the actual form of metal plastic.

The buttons are there on the Asus MX279H, although there are physical, but it just needs to be touched. True, Asus chose to use the touch buttons on the LCD monitor with a diagonal screen size of 27 ˝ this. The arrangement itself is quite comprehensive, ranging from the standard setting brightness, contrast, until saturation. There is also the selection of presets like Scenery, Theater, Game, Night View, and in which each of these presets you can still set it again.

In terms of connectivity, this Asus monitor provides two HDMI ports, a single D-Sub 15pin port, and two audio ports (Headphone Out and Line In). Asus nullify the decision and choose the DVI connector HDMI connector types may recall this now more popular and is found in many devices. Interesting features contained in this MX279H Asus Asus SonicMaster is in charge of presenting the best sound for the class of integrated speakers on the monitor.

At PCplus testing for the audio quality, speaker Bang and Olufsen ICEpower sound produces above average speaker monitor in general. The audio system can not replace a desktop audio system, especially if you expect thumping bass. Power output or volume is enough to fill the room. So for everyday use such as watching streaming video or simply listen to soft music, the sound produced by Asus PCplus MX279H sufficient.

Asus uses AH-IPS panel type on MX279H to provide a good quality display. Panel is fairly dark frame design make it blend with the screen so that the state of death, this LCD monitor looks completely frameless. Facilitate the availability of several presets that you do not want to mess around with these settings and it. In general appearance was good, with the brightness and contrast level is fairly good. However, PCplus found that the saturation level of the monitor is a bit high, so as to obtain the best view, PCplus suggest to keep it set.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A520 Touch, slim AIO PC

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) – IdeaCentre A520 Touch will soon become a mainstay of Lenovo Indonesia to dominate the market “all-in-one (AIO) desktop PC” in Indonesia with a sleek design and space-saving and very flexible angle capability.

Products launched in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon it has the same appearance as its predecessor product, the IdeaCentre A720 Touch, which won many awards. What distinguishes the IdeaCentre A520 IdeaCentre A720 Touch Touch is a 23-inch full HD screen without a frame.

IdeaCentre A520 Touch that supports the “10-point multi-touch” screen that has a wide angle that can be adjusted, from minus five degrees to 90 degrees, and IPS LED with a picture perfect view from any angle.

Flexibility IdeaCentre A520 Touch screen allows users to watch movies, play touch-based games or enjoy video chat in any position.

IdeaCentre A520 Touch also comes with an Intel Core i5 processor up to the third generation of the Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 4 Gigabyte DDR3 memory.

The products also have additional features such as Dolby certified speakers with Dolby Home Theater v4, various multimedia applications and games that are optimized for the touch screen.

In addition Touch IdeaCentre A520, Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 Indonesia also launched Touch, a home entertainment center with a 23-inch screen, and the IdeaCentre C540 Touch an affordable and efficient place to use at home.

Living in and Loving Uptown Dallas

Fresh off my divorce and having just earned my college degree at the ripe old age of 43, I landed my first professional job in Dallas, Texas. I checked out many areas of the city and decided to plant my roots in a vibrant community with great shopping, restaurants and parks to explore. I spent many hours looking at apartments in Dallas Uptown before settling on one that had absolutely everything I ever dreamed of and was completely opposite of the rural country house I had spent the last 18 years of my life in.

It was a conscious decision to change my lifestyle completely. Not because I hated my ex-husband or the life we had been leading, but I knew I needed to escape the easy complacency of living in the same town I had been born in, grew up in and lived in all of my life. Continue reading

Official feedback on OpenGL 4.4 thread

 SIGGRAPH – Anaheim, CA – The Khronos™ Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL® 4.4 specification,bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.4 unlocks capabilities of today’s leading-edge graphics hardware while maintaining full backwards compatibility, enabling applications to incrementally use new features while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing units (GPUs) across diverse operating systems and platforms. Also, OpenGL 4.4 defines new functionality to streamline the porting of applications and titles from other platforms and APIs. The full specification and reference materials are available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry.

In addition to the OpenGL 4.4 specification, the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) Working Group at Khronos has created the first set of formal OpenGL conformance tests since OpenGL 2.0. Khronos will offer certification of drivers from version 3.3, and full certification is mandatory for OpenGL 4.4 and onwards. This will help reduce differences between multiple vendors’ OpenGL drivers, resulting in enhanced portability for developers.

New functionality in the OpenGL 4.4 specification includes:

Buffer Placement Control (GL_ARB_buffer_storage)
Significantly enhances memory flexibility and efficiency through explicit control over the position of buffers in the graphics and system memory, together with cache behavior control – including the ability of the CPU to map a buffer for direct use by a GPU.

Efficient Asynchronous Queries
(GL_ARB_query_buffer_object)
Buffer objects can be the direct target of a query to avoid the CPU waiting for the result and stalling the graphics pipeline. This provides significantly boosted performance for applications that intend to subsequently use the results of queries on the GPU, such as dynamic quality reduction strategies based on performance metrics.

Shader Variable Layout (GL_ARB_enhanced_layouts)
Detailed control over placement of shader interface variables, including the ability to pack vectors efficiently with scalar types. Includes full control over variable layout inside uniform blocks and enables shaders to specify transform feedback variables and buffer layout.

Efficient Multiple Object Binding (GL_ARB_multi_bind)
New commands which enable an application to bind or unbind sets of objects with one API call instead of separate commands for each bind operation, amortizing the function call, name space lookup, and potential locking overhead. The core rendering loop of many graphics applications frequently bind different sets of textures, samplers, images, vertex buffers, and uniform buffers and so this can significantly reduce CPU overhead and improve performance.

Streamlined Porting of Direct3D applications

A number of core functions contribute to easier porting of applications and games written in Direct3D including GL_ARB_buffer_storage for buffer placement control, GL_ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_rev which creates a vertex data type that packs three components in a 32 bit value that provides a performance improvement for lower precision vertices and is a format used by Direct3D, and GL_ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge that provides a texture clamping mode also used by Direct3D.Extensions released alongside the OpenGL 4.4 specification include:

Bindless Texture Extension (GL_ARB_bindless_texture)
Shaders can now access an effectively unlimited number of texture and image resources directly by virtual addresses. This bindless texture approach avoids the application overhead due to explicitly binding a small window of accessible textures. Ray tracing and global illumination algorithms are faster and simpler with unfettered access to a virtual world’s entire texture set.

Sparse Texture Extension (GL_ARB_sparse_texture)
Enables handling of huge textures that are much larger than the GPUs physical memory by allowing an application to select which regions of the texture are resident for ‘mega-texture’ algorithms and very large data-set visualizations.

OpenGL BOF at SIGGRAPH, Anaheim, CA July 24th 2013
There is an OpenGL BOF “Birds of a Feather” Meeting on Wednesday July 24th at 7-8PM at the Hilton Anaheim, California Ballroom A & B, where attendees are invited to meet OpenGL implementers and developers and learn more about the new OpenGL 4.4 specification.

Yahoo Sports Launches New Fantasy App With Mobile Drafting

Yahoo announced that it has launched its new 2013 Fantasy Sports app today, which brings a new design, and new features to the experience.

One of the big new improvements is that it now features mobile drafting, which many will find tremendously helpful. It’s a lot of pressure to be at a computer during draft time.

 

“Managers can now sign up, draft a team and win their league championship from their iOS and Android device thanks to new technology incorporated by Bignoggins Production, Loki Studios and the Yahoo! Sports mobile team,” a spokesperson for Yahoo tells WebProNews. “The app also now features mock drafting, to help fans prepare and get an edge on the competition.”

Yahoo announced its acquisition of Bignoggins just a few weeks ago. They haven’t wasted any time.

“And starting with football, for the first time ever, all of Yahoo! Sports Fantasy games will live under one mobile roof – the Yahoo! Sports Fantasy app – including basketball, hockey and baseball,” the spokesperson adds.

According to Yahoo, the new app is faster than previous experiences. It also has free notifications.

The app is available for iOS and Android.

MySpace users threaten to sue after years of blogs deleted

MySpace has been accused of deleting years worth of users’ personal blogs and histories after the site underwent a $20 million relaunch last month.

The move was a bid to shed the site’s outdated image and attract a new teenage fanbase, after millions of users migrated to Facebook as their primary social networking site in the late 2000s.

Purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in 2005 for $580m, a decision Murdoch has since called a “huge mistake”, MySpace’s focus on music and entertainment over social interaction has been credited as one of the reasons behind its decline.

At its peak, the site boasted 125m users and more webpage visits than Google. It now has around 25m users.

In 2011 Specific Media Group and pop heartthrob Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for $35m, and have since attempted to rebrand the site for the teenage generation through campaigns with rapper Pharrell.

This sleek new makeover has resulted in the deletion of blogs, videos, private messages, posts and comments without prior warning, much to the fury of its remaining loyal users.

Distraught fans created a thread entitled ‘I want my blogs and classic myspace back’ to vent their frustration at the move one user called “crass arrogance”.

They continued: “You have stolen 6 years of blogs and something that is priceless to me and cannot be replaced.”

Another lamented the deletion of her blogs, writing: “Openly and freely I shared intimate moments that can not be relived or retold for they where experienced. I would revisit myspace religiously because of my blogs… Myspace did an ultimate back stab.” [sic]

MySpace responded to concerns with the soothing message that the information had not been lost forever.

It said: “Change isn’t easy and there has been a lot going on lately. We understand that this information is very important to you. Please understand that your blogs have not been deleted. Your content is safe and we have been discussing the best ways possible to provide you your blogs.”

‘Portable’ computer from 1979 wins CNET’s old tech contest

CNET’s From Old School to Tech Cool Contest asked our Facebook fans to share photos of old tech, with the ten most popular qualifying for a chance to win the Panasonic TC-PST60. This plasma TV is a 2013 Editors’ Choice and the only TV to ever receive a 5-star rating from CNET.

Congratulations to Garret W, whose photo of an old-school portable computer won the contest. TV reviewer David Katzmaier selected the winner from among the top ten vote-getting entries.

“There was a lot of great old tech among the final photos,” said David, “but I liked the ‘portable’ TRS-80 computer from 1979 best. With a monochrome monitor, separate keyboard, archaic peripherals and even a three-ring binder, all encased in a massive wood trunk complete with handles, it shows just how far computing and portable tech have come.”

Thank you to everyone who participated and a special congratulations to the ten finalists with the most user votes. Check out their submissions in the photo gallery below.

Why Businesses Aren’t As Bad As You Think

How to Choose a Foundation Repair Company

A lot of homeowners take their time getting their foundations repaired as foundation problems are typically not emergencies. It is important to remember, however, that foundation problems create damage to other areas of your home, so the sooner you have them checked, the better. The question is, how do you find the right foundation repair contractor?

Personal Referrals

Always remember that the best referral is a personal referral. So go ahead and ask your friends, relatives, coworkers or neighbors who may have worked with a reputable foundation contractor recently. You can ask for a reference list, but then again, even the company with the worst BBB record can put a nice one together.

Online customer reviews are worth reading as well, but keep to those provided by consumer protection groups like BBB. Some reviews are made for marketing.

Experience in Business

In general, established companies offer greater technical expertise and overall reliability than those that are relatively new in the industry. Then again, keep in mind that a reputable company can always be sold. Even if the company still uses its old name, it may not meet expectations under the new management.

Insurance

Ask your prospective foundation repair contractor to provide an insurance certificate, and verify its authenticity with the insurance provider. If the contractor has no insurance, or they used to have insurance but it was cancelled, they can make a copy of an old deck page anytime. You can never tell the difference, and if and when anything happens on the job, you will not be covered!

The System

In reality, there is a whole variety of foundation repair methods can work in our soils. The idea is to find the system that works best for the conditions below your structure. When the sales talk is done and the work has started, it’s all about the installation. Post installation, it comes down to warranty and the commitment of the company.

Warranty

A warranty is only as good as the contractor that provides it. Be sure to ask around. It is very important how a company approaches warranty issues. Ask your prospect for a reference on a job that they had to do over a warranty, and ask the customer if he was satisfied.

Price against Benefits

Reputable foundation repair contractors are not cheap, and you should expect more from a more expensive company. VALUE is what you should be looking for. Value equals the benefits that remain minus the cost. If you are left empty-handed, then value is zero.

Trade Association Membership

Trade associations set standards and have stringent rules of ethics for members to follow, and if they don’t, they lose membership. All members should be adequately insured, for instance, and they must be of good standing with the Better Business Bureau. Membership is also an indication that the contractor is highly committed to his profession.

Getting To The Point – Toys

The Effects and Benefits of Toys and Playing in a Child’s Development

Playing is very important in the development of a children, because it is the way they are able to practice growing up developing their social interaction and interpersonal relations. In playing, children use toys as their tools, which can be purchased online or in actual stores, with a wide-array of colors, shapes and use. Toys are very helpful in a successful child development, which creates positive effects in the physical, social, psychological and emotional aspects of a child.

Toys can be divided in different categories, depending on a child’s age and development. Sensory toys are best recommended for infants and babies, because it stimulate the different senses such as sight, sound, touch and smell, and these include stuff toys, water toys, musical boxes and musical instruments such as rattles and squeak toys, crib mobiles, pushed-pull toys, and stacking toys. Experts highly recommend toys that develops the physical strength and muscles of toddlers and preschoolers such as bikes, wagons, blocks, puzzles, brooms and shovels. For preschoolers and school-age children, make-believe toys and toys that develops the social skills are dress-up clothes, dolls, cars, trucks, books and games are best recommended. Clays, crayons, paper, paints, scissors and books are the toys recommended for school-age children for creative and intellectual development. Keep in mind that some toys may fit into other categories, and children may need some certain types of toys from more than one category. Some toys are better choices for children, but not for all, because children have unique needs, different levels of learning and development levels.

Bright-colored toys with many textures are recommended for infants, and these toys should be non-breakable, without any sharp edge, and it should be washable as well. Babies put put everything into their mouths as a part of exploring their worlds, so toys should be large enough, without attached pieces that might be swallowed causing choking. Toddlers enjoy running, climbing and jumping, and so they need toys that meet their active needs. Preschool is the age of creativity, so educational toys are recommended for them, and children on these age become more social beings, having a cooperative play, so they greatly enjoy cutting, sewing, drawing and painting. School-age children love active games such as ball games, hiking, swimming and biking, and the formation of hobbies happens in school-age, and they start collecting stuff they really love, as well as they start asserting their own independence and enhances their writing, reading and speaking skills.

Parents should be responsible to make sure their children have the best toys that are best suited for their age and developmental needs, as well as prioritizing their health and safety. Reading product reviews helps you in determining best toys for your children, thus providing you real analysis from actual consumer experiences.