- The Nature of the Beast (according to Susan McCarthy): I first met McCarthy via the Well, many years ago; later she sublet an office cube at Salon’s offices. She is a writer of deep knowledge and great wit; her specialty is writing about the ways of animals. This is her delightful new blog.
- Pentagon's Accounting Mess – Portfolio.com: Yet Another Federal Software Quagmire (cf. the IRS, the FBI, the FAA, etc.). An account of the Pentagon’s failure to upgrade its ancient mainframe-era accounting system; the tale unfolds in a building in Indianapolis the size of 28 football fields, and explains why the U.S. military cannot be audited. The Pentagon literally cannot tell you how much it has spent or what it has purchased. If you ran your family this way, they’d disown you.
- How the White House lost 5 million e-mails — Farhad Manjoo: Another tale of “upgrade failure.” The punchline here is that the Bush White House abandoned a Clinton-era automatic archiving system in favor of a manual system.
- Race Is On to Advance Software for Chips — John Markoff: Stanford, Berkeley and University of Illinois all plan labs to experiment with better ways to write code for multicore processors.
- Pursuing the Next Level of Artificial Intelligence – New York Times: Profile of computer scientist and Bayesian expert Daphne Koller:
“I find it distressing that the view of the field is that you sit in your office by yourself surrounded by old pizza boxes and cans of Coke, hacking away at the bowels of the Windows operating system,” she said. “I spend most of my time thinking about things like how does a cell work or how do we understand images in the world around us?”
- ongoing · Multi-Inflection-Point Alert: Tim Bray essay suggesting that everything in the software world is changing at once.
- Esquire Interview with Vint Cerf: “Over a period of a hundred or a thousand years, the probability of maintaining continuity of the software to interpret the old stuff is probably close to zero. Where would you find a projector for an 8mm film these days? …” (Actually, it’s still quite possible to do transfers of 8mm film today. Analog is more forgiving than digital in this way.)
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