Archive for March, 2010

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

PlayStation3 to drop Support for other Operating Systems

From the PlayStation Blog:

The next system software update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) system will be released on April 1, 2010 (JST), and will disable the “Install Other OS” feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models, launched in September 2009. This feature enabled users to install an operating system, but due to security concerns, Sony Computer Entertainment will remove the functionality through the 3.21 system software update.

In addition, disabling the “Other OS” feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.

Err, no, it won’t. Sorry Sony, you’re wrong again.

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Augmented Reality on Android

Sometimes my work is good to me, and I get to play with really cool stuff. Right now, I’m working on some Augmented Reality app for a client. While there’s not much to show off yet, at least there are some cubes hanging in mid-air in my room. When viewed through the phone’s camera, that is:

So far it’s been a blast, and quite fast to get right, despite some cursing and swearing. But the hard problems are solved, now it’s just a question of hooking this up to the rest of the app, which will provide the real objects to display and their positions.

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Joost Peer-to-Peer WTF

I had a bit of a WTF moment earlier today regarding this:

Swarm: Distributed Computation in the Cloud from Ian Clarke on Vimeo.

You don’t have to watch it far. Just go to the “about me” bit, and you hear the guy mention that he worked on the P2P video streaming layer that was later part of Joost.

Err, what? Who’s that Ian Clarke guy that I didn’t work with while I was working on the P2P video streaming layer powering Joost? That rubs me the wrong way, I’m proud of my work there, and happy to give credit to everyone involved1. So how come I never heard of Ian before?

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  1. Hell, give me least credit of them all and I’d still be happy as a happy can be! []

Programmers and Languages

I’m very much interested in the design decisions that go into making programming languages. As a result, I find myself in a lot of discussions about the pros and cons of different programming languages, and those conversations usually go beyond the “use X, you don’t need anything else!” that we all know and loathe from the intarwebs.

Personally, I have a strong background in Python and C++, so know at least one scripting language to the depth that I’ve read and fiddled with it’s implementation (CPython), and one compiled language to the depth that — despite that fact that it has a huge amount of features — few things surprise me there. I’m not a language lawyer, nor do I intend to become one though.

I suppose one of the reasons that I know those two languages pretty well is that I like a lot about them. I don’t really want to go into what specifically I like about them, but a consequence of knowing them so well is that I don’t always appreciate how complex they are. To me, there are just bits I know, bits I know a little less, and when I discover the occasional bit I don’t know, man am I chuffed to have learned something new!

Because those languages fit so comfortably in my mind, I’m usually fairly surprised — to the point of feeling ever so slightly offended — when people intensely dislike them. It’d be nice in a way if those people were idiots; unfortunately, most of them happen to be people I greatly respect. I needed to understand why this happens. Why is it that someone with that much experience, skill and knowledge holds such an utterly different opinion from my own? There is that nagging feeling that maybe they’re right, and I’m wrong. Inconceivable!1

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  1. I know what the word means, but I use it differently anyway. []