Grace Hopper gives David Letterman a nanosecond.
23 December 2011
20 December 2011
19 December 2011
console.log(): a synoptic how-to for Chrome Developer Tools, Firebug, IE Developer Toolbar, Dragonfly, and Safari Developer Tools.
- More information than I could possibly make use of about what's inside a .gif.
16 December 2011
13 December 2011
- Man, I need me a Directive 1.
- Wonderful vintage video of LEO, Lyons Electronic Office, placed into service 17 November 1951. LEO was built, not by a business machines manufacturer, but by J. Lyons & Co., a large British baking firm and chain of tea shops.
LEO was such a success that Lyons set up a commercial subsidiary to sell spare time on LEO to other businesses, including the Ford Motor Company, which used it to process the payroll for the thousands of workers at its U.K. plant. Later, Lyons also built entirely new LEOs and sold them to other blue-chip companies of the era. In total, more than 70 LEOs were built, with the last remaining in service until the 1980s....
- Peter Norvig gives a balanced appraisal of Christopher Strachey's "System Analysis and Programming," written for the September 1966 issue of Scientific American. In the original article (available online), Strachey walks through the process of analyzing, designing, and coding a program to play checkers. Unfortunately, Strachey probably never compiled (by hand: at the time, his high-level CPL language had no compiler, nor even a complete formal description) and executed his demonstration program, as it has typos and bugs. But the trick (borrowed from Arthur Samuel) that he uses to number the squares of a checkerboard is quite clever.
07 December 2011
But [Ken] Thompson and the others helping him knew that the PDP‑7, which was already obsolete, would not be able to sustain their skunkworks for long. They also knew that the lab's management wasn't about to allow any more research on operating systems.
So Thompson and [Dennis] Ritchie got creative. They formulated a proposal to their bosses to buy one of DEC's newer minicomputers, a PDP-11, but couched the request in especially palatable terms. They said they were aiming to create tools for editing and formatting text, what you might call a word-processing system today. The fact that they would also have to write an operating system for the new machine to support the editor and text formatter was almost a footnote.