22 December 2013

Better storming

It is rare that I am invigorated by someone suggesting brainstorming as a means to solve a problem. (There is something worse, of course, and that's sitting around maundering about something and claiming that you're brainstorming.) Chauncey Wilson recommends a better way to use group collaboration to come up with quality ideas: brainwriting. As Wilson notes, brainwriting can even work when the group is geographically dispersed.

Perfect project, part two

Along with the nifty new features for the public-facing web site, ably explained by Patrick Cooper, last week we also pushed out a major update to the database schema that represents stories and their audio, along with their relationships to programs and their individual episodes. In radio-speak, the ordered segments of a broadcast are called the rundown, and the remodeling of how a rundown is stored was at the core of this past project. We can now handle rebroadcasts for shows like TED Radio Hour (like here, here, and here) without behind-the-curtain hackery.

We also caught up on MySQL versions, and enabled limited concurrent editing of stories by multiple editors.

This was the biggest effort since the massive redesign of 2009, and I am proud to have been a part of it.

14 December 2013


Babbage makes a video visit to Louis Pouzin, deviser of the Cigale packet-switched network. Cigale underlay the experimental Cyclades network, a would-be rival to ARPANET. Although Cyclades went away in the 1970s, Pouzin's datagram concepts found their way into Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn's designs for TCP.

12 December 2013

It's been a while since I dealt with that kind of overlay

So you think more RAM will solve your problems? The engineers writing flight control software for the Space Shuttle didn't have that advantage/hindrance.
...after a major computer upgrade in 1991, the primary flight system has a storage capacity of one megabyte and runs at a speed of 1.4 million instructions per second.

via things magazine