Linked List: May 2013

libpng & libjpeg Mac OS X Installer
MapReduce in Plain English

We want to count all the books in the library. You count up shelf #1, I count up shelf #2. That’s map. The more people we get, the faster it goes.

Now we get together and add our individual counts. That’s reduce.

Engineering Productivity

Stewart Brand, creator of The Whole Earth Catalogue which inspired Steve Jobs, says that the most productive people he knows have developed ways to work outside offices, not in them.

And Russel Journey:

Human beings were not made to sit in chairs for twelve hours at a stretch pushing buttons while staring at LCDs. Get up, go outside, move around, and come back. You’ll get more done.

Set the Title on Bash Terminals
Australian Government Picks Open Document Format

Good news, but it could have been even better.

The Pace of Obsolecence on the Internet is Unacceptable
Perhaps Without Realizing It, You’ve Aligned Yourself With a Particular Way of Thinking and Acting

In keeping with my commitment to use tools that reflect my own values, I’ve begun to use Django and Mezzanine for web development. Django provides the framework, Mezzanine provides the application. Integrated together, these tools offer a web development methodology that is open creative, efficient, and enjoyable.

You’ve made a commitment (a small commitment, in time only) to Python, a programming language that enshrines ideals such as “beautiful is better than ugly” and “now is better than never.” You’ve also adopted the methodology of virtual environments, which emphasizes self-contained, secure, portable systems. Perhaps without realizing it, you’ve aligned yourself with a particular way of thinking and acting. This is what we all do with technologies, and usually without recognizing what we have done: we make commitments in thought and action to the tools we use. And, in turn, those tools influence us. We should be cautious about this. We should recognize the reciprocal relationships we have with technology. We are not just employing the tools; the tools also shape us, in ways that we cannot predict and sometimes cannot control. And this, in essence, is why I prefer tools that encourage openness, creativity, collaboration, individual expression, and purposeful play: because I continually seek to embody these values, and the tools of technology reinforce my commitment to them.

See also: Part II.

That Tree

Obrigado, mãe!

Linux Exclusive OS of ISS

Still can’t believe they were using Windows XP.

Real World Example of the Performance Gains of a Database Index

From the excellent cs253 Web Development (formerly Web Application Engineering) Udacity course:

$ psql hipmunk
$# select count(*) from hotels;
$# select name from hotels where id = 51492;
$# explain analyze select name from hotels where id = 51492;
$# create index hotel_id on hotels(id);
$# explain analyze select name from hotels where id = 51492;

Also check out Postgres Guide.

Measuring Django Performance

Not them.

Google Abandons Open Standards for Instant Messaging
Flickr’s Redesign Gets Feedback

Uh oh.

Tumblr Yahoo!

Dave Winer:

All this is to say that the promises execs make on acquisitions are meaningless. They own the thing, they will do what they want to with it. It doesn’t matter how many nice sounds Mayer makes on the deal. At the core she cares not one bit what the users of Tumblr think. She’s saying what she needs to say to make the deal happen. To avoid a PR crisis on Day One. To make the team at Tumblr feel like their work has value to the new owners. That somehow this acquisition isn’t actually an acquisition.

Do They Federate?

See the overview, and also, RTC quick start.

Strongbox and Aaron Swartz
Building A Starship-Building Organization

Ctein, writing at TOP:

Folks today may find this hard to believe, but at that time virtually all work on pollution problems was done by isolated specialists. Nobody even thought about the fact that studying something like air pollution axiomatically involved chemistry, biology, mechanical engineering, mathematical modeling, sociology, politics, economics, and meteorology…just to name a few relevant fields. Specialists got interested in some particular problem and studied it from the perspective of their specialty.

As an example, Dr. Clair Patterson was a geochemist who made the first accurate determination of the age of the earth by making extraordinarily sensitive measurements of lead isotopes in minerals. He was perpetually running into contamination problems in the lab, so he decided to track down the sources, which proved to be primarily leaded gasoline. He became the major figure in the fight to eliminate lead pollution.

Joe realized that multidisciplinary and diverse problems required a multidisciplinary and diverse intellectual culture to tackle them, in an era when “multidisciplinary” and “diverse” were barely notions. ARP reached out beyond the monolithic student body of Caltech to students from campuses around the country, who were invited to apply to work at ARP. Overwhelmingly, the ones ARP accepted were not white, male hard-science majors; Caltech had more than sufficient numbers of those.

EFF Opening a New Front Against Secret IP Treaties
Zoom Lenses

Mike Johnston:

The point I want to make here is simply that the advent of the “zoom norm” simply meant that camera users in general tended to become more and more ignorant of the meaning of focal lengths and angles of view. The camera came with a lens; it was “wide” at one end and “tele” at the other; and there you had it.