Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Three unrelated topics

Sorry for the "link bait" aspect of this post, but I've been falling a bit behind recently and I wanted to get these items out there before I forgot about them:
  1. There's been a fair amount of discussion over the past 4 weeks about Google's proposed new replacement for JavaScript, the programming language Dart. JavaScript is neat but I'm all in favor of improving programming languages, so I'm pleased to see Google pushing the discussion forward. If you're interested, you'll want to spend some time looking at the Technical Overview, and browsing the other online docs. If you'd like to see what others think, try starting with this comment thread at Lambda the Ultimate; or, for a contrarian perspective, try Peter-Paul Koch's take
  2. The always fascinating Jeff Atwood has a fantastic essay online about Gamification. Atwood isn't just interested in Gamification, he's (attempting to) live it:
    Stack Overflow is in many ways my personal Counter-Strike. It is a programmer in Brazil learning alongside a programmer in New Jersey. Not because they're friends -- but because they both love programming. The design of Stack Overflow makes helping your fellow programmers the most effective way to "win" and advance the craft of software development together.
    There are great comments at the end of the Atwood article, and also don't miss the presentation he links to, Sebastian Deterding's presentation Meaningful Play: Getting Gamification Right
  3. Lastly, while I've generally avoided the flood of mostly melodramatic and mawkish writing about the tenth anniversary of 9/11, let me draw your attention to this stellar piece by Ken Regan about Danny Lewin, MIT PhD student, co-inventor of consistent hashing, co-founder of Akamai Technology, and passenger on American Airlines Flight 11. Regan's article has many links to chase and many ideas to pursue, but make sure (if you're even the slightest bit interested in Computer Science) that you follow the most important link, to the paper that made the web work

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