Saturday, December 19, 2020

Holiday Random Reading

A little of this, a little of that.

Mostly, a lot of the other thing.

  • A Book about Aircraft Scale Drawings
    I altered here the proposed workflow, using Inkscape as my basic tool.
  • Inkscape: Draw Freely
    Inkscape is a Free and open source vector graphics editor for GNU/Linux, Windows and MacOS X. It offers a rich set of features and is widely used for both artistic and technical illustrations such as cartoons, clip art, logos, typography, diagramming and flowcharting.
  • No Cookie For You
    At GitHub, we want to protect developer privacy, and we find cookie banners quite irritating, so we decided to look for a solution. After a brief search, we found one: just don’t use any non-essential cookies. Pretty simple, really. 🤔

    So, we have removed all non-essential cookies from GitHub, and visiting our website does not send any information to third-party analytics services. (And of course GitHub still does not use any cookies to display ads, or track you across other sites.)

  • Web Conversations With the Year 2000
    ’00: How do you change the <title>?

    ’20: You can’t.
  • AlphaFold: a solution to a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology
    In his acceptance speech for the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Christian Anfinsen famously postulated that, in theory, a protein’s amino acid sequence should fully determine its structure. This hypothesis sparked a five decade quest to be able to computationally predict a protein’s 3D structure based solely on its 1D amino acid sequence as a complementary alternative to these expensive and time consuming experimental methods. A major challenge, however, is that the number of ways a protein could theoretically fold before settling into its final 3D structure is astronomical. In 1969 Cyrus Levinthal noted that it would take longer than the age of the known universe to enumerate all possible configurations of a typical protein by brute force calculation – Levinthal estimated 10^300 possible conformations for a typical protein.
  • ML Lake: Building Salesforce’s Data Platform for Machine Learning
    ML Lake is deployed in multiple AWS regions as a shared service for use by internal Salesforce teams and applications running in a variety of stacks in both public cloud providers and Salesforce’s own data centers. It exposes a set of OpenAPI-based interfaces running in a Spring Boot-based Java microservice. It uses Postgres to store application state and metadata. Data for machine learning is stored in S3 in buckets managed and secured by ML Lake.
  • Salesforce, Slack, and the future of work
    With Slack, Salesforce is blowing past those traditional departmental boundaries and entering the communication and collaboration space in the biggest way possible, enabling them to go enterprise-wide and have a new front-end for the future of work. This isn't just about the future of "collaboration." This is a new "operating system" for how knowledge workers will interact in the future, connecting the front office, back office, and customers all together in a single platform.

    For Slack, they now have the backing of one of the world's largest software companies, which means they get a major distribution advantage bringing their platform to vastly more customers globally. This is almost invariably a great thing for them. Salesforce knows how to disrupt markets and in Slack, they know they're getting a great product, which is why unlike more legacy acquirers they'll surely let the Slack team continue to do what they do best -- keep moving fast, pioneer, and innovate.
  • Salesforce Buys Slack
    It has become a better social network for me than anything else: a comfortable place for asking dumb questions that turn into brilliant discussions, a space among friends for cracking wise or venting frustration. I know that it is a serious business tool for serious business people, but I am sure that its simplicity is a key reason for its success, and the reason it has inspired so many clones.
  • How Microsoft crushed Slack
    That’s not to say that the incumbents won’t always face new challengers. But I wonder whether the low ceiling that Slack turned out to have has implications for some of the other fast-growing productivity companies of the current moment. Should Slack’s sale diminish our expectations for Airtable or Notion or Coda? Don’t get me wrong — I’m confident their investors will all get their money back, and then some — but do they have a real future outside the arms of a monolith?

    If not, then the productivity market will become as consolidated as any number of other spaces on the internet, from app stores to search engines to social networks. And as our government antitrust regulators begin to awaken after a long period of hibernation, I wonder if they’ll have anything to say about it.
  • The Strange Story Behind the Best Game of 2020
    In Kentucky Route Zero, there are no weapons, no skill trees, no items to collect, and no customizable characters, and there is no open world. The only mechanic is to point and click. Following the cursor, characters—who are animated so deceptively simply that they almost look 2D—can move from place to place, either on a set stage or via a black-and-white map, and sometimes engage in conversation. It never gets more complicated than that, but the elements—the art, the writing, the music—all coalesce into an eerie, unforgettable experience.
  • Winners of the 2020 IFComp
    The Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (IFComp) welcomes all kinds of text-driven digital stories and games, making them freely available in order to encourage the creation, play, and discussion of interactive fiction.

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