Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Is Programming Getting Harder?

Is programming becoming more difficult? Allen Downey (Professor of Computer Science at Olin College, author of Think Python, Think Stats, Think Bayes, Think Complexity and more) writes,

"The fundamental problem is that the barrier between using a computer and programming a computer is getting higher. When I got a Commodore 64 (in 1982, I think) this barrier was non-existent. When you turned on the computer, it loaded and ran a software development environment (SDE). In order to do anything, you had to type at least one line of code, even if all it did was another program (like Archon). Since then, three changes have made it incrementally harder for users to become programmers... Cloud computing has taken information hiding to a whole new level. People using web applications often have only a vague idea of where their data is stored and what applications they can use to access it. Many users, especially on mobile devices, don't distinguish between operating systems, applications, web browsers, and web applications. When they upload and download data, they are often confused about where is it coming from and where it is going. When they install something, they are often confused about what is being installed where. For someone who grew up with a Commodore 64, learning to program was hard enough. For someone growing up with a cloud-connected mobile device, it is much harder...."


Monday, March 12, 2018

Bicycles will continue to be popular

Slowly but surely, more U.S. communities are realizing that the future of mobility is bigger than cars. Biking is seen as an attractive, cost effective, healthy and convenient way to get around. Bike commuting tripled in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Portland and Denver from 1990 to 2012, and doubled in many other cities.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

New Film - The Burren

"An uplifting and emotional celebration of people and place, which captures the delicacy of the natural world; the heart and soul of a farmer-poet, Patrick McCormack; and the ancient rural spirit of Ireland which stands behind him. The Story is centered around Patrick and the land, The Burren, Western Ireland. A wild place where Mesolithic tombs, famine villages and present day small rocky fields are like jewels telling of our long human story on these hills. Patrick longs to farm in the quite pace his ascendants did. But his life gains a different momentum when he’s called to Battle in the Supreme courts to decide on the fate of this iconic wilderness."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Demand for Solar Panels Expected to Drop as Import Duties are Levied

New tarrifs on solar panels are among the duties imposed by the current U.S. administration.

As someone noted,

The American manufacturers aren't going to come in and sell them at the lower price. All that's being done is lower the demand after raising the prices. This is going to put a lot more people who were installing the panels out of work than the number of people who ever going to be employed making them. There are 10,000s people in the US working to install panels and that work can't be outsourced to any other country. Who cares where the panels come from? The cheaper they are, the more projects (residential and industrial) will become viable and started meaning more people employed.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Blockchain is More Signifcant than Bitcoin

Tha math bitcoin solved a paradoxical problem: a currency with no regulator, that nonetheless can’t be counterfeited. Now a similar mix of math and code promises to pull off another seemingly magical feat by allowing anyone to share their data with the cloud and nonetheless keep it entirely private. At MIT, “homomorphic” encryption is a way to encrypt data such that it can be shared with a third party and used in computations without it ever being decrypted. That mathematical trick—which would allow untrusted computers to accurately run computations on sensitive data without putting the data at risk of hacker breaches or surveillance—has only become more urgent in an age when millions of users constantly share their secrets with cloud services ranging from Amazon and Dropbox to Google and Facebook. Now, with bitcoin's tricks in their arsenal, Enigma's creators say they can now pull off computations on encrypted data more efficiently than ever.

Bitcoin itself Is the vanguard of a predecessor technology to the real, lasting innovation: the blockchain — the peer-to-peer ledger system that records cryptocurrency transactions and allows them to operate without a central authority. A German nonprofit, the IOTA Foundation announced that it was teaming up with several major technology firms to develop a “decentralized data marketplace” utilizing its own cryptocurrency, which works without blockchain technology. Though IOTA tokens can be used like any other cryptocurrency, the protocol was designed specifically for use on connected devices.