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Aplus Language   25 Sep 04
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A+ is a descendant of APL (AplLanguage) and a predecessor of K (KayLanguage). Arthur Whitney developed A+ in the late ‘80s in response to employer Morgan Stanley’s need to move their APL applications from mainframes to Sun workstations. He later left Morgan Stanley and wrote K.

A+ is open source. link

Why are monster-movie zombies so horrifying and talking animals so fascinating?   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Dave Bryant) Japanese roboticist Doctor Masahiro Mori is not exactly a household name but, for the speculative fiction community at least, he could prove to be an important one. The reason why can be summed up in a simple, strangely elegant phrase that translates into English as the uncanny valley. Though originally intended to provide an insight into human psychological reaction to robotic design, the concept expressed by this phrase is equally applicable to interactions with nearly any nonhuman entity. Stated simply, the idea is that if one were to plot emotional response against similarity to human appearance and movement, the curve is not a sure, steady upward trend. Instead, there is a peak shortly before one reaches a completely human look . . . but then a deep chasm plunges below neutrality into a strongly negative response before rebounding to a second peak where resemblance to humanity is complete. This chasm the uncanny valley of Doctor Moris thesis represents the point at which a person observing the creature or object in question sees something that is nearly human, but just enough off-kilter to seem eerie or disquieting. The first peak, moreover, is where that same individual would see something that is human enough to arouse some empathy, yet at the same time is clearly enough not human to avoid the sense of wrongness. The slope leading up to this first peak is a province of relative emotional detachment affection, perhaps, but rarely more than that. [www.arclight.net/~pdb/glimpses/valley.html]

History of programming languages   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Daniel Carrera, ruby-talk) Here is a diagram with a "family tree" showing the history of programming languages. Ruby is in there. link

It shows Ruby cross-polinating from Perl, Eiffel, Smalltalk, and Python.

The author also has diagrams for the history of Unix and Windows. The Unix one is very impressive. Unix is truly a diverse family.

Completely Automatic Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart   25 Sep 04
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As the latest trend by spammers seems to be to spam wikis, one can setup the same sort of "enter the number in the image" process as network solutions, ebay, etc, do. CAPTCHA below is one possible solution.

A simple CAPTCHA ("Completely Automatic Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart") written in Ruby. This will dynamically create an image containing a key displayed on a noisy background, which the user must enter into a text box. link

Alternatively, as Ari has pointed out in ruby-talk:

 Alter the engine so that external URLs go to a non-indexed-by-
 search-engines "leaving the site" page. It effectively kills any
 pagerank that adding a link would add to the linkee. That's both good
 and bad, but it's a short-term solution.

 It may be that a simple HTTP redirect script would work, too, but I'm
 not sure.

Heh, Forth _is_ a Rapid Development Tool   25 Sep 04
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found in comp.lang.forth
 Subject: Re: Application Development
 Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 08:35:43 -0800
 On Wed, 24 Mar 2004 03:34:19 -0600, Jason wrote:
 >>
 >> Hi All,
 >> Are there any rapid application development tools that work with FORTH? Any
 >> help is greatly appreciated.

        Heh, Forth _is_ a Rapid Development Tool.

         -- Regards, Albert

[ANN] rpa-base 0.2.1pre1   25 Sep 04
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Mauricio aka batman at his best again!!! Make sure you check out the animation on the website.
 rpa-base 0.2.1pre1 is now available at http://rpa-base.rubyforge.org .
 Many of the most popular libraries/applications as per Rubyforge
 statistics (rails, rake, redcloth, activerecord, sqlite, log4r, copland,
 ruvi, to name a few) have been packaged for use with rpa-base 0.2.1pre1.

 You can find a list of the 100+ packages at
 http://rpa-base.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.cgi?Packaged_Software

 Screenshots and animations can be found at
 http://rpa-base.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.cgi?Rpa_Base_In_Action

 rpa-base 0.2.1pre1 fixes some issues in the bootstrapping phase, which
 couldn't hence be solved through the normal self-upgrade mechanism.
 In addition to several other bugfixes, 0.2.1pre1 features better proxy
 support, isolation of unit tests run automatically when installing a
 lib/app, and improvements in the command-line tool.

 Foreword
 --------

 The Ruby Production Archive (RPA) will provide packages of Ruby
 libraries and programs in a form that allows production use, engineered
 through a stringent process resembling FreeBSD's or Debian's.

 rpa-base is a port/package manager designed to support RPA. Its scope and
 purposes are different to those of other systems like RubyGems.
 Features
 ========
 rpa-base is a port/package manager designed to support RPA's client-side
 package management. You can think of it as RPA's apt-get + dpkg. It
 features the following as of 0.2.1pre1:

 * strong dependency management: rpa-base installs dependencies as needed,
   keeps track of reverse dependencies on uninstall, and will remove no
   longer needed dependencies
 * atomic (de)installs: operations on the local RPA installation are atomic
   transactions; the system has been designed to survive ruby crashes (OS
   crashes too on POSIX systems)
 * parallel installs: you can install several ports in parallel; builds
   will be parallelized and the final phase will be serialized properly
 * self-hosting: rpa-base installs and updates itself
 * modular, extensible design: the 2-phase install is similar to FreeBSD and
   Debian's package creation; rpa-base packages need not be restricted
   to installing everything under a single directory ("1 package, 1 dir"
   paradigm)
 * rdoc integration: RDoc documentation for libraries is generated at install
   time (currently disabled on win32)
 * ri integration: ri data files are generated for all the libraries managed
   by RPA; you can access this information with ri-rpa
 * handling C extensions: if you have the required C toolchain, rpa-base can
   compile extensions as needed
 * unit testing: when a library is installed, its unit tests are run; the
   installation is canceled if they don't pass

 Several of the above features are illustrated in the screenshots and
 animations available at
 http://rpa-base.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.cgi?Rpa_Base_In_Action

 Limitations:
 ===========
 A number of features have been pushed back to 0.3.0:
 * full support for binary platform-specific packages
 * signed packages/ports
 * system-wide configuration system
 * better user interface
 In practice, the first one is the most limiting at the moment since it means
 that win32 users in particular need a working C toolchain to install
 extensions. This will soon be addressed.

 ...

Why one should only put pdfs and not word docs online .. Microsoft yet another gotcha   25 Sep 04
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(Source coredump.cx) This is not an exciting story: I happened to be browsing aimlessly through case studies and other publications released by Microsoft as a part of their "Get the facts" initiative. At one point, I stumbled upon a Word file I wanted to read - and as soon as I ran it through wvWare, I noticed there is a good deal of amusing change tracking information still recorded within the document. Naturally, publishing documents with "collaboration" data is not unheard of in the corporate world, but the fact Microsoft had became a victim of their own technology, and had failed to run their own tools against these publications makes it more entertaining.

A pointless idea came to my mind that instant: why not run a gentle web spider against all Microsoft sites in English, specifically looking for other instances of tracking data not removed from documents? I coded a bunch of scripts and let them run through the night, fetching approximately 10,000 unique documents; over 10% was identified as containing change tracking records. I decided to collect only those with deleted text still present, yielding a crop of over 5% of all documents. Quite impressive. Below, you will find a brief (and rest assured, incomplete) list of the most entertaining samples I’ve run into, along with some speculation (and only speculation) as to the reasons we see them. link The tool used

Second European Ruby Conference   25 Sep 04
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Registration and Infopage

high-resolution version

Ruby 1.6.x/1.7.x to Ruby 1.8   25 Sep 04
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Simon Standgaard posted these two links for the curious Ruby coders to ruby-talk. www.rubygarden.org/ruby?ProgrammingRubyTwo www.rubygarden.org/ruby?MovingFrom_1_6_To_1_8

Skype will come to the Penguin!   25 Sep 04
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As I rely heavily on skype to keep my phone bill down, I use skye a lot to stay in contact with my friends around the world.

I saw this post, dated May 16, 2004 by terminus, a skype staff member, which made me very happy. I am sick of running windows on my laptop only to use for skye. Now I can stay in good old Penguin-land.

 Skype is now starting a closed Linux beta. We are looking for forum
 members who would be willing to actively test the Linux version and
 provide input and feedback to finalize the Linux version development.

link

 

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