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PowerPoint Is Evil   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Wired, Edward Tufte) Information design guru Edward R. Tufte argues that PowerPoint style routinely disrupts, dominates and trivializes content while ignoring the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience.

Too many cars, too few digits   25 Sep 04
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U.S. will run out of vehicle ID numbers.

The auto industrys number is almost up.

The 17-digit codes that identify the origin, make, model and attributes of cars, trucks, buses even trailers worldwide will be exhausted by the end of the decade.

And like an odometer that returns to zero and starts over again, a Vehicle Identification Number or VIN could be duplicated.

Experts say duplicated VINs would cause havoc for repair shops, state license offices, insurance agencies, law enforcement and other groups that use VINs to process warranty claims, investigate accident claims and recover stolen vehicles.

Weve been brainwashing law enforcement and the insurance community and virtually everybody that a VIN is like DNA theres one for any one vehicle, said Ed Sparkman, spokesman for the Chicago-based National Insurance Crime Bureau.

At the root of the impending shortage is the explosion of vehicle production in recent decades. Automakers build 60 million cars and trucks every year and each one needs a unique VIN in the same way a newborn is given a Social Security number. And that doesnt count heavy trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles that require VINs.


Rails - the secret killer app for Ruby?   25 Sep 04
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I am pretty sick of killer apps and the discussions about them, but make sure you checkout Rails.

Rails is an open source web-application framework for Ruby. It ships with an answer for every letter in MVC: Action Pack for the Controller and View, Active Record for the Model.

Everything needed to build real-world applications in less lines of code than other frameworks spend setting up their XML configuration files. Like Basecamp, which was launched after 4 KLOCs and two months of developement by a single programmer.

Enjoy the Show, dont tell! 10 minute setup video (22MB).

Have fun with Ruby .. says a tired Armin right now coding simple cgi-stuff without any frameworks :-)

CleverCS: computer science ideas   25 Sep 04
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Thanks to Sven C. Koehler for the interesting link.

[ANN] Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby: Expansion Pak I: The Tiger's Vest (with a Basic Introduction to Irb)   25 Sep 04
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Yes, I’ve been taking forever. Well, what can I say? Answering threats is quite consuming. (But apologies to those of you whose threats have been too jarring for me to reply or breathe.)

Today I’m passing on to you the first fruits of a big batch of material forthcoming. The Tiger’s Vest (with a Basic Introduction to Irb.)

Stick around. Picture a man with a balloon, pinching the air out slowly, cats tied to his leg. If you can do that, then you’re all prepped for chapter 5.

Thank you, -talkers.


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.

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

Why one should only put pdfs and not word docs online .. Microsoft yet another gotcha   25 Sep 04
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(Source 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

ruvi 0.4.11   25 Sep 04
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 in the very near future i'll be releasing ruvi 0.4.11.
 its a fairly complete vi(m) reimplementation in ruby
 thats getting to be fairly mature.
 includes stuff like:
   auto indent
   ruby highlighting
   curses interface
   macro support (new in .11)
   undo / redo
   class/module/method selector (major speedup in .11)
   word/filename completion in buffer (new for .11)
   rrb refactoring

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.


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