The Babylon Bee finds a pearl in the oyster of distance learning: Public Schools Now Preparing Kids for a Lifetime of Soul-Crushing Zoom Meetings. Update: Damn it, Bee! You’re supposed to be doing satire, not straight reporting! Continue reading Distance Learning — an Unexpected Life Skill
…it just keeps byte-ing. All of a sudden, with payroll and government financial systems being stressed, large institutions are desperate to find COBOL programmers. Foolishly, they pensioned off all those crusty old codgers, instead of keeping a few on staff to tinker and optimize and untangle all the old code running payroll and inventory and scheduling and… I made Captain at SAC HQ wrangling a room filled with COBOL programmers back in the late 70’s. Every n00b was given a stack of horribly-written report generators and tasked with (a) making the code beautiful and comprehensible and (b) making it modular … Continue reading Old Software Never Dies…
Writing in Quanta, Susan D’Agostino has a fascinating interview with the computing-est of all computer scientists, Donald Knuth. Who continues his Everest-like trek up his monumental Art of Computer Programming. This (intrinsically) never-to-be-completed opus to the mathematics and techniques of algorithms was, for many of us, the first introduction to formal analysis of algorithms and Dr. Knuth. But woven into the creation of ACP was the invention of TeX, the world’s most marvelous computer typesetting system. TeX was only supposed to be for my secretary and myself. Phyllis [Astrid Benson Winkler] was a wonderful secretary. She could read my handwriting … Continue reading Oh, and in my spare time, I invented TeX
Many of us university instructors are scrambling to adapt our formerly face-to-face courses into online courses. This, to allow “social distancing” in response to the Wuhan Flu pandemic. Rebecca Barrett-Fox urges us “Please do a bad job of putting your courses online.” I’m absolutely serious. For my colleagues who are now being instructed to put some or all of the remainder of their semester online, now is a time to do a poor job of it. You are NOT building an online class. You are NOT teaching students who can be expected to be ready to learn online. And, most … Continue reading The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good
BIG BIZ Uh, oh. The punditry is starting to wise up. Here’s 4 Reasons Why Big Tech is Hazardous to Our Lives. Google AI Ethics Council is Falling Apart. Part artistic ethical differences, part Googloid mau-mauing. Only the truly clueless would use “Google” and “ethics” in the same sentence. Time for a ‘Third-Party Audit’ of De-Platforming Policies. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) doesn’t think folks like Twitter are holding up their end of the bargain Social media platforms have been given a “sweetheart deal,” according to Hawley, which includes “immunity from liability for illegal content posted by third parties.” They were … Continue reading The Cyberfascism Bulleting #3: Spring Cleaning Edition
Pretty much every time you log on to Facebook or use Google, you’re participating, as a subject, in an A/B test. Unknowingly. Without informed consent. This is how privacy and human rights are eroded, one click at a time. Worse yet, the folks who do this brag about it! Don’t believe me? Type “A/B testing internet” into your favorite search engine (I avoid Google) and see what you get. There’s a friggin’ geek army of snoops out there. Continue reading You’re not just web surfing, you’re participating in an A/B test
In it’s unbridled quest for behavioral data, Google put microphones in its subsidiary Nest’s home security systems. Ostensibly for future upgrades. Without telling their customers. Who does PR for these guys? Jussie Smollett? Bonus: apparently Google was pushing privacy limits with Street View as well, sucking up local WiFi addresses. Tip from Stephen Green at the Instapundit. Continue reading Even your doorbell is spying on you
I am such a slow pony. I’ve just web-surfed my way into discovering Rob Hyndman’s Time Series Data Library, which has hundreds of time-series datasets suitable for every teaching need. I was looking for one of my old faves, from that hoary old classic, Forecasting, Time Series, and Regression, and voila! there it is. Continue reading Past performance is no indication of future…
One of my techno-nerdy students got me hip to the Logitech Anywhere2 wireless mouse. It can be linked with a dedicated USB device AND paired with Bluetooth-capable devices. So now my old Windows desktop computer, my Surface laptop, AND my old Surface tablet can be clicked with a single mouse. How cool (and handy) is that? Continue reading Need a 3-Way?
IEEE Spectrum has a fascinating bio sketch of Hans Peter Luhn, inventor of the hashing and KWIC indexing algorithms. This is Luhn’s legacy: He helped show that computers and computation weren’t just the province of mathematics, statistics, and logic but also of language, linguistics, and literature. In his day, this was a revolutionary way to think about machines. Tip from the Geek Press. Continue reading KWIC, make me some hash!