So yes, what exactly is GitHub?

Friday, 20 January, 2017

GitHub is a web-based Git repository hosting service. Git was created in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the Finnish software engineer behind the Linux operating system. That much makes sense. If GitHub still confuses you, as it does me, this short video may help you understand it.

It’s good. It explains GitHub. But what about the links to GitHub pages, that I’m sometimes sent? This is an example of what I mean. What’s the deal there?

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Could you write a novel with a pool of only one thousand words?

Monday, 11 April, 2016

A few weeks ago I wrote about the most dangerous writing app, being software intended to help overcome writer’s block, that deletes all text if typing ceases for more than five seconds.

Now I’ve found another less than conventional writing app, Cleartext, a text editor that only allows a writer to use the one thousand most commonly used words in the English language.

Could a full size novel be written under such parameters? I’d be interested to know.

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Some computer applications may be “broken”, but surely not all?

Wednesday, 28 May, 2014

This you may not want to hear, but it’s probably something you’ve come to suspect. Likely every piece of software running on your computer, including the operating system, is deeply flawed. In short, every application is overly complex, and poorly written:

Software is so bad because it’s so complex, and because it’s trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers. Even your computer is kind of more than one computer, boxes within boxes, and each one of those computers is full of little programs trying to coordinate their actions and talk to each other. Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of godhood.

Maybe this goes someway to explaining why a computer appears to have a mind of its own…

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What are the five great works of software?

Thursday, 8 May, 2014

What do Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Pac-Man, Unix, and Emacs, have in common? They are, according to New York based writer and programmer Paul Ford, all great works of software:

So I set myself the task of picking five great works of software. The criteria were simple: How long had it been around? Did people directly interact with it every day? Did people use it to do something meaningful?

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John McAfee talks good, old fashion, security for your computer

Friday, 21 March, 2014

You may be running McAfee anti-virus software on your computer, so you may find this brief interview with the company founder, John McAfee, informative, even though he hasn’t been associated with the organisation since 1994.

And if not informative, then perhaps entertaining…

My favorite real-time software is the XM153 remote control software that comes standard with the XM153 50 caliber machine gun. It is solid, never crashes, easy to use and easy to install.

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Imagination is more important than top shelf graphics applications

Wednesday, 31 July, 2013

97 year old Hal Lasko is turning out some great artworks using… Paint, a graphics application that often ships with the Windows operating system.

Unfairly compared to the likes of Photoshop, and subsequently found wanting, as Lasko’s works go to show, imagination is the most important part of the creative process, and a half decent artist should never feel whatever tools or equipment they have access to are in any way hindering, or restricting, their work.

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Lotus 1-2-3, monochrome monitors, now that’s real spreadsheeting

Tuesday, 28 May, 2013

Installed on an old computer, that sat in the corner of a room in a building that probably no longer exists, I chanced upon Lotus 1-2-3, one of personal computing’s earliest spreadsheet applications. Although Excel was around by then, Lotus 1-2-3 was the first such instance of spreadsheet software that I really became familiar with.

I’d long forgotten about the old spreadsheet however until I read a few days ago that IBM, who assumed ownership of 1-2-3, and other Lotus applications in the mid 1990s, announced that its development and production would be discontinued.

It’s too bad really… you haven’t experienced spreadsheeting unless you’ve experienced it on a monochrome monitor.

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Not sure why you’d want Photoshop 1’s source code, but here it is

Monday, 25 February, 2013

Here’s a real blast from the past… the source code for the first version of Adobe’s ever popular image creation and photo editing application, Photoshop.

Version three point something was my earliest encounter with the venerable software way back in 1997, though I recall version one being referred to in revered tones.

Actually I haven’t moved on much from the early instances of the program, I’m still using 5.5 … call me a Luddite, but since I haven’t worked as a web designer in years now, 5.5 perfectly suits my needs. It allows me to create whatever graphics I need here, plus efficiently optimise the images that I post.

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Proof, I think, that returning to your past is never wise

Monday, 28 January, 2013

Anyone else feeling nostalgic for the good old days, being the 1990s, of Internet Explorer?

No, I didn’t think so.

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The world’s fastest computer probably doesn’t run bloatware

Friday, 16 November, 2012

A computer housed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has been accorded the title of the world’s fastest supercomputer… hopefully that also means it can run at least five applications without freezing up every half hour or so.

Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at Oak Ridge, achieved 17.59 Petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark. Titan has 560,640 processors, including 261,632 NVIDIA K20x accelerator cores.

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