Paradigm Shifts: January/February 2011

  • Nowadays I mostly just type phrases in for Google searches, like “hosting static content on github”. No more reformulating my queries in a semi-string “searchese” language. I actually go out of my way to write (mostly) grammatically correct English phrases to use as my search string.
  • In cooking, I’ve become used to measuring by weight, common in Europe, rather than by volume, which is common in the US. However, a majority of websites list recipes with measurements by volume – and the new tool for me to use is WolframAlpha. I type in the ingredient exactly as listed, e.g. “1/2 cup oats” and get WA to show me how much that is in grams. Surprisingly WA also usually identifies the ingredient correctly. Never thought I would use a “computational engine” for baking, but there you go.
  • Surprising to me that JavaScript is being used as a server-side programming language; here’s an interview with one team on why they chose Node.js over the alternatives. I see Node as relying on cooperative multitasking – one event loop, any single process in the queue can block the event loop – which I thought was an idea we’d largely abandoned as a design. But maybe I was wrong in thinking that way.
  • Eye-opener of the day, JavaScript used as host for SmallTalk:, not sure what version, but, wow. I keep hearing people say that JS will be the ultimate target language as JS runtimes are now installed, basically, “everywhere”; projects like this are a great inspiration.
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