On code and design

Jennifer Tidwell, an old colleague of mine at Google, recently wrote a lengthy post about designing and coding, and the difference between coding and software engineering. Definitely worth a read.


From the Archive: Alan Turing and his Machine

From this blog in 2006

Alan Turing is known these days as a mathematician, philosopher, and the founder of computer science. If we were able to speak to him today he'd probably deny that he founded "computer science"--the term didn't exist when Turing was alive.

The Mother of All Demos: Douglas Englebart Presenting in 1968

Douglas Englebart is the implementer of hypertext, inventor of the mouse, creator of the chorded keyboard, and a pioneer who was inspired by Vannevar Bush, the inventor of the Memex. The Memex proved that associative indexing was possible and desirable, but Englebart proved that associative links or hyperlinks, were actually implementable using 1968 digital technologies. In class on Tuesday we'll watch a bit more of the 1968 demo (this time narrated by Alan Kay, another pioneer of human interface design)

From the archive: A Machine for Augmenting Human Intellect

Originally published on 23 Feb 2006.

From the Vintage Calculator's Web Museum:

Our principles and values drive invention

Bret Victor - Inventing on Principle from CUSEC on Vimeo.

In the talk he delivered at a Canadian software engineering conference in early 2012, Brett Victor, a software engineer who has focused on user interface questions, tells a story about the way principles and values have driven many of our most important innovations and inventions. To prove this, he demos four novel pieces of software he created that sprung directly from his own personal principle: "Creators need a direct connection to the things they make."

A Web of Learning, Discovery, and Invention

In this interview with Steven Thrun on Charlie Rose, we learn that the killer app for the Web might just be teaching, learning, and discovery: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12321

Proto-Indo European? Do they speak that in New Jersey?

Indo-European is the theoretical root language of many seemingly unrelated languages: English, Hindi, German, Spanish, Greek. Philologists and linguists have debated over its geographic origins for a long time. Some said it came from what is today the Russian Steppes, others claimed that it came from Anatolia, in what is today Turkey. No one was really sure, but now some clever computing and some gambling may have resolved that debate.

Visualizations of things to come

I was browsing an article by Poul-Henning Kamp, the guy who created Varnish, a caching tool that speeds up the delivery of just about every major Web site out there. He was writing about about the dot com kids back in 1999 and how they mucked things up for the real programmers. I don't doubt it, but I also know that the boom, as we say, introduced a variety of people from new backgrounds to the computational medium. That has probably benefitted software development, overall.

In the future we are all auto-didacts

I just ran across this video by John Resig and Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, and was impressed to see that the Design By Numbers (DBN) approach to teaching and learning programming/design has finally gone mainstream. Back in in the year 2000 (sounds like it was so long ago!) Andrew Otwell and I co-taught a course that challenged computer science and humanities students to become interaction designers, and we used an environment that was similar to Khan Acadamy's new site.

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