Code as poetry I found this post arguing that one can draw inspiration for writing code from poetry: Poetry (…) is an abstract block of words in which every one must carry meaning if the poem is to be any good. We value the poem for the beauty not only of the story or image given, but of the way in which it is constructed as well. It tends to be much denser and more compact than prose.
Fortran turns 50 Fortran, the first higher level programming language turned 50 this year. It was created to let non-computer scientists formulate their problems in a more natural language than assembler code. Hence the name is an amalgamation of the term “formula translator”. There has been a BBC Radio show observing the anniversary. And for the historically interested, there is an interview with John Backus, the team leader developing the first version from 1979.Â Telepolis has an article (in German) too.
Twenty years of Perl Eight stories of how people got into Perl programming. Eight stories of highly successful hackers. Eight stories of what could have been about any other language but happens to be Perl. Happy 20th anniversary Perl!
Anonymity abolished Interesting article from Bruce Schneier on Wired: Parts of the dataset of the Netflix prize have been de-anonymized.Â There have been other successful de-anonymizations of public datasets but most of the time it was caused by a sloppy anonymization process. This time it’s different. It is an inherent problem of the data, so even sophisticated randomization of the data would not have made a real difference: the data in the dataset of Netflix can be linked directly to user content on publicly available websites.
Larry Wall’s Opinion on Scripting Languages Larry Wall has written a post on scripting languages titled “Programming is Hard, Let’s Go Scripting…” in which he challenges the preconception that programming and scripting are different endeavors. As always Perl 6 is at the core of the message. And as always it’s worth reading.
Updating FreeBSD Colin Percival wrote two comprehensive how-tos on keep FreeBSD updated. The first is for minor upgrades, the second for major version changes. Very neat thing, this freebsd-update tool, indeed. But beware, it only works for Releases and only with generic kernels, so perhaps you are in for a make && make insallkernel && make installworld routine for one last time.
No acronyms This is great: ISO and UTC are neither acronyms nor initials, more like kind of false friends.
The best programming language So again the question about the best programming language was put up. This time for an aspiring 13-year old. The answer given by Ned Batchelder is concise and in my opinion a great starting point not just for children. The main point is that there is no single best choice and that the language would be a means to an end and not an academic pursuit in itself.