Saw this on Twitter a few days ago.
Saw this on Twitter a few days ago.
As usual, Paul Graham writes an interesting piece about startups. He recommends doing things that don’t scale. Thinking like a big company is a sure way to fail. It’s a reassuring piece for the startup creator that I am, because at Taodyne, we are indeed in this phase where you do everything yourself and you’d need 48 hours a day to do the basics. Good to know that the solution to this problem is to keep working.
Connect this to the survivor bias. This is a very serious cognitive bias, which makes us look only at the survivors, at the planes who return from combat, at the successful entrepreneurs. Because we don’t look at the dead startups or planes that were shot down, we build our statistics on a biased sample. As a result, we make incorrect assumptions. For example, if the planes that return have mostly been shot in the tail and wings, you might deduce that this is where planes are being shot at, so that’s the parts you need to protect, when in reality what this proves is that these are the parts that don’t prevent a plane from returning when shot. Very useful.
Last interesting link of the day is the discussion about bullying on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML). Sarah Sharp, a female Intel engineer, stands up to Linus Torvalds and asks him to stop verbal abuse. It’s an interesting conflict between very smart people. To me, there’s a lot of cultural difference at play here (one of the main topics of Grenouille Bouillie). For example, I learned from Torvalds what Management by Perkele means. On one side, it’s legitimate for Sarah to explain that she is offended by Linus’ behavior. On the other hand, it’s legitimate for Linus to keep doing what works.
Sarah reminds me of a very good friend of mine and former colleague, Karen Noel, a very sharp engineer who joined me on the HPVM project and taught me everything I forgot about VMS. Like Sarah, Karen was willing to stand up her ground while remaining very polite.
You’d think that if you use RAID1 and multiple redundant, distributed backups with hourly backups, daily backups, etc, you’d be safe? Think again. If your backup software lies to you, you may not realize it until it’s way too late. If you RAID software does not deem it worthy to mention that a disk failed, what good is it?
The article is a little low on details. Based on the fact that the article mentions Philips displays, my guess is that this is based on the 2D+Z technology. In other words, the picture is split between a color map and a depth map.
The benefits of this approach is that it is easy to transmit over a regular channel, since the picture is basically the same size and format as a regular HDTV picture. The drawback is that the display has to reconstruct at least two images (and for auto-stereoscopic displays, several pictures) from the information.
It may seem simple to reconstruct the required pictures from a color map and a depth map. But in reality, it’s a bit problematic, because a single color map cannot encode both the color of the front objects and the color of the objects it hides.
Imagine for example that you have a plane in the front, and the sky in the background. The sky is blue, the plane is grey. Now, at the border of the plane, the gray hides the blue. But the two eyes don’t see this limit at the same exact location. It’s a phenomenon called parallax.
So what happens is that for at least one of the pictures, the system has to “invent” colors. Basically, it’s going to extrapolate the background color of the parts you can’s see based on the color of the parts you can see.
This is one of the drawbacks of the Philips approach compared to traditional stereoscopic and auto-stereoscopic systems that send all the pictures separately (meaning that they don’t need to invent colors).
This is not very visible on movies, if at all. That’s because borders of real objects tend to be a bit fuzzy. But for synthetic images as those created by Tao Presentations, this tends to cause relatively visible artifacts.
I wonder if Dolby solved that specific problem…
This post from Dear Apple is just so true, and so clearly on topic for Grenouille Bouillie!
Have we reached the point in complexity where we can’t make good quality products anymore? Or is that some kind of strategic choice?
The original post is mostly about Apple products, but the same is true with Linux, with Android, with Windows.
Here is my own list of additional bugs, focusing on those that can easily be reproduced:
I’ll keep updating this list as more come to mind. Add your own favorite bugs in the comments.
First update (Feb 13, 2013):
Updated February 28th after restoring a machine following a serious problem:
Recently, a user of Tao Presentations informed us that Google Chrome displayed a dire warning after he downloaded our software: “Tao Presentations may be malicious software”. Uh oh, for the average Joe, that’s a big no-no.
It’s not just us. Recently, I tried to download some of the amazing demos created by Iñigo Quilez. Same thing. Seriously, a 4K exe that manages to display a complete mountain? And Google Chrome would have me believe that there’s room in there for “malicious software”? Get real.
Now, it took me quite a while to find a solution to this problem. Apparently, you just need to record your site in Google’s Webmaster tools, and after scanning your site and ensuring (I assume) that there’s no known virus signature in the files, things should improve.
I still find this really annoying that a browser vendor would, by default, tag unknown files as “malicious”. Who are they to make this judgment call?
Shouldn’t they instead have something a little more sophisticated, that actually detects malicious signatures? You know, like a real anti-virus? Don’t tell me that Google doesn’t have smart enough engineers to write an in-browser anti-virus that doesn’t completely suck.
Nah, instead they went the easy route: anything that we don’t know is malicious. And we tell your users so.
I used to be a big fan of Chrome. Not anymore. Because of this single issue. I think this demonstrate an incredibly stupid arrogance and lack of technical diligence on Google’s part.
Google overstepped its authority and took advantage of their weight. Let’s not get used to it.
At Taodyne, we mostly use Apple Pages to create our documents. For large documents, I’d like to be able to create numbered chapters, something like “Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”, and so on. Apple Pages does not seem to have that feature. Let’s not get used to it, and let’s fix it.
One thing that I observed is that when you read a Microsoft Word document that contains numbered chapters, Apple Pages preserves that formatting. In other words, if the user interface may not know how to edit numbered lists with text in them, the rendering engine knows how to render them, and the regular editing within Pages will correctly renumber these documents.
To verify that my recollection of this capability of Pages was correct, I first created a document in Microsoft Word that looks like this:
Section 1 – Hello
Chapter 1 – This is a chapter
I. This is a numbered section
1. This is a numbered sub-section
It doesn’t just “look like” this. The Section and Chapter text were edited in the Numbering section of Microsoft Word, so this is auto-numbering.
Then I saved this document to disk, and imported it into Pages. And indeed, when I edit it in Pages, numbering works just like in Microsoft Word.
Let’s look inside the document to see what’s there. A quick tour through the command line shows that Apple Pages documents are really zipped collections of files, including XML files representing the document itself:
% unzip Hello.pages Archive: Hello.pages extracting: thumbs/PageCapThumbV2-1.tiff extracting: QuickLook/Thumbnail.jpg extracting: QuickLook/Preview.pdf extracting: buildVersionHistory.plist inflating: index.xml
The most interesting of these documents is the index.xml file. It contains the actual description of the document in XML format. And if I look inside, I see something interesting:
<sf:list-label-typeinfo sf:type="text"><sf:text-label sf:type="decimal" sf:format="Section %L -" sf:first="1"/>
So this sf:format= accepts a rather general format, with %L serving as the marker for where the number should go.
So the solution for adding chapter numbers is simple:
Now, you have proper chapter numbering in Apple Pages.