Why Isn’t Cut and Paste A Stack?

Every post containing a quote and a link requires swap between the windows to copy first the quote, and then the URL for the link. And hence my question, why isn’t cut and paste a stack based system? Even if it wasn’t by default, it’d be really useful as an extension. In fact just by adding a modifier to Control-C/X and Control-V would create something useful:

Ctrl-C – copy the selected text, clearing the stack

Shft-Ctrl-C – push a copy of the selected text on to the stack

Ctrl-V – copy the selected text, peeking from the stack

Shft-Ctrl-V – push a copy of the selected Text off the stack

Wonder how much use it’d get if it was there? The default behaviour is identical to what we have now, so where is the harm? What am i missing? Maybe we don’t have this because of past memory restrictions… can’t see why it’s not doable now.

Our New Monopolist?

Remember back when Microsoft was a big nasty predatory monopoly dominating the industry? In order to fend off the unwanted attention of regulators, they went to some rather extraordinary lengths to keep their ‘competitors’ alive. In the end, of course, it actually took regulation to re-balance the market, but that was quite a few years, and many monopoly dollars, later. Obviously lessons have been learned:

The search site and advertising purveyor [Google] has talked to at least two private-equity firms about helping them bankroll a deal to buy Yahoo’s core business, says The Wall Street Journal, which cites “a person familiar with the matter.”

Unfortunately it’s the monopolists doing the learning, not the regulators. What a surprise.

Also, this:

Another argument for updating ECPA: Internet users currently enjoy more privacy rights if they store data locally, a legal hiccup that could slow the shift to cloud-based services unless it’s changed.

What are the odds that this ends up with a levelling of the field of play such that there is no advantage or additional protections to storing data locally? Why fund legislation that doesn’t push people into your business…

Debate?

I look at this graph and wonder at our arrogance…

It is amazing to me that there are segments of the scientific community (BEST, i’m looking at you!) that were so up their own arses over this. In the end they’ve spent several years producing a result that pretty much shows that the people who knew the field in the first place were right to warn, and if anything, were somewhat cautious in their analysis.

And yet the BBC still has the f’ing nerve to talk about debate… we’re lost, so far fucking lost. It’s over. And, in all likelihood too late. As many of us have been saying for a decade…

Update: hard corals are getting well established in Western Izu. Amazing. In general, the water temps have to stay above 13C year round for this to happen. Pretty much unthinkable in a temperate climate like Tokyo. The water in Izu has always warmer than you’d perhaps expect due to the Kuroshio, but until recently winter diving around Izu meant cold water. I remember asking around a few years ago, and there was still no sign of this happening in East Izu. Even then it was obvious that temperatures hadn’t dropped below 13C for a few years. Will have to ask again…

Before getting all pragmatic and looking for the upside in all this, remember that the warming further south is going to lead to the bleaching (and extinction) of ancient (and vast swathes) reefs, and a tiny number of the untold species will be capable of surviving a relocation. In addition, the species in the previously temperate waters of Izu that relied on the cold temperatures for food sources / signals / timing will be similarly disrupted.

Some of my dive guides friends at IOP have daily temperature records going back tens of years. It would be really interesting to get them plotted / analysed. Dive logs as the next data set?

Things Can Only Get Better, etc.

Quoting myself (almost never a good idea):

It feels like the tide is turning on emissions. Even if the point of inflection isn’t behind us yet, we’re running out of easy to find stuff to burn, and we do at least have a set of alternatives lined up.

I wasn’t wrong, but the data shows no reason to be optimistic. The inflection point certainly isn’t behind us, and the rate of emissions growth is still rising.

The slope of the graph is the rate of increase, and you can clearly see that prior to 2004, the gradient was shallower than it is now. It’s a little confusing that the rate after 2011 reverts to the pre-2004 rate, but the point that authors are trying to make is the most positive. Given the increase in emissions since 2004, the ‘Additional’ wedge on the right is now much more will have been added to the baseline. Assuming that the world comes around, and immediately adopts the wedges plan, all be it in a now more radical form with more of the 15 wedges, it is still possible to make it to a stabilization goal by 2061.

As Realclimate puts it:

The results are not encouraging. First, and most significant, rather than decreasing the emissions rate, the lack of implementation of these strategies has been accompanied by an accelerated rate of emissions, such that annual CO2 [Sic. they mean C; CO2 output would be 30Gt CO2/yr] output is now just under 9 Gt C/yr, a 2 Gt/yr increase. Accounting for natural sequestration, this represents an increase of about 13-14 ppm CO2 over that time. But this is not the full story by any means. As Socolow notes, if we re-set the clock to 2011 and start the wedge strategy implementation now, it would now take nine wedges implemented at the proposed rate of the original seven, to accomplish the same goal (keeping emission rates constant over the next 50 years).

Not encouraging.

The thing that stops the level of CO2 in the atmosphere from spiralling out of control is the two big sinks, the oceans and terrestrial. It’s not clear to me that we have a good understanding of how much more the oceans can absorb and remain a viable ecosystem. At some point they’ll simply tip over into being a net source of emissions. No doubt the same is true for terrestrial sinks, and through temperate zone deforestation we are actively reducing its size over time.

The amount of coal mined (and presumably burned) is projected to rise until at least 2025. It seems likely that the tar sand of Alberta will be mined on a large enough scale to counteract any decrease in easily accessible crude oil – at least on a short time scale. Fracking is sucking on the last bits of natural gas… all in all i’d say that we’re showing very little inclination to ‘leave stuff in the ground’.

And, in that sense, i was very wrong. My ‘Eco Madness’ category has never felt so appropriate.

DMR – RIP

Back in the early 90s, when, after ten years of messing around with home computers, i took a course in programming, Brian W. Kernighan & Dennis M. Ritchie’s book ‘The C Programming Language‘ was one of my text books. At that point it was probably about the same age as my involvement with computers.

Much of the next decade was spent in the world of C, it became the first computer language in which i could adequately express myself, and the first that earned me a living.

C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success.

Today, some twenty years later, it has been announced that Dennis Ritchie has died.

I’ll be honest, and tell you that my earlier post about Steve Jobs now feels a little empty.

Steve Yegge’s Platform Rant

Do love it when Steve Yegge posts something to the world (even when he really <cough> doesn’t mean to):

Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that’s not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there’s something there for everyone.

Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: “Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let’s go contract someone to, um, write some games for us.” Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.

He generally has a tone that really rubs the wrong way. Which is especially annoying because he also does a good job of making me think about something that i’d previously not considered, or hadn’t seen as important.

The whole product / platform distinction is, i think, pretty obvious. However, it’s not a view that i’d previously had of the all mighty G-sha. Perhaps having a platform at the level that Yegge is talking about means giving up too much control for Google. It’s funny to me that he rags on Bezos for being a control freak over having a platform, when the only solution that i can think of that is more control-freakish is having a product with a super minimal API!

My own take on why G+ will end up being another social failure for Google is related to that last paragraph. The idea that it is enough to be reactive, but implement it incrementally better, to be a success. Facebook, by way of  example, wasn’t a success because they had better html than Myspace, it was a success because it had a simple hook: reconnect with old school / college friends! Having a better implementation, a more flexible infrastructure, smarter engineers, is just not enough. Without that hook, if you just offer more of the same, only better, the network effects alone will be enough to kick you to the curb.

Rather rashly, back in july / august, i might have said that G+ will be dead / irrelevant in six months. In reality it’s likely to take longer than that, but i stand by the basic idea that it’ll be an also ran. Something will come along and unseat Facebook eventually, but it’s going to take more than a functional clone.

Meanwhile, over at G+, the innovation never ends – today they’ve rolled out hashtags…

Update:

Please realize, though, that even now, after six years, I know astoundingly little about Google. It’s a huge company and they do tons of stuff, and I work off in a little corner of the company (both technically and geographically) that gives me very little insight into anything else going on there. So my opinions, even though they may seem well-formed and accurate, really are just a bunch of opinions from someone who’s nowhere near the center of the action — so I wouldn’t read too much into anything I said.

Which is rather amusing. Maybe he just needs to find a new job.