Posts tagged software

How to Write a History of Writing Software

history, software, writing, computing, technolgy

Five years ago, Matthew Kirschenbaum, an English professor at the University of Maryland, realized that no one seemed to know who wrote the first novel with the help of a word processor. He’s just published the fruit of his efforts: Track Changes, the first book-length story of word processing. It is more than a history of high art. Kirschenbaum follows how writers of popular and genre fiction adopted the technology long before vaunted novelists did. He determines how their writing habits and financial powers changed once they moved from typewriter to computing. And he details the unsettled ways that the computer first entered the home. (When he first bought a computer, for example, the science-fiction legend Isaac Asimov wasn’t sure whether it should go in the living room or the study.)


The Google codebase [as of January 2015] includes approximately one billion files and has a history of approximately 35 million…

google, versioning, software, ACM, data

The Google codebase [as of January 2015] includes approximately one billion files and has a history of approximately 35 million commits spanning Google’s entire 18-year existence. The repository contains 86TB [Total size of uncompressed content, excluding release branches] of data, including approximately two billion lines of code in nine million unique source files. The total number of files also includes source files copied into release branches, files that are deleted at the latest revision, configuration files, documentation, and supporting data files.

Google’s codebase is shared by more than 25,000 Google software developers from dozens of offices in countries around the world. On a typical workday, they commit 16,000 changes to the codebase, and another 24,000 changes are committed by automated systems. Each day the repository serves billions of file read requests, with approximately 800,000 queries per second during peak traffic and an average of approximately 500,000 queries per second each workday. Most of this traffic originates from Google’s distributed build-and-test systems

Volkswagen under investigation over illegal software that masks emissions

software, VW, emissions, self regulation, test hacks, EPA

“A sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on only during the test,” the EPA said in a statement. “The effectiveness of these vehicles’ pollution emissions control devices is greatly reduced during all normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory or testing station, but during normal operation, emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard.”

Cognitive Biases in Software Engineering

Jonathan Klein, software, engineering, congitive bias, biases

Human logic, unlike that of the machines which we program and use every day, isn’t perfect. We make mistakes, we establish bad mental habits, and we have many cognitive biases that negatively impact our ability to be successful engineers. I want to go over five of the most common biases that I see on a regular basis as a software engineer.

Swiss Public Prosecutor seizes and seals work by !Mediengruppe Bitnik

!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Dark Net, shopping, online shopping, Agora, art, crime, intention, software

What does it mean for a society, when there are robots which act autonomously? Who is liable, when a robot breaks the law on its own initiative? These were some of the main questions the work Random Darknet Shopper posed. Global questions, which will now be negotiated locally. On the morning of January 12, the day after the three-month exhibition was closed, the public prosecutor’s office of St. Gallen seized and sealed our work. It seems, the purpose of the confiscation is to impede an endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited by destroying them. This is what we know at present. We believe that the confiscation is an unjustified intervention into freedom of art. We’d also like to thank Kunst Halle St. Gallen for their ongoing support and the wonderful collaboration. Furthermore, we are convinced, that it is an objective of art to shed light on the fringes of society and to pose fundamental contemporary questions.–01–15-statement/