Minority Opinions

Not everyone can be mainstream, after all.

Archive for April 2011

My Diaphragm Aches

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When the sign-up sheet for flu shots came around last fall, I didn’t see the point.  I wasn’t alone in that; at least half of the tech team decided that they weren’t worthwhile: they don’t last that long, and they only protect against a few strains.  Sure, those are projected to be the most widespread strains, but distributing the vaccine itself has to affect that status, doesn’t it?

Now, several months later, I understand.

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Written by eswald

25 Apr 2011 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Lifestyle

Unfolding the Undo Tree

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In the beginning, there was the text editor.  At some point, someone noticed how easy it was to destroy an hour’s worth of typing with a single keystroke, and invented the “undo” command.  A simple keystroke could pretend that your latest edit never happened; hit it again, and that edit gets restored.

Fast forward to a time when memory is less scarce, and many more people are using computers even faster.  It’s now a bit too common to make two or more changes before realizing that something needs to be undone, so undo learns how to revert multiple edits.  However, that requires a second command, redo, to restore them.  Nobody complains, because the extra power is worth it.

Yet there’s still a problem; if an edit gets undone, and another edit made, there’s no way for a simple undo/redo stack to restore the first edit.  Therefore, we now have the undo tree.  I first noticed it in Vim 7, but it’s entirely possible that another program had it first.  Unfortunately, the interface sucks.

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Written by eswald

18 Apr 2011 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Technology

Broadcast over IP

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In the spirit of half-baked ideas, I present an idea that has been kicked around the office by people who barely know what we’re talking about:  A new protocol for real-time broadcast streams.  This could potentially offer speed boosts, or at least network traffic reductions, to services like:

  • Video conferencing
  • Cable television
  • Internet radio
  • Chat rooms
  • Webcams
  • Twitter

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Written by eswald

11 Apr 2011 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Technology