Stop Automatic Execution Blocking

For years I’ve had an advisory page on a terrible Windows anti-feature I’ve dubbed “automatic execution blocking.” Windows sets a flag in files downloaded from the Internet so you cannot run them without a confirmation dialog. Worse, this flag is automatically propagated to files within downloaded archives when you use Windows facilities to unpack those […]

Statistical (In-)Significance

In 2005 John Ioannidis famously declared that Most Published Research Findings Are False. How can this be? Ioannidis refers to studies employing statistical significance testing which has become the norm in many fields, especially medicine – Ioannidis himself is an epidemiologist. Research involving only abstract reasoning (e.g. mathematics) or reliably repeatable mechanisms (e.g. engineering) is […]

Greatest Hits in 2014

Unlike earlier years where I had to guesstimate and combine statistics from multiple sources, the past year was fully covered by Google Analytics. The short version is, total Kynosarges page views nearly doubled from an estimated 95,000 in 2013 to a GA-measured 173,523 in 2014. Not bad for one sad clown amazingly interesting writer! So […]

∞ Chess, Benchmarks & Java

Here’s my end-of-year roundup of notable developer links from the last several months. First, Erik Bern has written an intriguing chess AI called Deep Pink whose position evaluation function was built by teaching a neural network from 100 million amateur games. Without any external knowledge, the learning mechanism simply assumed that each player always made […]

Of Manuals & Magazines

Remember the massive printed multi-volume documentation sets for C++ compilers in the good old days? They are long gone, and Andrew Binstock bemoans the general decline of manuals for developer tools. After an abortive attempt to move traditional comprehensive manuals from print to digital formats, documentation has generally shrunk to brief online references – if […]

Return of Patronage

Who will pay for intellectual works that are easily copied over the Internet, and why? I think the strongest component will be voluntary payment, a.k.a. patronage, and it’s already much more common than generally admitted. The core distinction is the following: People will pay after “consuming” (listening, reading, watching, playing) a work if they decide […]

.NET Core: Hype vs Reality

The great excitement over Microsoft’s announcement to open-source a cross-platform .NET Server Core (explanation by Tim Anderson) is frankly rather puzzling. As Mike James correctly analyzes, The bottom line is that Microsoft has open sourced code that was already available as open source as Mono. The only difference is that this is the real original […]

Returning to Wjjsoft myBase

Wjjsoft myBase is an “outliner database,” one of an old and illustrious group of applications whose perhaps most famous specimen is TreePad. TreePad has existed since 1995, myBase since 1998. Both are still under active development, but their user interfaces are clearly children of the 1990s. While certainly usable they look rather cluttered and ugly, […]

Enter the E-Cigarette

Nicotine is an effective nootropic second only to caffeine in popularity. Lately it has been on the decline through little fault of its own, as the standard delivery method of burning or chewing tobacco is extremely unhealthy. Tobacco contains a powerful mix of carcinogenic chemicals (which do not include nicotine!), and inhaling smoke particles damages […]

Windows 10 Announced

Microsoft has officially announced the successor to the ill-conceived Windows 8, codenamed “Threshold” and now surprisingly numbered Windows 10 rather than 9. You see, “Windows 9” also matches the start of “Windows 95” and “Windows 98”… and a lot of short-sighted coders used a startsWith string check to determine Windows versions. Also, the internal version […]