From the category archives:


Deep learning goes mainstream

November 24, 2012

Another day, another surprise from the New York Times! This time it's a front page article on "deep-learning," an integral part of my own work and something that defies many attempts at simple explanation. Sadly, that's also true of the Times article, which never actually explains what deep learning is! Indeed, the reader is left to wonder […]

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"And boy have we patented it!"

August 24, 2012

Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone, January 9, 2007: We've been innovating like crazy the last few years on this, and we've filed for over 200 patents for all the inventions in iPhone. And we intend to protect them. And they have. (Here are links to the title and post source videos)

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Tolerance and respect

August 19, 2012

I have been reviewing Microsoft's F# Component Design Guidelines. One section has a note to avoid using underscores in names, as it "clashes with .NET naming conventions." However, the authors found it necessary to add this caveat: That said, some F# programmers use underscores heavily, partly for historical reasons, and tolerance and respect is important. […]

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Missing pieces

August 1, 2012

Two important things to keep in mind about Mountain Lion, entirely reblogged from Adam Laiacano because his pictures are worth exactly two thousand of my words: One saving grace -- at least on my machine -- a Java runtime was automatically installed while I was installing Python. Why not just preinstall it in the first place? […]

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A major Mountain Lion bug?

July 27, 2012

I just finished a clean install of Mountain Lion and have run into what appears to be a major bug: I can't browse my old Time Machine backups! It seems like I'm not the only one. This is a major, showstopping bug and it's hard to imagine how it got through Apple's QA process. I […]

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Charting iPhone growth

June 30, 2012

To mark the iPhone's 5 year anniversary, comScore has released a chart of mobile use by iPhone type: The most striking thing about the chart, to me, is how steady the width of the bands remains through time. There is a perception that a small but dedicated group of iPhone owners upgrade their hardware with […]

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Turing's Cathedral

June 27, 2012

I've just finished Turing's Cathedral, a wonderful new book by George Dyson about John von Neumann's team at Princeton that built one of the first computers. In the title chapter, there are a few excellent quotes: "I asked [Turing] under what circumstances he would say that a machine is conscious," Jack Good recalled in 1956. "He […]

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Autoencoders go mainstream

June 27, 2012

My inbox has been buzzing with links to an interesting new research paper from a team at Google led by Andrew Ng (of Stanford AI fame) and Jeff Dean. However, I'm receiving far more links to an NYT piece covering the research. It's great that the work is getting mainstream coverage, but somewhat unfortunate because […]

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Facebook au lait

February 5, 2012

The NYT's Bits section, which up until now I thought was doing a wonderful job of evolving technology reporting to a higher, "post-blog" level, has left me stunned with a bizarre editorial in which the author requests compensation for his contribution to Facebook's success. Is it just a tongue-in-cheek opinion designed to attract eyeballs and -- yes […]

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Another for the futurist set...

February 4, 2012

It's been a while since we posted one of these, so here's Corning's latest peek at the future, "A Day Made of Glass 2:" (And here is a narrated version with additional details on what is -- and isn't -- currently possible.)

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If it's unclear, non-specific and vague... it's probably true

January 25, 2012

Mashable has a new standard for fact-checking rumors: ...While you should look at all of this information with a skeptical eye, a raised eyebrow and folded arms, the rumor sounds slightly more credible than the junk typically spewed out from Taiwan industry pub DigiTimes. For starters, reviewing various prototypes before deciding on the final production model […]

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Minimum system requirements... for the web

October 14, 2011

I remember when the concept of "minimum system requirements" became important. It was during the late 90's, as 3dfx and Nvidia battled to own the nascent market for hardware-accelerated graphics. For the first time, you had software which simply wouldn't run on a computer unless it met certain criteria, namely the ability to perform certain […]

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In which I conquer the cassette player

October 7, 2011

We have a new car and it has an American radio. That wouldn't be a problem except that in Israel, FM stations broadcast on even-numbered spectrum intervals (like 97.8), but American radios can only pick up odd-numbered intervals. And even that wouldn't be a problem if I hadn't grown to really like Israeli radio stations […]

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Eloquent JavaScript: an interactive programming tutorial

September 30, 2011

Via my friend Will Gaybrick (@gaybrick), I discovered an excellent programming tutorial called Eloquent JavaScript. Not only is it extremely well-written, clear and friendly, but it features a completely interactive console allowing readers to run and experiment with every single example. You'll never have to struggle to decipher what a piece of code is doing […]

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September 26, 2011

It really comes as no surprise whatsoever that just weeks after I switched from TextMate to VIM, TextMate 2 has finally broken cover. From a post on the MacroMates blog: There has been a lot of speculation and trepidation about the future of TextMate recently, mostly about whether there will be another major release. Work on […]

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The "software company" bubble

August 21, 2011

It's amazing what you can see when you refuse to open your eyes -- or need to talk your book. Take, for example, Marc Andreessen's article in the WSJ titled "Why Software is Eating the World." I became skeptical when this line appeared in the introduction: And, perhaps most telling, you can't have a bubble […]

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Making the jump: Textmate to VIM

August 17, 2011

Finally making the leap from Textmate to VIM...

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Installing Python, virtualenv, NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib and IPython on Lion or Mountain Lion

August 12, 2011

A guide to installing Python, virtualenv, NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib and IPython on Mac OS 10.7 Lion

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i8, iWant

July 30, 2011

I wrote about how much I loved BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics concept almost 2 years ago. This morning in Frankfurt, BMW took it one step closer to production as the second model in the new electric BMW i sub-brand: the i8. Looking like a hybrid 6/8-series that fell through a portal from 2050, the latest concept […]

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Briefly: Spotify/SmartBird

July 28, 2011

As some of you know, I am and will be travelling abroad for two months. Before I left, I purchased a Spotify subscription and have to say I love it. I won't even waste your time trying to review it -- David Pogue did a great job in today's NYT. I tried to talk myself […]

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Not with a bang but a whimper

July 25, 2011

Old and busted: insightful tech journalism for a general audience New hotness: attacking brand new (prototype!) technologies that you don't understand

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Trials of the early adopter

July 25, 2011

Update: this post is now completely obsolete. I've posted a much more comprehensive guide to installing Python, NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib and IPython on Lion here. This post is meant as a public service announcement for an extremely small audience. If you don't think this is directed at you, then it almost certainly isn't. I'm happy […]

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Novices and the filesystem

July 24, 2011

Speaking of Lion, I've been reading John Siracusa's review over on Ars Technica. Every few years (and lately, every year) John puts out a lengthy review of Apple's latest OS - and by lengthy, I mean you should set aside half an hour to read it. In fact, this year's version is available as a […]

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I love natural scrolling in Lion

July 24, 2011

I want to add my voice to a (silent?) minority: I love natural scrolling in Lion. For those readers who aren't yet running Apple's latest OS, scrolling has been reversed in the new software: to scroll down the page, flick your fingers up; to view a panel to the right, drag your fingers left. It […]

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Data science vs business intelligence

June 30, 2011

Steve Miller has written a nice two-part piece on data science for Information Management. Part 1 overviews the topic, including links to many pieces that have been profiled on TGR. Part 2 is a more direct comparison of data science and "business intelligence," a somewhat lackluster (but growing) field of data analytics. One quote stood […]

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Why the Mac App Store is a brilliant idea

October 20, 2010

Apple announced this afternoon that the App Store is coming to Macs - a brilliant move on their part. When the iPad was announced, I speculated that it would imitate the Dashboard of Mac OS. Instead, it pursued a "single serving app" model, with great success. So great, in fact, that now the tables have […]

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Google's programming initiative

July 12, 2010

Google has introduced software that allows non-programmers to create relatively simple Android applications. The program wraps pre-written pieces of code in bite sized visual representations that can be linked together to create complex behaviors. The software can tap many areas of the Android API, including hardware functions like the accelerometer, and can autonomously respond to […]

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A bit more on speech

June 26, 2010

As if responding to my thoughts on communicating with machines, Isaac Asimov's classic novel Second Foundation provides the following: Speech, originally, was the device whereby Man learned, imperfectly, to transmit the thoughts and emotions of his mind. By setting up arbitrary sounds and combinations of sounds to represent certain mental nuances, he developed a method […]

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Speech recognition (is more prevalent than you think)

June 25, 2010

The NYT has published the second article in their "Smarter Than You Think" series on artificial intelligence (TGR covered the first here and again here). This time, the focus is on speech recognition and natural language processing. A couple passages really stood out to me in this more abbreviated overview of the technology: Computers with […]

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Holding a mirror to artificial intelligence

June 23, 2010

Assessing the human computer.

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