On being the right size – J.B.S. Haldane

Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force.

Read the whole thing here.

 

Contextmenus.js

Purely Javascript based solution allowing for easy creation of right-click context menus. Browse the code on GitHub. Demo

So, Haider posted on his Facebook timeline, a link to his then newly setup github repo which he had named “rightclick.js.” It was pretty clear what it was about so I gave his code a look. He is using JQuery, and (for some reason unclear to me,) NodeJS.
This morning, I decided to make my own in pure Javascript. I started around afternoon and got done with it a couple of hours ago. I wanted to call it contextmenu.js but there already exists a script by that name, and thus, out of respect, I renamed mine to contextmenus.js. The code happens to be a couple of files that together take up a total of 1812 Bytes of disk space. Everything  that you need to know, in order to get it to work for you, is explained in the README.md on the GitHub page.

 

Progresive Web Apps

You are using a computing device, be it a smartphone, a tablet, a desktop computer. It’s new, shiny, with little or no applications installed, apart from the bloatware that the manufacturer could have generously shipped with it. You fire up Facebook in a web browser, like a couple of pictures, post a status, have a small chat with a friend, and then after a while, you close the tab and lock your phone. After a while you do it again, and this time, you spend a whole hour scrolling through the news feed, and then once again you close the tab, and lock your device.
Now while it’s locked, and still connected, your device makes a decision. Assuming that you like Facebook, it adds a Facebook icon to your homescreen, or your app-drawer, for easy access to facebook.com. So the next time you unlock your iPhone, you simply tap on that icon, and it opens facebook.com in your default web browser. You love it.. It’s just a simple link, but it already feels great, and it could be better. Soon enough, after another day’s usage of the site, you notice that tapping the app icon no longer opens a browser window with facebook.com. Instead, you get a window solely running Facebook like it’s a standalone native application for your operating-system. … 

 

From Windows 8 to 10 – The excitements and the disappointments.

tl;dr
I have been a Linux user for the past few years, but I grew up using Windows, and I have always been closely interested in it’s progress and moves.
When Windows 8 came out, I was like the only person I knew who didn’t hate the Metro. All my friends thought it was ridiculous, and truth be told, it was. It seemed as if they had forgotten that people neither have a bunch of huge touchscreens lying around in their place nor do they love the desktop experience in full touch, and Windows 8 was a weird cross between an OS optimized for touchscreen, and an OS that didn’t look like it would ever work well with touchscreens.
Accessing the desktop by clicking on a tile at the bottom left corner of the screen was oddly disturbing.. it felt like the desktop had lost it’s old integrity.. Like it was only a tile among many, like it was just another app like the ones accessed by clicking the other tiles. Furthermore, at times, it was hard to decide which world to live in: the metro, that had a really long way to go, and was far from mature, or the desktop that we’d both loved and hated for ages. For Developers, it both sucked and was an opportunity at the same time. They had a new platform to master; some would go on to proudly declare themselves to be of the first 100 developers for Windows apps. Some developers saw it as mere clutter. Another language and platform to come across and not-read articles of.
The question was: “Why?”
… 

 

Can machines think?

Back in 1950, Turing’s paper, titled “Computer machinery and Intelligence,” was published in journal called “Mind,” and it was one of the things that can be credited for changing the way people thought about machines. Some readers were awestruck, while others only saw gibberish.
The paper, in a fair-amount of detail, spoke of computers, and the possibility of them being indistinguishable from a human in the future. The present day, may or may not be the future in question, but we have most definitely made a fine dent. Turing spoke of storage, and memory and processing and instructions, and of word, in the second part of his article titled “Digital Computers.” The model of computing defined in his article is what we know today as the Turing Machine.
The part on digital computers was preceded by “The Imitation Game.” You might be familiar with the 2014 movie of the same name, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a young Alan Turing who builds an intelligent-machine so as to be able to decrypt the messages encrypted by the german Enigma machine. The Imitation Game, which is defined finely in his article, is what could be used as a Turing Test, so as to determine how close a machine is to imitating the behavior and thinking capability of a human being, and whether or not it could possibly hoodwink a human into mistaking itself for a human. The Turing Test is a popular topic for discussion among enthusiasts, and developers perform different forms of it on their AI creations to this day.
I could go on for a while, but there’s honestly no point to it, and your time could be better spent reading the original article.