It’s about time

“A generation ago, computing usually took place in a single mainframe or personal computer. Now it is routinely spread across thousands of independent processors in machines that can be separated by a few feet or entire continents.

Chip designers have long struggled to maintain the precise timing needed to order mathematical operations inside individual computing chips. And synchronizing these vast ensembles of them has become the limiting factor in the speed and processing power of what Google describes as “planetary-scale” computers.”

Read the whole interesting article at www.nytimes.com.

Deceived by Design

“User-experience designers and marketers are well aware that many people are so eager to start using a new service or complete a task, or are so loath to lose a perceived deal, that they will often click one “Next” button after another as if on autopilot — without necessarily understanding the terms they have agreed to along the way.” — www.nytimes.com

The Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet), a government agency that promotes and protects the rights of consumers, has published a report in English [pdf link] on how Facebook, Google and Windows 10 use dark patterns to manipulate users.” — www.metafilter.com

“In graphic and web design, a dark pattern is “a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.”[1][2][3] The neologism dark pattern was coined by Harry Brignull in August 2010 with the registration of darkpatterns.org, a “pattern library with the specific goal of naming and shaming deceptive user interfaces.” — wikipedia.org

It’s About Time

Synchronous electric clocks count the oscillations of the mains current to keep time: After 50 or 60 cycles (depending on where you are in the world), one second has elapsed. This works wonderfully as long as the average mains frequency is constant, or—in practice—adjusted to compensate for errors. Things get a little tricky when 113 GWh of energy somehow go missing and all microwave clocks on an entire continent go slow…” — www.metafilter.com.

It’s an interesting article, IMO. Be sure to read the comments and to check out this Wiki item: wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_clock#Accuracy.

Meet the judge who codes — and decides tech’s biggest cases

“Judge [William H. ] Alsup would like everyone to know that he doesn’t know Java.

Not very well, anyway. He can, however, definitely code. He’s been coding in BASIC for decades, actually, writing programs for the fun of it: a program to play Bridge, written as a gift for his wife; an automatic solution for the board game Mastermind, which he is immensely fond of; and most ambitiously, a sprawling multifunctional program with a graphical interface that helps him with yet another of his many hobbies, ham radio.

His interests have served him well on the judicial bench, informing his outlook on the multibillion-dollar intellectual property cases that come to him. The fortunes of tech companies can rise or fall depending on his rulings. Oracle v. Google has wide repercussions for big companies and smaller developers alike, to say nothing of the $9 billion at stake. The yet-to-be-totaled billions Alphabet is seeking from Uber in the ongoing Waymo v. Uber suit could make or break Uber as a player in the nascent self-driving car market.”

Read the whole interesting and well-written article by  at theverge.com.

For more about Judge Alsup, search [judge ham radio map court technology san francisco alsup].