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.

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Fort Collins couple builds Train Alert system to help reduce traffic backups

Read the full article here: www.reporterherald.com. Excerpted below.

A camera mounted on the side of their house and a homemade computer program are the nuts and bolts behind the service, called Train Alert, which launched its first version Dec. 8.

Train Alert automatically sends out tweets and web alerts to subscribers with estimated times an oncoming train will arrive at major street crossings in Loveland and Fort Collins.

All elements of the Train Alert system are homemade and low-cost, the couple said. Keeping the cost low was “a fun challenge,” Kathy Haselmaier said.

Jim Haselmaier, who has some background in engineering and software development, used open-source image analysis software and a program he wrote himself in the programming language Python to create the train monitor. The image analysis “routines,” which he obtained from an online library called Open CV, do “some basic but astonishingly cool tasks,” Haselmaier said.