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Michał Gancarski


Michał Gancarski

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I am trying to broaden my programming horizons by learning languages that I would not necessarily use at work but that would teach me different programming paradigms:

- Ruby for OOP inspired by Smalltalk
- Haskell for functional programming
- Prolog for something exotic (declarative, logical programming)
- C for becoming a coding sapper and getting out of the comfort zone provided by higher-level languages

Would any of you have other recommendations?
Michael Chui's profile photoMarcin Lewandowski's profile photoBartosz Majsak's profile photoMichał Gancarski's profile photo
Tak jeszcze w temacie Clojure :)
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#rant   #internet   #design   #ergonomics  

This is the home page of +Instagram . The website tries to automatically infer the language in which to serve its content and then shows translated version. The way it detects the user's locale is not based on IP, at least not exclusively, as different browsers display different translations. My guess is it checks the Accept-Language HTTP header and acts upon it.

This could work were it done properly. However, in this case everything that could go wrong, went wrong:

1. The content is only partially translated. In my case - navigation items, the login button and the last paragraph (!) of the main text are in Polish. The rest stays in English.

2. There is no dedicated URL for the language version currently displayed. Even if the meaning of the content is the same, every translation should have its separate URL, like This would clearly indicate the language in which the page is served to the user. More importantly, it would provide a clear and easy way of switching the language by simply changing the last two letters in the address bar. Which brings me to the most crucial point.

3. There is no language switch anywhere on the page. Depending on the combination of system and browser settings, the Accept-Language header sent by the browser will be different, with no clear way of modifying it. In practice it leaves the user with no reasonable method of changing the language version of the site. Especially if the user has no control over these settings which may happen on a shared machine. Consequently, there is no assurance a user will be able to read the website, since the translation she is presented with may be in a language she does not speak.

The problem permeates the rest of the website, including the API documentation, the blog and other sections.

I am sure what +Instagram does is by all means an expression of good intentions. However, the way it is implemented, makes matters worse than if the service did not attempt to make its website multilingual at all. The purpose of multilingual websites is to increase accessibility, not hinder users' attempts to actually access the content they need.
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#culture   #videogames   #ps4   #xboxone  

The PS4 / Xbox One marketing war is gaining momentum. Advertising context aside, show this video to any person still wondering why people play video games :-)

Xbox One: Invitation
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Whoa. Read this! You will never feel the same way about Columbus again.  

I love the notion of Bartolome Day instead. Great work from The Oatmeal.
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#politics #internet #NSA  

TL:DR version of the article:

"We need to give NSA more snooping power abroad and in the US (sic!) so it can better protect American infrastructure against cyber attacks".

Is this why NSA was instrumental in inserting backdoors into every online service and software it could, lowering its overall resistance to attacks? After all, every backdoor is essentially a security hole included on purpose.

What kind of logic it is, I really don't know.
We Need an Invasive NSA (They stand between us and cyber-catastrophe.)
Travis Owens's profile photoMichał Gancarski's profile photo
+Travis Owens I really love the "No Such Agency" version as well :-)
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#mathematics   #reddit  

There are ways to do higher mathematics only Reddit could suggest:

I'm not very clever but have managed to end up doing a PhD in higher order PDEs. The way I've come to approach problems is by something akin to echolocation. Rather than using sound to see the shape of things, though, my preferred output is idiocy. If I throw enough idiocy at a problem from enough different directions, the way it bounces back will (eventually, with some luck and feelings of shame) guide me to what I can do to solve it
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#economics   #science  

I was a bit perplexed by this post from +David Brin so I left a comment there:

Generating part of GDP does not mean contributing to it in economic terms. Alternative cost has to be taken into account.

Create a law that makes people buy services only from particular providers and these providers' share in GDP would definitely rise. Now imagine somebody wants to strike the law down. The providers start a campaign, claiming they generate so much GDP and therefore are so important the law is definitely needed.

But this argument is wrong. Were the law struck down, general welfare of the population would rise as people could buy services on a more competitive market. Would overall GDP fall? Maybe, maybe not, in fact it could rise thanks to added efficiency. Would the protected providers' share in GDP fall? Obviously. Would it be bad for the society as a whole? Obviously not.

The fact that you earn a lot and employ lots of people does not mean you should be praised or protected. It may also mean that you are utterly inefficient or lack competition. That you enjoy an unfair protection from technological and market disruption. That you make everyone else worse off because the alternative cost of these protections outweighs your contribution to GDP.

And what on Earth does copyright industry have to do with science - an endeavor that thrives in conditions of freely shared data and ideas?
U.S. copyright industries contributed more than $1 trillion to the gross domestic product in 2012, accounting for 6.5% of the nation's economy.
Supporting my contention that those pushing the War on Science are unambiguously all-out traitors.
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#politics #escapism #books

It was a mistake to speak one’s mind at any time, unless it perfectly matched your political purpose; and it never did. Best to strip all statements of real content, this was a basic law of diplomacy.

Kim Stanley Robinson - "Red Mars"
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#videogames #playstation

A perfect day in a nicely done Playstation 4 commercial. Still - no women inside, which is strange as the singing format would be ideal for a male/female voice duo.

Official PlayStation 4 Perfect Day Commercial
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#internet #web #W3C #DRM #EME

Continuing the subject of #EME , I left a comment under +Tim Berners-Lee's blog post on why he thinks DRM on the web should be tackled by W3C. I do not take on the core issue here, instead offering some remarks on the language being used:

It is disturbing to see W3C is using this peculiar language in which playback restrictions become “content protection”. “Content protection”, if anything, means making as many copies as possible, minimizing the chance of said content getting irreversibly lost and unavailable. DRM, by its nature, is contrary to this goal as its purpose is to restrict ways in which users are able to consume and make copies of content they gained access to.

This is not merely a semantic point. Language is important – it shapes our understanding of issues we try to address. In a world where making it harder to create copies becomes “content protection”, users are seen as vandals, a threat to content in some way. At the same time, the true meaning of what DRM is remains obscured, preventing any meaningful discussion. After all, who could be against content "protection"?

We should get this in order. Unless we mean preservation and greater availability, no “content protection” doublespeak anymore. There are more truthful alternatives, like “playback restrictions”, “copying restrictions”, “copyright protection system” or “copyright management system”.

As for the “DRM” itself – “Digital Restrictions Management” seems accurate.

The blog post can be found here:
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Bragging rights
I can juggle three tennis balls. Tried with four but failed.