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Chris Westcott
Passionate about Software Development. Let me show you!
Passionate about Software Development. Let me show you!

Chris's posts

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Good read by +Steven Levy​ looking back at AI during Ai's "winter"

“What Deep Blue Tells Us About AI in 2017” @StevenLevy

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Analysis of Google's Tensor Processing Unit (for deep learning) by AWS Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton: "For machine learning inference, this part is more than an order of magnitude faster than an Nvidia GPGPU while being more than an order of magnitude less expensive. This is the power of workload hardware specialization and we are going to see a lot more of this over the next decade ... This is really fine work"

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Can anyone help out +David Eppstein​?

Livejournal was a huge part of my life, for a few years. I'm sure this isn't the trajectory that +Brad Fitzpatrick​ wished upon it when he let it go.
LiveJournal is

(1) Finally "transferring control of LiveJournal as a blogging platform" to Russia. (For a few years it has been Russian-owned but California-based.) Ho hum.

(2) Showing ads to all viewers of my paid account. (The whole reason I have been paying for an account is to try keep my blog ad-free.)

(3) Not letting me even view the whole "important update" post unless I agree to their new terms of service. More, I can't even view my own old posts without agreeing to the terms of service.

(4) Posting new terms of service ( that subjects me to mysterious laws (e.g. "Article 10.2 of the Federal Act of the Russian Federation No. 149-ФЗ" whatever that is) and that require me to read Russian to get to the actual terms of service (the English version is asserted to be not the legally binding one).

(5) Disallowing pseudonyms that could be construed as misleading people about one's identity (section 9). As anyone who noticed my two-year boycott of Google+ over exactly this issue knows, this one is important to me despite the fact that I don't actually hide my own identity here or on LJ.

(6) Locking me out of the automated backups I have been using (also section 9), as I discovered in practice today when I tried to run a backup.

(7) Promising to spam me (section 12.5).

As a result, I am not going to post on my LiveJournal any more. I may also actually take it down, but only after putting up my backed-up posts elsewhere. But I am also not happy with Google+ (my other main social media service) as an archival and long-form journaling system.

Does anyone have suggestions for alternatives? The main things I would like are long-term stability, a comment system that works (unlike say the one on the complexity theory blog), integration with MathJax, and no ads. I can host it on my university site if I must, but would prefer outside hosting, and am willing to pay modest hosting fees in return for not showing ads to my viewers as well as to me.

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Scrolling through my Medium feed, as I do daily, I clicked on an article, unlike any other, to be redirected to Medium's sign up page. Initially I thought it was a bug, clicked back and tried again. Clicked back and noticed the small padlock. Minor frustration.

I've spent a lot of time reading Medium, over the past few years. Then inevitable happened, they had to do it eventually, ask for subscription.

I'm assuming this is one of the "Exclusive stories from top writers". I'm not able to see the worth, with only an image, title and 3 lines of text.

This means that for me it's an article I'll probably just never read. If I could see a small part of the article I could see if it is worth paying subscription for it.

Now the more of these padlocked articles that appear in my list, the more likely I'm to go elsewhere, for information.

Medium are playing a difficult game. They need the subscriptions but not push away their current user base.

Maybe ad based, for free users, would have been better. It worked well for Spotify.

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My book "Commodore VIC 20: A Visual History" is available now. 

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This is very exciting if you're the kind of person who worries about the coming #DigitalDarkAge

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Via +Daniel Bull​
Great news for families in Milton Keynes -- half price entry to our museum to celebrate 50 years of MK and ten years of TNMOC.

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Very long but excellent read!

"""A lot of our ambient fears about A.I. rest on the idea that they’re just vacuuming up knowledge like a sociopathic prodigy in a library, and that an artificial intelligence constructed to make paper clips might someday decide to treat humans like ants or lettuce. This just isn’t how they work. All they’re doing is shuffling information around in search of commonalities — basic patterns, at first, and then more complex ones — and for the moment, at least, the greatest danger is that the information we’re feeding them is biased in the first place."""

via +Vic Gundotra​ on Facebook

Also with reading the HN commentary on the story: via +Ed S​

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Announcing updates to Google’s Internet of Things platform: Android Things and Weave

Today we are announcing a full range of solutions to make it easier to build secure smart devices and get them connected. We are releasing a Developer Preview of Android Things, an operating system for connected devices that has the support and scale of existing Android developer infrastructure. You can now develop IoT software using Android Studio and the Android SDK. We are also updating the Weave platform to provide an easy way to add cloud connectivity and management to devices, and enable access to Google services like the Google Assistant and many more over time.

Learn more about Google’s IoT platform from our blog post at, and join our new Google+ community at

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How often do you see a logarithmic graph do this? A log graph of number of digits too! And why, earlier this month, did we not hear of a new record doubling the number of digits of pi computed? Should have been all over the news!
(All you needed was 100+ cores, 1Tbyte+ of RAM, and 1Pbyte+ of storage, and a few months. And the y-cruncher, the most remarkable program.
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