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Antonio Vaccarino
Works at Laboratori Guglielmo Marconi
Lived in Bologna, Italy
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Antonio Vaccarino

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Mapping travel time, rather than distance

It takes me 7 hours to get from NYC to London. It takes me longer than that to get from London to the Isle of Skye. My parents say we moved far away, but when the important quantity is time, that's actually not true.

Here's the map of the same maths done in 1906. This shows, clearly, the importance of sea travel getting anywhere. Note how long it takes to get to the center of continents from Europe. This is a fun exercise to do with any map you create.

h/t +Paolo Marino for the share
Atlas of the World's Commerce, A New Series of Maps with Descriptive Text and Diagrams showing Products, Imports, Exports, Commercial Conditions and Economic Statistics of the Countries of the World, Compiled from the Latest Official returns at the Edinburgh Geographical Institute and Edited by ...
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Antonio Vaccarino

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From blue hedgehogs to purple dragons, video games aren't afraid to push the boundaries in character design. And yet, it's rare for an octogenarian to shuffle their way on to the screen. In a world w...
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Antonio Vaccarino

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For those of you still enjoying the weekend, check out this fun project to give your Raspberry Pi night vision:
With night vision you can use the Raspberry Pi as an around-the-clock surveillance camera monitor, baby monitor, or to give vision to a robot.
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Antonio Vaccarino

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Android Studio 1.4 is ready to download in the stable channel. It includes new & updated tools for app design.

Read more about it on our blog: http://goo.gl/m07Ywx
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Android Studio 1.4 Preview 1 is now available in the canary channel, with a number of new features - a new theme editor, network and GPU monitors,  a vector icon wizard, new lint checks, new quickfixes, etc.

For more information, see the release announcement:
http://tools.android.com/recent/androidstudio14preview1incanarychannel
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Antonio Vaccarino

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In case anyone wanted 3d maps of the London Underground Stations (and frankly who wouldn't?)
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Cool smartphone accessory :) Source code seems to be public domain, hw specs CCBYSA.
exii hackberry recently declared that the bionic hand will be open sourced to speed up the development through cooperators from all over the world.
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mi ricorda un po' il primo "EU", ossia le raccolte Marvel... che pure circolano ancora, ma già in epoca non sospetta erano destituite di qualsiasi dignità "canonica". In pratica, è il 3. EU che riescono a "rivenderci" (perché, sì, mi ci metto pure io...)
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Antonio Vaccarino

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A simple widget to track your favourite fanfic authors on archiveofourown.org. #ao3   #fanfiction  
FictWatch is an unofficial widget to keep yourself up to date with the publ...
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Explore the top ten free Minecraft alternatives, all released under open source licenses, reviewed and brought together into one handy collection.
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Photo of the Day: Storm chaser and #YourShot member Paul Brooks captured this "perfect alignment of the elements" just east of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. #photography
A rainbow and lightning collide in a composite image of an Iowa storm in this National Geographic Photo of the Day.
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A lesson in shortcuts.

Long ago, as the design of the Unix file system was being worked out, the entries . and .. appeared, to make navigation easier. I'm not sure but I believe .. went in during the Version 2 rewrite, when the file system became hierarchical (it had a very different structure early on).  When one typed ls, however, these files appeared, so either Ken or Dennis added a simple test to the program. It was in assembler then, but the code in question was equivalent to something like this:
   if (name[0] == '.') continue;
This statement was a little shorter than what it should have been, which is
   if (strcmp(name, ".") == 0 || strcmp(name, "..") == 0) continue;
but hey, it was easy.

Two things resulted.

First, a bad precedent was set. A lot of other lazy programmers introduced bugs by making the same simplification. Actual files beginning with periods are often skipped when they should be counted.

Second, and much worse, the idea of a "hidden" or "dot" file was created. As a consequence, more lazy programmers started dropping files into everyone's home directory. I don't have all that much stuff installed on the machine I'm using to type this, but my home directory has about a hundred dot files and I don't even know what most of them are or whether they're still needed. Every file name evaluation that goes through my home directory is slowed down by this accumulated sludge.

I'm pretty sure the concept of a hidden file was an unintended consequence. It was certainly a mistake.

How many bugs and wasted CPU cycles and instances of human frustration (not to mention bad design) have resulted from that one small shortcut about  40 years ago?

Keep that in mind next time you want to cut a corner in your code.

(For those who object that dot files serve a purpose, I don't dispute that but counter that it's the files that serve the purpose, not the convention for their names. They could just as easily be in $HOME/cfg or $HOME/lib, which is what we did in Plan 9, which had no dot files. Lessons can be learned.)
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People
In his circles
132 people
Have him in circles
112 people
Raffaele Trojanis's profile photo
Luca Comodi's profile photo
Stefano Bafaro's profile photo
Paolo De Murtas's profile photo
Studio Kulla's profile photo
Giacomo Ritucci's profile photo
Davide Grandi's profile photo
Emanuele Dentoni's profile photo
Damiano Moro's profile photo
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  • Laboratori Guglielmo Marconi
    Developer, 2012 - present
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Programmer, former games industry veteran, casual musician and compulsive creative.
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Bologna, Italy - Milan, Italy
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