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James Bell
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James Bell

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Things that are important in this world: equality, even amongst a group that self selects for a single sex or gender:

http://blog.zasperationbell.co.uk/2012/09/11/a-scout-is-a-dot-dot-dot/
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James Bell

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Mini Mojito Muffins complete! These are from the second Hummingbird Bakery book - and if you're making them note that the icing also generous and per sweet. But if you've eaten there, you'll know that already :-) 
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James Bell

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Holyhead through the rain
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Amanda on her uke! Pleasing to me, and to the kids in the video.
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So this is an interesting essay on projections of interaction design in the near future: http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/

It's worth reading the full thing, because I think it highlights something interesting about humanity's perception of the future. The future is the newest thing now, but put in more places. It's a good thought for taking the latest trend and trying ot make it ubiquitous (and there is innovation there), but it doesn't lay out the future.

The future, the new, the shiny. That's something that isn't here yet. When Apple purchased Siri 2 years ago, that's because they thought and think that future interfaces will be primarily voice driven, or that voice will be a large component of it. Bret sketches out where else we might go, and why we might want to go there.
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Robert Scoble originally shared:
 
+Seth Weintraub made a big deal out of Siri today on 9-to-5 Mac. Why? Because tomorrow it's expected that Siri's new personal assistant software will finally show up on the iPhone. Here's Seth's article, which is a must read: http://9to5mac.com/2011/10/03/co-founder-of-siri-assistant-is-a-world-changing-event-interview/

Through a happy set of circumstances the two guys who started Siri visited my house a few years back to show me their new tech (I was one of the few journalists who covered this startup and during the interview I said "I bet you're gonna get bought." Sure enough, Steve Jobs bought this company after only a couple of weeks on the market in a deal rumored to be more than $200 million.

My video of that interview is here: http://youtu.be/ts4yr3qti9w

Later I sat down with the Venture Capitalists who were behind Siri, here: http://www.building43.com/videos/2010/08/10/behind-the-scenes-scoop-on-siris-funding-and-sale-to-apple-part-i/ and here: http://www.building43.com/videos/2010/08/12/behind-the-scenes-scoop-on-siris-funding-and-sale-to-apple-part-ii/

It'll be interesting to see just what they've been doing at Apple since they sold.

It's not every day a startup comes through my house that shows me the future of the iPhone, but this was such a case.
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James Bell

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Watching it in the local pub since we lack a TV odd atmosphere, and tense. C'mon Muzza
 
Go Murray! #wimbledon - watching it all together at Worm's house. 
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Mini Mojito Muffins, pre icing. Yum, except now we own rum and don't really drink it. Hmm.. more recipes! 
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Christmas on the ferry 
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The Ada Initiative are about to enter their second year. Help support this important cause. Here's a friend of mine being more convincing: http://blog.nerdchic.net/archives/716/
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We lost a pioneer yesterday.
Rob Pike originally shared:
 
I was warmly surprised to see how many people responded to my Google+ post about Dennis Ritchie's untimely passing. His influence on the technical community was vast, and it's gratifying to see it recognized. When Steve Jobs died there was a wide lament - and well-deserved it was - but it's worth noting that the resurgence of Apple depended a great deal on Dennis's work with C and Unix.

The C programming language is quite old now, but still active and still very much in use. The Unix and Linux (and Mac OS X and I think even Windows) kernels are all C programs. The web browsers and major web servers are all in C or C++, and almost all of the rest of the Internet ecosystem is in C or a C-derived language (C++, Java), or a language whose implementation is in C or a C-derived language (Python, Ruby, etc.). C is also a common implementation language for network firmware. And on and on.

And that's just C.

Dennis was also half of the team that created Unix (the other half being Ken Thompson), which in some form or other (I include Linux) runs all the machines at Google's data centers and probably at most other server farms. Most web servers run above Unix kernels; most non-Microsoft web browsers run above Unix kernels in some form, even in many phones.

And speaking of phones, the software that runs the phone network is largely written in C.

But wait, there's more.

In the late 1970s, Dennis joined with Steve Johnson to port Unix to the Interdata. From this remove it's hard to see how radical the idea of a portable operating system was; back then OSes were mostly written in assembly language and were tightly coupled, both technically and by marketing, to specific computer brands. Unix, in the unusual (although not unique) position of being written in a "high-level language", could be made to run on a machine other than the PDP-11. Dennis and Steve seized the opportunity, and by the early 1980s, Unix had been ported by the not-yet-so-called open source community to essentially every mini-computer out there. That meant that if I wrote my program in C, it could run on almost every mini-computer out there. All of a sudden, the coupling between hardware and operating system was broken. Unix was the great equalizer, the driving force of the Nerd Spring that liberated programming from the grip of hardware manufacturers.

The hardware didn't matter any more, since it all ran Unix. And since it didn't matter, hardware fought with other hardware for dominance; the software was a given. Windows obviously played a role in the rise of the x86, but the Unix folks just capitalized on that. Cheap hardware meant cheap Unix installations; we all won. All that network development that started in the mid-80s happened on Unix, because that was the environment where the stuff that really mattered was done. If Unix hadn't been ported to the Interdata, the Internet, if it even existed, would be a very different place today.

I read in an obituary of Steve Jobs that Tim Berners-Lee did the first WWW development on a NeXT box, created by Jobs's company at the time. Well, you know what operating system ran on NeXTs, and what language.

Even in his modest way, I believe Dennis was very proud of his legacy. And rightfully so: few achieve a fraction as much.

So long, Dennis, and thanks for all the magic.
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Have him in circles
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