Zombie Code and Extra-Functional Significance | Play The Past

Useless code and comments in code—these are the zombie figures of software. They serve no purpose in a program’s execution, but they exude what Mark Marino calls extra-functional significance. They have meaning beyond the program. They speak not to the machine or the compiler, but to a different audience, another reader. In software development, that other reader is often idealized as other programmers on the same project, though in practice…

Tantalizing Details for Colossal Cave Adventure Enthusiasts

The most detail I’ve ever seen about Will Crowther’s other creative projects; here, in a conversation dated 1996, he discusses “different ‘adventures’”, and reveals that he wrestled with many of the same challenges that interactive fiction programmers faced through the 1980s and on to the present. I have at various times made different “adventures.” Two stand out. One had hundreds of objects. I made a dump next to the well house,…

Childhood comic collection expected to fetch $2M | Unplugged – Yahoo! Games

What a story! The collection includes an Action Comics No. 1, from 1938, which features the first appearance of Superman and is expected to sell for about $325,000. A Detective Comics No. 27, from 1939, features the first appearance of Batman and is expected to get about $475,000. A Captain America No. 2, from 1941, in which the hero bursts in on Adolf Hitler is expected to bring in about…

Sale of Philadelphia newspapers raises bias concerns

If political powerbrokers want to buy newspapers, what are the obligations of the journalists involved? What if the journalists, as a group, tend to agree with the politics of the purchasers? “Nobody wants to stifle news,” said Mr. Rendell, a two-term mayor of Philadelphia in the 1990s. Journalists at both papers are so concerned that nearly 300 of them signed a public statement last week calling on the current and…

Facebook can be used to predict academic success, job performance | ZDNet

A good example of correlation. (Simply changing your Facebook content won’t automatically make you a better worker or student, but certain Facebook details do correspond to achievement in the offline world.) Researchers spent about 10 minutes looking at photos, wall posts, comments, education, and hobbies on Facebook profiles, while answering personality-related questions including whether the subject was dependable and whether he or she was emotionally stable. After six months, they…