Daniel Lemire's blog

Writing and Maintaining Software are not Engineering Activities

, 1 min read

Raghavendra Rao Loka, an experienced software developper working for Synopsys, wrote a column for IEEE Computer (February 2007, pages 110-112), Software Development: What Is the Problem? He has written what I claimed earlier is known to anyone who has done real software development for a living,…

Why is Computer Science Education Obselete?

, 2 min read

I spent a great deal of time last time thinking about why Computer Science education fails to attract as many students as it once did. One of the most significant event as of late has been the launch of the Web Science Research Initiative. Basically, Tim Berners-Lee has concluded that a Computer…

TexMaker: a cross-platform LaTeX editor

, 1 min read

I just installed TeXMaker. this is one of the best LaTeX editor I have come accross. Better yet, it runs under Linux and MacOS. Version 1.5 just came out.

Taking charge of your IT

, 1 min read

CIO (and slashdot) reports on the new trend where users take charge of their IT needs. I’m one of these pesky users. I have my own server (daniel-lemire.com) complete with wikis, blogs, version control and so on. I use google mail for my email. I manage my own computers. This is not limited to…

JavaScript is interesting

, 1 min read

If you think JavaScript (errr… ECMAScript) is uninteresting. Think again! This Yahoo! talk ought to change your mind (part 1 of 3):

Crash course in sane Web programming

, 1 min read

What the current SOAP fad has done is to make us forget how to build and deploy applications on the Web according to the true HTTP specification. Even wikipedia is incredibly confused and confusing with respect to HTTP. It is ridiculously simple, but overly ignored and misrepresented. GET …

How artificial intelligences are already at war with us

, 2 min read

In the most recent Communications of the ACM (February 2007), Joshua Goodman and his coauthors tell us, in Spam and the Ongoing Battle for the Inbox1, that it is very difficult to build reliable CAPTCHAs or (reverse) Turing tests, to differentiate machines from human beings. In the most reliable…

Would you pass my XML course?

, 3 min read

Some people will love this. I prepared a mockup exam for my INF 6450 students. See if you can pass it (in French, but you can probably grok most of it if only you know the basic XML vocabulary). I’m generally impressed how well my students get by in this course. The full XML course is online, but…

The Web is not virtual

, 1 min read

The Web is not virtual. Amazon.com is an actual store. An online course is an actual course. Email is not virtual communication. Communities on the Web are not virtual. Something is virtual if it is a mere representation of what is. My blog is a virtual notebook: it is not a notebook. But my blog…

Web Semantics is Localized

, 1 min read

The Web, and the principles behind it, is mostly asemantic from a Computer Science point of view. I claim that most of the semantics is, in fact, highly local, at the document level. First, observe that cross-document semantics is almost absent. The only semantics in hyperlinks is “this resource…

HTML/CSS Trick of the day

, 1 min read

Do not worry, this blog will not turn into an HTML/CSS blog, but here is a nice trick to select all hyperlinks with absolute URIs: a[href^="http"] { background:yellow; } This will, naturally, probably never work with Microsoft browsers, but it with Firefox 2.0.

Flying kills the planet

, 1 min read

Tim has been told that all this travel he does is not environmentally friendly. That’s right. Planes kill the planet. A single round-trip Montreal-Los Angeles emits 1 ton of CO2. Compare this with the fact that the average Canadian emits 18 tons of dioxide. Anyone who flies more often than 30…