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Links for 2013-03-07

  • 4 Things Java Programmers Can Learn from Clojure (without learning Clojure)

    ‘1. Use immutable values; 2. Do no work in the constructor; 3. Program to small interfaces; 4. Represent computation, not the world’. Strongly agreed with #1, and the others look interesting too

    (tags: clojure lisp design programming coding java)

  • Tactical Chat: How the U.S. Military Uses IRC to Wage War

    Excellent stuff. Lessons to be learned from this: IRC has some key features that mean it can be useful in this case. 1. simple text, everything supports it, no fancy UI clients are necessary; 2. resilient against lossy/transient/low-bandwidth/high-latency networks; 3. standards-compliant and “battle-hardened” (so to speak); 4. open-source/non-proprietary.

    Despite the U.S. military’s massive spending each year on advanced communications technology, the use of simple text chat or tactical chat has outpaced other systems to become one of the most popular paths for communicating practical information on the battlefield.  Though the use of text chat by the U.S. military first began in the early 1990s, in recent years tactical chat has evolved into a “primary ‘comms’ path, having supplanted voice communications as the primary means of common operational picture (COP) updating in support of situational awareness.”  An article from January 2012 in the Air Land Sea Bulletin describes the value of tactical chat as an effective and immediate communications method that is highly effective in distributed, intermittent, low bandwidth environments which is particularly important with “large numbers of distributed warfighters” who must “frequently jump onto and off of a network” and coordinate with other coalition partners.  Text chat also provides “persistency in situational understanding between those leaving and those assuming command watch duties” enabling a persistent record of tactical decision making. A 2006 thesis from the Naval Postgraduate School states that internet relay chat (IRC) is one of the most widely used chat protocols for military command and control (C2).  Software such as mIRC, a Windows-based chat client, or integrated systems in C2 equipment are used primarily in tactical conditions though efforts are underway to upgrade systems to newer protocols. 
    (via JK)

    (tags: via:jk war irc chat mirc us-military tactical-chat distcomp networking)

  • “Whataboutery”

    Great neologism from Mick Fealty:

    Familiar to anyone who’s followed public debate on Northern Ireland. Some define it as the often multiple blaming and finger pointing that goes on between communities in conflict. Political differences are marked by powerful emotional (often tribal) reactions as opposed to creative conflict over policy and issues. It’s beginning to be known well beyond the bounds of Northern Ireland. […] Evasion may not be the intention but it is the obvious effect. It occurs when individuals are confronted with a difficult or uncomfortable question. The respondent retrenches his/her position and rejigs the question, being careful to pick open a sore point on the part of questioner’s ‘tribe’. He/she then fires the original query back at the inquirer.

    (tags: words etymology whataboutery argument debate northern-ireland mick-fealty slugger-otoole)

  • Dropbox Sync API

    Give your app its own private Dropbox client and leave the syncing to us.

    (tags: apps dropbox synchronization sync ios android api)

  • the real reason Marissa Mayer canned remote Y! employees (apparently)

    After spending months frustrated at how empty Yahoo parking lots were, Mayer consulted Yahoo’s VPN logs to see if remote employees were checking in enough. Mayer discovered they were not — and her decision was made. we’re hearing from people close to Yahoo executives and employees that she made the right decision banning work from home. “The employees at Yahoo are thrilled,” says one source close to the company. “There isn’t massive uprising. The truth is, they’ve all been pissed off that people haven’t been working.”

    (tags: yahoo work remote-work teleworking slacking marissa-mayer funny)

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