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Links for 2016-07-21

  • Regexp Disaster

    Course notes from Gerald Jay Sussman’s “Adventures in Advanced Symbolic Programming” class at MIT. Hard to argue with this:

    The syntax of the regular-expression language is awful. There are various incompatable forms of the language and the quotation conventions are baroquen [sic]. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of useful software, for example grep, that uses regular expressions to specify the desired behavior. Although regular-expression systems are derived from a perfectly good mathematical formalism, the particular choices made by implementers to expand the formalism into useful software systems are often disastrous: the quotation conventions adopted are highly irregular; the egregious misuse of parentheses, both for grouping and for backward reference, is a miracle to behold. In addition, attempts to increase the expressive power and address shortcomings of earlier designs have led to a proliferation of incompatible derivative languages.
    (via Rob Pike’s twitter:

    (tags: regex regexps regular-expressions functional combinators gjs rob-pike coding languages)

  • A Cute Internet Star Flirts. All He Wants Is Your Password. – The New York Times


    Mr. Johnson’s fans are not naïve. Handing over their passwords to some strange, cute boy actually constitutes a minor act of youthful rebellion. The whole encounter delivers a heady mix of intimacy and transgression — the closest digital simulation yet to a teenage crush.
    (via Adam Shostack)

    (tags: via:adam-shostack passwords authentication security teens rebellion)

  • Just As We Warned: A Chinese Tech Giant Goes On The Patent Attack — In East Texas | Techdirt

    Techdirt has been warning for years that the West’s repeated demands for China to “respect” patents could backfire badly. […] And guess what? That is exactly what has just happened, as The Wall Street Journal reports: ‘Huawei Technologies Co. said it has filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile US Inc., alleging the U.S. telecommunications carrier violated the Chinese company’s patents related to wireless networks. In its complaint filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Huawei said T-Mobile is using its patented technology without signing a licensing agreement.’
    At least this is the most likely scenario to result in patent reform, finally.

    (tags: patents east-texas huawei t-mobile telecoms law)

  • A New Wrinkle in the Gig Economy: Workers Get Most of the Money – The New York Times

    So using money from the sale of iStock to Getty, she and Mr. Livingstone set out to create Stocksy, paying photographers 50 to 75 percent of sales. That is well above the going rate of 15 to 45 percent that is typical in the stock photography field. The company also distributes 90 percent of its profit at the end of each year among its photographers. Stocksy is part of a new wave of start-ups that are borrowing the tools of Silicon Valley to create a more genuine “sharing” economy that rewards the individuals generating the value.

    (tags: stocksy stock-photos photos fair sharing photography work)