Archive for November 24, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Netflix Prize and Napoleon Dynamite

Clive Thompson (via Jason Kottke):

Mathematically speaking, “Napoleon Dynamite” is a very significant problem for the Netflix Prize. Amazingly, Bertoni has deduced that this single movie is causing 15 percent of his remaining error rate; or to put it another way, if Bertoni could anticipate whether you’d like “Napoleon Dynamite” as accurately as he can for other movies, this feat alone would bring him 15 percent of the way to winning the $1 million prize.

Guide: Writing Testable Code

Miško Hevery:

To keep our code at Google in the best possible shape we provided our software engineers with these constant reminders. Now, we are happy to share them with the world.

TaskPaper 2.0

TaskPaper looks much-improved, with a more advanced query language, theming options, and a quick entry window. I’m glad to see that the toolbar is back at the top of the window.

HandBrake 0.9.3

HandBrake now leverages the FFmpeg project so that it can convert video from all sorts of different formats, not just DVDs. This should make it the clear replacement for the recently discontinued VisualHub. For unstated reasons, Handbrake no longer has built-in DVD decryption, although if you have VLC installed it will use VLC’s libdvdcss and work pretty much the same as before. Despite the version number, this looks like a big upgrade. As far as I know, HandBrake is the easiest and fastest way to convert video for use on an iPhone.

Update: Ars Technica adds:

Jon Rubin, one of HandBrake’s developers, got in touch with Ars to explain the true reason behind the removal of the DVD libraries: “One of our developers works for a large company and felt more comfortable concerning his employment if what he did in his free time didn’t raise IP issues.…”