Archive for December 20, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010


Jesper on Word Lens, the new on-the-fly video translator:

Word Lens isn’t just cool because it does so much with the technology it is able to apply; it’s cool because it seems like there’s no technology, because it seems like the device is finally not only adapting itself to you, but adapting your surroundings to you.

Thank You, Caroline Rose

Andy Lee:

You can get a PDF of the 1985 edition of Inside Macintosh here. Skimming through, I’m struck not only by the clarity and thoroughness of the writing, but its consistent tone. It’s technical but has a human touch that doesn’t feel forced or overly casual.

Folklore has more.

Azul’s Pauseless Garbage Collector

Azul CTO Gil Tene (via Lambda):

Pretty much every collector out there today will take the approach of trying to find all the efficient things to do without moving objects around, and delaying the moving of objects around—or at least the old objects around—as much as possible. If you eventually end up having to move the objects around because you've fragmented the heap and you have to compact memory, then you pause to do that.…Our collector is different. The only way it ever collects is to compact the heap. It's the only thing we ever do. As a result, we basically never have a rare event.

The key is that it can fix up pointers lazily by intercepting reads, which requires kernel support. Azul also developed the nifty lock-free hash table that I mentioned a few years ago.

Comparing Digital Video Downloads of Interlaced TV Shows

Michael Steil:

It is scary how little effort seems to be going into video conversion/encoding at major players like iTunes, Netflix and Hulu. Amazon did a kind of okay job converting the source material properly, and only Microsoft did an excellent job. The NTSC DVDs still give you the maximum quality – but of course, if you watch them on an LCD, the burden of deinterlacing is on your side. Handbrake with “detelecine” (for the bulk of it) and “decomb” (for exceptions) turned on, and with a target framerate of “same as source” will generate a rather good MP4 video similar to Amazon’s, but without the judder.

Aside from Amazon’s 1080p via TiVo, I think I’d get better quality watching a DVD than most of the (non-BitTorrent) downloadable and streaming video that’s available, even when it’s so-called HD.

And So It Begins

Apple (via e-mail):

Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Instead, beginning January 6, we will be directing users to explore the range of apps available on the Mac App Store.

Not a surprise, but it’s a shame. There are lots of great applications that will not be allowed in the Mac App Store, and it hurts both developers and users for Apple to make them harder to find. Apple did keep some system modification utilities off the Mac OS X Downloads page, but that’s a smaller number of titles by an order of magnitude or two. (It remains to be seen whether Apple will continue to list non-application software on the Downloads page.) Hopefully, sites such as MacUpdate will maintain a unified directory of both App Store and non–App Store applications.