Archive for November 18, 2022

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fred Brooks, RIP

Dag Spicer (Hacker News):

Legendary computer architect Fred Brooks passed away today. Brooks led the team creating the timeless IBM System/360 mainframe architecture as well as development of OS/360.

See also:

Jason Crawford:

His work on operating systems at IBM gave us the 8-bit byte.

Brooks was also the manager who approved Ted Codd’s PhD—which enabled him to invent the relational database.

John Carmack:

I have read The Mythical Man Month three times. Some of the wisdom really is timelessly applicable to creative human effort, but software development did escape much of Brooks’ pessimism with large scale open source component reuse.


Update (2022-12-01): Steven Bellovin (via John Gruber):

He was also a lead on a failed project, the IBM 8000 series. He tried to resign from IBM after it failed; Watson replied, “I just spent a billion dollars educating you; I’m not letting you go now!”

He then headed the project that designed and built the IBM S/360 series of mainframes. It was an audacious concept for the time—five different models with vastly different prices and performance characteristics, but all sharing (essentially) the same instruction set.


At Chapel Hill, he switched his attention to computer graphics and protein modeling. He’d acquired a surplus remote manipulator arm; the idea was that people could use it to “grab” atoms and move them, and feel the force feedback from the varying charge fields. From there, it was a fairly natural transition to some of the early work in VR.

See also: Slashdot.

OmniFocus 3.14.1 for Mac

The Omni Group:

  • Conflict Errors — Navigating between fields via the tab key no longer triggers unnecessary edit conflict alerts.
  • Custom Perspectives — Fixed a bug that could cause unexpected filtering in some upgraded v2 custom perspectives.
  • Keyboard — Fixed a bug that could block tab key field navigation on macOS 13 Ventura.

This fixes some really annoying keyboard issues when running on Ventura, although I’m still seeing some weirdness where Tab sometimes skips over the Project column.

Update (2022-12-23): OmniFocus for Mac 3.14.3:

Fixed bug that could lead to unexpected behavior when using the tab key (this most often presented as difficultly navigating to the project field in Quick Entry, or cursor focus jumping from the outline to the Search field).

Swift Proposal: Function Back Deployment


Unfortunately, developers who wish to both distribute an app compatible with toasterOS 1.0 and also adopt makeBatchOfToast(_:) must call the API conditionally to account for its potential unavailability[…]


Considering that the implementation of makeBatchOfToast(_:) is self contained and could run unmodified on toasterOS 1.0, it would be ideal if the ToastKit authors had the option to back deploy this new API to older OSes and allow clients to adopt it unconditionally.


Proposed solution: Add a @backDeploy(before: ...) attribute to Swift that can be used to indicate that a copy of the function should be emitted into the client to be used at runtime when executing on an OS prior to a specific version.


Redirect Web for Safari

Jason Snell:

It turns out I didn’t need to make my own extension, because Manabu Nakazawa made one. It’s the free ($4 to unlock all features forever) Safari Extension app Redirect Web for Safari.

Nakazawa’s app lets you match URL patterns and redirect them to other patterns. That’s it. You can set your own patterns (using a simple wildcard system or a more powerful but complicated set of regular expressions) and even sync them with your other devices via iCloud. (The app is available for both macOS and iOS.) (If you don’t use Safari, maybe check out the Redirector plug-in instead.)