The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

MacPaint and QuickDraw Source Code Released

| Comments

MacPaint

The Computer History Museum, with the permission of Apple, has made available the original program source code of MacPaint and the underlying QuickDraw graphics library.

MacPaint is the drawing program application which interacts with the user, interprets mouse and keyboard requests, and decides what is to be drawn where. The high-level logic is written in Apple Pascal, packaged in a single file with 5,822 lines. There are an additional 3,583 lines of code in assembler language for the underlying Motorola 68000 microprocessor, which implement routines needing high performance and some interfaces to the operating system.

[…]

In writing MacPaint, Bill was as concerned with whether human readers would understand the code as he was with what the computer would do with it. He later said about software in general, “It’s an art form, like any other art form… I would spend time rewriting whole sections of code to make them more cleanly organized, more clear. I’m a firm believer that the best way to prevent bugs is to make it so that you can read through the code and understand exactly what it’s doing… And maybe that was a little bit counter to what I ran into when I first came to Apple… If you want to get it smooth, you’ve got to rewrite it from scratch at least five times.”¹

MacPaint was finished in October 1983. It coexisted in only 128K of memory with QuickDraw and portions of the operating system, and ran on an 8 Mhz processor that didn’t have floating-point operations. Even with those meager resources, MacPaint provided a level of performance and function that established a new standard for personal computers.

Summer reading for everyone’s inner geek.

25 Years of the iMac

| Comments

imac history

On August 15th, 1998, Apple released its bet the company product, the iMac. In the 25 years since then, the iMac has been a core product in Apple’s lineup and influenced many other products, both inside and outside the company.

Umar Shakir runs through the history of Apple’s iconic desktop computer.

If you’re looking for the true renaissance of the all-in-one computer, it came in 1998 with the release of the colorful and fun-tastically transparent iMac.

Since then, the iMac has become one of the most popular desktop computer lines ever. The design has evolved from bulbous cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor all-in-ones to versions that look like contemporary table lamps — and eventually toward the slim aluminum plaques on stands that adorn doctor offices everywhere today. Alongside that, the tech inside has gone from PowerPC chips to x86 Intel processors and, now, to the Arm-based Apple Silicon design.

In 2011, The Verge’s editor-in-chief, Nilay Patel, wrote in a review for the 27-inch iMac, “Every year I review the iMac, and every year my conclusion is the same: the iMac remains the single best all-in-one computer available.”

Clinton Reacts to String of Donald Trump Indictments

| Comments

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Rachel Maddow about her feelings about the indictments and accusations Donald Trump is facing:


Think what you will about Hillary Clinton - but how she doesn’t go on air on every major news outlet and just scream “I told you so!” is beyond me.

Hillary Clinton deserved to be our first women POTUS.

Trump Indicted in Fulton County, Georgia

| Comments

trump GA indictment

Jason Morris, Marshall Cohen and Curt Merrill reporting for CNN:

Former President Donald Trump and 18 of his allies were indicted Monday on Georgia state charges in connection with their attempts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.

These state charges were brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, an elected Democrat who has been investigating Trump’s interference in the election since early 2021.

With this latest indictment in Fulton County - he now faces a whopping 91 criminal counts. To paraphrase his supporters:

Lock him up! Lock him up!

Blind Sided

| Comments

The Blind Side

Michael A. Fletcher reporting for ESPN:

The 14-page petition, filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court, alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took Oher into their home as a high school student, never adopted him. Instead, less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the petition says, the couple tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.

The petition further alleges that the Tuohys used their power as conservators to strike a deal that paid them and their two birth children millions of dollars in royalties from an Oscar-winning film that earned more than $300 million, while Oher got nothing for a story “that would not have existed without him.” In the years since, the Tuohys have continued calling the 37-year-old Oher their adopted son and have used that assertion to promote their foundation as well as Leigh Anne Tuohy’s work as an author and motivational speaker.

“The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher,” the legal filing says. “Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”

If these allegations are true - the Tuohy family were ‘boosters’ as charged in the movie by the NCAA investigator. Still doesn’t change the fact that “The Blind Side” was a great movie.

Young Activists Win Landmark Climate Case

| Comments

montana

A judge in Montana ruled with a group of young activists that the state violated their right to a “clean and healthful environment”. Corryn Wetzel in New Scientist:

Young people’s constitutional right in Montana to a “clean and healthful environment” was protected in a landmark decision Monday.

A court ruled that the state’s environmental policies have failed to protect children from climate change. The ruling pushes against a new Montana state law – the Montana Environmental Policy Act – that prohibits considering the climate impact of future energy projects, including those involving fossil fuels and mining.

“By prohibiting analysis of [greenhouse gas] emissions and corresponding impacts to the climate… the [Montana Environmental Policy Act] Limitation violates Youth Plaintiffs’ right to a clean and healthful environment and is unconstitutional on its face,” wrote District Judge Kathy Seeley, who ruled in favour of the plaintiffs.

It is crazy that there is a law prohibiting even looking into greenhouse emissions and their impacts on the environment is on the books. The activism of the younger generation gives me hope for the future.

The Elite's War on Remote Work

| Comments

Jessica Wildfire exposes the real reason the elites want us back in the office:

Major cities have spent the last several decades catering to these corporate landlords. Now their entire downtowns rely on workers for commerce. We’re talking about all those restaurants and coffee shops that serve breakfast and lunch to white-collar workers, and all the bars where people used to go and complain about work before they spent an hour commuting home.

These cities also depend on property taxes from overpriced commercial real estate. When nobody wants those buildings, their value plummets. New York alone has lost $453 billion in office real estate. Across the U.S., office buildings have shed anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of their value.

So, we have a problem.

Once again, the elite have gotten themselves into big trouble. They want the rest of us to bail them out. If they don’t want our tax money, they want us to give up our freedom and autonomy. They want us to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of capitalism to protect their fortunes.

They don’t care how productive we are. They don’t care how creative we are. They sure as hell don’t care about our health.

America Is Not Exceptional, It Is the Exception

| Comments


Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich:

  • American police kill over 1,000 people every year.

  • We’re the only one out of 22 advanced nations that doesn’t give all workers some form of paid sick leave.

  • We’re the only industrialized nation without guaranteed, universal healthcare.

  • We have the largest prison population on earth.

  • We have the largest CEO-to-worker pay gap.

  • We spend more on the military than the next seven nations combined.

America is exceptional, just not the way most Americans think it is.

Code That Changed Everything

| Comments

code

Slate has a great article on the most impactful code in programming’s short history:

Code shapes our lives. As the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has written, “software is eating the world,” though at this point it’s probably more accurate to say software is digesting it.

Culturally, code exists in a nether zone. We can feel its gnostic effects on our everyday reality, but we rarely see it, and it’s quite inscrutable to non-initiates. (The folks in Silicon Valley like it that way; it helps them self-mythologize as wizards.) We construct top-10 lists for movies, games, TV—pieces of work that shape our souls. But we don’t sit around compiling lists of the world’s most consequential bits of code, even though they arguably inform the zeitgeist just as much.

To me the following line of code - published I believe for the first time in Kernighan & Ritchie’s “The C Programming Language” in 1978:

1
2
3
4
5
6
#include <stdio.h>

main()
{
  printf("hello, world\n");
}

As you can probably guess - this simply outputs hello, world onto the computer screen. This simple 6 line program, or the equivalent of it in your chosen language, was the first step in every programmer’s journey.

How Slate did not give it the number 1 spot is beyond me.

CNET Trying to Game Google Search

| Comments

Thomas Germain, reporting for Gizmodo:

Archived copies of CNET’s author pages show the company deleted small batches of articles prior to the second half of July, but then the pace increased. Thousands of articles disappeared in recent weeks. A CNET representative confirmed that the company was culling stories but declined to share exactly how many it has taken down. The move adds to recent controversies over CNET’s editorial strategy, which has included layoffs and experiments with error-riddled articles written by AI chatbots.

“Removing content from our site is not a decision we take lightly. Our teams analyze many data points to determine whether there are pages on CNET that are not currently serving a meaningful audience. This is an industry-wide best practice for large sites like ours that are primarily driven by SEO traffic,” said Taylor Canada, CNET’s senior director of marketing and communications. “In an ideal world, we would leave all of our content on our site in perpetuity. Unfortunately, we are penalized by the modern internet for leaving all previously published content live on our site.” A representative for the CNET Media Workers Union declined to comment. (Disclosure: Gizmodo’s Editor in Chief Dan Ackerman is a former CNET employee.)

CNET shared an internal memo about the practice. Removing, redirecting, or refreshing irrelevant or unhelpful URLs “sends a signal to Google that says CNET is fresh, relevant and worthy of being placed higher than our competitors in search results,” the document reads.

That is the dumbest thing I have heard. It would be stupid for Google to penalize sites with that archives old content, it would effectively destroy the web. You have to seriously question the competence of the CNet mangement if they are pursing this as a serious SEO strategy.

The Dark Side of Medical Influencers

| Comments

doctors on tiktok

Miranda Schreiber writing for The Walrus:

Physicians, like many of us, have used platforms like Twitter and Instagram since their inception, with 90 percent reporting they used social media to find information related to their patients and practice in 2017, according to a report by market analyst Research2Guidance. Today, lists of the top twenty-five “medical influencers” include accounts of family physicians and doctors who have been endorsed by celebrities and have millions of followers. And, at times, their posts contain jokes involving patient information. A 2020 study by Wasim Ahmed of Newcastle University, which analyzed 348 tweets about living patients, found that nearly 47 percent contained details that would likely make patients identifiable to themselves.

[..]

Just look at celebrities like Dr. Drew and Dr. Oz or shows like Dr. 90210 and Botched. Every week, viewers tune in to watch the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients, despite the criticisms these shows have received for exploitative practices. Reality shows like ABC’s NY Med used footage from actual emergency rooms and operating theatres, sometimes filming surgeries without consent from patients. Joel M. Geiderman, an LA emergency physician, told Emergency Medicine News that he knows people who consented to being filmed while stressed and in the emergency department, then regretted the publicization of their medical treatment in the media. So, while the disclosure of medical secrets to the public is not particularly new, technology has made it much easier.

It is bad enough that they are violating patient privacy, but to profit of a patients condition I find a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. Though in a system that is built as commercial for profit enterprise - this hardly a surprise.

We need to deal with the root cause - the existence of medicine as a profit maker. Until we have a single payer system with strong government oversight patient privacy abuse will be rampant.

MAGA Mental Health Crisis

| Comments

MAGA Mental Crisis

John Pavlovitz writing on the Make America Great Again movement:

These are days that tax people’s already burdened mental defense systems and emotional reserves by relentlessly targeting their places of vulnerability:

the real and manufactured emergencies designed by the former President and his current party,

  • the daily incessant legislative attacks on vulnerable people groups,
  • the collective cruelty
  • the normalized acts of violence the forty-fifth president not only tolerates but > incites
  • the untethered behavior regarding matters of national security, environmental stewardship, and human rights.

In other words, the GOP is unwell and lots of good, already hurting people see it clearly. They understand the gravity of these moments for our nation and they are rightly terrified by the lack of accountability, the absence of conscience, and the poverty of empathy.

Men and women already prone to depression and anxiety, those normally driven to despair without any discernible cause or reason—now also have objective data that makes that hopelessness quite sensible.

The MAGA movement is making otherwise mentally healthy people emotionally sick, and making ill people much worse. Like forcing a person suffering from Asthma into an enclosed space and making them exert themselves over and over without rest; surrounding them with every allergen and trigger their illness has—and with great joy, watching them gradually suffocate.

From the moment Donald Trump descended down an escalator at Trump Tower and announced he’s running for President, America has been under assault. It’s not by a nation, insurgents, Antifa, or immigrants. It’s more sinister than that. It has been under assault by the lies, corruptness, outright hostility against science and the total lack of empathy of the Trump led GOP.

To see the direct effects of the MAGA campaign - look know further then the research conclusions of the Covid pandemic. If you were Republican, you were 43% higher chance of dying than Democratic voters. We are seeing daily mass shootings in school, churches, subways, city streets, and grocery stores, by people whose own illnesses and frailties have been triggered by the incendiary language and calculated lies continually perpetuated from the top.

As Pavlovitz writes:

The former President and those who support him in Congress are counting on sick people growing too tired from pushing back, too overwhelmed fighting their inner demons, and too hopeless at the story to go on.

We can’t allow that.

We will not allow that. We all need to carry one another and care for one another. Realize that the GOP has no desire to, and in fact is doing willful damage.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need help, here are some resources to help identify and treat mental illness, depression, and mood disorders.

William Friedkin Dies at 87

| Comments

William Friedkin

William Grimes, writing for The New York Times:

William Friedkin, a filmmaker whose gritty, visceral style and fascination with characters on the edge helped make “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” two of the biggest box-office hits of the 1970s, died on Monday at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was 87.

The cause was heart failure and pneumonia, said his wife, Sherry Lansing, the former head of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. His death came just weeks before the release of his most recent directorial effort, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” a movie based on the Herman Wouk play.

The Exorcist is still one of the scariest of film ever made. An absolute masterpiece.

Climate Change Is Death by a Thousand Cuts

| Comments

climate change

Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M writing about climate change:

Let me give you an example of a tiny impact that I just heard about. My wife told me about a new group of members at her gym: active 70-ish-year-olds who used to go on walks around their neighborhood. Due to the unbearable heat in Texas, though, they joined a gym and now walk indoors on treadmills. This story embodies several aspects of climate impacts that everyone should understand.

First, this is an example of non-linear climate impacts. Although temperatures have been rising gradually over the last century, it was only recently that they crossed a critical threshold that made outdoor walks literally unbearable for these people.

Second, this is what adaptation to climate change looks like. Contrary to how it is typically portrayed by climate dismissives, adaptation is not free. These people are paying $50 per month for the gym membership that is an inferior replacement for something they used to get for free: an environment cool enough to walk in.

So these people are worse off financially and not getting as good of an experience as they used to. And they’re the lucky ones — they have the opportunity and resources to do this.

There’s also the non-monetary costs of adaptation. When it’s too hot to go outside during the day, you are a prisoner of air conditioning instead of going outside and getting fresh air and exercise. We’ve lost something valuable but difficult to quantify.

Classic example of the boiling-frog effect, humans are sailing unfazed into a dire-looking future of irreversible climate change.

Engineering Blood Vessels

| Comments

blood vessels

Associate Professor Daniel Heath, Professor Andrea O’Connor and Hazem Alkazemi, writing for Pursuit - a University of Melbourne medical research site:

First we needed to create the shape, a kind of framework on which to grow the blood vessel layers. We did this by electrospinning a layer of polymer fibres onto a mandrel, which provides the tubular shape for the blood vessel graft.

Electrospinning is a technique that uses an electrical voltage to draw a polymer stream into thin fibres that mimic the protein structure of our native tissue, a bit like spinning wool onto a bobbin at the nano-scale.

However, this process results in fibres that are randomly oriented, when we need fibres aligned along the length, or axis, of the tube to promote axial alignment of the endothelial cells.

To align these fibres, we developed a simple freezing technique.

By placing the electrospun tube into a rigid mold partially filled with water and freezing it, we caused ice crystals to grow along the axis, which pushed the fibres into alignment.

We then grew endothelial cells on the tube to create the inner layer of the vessel – the endothelium. The cells spontaneously align with the fibres, generating a continuous, aligned endothelial cell layer like we see in native blood vessels.

This layer also provides appropriate mechanical properties, enables the graft to be sutured to native blood vessels and prevents rupture of the graft.

Next, we cast a soft hydrogel layer around the electrospun fibres. This hydrogel layer prevents leakage from our graft and also acts as a scaffold for smooth muscle cells.

We know that cells are very sensitive to the stiffness of their surroundings so we trialled hydrogels of varying stiffness.

Surprisingly, we observed that the softer gels allowed the vascular smooth muscle cells to rapidly and spontaneously align in a 3D ring structure, mimicking what is found in native blood vessels.

Well - I can look forward to getting all of my internal plumbing replaced for my 65th birthday…

Apple Card's Savings Account Not the Best Deal

| Comments

apple card savings

Thursday on August 3rd, Apple Newsroom reports:

Today, Apple announced that Apple Card’s high-yield Savings account offered by Goldman Sachs has reached over $10 billion in deposits from users since launching in April. Savings enables Apple Card users to grow their Daily Cash rewards with a Savings account from Goldman Sachs, which offers a high-yield APY of 4.15 percent.

While the Apple savings account is convenient, a much better deal can be had in 6 month CDs from major banks.

TD Bank is currently offering a 5% 6 month CD. For a $1000 dollar account on Apple Card’s high-yield Savings account works out to $20.56 for six months vs a $1000 TD Bank 5% 6 month CD of $24.7. A gain of 20% over the course of 6 months with the CD account.

Apple Card’s high-yield Savings account is not the best way to optimize returns on your savings.

Five Crises Made Up to Distract Americans

| Comments


Robert Reich outlines five crises (wokness, trans panic, critical race theory, coach potatoes, goverment spening) the Republican have manufactured in order to deflect from their true agenda:

  • concentration of wealth
  • climate crises
  • undermining of our democracy

After all, when you have nothing to offer while the current administration is hitting it out of the park in regards to the economy, job numbers, foreign policy and passing legislation to address all three of the mentioned issues, all you can do is scare and distract.

I’d like to think the vast majority of the American population will see through this come election time. Yes, I am an eternal optimist.