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Currently reading November 20, 2007

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.
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I picked up two new books at the library. If you live within a few miles of one, a public library is a fantastic resource. Mine is the Providence Public Library, a bit of an oddity since it’s not owned by the City of Providence, but is owned by a private foundation.

One is titled “Same Time, Same Station: Creating American Television 1948-1961” by James L. Buaghman. It’s a very interesting story about the the two potential directions that television could have gone in during the early days. At the very beginning of the book the author tells us about the movie studios refusal to help produce television programming and how the movie industry was tanking back then. And it’s tanking again now.

In addition, there was a huge battle against RCA/NBC under the leadership of Sarnoff by the Columbia Broadcasting System. Columbia actually had a color UHF television system setup and ready to roll in 1946 but the FCC denied them the chance to move forward.

Television was a disruptive technology, same as the Internet has been a disruptive technology for the past decade or more as it reached general acceptance. When I think about it I remember my first connection to the net was via a SLIP (Serial Line Interface Protocol) connection. All there was a the time was email, ftp, gopher, IRC (Chat) and NNTP (News). Now we have all those though gopher has been replace with things like Google but we’ve added a few tricks. VoIP has made a very big splash and has the incumbent carriers VERY scared, and the web has exploded with new things like social networking, video, audio, and most interestingly P2P file sharing.

And of course the movie studios don’t like P2P because they never saw the benefit that it could provide them. There was a good article on the Huffington Post this morning that lamented the fact that there are no tech savvy people in the entertainment industry.

The other book I’m reading is “Learning C# 2005” by Jesse Liberty and Brian MacDonald. Considering that Stanford wrote the applications for their autonomous car that participated in the DARPA Urban Challenge in C# and Microsoft uses it fairly exclusively to write the Windows operating system I figure it’d be a good language to add to my collection. Stanford did come in 2nd.

One of the touted benefits of C# 2005 was supposed to be automatic memory management. And for the most part that’s true. But the Stanford team found out that it still has what are called memory leaks.

A memory leak happens when a program or application requests memory resources but when it’s finished with them they’re never released yet the memory manager may flag that section of memory as being available. Then you’ll have a mixture of two different types of data which does very bad things to interpreters and compilers.

If this got a bit too geeky, fear not. If you’re using a Windows computer with at least Windows XP on it, you’re using a product written with C# (C-Sharp)

So now I’ve had exposure to C, C++, and C#. So many variants based upon the C programming language originated by Bell Labs.

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