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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Getting rid of the laptop

I’ve been playing with evaluating two new toys important new pieces of technology: an iPad and a Pulse SmartPen. The combination almost makes we ready to ditch my netbook — or at least got me thinking carefully about why I still have one.

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Monads: a language designer’s perspective

Monads are one of the hottest topics in functional programming, and arguably simplify the construction of a whole class of systems. Which makes it surprising that they’re so opaque and hard to understand to people who’s main experience is in imperative or object-oriented languages.

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Contextual processes

Context-aware systems are intended to follow and augment user-led, real-world processes. These differ somewhat from traditional workflow processes, but share some characteristics. Might the techniques used to implement business processes via web service orchestration fit into the context-aware landscape too?

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The power of comics

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some of the past couple of days with a comic-writer who studies the academic experience, and who might well have a greater aggregate impact on science than almost anyone else I’ve ever met.

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Made smarter by the internet?

Over the weekend there was a fascinating exchange of viewpoints in the Wall Street Journal taking opposing sides of the argument as to what effect the internet is having on us: is it making us smarter and better-informed, or more shallow and un-disciplined compared to our book-reading days? Perhaps more importantly. is there anything we can do to leverage the internet to promote smartness more effectively?

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