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Ruby, Linux, Turing, and Windows 8 – Weekend must-read articles #18

Weekend reading

That’s quite a mix, isn’t it? Ruby, Linux, Turing, and Windows 8. But there’s even more: Jira, HyperCard, and Flamer, as well. We take a slightly different approach this week and bring you a wild mix of interesting reading on various topics from around the interwebs. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this eclectic mix while you enjoy your weekend.

Every Friday we bring you a collection of links to places on the web that we find particularly newsworthy, interesting, entertaining, and topical. We try to focus on some particular area or topic each week, but in general we will cover Internet, web development, networking, performance, security, and other geeky topics.

This week’s suggested reading

Ruby and the myth of developer productivity

Recently I was in a conference room with the CIO of a large corporation and representatives from a vendor that provides a somewhat unrelated product. The corporation’s software is mainly in Java. For some reason, in the middle of the discussion, one of the vendor’s 20-something presales engineers started pitching that the company rewrite all of its software in Ruby.

Delivering the Windows 8 Release Preview

Windows 8 Release Preview is available for download in 14 languages. This is our final pre-release, and includes Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, new Windows 8 apps for connecting to Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger (and many more), and hundreds of new and updated apps in the Windows Store. Since our first preview release last September, millions of people now use the pre-release product on a daily basis and millions more have been taking it through its paces, totaling hundreds of millions of hours of testing. We genuinely appreciate the effort that so many have put into pre-release testing, and of course, we appreciate the feedback too. Direct feedback and feedback through usage contributed to hundreds of visible changes in the product and tens of thousands of under-the-hood changes.

Flamer: Highly Sophisticated and Discreet Threat Targets the Middle East

Over the past few days, we have been analyzing a potential new threat that has been operating discreetly for at least two years. We were contacted about this threat by Crysys who have released their own analysis. (The threat is referred to by CrySys as ‘Skywiper’). There are indications that W32.Flamer is also the same threat as described recently by the Iranian national cert. Our analysis of the retrieved samples reveals complex code that utilizes several components. At first glance, the executable appears to be benign but further inspection reveals cleverly concealed malicious functionality.

Design excuses and how to beat them

Overcome negative thinking and you’ll achieve your dreams. Si Jobling covers the more common design excuses and how to combat them. Have you found yourself with a back log of ideas you want to build but constantly use excuses to avoid them? Here are the top five excuses getting in your way and how you can overcome them …

How Banjo is finding success with geo-social discovery

Geo-social discovery apps were the “it” category at SXSW in March but for the most part they’ve fizzled, failing to catch on with mainstream consumers. But Banjo has been one of the lone exceptions, hitting 1 million downloads last month after launching last July, putting it on a faster initial adoption pace than Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. The company, which helps people find friends and others nearby, has a new update and downloads are up to 1.5 million across iOS, Androidand the web.

Fedora Linux capitulates to Microsoft boot certificate

In order to get its Linux distribution to run on the next generation of secured desktop computing hardware, the Fedora Project will obtain a digital signature from Microsoft, a developer from the project announced Wednesday. “This isn’t an attractive solution, but it is a workable one,” wrote Matthew Garrett in a blog post on Wednesday. “We came to the conclusion that every other approach was unworkable.” The next release of the open-source distribution, Fedora 18, due in November, will be the first version able to run on computers that use UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which requires the operating system to furnish a digital key before it can be run by the machine.

Turing and the Test of Time

The centenary of Alan Turing’s birth is being greeted by an extraordinary response, not only in mathematical and scientific circles but in a much wider public arena. It marks the awareness that he was one of the 20th century’s seminal figures, whose brief life is better appreciated in the 21st century than in his own.

25 years of HyperCard—the missing link to the Web

Sometime around 1988, my landlady and I cut a deal. She would purchase a Macintosh computer, I would buy an external hard drive, and we would leave the system in the living room to share. She used the device most, since I did my computing on an IBM 286 and just wanted to keep up with Apple developments. But after we set up the Mac, I sat down with it one evening and noticed a program on the applications menu. “HyperCard?” I wondered. “What’s that?”

Jira 5.1 will focus on scalability for enterprise clients

According to Atlassian co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, Jira dominates in enterprises. “Nine out of 10 Fortune 10 companies use Jira,” he said Thursday at the Atlassian Summit conference in San Francisco. Responding to large enterprises, Atlassian recently began offering dedicated enterprise support and interactive user training, company officials noted. Enterprise administration certification has been added as well.

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