This is BrainLog, a blog by Dan Sanderson. Older entries, from October 1999 through September 2010, are preserved for posterity, but are no longer maintained. See the front page and newer entries.

April 2010 Archives

April 26, 2010

Guy Steele: Organizing Functional Code for Parallel Execution; or, foldl and foldr Considered Slightly Harmful:

Slides from this talk [PDF].

The Structure and Interpretation of the Computer Science Curriculum. A little harsh in its tone, given that some people do indeed love this book (myself included), but SICP isn't above criticism, and it's always worth examining what ought to be taught.

Related: Teach-Scheme.org.

April 23, 2010

Lovely trigonometry demo, written in JavaScript.

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch, Camera E-8, at 500 frames per second, with narration by Mark Gray of Spacecraft Films:

(And a terrific ad for Spacecraft Films. Now I want to buy some of their video sets.)

April 6, 2010

The first act of Dr. Horrible reimagined as an 8-bit video game:


April 4, 2010

John August recommends (so far) GoodReader, Tablet Edition for reading PDFs. Looks like it's as good a reader as AirSharing but much cheaper, introductory price of $0.99. Fewer sharing features, of course, and as much an early entry as the others. Plenty of room to grow.

PDFs on the iPad

While the iPad is technically capable of viewing PDF documents, there is no built-in app that is specifically for this purpose. As with the iPhone, the iPad can view PDFs on the web and in email attachments. The iBooks app can view arbitrary ePub documents, but not PDF. There are utilities out there that "convert" PDF to ePub, but since ePub is a text-based format, not all PDFs convert cleanly (especially vector art).

I got a little too excited trying to figure out the PDF situation and tried dragging some PDFs into my iTunes library. Surprisingly, iTunes lets you do this, though it doesn't copy the PDFs to any iPad or iPhone. iTunes support for PDF is solely intended for digital booklets that come with iTunes albums. This makes iTunes a neat and unorthodox way to organize your PDFs, but not a way to get them to a portable device.

AirSharing HD is an iPad version of an iPhone app that is often recommended for moving files and viewing documents. The iPad version is $9.99. The current version—which they developed without having access to an iPad, like most all developers—only supports file transfers through wi-fi and a web browser: you run the app and it gives you a web address, which when visited by your desktop computer brings up a modest interface for uploading files.

Curiously, if you connect the iPad to iTunes, select the iPad, then select the Apps tab, AirSharing is one of the apps listed under the all-new "file sharing" feature exclusive to the iPad for transferring files between specific apps and your desktop. However, it appears uploading files to AirSharing this way currently does nothing. I'm hoping this is an unfinished feature, and when it's finished, this'll make it easy to upload PDFs to AirSharing through iTunes.

No doubt there will be dozens of better ways to read PDFs on an iPad in the very near future.