Thursday, March 9, 2017

The 94-year-old inventor of lithium ion batteries just announced a battery that can’t catch on fire

Here are three links worth your time:
University of Texas professor John Goodenough (an ironic name for an inventor) lead a team to develop the next generation of batteries that charge 3 times faster and won’t catch on fire no matter how badly you abuse them (3 minute read)
How much should you charge for your Software-as-a-Service tool? I analyzed prices from 1,530 products to find out (4 minute read)
Before you bury yourself in packages, learn the Node.js runtime itself (9 minute read)

Bonus: Beau explains how you can get your web app to show your users desktop notifications using JavaScript (4 minute watch)
Thought of the day:
“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.” — Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Client-side vs. server-side rendering: why it’s not all black and white

Since the dawn of time, the conventional method for getting your HTML up onto a screen was by using server-side rendering. It was the only way. You loaded up your .html pages on your server, then your server went and turned them into useful documents on your users’ browsers.

Server-side rendering worked great at the time too, since most webpages were mostly just for displaying static images and text, with little in the way of interactivity.

Fast-forward to today and that’s no longer the case. You could argue that websites these days are more like applications pretending to be websites. You can use them to send messages, update online information, shop, and so much more. The web is just a whole lot more advanced than it used to be.

So it makes sense that server-side rendering is slowly beginning to take a backseat to the ever-growing method of rendering webpages on the client side.

So which method is the better option? As with most things in development, it really depends on what you’re planning on doing with your website. You need to understand the pros and cons, then decide for yourself which route is best for you.
How server-side rendering works

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I analyzed every book ever mentioned on Stack Overflow. Here are the most popular ones.

hen asked to head Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning group — to supercharge the world’s biggest social network with an AI makeover — Joaquin Quiñonero Candela hesitated.

It was not that the Spanish-born scientist, a self-described “machine learning (ML) person,” hadn’t already witnessed how AI could help Facebook. Since joining the company in 2012, he had overseen a transformation of the company’s ad operation, using an ML approach to make sponsored posts more relevant and effective. Significantly, he did this in a way that empowered engineers in his group to use AI even if they weren’t trained to do so, making the ad division richer overall in machine learning skills. But he wasn’t sure the same magic would take hold in the larger arena of Facebook, where billions of people-to-people connections depend on fuzzier values than the hard data that measures ads. “I wanted to be convinced that there was going to be value in it,” he says of the promotion.

Despite his doubts, Candela took the post. And now, after barely two years, his hesitation seems almost absurd.

How absurd? Last month, Candela addressed an audience of engineers at a New York City conference. “I’m going to make a strong statement,” he warned them. “Facebook today cannot exist without AI. Every time you use Facebook or Instagram or Messenger, you may not realize it, but your experiences are being powered by AI.”
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Last November I went to Facebook’s mammoth headquarters in Menlo Park to interview Candela and some of his team, so that I could see how AI suddenly became Facebook’s oxygen. To date, much of the attention around Facebook’s presence in the field has been focused on its world-class Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research group (FAIR), led by renowned neural net expert Yann LeCun. FAIR, along with competitors at Google, Microsoft, Baidu, Amazon, and Apple (now that the secretive company is allowing its scientists to publish), is one of the preferred destinations for coveted grads of elite AI programs. It’s one of the top producers of breakthroughs in the brain-inspired digital neural networks behind recent improvements in the way computers see, hear, and even converse. But Candela’s Applied Machine Learning group (AML) is charged with integrating the research of FAIR and other outposts into Facebook’s actual products—and, perhaps more importantly, empowering all of the company’s engineers to integrate machine learning into their work.