Earthquakes of the 20th Century

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has this excellent visualization of the earthquakes recorded between January 1, 1901 and Decemeber 31, 2000. Each earthquake is shown as a circle, where the size indicates the strength and the color indicates the depth. Interesting, how most of these make up lines, showing the tectonic plate borders.

Unix History Repository

Evolution of unix-history-repo (Gource Visualization) video shows how the UNIX operating system was born and how it matured over time. The video is based on this GitHub repository, which combines the following:

The project has achieved its major goal with the establishment of a continuous timeline from 1970 until today. The repository contains:
– snapshots of PDP-7, V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, and V7 Research Edition,
– Unix/32V,
– all available BSD releases,
– the CSRG SCCS history,
– two releases of 386BSD,
– the 386BSD patchkit,
– the FreeBSD 1.0 to 1.1.5 CVS history,
– an import of the FreeBSD repository starting from its initial imports that led to FreeBSD 2.0, and
– the current FreeBSD repository.
The files appear to be added in the repository in chronological order according to their modification time, and large parts of the source code have been attributed to their actual authors.

This is mind-blowing! So much work, so many people, so little recognition. The world wouldn’t be the same without all that, and yet the masses think that Steve Jobs or Bill Gates were the greatest computer geniuses in the history of mankind. Sad…

But the video is beautiful. It desperately needs some music though.

Programmer migration patterns

Programmer migration patterns” is an interesting attempt to identify where programmers start and how move from one programming language to another. This is not precise science, obviously. But I have to say that I mostly agree with the findings.

The first language that I learned (back in school) was BASIC, which then gave me some legs with Visual Basic later in college. Also in college, I’ve learned assembler, C, and Pascal, which guided me to some amateur and professional development with Delphi.

Soon after that I discovered Linux, which meant shell scripting. I played with awk, but I didn’t have to dive deep, as Perl was already available. Perl was probably my first true programming language, which I learned outside of school and college, and which I have been using for years to build all kinds of things. I still love Perl dearly, but the last few years I have been mostly using PHP, with some occasional Python.

JavaScript, however, is where I draw the line. I’ve been scarred by JavaScript back in the 90s, so I can’t force myself to go back. And then again, I don’t really have to. I’ll leave JavaScript, TypeScript, and node.js for the younger generations.

Let the source be with you!

Paul Le Roux – Criminal Mastermind

Here’s the name I haven’t heard before – Paul Le Roux. He started off as an Open Source software developer, but quickly turned into one of, if not the largest cyber criminals.

Reply All podcast did an episode about him recently, and the story is mind-blowing.

The mention of Paul Le Roux trying to buy a submarine from the North Korea for his drug trafficking affairs reminded me of another crime documentary – Operation Odessa. Here’s the trailer to get you started.

BOFH – The Bastard Operator From Hell

The other day I came across the classic “The Bastard Operator From Hell“. I don’t think that anybody knows how many of the BOFH stories were ever written, but this site has a good collection of them.

For those of you, who haven’t heard about BOFH, Wikipedia provides a good summary:

The Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH) is a fictional rogue computer operator who takes out his anger on users and others who pester him with their computer problems, uses his expertise against his enemies and manipulates his employer.
Several other people have written stories about BOFHs, but those by Simon Travaglia are considered canonical. The BOFH stories were originally posted in 1992 to Usenet by Travaglia, with some being reprinted in Datamation. They were published weekly from 1995 to 1999 in Network Week. Since 2000 they have been published regularly in The Register (UK). Several collections of the stories have been published as books.
By extension, the term is also used to refer to any system administrator who displays the qualities of the original.
The early accounts of the BOFH took place in a university; later the scenes were set in an office workplace. In 2000 (BOFH 2k), the BOFH and his pimply-faced youth (PFY) assistant moved to a new company.

If tech humor in the office is your thing, have a look at Dilbert comic strips as well.