Undefining “Technical Debt”

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For me, technical debt is defined pretty loosely as stuff you don’t like in the code and need to change to keep up velocity. However, I’ve seen lots of articles lately discussing a precise definition of “technical debt.” I would sum them up as:
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For me, technical debt is defined pretty loosely as stuff you don’t like in the…

How the JavaScript Heatmap Implementation Works

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A heatmap is a powerful way to visualize data. Given a matrix of data each value is represented by a color. The implementation of the heatmap algorithm is expensive in computation terms: for each grid’s pixel you need to compute its color from a set of known values. As you could imagine, it is not feasible to implement it on the client side because map rendering would be really…

Art For Non-Artists

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Like to make a game, but held up somewhat by the practical issue of having absolutely no artistic ability whatsoever? Yep, we feel your pain. Quite thoroughly indeed. But here’s a series of videos to watch that might help you fake it enough to get by –

2D Game Art for Non-Artists
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Like to make a game, but held up somewhat by the…

Geek Reading January 16, 2015

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Today we have some cool news from MIT where they figured out how to watch immune cells communicate. Also from MIT, researchers used evolutionary algorithms to determine how to plan a wind farm with 1000 turbines, a highly complex problem with a cool solution. And finally, Flowing Data shows another fine example of people abusing charts and statistics, a fascinating read as usual.

As always,…

Elon Musk wants to spend $10 billion building the internet in space

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Elon Musk’s plan for satellite internet is even more ambitious than originally thought. At a SpaceX event in Seattle on Friday, the Tesla CEO told Bloomberg Businessweek that his unnamed Space Internet venture could one day stretch all the way to Mars — and it could cost $10 billion to pull off.

“I don’t see anyone else doing it.”

The news comes at the tail end of a busy week for Musk, with the CEO announcing that a five-mile Hyperloop test track is in development only a day earlier. According to Musk, the satellite internet project would make for fast, cheap global internet that isn’t impeded by terrestrial wires. “The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber,” he says, explaining that internet…

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MediumSounds Mashes Up Medium And SoundCloud To Feature Audio On Your Post

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Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 4.38.05 PM Medium does a lot of things well. Its easy-to-use interface for composing blog posts creates a clean, distraction-free environment for the reader. But one thing it doesn’t do well is audio. Music, radio shows, and podcasts aren’t a featured part of the product. London-based developer Roman Mittermayr put together MediumSounds so he could mash together what he liked about the… Read More

Steve Jobs’s childhood garage is being prepped for latest biopic

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Steve Jobs’ childhood home in Los Altos, California — which became a historic site in 2013 — is opening up for cameras once again. Film crews began setting up shop there today to begin dressing the location in anticipation of shooting the latest film about Apple’s co-founder, reports CNET. The house and its garage served as Apple’s early and rather humble beginnings, and were depicted briefly in 2013’s film Jobs. In this case, it’s for the second, unrelated film, penned by Aaron Sorkin and based off Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of the late technology pioneer. Some of the early adornments spotted in the garage include things like a Bob Dylan poster and an ad for a Braun coffeemaker.

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As It Seeks New Regulations In NY, Airbnb Estimates It Would Collect $65 Million In Taxes There

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airbnb-new-york Airbnb has been trying to win over regulators and lawmakers in New York by pledging to crack down on illegal hotel operations and collect taxes from rentals that happen on its platform. In an effort to get new regulations passed to legitimize its service in NY, the company put an estimate of just how much the city and state is missing out on by not allowing it to collect taxes there. In a… Read More

TC AppleCast 1: Watch Out For The Apple Watch

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TC-applecast-post It’s our first ever TechCrunch AppleCast, and we’re starting things off with a long look at the Apple Watch and its companion app, as well as a discussion on the (still theoretical) 12-inch MacBook Air. We also dive into Swift, Apple’s new programming language, which is really heating up in terms of developer interest, and touch on App Store discovery and what could still be… Read More

Justin Timberlake’s AfterMaster Chip Makes Any Device Sound Better

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AfterMaster Feature AfterMaster is like having a team of audio experts come in a fine tune your home stereo, TV, or headphones. The new AfterMaster chip optimizes the sound quality outputed by any device, enhancing its fullness and clarity. Essentially, it makes audio sound much richer, like you were listening to uncompressed master recordings on super high-fidelity audio equipment, even if you’re just… Read More

Republicans want a net neutrality law, but only if it stops the FCC from handling it

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A month before the FCC votes on a new net neutrality proposal, lawmakers in the House and Senate are taking the matter into their own hands. Republicans in both houses have introduced a bill that would enshrine net neutrality in law — while taking rule-making power away from the FCC and avoiding a major reclassification of broadband service. It’s an attempt to preempt not only agency chair Tom Wheeler, but also President Barack Obama, who made his position on net neutrality clear last year.

The bill offers a compromise between hard-line opponents of net neutrality and the larger changes preferred by President Obama and many activists. It would modify the Communications Act of 1934, adding the basic elements of the FCC’s “open internet”…

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The FDA probably won’t regulate your fitness tracker

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The US Food and Drug Administration has published draft guidance suggesting it won’t regulate products intended for general wellness — like fitness trackers — provided there aren’t significant risks to their use. Low-risk devices aren’t invasive; don’t involve lasers or radiation exposure; and don’t raise new usability or biocompatability issues. Devices that don’t fall under this category include sunlamps meant for tanning, because of the cancer risks associated with UV; and implants for aesthetic purposes, because of the risks of rupture, according to the document.

New devices meant for general wellness may have an easier time getting to market, if current regulations holdFor the FDA’s purposes, a general wellness device is something…

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Google Is In Talks With Softcard, The Mobile Payments Company

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Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 21.34.23 Apple has Apple Pay, and now it looks like Google may be fattening up its own wallet. According to people familiar with the situation, the search giant and maker of Android is interested in buying Softcard, the mobile payments company formerly known as Isis.
The price may be under $100 million, according to our sources. That is either a huge bargain or a testament to Softcard’s… Read More

Author Nicholas Carlson Tells Us What Startups Can Learn From Marissa Mayer

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marissamayerbook There are few figures in the tech industry today who are more compelling than Marissa Mayer. So it’s not surprising that she makes for a very compelling subject in Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo, the new book written by Business Insider’s Chief Correspondent Nicholas Carlson. So we asked Carlson to swing by TechCrunch HQ while he was in town this week to chat a bit about… Read More

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