Caveat Hacktor

I just saw the delightful high-quality site on core computer algorithms Hacker’s Delight. I was startled by the following notice about the corresponding book:

“After the first printing, an errata file was started. The publisher did not incorporate this into the second printing. For the third printing, he made all the corrections known up to that point in time. For the fourth and fifth printings, the publisher subcontracted the production work, and accidentally gave the subcontractor the files for the first printing. The sixth printing corrects all the errors known up to when it was printed (November 2006). Therefore, the best copy to obtain is the sixth printing, and the second best is the third printing.”

Good grief. This is the kind of thing that makes airplanes fall out of the sky — or my bank say “oops.” As an engineer, I have long been aware of how much stuff out there is truly not designed, transcribed, or built correctly, but this little example gives a nice compact summary to my unvoiced horrified sputtering. I wonder if more direct and immediate Internet technology (like Wikipedia and maybe Sophie) will help.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

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