Men who believe in something, even if wrong, will triumph over those who believe in nothing. That is the lesson of the Bush recovery of the past four weeks."
danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: Ag subsidies revealed!!!: "shockingly, countries like France have ignored an EU directive and refused to make their subsidy records available to the public"
Good luck! random-state.net / December 13th 2005: "I've decided to starve.
To accomplish this life-goal and simultaneously bring joy to the world I'm embarking on an entrepreneurial career in early 2006.
The business plan is centered around providing commercial support for Steel Bank Studio, an open source Common Lisp development environment built around SBCL and Slime."
Serious Organised Crime?
BBC NEWS | Politics | Falconer defends new protest law: "Maya Evans, 25, recited the 97 names by the Cenotaph memorial to Britain's war dead in Whitehall, near Downing Street.
She was found guilty of breaking a new law stopping unauthorised protests within half a mile of Parliament.Ms Evans, a vegan cook from Hastings, was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 costs after being found guilty of breaching the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005."
The idea that we take a measure, which is a public order measure, designed to protect our Parliament building as depriving us of freedom of speech is ridiculously overdoneHow does stopping someone speaking protect a building ?
Linus does not call users idiots
"Users are Idiots"? - Linux@blogweb.de: "But, to name 'Users' as 'Idiots', well, I never expected to read something like this from you. Because the 'idiots' are using (most of the time) your kernel, and with those statements you are pushing the 'idiots' away from using your kernel."
Someone is either too annoyed to read clearly or their mastery of english not as good as Linus'.
Of course, the anti-Gnome point is there nonetheless. I have only recently started using Gnome with Ubuntu - so far it seems nice. I iss some KDE things but perhaps I just haven't looked for their equivalent yet.
Iraq vs. WW2 France
Philip Greenspun's Weblog:: "So the Germans were able to do a somewhat similar job with 7500 people."
To be fair there were also several German Army Divisions as well - interesting that the quote omits that. Looking at it from our perspective today, though there was some very valiant resistance then, it seems odd that Iraq is so difficult by comparison with WW2 Europe. What are the differences? I would suggest: no religious fanaticism, in Western Europe ( maybe not eastern) the ability to live quite well if you behaved ( and weren't Jewish), little prospect of salvation until 1944, and the certainty of dreadful reprisals from the occupier with no moderation caused by the world's media watching.
Minority Language Report
OK, a couple of posts rattled my cage today:
- Finding Lisp:
He sums up with a nice indictment of Common Lisp's freeze-dried-since-1994 state:
Fun Fact about Common Lisp: standard Common Lisp has no networking libraries at all, but it does have a built in function to print integers as Roman numerals , using either the new style (14=XIV) or the old-style (14=XIIII) Roman numerals. Huh.
- The Geek Guy Rants
: In the pros department: itÂ's a great programming language. Ruby, python, perl, java can'?t really compete as languages. HTML and symbolic expressions are almost a one-to-one mapping, so generating HTML is a breeze. It'?s great fun to work in, and I'?ve certainly learned a good deal about programming in general just for using it.
Having a Lisp process I can manipulate on a live server has been very handy for updating small changes and debugging as well.
The drawbacks all basically stem from the same problem. Since very few people actually use Lisp, we can'?t take advantage of the tremendous community support the other languages have. There are few libraries, few implementations, and little real-world examples of building large-scale websites in Lisp. The language itself (ANSI Common Lisp) hasn?t changed much since it was standardized, which was about 20 years ago.
They are right - and I have seen this before: Eiffel and Smalltalk. In both these cases there seems to be a few small vendors and a small but very passionate groups of developers, but too much diversity of effort.
In the Eiffel case, the heavyweight vendor (relative to the minnows) decided to make friends with Microsoft and go it pretty much alone on another round of standardisation. In the Smalltalk arena, some are celebrating the exit of IBM from that segment; again the are several vendors. Squeak is interesting as a nice environment,open source - this could be the future there - or not - who knows.
For both languages, grouping together in the face of competition from other languages would be sensible ; how about a common Open Source base platform with charging for specific add ons, or services (I believe Dolphin Smalltalk pursues its on environment and does services) ?
And what about Lisp? Even more fragmented - why do so many rebuild basic Lisp compilers/interpreters? Are Franz and LispWorks going to thrive by doing it all? Hell, is Lips going to thrive? What would it take to get a 2nd round odf standardisation going, so that Lisp has the range of standard libraries that Java and C# have? Then others could focus on better environments and pushing ahead in more new areas.
Come on guys, don't let the bad guys win!
Phew this ranting is tiring - I'm off for a lie down
John Vlissides, RIP
Grady puts this simply and well:
developWorks: Blogs: Grady Booch: "It is with great sadness that I report the death of John Vlissides who passed away last Thursday, having been diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2004. John was one of the Gang of Four and a brilliant researcher, but above all a kind and gentle man. He will be missed.
Oh, those sorts of barriers
Many thanks James Governor for this URL in the comments of my rant on barriers to entry:tecosystems: It's All About Barriers to Entry:
"One of the more common refrains our clients - as well as all of you folks too, I suppose - are hearing from me these days is 'lower your barriers to entry.' The basic premise behind the thought is simple: if one accepts (as I do) Jonathan Schwartz's contention that we've entered the Participation Age, barriers to entry that throttle that participation become a critical concern."
The examples in the post by Stephen O'Grady are more "barriers to participation" than what is conjured up in my MBA-trained mind; perhaps that would be a better phrase? Don't get me wrong, "barriers to entry" could ( logically) refer to the examples Stephen gives, but the phrase is loaded for what i imagine is a large chunk of his audience.
Just a thought!
More barriers being broken
db4objects - native Java and .NET open source object database engine: "'With Version 5, db4objects is pushing the seamless object-oriented development experience even further,' says Stephen O'Grady, senior analyst at Redmonk. 'When developers are not required to transition out of an object oriented environment and the language of their choice, they're likely to be far more productive. Consequently, several vendors - including Microsoft with its LINQ project - are seeking to break down the barriers between non-native APIs and the programming language on top of it, by allowing querying in native language - an approach that could become popular to access databases from OO programming environments.'"
Looks interesting, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be support for the new, intersting, dynamic languages.
Good analysis, interesting terminology
Via a piece of (well-deserved) congratulation of a colleague On MySQL props for Stepho, and Open Source Business models we get the folowing:
"Well, I hate to say that it's all about barriers to entry, but it's all about barriers to entry"
Q: So how have the commercial suppliers responded?
A: By reducing one barrier to entry: making or considering making their products free.
Well, if I understnd the point being made, then this isn't how I would use the term "barrier to entry". To me a barrier to entry was something which prevented competition; thus the (high) cost of developing a full-featured relational database was a barrier to entry for MySQL, PostGres etc. But since Open Source development is a disruptive technology it first established a low cost, low function version of the database, and is now performing a segment invasion of the market segment of higher-function databases. Thus the commercial suppliers are not removing a barrier to entry (from this perspective) but responding to a breach of a barrier to entry. If Open Source Databases are a disruptive technology then other issues than function and cost will come into play. For example, the encumbents may not be able to alter their support or channels structure to the new competitive environment.
So, picky, picky, picky (that's me!) ; otherwise an excellent piece. I have enjoyed James' pieces for sometime, but am just getting started with his colleague - keep going, if only to keep me on my (MBA) toes!!
Poor reasoning alert
If you have time and want to wonder at a really poorly constructed argument, take a look at this article:
Why IP owners should worry | Perspectives | CNET News.com:
"It reflects the currently fashionable idea that confiscatory government policy must be used to even the score (whatever that means), thrusting highly demanded, privately risked IP out of the hands of legitimate property owners and into the hands of other, favored actors to further 'develop' it.
A recent court decision in the U.S. (i.e., the Supreme Court's eminent domain decision in Kelo); regulatory and legislative actions in the EU (i.e., the EC's stance on interoperability, and failure by the EU Parliament this summer to pass patent legislation); and rampant piracy, not just in the developing world but here on these shores, buttress this supposition."
See any real connection between the assertion and the evidence cited? Rampant piracy is an example of the sovereignty/IP conflict?
Oh and the article also starts by dragging in the ODF saga, which is a contest betqeen 2 pieces of IP.
BTW I would assert that the Open Source community is also part of the IP community - it just chooses to be more liberal with its IP - and it depends on IP law too. Now file sharing of protected materials is something else, as is the demand to control hardware, infect computers with rootkitspolice everything just in case there is illegal file sharing going on.
Horror - SuSE doesn't run Firefox, so Linux not ready for the desktop!!
Still Looking for a Desktop Linux | Bayosphere: "So I just loaded Novell's SuSE Linux version 10 on my Thinkpad. All went well until I ran the online updates for the OS and various applications on the machine. That's when Firefox started popping up an error message box every time it loaded a new page. Reinstalling Firefox didn't help.
Someday -- maybe someday -- desktop Linux will just work. Not yet."
If the definition of "ready for the desktop" is a single app not working after install, then there is no OS ready for the desktop. I have had the misfortune of reinstalling a few OSs in my time, and they are all subject to problems, often a lot more severe thhan this example. I have to say that Firefox not working, is not a problem I have had ( so far).
I (Fare Rideau) use Exscribe for all the pages I was writing: unlike most other document authoring systems, Exscribe is programmable: I casually compute content on-the-fly within documents. However, unlike the only widespread programmable document authoring system, namely LaTeX, it's programmable in a decent language, namely Lisp."
I missed this one: The Doc Searls Weblog : Saturday, November 12, 2005: "Now I have to add Peter Drucker to the growing list of gurus I always wanted to meet, but never will. He died yesterday in Claremont, California, at 95."
I enjoyed his writings. I recall reading his book "Management" not long after I started work; then the company I worked for got a new Managing Director - he basically worked his way through that book to improve the firm.
"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog."
I now have to type in a "Word Verification" for any post; I hate to think what characteristics they mean:-( I would have thought the frequencies of posts would be too low.
Hopefully their human reviewer will see some other characterstics.
ECMDA 2005, Nuremberg
I just got back from attending the ECMDA conference. The city of Nuremberg is lovely ( well, I only saw the centre) - there is a walled city (much of it recently restored) , impressive Churches, and an Imperial palace. Much history - had a bad foot but managed to hop round the town once, but had to miss the official guided tour ( 90 minutes).
The conference was well organised and the conference hotel was very nice. No free wi-fi though:-( Some very interesting papers and workshops, and some not .... as with most conferences.
A good crowd of people, some to meet for the first time, some to meet again, some to meet for the first time face-to-face.
Good fun - looking forward to next years in Bilbao.
Alloy Homepage: "The Alloy Analyzer is a tool developed by the Software Design Group for analyzing models written in Alloy, a simple structural modeling language based on first-order logic. The tool can generate instances of invariants, simulate the execution of operations (even those defined implicitly), and check user-specified properties of a model."
What is TDD?
Steve Eichert's Blog - TDD is about design: "I’ve noticed lately that test driven development is now being called test driven design. I think the change is a good one since TDD is really about design, not testing. It just so happens that you end up with some good tests when you do TDD."
When the carer snaps
A very sad situation:Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online: "Jo Williams, Mencap's Chief Executive said: 'It is hard for anyone to imagine the extent of the caring role that families face. It goes above and beyond what anyone would consider acceptable. But, they do not want praise or rewards - just appropriate help and support to enable them to go on caring.
'We want local authorities to urgently address families' needs; planning services with families themselves, deciding how to spend money on short breaks and monitoring the impact on families. We want the government to do more to monitor what local authorities are doing and to respond to growing demand by putting more money into services.'"
I wonder why this case had to come to court? To even imagine that a custodial sentence was appropriate beggars belief. And why, in a country which spends so much on care, do some people just get left to struggle on alone?
"One of the things that has angered me recently in conversations with IT vendors and at least one standards body about the government's deeply flawed plans is a refusal to show the courage of their convictions. That is - organizations are unwilling to formally criticise current plans by the UK government in case it later impacts their ability to bid for the project.
I call it economic and political cowardice."
At least it's not negative !
Groundhog Day: "Loathe though I am to direct more attention to the authority which acknowledges no responsibility, I am pleased that, as of this post, Groundhog Day is 'worth' $0.00."
By a strange coincidence, my blog is worth the same amount!
BTW, I like Groundhog Day - that's my 2 cents :-)
It is always diffcult to judge from newspaper reports but ....Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online: "The father of three from Hackney, East London, was shot in the head and hand on September 22, 1999 after a table leg he was carrying in a blue plastic bag was mistaken for a sawn-off shotgun." (My emphasis)
"The CPS has concluded that the prosecution evidence is insufficient to rebut the officers’ assertion that they were acting in self defence. We have also concluded that the threat which they believed they faced made the use of fatal force reasonable in the circumstances as they perceived them."(My emphasis)
So in the UK, don't where quilted jackets(oh wait, I mean don't wear be Brazilian and where a denim jacket), don't carry things in plastic bags......
I think a large part of the problem is that, since they are normally deal with criminals, the police lose sight of the fact that most people are just going about there normal business.
You say GMail, I say GoogleMail
The BBC has this statement about the on-going dispute of the use of the term "Gmail" in UK and Germany:BBC NEWS | Business | Google drops Gmail address in UK: "For now, though, Google will not be able to promote one of its most high-profile brands in two of Europe's largest economies."
But what sort of "promotion" is Google doing? It seems to be mainly word-of-mouth, so this is not really an issue. Are there any technical limitations caused by this dispute? If not, no one will care.
Winchester Cathedral Concert
I had an extended lunch break yesterday and attended a "Lunchtime Concert" in Winchester Cathedral. It was given by the Winchester School Orchestra and the Flute Choir. Our daughter plays in the Orchestra. A lovely concert in a great venue.
On our way home my wife, daughter and I had a coffee; a super chance to chat in different surroundings, congratulate and generally feel good about things! Aren't proud parents embarrassing !
If you are in (old) Hampshire look out for these (free) concerts - highly recommended !
Good news for Eclipse
ActiveWin.com - Father of Wiki Moves from Microsoft to Eclipse: "Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, announced on Monday that Ward Cunningham is leaving Microsoft to join the staff of the open-source tool consortium. Cunningham's new title is Director of Committer Community Development."
Eating out(side) in London
I am a bit behind in any blog entries except those sniping at other peoples comments - they are a lot easier to do!
Last week I was staying in London for a meeting. A colleague and I walked to the bank of the Thames just west of Southwark bridge, and were able to sit outside a restaurant and have dinner at 8pm in October. The weather was warm, it didn't rain, plenty of people sauntering passed, nice meal and a view of St Paul's Cathedral lit up across the weather.
It must be global warming!!
I think this is an incorrect statement:Reader: "But Lisp syntax was designed 50 years ago to make it easy to parse! We don't have to optimize for this anymore -- it's time to optimize for the programmer!"
I think the point of Lisp's rather odd looking syntax is to allow for the powerful Lisp macro feature ( not to be confused with the macro systems in other langauages). There is a whole notion of blurring the (false) distinction between code and data.
Of course, how often that is useful to you will colour your opinion of the advantage:pain ratio. What is more interesting is that if you don't try this aspect, you may never realise that you needed it. "Language shapes thought"
Abuse of power
Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online: "Ms Cameron was being hailed yesterday as Scotland’s answer to Walter Wolfgang, the 82-year-old heckler manhandled out of the Labour Party conference last month. She was arrested under the Terrorism Act for walking along a cycle path in the harbour area of Dundee."
Give more powers and they will get used .... not as originally intended.
Looking a gift cow in the mouth
BBC NEWS | UK | US rejects British Katrina beef: "The US has blocked the distribution of around 350,000 packaged meals donated by Britain for victims of Hurricane Katrina, because of mad cow disease.
US officials said the meals - routinely eaten by UK soldiers - were not considered unsafe but fell foul of its post-BSE ban on British beef products.
I wonder why there is a "post-BSE" ban still in place?
The youth of today
What I Did this Summer: "I think in some cases it's not so much that they lack the appetite for work, but that the work they're offered is unappetizing."
I have to agree - I think this applies at school too ( perhaps more so). How to engage, interest, challenge ( and educate) ? And I don't mean this in some elitest sense; I'm not talking about the top5% or whatever. Most kids can do a lot better in a range of areas, many of which aren't what the schools get measured on.
Competition Time: Spot the errors of fact and argument
Scripting News: 10/13/2005: "After years of maintaining absolute control over user's data in Microsoft Office, the new version promises to give total control to the user, and creates a path for developers to siphon users from Microsoft to new or specialized products. One would think that this would spawn an explosion of new products designed to please Office users but that's not what's happening. A group of large technology companies is proposing a competing set of formats, and has formed an alliance to confuse the market, and at least double the work of any developer who might want to support their products (with almost no installed base) alongside Microsoft's (with a monopolistic dominant installed base). It's not surprising that the group is lead by the detritus of the last generation of tech companies. The thriving companies, Google, Yahoo and others have the good sense to sit this time and money-waster out. "
This says it all.....
Guardian Unlimited Football | Match Reports | Football: England 1 - 0 Austria: "A performance of outstanding character swept England through to the World Cup finals. It was given by Holland....."
Jimland RPG Lives On!
Terra Incognita: The NAGS Society Website: "Huzzah! Jim Wright has graciously agreed to make Adventures in Jimland, his game of adventure and exploration in wildest Jimland, available for download. The NAGS Society will host the files on the Adventures in Jimland page. Action, romance, humor, adventure, really big beasts, and bigger guns."
Never played it - but I did enjoy some of the stories !! Glad it is still available
Disparate Separate Languages
"So I was mildly amused to see the title printed on the menu that interpreted the acronym 'UML' as 'Universal Modeling Language'. I also noticed that alongside the UML logo on the conference program, the acronym is expanded as 'United Modeling Language'. Having experienced OMG politics at first hand during the standardization process for UML 2.0, I find the latter interpretation particularly ironic."
Wow - Google Reader
I think this will change a lot of things. I tried it - it imported an OPML file of my feeds , it loaded the feeds quickly, and of course I can use a browser based blogger client very easily.
Google has jumped into the online aggregator game. That's going to impact BlogLines, I'm sure. I
Reading source code for edification, entertainment and shock value
I came across this by one of the greats:developerWorks : Blogs : Grady Booch: "I've mentioned this before, but no one bit on my comment: in universities, there are fine arts courses in reading the classics, but I've yet to see a technical course in selected readings of software source code.
I was somewhat surprised, given Grady's background, that the emphasis was on code rather than design ( unless he has converted to the "code is the design" way of thinking)
I certainly think the literate programming style would encourage code reading by highlighting key passages, perhaps discussing alternatives etc.
I did a quick google for "reading source code"; there were a couple of universities pointing at chunks of source code to be read. These also reminded me of the language sensitivity of the source reading approach - I have forgotten so much C that it was difficult to spot the key issues.
And I found this - perhaps this is why we don't read source code:
We Are Morons: a quick look at the Win2k source:
In the struggle to meet deadlines, I think pretty much all programmers have put in comments they might later regret, including swear words and acerbic comments about other code or requirements. Also, any conscientious coder will put in prominent comments warning others about the trickier parts of the code. Comments like "UGLY TERRIBLE HACK" tend to indicate good code rather than bad: in bad code ugly terrible hacks are considered par for the course. It would therefore be both hypocritical and meaningless to go through the comments looking for embarrassments. But also fun, so let's go.
Good point James !!
If Google were actually interested in a future "sans Microsoft", you would think that their client tools would support the Mac and Linux, at least (and it says something about Sun's desperation that they were willing to appear with a vendor who will support Solaris approximately never).
Are all specs useless ( not just OPML :-) )?
Linus Torvalds raised a few eyebrows (and furrowed even more in confusion) by saying "A 'spec' is close to useless. I have _never_ seen a spec that was both big enough to be useful _and_ accurate. And I have seen _lots_ of total crap work that was based on specs. It's _the_ single worst way to write software, because it by definition means that the software was written to match theory, not reality."
Brad Parker emailed me to say that he has "permission from MIT to release all the LISPM source code with a "BSD like" source license". This is fabulous news as it means that, at long last, the key software components that made up the Lisp Machines will be publicly available.
And that's what you're all missing....
Hmm, I think Robert is missing something too.........
And, as a user, I wonder "why can't the developers just get their OPML to work with Dave's application?"
"Because it is a crappy spec, and Dave has the advantage of extra information in his head and so doesn't depend on said spec"
Congrats to Abe Fettig on the launch of JotSpot Live. Abe was madly hacking on this during Gnomedex, and a few of us we able to do some collaborative note taking.
This looks really cool - I wish I had written that !
Swapping Java out
Not the BEA kind of swap :-)
"A friend of mine told me tonight that his boss is putting the axe in Java at his workplace. This is explained by the very low productivity of Java."
So my friend asked me what I would recommend. Since they were doing web-based stuff with Java, I suggested that they look into Ruby on Rails and/or LAMP. I also mentioned that Smalltalk would be a good choice, because they could get commercial support from Cincom.
Getting Things Done: Psyche and Health
An interesting perspective on an focus of mine - mental attitude and health: David Allen:
"Katharine and I had lunch here in London with a dear old friend and very senior professional who's been a champion of GTD and our work for years, who's dealing now with a rather rare form of cancer. He mentioned that one of the great things about the GTD thought process that's made a huge difference to him is in being able to relate to the cancer as a 'project.' There's so much negative mystique about cancer, apparently, that the more one can view the illness as simply something to be dealt with, with actions to be taken, the healthier it is for the psyche (and who knows, then, how much for the body?)
A savvy and awesomely sobering perspective, to be sure.
We are coming to understand health not as the absence of disease, but rather as the process by which individuals maintain their sense of coherence (i.e. sense that life is comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful) and ability to function in the face of changes in themselves and their relationships with their environment. - Aaron Antonovsky"
Squeak can warp your mind
Does Squeak get you to work this way too??: "But, I've come a conclusion. I believe that Squeak forces you to exercise your browsing and code comprehension skills. It's a fact. Just about the only way to do some things in Squeak is dig in deep to understand what the heck is going on first. My impression is that folks who do a lot of work with Squeak are very skilled at working 'legacy' Smalltalk code."
May things only get better
Howard Stearns' Inventing the Future: A Model of Success: "The other day I was sitting on my back porch. Resting comfortably on my lap was all the resources I needed to do my high-tech computer work. The box also played my favorite music, and when my wife asked about the lyrics, I was able to look them up in the greatest library the world has ever known. We checked our calendar, and printed a custom map to the next day's event. And so forth. "
Quick send for the marines, another country developing WMD... oh, wait !
The US Army has asked companies to bid for contracts to produce large quantities of anthrax and equipment to produce other unnamed biological agents, according to New Scientist, but has not said what it needs the facilities for.
Now if Iraq had done something like this......
What is it with HP and upgrades?
Official: HP iPAQ hw6500 no Windows Mobile 5 Upgrade @ Dave's iPAQ: "therefore HP will not provide MS Windows Mobile 5.0 on the iPAQ h6300 and hw6500 models"
Hmm, I have an iPaq 5550; HP refuse to upgrade that from Pocket PC 2003. When I upgrade I will look at each vendors record of upgrades (You have been warned - my masive upgrade budget is up for grabs :-) )
Yes, he was missing something
:: Reviews : First Look at Ubuntu 5.10 Preview: "Was I missing something? "
Possibly a sense of humour!
The first obstacle I had to get by was the naming the developers chose for their releases. I find it amazing that they've gotten so popular with such atrocious branding. This release (v5.04) is called “Hoary” or “Hoary Hedgehog”
hmm, hoary translales as old - I think the author maybe thinking of horny?
Ubuntu's current version this time around is called “Breezy Badger”, and I'm not going to even bother trying to decipher that. Recently, it was announced that the next release of Ubuntu would be named “Dapper Drake”... which I believe might translate directly to “gay duck”.
Well, actually, no that isn't how it is translated - let's not decimate the language needlessly - "dapper" - means well dressed.
BTW, all definitions checked in dictionary.com (just in case anyone feels I'm playing the English English vs. US English game)
Gartner as a big co. competitor
James Governor's MonkChips:
"It seems to me Gartner will increasingly be competitive with major vendors when it comes to industry mindshare and account control, benchmarking and best practices. It is also going to be hit by open source analysis.
Define the language used to speak about technology deployment and you are on the way to defining the market and its purchasing patterns. There are some signs Microsoft, for one, is becoming less willing to play Gartner's bucket game, if recent public disavowals around ESB and SOA are anything to go by, which is interesting."
Gartner are a low grade tech info broker. They gather stuff up via briefings with vendors who seek the opinion because... they distribute a regurgitated form to IT management that is not very technical and is worried about being fired for not following "best practice"......
Hurricane researchers at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Fla., marked a new milestone in hurricane observation as the first unmanned aircraft touched down after a 10-hour mission into Tropical Storm Ophelia, which lost its hurricane strength Thursday night.
BBC NEWS | Politics | Lib Dems facing donation inquiry: "The Liberal Democrats are to be investigated over a ?2.4m donation received before May's general election, the Electoral Commission has confirmed."
You have to wonder why this came out this week? That's politics ,I guess
Hey, where was my invitation?
So he can't talk about Yahoo's plans - but wait, I thought secret meetings were evil? I guess they're evil only if they don't involve certain people with overly large egos....
James missed a major opportunity to practice his blog-flouncing - I mean how come he wasn't invited? How come I wasn't invited? And how come the patron saint of down-trodden bloggers not only got an invitation, but actually attended? huh?
A thread in time saves 9 hours debugging
Now, some will pop up at this point and say that non-OS threads (like VisualWorks Smalltalk has) raise the same problems. The answer is, no they don't. Why? Well, the process model for VisualWorks processes is written in Smalltalk, at the image level. That means that you as the developer have complete control over lightweight process semantics. If you don't like the process model, it's simple to implement a different one, because you don't need to dive into the VM to do it.
OK, but one of the points in the original post was that multi-threading gave error-prone code - are VWs semantics simpler, the debugger better? Being easy to change from a base which is the same on all platforms is cool, but didn't answer that point (for me at least).
Via:: cleverdevil ::: Needled by Threads a quote from D. Richard Hipp:
"I am constantly amazed at the prevailing idea (exemplified by Java) that software should be strongly typed and should not use goto statement or pointers – all in the name of reducing bugs – but that it is OK to use multiple threads within the same address space. Strong typing helps prevent only bugs that are trivially easy to locate and fix. The use of goto statements and pointers likewise results in deterministic problems that are easy to test for and relatively easy to track down and correct. But threading bugs tend to manifest themselves as timing-dependent glitches and lock-ups that are hardware and platform dependent, that never happen the same way twice, and that only appear for customers after deployment and never in a testing environment."
The other question is: for whom?
Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants: Retrenchment, not realignment: "The question is, how bad will the pain get between now and then?"
A few authors have decided to sue Google over their library project - apparently, they would rather remain obscure and hard to find. Google has a response here, and I think their response makes a lot more sense than the suit.
From the Google piece, it would appear authors can opt in as far as showing content...
What is all the fuss about?
Oh no we don't
British Computer Society - Member view: The trouble with open source: "What we really need from government is an investigation of the long-term effects of OSS"
To paraphrase Dilbert "This aricle is wrong on so many levels" - if I stay annoyed long enough while articulate all of them!
So, it would appear that the only people who are actually free to participate in OSS projects are self-employed or unemployed software professionals, students and enthusiastic amateurs.
Or professional programmer employed by companies who see benefits in OSS?
The open source movement, with its hacker ethic, doesn't promote professionalism.
See above - the author hasn't got a handle on the members of the community. Also, note the absence of facts - the whole paragraph is just a set of assertions.
I remember a quote saying how good the leaders of OSS projects tended to be - they had to be as the only ruled by the consent of the ruled. Unlike companies where factors other than being good at software development can get in the way.......
Understanding programs ... language bias ahead
Have you ever tried to go back an make significant changes to a large Smalltalk application that you haven't touched the code for in 3-5 years or maybe didn't even a part in writing? Try that some time if you haven't and then tell us what you think of Smalltalk. If a language can't pass that battle test, it sucks. IMO, Java passes that test very well, much better than Smalltalk or C/C++.
Anything objective here? I suspect the answer for any particular person is which language they are most familiar. I really can't see much difference between Java and Smalltalk in the respect.
Actually, I suspect that "module" design, naming conventions, comments etc. have far more impact anyway
Warning: The first time I saw Smalltalk was free download of VisualWorks in 2000. I was learning J2EE at the time and my immediate reaction was, "We've been had!" Learning Smalltalk can leave you with a huge level of disappointment with the current "state of the art" languages.
Miguel de Icaza: "What they failed to mention is that the Mono BOF was never listed for voting, and hence it never received a single vote. My submission was confirmed as I exchanged two emails with Stuart Celarier at Corillian, but the BOF was never listed and further emails to Stuart went unanswered"
The other side of bad science reporting
New Scientist Breaking News - Most scientific papers are probably wrong: "Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is 'hot', with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings."
"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.
This is the sort of thinking that irritates me
Me too. And after being sensitised the Guardian's article on bad science this irritates me too:
Some scholars think so
"And I don't think that's healthy in the long run."
Note the introduction of the word scholar to give weight to the conclusion - then notice the "thinking". If you read the article (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0912customize0912.html
there is a total absence of what makes scholars words more weighty - evidence from research. Where are the survey results? It is hard to say if this is because of poor reporting, or the absence of research.
I guess it will fuel some bar conversations, but it isn't otherwise useful.
All these (and more, watch for it now I've mentioned it) want you to approach the discussion from the perspective this is Microsoft vs OpenOffice.org, Microsoft vs Sun, Microsoft vs Free Software - in other words, they want to frame the conversation as company competitive when it's nothing of the sort. Massachusetts are not mandating OpenOffice.org or any other specific product.
Enough politics and technology - now cycling!!
OK, I bought the Lemond Etape road bike that I mentioned a few posts back !
First, a hat tip to Peter Hansford Cycles here in Winchester, UK - they went the extra mile to make sure I was happy, the bike was setup right and to add a few extra pieces. No great discounts, but a few extras and great service.
I have only had a chance to ride it twice so far. The first ride was for an hour - I thought I was going a bit faster than my old bike - then I realised I now had the trip computer set to miles an hour , instead of km/h on the old one. In other words, I was going a lot faster.
The second ride ( yesterday) was 2 hour s, with a couple of other guys planning to do the GridIron. That is when the comparison's really hit home -it was effortless to be out if front, with people I have struggled to follow before! I think there maybe two more purchases of bikes in this area soon.
All in all, this is so much better than I anticipated - it has put the fun back in cycling for me.
Please expand on this...
Thousands of HP Europe staff to feel Emperor Hurd's axe | The Register: "HP can ill-afford damaged morale at this juncture"
Why is this? Don't get me wrong, this may be true, and I certainly would prefer to see no job losses, but I do hate these unsubstantiated comments. Would it be better to damage morale at another time ? When? Or must morale never be damaged, no matter what?
Why does the rule say that?BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Chelsea | Chelsea charged over drugs policy: "The rule says: 'The independent private testing/screening of players by clubs, club officials or any other person subject to FA rules is prohibited.'"
Thoughtful stuff - applicable world-wide
I'm tuning into this blog.Groundhog Day: "somewhere out of all this hot air must come a discussion, an argument, (not a 'conversation') about the value of public service, the role of leadership, an examination of authority, responsibility, and accountability. We need to take a close look at that 'social fabric' that supposedly binds us as a nation. Is it nothing more than a blind faith in the 'invisible hand' of the marketplace? How can what is presumably 'the best of us,' so grievously fail 'the least of us?' What do we expect from our leaders in the way of leadership, at all levels of government? And don't look to our so-called 'leaders' to lead this discussion.
I've seen a lot of folks wondering what 'we' can do to address this situation, and, predictably, people are focusing on technological solutions, when what we have is not a fundamentally technological problem. It's something far less physical. It's a crisis of faith, it's a kind of identity crisis about who we are as a people and what we say we believe."
That's a pretty amazing productivity jump, and they were pretty shocked. They went on to state that dynamic languages just have it all over Java in this sphere, mentioning Ruby, Lisp, Python, and Smalltalk (stating that Ruby has momentum)."
Simply amazing.... New Orleans photo
Pass Christian House Before/After on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Time to buy a road bike
I have been a keen cyclist for many years. Most recently I have had a mountain bike, but recently realised that I had been riding almost exclusively on roads. I even swapped to slick tyres.
Weel, tomorrow I'm off to be fitted for a road bike. I have looked at a Trek 1000 and a Giant OCR 3, but I think I will go for a Lemond Etape. These are very much entry level road bikes, but I am rather excited about it nonetheless!
My intention is to do the New Forest GridIron 100km on October 16th with it - wish me luck.
New Orleans' founders had a clue
Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants: New Orleans: A Prediction: "The historic district seems to have mostly escaped"
Hmmm, so its the newer bits that are underwater? Strange.....
Never happens in the UK. You never get property developers looking round and saying "Wow, look at all that flat land no one has built on yet. Wonder why they call it a flood plain..."
BTW: I noticed someone mentioned the fact that New Orleans was built on a flood plain - no, it is in a basin ( except the old part).
Blair said this in May too
"Yobbish behaviour in Britain's streets and schools will not be tolerated, Tony Blair said as he set out his priorities for a third term in office."
My emphasis added.
"He put much of the blame on parents, saying he could bring in laws but could not raise people's children for them."
Hmm - schools where children spend 7 hours a day..... are there any effective sanctions for bad behaviour there ? Or can schools just point at parents as classes which start with a few disruptive elements degenerate as a whole?
Uh-oh : vague increase in state powers approaching (again)
BBC NEWS | Politics | Blair calls for better parenting: "He says bad parenting is not just a private matter for families, and that the state should intervene earlier."
And why pick on the parents? So much of society ( which the government does influence) allows anti-social behaviour with no real threat of punishment, and, in the absence of any other "rewards", encourages activities which raise individual's reputation amongst their peers. Can people be allowed to watch/read nearly anything on mainstream media without an effect? Successful government propaganda throughout the ages and across the continents suggest otherwise. How about other aspects such as government quotas on new houses in certain regions ? Overcrowding perhaps? Too few amenities/ entertainments.....
Man, things are getting worse.
Earlier, President George W. Bush said in a television interview that the United States could take care of itself. "
I think a large section of the Iraqi population don't regard it as "giving".
Katrina: Prayers for the US Gulf Coast
I'm glad to see this official message, especially after the kind wishes I received following the London 7/7 bombing:
BBC NEWS | UK | Queen 'shocked' by US hurricane:
"The Queen has sent a message to President Bush saying she is 'shocked and saddened' at devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the southern US.
'My sympathy goes to you and the people of the United States, especially to the families of those who have lost their lives,' she said."
Best wishes to those displaced by this display of nature's power, and to those still waiting for news of loved ones.
Oh my, Darwin Award entry
BBC NEWS | England | Hereford/Worcs | Man died as son, 7, drove on M5:
"A father died after he allowed his seven-year-old son to drive at 70mph along a motorway, an inquest heard.
The boy was driving from the passenger seat when he hit an object between junctions 12 and 11a. He, and his two brothers in the back seat, were unhurt.
Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict of accidental death.
A post-mortem examination showed Mr Mourier died of head injuries."
At least the children survived; hope they learnt something.
Anyone remember Space Balls PerriAir?
Man flogs bottled Welsh air | The Register: "An enterprising Welsh businessman will tomorrow launch an invaluable service for expats yearning for a bit of their fragrant motherland - bottled Welsh air at 24 quid a pop."
Just like some software projects
Mismanaging the Shuttle Fixes - New York Times: "They found that arbitrary launching dates had led engineers to choose quick solutions for technical problems, not necessarily the best solutions. If a problem looked too hard to solve, the engineers and managers had a tendency to define it away."
Apple's taking a gamble here. I imagine that among other factors they expect to get better, more Mac-like applications via PyObjC than Java. This will rankle the Java folks, of course."
RIP Brother Roger
AKMA’s Random Thoughts: "Brother Roger, founder of the ecumenical Taize Community, has been murdered."
There is never a good murder, but why, oh why pick out a guy who has done so much good? Perhaps the blameless don't have body guards.
Citizens of the EU unite (for once)
I recommend you read this, and if you are an EU citizen, make sure you MEP, MP/Depute etc. know about the essay and your feelings about the issue:Chocolate and Vodka :: Main Page: "This is the deal. The UK, France, Ireland and Sweden are trying to push a directive on data retention through into EU legislation which would force all member countries to compel all telecommunications and internet service providers to save information about the use of their services by us, the public (document 8958/2004). They say that this is for 'the purpose of prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of crime and criminal offences including terrorism', but whilst it would have far-reaching consequences, the benefits appear to be non-existent.
As Heinz Kiefer, president of the European Confederation of Police, pointed out: 'The result would be that a vast effort is made with little more effect on criminals and terrorists than to slightly irritate them.' (1)"
But that is the beauty of open source
James Governor sent me this link from the Illuminata blog. Interesting stuff - it looks like IBM has been doing a bait and switch move with some of their software. Have a look at the Easy400 site that Illuminata points to - it makes it clear that all software available there is under an OSS license. Here's what it says:
This Easy400 site fully complies with the Open Source criteria. In the following text, "Easy400 software" means any piece of software distributed from this Easy400 site.
That all sounds fine, until you get to this, which explains the problem. No comment from IBM, of course - this sounds pretty ugly to me. It would be nice to have IBM explain it, but they are taking the all too common "heads down, this will blow over" approach. I think I said something about that earlier today :)
Is the complaint here that IBM is reneging on an Open Source license ( no evidence of that in the links that I can see) which would be bad, bad, bad....
or is it that they are no longer supporting it? If so, then , as its Open Source, the customers can use it, change it themselves, form a co-operative to do it, or perhaps an enterprising young programmer will offer a support service........
If it weren't Open Source, then that would be game over - I hope Cincom open source one of their Smaltalk's when they stream line down to one !
More corporate poop heads
Motherhood and Apple Pie [@lesscode.org]: "But the dead-end has long been reached and so these industry leaders have turned their attention to this new place, built on principles and values very different from their own, and have somehow reached the conclusion that this thriving ecosystem must be re-arranged such that they have somewhere to place their baggage. Instead of embracing the people, principals, and technologies that gave rise to this phenomenon they have chosen to subvert its history and to implant the ridiculous notion that it is “incapable of meeting the stringent demands of the business community.”"
Mystifying argument: HTML vs Microformats
I can't help but feel that this debate is about tradeoffs, rather than absolutes. But here is an intersting argument:
Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Using XML on the Web is Evil, Since When?:
" If everyone invents their own tags and attributes, pretty soon you get people calling the same thing by different names and different things by the same name. "
"Didn't the XML world solve this with XML namespaces like six or seven years ago?"
Didn't it solve one of those 2 problems?
Lisp goes to the media
After the sensation of Rainer Joswig's Lisp movie on Language Workbenches, it was only a matter of time before it happened again. This time Marco Baringer has one on his Uncommon Web which seems to be getting a lot of attention at present.
A great trend - I'm certainly learning from these, faster than reading! I'm slso impressed at how each of them has mastered their IDEs - their keystrokes are too fast to see the incantations, but it is an inspiration to learn more.
Classic stuff: read it and the references:Ravi Mohan's Blog: Goodbye to Java: "And so dear Java , it's been nice knowing you . While you were never a stunning beauty like Lisp or smalltalk or C, your massive libraries endowed you with a certain charm for a while . But alas today you are fat and shapeless and you desperately need a deodorant ."
Getting the iPaq back: Pocket Mindmap
I alluded to the hard-reset and subsequent restore debacle on my 5550.
I also disovered tht I had lost some license keys. In the end, I foundold notes for them all except Pocket Mindmap.
They get todays Qudos Award for exceptional service: no quibble sending of the key ( by e-mail), within 15minutes of my request.
And it is a great product too!
"Lord Ahmed also said it was possible illegal immigrants would run if challenged by the police.
'We know that there are many thousands or hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and if they're challenged by the police, they're not going to stand there and produce their ID, they obviously will try and run.
'And whilst we need to catch those illegal immigrants or asylum seekers, nevertheless we can't shoot them because they're not terrorists.'
Anyone with dark skin who was running for a bus or Tube could be thought to be about to detonate a bomb, he said."
I can't find the reference at present, but I saw a blog recently, discussing how one learned not to run for a bus in Northern Ireland ; this isn't about race or religion - this is about terror.
Idle Apple speculation
Spotted in Slashdot
Vicissidude writes "CNN/Money reports: 'Apple may be gearing up to unveil a new slate of mini-Macs and may also release updated versions of its popular iBook laptop computers as early as next Tuesday, according to unconfirmed reports on a Web site that tracks Apple.' The Web site Think Secret reported three new Mac mini and two new iBook part numbers have appeared in Apple's retail database, indicating that new models are imminent. Apple would neither confirm nor deny the reports. The new mini models will be priced at $499, $599 and $699, with new iBooks priced at $999 and $1,299, according to the original story at Think Secret."
Will someone else please pickup this tab?
"But I do want our politicians to stand firm with London. Tony Blair was once goaded into talking of a willingness to pay the blood price. Well its civilians, not just soldiers in Iraq, that are footing the bill."
Now that they are out of town they are the one group who won't have to pay.
Of course the cynic in me ( deep inside, hardly ever comes out, honest) says the security and ambulance services might prefer the MPs out of the way.
"I personally believe that software patents are primarily the tool of large companies with portfolios of patents which they cross-license with each other. Generally, it serve to keep competition out of the market and allows those with patents to push those without patents around or cut them out of markets entirely."
HP like London busses?
I meant: first you wait for ages and then 3 come along all at once.
HP doesn't get many mentions on this blog but now there are three in a row. First Trademark, then Alan Kay and now .......
My iPaq hard resets itself for no apparent reason, and then my Sprite Backup totally fails to do its job , either from a PC backup or the local SD card backup.
Of course, we conspiracists know the real answer !!!
Alan Kay leaving HP: Good News for those not in HP
"A day after offering up a 'research will not be cut' declaration to its plans to trim its workforce by 14,500 employees ....... , HP did just that. In an e-mail sent to employees Wednesday morning, HP Labs Director Dick Lampman announced the cancellation of four of the company's research projects -- the Consumer Applications and Systems Laboratory, the Emerging Technologies Laboratory, the Cambridge Research Laboratory, which worked on health and wellness technology, and the Advanced Software Research team. In disbanding the last group, HP is bidding adieu to legendary Silicon Valley technologist Alan Kay....... Hard to believe HP's cutting him loose. But it is. According to the company, his research doesn't jibe with HP's new focus. 'I was surprised by [Alan] leaving,' said one HP Labs researcher who asked not to be identified. 'In the last year, he was kind of the poster child of the 'HP Invent' stuff, and now all of a sudden, he's not here anymore.'"
I'm sure Alan will find somewhere more suitable.
HP stops Expansys importing non-Euro PDAs | Channel Register: "After hearing the case last month, Justice Laddie came down on the side of HP when he delivered his judgement last week.
HP claimed this meant that “HP has the right to prevent iPAQ products being imported into the EU without HP’s consent and that any iPAQ product on the market in the EU without HP’s consent is a trade mark infringement.'
In a statement, the PC giant claimed the judgement underlined the importance of sticking with its authorised channel and made it clear that resellers were playing with fire if they dabbled in the grey market.
HP said that as well as tightening business practices and controls and “improving education and training” it would take “appropriate action against resellers who violate terms of their authorized reseller agreements, including legal recourse if necessary.”"
This is a bad decision ( even if legally correct). And it won't do HP any good either.
It's come to my attention that it's hard to find good tutorials for Lisp programming using Google. I think it's time to rectify that situation by letting Google know about the good tutorials for Lisp, especially the good tutorials about Common Lisp, that are available. Won't you help me?
Sure sounds like a worthy effort: his suggestion of Practical Common Lisp is a good suggestion for an excellent Lisp tutorial. Others include:
The real problem is C# and Java are still languages from the middle of the pack of "the 60s" languages (e.g. Concurrent Pascal). Languages from the best of "the 60s" like Lisp and Smalltalk, have not had to change much and are able to move into new concurrency models with much less baggage.
So, dynamic type stuff until you suddenly find a need to static type things. Whether that be to solidify an API for an external party or to optimise some piece of code. But never before then.
IBM poop heads say LAMP users need to "grow up": "Over the past two years, every enterprise developer on the planet has been scurrying to move away from this architecture. This can be witnessed most clearly in the Java community by observing the absolute failure of EJB and the rise of lightweight frameworks like Hibernate, Spring, Webwork, Struts, etc. This has been a bottom up movement by pissed off developers in retaliation to the crap that was pushed on them by the sophisticated tool vendors in the early century."
Let's do it:
According to Daniel Sabbah, general manager of IBM's Rational division, LAMP -- the popular Web development stack -- works well for basic applications but lacks the ability to scale.
Nope. We call bullshit. After wasting years of our lives trying to implement physical three tier architectures that 'scale' and failing miserably time after time, we're going with something that actually works.
If you look at the history of LAMP development, they're really primative tools ... the so-called good enough model. The type of businesses being created around those particular business models are essentially going to have to grow up at some point.
No. The LAMP stack is a properly constructed piece of software. Features are added when an actual person has an actual need that arises in the actual field, not when some group of highly qualified architecture astronauts and marketing splash-seekers get together to compete for who can come up with the most grown-up piece of useless new crap to throw in the product."
"The LAMP model works because it was built to work for and by people building real stuff. The big vendor / big tools model failed because it was built to work for Gartner, Forrester, and Upper Management whose idea of "work" turned out to be completely wrong."
My office is in... Aldate East.
I arrived at Liverpool Street station at a couple of minutes past 9 to find it closed. I am really happy i was 25 minutes or so late this morning..."
One of the points Eric made in his talk was that he preferred language rather than pictures for modelling, and as such, he preferred modelling in Smalltalk or Java rather than UML."
My heart and thoughts go to the people of the United Kingdom in this very difficult time."
I won’t point to the sites, and I won’t repeat the exact words. But now is not the time to point to a ‘wiki’ setup to collect information about the bombs in London, and smugly say how much better it is at covering the news than the New York Times."
I call this development style: 'putting parentheses around the specification and make it run'. It is only possible because Lisp development systems are giving you the combination of easy DSL integration (due to a programmable programming language), an interactive development system (with REPLs (Read Eval Print Loop) and incremental compilation) and robust error handling (with the condition system).
The spirirt of the blitz
Random Acts Of Reality :: Main Page: "Once the shock had settled, I started to feel immense pride that the LAS, the other emergency services, the hospitals, and all the other support groups and organisations were all doing such an excellent job. To my eyes it seemed that the Major Incident planning was going smoothly, turning chaos into order. "
Watch out Edinburgh
BBC NEWS | UK | London bombings toll rises to 37: "The officer in charge of policing the G8 summit said many of the 1,500 Metropolitan Police officers in Scotland would be urgently redeployed to London"
Of course, could be a predicted and, therefore, planned for response
About time too.
Aha ! World domination will be ours!! Oh, if it weren't for the Common Agricultral Policy.
Bet he didn't hack in at all - many wireless setups have no security by default. This is a classic piece of reporting:
But experts believe there are scores of incidents occurring undetected, sometimes to frightening effect. People have used the cloak of wireless to traffic in child pornography, steal credit card information and send death threats, according to authorities.
Any unprotected internet access will do , you know !