Languages of the Gods or Languages of the Brave?

Great, fun, insightful stuff from Giles Bowkett:

If there's anything godlike about using Lisp or Smalltalk when the rest of the world is on Java and C#, it isn't the skill level required. It's the balls. Standing up to the rest of the world and telling them, "your technology decisions are bad and I'm going to use a language that doesn't suck" is a very unusual move. It requires a lot of courage. But if you think about that, that's kind of bad. I mean, if what I'm saying is true, then the average technology business is kind of pathetic.

Unfortunately, I've worked for a very large number of different technology businesses, and I can tell you with confidence, certainty, and no fear of inaccuracy that the average technology business is indeed kind of pathetic.

Right on.

It's worth pointing out, the poster children for Lisp and Smalltalk are Paul Graham and Avi Bryant. Neither one of these guys actually had to stand up to management and tell them they were wrong. They just went ahead and started companies using better technology. Paul Graham obviously won pretty big when he did that. It's too early to tell with Avi Bryant, but there's no doubt at all that Dabble puts every other Web app in the world to shame.
My emphasis added.

Via Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants


What if he has Down’s syndrome?

Times Online: I'm not a saint, just a parent

Right now I can't say much about this - my own memories come flooding back


James Robertson's Smalltalk Daily - now with overview

I've organized the Smalltalk Daily screencasts by topic - there are now landing pages for the various areas I've covered.

Great stuff - that will help those of us who haven't been listening daily !


This makes sense!

GoboLinux is a modular Linux distribution: it organizes the programs in your system in a new, logical way. Instead of having parts of a program thrown at /usr/bin, other parts at /etc and yet more parts thrown at /usr/share/something/or/another, each program gets its own directory tree, keeping them all neatly separated and allowing you to see everything that's installed in the system and which files belong to which programs in a simple and obvious way.

I have often felt the standard way was rather messy.


Google buys JotSpot

Yet another on-line tool that I use ( or play with) has been absorbed into the new Borg!! Great news for JotSpot both financially (I assume) and in terms of broader adoption. Google will have to asimilate Wrtely, Blogger and Spreadsheets, but Writely can add some better glue to make the Google experience seem more cohesive, plus JotSpot as other applications.

Looking forward to using it - hope the integration goes faster than Writely's did!!


Just upgraded to the Blogger beta! Labels finally!!

Cusp, An Eclipse Lisp Plugin: "Cusp, a Lisp plugin for Eclipse"



La-la-la-la , I haven't got time for this, la-la-la-la

Stevey's Blog Rants: Shiny and New: Emacs 22:
"I finally upgraded to Emacs 22 a few weeks ago, and now I'm wishing I'd braved it sooner. Technically it's not released yet; I'm working from a build of a cvs snapshot from a month or so ago. But the Emacs dev team works pretty hard to make sure it has problem-free builds on a whole slew of platforms, so just following their instructions has a pretty good chance of working for you.

It's worth the effort. Truly. Reading through its NEWS file, there's just tons and tons of new functionality. It's going to take me some time, maybe a few weekends, just to absorb it all."

Steve, I really didn't want to know that Emacs 22 was stable and very useful - now I will have to intsall it......


Welcome to ScheduleWorld: "Don't have a ScheduleWorld ID?
Signup is easy. "

No it isn't - I know tht autmated sign-up has to be discouraged but when a human can't read the special codes !!!!
BBC SPORT | Football | England omission angered Beckham: "Beckham added: 'It surprised me"

I wonder if it surprised many other people - seemed obvious to me after a lack lustre performance and the fact he probably will be too old for the next world cup.


Wired News: Experimental AI Powers Robot Army:
"Perhaps the most impressive -- and spookiest -- aspect of the project is the swarming behavior of the robots. In computer simulations, they acted together to tackle obstacles and grouped together into defensive formations where needed, Thaler said. They also worked out how to deal with defenders, and spontaneously devised the most efficient strategy for mapping their environment, he added."

"I can relate the results of virtual-reality simulations, where swarms of Creativity Machine-based robots have deliberatively sacrificed one of their kind to distract a human guard, enabling the remainder to infiltrate a mock facility," he said.
Hang on ,wasn't that in Aliens !!!

The Universe of Discourse : Design patterns of 1972: "Patterns are signs of weakness in programming languages.

When we identify and document one, that should not be the end of the story. Rather, we should have the long-term goal of trying to understand how to improve the language so that the pattern becomes invisible or unnecessary."


Lisp Starter Pack

Lisp Starter Pack - My personal Common Lisp "newbie" guide (for Windows): "This is an attempt to help Common Lisp newcomers getting started. The aim is to quickly set up a comfortable working environment which includes a couple of useful and/or popular open source libraries."
GMail meets Getting Things Done

GMail GTD = GTDGmail | 43 Folders:
"GTDGmail looks like a promising entry into the increasingly crowded gene pool of web-based productivity software.

The Firefox extension runs on top of your Gmail account, giving you an email-centric approach to implementing Getting Things Done that includes contexts, statuses, a very nifty search feature, and more. This could be just the thing for people who have to live in email, but who don’t want to live in an unprocessed inbox."

Note that this isn't available yet - hope their time management is good!!


New blog

I have decided to have another Blog. I will keep this one going with an... hmm.. eclectic mix of fun and news comment. The new blog will be for more technical items - more of a @work@ blog.

It will also give me a chance to try Wordpress ( it has categories!!) See it at http://keithmantell.wordpress.com


"The real issue is that today's software patents breach the social contract on which the concept of a patent is based."

I think that Simon really nails the important issues in this post - thank you Simon! I have terms like balance running round in my head, but I have to say that Social Contract really is a good term.

Also, the aim of language to confuse rather tha clarify.

Lastly, I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with SOFTWARE patents - all bad patents should be stopped.


The liquid world. By William Saletan:
"The new no-liquid rules make an exception for prescription medicine. Do you think I can't make a prescription label on the color printer at my office? Do you think I can't empty and refill capsules?"

Good point!


Monitoring SOAP

If your module or mediation module invokes a web service (either via a web services bound import or custom code) then you may want, or need, to analyse the SOAP message(s) sent to/from your web service.

powered by performancing firefox

Performancing is go

A test post from Performancing 1.3

powered by performancing firefox


Great Fun - revived VSF site

I am a sucker for this alternative Victorian SF stuff - too much Jules Vernes as a youngster?

DyeHard's VSF:
"I am hoping this site will act as inspiration and a resource for those fine folks who might want to model or wargame in the Victorian Science Fiction genre."


common-lisp.biz - Common Lisp Web Development: "common-lisp.biz provides the services you need to get the most out of the 'Programmable Programming Language'"


Seven Percent : Main: "I'm SICK TO DEATH of how screwed up Java has become by J2EE and I want it to stop. It's a great language and a great development environment. Stop screwing up something good."
Joel Discovers Blocks:
"Joel Spolsky has just discovered the beauty of anonymous functions"

"Yet again, I have to point out that Smalltalk had this back in the 80's."


Obie Fernandez : Weblog : Ruby on Rails and More...: "Too much voodoo."

So what is meant by voodoo here? If it means magic then I guess we can all remember the Arthur C Clarke quote on sufficiently advanced technology being essentially magic. Does this mean Seaside is technologicaly advanced by comparison with Rails? A real question as I haven't used either! But now I have a bias.


Scott Rosenberg's Wordyard ? Blog Archive ? Outliners then and now:
"I am addicted to outlining as a means of organizing my work and life. "
I am not addicted ( I can give up any time I want!), but they can be neat. I tend to use Mindmaps these days (like Freemind)


The Common Lisp Directory reaches 800 entries - Lisp Propulsion Laboratory log: "I might conservatively say that the Directory is beginning to vaguely look like a possibly useful resource."


Linux on the Desktop: Not Soon:
"I cannot see people that know how to turn on the computer, login, and double-click on the IE logo switching to an OS that's still geared toward complete gear heads. "

Man, anyone can start Ubuntu and start Firefox!

If the argument changes to "but Linux is too difficult to install", then they haven't had my experiences with installing Windows.

Try giving info relevant to 2006!

How not to kickass

If you aren't tracking SDN you're going to get blind-sided.

Hmm, not when you get when you try to access that:
iView is not compatible with your browser, operating system or device. Contact your system administrator.


MF Bliki: Buildix: "I've talked many times about the virtues of Continuous Integration. To get such an environment working you need a continuous integration server, and a source code control system. To make a project run smoothly you could also do with an issue tracker for bug tracking and the like, and a wiki to help capture all sorts of project knowledge.

Getting a good environment with all of these things up and integrated together is a tougher job than you might think. Inevitably we found we would be messing around for a week or so on new projects to get the build server set up with all this stuff. I mentioned before that our London office has grown a really sharp deployment team, one of their side jobs has been to sort out putting together a build server.

It's been trialled on a few ThoughtWorks projects, and now it's available for everyone. Buildix is a complete development server, tested in the field by ThoughtWorkers (a very demanding lot), and available for free."


Well done to France

Zope Dispatches:
"When the match ended with a French victory, the entire city went nuts. It just exploded. People yelling out their doors, cars honking, a huge roar from the crowd at the festival. We then were treated to a 15 minute, very expensive, fireworks show. It was a real thrill to see. (And a heck of a match to watch.)"
It was a great game which France deservedly won - Brazil weren't bad, but France ( and not just Zidane) were great. If they can do that twice more, they'll win.

We now know that the secret of getting England to play is t get someone sent off! They played their best stuff of the tournament when down to 10 men. Just not good enough, but ortugal couldn't finish them off , so I can't see them gong any further.


Boing Boing: Mark Pilgrim's list of Ubuntu essentials for ex-Mac users:
"Mac guru and software developer Mark Pilgrim recently switched to Ubuntu Linux after becoming fed up with proprietary Mac file-formats and the increasing use of DRM technologies in the MacOS. I've been a Mac user since 1984, and have a Mac tattooed on my right bicep. I've probably personally owned 50 Macs, and I've purchased several hundred while working as an IT manager over the years. I'm about to make the same switch, for much the same reasons."


Dabble dB - taking the poisoned chalice?

So Dabble are rumoured to be taking $2m in venture capital. I'm with James on this:

Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants:

"Sounds to me like they are still in late binding mode though - they held off on venture capital until they needed it. I hope they don't run into any of the classic 'business optimization' scenarios that can come with funding."

Based on no experience, just observation, I wish they could just grow organically. Still, good luck anyway!
The Size Of Our World: "The Size Of Our World"

Wow - take a look at those pictures! Isn't our Earth small! Isn't our Sun a very small star! Very impressive but, as my wife said, the scale is a bit scary!


Slashdot | Ruby on Rails for DB2 Developers:
"I just had to switch part of my current project from Ruby to Common Lisp for performance"


The last days of the Empire

Software Wars:
"A graphic map depicting the epic struggle of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) against the Empire of Microsoft."

Via Slashdot.
Note the great SCO FUD stalled attack.....


More Linux Desktop disinformation

James Robertson on Linux, a subject where I think he may be a little out-of-date:
Desktops and Hair patterns:
"That's about the size of it. I much prefer managing applications on a Linux server, but I just can't see myself fighting with Linux on the desktop."
So, MS is good at desktops but not applications:

The Suckage continues
MS Outlook - it's teh Sux0r.
"Fighting the Linux desktop" - since when? Welcome to 2006 - where the only things you have to fight with in Linux is where MS dominance has stopped software suppliers bothering to write some applications. But the truth is that everything I want to use works, and is nice aand configurable. Oh, and there is usually a choice of app (even if using MS Exchange, I am told)

Linux is easier to install and setup than Windows, and most apps can be updated automatically, at least in Ubuntu.

Oh, and I don't have a beard!!
ongoing ? 2006 World Cup:
"And I’d actually started liking England a little bit when Rooney brought some second-half life to the affair. The Gerrard goal was perfectly fine but I booed it, and unless they actually wake up and play like men I’ll be cheering for whichever team eventually knocks them out. ?"
I hate to admit it , but I agree with Tim - I won't be cheering whoever knocks England out, but I will be glad to be able to stop whincing and enjoy the game. They("we") have some great players - so why does it go so wrong when they get together as a team.

And I agree with another post of Tim's:
I am officially a major fan of Ghana’s “Black Stars”, as of now. Chances are they advance, and I will be rooting for them against whichever big-name side they play next.
Absolutely - fantastic stuff - I imagine some well organised side will clamp them down this time, but in 4 years? Still fun to watch. How about Ghana vs. the real Brazil ( they will turn up eventually!)


Open Source Message Queuing

JPMorgan Chase leads open source messaging push:

"The formation of the Working Group follows a multi-year development effort at JPMorgan Chase aimed at creating an alternative to expensive proprietary messaging middleware such as IBM's MQSeries. "

See also:James Governor's MonkChips
Q: There are many folks on Wall Street that are working on an open source equivalent of MQ Series. Would be curious to know what industry analysts think of this effort? Would also love to know if it possible for a traditional end-user client of an analyst firm to create software and get it on a quadrant without having to become a software vendor?
A: I also talked to Coridan, which is another open source message queing effort, as per your earlier suggestion, and while I thought the MantaRay approach was potentially interesting, I am a little worried about who the target market is in both cases. Big Wall Street firms have casts of thousands that love to build IT stuff. They have people that like to go toe to toe with IBM and other major vendors, architecture for architecture, flexing technical pectorals. But the level of resource in financial services is hardly the enterprise norm. Banking is IBMland: it makes sense to put pressure on it. But MQSeries, now called WebSphere MQ, is pretty darned solid middleware. I do wonder sometimes about the balance between function and "non-proprietary" choices. Many SOA implementations are driving WebSphereMQ volumes, without requiring other WebSphere componentry. It is a very handy transport which covers an unbelievable number of platforms. It scales in a way JMS can't. Without a vendor sugardaddy on board, what happens if banks cut the AMQ budget? What is the maintenance and governance model? I am all for enterprises contributing to open source, and it will be interesting to see if AMQ becomes, say, an Apache submission. Ron at Zapthink talks about open source message queing putting pressure on ESBs. I think of MQ as a transport not an ESB. In the end, I think I need to talk to AMQ and JP MorganChase to find out more. I have many questions before I can really say what I think of the effort.

AMQ might even act as leverage to push IBM towards thoughts of open sourcing the core WebSphereMQ messaging service. Its not as if customers wouldn't still come to IBM for service and support and the rest of the stack... and who knows, IBM might even find one of its venerable middleware platforms winning new customers by lowering barriers to participation. IBM could then focus on selling the higher level software, for SOA Governance and so on. I wonder what the guys at Hursley think, not that they will likely say in public...
My emphasis added


The drones are coming

BBC NEWS | Americas | High hopes for drone in LA skies: "
Commander Heal is quick to point out that it is not their intention to launch 'big brother' style surveillance operations.

'There's no place in an urban environment that you can go to right now that you're not being looked at with a video camera and you have nothing to fear from your own government - you are being watched by your fellow citizens,' he says."

(my emphasis added) That makes me feel so much better!


New printer: Epson Stylus CX6600
My old HP 720C gave up the ghost - the head froze and the band was fraying dramatically. So I decided to buy a new one. What did I want?
  • To get rid of the old parallel cable ( yes, I really still had one of those massive things!)
  • Colour printing - reasonable quality and speed, nothing too fancy
  • Built-in scanner - to save space and replace an unreliable flat-bed scanner
  • All functions should work with Linux and Windows
  • Separate colour and blak cartridges and replacements should not be too expensive (cf. the HP ones!!! )
Not too much to ask? It quickly became apparent that Epson had a great reputation with Linux folks, and the CX 6400 was said to work with all functions.

Well, I am delighted with the CX6600 - all functions (print, scan, copy) work with both Linux and Windows. As a bonus it can also read a variety of memory sticks. All though its volume is quite large, its footprint is not worse that the 720C ( which had a long paper catching tray) and of course the huge A4 scanner is gone too. Print and scan quality seems very good to me, and the speed of prnting is good. It is nice and quiet.

Bottom-line - I'm very happy!


Ubuntu 6.06? Me too

Fun summary of the advantages of Ubuntu and a complaint about the industry's miopic focus on pre-installed Windows:The Blog Of Ryan Vennell ? Linux? Windows? Huh?:

"I have also recently installed the latest release of Ubuntu Linux and have found that its ease of use is second to no other OS I’ve used as of yet. "

I actually installed the previous version of Ubuntu ( dual boot with Windoes XP - Ubuntu respected this and gave both options at bootitme) and then as 6.06 grew closer I learnt how to update the Update Service to gradually adot new versions of each package. So when 6.06 was finished, a few packages were updated and I was already at 6.06 - fantastic. I'm sure one has to be careful not to do this too long before GA, but there were no problems with broken function for me. Great stuff!


Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership: Thoughts on Industry Standards Bodies: "Ever heard of the Object Management Group? Ever look at their membership list? Did you notice that there isn't a single Fortune 100 enterprise (non-software) on the list? Do you think they may miss important customer requirements in their discussions if customers aren't participating in them? "

Leadership vs. Despotism

Ted discusses different styles of leading open source projects, and rightly points out that many such projects have an apparent despot:Ted Leung on the air : Open Source leadership:

"The term 'despot' (or to use the Python community's label, 'Benevolent Dictator For Life') inserts a lot of unhelpful color into this particular discussion. It is very rare to find a human endeavor in which no one displays that quality known as leadership."

Is Linus a despot? No, for 3 reasons 1) he seems to work with other people and only occasionally wields the big decision stick (and even then with justification) 2) as Ted points out people can leave as individuals and 3) the tam can effectively depose the despot if the act together.

The important point to me is how limited "positional" power is in corporate e situations too - sure employees are more locked-in but in a reasonably "liquid" job market managers should be leaders too.


Eternal vigilance

Can't James just stick to technology? Why do I have to think ad worry and write to my MP:

James Governor's MonkChips: Quote of the day via Bruce Schneier: Solzhenitsyn on Data and Privacy:

"Could it be that the we are all so busy patting ourselves on the back for the 'end of Communism' that we have failed to see the rise of pervasive surveillance and potential authoritarianism in our own societies? Be aware of your invisible threads... its time to go back and learn from writers like Solzhenitsyn... any suggestions folks?"


Quotes of the Day - The Quotations Page:
"The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting."
Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994)

Seems rather appropriate at this time .... perhaps if we added "wasted time with voting machines, missing votes...."

Uh-oh, it's cultural insensitivity time

FIFA World Cup™ Blog ? World Cup starts next week, but America doesn’t care:

No matter how hard the fans in this country may try, Americans as a whole just don’t care about the World Cup.
Actually, I think you will find a lot of Americans care about the World Cup: maybe "North Americans" don't care. But that'sjust fine with the rest of us!!


Why Startups Condense in America: "Ironically, of all rich countries the US has lost the most civil liberties recently. But I'm not too worried yet. I'm hoping once the present administration is out, the natural openness of American culture will reassert itself.


ODF progress

Sean McGrath, CTO, Propylon:
"From September 1st, Government pubs will be available in ODF.

Hats off to the Danes."


BBC NEWS | England | London | Schoolboy wears stab-proof vest:

"He added that in consultation with the school 'the officer told the pupil to remove the vest'."

when we have this:

A teenage boy has been wounded in a stabbing outside his Birmingham school.
or these:


Planet Lisp: "The comprehensive air blast cleaning cut 45 seconds off the benchmark time. It was like getting a processor upgrade."


NewsForge | The Curious Incident of Sun in the Night-Time: "
What is Sun's new contribution to the FLOSS community?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing--and that's what makes the response to this non-incident so curious."


The best thing since Abba - though not as pretty!

Digital Digressions: Why Monsters Rock: "Yesterday was thus a triumph of humour, great entertainment free from the political quagmire and a rebellion against the predictable, boring pop-entries that have become to signify what the Eurovision Song Contest means to the average European."


Another Lisp Video

Via William Bland.abstractstuff: Peter Seibel video:

"I was wandering randomly around Google Video, when I found this excellent video of a talk by Peter Seibel. "

Bit of a slow start, and sometimes the lack of visuals is a pain, but I enjoyed this - some intersting concrete examples of some cool CL features - not macros BTW !!


[Debian-haskell] Linspire/Freespire Core OS Team and Haskell:
"The OS team at Linspire, Inc. would like to announce that we are standardizing on Haskell as our preferred language for core OS development."
Hmm, it's not April 1st ! Well then, good for them - I look forward to hearing how they geton


"IBM though has seemingly failed to create a competitive advantage through its own hosting capabilities, because it has focused too much on its Fortune 500 sweetspot and not enough on the markets where the rest of us live.



Model-Driven Software Development book: "Tom Stahl and Markus V?lter's Model-Driven Software Development book is out 19th May"

OK article, but which book is referenced?

Quite a good article, though not terribly original:The Observer | Business | John Naughon: Microsoft is a victim of its past monopolistic success:

"Therein may lie the real significance of Open Source. In a perceptive book published in 2004, the social scientist, Steve Weber argued that it's not Linux per se but the collaborative process by which the software was created that is the real innovation. In those terms, Linux is probably the first truly networked enterprise in history."

Does anyone know which book is referred to above?

One factor not mentioned is the power of potential ridicule: poor design work can be obvious to all, whereas in corporate they can be hidden and design improvement decisions can easily made subordinate to schedule decisions.

Oh yes

Escape from Cubicle Nation: Open letter to CEOs, COOs, CIOs and CFOs across the corporate world:

"If you want to see things change immediately, stop acting like an asshole. If you see one of your senior managers acting like an asshole, ask him to stop. If he doesn't stop, fire him. You will be amazed at how fast the culture shifts."

I love it - don't suppose the right folks will read this though!!


Don't let work take over!

Nice article :A List Apart: The Four-Day Week Challenge:

"The more you work, the more you get done, right? Well, I’d like to encourage you to take the “Four-Day Challenge.”"
I think it is a good idea to plan a shorter week - if you are like me , ou end up working a normal week as opposed to a very long week!

Long weeks in a short burst are good, but not to go on forever. Bu this seems to happen a lot - there is always one more deadline/crisis and your work pattern is rigidly set to the max!!

The author of the article doesn't say how is quality of work altered, but , I think, the more brain/imagination-powered your work is the better this advice is!

Stagnant Groove?

Groove and Innovation:
"I think having control of Groove is Microsoft’s biggest strength right now. There is no similar platform (on any OS) as far as I know. Nothing prevents Microsoft from evolving Groove, and even building their OS around some of these ideas. But sadly, Microsoft seems to choose an "

Groove was a breath of fresh air - but too platform specific. As it was bought by MS it was unlikely to improve in this direction, I lost interest - glad to hear that I haven't missed too much.

Ant as a Domain Specific Language

An interesting ( though long ) article evangelising Lisp: defmacro - The Nature of Lisp:
"So why XML? Can we find a good reason for using it?

It turns out that we can (although as I mentioned earlier I'm not sure if James was consciously aware of it). XML has the property of being far more flexible in terms of introduction of semantic constructs than Java could ever hope to be. "

The idea of a flexible abstaract syntax is not new, but is well explained in this article ( for me at least).


BBC NEWS | Entertainment | BBC 'must improve Mid-East view':
"Broadcast news lacked historical background, stories were often not put in the wider context and there was insufficient analysis and interpretation of important events and issues, the report said."

This is a report about middle east coverage and yet that paragraph seems to sum up what the BBC news has become - just like most other news programmes it has become rather shallow and un-informative....
R-Squared: Fuel Efficiency and Lessons from Europe:
"I lived in Europe from 1999 to 2001, and I typically paid over $4/gallon for gasoline. I coped by getting a very fuel efficient car. I didn’t feel unsafe, because I was not surrounded by big SUVs on the autobahn. I rode my bike whenever possible."

Unfortunately, the UK seems to have European fuel taxation, but US-style "drive everywhere" suburb layouts.
It's a mud hut school for a down-to-earth generation . . . - Britain - Times Online: "“It will be the largest earth building in the Western hemisphere,” said Adam Weismann, who runs Cob in Cornwall with his wife, Katy Bryce. “This new school will stand as a living example of the legitimacy of using this ancient building method as a contemporary ‘eco’ material that can fully comply with stringent modern building standards."


Commercial Software

James R has an interesting summary of the DabbleDB talk at STS (actually he and others have done several - sounds like a great conference), but has a couple of asides which I find a bit questionable.....:

[ed. I'll interject at this point - you could use commercial software all the way down, like Cincom Smalltalk, and not pay a dime until large amounts of revenue arrives].
Sure you could, but why not use a free one until you "have to" change - I'd prefer to negotiate from a position of no dependence on a vendor's features. With Squeak you know the deal; but what does "large aounts of revenue" actually mean? When do you sign this contract ( which will be earlier, I assume, than paying money)? In startup mode I can't imagine taking the time to ask these sorts of questions.

"Fascinating little side note when someone asked about using Gemstone. The Squeak connection to Gemstone is not maintained, which would mean moving to VW and getting a license. Which actually demonstrates the value of commercial software - you get support for various things you might want at some point :)"

You get the support which the vendor thinks is commercially viable! Right now Cincom evaluates support for Gemstone to be in its best interests.....

As always there are an array of options for the startup, which is excellent for the market - it will encourage the Smalltalk ecosystem ; but I'm with Avi on the "late binding" commercial approach!


Quote Details: John Adams: In my many years... - The Quotations Page:
"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress."

John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)

I feel software firms and industry analysts are missing from this for a modern version.


The Future of Programming: An Interview with Paul Graham: "When we hired hackers at our startup, this was practically the whole interview: what have you built on your own, outside of school or work?"


Damn, she's probably right!

Chocolate and Vodka :: Main Page: "Bollocks to that. I'm staying self-employed."
Scripting News: 4/19/2006: "Fortune called me a 'notorious curmudgeon' today."


Dangerous driving

Google Reader:
"The guy with the cell phone in his ear bothers me a lot less than a number of things. For instance, the guy one lane over eating a Big Mac. Or the other guy doing 70, but who seems to be reading a book. Or, the woman coming up from behind who's applying mascara. Or the guy two lanes over who's shaving.

What I want to know is, in what way are cell phones worse than any of the examples I just gave? Or tons of others I'm sure you can think of?"

I agree with James. This is a slightly diferent take on a discussion I had with a lawyer about the way laws a drafted. Why is it that we don't have laws drafted with a set of criteria which are not dependent on particular technologies ( sometimes other specifics). If you are driving and voluntarily doing something which distracts yor attention, uses up one of your hands, obstructs you vision etc. it is dangerous driving - oh, by the way, using a mobile is an example, so is fiddling with the car radio.

As far as the law goes, it takes upvalable tie of legislators, makes life more difficult for the police ( and the public). It also means we are late in tackling the effects of technology introduction.

How about principles, folks?


Enterpisey is a quest for total flexibility?,#

? Hard problems and the Temple of Complexity : Pensieri di un lunatico minore:
"I call it the Temple of Complexity: a religion so ingrained in the IT industry that it has slipped from a conscious behavior to a subconscious assumption. We are programmed by the industry—and society to a lesser extent—to proclaim our littlest accomplishments as comparable to the great works of the world."

The complexity of a “solution” becomes asymptotic as you approach total flexibility.

A great post - read it all. I think that the quest for flexibility ( or more normally the absence of good requirements) is a problem; also the thinking about potential problems which have never actually occured; or if the did occcur it was a design error which is too hard to admit and fix......


Blog Posting

A test blog entry from Writely

Well I have had an account for some time but had not spotted that you could do Blog entries - so here goes a test!!

Critical success factors: 1)Use Blogger.com (even though they are hosted on blogspot), 2) Select the "Include the document title when posting (if supported)"

Red Hat endorses Java

redhat.com | Home: "Red Hat Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire JBoss"

I don't want to be mainstream!

Loud Thinking by David Heinemeier Hansson:
"As a developer, look around you. Would you rather be part of the mainstream or a smaller community with critical mass? Going mainstream usually means slowing progress until it resembles a complete stop and dealing with a whole other level of secondary concerns."

I'm with David on this one - if you are mainstream you are not on the leading edge!!

Great Amazon review

Amazon.com: Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pad QUEEN Size: Kitchen & Housewares:
"I guess it takes more than a warm mattress pad to make a relationship work."

ViaPhilip Greenspun


Jython goodness

Frank Wierzbicki's Weblog: Migration to Subversion: "The good people at SourceForge now provide Subversion repositories. I just used their migration tool to move the Jython repository data from CVS to Subversion, and the new repository is located at https://svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/jython/. If all went well this will be the Jython repository from now on. Soon I will finally be able to re-arrange the repository with no loss of project history (something that would have been very hard with CVS)."


Lucky someone else paid for my MBA

Josh Kaufman: Inside My Bald Head | The Personal MBA: " “
You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.”
- Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), Good Will Hunting

The Personal MBA (PMBA) is an experiment in educational entrepreneurism. This manifesto will show you how to substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.

The PMBA is more flexible than a traditional MBA program, doesn’t involve going into massive debt, and won’t interrupt your income stream for two years. Just set aside some dedicated reading time, pick up a good book, learn as much as you can, and go out and make great things happen."
PBS | I, Cringely . March 30, 2006 - Prisoner of Redmond: "There’s an irony in that stock differential, and it is that Gates argued HE was working 100 percent for Microsoft while Allen was working for both Microsoft and MITs, Microsoft’s only customer, and therefore deserved less stock because of his divided duties. The irony is that shortly after they divided the shares, Gates went to MITs founder Ed Roberts asking for a job, too, which Roberts gave him, paying $10 per hour. A more aggressive Paul Allen would have demanded a share adjustment at that point, but the real Paul Allen let it slide. “I made out okay,” he told me when I asked about it.


Eiffel Studio gets a dual license - how about the compiler?

Eiffel Software press release:
"Eiffel Software today announced that the latest version of its cross-platform IDE EiffelStudio? is now available under Dual Licensing, enabling users to choose between a license for commercial development and a license for Open Source development."
I feel that many communities of less popular languages would benefit from going Open Source: Ruby and Python come to mind as success stories. Smalltalk and Eiffel have multiple proprietary implementations - which I would have thought made life difficult for all the incumbents. I wonder what would happen if the companies made the commodity parts of their offerings open source, as in pooled their resources? Difficult to achieve ! Andd each incumbent is at least comfortable with the status quo.....

Lisp meanwhile has a few proprietary products and so many open ones it makes your head spin - definitely time for some consolidation there - why waste so much effort on duplicated effort - it is not as if there aren't other things to do, such as improving the libraries in newer areas .


Google Reader: "Sounded better than 'MSN Virus and Spyware Client'."


Beautiful Quaker poster for an important concept

LeavesofGrass.Org: Walk gently on the earth:
"There is really only one way, now, to save the world: we must conserve.

Throughout recorded history, all true spiritual traditions have counseled against greed and advocated simplicity; the Quaker voice is merely a conservator of that wisdom.

The planet has grown hotter.

Our energy supplies are dwindling.

There is no time like now to heed the Quaker testimony on simplicity."


Stand back, a new lensmaster has entered the universe.

Squidoo: "Python is Amazing". Well, done to Steve Holden on putting this together. And also for bringing Squidoo to my attention - looks good. I like the "Add to del.icio.us", RSS for changes. I must try building a lens myself....


More code means more errors

Bitten by the Enterprise Bug - The Daily WTF: "Aaron questioned why it had to be so much more code to load a simple request. The consultants explained: In our experience, enterprise applications require significantly more code as non-enterprise."

The whole article is kind of depressing, but if something requires way more code to be written for no clear benefit then it is probably the wrong way to go as an app. developer. Of course, it could be a good way to go for consultants :-)


Making it stick.: The Same Old Place:
"Same old story from what I can see. Anyone that wants an agile enterprise can get it using technology that is ten years old or more. There is *no* need to invest in WS-* or an ESB. I think an ESB could be a good investment in some cases but not because of any promise of a 'standards-based platform'."


Practical Common Lisp wins Jolt award

Google Groups : comp.lang.lisp:
You really earned it Peter , PCL's great book.

Absolutely. I'd recommend it even if you don't really want to learn Lisp - it is a grea example of a pragmatic programming language tutorial!


Daddy, how do you tie shoe laces?

Seth's Blog: It's hard: "I am now tying my shoes differently."

And so am I !! In the interests of science, I currently have one done with the quick knot, and one with the secure knot. The latter looks a real mess on my leather laces!!


Marketing Global warming

Man what a cynical view of human nature!Seth's Blog: The problem with "global warming":

"The muted reaction to our impending disaster comes down to two things:

1. the name.

Global is good.
Warm is good.
Even greenhouses are good places.

How can 'global warming' be bad?

I'm not being facetious. If the problem were called 'Atmosphere cancer' or 'Pollution death' the entire conversation would be framed in a different way."

In other words, damn it he's right.


Incentive Pay Considered Harmful - Joel on Software: "teamicide: the inadvertent destruction of jelled teams"

The cubicle more devastating than the A-bomb?

FORTUNE: Trapped in cubicles - Mar. 9, 2006:
"Robert Oppenheimer agonized over building the A-bomb. Alfred Nobel got queasy about creating dynamite. Robert Propst invented nothing so destructive. Yet before he died in 2000, he lamented his unwitting contribution to what he called 'monolithic insanity.'"

Not so many deaths but a life long mental torture for many....

Quote of the day

Quotes of the Day - The Quotations Page: "

'A liberal is a person whose interests aren't at stake at the moment.'

- Willis Player"

Google Writely

Writely Blog:
"Some of you have been worried about our future here at Writely. As one concerned user wrote:

'I love Writely, but... I was wondering, is there any way to send you guys some money? I understand it's free and all, but I just feel bad that you don't charge. Thanks!'

We appreciate the sentiment, and all the support we've gotten from our users, but thankfully, your donations won't be necessary, for one very exciting reason:

Writely is now part of Google!"

Good news - I have a Writely account ( so I can sit smugly whilst others now have to wait to sign-up) and, whilst I haven't used it that much, I really love the idea and look forward to many new improvements - so long as the takeover goes smoothly!


Why Schools Don’t Educate - The Natural Child Project: "We've all had a bellyful of authorized voices mediated by television and the press - a decade long free-for-all debate is what is called for now, not any more 'expert' opinions. Experts in education have never been right, their 'solutions' are expensive, self-serving, and always involve further centralization. Enough. Time for a return to Democracy, Individuality, and family."
"All Marketers are Liars" - Seth Godin speaks at Google - Google Video


Bill Clementson highlights Alan Kay quotes

This one made me smile :-)
Bill Clementson's Blog: The Most Important Idea in Computer Science: "'Java and C make you think that the new ideas are like the old ones. Java is the most distressing thing to hit computing since MS-DOS.'"

On the Java theme: Mak Guzdial: Report on OOPSLA97"Java is a great step forward. For the C Community."


Looks like a good MP3 player built on Firefox, but don't you just hate sentences like this:Development | Songbirdnest.com: "We plan to keep the vast majority, if not all, of our source code available under a GPL license."


international Development for the naive- open source radio

Open Source: "What does an EHM do for a living? He builds the American empire the way a dope dealer builds a network of dependency. The drugs an EHM sells are aid agency loans to developing countries Â? loans that bind the country to hiring American companies to build the highways or design the power plants. Most of the real benefits therefore stick with American contractors and corportions. The loans, by design, are also too big to repay on time so that the country effectively becomes a pawn the U.S. can use for military or political or economic convenience. And one more thing: these loans enrich a tiny minority in the debtor country (usually including a corrupt head of government) and impoverish the masses by increasing the national debt. Perkins says heÂ?s witnessed this cycle over and over again. He was part of what drives it. .....Does John Perkins’s argument ring true to you? What would you like to ask him? And who should mix it up with Perkins on the air?"


I don't want to pay for this...

BBC NEWS | Health | Drug limits foetal alcohol damage: "A drug may be able to reduce the damage caused to babies whose mothers drink heavily during pregnancy."

Making it stick.: Don't Make Me Think: "Simple dynamic programming languages and simple dynamic coordination languages are winning. Vendors will have to differentiate themselves on something more than wizards that mask complexity."


Welcome to RejectionLine.com: "Someone won't leave you alone?

Give them 'your' number: 212-479-7990
The official New York Rejection Line!"

Anyone tried it?


Oh come on it can't be that bad! Can it ? Err, help ?

Google Reader: "If you're an identity management supplier it is time to set up a UK office. If you're already here its time to hire more salesmen and lobbyists. No delays, no excuses. Jump in. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity - practically all upside, with little or no oversight."

Don't read it all unless you are interested in liberty, democracy, your taxes etc.


What is a Web App?

Google Reader: "I never thought I’d see a web app suite that has more system requirements than a desktop app, but I guess I should never underestimate Microsoft."


Skype limits itself

When Intel calls, Skype listens | CNET News.com: "The latest version of Skype's Internet-calling software can host up to 10 users on a conference call, but only if your PC has a dual-core processor from Intel, Skype and Intel announced Wednesday.

Intel's Core Duo and Pentium D processors have been designated the mass conference-calling processor of choice for Skype 2.0, launched last month. The limit will remain at five callers for PCs using single-core chips and Advanced Micro Devices' dual-core Athlon 64 chip, which some tests have shown outperforms Intel's dual-core chip."

What did Skype get from this deal?

Would they have done this deal before they became part of a lartge corporation?


LWN: Putting Ubuntu to the Test

Make the Drake truly Dapper

Paul Graham's On Lisp in HTML

Onlisp:: "Onlisp"

Big media playing safe?

Gary Secondino's OPML blog: Friday, February 10, 2006: "Today was a big news day so I watched this evenings local and network news. What was the reported top story today? Bush's announcement of new details of a thwarted 2002 hijacking plot aimed at a downtown L.A. skyscraper. WTF?"

Then read the list of interesting but unreported items

Chasing ghosts

PBS | I, Cringely . February 2, 2006 - The Walt Within: "'Your friend from the NSA was right, but it's worse than he suggests. It's not just that social network analysis casts a wide net. It's that without oversight by people who really grasp the mathematics and have some distance from the whole thing, they're going to see patterns where there aren't any.


Of course, if I were a cynic, I'd suggest that a system which seems to scientifically extract security data could be a useful weapon in the media war. Lucky that I am not a cynic.

Calendar Software: Airset

Joel on Software: "One online calendar I neglected to check out is Airset. Thanks to a couple of alert readers who emailed me, I tried it out tonight. It's much, much better than the proof-of-conceptware that people are hyperventilating about. In fact, it's the first online calendar I've found that seems like it might work for me."

I have taken a quick look ( yes, you do have to register) and it looks good. I need to see what it can do with my Pocket PC


Software Factories - now it's practical!

Jack Greenfield's Blog : Software Factories Applied: "Keith Short, Mauro Regio and I have agreed to write a new book called Software Factories Applied. Our goal is to write a short book for practitioners that complements the theoretical foundation established in the original Software Factories book by showing how to build a software factory using currently available technologies, namely the DSL tools, the Guidance Automation Toolkit and Visual Studio 2005 Team System. "


Moby Quotes - The Quotations Page:
"I had an epiphany a few years ago where I was out at a celebrity party and it suddenly dawned on me that I had yet to meet a celebrity who is as smart and interesting as any of my friends.

Moby, quoted on CNN.com, March 2005"


The must attend conference of the year!

Can't see the deadline for paper submissions but looks like some great talks: I particularly want to hear this one: Waterfall 2006 - International Conference on Sequential Development: "Pair Managing: Two Managers per Programmer by Jim Highsmith"


NHS Analysis

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online:
"Asked to explain how in the midst of plenty the NHS was running out of money, she[Patricia Hewit, Health Secretary] said that there were a variety of reasons.

“In some cases, it is financial mismanagement. In others, it is inefficiently organised services — such as not doing enough operations as day cases, or keeping people in hospital longer than needed.

“In some areas, there are too many services being provided from too many places. In others, the health community has been overspending for a very long time and taking money from other parts of the NHS to balance their books."

OK, so you are saying there are just a variety of different reasons, but then say this.....

“This is very unfair on underspending areas, which tend to be in the North and the Midlands — they are subsidising NHS services in the South and East.”"

Hmm, so perhaps it is not random after all! Let's see, the South and East - most densly populated, highest costs of living....... Sounds like a problem in the system as a whole to me.

Julie Leung: Seedlings & Sprouts: A record-breaking year: "Life isn't easy. Commitment is no cakewalk"


Shirley is coaching

What will coaching do for me?: "It was the perfect time to read again and study Ã?“Getting things doneÃ?”"

Shirley recently left her "regular" job and branched out into coaching. I think she will be good at it based on the workshops she did for us.

Glad to see that GTD is working its way into her repertoire - it will help with the new business and help her clients

Good luck Shirley!!


Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online: "Thanks to PFI, the UK’s hospital building programme is bigger than that of the rest of the G8 nations put together, as health economist Professor Nick Bosanquet has pointed out. Do we need them all?"


Squeak Programming for Kids

From the always interesting Ted Leung on the air: "At Mind Camp, Todd Blanchard brought by a copy of 'Squeak: Learn Programming with Robots', and the girls got excited by paging through it. It looked pretty good, and Squeak/Smalltalk certainly has the programming constructs that I want my kids to be exposed to straight off (at least if they are going to be programmers). Also, one of the original motivations for Smalltalk was for allowing kids to do programming and simulations, and that heritage seems to have carried through into the Squeak community. For a great/depressing look at some of the learning applications, you can check out this video from ETech 2003."

I just bought this book for my nephew - I am waiting to see how he takes to it. My own kids are still resolutely against programming - they obviously see what it has done to me!!


Object Database usage

Starwood checks in with ObjectStore database for reservations - Computerworld: "And Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the owner and operator of that online reservations system, gives credit in large part to a humble little object database from Progress Software Corporation."


Don't try to own and control everything

Simply Albert: "Things like Barcamp and Torcamp and CESCamp don't 'belong' to anyone. That’s why they work. "

As usual, this is so true and can be applied to so many things. It's great to share even in business!!


Slashdot | Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 Released: "it's a perfect example of 'the kind of innovation developers can make when they don't have to worry about selling as many licenses of their work as possible.'"


Lemonodor: Wingo SLIME Review: "The inspector keeps a stack of objects so you can dig down and come back up to where you were. I would kill to have this in Python"


William H. Borah Quotes - The Quotations Page: "The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
William H. Borah"