Well, I could have done a lot better at this con. The first game - 4th. The second - 3rd. At least my daughter is still in the running - she won one of her first two games...
Danny Ayers lets slip the real reason for Atom:
From the start I've thought of the benefits of Atom as including getting away from the messy politics, and having a format that includes most of the best bits of RSS 2.0 and RSS 1.0.
Translated: "We all hate Dave Winer". The supposed reason:
Both RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0 are pretty weak when it comes to inline content handling (1.0 largely because of its origins from the early RDF specs, 2.0 because of ambiguity about escaping). A lot of effort has gone into sorting that out in Atom. Errm, that actually contradicts Tim's argument a little - it is doing something new
This "ambiguity over escaping" is a hardy chestnut that keeps popping up. In theory, it's an objection. In actual practice, it's mostly a non-problem. So ultimately, IMHO, Atom exists because a bunch of people interested in syndication hate Dave Winer. Yeah, there's a great reason to create a code tax for the rest of us...
Well, I'm back from the gaming convention in Timonium. I went with my daughter and Mike - I didn't do at all well this time around. Last year, I won 3 straight games and came in third in the final - this time, I came in 3rd and 4th in the first two heats, and then 2nd (on a tie breaker!) in the third heat. heck, my daughter and Mike both won a game, so they did better. It was a fun time anyway. I learned some new games, and brought home a copy of TransAmerica - a nice, fast moving game that we all liked. Better luck next time!
RoboDump is a robot. Sort of. And it poops. Sort of. Forever. A horrible, never-ending bowel movement complete with straining grunts, horrific gas, splashes, and pee sounds.
I snuck RoboDump into the men's room at the office. Unfortunately, today turned out to be the day of a board meeting. Whoops! It still went over well; the office was abuzz all morning with gossip about the guy in the bathroom. Several people theorized it was the CFO. The janitor commented to someone in the hallway that he wanted to clean the restroom but "this guy's been in there all morning."
Today's my daughter's 11th birthday, so we'll be off doing the family celebration thing with her grandparents later on - she gets to pick a restaurant, and off we'll go. She's receiving her stream of birthday wishes from relatives on the phone now. Interestingly enough, we haven't had her party yet - she wanted to go to the game convention with me instead. That was fun, even with how badly I did there :)
Check out the Sydney STUG meeting for November 15th:
Join us at the Sydney Smalltalk Users Group tonight where Bryce Kampjes will be speaking about the Smalltalk compiler he is working on.
Exupery is a bytecode to machine code compiler for Squeak Smalltalk. The entire compiler is fully written in Smalltalk. It's designed to combine a dynamic type feedback JIT with full traditional optimisation.
The problem with traditional JITs is they try to balance fast compilation for infrequently used methods with generating good code for hot spots. This is a mistake. It's impossible to do both jobs well. An interpreter will be faster for a method that's only executed once because compile time dominates. If the method is executed a lot, it's a hot-spot, then compilation overhead will be amortised.
A compiler for a multimedia system can not afford delays and should produce high quality code. This rules out compiling just before executing the method, and suggests using a slower compiler running in a background thread. Just the architecture that would suit writing the compiler in Smalltalk... And with time a lot more optimisations are possible.
Date: Monday 15th Nov 2004
Time: 6:00 PM
James Squire Brewhouse
22 The Promenade, King Street Wharf
King St Wharf, Sydney
Tel : 02 8270 7999
Head down to the bottom of King st Turn right and it is a few hundred metres past some other restaurants almost opposite the Foxtel sign across the water
We'll be in the Ward room, which is an enclosed boardroom at the back of the James Squire. Go through the restaurant, past the left hand side of the bar and turn right.
Here is a url for the venue: http://www.malt-shovel.com.au/brewhouse.asp?Sydney=true
Sign up to the Sydney Smalltalk Users Group mailing list here: http://lists.openskills.net/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/sydney-stug
I've been to that meeting place (last summer when I visited). It's a great venue - a brewpub with internet access :)
Gary King points to a NY Times story (registration required) on a new police system that went live in San Jose. They practiced what you might call "Deploy First Development". There are so many things wrong with what they did that it's hard to count them all:
- Minimal testing
- No end user involvement in development
The latter is especially critical, since the system in question is used by dispatchers and patrol officers - here, let's pull a quote from a dispatcher:
It takes longer to give officers information about the prior arrest record of someone they have just caught, said Melissa Albrecht, a San Jose dispatcher for 15 years. "Does that two extra minutes make a difference when they're standing there with a felon?" she asked. "It could.'' In September, Ms. Albrecht sent a six-page memorandum to the police chief listing her concerns.
She credits Intergraph with many improvements. But the system still does not allow dispatchers to perform several tasks simultaneously, and this causes delays. "What they keep throwing at us is that the system works as designed, and my question for them is, 'Does this design work for us?' " she said.
Right there is a problem that is so prevalent in software development - "it works as designed", not "the design fits the use cases". In the entire article, there's really no justification given for replacing the older system that had been in use since 1990. Now, there may well be good reasons - they just didn't get listed. The sole rationale given is that the old system was customized, and the new system is off the shelf. I might translate that as: The old system was built with our specific requirements in mind. The new system was built with no one's particular requirements in mind.
It's not that COTS software is a bad idea; after all, we don't all roll our own spreadsheet software. It's that a real evaluation that involves the end users ought to be performed before you swap one in - especially in a mission critical area...
If you live in the UK, your PM now has an RSS feed that you can subscribe to.
What a fantastic movie - "The Incredibles" works for kids and adults. My daughter loved it, and the wife and I both loved it. The action was good, the story was good - and the basic message of the movie was good. Run out and see it now if you haven't already!
I'll be teaching a modified intro to Smalltalk (VisualWorks) class this coming week. I should have network access where I'm going (not far from my house, as it happens) - but blogging will probably be light, as I'll be busy.
Scoble made a long post awhile back on blogging, podcasting, and marketing. Here's an interesting exchange with Dave Winer:
And, in reaction to one of my answers:
"I'm getting some marketing spin here."
Goodness, what does Winer think blogging and podcasting are all about? It's all marketing spin. Scoble apologizes for that further down, but there's no apology necessary - we all do it. We all have whatever biases we bring to the table - personal, political, technological. What that means is that any conversation we have is - to some extent - spin. It gets somewhat more complex for those of us who are corporate bloggers:
In all honesty, I don't talk in public quite as freely as I do in private. For instance, I don't swear in public, but have been known to do so with my friends. I do a few other things in private that I don't do in public too.
I also don't talk about everything I think about what Microsoft is doing in public. Why? Cause I have to think about the dozens of constituencies that are listening and reading. My weblog, for instance, recently was forwarded around a competitor of Microsoft's, who'll stay unnamed here, (a guy who worked there told me that). I know people at Apple and Google and IBM and Oracle who read me. So, obviously, I'm not going to discuss things on my weblog that could help our competitors.
I think that's pretty clear, but wanted to disclose that it wasn't honest of me to say that what I say when the microphone is open is the same as what I'd say when the microphone is off.
"Do you feel you could say anything about Microsoft on your weblog?" Dave asked.
I said I do. But, clearly, that's not correct either. I can't say what's in Longhorn that hasn't been discussed in public (and there's a lot that hasn't been yet). I can't discuss undergoing legal issues. I can't discuss HR issues. I can't disclose financial results (assuming I knew them, which I don't) before they are released by officers' of the company. I do feel free to criticise the company when I see they could be doing something better (look at my comparison of Google vs. MSN's results, or read my memos to Bill Gates).
Clearly, most of us in a corporate blogging role are not completely free to speak our minds on all topics. Sometimes there's a policy - other times it's self censorship. In my case, I avoid certain topics completely - politics, for instance. There's no possible upside to that topic so far as I'm concerned - I'm trying to be a Smalltalk evangelist, and people who disagree with me politically could still be convinced technically. I also avoid dirty laundry. There are some aspects to the "way things work" in any outfit that are silly (or even stupid). Again, there's no upside to bringing those things up here. In some cases, my critiques could simply be my opinion, and in other cases, bringing them up here would make them harder to address internally. In other words, silence does not imply acceptance or agreement in all cases :)
Laurent Bossavit explains the notion of "Cargo Cult" programming - the example being setting a temporary variable to null (i.e., one that is going out of scope)
You may object that the setting-to-null superstition is totally harmless. So is throwing salt over your shoulder. While this may be true of one particular superstition, I would be particularly concerned about a team which had many such habits, just like you wouldn't want to trust much of importance your batty old aunt who avoids stepping on cracks, stays home on Fridays, crosses herself on seeing a black cat, but always sends you candy for Christmas.
What superstitious coding practices does your group have?
Sun tests the OSS waters with Solaris:
Sun, which has never completely rebounded from the tech collapse in 2001, hopes the no-cost of Solaris 10 will not only attract customers but also expand the number of developers who write programs that work on computers running the operating system.
The result, Sun believes, will be renewed demand for its servers and services. The company also will charge subscription fees for Solaris support and service programs that are typically sought by the businesses and organizations that Sun targets.
Well, that depends on what they do with the license. In general, free works for open source software - but does not work for commercial code. Sun seems like they get this - check this from further down in the article:
Sun also has promised make the underlying code of Solaris available under an open-source license, though the details have not been released. With access to the code, Solaris users will be able to take advantage of its features when developing their own software and systems.
So it's an open question to some extent. On the other hand, how likely is it for Sun to attract the kind of community that Linux has? Linux has a lot more time and momentum behind it. Time will tell.
Sci Fi Wire reports that both SG-Atlantis and SG-1 have been renewed. That's great news - good sci-fi lives for another tv season :)
You know that home costs are rising when you see this:
A bag of bills stolen from a casino was snapped up by beavers who wove thousands of dollars in soggy currency into the sticks and brush of their dam on a creek in eastern Louisiana.
"They hadn't torn the bills up. They were still whole," said Maj. Michael Martin of the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office.
Must be inflation :)
Smalltalk Solutions is the premier forum for bringing together Smalltalk users, developers, and enthusiasts. This year's conference will take place June 27-29 in fun-filled Orlando at the Wyndham Orlando Resort
We are currently accepting proposals for all varieties of talks involving Smalltalk technology and other areas of interest to Smalltalkers. We need your participation to help maintain the high technical level of the conference! See www.smalltalksolutions.com/participate2005.htm for more information.
The Conference will conveniently take place entirely within the Wyndham Orlando Resort:
- Be Minutes from Meetings and Activities
- Save on Travel costs
- No walking Long Distances
- No Inclement Weather Worries
- Hotel Discount for Conference Attendees
Smalltalk Solutions 2005 has a great rate of $109 USD plus applicable taxes. Please call early (407-351-2420) and mention Smalltalk Solutions 2005 when making your reservations for the discount rate.
Wyndham Orlando Resort is a tropical paradise in the heart of the world's most popular vacation destination. Lush gardens and romantic lagoons make it easy to forget that this elegant resort is located on bustling International Drive. Florida's most thrilling theme parks - Walt Disney WorldR, Universal StudiosR Florida and Sea WorldR Adventure Park - and the Orange County Convention Center are only minutes away. Relax in a secluded, old Floridian-style villa. The hotel guest rooms are full of delightful touches like pillowtop mattresses and in-room movies.Suites with bunk beds and play areas just for kids are perfect for families.
Outside, enjoy a host of pleasures like Gatorville Bar & Grill and three gorgeous pools. Jog along a tropical garden path or visit our health club. Or find a treasure in one of the great shops that are just steps away. When the sun goes down, dine in the casual elegance of our Augustine's Grille. Then revel in Orlando's hottest nightspots on International Drive.
Join Wyndham by Request. Wyndham hotels has an exciting program full of great benefits for their guests. The program is called Wyndham by Request and by joining you receive: A room personalized to your specifications including:
- Your Favorite Beverage
- A Choice of Snacks
- Feather and Extra Pillows
- 500 miles on your choice of Wyndham airline partners
- Free high-speed Internet access
- Free local and domestic long calls
- Free domestic faxes and copies
- Best available room on day of
- Express check-in and late check-
- Dedicated ByRequest Manager every Wyndham location
Smalltalk Solutions is a Smalltalk Industry Council Event. The Smalltalk Industry Council (STIC) is a nonprofit trade association whose goal is to promote the awareness of and increase demand for Smalltalk.
The Movie industry and the recording industry continue to wave their middle fingers at the rest of us:
One of these ads shows a finger clicking a mouse, alongside a headline emblazoned in red: "Is this you?" That's followed by a long list of user names and IP addresses typical of those found on file-sharing networks such as Kazaa, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Grokster and Lime Wire, which are named specifically. "If you think you can get away with illegally trafficking in movies, think again," the ad warns.
The ad campaign will also be supported by the Video Software Dealers Association, which plans to post versions of the ads in 10,000 video stores nationwide, the MPAA said.
The software, designed to scan hard disks for media and peer-to-peer files, will soon be freely available from the MPAA. A representative of the group said the program, developed by a Danish software company, does not yet have a name.
It will only identify files, not automatically delete them, the group said.
Explain to me again why I should be giving these gangsters my business?
I don't think EA forces the long hours because it's more productive ... I think they force the long hours to insure relatively high churn in their employees allowing them to bring in low-wage recent graduates rather than expensive experienced hires. The CMU report said they were trying to go from hiring 10% college grads to 75% college grads.People want to make video games because it's fun. For many people working in the industry, making games is what they would do if they were independently wealthy and could do anything they wanted.
As Gordon says, that's a very astute point that I completely missed.
The Walmart effect rolls through the retail sector - Sears and KMart are merging. Will there be blue light specials when I get my tires rotated?
The Cincom Smalltalk Worldwide Users Conference is fast approaching - December 7-9 in Frankfurt Germany. We have the final agenda posted here - it's going to be a great show. Many of our engineers will be there - to answer any of your questions on the development and direction of Cincom Smalltalk. Come on out - I'll see you there.
That batch of hurricanes that hit Florida last summer left us with a transient tomato shortage. There have also been less well reported floods in California and pest issues in Mexico:
The result has been a national tomato shortage that has sent prices climbing like a vine seeking light. With costs up and quality down, some national restaurant chains are reconsidering their marketing strategies to keep the thought of juicy, tender tomatoes off customers' minds, or switching recipes to make up for the absence of certain hard-to-find varieties.
So much for the cheap pasta dish :)
There are times when a simple mechanical implementation is far, far better than a software solution. Here's an example. I can honestly say that my doorbell has never, ever crashed. Seems to me that the auto manufacturers could take this to heart as well...
InfoWorld points out the obvious - open source solutions are starting to re-adjust corporate expectations about what they need to pay for. This has already happened in the tools space, where Eclipse is driving the remaining Java solutions before it. Free is worth what you pay for it though - if you expect to pay nothing, then you should also expect no support.
Now, where will this likely end up? Look no further than the Apache foundation and the foundation IBM has set up for Eclipse for the answer. Who benefits from this? Large companies that can deliver "complete solutions" (via consulting). Think IBM.
I've been meaning to comment on this post on Cafe Au Lait concerning dynamic typing. The problem (for me), is that I don't know PHP, so I wasn't entirely certain where he was coming from:
For the last couple of days I've been programming in the weakly typed language PHP. For the last few years I've been hearing quite a few people, most notably Bruce Eckel and James Robertson, extol the virtues of weakly typed languages. So far I'm not convinced. I've repeatedly found myself running up against bugs that simply would not have been possible in Java, or that would have been caught almost immediately by the compiler, misspelled variable names for example. I just got hit by another one. I was writing $myarrayindex instead of $myarray[$index]. There goes another ten minutes of debugging that I would not have had to do in Java.
Well, this post from Nicholas Lehuen gave me enough information to go on. As it happens, it looks like PHP is weakly typed (along the lines of C, but with more holes). That's not really the same thing we have in Smalltalk, for instance. I'll let Nicholas explain:
PHP sucks badly. So do any language in which "1"+2==3 or even "1"+2=="12" (plus, there are a dozen other reasons why PHP sucks, see http://nicolas.lehuen.com/index.php/2004/11/12/8-why-php-sucks). This does not happen in Python. In fact, I make a difference between weakly typed languages in which "1"+2==3 (bad languages), and dynamically typed languages, in which "1"+2 raises an exception. The former is guaranteed to make you mad. Implicit casting (over than for numeric types) combined with weakly typed variable is the perfect recipe for a disaster. Any kind of silent failure when the interpreter does not get what you want to do is a crime, and PHP does this a LOT.
Yeah, Smalltalk doesn't have that issue either. '1' + 2 raises an exception - MessageNotUnderstood. At least in Smalltalk, we have strong - but dynamic - typing. In Java, you have Strong - but static - typing. As opposed to C, where it's static and weak. Or PHP, where it looks like it's dynamic and weak. There's a world of difference here. Nicholas explains this very well.
Tivo will slap banner ads on your TV when you fast forward past ads. yeah, there's a customer pleasing feature...
I don't know, but this is not the kind of competition Comcast needs. Can we find the competent kind?
TAMPA - Last week, Georgann Crotty stepped outside the front door of her Valrico home and saw a geyser of raw sewage spewing into her front yard.
Crotty discovered that contractors for Verizon had broken a sewer pipe.
Also last week, crews broke a waterline in the FishHawk community in Lithia, interrupting service for customers and leaving some residents with holes in their front yards and ripped-up driveways.
In September, a broken waterline caused a hole to open in a Seffner neighborhood, partially swallowing a minivan and scaring - but not injuring - the mother and two children inside.
Since August, nearly 200 water, sewer and reclaimed water lines have been broken across the county by Verizon crews installing fiber optic lines underground.
I guess they didn't call Miss Utility...
I had forgotten how much fun - and how much work - teaching an intro class is. Today's the last day of class. It's been a good, invigorating week - I hope the students have enjoyed the class as well. Next week may be Thanksgiving, but it's also a "try and get the next release out the door" week as well. Should be busy.
It looks like the next release will probably miss November, and slip into early December. Why? There were some problems with the latest build, and Thanksgiving is coming up fast - for the most part, November ceases to exist as a productive month after next Tuesday. So, look for the CST release in early December.
Here's an interesting article on starting up a new company - it advises against using venture capitalists.
The Mythical Man Month was written a long time ago now - 1975, specifically (re-released in 1995). Nothing much has changed. Managers still think that you can add more cooks and get broth sooner. Outsourcing - offshoring in particular - shows just how little we've learned. Can't get the job done with 3 developers in New York? How about with 20 in Bangalore then? Have a look at this ComputerWorld item:
as IT shops apply "brute-force programming techniques" with low-cost coders from India and elsewhere. That's the observation of Tom Bigelow, CEO of Performance Software Corp., a Phoenix-based developer of custom software for the aerospace industry. Bigelow says companies that hire offshore developers in bulk eventually hit a wall. That's because, as Frederick P. Brooks Jr. revealed in The Mythical Man-Month, his classic book on software engineering published nearly 30 years ago, you can't compress the time it takes to complete software simply by throwing more bodies at it -- not even in the Internet age. Most IT managers have been "mandated to cut x percent from their budget," Bigelow contends. So, many have grasped at the straw of offshore development with the hope of saving money and still getting big development jobs done. The frequent results, he says, are late projects, bad projects and dead projects. While upper management is busy updating its spreadsheets with lower-cost programmers from abroad, many midlevel IT managers are foundering as they try to control workgroups overseas, Bigelow says.
Boy, what a shocker - we throw requirements over a 12 timezone wall, and gadzooks - it doesn't work any better than when we threw them across the glass wall to IT.
Here's a related article by Thomas Nolle of Network World:
Software development, hardware engineering, project management, accounting and many other jobs are just as vulnerable to cheap labor if the work offshore employees or contractors do can be coordinated inexpensively and efficiently with the on-shore company personnel and its customers. Companies might resist having software developed 8,000 miles away because they'd feel they were losing control of the process. Would they feel the same way with real-time video links to those remote resources? With instant data collaboration? All that holds back that level of techno-integration is the cost of the networking - the same cost that's falling like a rock in today's market. The better we make networks, the less network services cost, the lower the barriers to exporting technical jobs. Sad, but true.
Clearly, he has a point. But he leaves out one very critical thing - those guys you want to set up video links with who are 8000 miles away? When it's noon there, it's midnight here (and vice versa). Who's going to work late shift? US based project management? I'll be astonished when I see senior managers doing 1 AM conference calls. Sure, you can try and have the overseas staff work night shift - but that's not going to be possible for long. There's a burgeoning internal market in India (and China, etc) - how many staffers will work late nights when they don't have to? This all sounds very simple when all you look at is a spreadsheet. Life is more complicated than that.
Hmmm - maybe it's time to apply a cluestick to senior managers.
I think IBM is smoking way, way too much of the bad code flavored weed. Have a look at what Peri Tarr of IBM research says while discussing Aspect Oriented Development:
The idea is to manage "concerns" such as security policies, password schemes or internationalization rules, separately from the code to which they apply. In object-oriented software, it's difficult to add features that weren't initially planned for, because each update to the application impacts so many parts of the code, said IBM's Peri Tarr, a research staff member who works with Chung. At the same time, it's virtually impossible to anticipate every change you will want to make going forward. "AOSD lets you go back and say, 'I know now what I didn't know then. How can I modularize this software so I can add new features?'"
Ummm - if you do a decent OO design, this isn't that big a problem. OO is all about separating concerns, properly done. Maybe AOD helps there; I haven't looked that deeply into it. But you know what? If your application can't be easily modified to add new features, I seriously doubt that the magic bullet called AOD is going to help - you have other problems.
We have to face that there are two types of American programmers who are doomed to extinction. First, the bad ones. Traditionally, there have been more exceptionally bad programmers than exceptionally good ones. It's well known that there is something like an order-of-magnitude gap in productivity between the very best programmers and the very worst, but it's less known that the distribution of talent is quite asymmetrical, with a long "tail" toward the less-than-competent. The untalented have long survived by coasting in larger teams and being the "only game in town" for smaller concerns. These are exactly the scenarios that the offshore shops already have firmly in their sights and where the "How much worse could offshoring be?" seed is most likely to find fertile soil.As the "tail" of unproductive-but-employed programmers is chopped off, the productivity demanded of an employed programmer is going to increase dramatically. Programmers complacent in their skills and tools because they've met programmers who are less productive will quickly find themselves on the edge of the cliff.
That's a good point.
Dare Obasanjo quotes Adam Bosworth at XML 2004:
What has been new is information overload. Email long ago became a curse. Blogreaders only exacerbate the problem. I can't even imagine the video or audio equivalent because it will be so much harder to filter through. What will be new is people coming together to rate, to review, to discuss, to analyze, and to provide 100,000 Zagat's, models of trust for information, for goods, and for services. Who gives the best buzz cut in Flushing' We see it already in eBay. We see it in the importance of the number of deals and the ratings for people selling used books on Amazon. As I said in my blog, My mother never complains that she needs a better client for Amazon. Instead, her interest is in better community tools, better book lists, easier ways to see the book lists, more trust in the reviewers, librarian discussions since she is a librarian, and so on. This is what will be new. In fact it already is. You want to see the future. Don't look at Longhorn. Look at Slashdot. 500,000 nerds coming together everyday just to manage information overload. Look at BlogLines. What will be the big enabler' Will it be Attention.XML as Steve Gillmor and Dave Sifry hope' Or something else less formal and more organic' It doesn't matter. The currency of reputation and judgment is the answer to the tragedy of the commons and it will find a way. This is where the action will be. Learning Avalon or Swing isn't going to matter. Machine learning and inference and data mining will. For the first time since computers came along, AI is the mainstream.
There's a difference between the flood from email and the flood from syndicated content. For the most part, I have no control over how much email I get - it comes at me whether I like it or not. With RSS/Atom, I have complete control - I can cut back or increase the flood anytime I feel like it.
The Open Source community has not been entirely happy with the quips and barbs from McNealy and Schwartz; Newsforge has an interesting article examining their claims and the facts.
In the comments to this post this question came up:
But do you have control over your feed subscriptions? It's a little like saying that smokers are in control of their cigarette intake. Of course you can delete subscriptions but can one overcome the desire and addiction to new information? It's worth reading about pseudo-ADD, a non-clinical form of attention deficit disorder that modern society seems to foster.
Well, I can't speak for anyone but myself here. I've read about Scoble's 1000 or so subscriptions (and it sounds insane to me). I was adding feeds regularly until I got to where I am now - 284 feeds. I've had within 5 subscriptions of that number for months now - I got to a point where the volume was high, but not unsustainable - and stopped. Are there people who can't stop? I suppose so. Like other addictions, I doubt it's a majority.
- A system for determining if two operands point to different locations in memory, the system comprising: a compiler for receiving source code and generating executable code from the source code, the source code comprising an expression comprising an operator associated with a first operand and a second operand, the expression evaluating to true when the first operand and the second operand point to different memory locations.
- The system of claim 1, wherein the compiler is a BASIC-derived programming language compiler.
- The system of claim 1, wherein the operator is IsNot.
- The system of claim 1, wherein the compiler comprises a scanner, a parser, an analyzer and an executable-generator.
Hmm - The #~~ message in Smalltalk certainly predates any MS implementation here. Not to mention prior art in various assembly languages that aren't coming to mind right now. I guess "stupid" has no bottom at the US PTO...
Sci Fi Wire reports that Amy lee of Evanesence will be writing music for the upcoming adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I'm a big fan of both, so that's cool news.
Sriram Krishnan unloads on the XML weenies (you know who you are). I have to say that I agree with him:
Turn the clock back to some 5 years ago when everybody and his neighbour had a personal homepage in AngelFire or Geocities. If all they had seen was an error message complaining of a tag that hadn't been closed - would they have persisted? I doubt it. Geeks would - but your average geocities homepage guy wouldn't have. If browsers aren't as forgiving as they are today, most of the customized templates on Blogspot wouldn't work. I cringe every time I see someone flaming someone else for not being XHTML compliant. Tim Bray - if you're reading this, I want to know something. Why is XML case-sensitive? No human-being ever thinks in case-sensitive terms. A is a. End of story. So now, I have a situation where writing <html> </HTML> wouldn't be XHTML compliant. And what do I get out of XHTML apart from geek-bragging rights and this strange idea of 'standards-compliance'? Does it give me more freedom? Does it help my viewers? My customers?
Put that in your aggregator and smoke it :)
If you follow the dev builds for BottomFeeder (scroll down past the first set of links), I've got a new build up with all the latest code loaded. If you grab this build, you can delete all the .pcl files in the 'app' directory. I've also added a small new feature - internal searches can now use a Regex (there's a checkbox in the "Search BottomFeeder" dialog).
There's a trojan horse program for cell phones that can force you to reset - and lose all your custom settings (phone numbers, address book, etc). The story indicates that this isn't the first such attack. Sadly, it won't be the last either.
So my in laws call us to let us know that their basement is flooded, and they are carting out water by hand in buckets. My father in law is 81, btw. So we ask the simple question:
Us: Have you called for a plumber?
Them: Yes, we can't get one to come out
Us: And you've called how many plumbers?
Gah! Did I mention that there's rain in the forecast, and they live in a low lying area? As I wander off in search of a cluestick...
In this arena, Scoble just doesn't get it. Is this protecting anything? Now to be fair, MS is simply following the rest of the industry here, and building up a portfolio of defensive patents, ready to be deployed should another Eolas pop up to do damage. That doesn't jive with what Scoble is saying though:
Our patent system is in place to encourage investment in new technologies. And, despite how you feel about Microsoft, Microsoft's 57,000 employees are a real investment in new technologies. The same system protects the investments that Apple, Yahoo, eBay, IBM, Google, and scores of other companies are making in their software.
This is protection of the sort offered by gangsters in 30's flicks. Would it be asking too much for a company with as much clout as MS to take something that vaguely resembled a leadership position on this?
Scoble still thinks that the pen is mightier than the keyboard for many people:
Jeremy Higgs demonstrates how geek centric we all are: "I'd hazard a guess most people can type quicker than they can actually write.
Um, Jeremy, most people on earth have never had their hands on a keyboard, so how do you know that's correct? My mother-in-law, who only speaks and writes Farsi, for instance, can not use a keyboard. She can, however, use a pen very well.
That's not "geek centric" - it's true for anyone who's been exposed to keyboard (possible exception - people writing is syllabary based languages). Hand someone a keyboard, and within a few days, typing will be preferable to longhand.
Scoble then goes into meeting etiquette:
But, there are many situations when using a pen is more appropriate. In business meetings, for instance. Many people think it's rude to open a notebook and start typing. But it's perfectly acceptable to use a pen on a screen. Why? Because it's similar to writing on a pad of paper.
Also, there's no physical block between you and the people you are meeting with. Also, when I'm in meetings I like to brainstorm. Or take notes of associations. Or, draw pictures. Quick show me a mock up of your new prototype in ASCII text. But I can draw one out in seconds on my Tablet PC.
I'll grant the point about pictures - there are ways to work around that, but they are work-arounds. As to typing at a meeting? It's been a long time since I've been in a meeting where that mattered. And in meetings where it matters, I rather suspect that a Tablet would be viewed as a faux pas as well. When I'm taking notes in a meeting, I want my keyboard - trying to write stuff out longhand is slow, and I'm far, far more likely to miss something.
Ever wonder why there are a seemingly infinite number of mustard varieties, but only one (Heinz, with a few second tier competitors) ketchup? Malcolm Gladwell can tell you. It's a fascinating look at segmentation in the food industry. I suspect that the same thing applies elsewhere as well. Via Ted Leung