· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · September
· · · · 11 (4 entries)

Angry Cow · What hap­pened was, I was strolling in the pas­ture try­ing to get a cam­era an­gle on a hill across the road and I just about stepped on this cow that was sleep­ing in the long grass with her calf. We were both sur­prised ...
Making Markup Correctly · I’ve en­coun­tered three dif­fer­ent Ru­by li­braries for gen­er­at­ing markup: there’s one in the CGI li­brary, there’s Builder, and there’s Mark­a­by. To some de­gree, all are heav­i­ly in­formed by the spe­cial case of gen­er­at­ing HTML; and maybe they’re OK for that. But if you want to go fur­ther and gen­er­ate XML, they’re all point­ing in the same, wrong, di­rec­tion. Maybe I’m miss­ing some­thing, but I do have an al­ter­na­tive to of­fer. Plus, I find a chance to laugh at my­self glee­ful­ly. [Up­date: Ouch! Re­fut­ed!] [Up­date: And again, more se­ri­ous­ly.] ...
Five Years Later · So sad, so sad. Here’s a sto­ry of an little-known 9/11 hero that I hadn’t heard be­fore. I gath­er that our side has done a pret­ty good job of get­ting the guys who or­ga­nized it and break­ing up their or­ga­ni­za­tion, but you know, try­ing to fight a guer­ril­la move­ment by killing them one at a time has nev­er worked for any­one in any his­to­ry books I’ve read. Bruce Sch­neier says what a lot of smart peo­ple are say­ing, that yes, this re­al­ly is a polic­ing prob­lem. It’s just everyone’s bad luck that the bad guys did the bad things at a time when the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tained what seems to have been an un­usu­al­ly high pro­por­tion of feck­less ideologically-blinded not-too-bright hack­s. Look­ing back in time, there are some things that make you shake your head and think “That’s just com­plete­ly crazy!” His­to­ry is full of them, from Athens at­tack­ing Syra­cuse a cou­ple of mil­len­nia back to Hitler at­tack­ing Rus­sia with­in the mem­o­ry of liv­ing peo­ple. It’s be­gin­ning to look like re­tain­ing Rumsfeld’s ser­vices will be seen as the twenty-first cen­tu­ry equiv­a­len­t.
Other Languages · Fol­low­ing on our hir­ing the JRu­by guys, I’ve had emails and links from rep­re­sen­ta­tives of pret­ty well ev­ery oth­er dy­nam­ic lan­guage: Groovy, Python, Pnuts, you name it. All of them say­ing, more or less: “Why Ruby? There are oth­er lan­guages which are bet­ter (or better-integrated, or faster).” Some of them would like jobs (per­fect­ly rea­son­able, we like get­ting that kind of email) and some of them would like Sun to as­sign mon­ey and re­sources to their lan­guage project (we like to hear about those ideas, too). So if you think those things should hap­pen, I rec­om­mend look­ing at the JRu­by sit­u­a­tion for lesson­s. First, these guys took an ex­ist­ing semi-dormant project and brought it alive, un­prompt­ed, un­paid, ap­ply­ing en­er­gy and en­gi­neer­ing skills to the prob­lem in large quan­ti­ties. Se­cond, they were work­ing in a field that has a large and grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty; in this case be­cause of the hype around Rail­s. Third, they were vo­cal and outward-facing and ar­tic­u­late, get­ting on the stage at Ja­va One and lots of oth­er events with im­pres­sive de­mos. Fourth, they shipped code that worked pret­ty well and im­proved qual­i­ta­tive­ly from re­lease to re­lease. I’m not sure it’s Sun’s role to pick and choose the win­ners and losers in this space, or anoint lead­er­s; what would make us think we’re that smart? But when ob­vi­ous lead­er­ship emerges in an in­ter­est­ing space, why wouldn’t we get be­hind it?
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