Some of these puppies have been keeping a browser tab open since April. No theme; ranging on the geekiness scale from extreme to mostly-sociology.

People · First, the good news. There’s real demand for senior people in our trade. Simon Phipps, who got me the job at Sun and whose opinions I pay careful attention to even when I disagree, has a new gig at ForgeRock, where they’re trying to build a sensible profitable business around open-source principles and some damn good technology that Oracle was too stupid to get behind.

Also, my long-time compatriot Dave Orchard just started looking for a gig; we had coffee the other day and he’s fielding some super-interesting offers. He hasn’t accepted any; if you want that sort of talent, better move fast.

On the other hand, half the people out there are women, and while I have to say that their progress through the educational and business worlds gives lots of reason for cheer, we still are mostly failing at attracting them to technology careers. A few of pieces on this front crossed my radar recently: Nicole Sullivan a.k.a. “Stubbornella” on Woman in technology, Alice Adams’ What Women Want and How Not to Give It to Them, and Anil Dash’s Mechanisms of Exclusion. These are neither short nor uncontroversial, but I’ll leave my side of the controversies out and just assert that they’re really worth reading. Well, except to say, in response to Anil, that I’d advise most entrepreneurs, women and men both, to stay well away from VCs at this moment in history.

How Does a Cellphone Work? · I’d previously come across Harald Welte as one of the leaders of the fascinating but fruitless OpenMoko project; his Anatomy of contemporary GSM cellphone hardware (PDF) is deep and well-written. Used to be I didn’t understand how all that “radio” layer stuff worked; I still don’t, but now I sort of know what I don’t know.

Android Miscellanea · Christian Neukirchen: Programming for Android with Scala.

Probably because I spend way too much time in airplanes, I’ve always enjoyed Flight Level 390, by an anonymous commercial airline captain, on the pains and pleasures of flying Airbuses all over the New World.

In Independence Day Over Pensacola, he talks about a tricky landing in Orlando and as he’s winding up, writes “The crew van is rolling as iPhones and Droids come out of pockets and purses to call loved ones.” And that’s about how it is, you know; the mainstream is Them and Us, for now.

Concurrency · I used to worry about it all the time in my previous job, and I still watch that world. I see that there was an Intel Threading Challenge 2010, and I’m unsurprised that it was won by Dmitriy V’jukov, also the winner of my Wide Finder 2 challenge, with some of the gnarliest C code imaginable. Which served to demonstrate my point that this stuff is still way, way too hard.

Oh, and that Intel challenge has a Phase 2.

Future, With a Zinger · I’m talking about Michael Nygard’s The Future of Software Development, and contains probably the harshest prognosis for Java’s future that I’ve read from someone who’s actually speaking in a reasoned tone of voice.

Ruby Love · Here are two short essays on the same subject: Why many people like using Ruby; I’m one of them: Michael Bleigh writes The Future’s Pretty Cool, or Why I Love Ruby and Len Smith’s 8 Reasons I love Ruby.

Enterprise Awfulness · From The Economist, Computer says no; I’m delighted that someone is telling civilians the truth about how badly our discipline is practiced, most places, most times.

Data Freedom · From Kellan, and oh my goodness does he put it well. Minimal Competence: Data Access, Data Ownership, and Sharecropping. Sample quote: “It’s your data, and you’ve granted us a limited license to use it... The ability to get out the data you put in is the bare minimum. All of it, at high fidelity, in a reasonable amount of time.”

Mmmmm, tasty.


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From: Noah Mendelsohn (Aug 24 2010, at 09:50)

> Used to be I didn’t understand how all that “radio” layer stuff worked; I still don’t, but now I sort of know what I don’t know.

Hey, if you want to see the really interesting stuff, find a good tutorial on CDMA and spread-spectrum. (Search for "CDMA tutorial" turns up quite a bit.)

As best I understand it, with CDMA, everyone talks at the same time, on the same spread-spectrum frequencies, each receiver can pull out the channel it needs, and all you lose when too many people talk at the same time is S/N.

(Hey, I'm a software person, so YMMV, but I've always thought that spread-spectrum was one of the coolest, most counter-intuitive technological developments of 20th century networkking. And then, of course, the fact that actress Hedy Lamarr was a key inventor back in 1941 makes it all the better!)




From: Ken Horn (Aug 29 2010, at 03:58)

You know, I've been meaning to contact Dmitry for a while to ideally shed some light on his single-/multi-threaded C code for WF2, and why exactly it's so fast. No doubt, it's largely a lack of fighting the OS / hardware with too many abstraction layers, but it'd be good hear for those of us living in excessively managed layers.

I think a nugdge from you, rather an anonymous one from me, might be a better route?


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August 23, 2010
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