When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · July
· · · · 15 (2 entries)

Magnificent Silliness · In the wake of the pass­ing of Syd Bar­rett, Rober­to Chin­ni­ci point­ed out that you can see a com­pendi­um of Bar­rett video at YouTube, and I spent the best part of an hour watch­ing some. Ah, YouTube, feels like the Nap­ster glo­ry days; be­yond any doubt a life-enhancer. Col­by Cosh has in­no­cent fun search­ing it by date. And, like Nap­ster, it feels doomed. Pump­ing video around the Net isn’t cheap for any­one, and I just don’t see how it gets paid for. For more In­ter­net video neg­a­tiv­i­ty, see Mark Cuban. And speak­ing of mag­nif­i­cent silli­ness.... Sy­d. Bye, Sy­d. He nev­er made it out of the Six­ties and I had a few friends not make it out of the Seven­ties, you can burn the can­dle at both ends and in the mid­dle too, but not for that long. I looked in­to the record col­lec­tion and didn’t find any­thing with Bar­rett on it, so last night I lis­tened to Atom Heart Mother, which is not far of­f. It’s hard to know what to think of PF these days. Their lat­er work is far too much on the ra­dio; sud­den­ly about the time of the ex­e­crable The Wall, the world flipped and they were a symp­tom of ev­ery­thing wrong with Rock; John­ny Rot­ten was picked out of his Lon­don gut­ter wear­ing an “I Hate Pink Floyd” T-shirt. Stil­l, I’m quite sure that the mu­sic will re­main loved by many long af­ter we’re all dead; but I bet most of them will nev­er have heard of Sy­d.
 
Rubies and Pearls · I’m still feel­ing my way in­to this com­ments sys­tem, but my first days with Ru­by are mak­ing me think back a dozen years or more, to when I was learn­ing Per­l. It was a big data-filtering job and Michael Leven­thal had pulled to­geth­er a very typ­i­cal Perl bundle-of-regexps and sud­den­ly one day I was pitch­ing in on han­dling more types of in­put da­ta and pulling out more struc­ture. Lar­ry Wall, the au­thor of Per­l, is a lin­guist by train­ing, and is proud of the fact that with Per­l, as with a nat­u­ral lan­guage, you don’t have to be an ex­pert to be ef­fec­tive Just as a child de­rives val­ue from us­ing English even if in­ex­pert­ly, a novice Perl pro­gram­mer starts be­ing re­ward­ed quick­ly. Other lan­guages have this char­ac­ter­is­tic to a greater or less­er de­gree; and I’m be­gin­ning to think Ru­by is right up there. (For me, Ja­va had it too, as it would I think for any ex­pert C pro­gram­mer com­fy with O-O think­ing.) At the mo­men­t, there are lots of Ru­by id­ioms that are still gib­ber­ish to me; but I find two cru­cial things: my pid­gin Ru­by is al­ready pret­ty use­ful for get­ting things done, and I’m learn­ing new trick­s.
 
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