· 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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