When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · November
· · · · 09 (2 entries)

Metered Approval · What hap­pened was, as we were get­ting ready to leave the apart­ment in Frank­furt a bunch of com­ments showed up, and when I clicked “Approve” the Net had gone away for some rea­son and we had to leave. At the air­port, I no­ticed they had lots of these hokey Internet-by-the-minute kiosks; I’d nev­er used one. While writ­ing on­go­ing frag­ments re­quires an in­tri­cate web of tech­nol­o­gy and a sol­id ssh con­nec­tion, the com­ment sys­tem is pure browser-based sim­plic­i­ty. The kiosk in­ter­face is slick, it lets you en­ter a URL and doesn’t ask for mon­ey un­til you say ”Go“. So I slapped in a €0.20 coin and start­ed strug­gling with the Ger­man key­board, which makes the “Y” and “/” hard to find. Even­tu­al­ly I reached the ap­proval page and got logged in and saw the com­ments again. I was about ready to hit the but­ton when this thing popped up on the screen, “Your time is run­ning out in 30 ... 29 ... 28 ...”, quite nerve-wracking in fac­t. I dove in­to my pock­et and found an­oth­er double-Euro-dime with sec­onds to spare, giv­ing me time for the ap­proval to com­plete and to use the “logout” but­ton. What a weird feel­ing. I won­der if these things are prof­itable?
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An RX for Ruby Performance · This is an in­sane­ly long and gnarly es­say about im­ple­ment­ing, then op­ti­miz­ing, the low-level bits of a pure-Ruby XML parser. If you ob­sess about XML read­ing, de­ter­min­is­tic fi­nite au­tomata, or Ru­by code op­ti­miza­tion, you may find some part of it in­ter­est­ing. There may per­haps be six peo­ple in the world who care about all three; oth­ers are warned that an at­tempt to read this end to end may lead to gen­er­al paral­y­sis and per­haps even clin­i­cal brain-death. [He’s not kid­ding. -Ed.] By way of com­pen­sa­tion, I’ve tried to be of­fen­sive wher­ev­er the op­por­tu­ni­ty pre­sent­ed. [Up­date: Out­stand­ing com­ment from Avi Bryant be­low, which he re­peats and ex­pands here.]  ...
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