Oh yeah

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There's a song entitled Oh Yeah by Yello. It's a great song and I listen to it sometimes when I'm in one of those awesome feeling moods where I'm actually accomplishing things and my todo list is getting shorter as opposed to infinitely longer. Anyhow, I was thinking of writing some of the lyrics down and sending them via email to a friend, but when I write it down, it's totally unrecognizable and certainly doesn't get across the general feeling of the song.

But, hey--some songs are like that.

I wonder if folks who listen to symphony music have this problem. Do they resort to poetical descriptions? Something like this:

   Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor is so beautiful--it fills my heart with
   joyous melancholy!

Do they ever text message each other?

   Yo! Rach PinCS rox!

It reminds me of this project I've had for a long time. I've always wanted to implement a barbershop quartet on a mud. How can I programmatically get across the difference in quality between an experienced quartet and one that's just starting out to the audience? That sort of thing fascinates me. Sometimes people ask me what I'm thinking about when I'm staring off into space. I'm probably thinking about barbershop quartets in mud-space.

48 hours: first group (A)

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Excitement simmered in the air of the first screening at the Brattle Theatre like Mexican jumping beans in a popcorn popper.

I was elected Lead Usher by the organizational committee in a unanimous vote. I think they were really impressed by my platform speech which outlined my plan for total usher awesomeness [1].

I carried out my lead usher duties with precision--handing out ballots and pencils like a professional. I had a flashlight with me but never used it [2]. I don't think I'll be bringing one tonight. For the second show I just sat around and watched all my usher minions deviously performing their assigned usher duties.

I'm tired now. I think I got home at midnight and then ate some dinner and went to bed.

[1] I was the first usher to arrive--that might have helped as well.
[2] When I was preparing, I was envisioning one of those ushers with the flashlights pointing out free seats.

Lyntin status

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The mailing list has been really active. There is definitely a BIG correlation between mailing list activity and my motivation towards fixing things. Some of the things Eugene has said have irked me, but in general he's providing a lot of solid observations which (I think) have led to some really great changes.

In the last few weeks, we've:

  • fixed a couple of bugs
  • optimized out the get_engine() silliness
  • wheedled down the managers (there's still some more to do)
  • optimized the get_current_session() routine
  • optimized the filter_mapper case of hook spamming
  • made some really awesome changes to the python_cmd that make it far more usable

All good stuff none of which would have happened with a quiet mailing list.

Who carries what?

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Gizmodo has done a few articles based on tech people and what gadgets they've got. They're just phenomenal. I have these "I have problem x and want to solve x, y, and z (with z being not so much of a priority) but really want the solution to fit in with my life" issues and reading about what these folks are carrying and why they're carrying those things is amazing. Most of the blurbs also include what gadgets they used to carry and why they stopped carrying them.

I wish there were more of these sorts of things around. I don't want to feel like a Ghostbuster walking around town with an unlicensed nuclear power pack on my back to power the myriad of things I'm carrying. I want to have the fewest number of highly functional gadgets on my person and I'd rather not go through trial and error to get to that point if I don't have to.

Anyhow, these articles are fantastic. The latest one is Dan Gilmor.

pystaticfile v.1.5 released

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I added the Request object to the locals for eval_python_block. I also did away with the "printout" kluge I had--you can use print now.

If you used an old version and are upgrading to this version, you'll need to convert all your "printout" function calls to regular print statements.

Find it in my plugin index.

Start of 48 hour film thingy!

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My brother is organizing the 48 hour film thingy in Boston which kicks off tonight! I'm helping out to usher and perform in secret kick-off rituals that I don't really understand but turn out to be vital to the doings and goings-on of the 48 hour film thingy!

Anyhow, if you're in the Boston area, there are four showings of the final films: two at the Brattle and two at the Somerville Theatre.

Lots of details and a half-naked picture of my brother HERE.

One interesting thing about this one is that it's Spring Forward this weekend--so they "extended" it an hour so that the groups don't lose an hour if that makes any sense. I think maybe one of my jobs will be to hand out extra hours at the door--one per group please!

Java and Will

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I've never really liked Java much. After using Java for 5 or 6 years in various projects, I can count the number of times I've been working on something in Java and thought to myself, "Gosh--I'm really psyched I'm doing this in Java" on one hand. I dislike it a lot less than C++, but I'm not sure that really counts for much. I'm ok with the language semantics--it's the API that really gets me.

Anyhow, the Javahut story in this article is pretty much what I'm thinking when I'm dealing with Java. To quote the passage:

Imagine if the Perl cafe and Javahut were across the street from each other. You walk into Javahut, and ask to sit down. "I'm sorry," says the person at the door. I'm not actually the hostess, I'm a Factory class that can give you a hostess if you tell me what type of seat you want." You say you want a non-smoking seat, and the person calls over a NonSmokingSeatHostess. The hostess takes you to your seat, and asks if you'll want breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You say lunch, and she beckons a LunchWaitress. The LunchWaitress takes your order, brings over your food, but there's no plates to put it on because you forgot to get a CutleryFactory and invoke getPlates, so the Waitress throws a null pointer exception and you get thrown out of the place. Dusting yourself off, you walk across the street to the Perl cafe. The person at the door asks what kind of seat you want, what you want to eat, and how you want to pay. They sit you at your seat, bring over your food, collect the money, and leave you to eat in peace. Sure, it's not the most elegant dining experience you ever had, but you got your food with a minimum of pain. -- James Turner

That sums up my feelings on the whole Java thing. Mr. Turner deserves a gold star.

The bigger problem (and I think this is inherent in the Java community) is that there are all these Java developers who think in terms of massive object hierarchies and comprehensive APIs for every project. It takes forever to write the infrastructure that expose all the bits of data and functionality so that you can write the program to solve the problem.

Blech.

David Berkeley

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David Berkeley is a friend of a friend of mine and I was privelidged to see him play a month or so ago and it was a really great set. Anyhow, I finally got around to buying one of his albums--it's a really great album and I highly recommend it.

AMAZON::B00008KA60::The Confluence

His web-site (with some tunes you can download and test out) is at http://www.davidberkeley.com/.

You can (and should) also get his cds at CDBaby.com.

Text vs. images

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I bet I could come up with a usefulness score for a given web-page that's based on the ratio of number of images to number of words. I occasionally read articles about how people don't like to read large blocks of text and that it should be skimmable and blah blah blah--but in reality, I think if the ratio of images to text is high, then the page is making up for in visual appeal what it lacks in raw information.

I guess the issue is that I prefer sites that are more like books and encyclopedias than like marketing brochures.

Debian cont...

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I'm on the UserLinux discussion list mostly because it's really interesting to watch a distribution get going and also because I'm hankering for a user-oriented distribution that I don't have to fiddle with that I can do regular non-fiddling things with.

Anyhow, caught this email, which is fascinating--I had no idea (apologies to Mr. Perens for quoting without permission and out of context but I figure it's in the public archives anyhow):

Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 13:41:44 -0800
From: Bruce Perens 
Reply-To: ---------------------------
To: ---------------------------
Subject: [Discuss] Meaning of the Debian Swirl

Fabio asked what the Debian Swirl means.

It's "magic smoke". Electrical engineer lore is that when you burn out
an electronic component, you cause the "magic smoke" that makes it work
to be released. Once the magic smoke is gone, the component doesn't work
any longer. Debian is supposed to be the magic smoke that makes your
computer work.

    Thanks

    Bruce

That's cool--I had no idea.

Also, I burned a Knoppix cd, brought my old Dell Inspiron 7000 laptop with a DLink wireless card right up, and installed Debian by typing:

   knoppix-install

(or something very very similar) at the prompt and selecting debian-installation. It worked, it was trivial, and it was fantastic. My laptop was up and running in 30 minutes (from when I burned the cd to when the laptop had booted into Debian). Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Now I can _use_ it.