Search Results: "boll"

14 October 2006

Brett Parker: So, what have I learned today?

1) I'm not attractive (OK - so less learned, more reaffirmed) 2) Not all hills lead back to the flat 3) See 2. (OK - so I left $club which I can't remember thinking "tired, home time", wished people good byes, and looked for a hill, usually any going up are back to the flat... wandered up the hill, carried on wandering, discovered pizza shop that I normally order from, said "Oh bollocks" and started heading in the right direction, down the hill, across the road, back up the other hill. Sucks to be on the wrong side of London Road.) 4) Sleep is good. That's what I'm just about to do.So, what have I learned today? EDIT: OK - writing an entry in vim at nearly 3am when you've been to a club results in the unfortunate side effect of somehow managing to put several copies of the post in the entry - BAH!

15 September 2006

Joey Hess: bookmarks and stuff

This is kinda a mix between my list of bookmarks and some things I've been thinking about and following lately. astronomy I've been reading a lot of astronomy stuff lately, a lot more than my usual low-level interest in it. I'm kind of feeling the need for a refresher course, so I can get a better handle on stuff that's happened since I studied this stuff in school. It's hard to get my head around things like dark matter and really grok the evidence. While black holes and relativity and such seem so obviously a natural part of this universe. Does this mean I'm getting old? The chance to bounce questions and ideas off someone would probably help in getting a real grip on this stuff. So would a lot more physics than I know.. (Hurrah for Eris BTW. The name almost makes all that sillyness over a mere definition worthwhile.) Favorite sites: Universe Today and Wikipedia.
weather I've been following this hurricane season, to make up for having paid so little attention to last year's disastrous one. I knew about the "New Orleans bowl" scenario well before Katrina, and the night before it hit I actually spent several hours tuning in far-away AM stations from down there and listening to the city not react in time. But despite all that I feel that I missed out on really seeing it happen, so I've been learning about tropical waves, and wind shear and ULL's, and dropsondes, and the satelite data that can be used to follow hurricanes. The nice thing is that instead of the old stereotype of someone watching the weather channel 24/7 with a map and thumbtacks, these days there's a nice mix of pre-processed info and analysis and raw data, easily followed in small amounts of time on Wunderground's blogs.
spaceflight Half love and half hate. The recent shuttle mission has been a riot for a shuttle-hater and SF lover. It has all the elements of one of those SF novels where they go down to the cape, dig up an Apollo stack, and use it to save the world / travel to Mars / fight the alien invaders. Except here they're pulling an unused orbitor out of mothbolls. And putting it up on the launchpad with a hurricane bearing down, getting it struck by lightning, pulling it off the pad, changing their mind with the giant crawler half-way through that milti-day maneuver when the hurricane fizzles, putting it back, filling and refilling the tank as sensors fail and they rewrite their safty regs on the fly, barely making the launch window, and proceeding to triumphantly lose nuts and break wrenches .. In Space! Space opera, indeed. Then there's the genuinely interesting stuff. Intentional crashing of a French probe into the moon, probes firing projectiles at asteroids and trying (with great difficulty and many glitches) to return a sample. A mission on its way to Pluto. The rovers still going strong on Mars after all this time. Bigelow launching an inflatable prototype of his planned space hotel. A whole load of microsats tragically blowing up on launch. All the private aereospace stuff, which seems to close to turning into something real. Happily followed at Spaceflight Now.
TV Over the past while and a half I've been very happy to discover The Wire and Deadwood, have been working my way through the Sopranos and Lost, been creepily fascinated by Big Love, got a kick out of the Canadian antics of Corner Gas, vegged out to Greys Anatomy, and have been very sad to reach the end of Six Feet Under. BSG, Doctor Who, House, and some other shows haven't held up as well past the first seasons for me. Happily, there's NetFlix, which makes it plausable that I did this legally despite not having HBO or even owning a TV.
literature I've been reading Charles Stross, David Drake, John Twelve Hawks, Kelly Armstrong, Naomi Novik, Robert Charles Wilson, VC Andrews, and, loath though I am to admit it, John Ringo. I'm in the middle of books by Steph Swainston, Geoff Ryman, and Dave Duncan. I finally found a defintion of Science Fiction I like, but I lost the link. (It's the subjective "her world exploded" one.) Anyway, I'm afraid that I may have reached the point where to get much more out of reading SF, I'd have to start going to cons. Which I don't want to do. But I seem to be at a low ebb for it being interesting to me, or just need to finally tackle some other branch of literature. Actually, the most engaging reading I've been doing lately is in the achives (all of them!) of the Idle Words blog. It makes obscure details about Poland and China, and even interpretation of Russian classics seem pretty darn interesting, and has much better rants about the space shuttle. And it proves that blog entries should properly be good and long.

1 September 2006

Andrew Pollock: [opinion] A ramble about alternative energy and world affairs

Well John Howard said he wanted to start a nuclear debate in Australia. Seems it has already started on Planet Linux Australia. I figure I might as well have a meandering blog post about alternative energy and current world events, since I've just been immersing myself in the best news I can obtain with my crappy cable package in a country not renowned for its awareness of world affairs. Firstly, since there's been talk about nuclear power, I'd like to offer my thoughts on Iran, and how it's sounding like Iraq all over again. People are getting in a flap about Iran enriching uranium. Iran says that they don't want "the bomb", they only want nuclear power to meet their energy demands. Now if this is true, then surely should applaud a country that sits on a chunk of the Middle East's oil reserves looking to use something other than oil for its energy needs. I for one don't know if you need to "enrich" uranium to use it for a nuclear reactor, or whether it's good enough "as is". But let's just assume that Iran's intentions are as they have said, then it's going to be Iraq all over again. The US said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The US is saying Iran is enriching uranium for the purposes of making a bomb. So far the former claim hasn't been proven, so what's to say the latter is true either? Let's say the nuclear debate in Australia determines that it'd be a good a thing for Australia to go nuclear. How is Australia enriching uranium for electricity generation any different to Iran doing it? (Other than Australia is in the Coalition of the Willing, and Iran is in the Axis of Evil). Speaking of Iran being in the Axis of Evil, how is Iran supplying weapons to Hezbollah fundamentally any different to the US supplying weapons to Israel? Oh, and is anyone allowed to criticise Jewish people without being called anti-Semitic? Since when is invading a neighbouring country considered okay? I am so glad Australia is an island nation. These countries with land borders, sheesh... Anyway, back to alternative energy. I'm a greenie, (with a lowercase "g") so I'm open to nuclear power, but it does frighten the willies out of me, with things like Chernobyl. I'd never heard of a Pebble Bed Modular Reactor until Paul wrote of it. It certainly sounds safer than previous methods of nuclear reaction. But of alternatives. Wind, for example, doesn't need to be big and arguably ugly. These guys in the UK have made a very sexy and quiet wind turbine. I don't know how it stacks up in terms of cost or output to the traditional three-bladed wind turbines like what I've photographed in Southern California, but they're supposed to be quiet, which is apparently one of the (many) arguments that landowners like farmers have against wind generation in general. This Australian company has come up with a very small, but less sexy wind turbine, that I believe to be fairly cheap. Finally, in terms of generation, and I've written about this before, but I find the Tower of Power to be a fascinating concept in natural energy generation. Where am I going with this ramble? No idea. I do think rapidly developing countries like China should completely leapfrog over the era of oil and move to renewably generated electricity. Maybe they can get the manufacturing costs down of the equipment, and it'll be less of a big deal in terms of cost for the rest of the world to adopt it. Whew. What a ramble. Don't start me on flushing toilets with drinking water.

17 August 2006

Matthew Garrett

Raymond warned that Linux risks getting locked out of new hardware platforms for the next 30 years unless it proves it can work with iPods

Leaving aside the insanity of asking the fetchmail author about desktop Linux, has Eric been leaving under a rock? Ipods work with Linux. In fact, almost all MP3 players do. Sensibly. You plug them in, they appear on your desktop. You copy files to them. You copy files from them. Banshee supports all the nice playlist integration and stuff, and I expect that Amorak does as well.

While I'd obviously prefer Eric to just go very far away (yes, further than San Francisco), I'd settle if he'd stop jeopardizing the tripe by spouting bollocks in front of an audience who seem to think that he's somehow relevant and resulting in the mainstream media perpetuating the myth that desktop Linux is about as useful as Windows 3.1.

5 August 2006

Erich Schubert: Top tags blogged about

According to technorati, the top tags blogged about are: Israel, Lebanon, Herzbolla, Iraq, War, Bush, youtube, Sex. Says a lot about these stupid wars that they take up 6 of the top 8 spots. (Yes, I'm counting Bush as a war tag, otherwise he'd never beat Sex) As with youtube, I just wonder when they start running into some serious legal trouble, and how they can pay their traffic bills on the long run. Especially when people put the videos into their blogs, youtube doesn't get a single cent from advertisments. Or my filters are too good.

1 August 2006

Gunnar Wolf: Israeli mistakes

Reading Jordi's blog, I cannot but agree with him (in most points): I plainly cannot understand Israel's actions in the last weeks. I can sadly understand how some people defend them, specially people not living in Israel - I was talking with a friend today, a friend who does not share a single political viewpoint with me, but still... The world seems to be completely polarized. Some have the impression that Israelis live under constant shelling, that life is unsustainable in that poor country, the last corner of civilization in that mess called the Middle East, and that the Arab countries (which are huge and petroleum-rich) just want to throw Jews to the sea or worse. The rest of the world think that Israelis are mass-murderers who decided to take a heavily populated bit of land and martyrize its originary population by any possible means, establishing an Apartheid.
Both views are false. But of course, both views hold their bits of truth.
I cannot claim to be neutral on this: Although I lived there in total for ~18 months, I am an Israeli by choice (I adopted the Israeli nationality in 1996 and wanted to live my life there - I came back to Mexico for personal reasons, and I later decided to stay here). I have not been to Israel since then - But I try to keep myself informed. And, living in a Jewish family, it's hard not to be somewhat informed - and of course, shocked at your relatives' opinions. Jews outside Israel tend to be right-wingers. I lived in a kibbutz, and I still sympathyze with Meretz, the most leftwing Zionist party.
I won't restate what Jordi eloquently said. I know not everybody who reads my blog reads Jordi's as well - Please do. If you missed it some lines above, here is the link. I insist: I agree with most of what he wrote. What could Israel do to protect itself from its enemies? The answer is simple: Don't give them a reason to hate you.
One year ago, I was optimistic because Israel was heading the right way. Of all people, Ariel Sharon (one of Israel's most hawkish, right-wing strongmen of all times) decided to withdraw from Gaza, and hinted that areas in the West Bank would follow. No, not the best way possible, not as his predecessor Menahem Begin did with Egypt leading to a strong and long lasting peace, and certainly not in the very notable way Itzhak Rabin did with Jordan, getting peace and even friendship. But at least, Sharon accepted the reality, and seemed he meant to let Palestinians build their state. When he organized a new party which reduced Likud to a shadow of its past, one of Israel's most prominent figures for the peace camp, Shimon Peres, joined. Amazing.
But still, there is too much hatred. Of course, life in Gaza is plainly not sustainable. You can walk the Gaza strip side to side in less than one hour, and North to South it's less than 50 Km long. Still, over 400,000 people live in there. The area is simply unsustainable.
Gaza depends for everything from Israel. Of course, according to the never-stable security status, the border between Gaza and Israel opens or closes every day. When I lived in Zikim, mostly every day there were five or six Arabs working with us... Except for the days when they weren't there. And, of course, Israel also depends on the Arabs for much of its hard labor jobs (as it's always the case when two economically disparate populations live together).
Anyway, back on track: Besides giving the Arabs their slice of land (which in a squeezed area as Israel is always hard; people have fought for such small spaces it's hard to believe), the only thing Israel can do is help them. It has worked before: Israeli Arabs (the Arabs living inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel) are full citizens. Yes, there is racism in the country towards them, and yes, they are not really equal with Jewish Israelis - But they have voting rights, they have the right to be elected, they can optionally join the army (it's not compulsory as it is with the Jewish population), and they get government aid. Arab towns are poorer than Jewish towns, yes, but they have their dignity.
The problem in Gaza and South Lebanon (somewhat less so in the West Bank, but also) is that it's plainly all made up of refugee camps. Refugees that were born there, and whose parents were born there as well. And, let me emphasize this, they are not Israel's fault. The refugees fled the newborn Israel because the Arab states said (in May 1948) they would enter Palestine and butcher everybody, inviting Arab civilians to flee and then get back home - of course, 700,000 (out of 1,300,000 who lived in Palestine by then) Arabs did so. And when the Arabs lost the war, the Palestinians were denied citizenship by all the Arab countries except for Jordan (not surprisingly, the most stable of them all, and with which Israel has the closest relation). They were given refugee camps to live, one over the other. When Egypt signed the peace with Israel, it demanded back every inch of the Sinai - But not an inch of Gaza. And not a single Palestinian refugee.
I agree here with Jordi as well: There is a huge military operation in Gaza, but it's more spectacular in Lebanon today. The media talks about Lebanon, but not about Gaza. And the crisis in Gaza is not easier. But how can it be solved in a permanent way? Israel does neither have land to spare to give to the Palestinians - and even if it did, most of Gaza is surrounded by the Negev, a desert where it would not be easy for them to get anything better than what they have inside Gaza. As desirable as it would be to have a completely independent Palestinian state, Gaza would just remain a concentration camp. There is too much hatred, and neither Arabs nor Israelis want to keep working together, not trusting each other. The only solution I can find to this is to have an agreement with Egypt, where Egypt opens its border with Gaza, gives either nationality or work permits to Gazan Palestinians, and Israel injects capital to develop Northern Sinai, to give some hope of survival to the almost half million people.
The same in Lebanon: Israel was widely applauded to withdraw from South Lebanon in 2000. The area is mostly peaceful - For $ DEITY 's sake, what is the kidnapping of two soldiers in a six year period compared to soldiers being killed in the occupation army every week or two? Israel did well to leave Lebanon. Lebanon was starting an incredible national rebuilding process, as Robert Fisk tells us (Spanish only. I could find only the first paragraphs of the original English version, which appears to require subscription) of the wonders of the rebuilding process, reduced to rubble again. Of course, Israeli and Syrian armies left Lebanon. The Lebanese government and army are plainly too weak to care for the country. Hezbollah (which, indoubtely, is a terrorist entity, no matter how many benefical aspects it does have) have poured tremendous amounts of money to rebuild its area of influence, South Lebanon. Of course, they rebuilt, healed and educated with a strong ideological inclination, and that's not good for Israel. What can Israel do to leasen the Islamist influence? Simple: Send aid. Don't just leave. Don't leave a void, don't invite bad people to loot, don't invite extremist people to recruite future bombers. Turn occupation into aid. Build hospitals. Build houses. Give money, give infrastructure. Do it behind your back, as you gave money to the South Lebanon Army for almost 20 years. But make the people see you don't want to kill and rob them - Make the Lebanese Arabs feel their neighbour as a friend, although different. Bring back the good border. What's that? That's the nickname for the Lebanese border between +- 1950 and 1970 - The only border that was stable, that was not filled with hatred, where Israeli doctors treated Lebanese patients across the fence. And still today, the border is just a simple fence.
How can you convince a people of not killing themselves to kill the invasor? Don't act as an invasor. Act in all your best self-interest - Save them from poverty and from indignity.

19 July 2006

Erich Schubert: Stupid Israelis, stupid Hisbollah

Neither of them can win this war. It will only cause more hatred. Killing civilians has always and will always be a bad idea. So please stop this stupid war. The only way of winning by military means would be genocide. Or more likely, geocide, since you'd need to get rid of all relatives and friends of your opponents around the world... Not really an option, is it? The thing which bothers me is that the Israelis should know better. They've been trying this for years and it didn't help. Now why are they doing such a large military operation again? I mean, what is the true reason? Read a statement by UNICEF and the WHO.
The psychological impact is serious, as people, including children have witnessed the death or injury of loved ones and destruction of their homes and communities.
Guess what, these will probably devote their life now to attacking Israel. So no peace for Israel and the middle east for the next 20 years either... Apparently both the U.S. and Israel like to use the excuse of fighting "terrorists, and not countries" to not follow international humanitarian laws. Which doesn't make any sense; if you want to fight terrorism, you must go way beyond what humanitarian laws enforce.

19 March 2006

Clint Adams: This report is flawed, but it sure is fun

91D63469DFdnusinow1243
63DEB0EC31eloy
55A965818Fvela1243
4658510B5Amyon2143
399B7C328Dluk31-2
391880283Canibal2134
370FE53DD9opal4213
322B0920C0lool1342
29788A3F4Cjoeyh
270F932C9Cdoko
258768B1D2sjoerd
23F1BCDB73aurel3213-2
19E02FEF11jordens1243
18AB963370schizo1243
186E74A7D1jdassen(Ks)1243
1868FD549Ftbm3142
186783ED5Efpeters1--2
1791B0D3B7edd-213
16E07F1CF9rousseau321-
16248AEB73rene1243
158E635A5Erafl
14C0143D2Dbubulle4123
13D87C6781krooger(P)4213
13A436AD25jfs(P)
133D08B612msp
131E880A84fjp4213
130F7A8D01nobse
12F1968D1Bdecklin1234
12E7075A54mhatta
12D75F8533joss1342
12BF24424Csrivasta1342
12B8C1FA69sto
127F961564kobold
122A30D729pere4213
1216D970C6eric12--
115E0577F2mpitt
11307D56EDnoel3241
112BE16D01moray1342
10BC7D020Aformorer-1--
10A7D91602apollock4213
10A51A4FDDgcs
10917A225Ejordi
104B729625pvaneynd3123
10497A176Dloic
962F1A57Fpa3aba
954FD2A58glandium1342
94A5D72FErafael
913FEFC40fenio-1--
90AFC7476rra1243
890267086duck31-2
886A118E6ch321-
8801EA932joey1243
87F4E0E11waldi-123
8514B3E7Cflorian21--
841954920fs12--
82A385C57mckinstry21-3
825BFB848rleigh1243
7BC70A6FFpape1---
7B70E403Bari1243
78E2D213Ajochen(Ks)
785FEC17Fkilian
784FB46D6lwall1342
7800969EFsmimram-1--
779CC6586haas
75BFA90ECkohda
752B7487Esesse2341
729499F61sho1342
71E161AFBbarbier12--
6FC05DA69wildfire(P)
6EEB6B4C2avdyk-12-
6EDF008C5blade1243
6E25F2102mejo1342
6D1C41882adeodato(Ks)3142
6D0B433DFross12-3
6B0EBC777piman1233
69D309C3Brobert4213
6882A6C4Bkov
66BBA3C84zugschlus4213
65662C734mvo
6554FB4C6petere-1-2
637155778stratus
62D9ACC8Elars1243
62809E61Ajosem
62252FA1Afrank2143
61CF2D62Amicah
610FA4CD1cjwatson2143
5EE6DC66Ajaldhar2143
5EA59038Esgran4123
5E1EE3FB1md4312
5E0B8B2DEjaybonci
5C9A5B54Esesse(Ps,Gs) 2341
5C4CF8EC3twerner
5C2FEE5CDacid213-
5C09FD35Atille
5C03C56DFrfrancoise---1
5B7CDA2DCxam213-
5A20EBC50cavok4214
5808D0FD0don1342
5797EBFABenrico1243
55230514Asjackman
549A5F855otavio-123
53DC29B41pdm
529982E5Avorlon1243
52763483Bmkoch213-
521DB31C5smr2143
51BF8DE0Fstigge312-
512CADFA5csmall3214
50A0AC927lamont
4F2CF01A8bdale
4F095E5E4mnencia
4E9F2C747frankie
4E9ABFCD2devin2143
4E81E55C1dancer2143
4E38E7ACFhmh(Gs)1243
4E298966Djrv(P)
4DF5CE2B4huggie12-3
4DD982A75speedblue
4C671257Ddamog-1-2
4C4A3823Ekmr4213
4C0B10A5Bdexter
4C02440B8js1342
4BE9F70EAtb1342
4B7D2F063varenet-213
4A3F9E30Eschultmc1243
4A3D7B9BClawrencc2143
4A1EE761Cmadcoder21--
49DE1EEB1he3142
49D928C9Bguillem1---
49B726B71racke
490788E11jsogo2143
4864826C3gotom4321
47244970Bkroeckx2143
45B48FFAEmarga2143
454E672DEisaac1243
44B3A135Cerich1243
44597A593agmartin4213
43FCC2A90amaya1243
43F3E6426agx-1-2
43EF23CD6sanvila1342
432C9C8BDwerner(K)
4204DDF1Baquette
400D8CD16tolimar12--
3FEC23FB2bap34-1
3F972BE03tmancill4213
3F801A743nduboc1---
3EBEDB32Bchrsmrtn4123
3EA291785taggart2314
3E4D47EC1tv(P)
3E19F188Etroyh1244
3DF6807BEsrk4213
3D2A913A1psg(P)
3D097A261chrisb
3C6CEA0C9adconrad1243
3C20DF273ondrej
3B5444815ballombe1342
3B1DF9A57cate2143
3AFA44BDDweasel(Ps,Gs) 1342
3AA6541EEbrlink1442
3A824B93Fasac3144
3A71C1E00turbo
3A2D7D292seb128
39ED101BFmbanck3132
3969457F0joostvb2143
389BF7E2Bkobras1--2
386946D69mooch12-3
374886B63nathans
36F222F1Fedelhard
36D67F790foka
360B6B958geiger
3607559E6mako
35C33C1B8dirson
35921B5D8ajmitch
34C1A5BE5sjq
3431B38BApxt312-
33E7B4B73lmamane2143
327572C47ucko1342
320021490schepler1342
31DEB8EAEgoedson
31BF2305Akrala(Gs)3142
319A42D19dannf21-4
3174FEE35wookey3124
3124B26F3mfurr21-3
30A327652tschmidt312-
3090DD8D5ingo3123
30813569Fjeroen1141
30644FAB7bas1332
30123F2F2gareuselesinge1243
300530C24bam1234
2FD6645ABrmurray-1-2
2F95C2F6Dchrism(P)
2F9138496graham(Gs)3142
2F5D65169jblache1332
2F28CD102absurd
2F2597E04samu
2F0B27113patrick
2EFA6B9D5hamish(P)3142
2EE0A35C7risko4213
2E91CD250daigo
2D688E0A7qjb-21-
2D4BE1450prudhomm
2D2A6B810joussen
2CFD42F26dilinger
2CEE44978dburrows1243
2CD4C0D9Dskx4213
2BFB880A3zeevon
2BD8B050Droland3214
2B74952A9alee
2B4D6DE13paul
2B345BDD3neilm1243
2B28C5995bod4213
2B0FA4F49schoepf
2B0DDAF42awoodland
2A8061F32osamu4213
2A21AD4F9tviehmann1342
299E81DA0kaplan
2964199E2fabbe3142
28DBFEC2Fpelle
28B8D7663ametzler1342
28B143975martignlo
288C7C1F793sam2134
283E5110Fovek
2817A996Atfheen
2807CAC25abi4123
2798DD95Cpiefel
278D621B4uwe-1--
26FF0ABF2rcw2143
26E8169D2hertzog3124
26C0084FCchrisvdb
26B79D401filippo-1--
267756F5Dfrn2341
25E2EB5B4nveber123-
25C6153ADbroonie1243
25B713DF0djpig1243
250ECFB98ccontavalli(Gs)
250064181paulvt
24F71955Adajobe21-3
24E2ECA5Ajmm4213
2496A1827srittau
23E8DCCC0maxx1342
23D97C149mstone(P)2143
22DB65596dz321-
229F19BD1meskes
21F41B907marillat1---
21EB2DE66boll
21557BC10kraai1342
2144843F5lolando1243
210656584voc
20D7CA701steinm
205410E97horms
1FC992520tpo-14-
1FB0DFE9Bgildor
1FAEEB4A9neil1342
1F7E8BC63cedric21--
1F2C423BCzack1332
1F0199162kreckel4214
1ECA94FA8ishikawa2143
1EAAC62DFcyb---1
1EA2D2C41malattia-312
1E77AC835bcwhite(P)
1E66C9BB0tach
1E145F334mquinson2143
1E0BA04C1treinen321-
1DFE80FB2tali
1DE054F69azekulic(P)
1DC814B09jfs
1CB467E27kalfa
1C9132DDByoush-21-
1C87FFC2Fstevenk-1--
1C2CE8099knok321-
1BED37FD2henning(Ks)1342
1BA0A7EB5treacy(P)
1B7D86E0Fcmb4213
1B62849B3smarenka2143
1B3C281F4alain2143
1B25A5CF1omote
1ABA0E8B2sasa
1AB474598baruch2143
1AB2A91F5troup1--2
1A827CEDEafayolle(Gs)
1A6C805B9zorglub2134
1A674A359maehara
1A57D8BF7drew2143
1A269D927sharky
1A1696D2Blfousse1232
19BF42B07zinoviev--12
19057B5D3vanicat2143
18E950E00mechanix
18BB527AFgwolf1132
18A1D9A1Fjgoerzen
18807529Bultrotter2134
1872EB4E5rcardenes
185EE3E0Eangdraug12-3
1835EB2FFbossekr
180C83E8Eigloo1243
17B8357E5andreas212-
17B80220Dsjr(Gs)1342
17796A60Bsfllaw1342
175CB1AD2toni1---
1746C51F4klindsay
172D03CB1kmuto4231
171473F66ttroxell13-4
16E76D81Dseanius1243
16C63746Dhector
16C5F196Bmalex4213
16A9F3C38rkrishnan
168021CE4ron---1
166F24521pyro-123
1631B4819anfra
162EEAD8Bfalk1342
161326D40jamessan13-4
1609CD2C0berin--1-
15D8CDA7Bguus1243
15D8C12EArganesan
15D64F870zobel
159EF5DBCbs
157F045DCcamm
1564EE4B6hazelsct
15623FC45moronito4213
1551BE447torsten
154AD21B5warmenhoven
153BBA490sjg
1532005DAseamus
150973B91pjb2143
14F83C751kmccarty12-3
14DB97694khkim
14CD6E3D2wjl4213
14A8854E6weinholt1243
14950EAA6ajkessel
14298C761robertc(Ks)
142955682kamop
13FD29468bengen-213
13FD25C84roktas3142
13B047084madhack
139CCF0C7tagoh3142
139A8CCE2eugen31-2
138015E7Ethb1234
136B861C1bab2143
133FC40A4mennucc13214
12C0FCD1Awdg4312
12B05B73Arjs
1258D8781grisu31-2
1206C5AFDchewie-1-1
1200D1596joy2143
11C74E0B7alfs
119D03486francois4123
118EA3457rvr
1176015EDevo
116BD77C6alfie
112AA1DB8jh
1128287E8daf
109FC015Cgodisch
106468DEBfog--12
105792F34rla-21-
1028AF63Cforcer3142
1004DA6B4bg66
0.zufus-1--
0.zoso-123
0.ykomatsu-123
0.xtifr1243
0.xavier-312
0.wouter2143
0.will-132
0.warp1342
0.voss1342
0.vlm2314
0.vleeuwen4312
0.vince2134
0.ukai4123
0.tytso-12-
0.tjrc14213
0.tats-1-2
0.tao1--2
0.stone2134
0.stevegr1243
0.smig-1-2
0.siggi1-44
0.shaul4213
0.sharpone1243
0.sfrost1342
0.seb-21-
0.salve4213
0.ruoso1243
0.rover--12
0.rmayr-213
0.riku4123
0.rdonald12-3
0.radu-1--
0.pzn112-
0.pronovic1243
0.profeta321-
0.portnoy12-3
0.porridge1342
0.pmhahn4123
0.pmachard1--2
0.pkern3124
0.pik1--2
0.phil4213
0.pfrauenf4213
0.pfaffben2143
0.p21243
0.ossk1243
0.oohara1234
0.ohura-213
0.nwp1342
0.noshiro4312
0.noodles2134
0.nomeata2143
0.noahm3124
0.nils3132
0.nico-213
0.ms3124
0.mpalmer2143
0.moth3241
0.mlang2134
0.mjr1342
0.mjg591342
0.merker2--1
0.mbuck2143
0.mbrubeck1243
0.madduck4123
0.mace-1-2
0.luther1243
0.luigi4213
0.lss-112
0.lightsey1--2
0.ley-1-2
0.ldrolez--1-
0.lange4124
0.kirk1342
0.killer1243
0.kelbert-214
0.juanma2134
0.jtarrio1342
0.jonas4312
0.joerg1342
0.jmintha-21-
0.jimmy1243
0.jerome21--
0.jaqque1342
0.jaq4123
0.jamuraa4123
0.iwj1243
0.ivan2341
0.hsteoh3142
0.hilliard4123
0.helen1243
0.hecker3142
0.hartmans1342
0.guterm312-
0.gniibe4213
0.glaweh4213
0.gemorin4213
0.gaudenz3142
0.fw2134
0.fmw12-3
0.evan1--2
0.ender4213
0.elonen4123
0.eevans13-4
0.ean-1--
0.dwhedon4213
0.duncf2133
0.ds1342
0.dparsons1342
0.dlehn1243
0.dfrey-123
0.deek1--2
0.davidw4132
0.davidc1342
0.dave4113
0.daenzer1243
0.cupis1---
0.cts-213
0.cph4312
0.cmc2143
0.clebars2143
0.chaton-21-
0.cgb-12-
0.calvin-1-2
0.branden1342
0.brad4213
0.bnelson1342
0.blarson1342
0.benj3132
0.bayle-213
0.baran1342
0.az2134
0.awm3124
0.atterer4132
0.andressh1---
0.amu1--2
0.akumria-312
0.ajt1144
0.ajk1342
0.agi2143
0.adric2143
0.adejong1243
0.adamm12--
0.aba1143

4 December 2005

Matthew Palmer: "Average" skills in a resume

Just reading another painfully funny The Daily WTF[1] entry. Instead of a code snippet, this was a resume snippet instead. Apart from listing skills in such heavyweight corporate tools as Emule, Kazza, Paint, WordPad, Acrobat Reader, and Winzip, the candidate also listed "Average" knowledge in a very, very wide variety of skills. The important question is, over what collection of the population is this average taken? Considering the usual demonstration of these "Average" skills, I think that the average is taken over the entire mammalian population, including all of those dolphins who (thankfully) have never even heard of "Micro Soft Visuals: Basics", and that dog at puppy training this morning that spent most of the time licking it's own genitals. Self assessments are always bollocks. Nobody's seriously going to rate themselves "half-assed" at every programming language they know. I've seen one interesting way to describe your language proficiency, though -- group languages into "used in the last 6 months", "1 year", "3 years", and "dim, dark distant past". It gives a reasonable idea of what languages you might be useful in, either through current knowledge, a past knowledge that can be polished, or perhaps knowing a language similar to the one that the company needs skills in that you can be cross-trained into.
1. A site dedicated to archiving, for posterity, the worst of the code that controls the world. Scary and hilarious all at once.

20 November 2005

Matthew Palmer: My First Time Mining Ruby

I'm not usually a grand fan of the latest and greatest fads'' in programming. The only C# I know is the black key next to D#, and I loathe coffee. An IDE in the hands of a poor programmer will still result in crap code. While I do think that agile methods (such as XP) can do well in certain development environments, I certainly don't subscribe to the notion that XP can solve all the world's software production ills. And so on. I do know quite a number of programming languages, and tend to pick up new ones out of intellectual curiousity (although Ada did put a severe dent in that habit) or because a bit of research tells me that the language might be particularly suitable for a particular task (although I've since learned that the actual purpose of PHP isn't dynamic websites so much as bringing the security levels of Linux boxes in line with Windows-led industry standards). I also learn languages because I want to hack on projects written in them, which is motivational, but not a particularly good way to get a deep understanding of a language. Why all of this introspection in a blog? So you have the background to understand how everything about Ruby is different for me, including how I'm getting started using it. I have no interest in hacking on a Ruby-implemented project, and -- although Rails proponents give me an impression similar to that of a horny teenager with a shiny new unlimited broadband account -- I don't have any particular use for Ruby at the moment (I want to write less webapps, FFS, not more!). So, why the hell did I fork out $90 hard-earned South Pacific pesos for a copy of "Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide"? A couple of reasons: I'm glad I got "Programming Ruby". The book is superbly organised, reads very easily, and gives you all of the love as and when you need it. Surprisingly for me and a technical book, I read the first section of the book "cover to cover". By the end of it, I came away with a real (if naturally superficial) understanding of the language, and a feeling that I was ready to tackle the world in Ruby. It is a sad state of affairs when the first piece of new programming you can sink your teeth into is some four days after finishing your initial studies into a language, but this afternoon I wrote my first Ruby program in anger. It's quite simple -- just take stdin and rewrite it all on stdout with the lines in a random order. But I wrote it in a new programming language, in about 3 minutes, with nothing more than ri (Ruby's answer to firing up python and typing help(xyzzy), more or less) and "Programming Ruby". I think I also produced a suitably reasonable result:
#!/usr/bin/env ruby
lines = []
while line = gets() do
	lines << line
end
	
while ! lines.empty? do
	idx = rand(lines.length)
	puts lines[idx]
	lines.delete_at(idx)
end
(Any Ruby afficionados out there, feel free to e-mail me and tell me what egregious sins I've committed). I think it looks reasonably neat and clean, it's certainly simple, and the use of real Object Orientation makes for a certain readability (I think the method call lines.empty? is particularly cute, although I did initially consider the use of a question mark in a method name to be a crime against humanity). So, will I be using Ruby more in the future? I think so. There are some features in Ruby which I'm hoping to get a lot more cosy with -- the idea of "blocks" looks particularly interesting, and I don't think the utility of languages that have been designed, top-to-bottom, to really live the OO ideal has been explored enough (you SmallTalk bigots can stop glaring at me now -- really, I mean it -- stop it!). It's far too early to tell whether Ruby will become my "go to" language for random development tasks, but anything that stops the nightmares (where I start thinking about using PHP as a general scripting language) cannot be all bad. And, if I continue to make new webapps, Rails will probably come in handy. Update: HTML <pre> tags don't like having < inside them unescaped. Also, Philipp Kern pointed out that the Ruby documentation browser is called ri (not ir as I originally wrote). Philipp was also kind enough to provide a much shorter version of my original script, which shows the power of Ruby so much better:
 lines = []
 STDIN.each_line    line  lines << line  
 lines.sort_by   rand  .each    line  puts line  
Now tell me that isn't a language worth using!

14 November 2005

Dirk Eddelbuettel: Billy and me

Went to see 'Billy and me' on Friday at the CSO. A celebration of Billy Holiday, directed by Terri Lyne Carrington and performed by five fine vocalists: Rita Coolidge, Niki Haris, Joan Osborne, Dianne Reeves and Rokia Traore. A little multimedia-ish with a few short readings, photos and film segments. This part didn't flow all that well as the 'acting MC', Rita Coolidge, completely bombed that part. On the other hand, the vocal performances were all outstanding. We went as we wanted to see Dianne Reeves another time after a truly breathtaking last concert a few years ago, and she did not disappoint. However, the others vocalists were very fine too, and I should check out some of their recordings. Musical arrangements, and performances, were really good. Some pieces were a little 'funked up', in particular I'll be seeing you in a world-music alike flavour with really nice horns (Rob Smith, tp and ts; Tineke Postma, ts and ss) and rhythm section (Paul Bollenback, g; Mitchel Forman, kb; James Genus, b; Munyungo Jacksone, pc) and everything driven by Terri Lyne Carrington at the drums. All in all a very nice concert.

Next.

Previous.