Search Results: "jason"

27 October 2009

Asheesh Laroia: Will the last to leave kindly turn out the light? / geociti.es

Today is Monday, October 26. Someone at Yahoo will go home tonight and, on the way out, turn off geocities.com. Update: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 15:17:50 -0400 Geocities is finally offline. Pages say:
Sorry, the GeoCities web site you were trying to reach is no longer available.
To commemorate it, I bought geociti.es. I intend to do what I can to keep the Geocities pages on the web. I am part of the Archive Team, an independent group of amateur archivists racing to rescue the web from destruction at its own hand. In late 1994, Geocities began offering free web hosting as Beverly Hills Internet. A decade ago, Yahoo bought Geocities. In December 1998, one-third of all web users visited the website. As recently as March 2009, 11.5 million unique visitors arrived there. Today, according to Alexa Site Info, Geocities ranks somewhere between the New York Times and the Washington Post in pageviews. And today, Geocities.com shouts:
GEOCITIES IS CLOSING ON OCTOBER 26, 2009.
Tomorrow, Geocities' website will be closed for good if Yahoo sticks to that promise. The amount the Archive Team has downloaded is around one terabyte. That's all we seem to be able to reach; many pages were deleted months ago when the archiving effort began. The archiving is continuing as I write this. Think of it. Fifteen years of history, memories for millions of people, the birth of a generation on the web. More personal embarrassment than all the POG games put together. It fits on an $80 piece of storage equipment -- at least, that's what we managed to find before Yahoo erases it all. Initially, when I met Jason Scott of the Archive Team, he told me he wanted to download Geocities and share it by mailing hard drives around. I told him I wanted to hoist it back on the Web. He came around, and we and the rest of the Archive Team have put Geocities back online. Geociti.es is not the greatest website in the world, no. This is just a tribute. P.S. Major thanks to John Joseph Bachir for the paperwork assist.

14 October 2009

Robert McQueen: Boston GNOME Summit 2009

I spent this weekend in Boston for the annual GNOME summit. I really enjoyed it this year, although there were fewer attendees than previously it felt very focussed and productive. There s some cool stuff going on, and it s always great to catch up with all of the usual free software suspects in Boston. Some highlights from the weekend: I was really impressed by Jason Clinton and others summaries of the sessions, which I think are really valuable for the people who couldn t make it to the summit. He asked me to take some notes about the first Telepathy session on Saturday evening while he was taking notes about the Outreach session. Rather than lumber him with my deranged scratchings from Tomboy, I ll blog them separately.

26 May 2009

Peter Van Eynde: Common Lisp has no libraries: ha!

In the last few weeks I needed to write a short utility at $WORK. I decided to use my trusted Common Lisp. Turned out that my old utility still would be ok, but 'upstream' had changed from CSV files to 'json' files.

A short google query, downloading the two libraries that exists to parse these files and within a few minutes I could read and parse the new fileformat.

Don't tell me CL doesn't have libraries...

ObDebian: yes I still need to update cl-irc and package said jason library... it's somewhere in my long todo list.

10 March 2009

Steve McIntyre: Post-release

It took us a couple of weeks to organise, but we had a small Lenny release party in Cambridge last weekend. We had the usual crowd of Cambridge folks, plus Noodles and codehelp. Jason Clifford from UKFSN even threw some cash our way to help cover the costs - Thanks Jason! :-) We started at the Regal pub in town, then headed back to my place and drank until late. Lenny T! Quite a number of the revellers also bought some of our shiny new Lenny release T-shirts! If you'd like one, look at the details here and mail me! Update: Fixed the URL to the T-shirt photo. Doh!

16 January 2009

Petr Rockai: darcs 2.2.0

I am happy to announce general availability of darcs 2.2.0. Getting the release For this release, we have decided to provide two flavours, depending on the build system used:
  1. The source tarball, http://www.darcs.net/darcs-2.2.0.tar.gz, which can be built using the traditional autoconf-based system. This is the fully supported version. After downloading and unpacking, you can issue:
    $ ./configure
    $ make
    
    and possibly
    # make install
    
    More detailed instructions inside the tarball (file README). Please note that we had at least one report of build failure, with quickcheck-related message. The currently best workaround, if this happens to you, is to use the cabal version of the package instead, see below.
  2. Cabalised source. You can either download a tarball from http://hackage.haskell.org/packages/archive/darcs/2.2.0/darcs-2.2.0.tar.gz and build manually (see the build instructions in README inside the tarball), or, alternatively, you can use cabal-install to obtain a copy:
    $ cabal update
    $ cabal install darcs
    
    This will give you a darcs binary in ~/.cabal/bin you should probably add that to your PATH.
In addition to source tarballs, we expect binary packages for various UNIX platforms will be available in due time. For Windows users, Salvatore Insalaco has prepared a binary build, available from http://homepage.mac.com/kirby81_it/darcs/darcs-2.2.0-win1.zip. You just need to unpack the directory somewhere and add it to your path (if you like). Moreover, an experimental TortoiseDarcs release for darcs 2 has been made available by Kari Hoijarvi and is looking for home. It can be found at http://datafed.net/darcs (unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the site seemed unreachable If you can help with hosting, please mail Kari.) What s New The summary of changes since version 2.1.2 (released last November) follows: And a summary of issues that have been fixed in darcs since version 2.1.2 (compiled by Thorkil Naur): 525 amend-record => darcs patches show duplicate additions
971 darcs check fails (case sensitivity on filenames)
1006 darcs check and repair do not look for adds
1043 pull => mergeAfterConflicting failed in geteff (2.0.2+)
1101 darcs send cc recipient not included in success message
1117 Whatsnew should warn on non-recorded files
1144 Add darcs send in-reply-to or header In-Reply-To: x@y.z
1165 get should print last gotten tag
1196 Asking for changes in /. of directory that doesn t exist gives changes in entire repo
1198 Reproducible mergeConflictingNons failed in geteff with ix
1199 Backup files darcs added after external merge
1223 sporadic init.sh test failure (2.1.1rc2+472)
1238 wish: darcs help setpref should list all prefs
1247 make TAGS is broken
1249 2.1.2 (+ 342 patches) local drive detection on Windows error
1272 amend-record not the same as unrecord + record
1273 renameFile: does not exist (No such file or directory)
1223 sporadic init.sh test failure (2.1.1rc2+472) I would like to thank all contributors for making this release possible. Future The next release will be 2.2.1, fixing low-risk issues found in 2.2.0, or those that have been excluded for 2.2.0 due to freeze. This release will appear in two or three weeks time, depending on circumstances. The next major release will be 2.3, due in June or July this year. The focus of this release will be new features and further work on performance. Moreover, we expect that it will use Cabal as its default build system and will make first steps towards sustainable libdarcs API.

13 January 2009

Petr Rockai: darcs 2.2.0rc1

(This post is somewhat late, the final release is in two days. However, we still need testing and reports of possible issues.) I am pleased to announce that darcs 2.2 is coming along nicely. I would like to ask everyone to give a ride to darcs 2.2, release candidate 1. This release again comes in two flavours:
  1. The source tarball, http://repos.mornfall.net/darcs/darcs-2.2.0rc1.tar.gz, which can be built using the traditional autoconf-based buildsystem. This is the fully supported version. After downloading and unpacking, you can issue:
    $ ./configure
    $ make
    $ ./darcs --version
    
    or
    # make install
    
    More detailed instructions inside the tarball (file README).
  2. Cabalised source. You can either download a tarball from http://repos.mornfall.net/darcs/darcs-2.1.99.0.tar.gz and build manually (see the build instructions in README inside the tarball), or, alternatively, you can use cabal-install to obtain a copy (the release candidate is now available on hackage):
    $ cabal update  
    $ cabal install darcs
    
    This should give you a darcs binary in ~/.cabal/bin you should probably add that to your PATH.
This is a preliminary changelog since version 2.1.2 (released last November): Preliminary list of issues that have been fixed in darcs since version 2.1.2: 1223 sporadic init.sh test failure (2.1.1rc2+472)
525 amend-record => darcs patches show duplicate additions
1247 make TAGS is broken
1273 renameFile: does not exist (No such file or directory)
1165 get should print last gotten tag
1249 2.1.2 (+ 342 patches) local drive detection on Windows error
1238 wish: darcs help setpref should list all prefs
1199 Backup files darcs added after external merge
1043 pull => mergeAfterConflicting failed in geteff (2.0.2+)
1117 Whatsnew should warn on non-recorded files
1101 darcs send cc recipient not included in success message Thanks to Thorkil Naur for compiling this list. I would like to thank all contributors developers, testers, bystanders for helping darcs get along further. It s been hard times recently for darcs, as many of you probably know. Nevertheless, we are regaining confidence in future darcs development. No way are we going to leave darcs fall by the road. I am sure that this one time, I speak for everyone in our developer and user community.

9 December 2008

David Moreno: High-Order Perl available for free

My friend Marco first told me on IM, then I read it on PerlBuzz. The nice High-Order Perl book by
Mark Jason Dominus is now available for free (as in free beer) at its website. This book caught my attention a long time ago on a Barnes & Noble once, but since I had just too many book on queue, I decided not to buy it. I then read that it’s actually a good book on “advanced” techniques on Perl, so my interest grew, but for random reasons I just didn’t get it. Now I have no excuses not to, and either do you :)

30 October 2008

Clint Adams: Eight days of Mraz makes a harmed man fumble

  • Day One
The South American maid confesses that she doesn't clean much, because the Spaniards don't notice.
  • Day Two
People keep playing the same Jason Mraz song over and over again. It is awful. Does Jason Mraz have more than one song? If so, does he have any good songs? This makes Coldplay seem like good music.
  • Day Three
While dumpster-diving in Fulda, a large man wearing an archer's cap and peculiar shoes appeared, carrying one of the largest baskets I have ever seen. He showed me that it was full of bread, and attempted to sell me some. When I showed no interest in his wares, he recited the following gibberish:
 Ich glaab ich bin aus Staa
 unn hab' mehr Bauch wie Baa-
 unn doch bin ich en arme Tropp-
 denn ach, ich hab'e Loch im Kopp!
  • Day Four
More Jason Mraz. Ugh. Jos complains about people who will walk together without talking constantly. He repeats himself about fifty times without accidentally saying anything interesting. I am afraid that he will injure his voice and then his brain will have to start working. Luckily this does not occur.
  • Day Five
In Neu-Isenburg for a standoff with the Sky Chefs. Every time I enter Neu-Isenburg I get paranoid and start looking for UutiSaruman. It's creepy.
  • Day Six
A Hessian woman tells me I lead a sad life. I can tell that she's Hessian because she looks like a slender Austrian with teeth. I don't tell her this.
  • Day Seven
Razula asks if I remember what le k means in Slavic. I don't know why he thinks I knew in the first place. His friend starts spouting off a lecture on why Hungarians are superior to Germans because Hungarians lie, cheat, and steal, and Germans obey laws. I wonder if le k can help this situation. Probably not.
  • Day Eight
Now the South American maid is complaining that Spanish men are gay and don't realize it. Then she goes on at great length about the Great Flying Circus of North Korea. I think about asking her where it's from. I decide against it.

15 September 2008

Adam Rosi-Kessel: The man hears what he wants to hear

(and disregards the rest) Jonah Lehrer reports the result of a depressing but unsurprising experiment: The Facts Don’t Matter.
Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration’s prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation — the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration’s claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse. A similar “backfire effect” also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One group was offered a refutation by prominent economists that included current and former Bush administration officials. About 35 percent of conservatives told about the Bush claim believed it; 67 percent of those provided with both assertion and refutation believed that tax cuts increase revenue. In a paper approaching publication, Nyhan, a PhD student at Duke University, and Reifler, at Georgia State University, suggest that Republicans might be especially prone to the backfire effect because conservatives may have more rigid views than liberals: Upon hearing a refutation, conservatives might “argue back” against the refutation in their minds, thereby strengthening their belief in the misinformation. Nyhan and Reifler did not see the same “backfire effect” when liberals were given misinformation and a refutation about the Bush administration’s stance on stem cell research.
It’s particularly interesting that the backfire effect is more pronounced with Republicans; this certainly resonates with my admittedly biased view. Better information doesn’t seem to fix the problem, either:
During the first term of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the budget deficit declined by more than 90 percent. However, when Republican voters were asked in 1996 what happened to the deficit under Clinton, more than 55 percent said that it had increased. What’s interesting about this data is that so-called “high-information” voters - these are the Republicans who read the newspaper, watch cable news and can identify their representatives in Congress - weren’t better informed than “low-information” voters.
Anyone have a better solution? Or should we just throw in the towel on democracy?

30 April 2008

Adrian von Bidder: Filesystems in Linux

With Hans Reiser convicted for murder, some seem to feel that reiserfs is more or less dead. Jason Perlow writes a very strange article on ZDNet to which I'm replying to it mainly because he alludes that Debian so far has failed to react. First, default installations of Debian create ext3 and not reiserfs filesystems (Please correct me if I'm wrong. I've just recently installed a fresh etch, but I didn't specifically look at the fs.) And even if it were reiserfs (v3), I don't see why a reaction would be called for now. The stability of reiserfs has come up every once, before the whole murderer story begun, and that the interaction between the reiserfs developers (including, of course, Hans Reiser) and the kernel team were always difficult has also been known for a long time. This is the kind of reason where I think it's appropriate for Debian to take steps (i.e. switching to a different filesystem), not a single event, where it is not even clear yet how the reiserfs (v3 and v4) efforts will move on. On to the technical stuff: Perlow tries, but doesn't really arrive at understanding the issues he's writing about. Reiser 4 is discounted without a single remark on its technical merits (I can't comment either as I have not looked at it so far.) Why he discounts ext4 is not clear to me (because it is not ripe for production use yet — but that's even more true of ZFS and this Linux-NTFS thingy he rambles about further down...) He discounts JFS2 because it hasn't got a new release for several years (is that bad in a filesystem?) but then touts ZFS as a great idea with minor licensing problems, without speaking of patents which is where the real problems lie (not to mention the fact that the Linux ZFS port probably is much less tested than ext4 or JFS.) And in a final jump into fantasy-land he mentions that NTFS might just be ideal for Linux, and Microsoft is said to have started cooperating nicely with the Free Software world, so all licensing and patent issues are certainly going away Real Soon Now™. At least for Novell, these issues shouldn't be a problem, I guess. Not mentioned by Jason are btrfs (which has a quite tightly coupled network filesystem brother, crfs and is in a very early state of development), and hammer, which comes from the BSD world and currently lacks a Linux port. Both efforts are probably more likely to replace ext3 or reiser on Linux than both ZFS and NTFS: no patent issues, no license issues, and the development is actually done by a community and not a single company. Update: Julien Blanche ha a much more succinct response to Jason Perlow. More intersting to read than mine, too.

13 April 2008

Rob Taylor: PackageKit Stop Energy

This should be a reply on Hughsies blog, but I don’t want to create a livejournal account. Richard, please move to blogs.gnome.org! In response to Jason’s comments: Hey. I’m a Debian/Ubuntu kinda guy and I think PackageKit is a hell of a lot better than Ubuntu making ubuntu-only solutions like gnome-app-install. It’s DEFINITELY not a NIH, there was nothing that gave us this kind of capability at all before PackageKit started. Everyone knew what was needed to be written and Richard was the guy that jumped in and got it started. Also Richard wasn’t working at Red Hat when he started PackageKit and has worked with every distro he can on this. Jason, stop the Stop Energy. Update:
I though I might jump in and say a bit more on this problem: It really comes down to the question of whether a backend should ask questions of the user. Richard thinks that they shouldn’t, mainly because every time he’s seen backends ask questions they aren’t ones he knows the answer to and so, by inference, most people don’t know the answer to. These questions shouldn’t be asked in a user-friendly system.
However ‘These questions’ are actually multiple classes of problems and simplistically dismissing these is really just asking for failure in solving the problems correctly. Before I go any further, let me note that debconf has multiple levels of verbosity that it can ask questions at. Most Debian based distros just ask the highest priority questions. It should be noted that a PackageKit backend should allow a central administrator to set default values for any of these setting however. Lets break down some of the kind of questions asked though debconf: Some packages also use stdin/out to really make sure you know what the hell you’re doing, like kernel packages, but i think that’s somewhat outside of this scope of this problem. Those kind of things should just fail unless you’re doing leet-super-admin work ;) So the question really comes down to asking the user sensible questions that they a) know how to answer and b) care about. The point I made to Richard on IRC is that this is actually a difficult and multi-faceted problem and just hiding these problems won’t help in solving them well, so my take is that PackageKit should allow asking of questions, probably via a dbus interface, have a debconf frontend that channels questions by this channel, and then let the Ubuntu and Debian guys get on the case of forming projects and policy to help fix the problem at source. Update 2:Richard pointed me to this FAQ entry which explains why even handling debconf questions is hard.

Rob Taylor: PackageKit Stop Energy

This should be a reply on Hughsies blog, but I don’t want to create a livejournal account. Richard, please move to blogs.gnome.org! In response to Jason’s comments: Hey. I’m a Debian/Ubuntu kinda guy and I think PackageKit is a hell of a lot better than Ubuntu making ubuntu-only solutions like gnome-app-install. It’s DEFINITELY not a NIH, there was nothing that gave us this kind of capability at all before PackageKit started. Everyone knew what was needed to be written and Richard was the guy that jumped in and got it started. Also Richard wasn’t working at Red Hat when he started PackageKit and has worked with every distro he can on this. Jason, stop the Stop Energy. Update:
I though I might jump in and say a bit more on this problem: It really comes down to the question of whether a backend should ask questions of the user. Richard thinks that they shouldn’t, mainly because every time he’s seen backends ask questions they aren’t ones he knows the answer to and so, by inference, most people don’t know the answer to. These questions shouldn’t be asked in a user-friendly system.
However ‘These questions’ are actually multiple classes of problems and simplistically dismissing these is really just asking for failure in solving the problems correctly. Before I go any further, let me note that debconf has multiple levels of verbosity that it can ask questions at. Most Debian based distros just ask the highest priority questions. It should be noted that a PackageKit backend should allow a central administrator to set default values for any of these setting however. Lets break down some of the kind of questions asked though debconf: Some packages also use stdin/out to really make sure you know what the hell you’re doing, like kernel packages, but i think that’s somewhat outside of this scope of this problem. Those kind of things should just fail unless you’re doing leet-super-admin work ;) So the question really comes down to asking the user sensible questions that they a) know how to answer and b) care about. The point I made to Richard on IRC is that this is actually a difficult and multi-faceted problem and just hiding these problems won’t help in solving them well, so my take is that PackageKit should allow asking of questions, probably via a dbus interface, have a debconf frontend that channels questions by this channel, and then let the Ubuntu and Debian guys get on the case of forming projects and policy to help fix the problem at source. Update 2:Richard pointed me to this FAQ entry which explains why even handling debconf questions is hard.

4 March 2008

Kai Hendry: Gear the Web on mobiles

android on dwm Update (3/3/2008): We’re also working to bring Google Gears for mobile to Android and other mobile platforms with capable web browsers. Here is my writeup of yesterdays Android Code Day in London. Eclipse 3.3 is needed to get the plugin working. Only eclipse 3.2 is in Debian unstable. Download the Europa release and re-setting up the plugin will do it. I’m no Eclipse fan boy, though the integrated debugger works. The iteration cycles are really short for trying stuff out. Very good. Developers, mainly from a Symbian background grilled Jason Chen over security and wanting C API access. Lot of people didn’t seem to like the idea that users were controlling security. I like Google’s “empowering the users” stance, though I think representatives from operators don’t. I heard that poor argument about users asking their operators for android support. Jason argued well that it’s up to user education to contact the right people. When a computer crashes in the UK, who do people call? VirginMedia? Please! :) How about Breakpad crash reporting on Android?. Jason used the OHA to defend Google from looking like they have all the political power… Hmmmm. :) I can understand the tight rope that Google are walking. They are trying not to fragment their platform before it’s properly released. OEMs, operators will feck it up if they have the chance to play with the source code before a Google co-ordinated release. Once they release Google claim they will release everything under the Apache 2 license. So I asked could we see Android on desktops? Jason said there is nothing stopping you. I hope not. Their opened fonts and multimedia codecs on desktop PCs could really make a big difference for Linux take up, especially in Asian (growth) markets. I have studied and implemented Asian fonts and Android’s font rendering even on that nightmare Website sina looked good to me. Despite the “Symbian developers” giving Jason hell in the beginning I had impression they actually liked Android. It fealt almost staged. Scary. Symbian C++ programmers learning Java and jumping ship! Same old problems with images. People are concerned about how bitmap images will scale on different target screens. There is four ‘skins’ already supported in the emulator (QVGA-L+P, HVGA-L+P). We need scalable images too on the Web. ;) Though there are some workarounds demonstrated which seemed OK to me. During the hackathon, I wanted to write a backup/sync tool. Since only Jason Chen seemed to know Android and there was a filled audience, I didn’t get to ask him how really to go about coding it. Though with the help of Dave from Zyb, we eventually found out about content providers. Took some debugging to find that out, but we got there. Having a working debugger is really really nice. We discovered we needed “android.permission.READ_CONTACTS” in the manifest to make our little application that read out the contact on stdout. Cool, though I’d rather use Javascript and the Web stack. Anyway, Android seemed like a good platform, but I have concerns. My biggest concern is basically where is Google Gears on Android? Jason could neither confirm or deny this, so perhaps they have it. Though gears is an opensource project and you can see code reviews… no Android mentioned. What happens if the Android platform is wildly successful? Then we are going to see two major platforms. The Android platform on mobiles and the Web platform on everything else. I worryingly saw no support for Web application device APIs on Android. Encouraging people to write for their Android/java-esque platform undermines their main Web platform! It’s like Microsoft’s mistake of undermining their own platform all over again. From Android you can use Webkit and the Web stack. But from the Web API stack you can’t seemingly access their Dalvik VM APIs. I disclose I am an employee of Aplix (opinions etc. are my own), also a OHA member. I am actively working on a plugin technology that exposes APIs as familiar JS APIs to Web developers. I have already done a proof of concept implementation of Google Gear’s Location API on mobile devices with Aplix technologies. Google you should really do the same and make Web applications equal citizens on your mobile platform by implementing Gears on Android (if you haven’t already).

7 February 2008

Martin F. Krafft: Leaving LCA

I am 10 000 metres above sea level, on my way from Melbourne to Wellington. I am looking back at a very enjoyable week of conferencing, with LCA 2008 ending yesterday, followed by today s Open Day. The purpose of this final day is to invite the general public to learn about open-source. Individual projects present their work at booths and field questions by bypassers. Jacinta Richardson and the other organisers and helpers of the Open Day have done an amazing job. The place was buzzing and the selection of projects broad and interesting, even to me. Two talks and a series of lightning talks, as well as catered food for everyone rounded it off. I will try to have this event in mind as we organise a similar event in Buenos Aires after the forthcoming DebConf8 in Argentina. I had a splendid time at the conference and probably can t thank Donna Benjamin and her army of mignons enough for organising it. Compared to the other open-source conferences I previously attended, this one was the most professional. Good job, everyone!!! Here are the highlights: Apart from the busy programme, I particularly enjoyed the hallway track , which is usually the reason why I attend these events. I really ought to practice remembering names and faces a bit better. I am not paying enough tribute to this week with this report, but I shall conclude it regardless. Unless something very unexpected comes up, I will attend next year s LCA in Tasmania. NP: Porcupine Tree: Futile

30 January 2008

Martin F. Krafft: Linux for visually-impaired (developers)

On Sunday, the day before LCA 2008 officially started, Kelly and Rusty asked us first-timers to blog about events, specifically about what we liked and disliked. So far, this conference has been really enjoyable and busy, and I have not found the time to write about its content. The talk I just heard leaves me without an excuse, so there: I have recently had a very interesting and enlightening discussion with a blind Debian developer. When I saw on the conference schedule that Jason White would talk about using Linux with speech and Braille output interfaces, I passed up my opportunity to hear Andrew Tridgell talk about clustered Samba and attended his lecture instead. Jason covered a great number of aspects: from the history of the Braille system, and current, Free implementations thereof, via speech output, to strategies of integrating these techniques into existing programmes which are generally not designed with visually-impaired users in mind. He has a collection of references on his webpage, to which I shall refer for the technical content. His presentation left me very excited and impressed. Excited to see him giving a presentation with such enthusiasm and energy, and impressed because his talk (without notes or slides) was by far better than the job of the average presenter with access to notes and slides to display. Jason conveyed a lot of information in a very well-structured, capitivating report. I think he left most of the audience speechless (figuratively speaking; there were good questions). I feel uneasy with thanking Jason explicitly, or even writing this blog post. If you bear with me for a minute, then let me bridge to women involvement in open-source software. My position on this topic is quite clear: I make no distinctions where they are not obvious, and simultaneously I think it s awesome that more and more women are joining the predominantly male crowd (and their influence undeniably makes the community a more comfortable place). Every now and then, I would like to comment on that, such as I think it s awesome that you are working on this, being a woman (an oversimplified example). What I am trying to say is given how few women are involved with OSS, I appreciate all the more what you are doing. This is non-judgemental, I don t say this because I am trying to highlight someone s gender or sex. It s a communication issue, and I am learning, but I d also rather not limit what I say by making absolutely sure never to offend anyone. But when I utter such a comment, it might still greatly annoy someone or yield vicious returns. This is not always the case in fact, less than it used to be but I ve encountered it here and there, which made me more careful. So when I write about Jason s presentation and how great it was, I want to highlight how it s a greater achievement for him than it would be for me, because he is blind and I am not. I don t mean to single him out or put him on the spot. I am simply impressed, very impressed. And being who I am, I d like to say so. Thanks, Jason. Update: David Schmitt makes an interesting point:
The important question is now, why are we blind people doing great presentations more impressing than people with working eyes doing a great presentation? My personal answer isn t so great: because I didn t expect it. No wonder people get offended if you tell em to their face that I m impressed with his achievements, because I wouldn t have expected it.
I don t agree, or at least I fail to see it. I was impressed, I did not expect it (which isn t to say that I came in to Jason s talk expecting it to be any less than a good talk, I had no expectation! Please think for a second if this isn t immediately clear!) is that offensive? I didn t know Jason, had no way to know whether his presentations are great or less so, but then he pretty much blew me away. The presentation was better than what I am used to (from anyone), and the achievement is all the more greater because it seems to me that he has had to put much more effort into it, purely for accessibility reasons. I guess I should know better, but I still, after all these years, have a problem seeing through the end of it, understanding it. Kant to the rescue, my intentions are good (I claim), but this goes both ways regardless: in any communication, one ought to try hard never to offend. At the same time, one ought to try hard not to be offended until one can be reasonably sure that offence was intended. When I brought this up in Adaora Oniya s miniconf talk on communication challenges, Bdale Garbee recalled the policy in use when he was involved in protocol design work groups: send politely, receive with an open mind. I don t remember his exact words, but I think I got the gist. Update: I just talked to Jason and got his feedback on the issue. It boils down to a quote I ll transcribe: I want my work to be judged by its merit and not by who I am. It only leaves me wondering about the situation at hand: I was impressed by his very well-structured and presented talk and by the fact that he did such a good job given his visual impairment. In any case, I ll close the issue. Jason told me he d happily engage in further discussion and I stated that he is not offended. There is another lesson I learnt: the next time I blog about someone else in such a way, I should really get his/her clearance before publishing! Just to be sure

29 January 2008

David Welton: Munich Android Mobile Meeting Report

I'm a bit tired after driving up to Munich for the Android developer meeting, hosted by Google, and being "on" all day, but it was worth it. I was a bit apprehensive that it might be too 'introductory' in the sense of the Google guys telling you in person things that you could have easily looked up on the web, without spending a bunch of time driving around Austria and Bavaria. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. There was some of that, but also plenty of unstructured time to chat with Dan Morrill and Jason Chen, the two Google "Developer Advocates", who are both very friendly, informative and informed, approachable and put a lot of energy into what they do, despite being a bit tired from flying over from the US. It was nice to get a chance to talk with them, and considering that the platform is still changing, useful as well, because they were definitely listening to what people had to say to them. My thanks to them for a job well done. Here are some "impressions" I took away - note that they're not what anyone said, just ideas I got about what they said: There's still really a sense of Android continuing to evolve, in a true spirit of openness. I liked that, as it means there is space for people to tell Google what they want, rather than simply being given a finished product and told that that's that... but then again, I would, being the open source guy that I am. I didn't get to show off Hecl quite as much as I would have liked to, but I did get to mention it a few times, so I guess I did ok.

24 January 2008

Gunnar Wolf: Introspection in Perl

Some days ago, my RSS reader found Mark Jason Dominus' Help.pm - Yes, the module is (so far, at least - I could not find it on CPAN) only published as a blog post. But don't let that fool you - It's a beautiful (and simple!) Perl module that can help developers that are too lazy to go look up methods in the man pages. Perl's introspection capabilities are not behind other dynamic languages' (i.e. Python's or Ruby's, speaking only about what I'm familiar with). However, it's used much more seldom, partly because Perl does not ship by default with an interactive console (such as Ruby's irb or Python's regular behaviour when called without an input script). Of course, writing a Perl console is an easy task, and good Perl consoles exist, although its use is not part of the Perl culture. But of course, just glancing over MJD's code made me come up with a simple, yet useful, way to use introspection in Perl, usable as a simple one-liner. Say you want to look at all of the methods provided by IO::File:
gwolf_at_mosca[25]/tmp$ perl -e 'use IO::File; print join(", ", grep defined & "IO::File::$_" sort keys % "IO::File::" ), "\n"'
binmode, carp, confess, croak, gensym, new, new_tmpfile, open, qualify, qualify_to_ref, ungensym
Want the scalar variables? Of course:
gwolf_at_mosca[26]/tmp$ perl -e 'use IO::File; print join(", ", grep defined $ "IO::File::$_" sort keys % "IO::File::" ), "\n"'
VERSION
Same goes for arrays and hashes. And, of course, leaving out the grep gives you anything. Yup, it's the magic package-name hash trick. Main difference between this and MJD's Help.pm? That Help.pm goes up the inheritance chain, and is thus much more correct. Of course, I'll be uploading Help.pm to Debian very soon - And, why not, I think I'll add a way for it to query on different symbols, not just on methods. And the simple binary to call from the command line. Sounds very much worth it ;-) Thanks, MJD!

24 December 2007

Adam Rosi-Kessel: Jason s Lesson s Learned About the Legal Academy and Getting In

Pelican has decided to abandon his efforts to scale the walls of the legal academy and proposes this simple eight-step program for others who would follow in his footsteps:
  1. Don t do interdisciplinary work. The legal academy doesn t know what to make of it unless it is economics.
  2. Don t go to a school without a law review or grades. I did and it was a huge problem.
  3. Get on law review, clerk, write.
  4. Check the faculty listings at most law schools. Go to the most often listed schools: Harvard, Yale, etc. It does matter as law faculty select their own, usually. I was told by a faculty member as a 1L expressing interest in the academy that I should transfer immediately to Harvard if possible. I didn t.
  5. If you think you want to be a legal academic, look at what is on the FAR form in your first or second year. Orient your academic career to produce a good looking FAR.
  6. Remarkably, the legal academy does not care about your ability to raise research money or bring in grants.
  7. Don t publish in interdisciplinary journals. Publish only in law reviews writing only dense and impenetrable texts.
  8. Demonstrated impact of your work in policy or law is not relevant.
This critique could be extended broadly to much of the academy (not just law schools). I had once thought I might like to teach law, but now I can only really see myself as a clinician. Two contradictory academic trends: Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

6 November 2007

Christian Perrier: RWC: South Africa-England

After Argentina-France on the first day, that one was planned to be one of the few big matches of first round. Of course, after the game won by South Africa (36-0), that seems pretty silly to say... The Springboks were definitely better than England, in all parts of the game. What stunned me, particularly after watching South Africa live , is their complete control on the game, which is a great improvement over their match against Samoa. South Africa scored three tries all of them great examples or organized attacks by the rear lines. Two tries for JP Pietersen, after 3 by Habana on first game: the South-African wing players rock. Despite this, the player of the game was definitely Jason Du Preez, the scrum half (hope this is the correct term in English) who organised all attacks from RSA. England was missing too many key players (several injured) to be able to be a menace for South Africa. They never were really dangerous, except maybe when the magic Jason Robinson has the ball in his hands (what a player!). I was particularly disappointed by their center back players, and even more particularly by Farrel. Ditto for Andy Gomarsall as scrum half. So, South Africa is now probably qualified with two quite easy games against USA and Tonga. England will have to fight to qualify and noone can tell if Samoa or Tonga can surprise them. Watching Samoa-Tonga on Sunday will be interesting and Samoa-England or Tonga-England are already key matches. A great rugby week-end is about to begin, again. Today, Wales-Australia is the match of the day, for sure, with wales playing home (some matches are not in France, but in Cardiff and Edinburgh). New Zealand-Portugal will be...interesting, though the only incertainty is the number of scored tries. And finally, Ireland-Georgia is of some interest for the French. Tomorrow, France could have hard times against Namibia. Of course, the challenge here is winning *and* scoring the bonus point. That match is 5 days before a key France-Ireland, so the challenge is also not wasting too much energy. Of course, tomorrow's top match for me is Samoa-Tonga while I whileprobably skip Fidji-Canada (too bad, I haven't seen those playing yet). BTW, if someone has a recording of the most intense match as of now (Japan-Fidji), I'd be delighted. Rugbystiquement v tre,

15 September 2007

Christian Perrier: RWC: South Africa-England

After Argentina-France on the first day, that one was planned to be one of the few big matches of first round. Of course, after the game won by South Africa (36-0), that seems pretty silly to say... The Springboks were definitely better than England, in all parts of the game. What stunned me, particularly after watching South Africa live , is their complete control on the game, which is a great improvement over their match against Samoa. South Africa scored three tries all of them great examples or organized attacks by the rear lines. Two tries for JP Pietersen, after 3 by Habana on first game: the South-African wing players rock. Despite this, the player of the game was definitely Jason Du Preez, the scrum half (hope this is the correct term in English) who organised all attacks from RSA. England was missing too many key players (several injured) to be able to be a menace for South Africa. They never were really dangerous, except maybe when the magic Jason Robinson has the ball in his hands (what a player!). I was particularly disappointed by their center back players, and even more particularly by Farrel. Ditto for Andy Gomarsall as scrum half. So, South Africa is now probably qualified with two quite easy games against USA and Tonga. England will have to fight to qualify and noone can tell if Samoa or Tonga can surprise them. Watching Samoa-Tonga on Sunday will be interesting and Samoa-England or Tonga-England are already key matches. A great rugby week-end is about to begin, again. Today, Wales-Australia is the match of the day, for sure, with wales playing home (some matches are not in France, but in Cardiff and Edinburgh). New Zealand-Portugal will be...interesting, though the only incertainty is the number of scored tries. And finally, Ireland-Georgia is of some interest for the French. Tomorrow, France could have hard times against Namibia. Of course, the challenge here is winning *and* scoring the bonus point. That match is 5 days before a key France-Ireland, so the challenge is also not wasting too much energy. Of course, tomorrow's top match for me is Samoa-Tonga while I whileprobably skip Fidji-Canada (too bad, I haven't seen those playing yet). BTW, if someone has a recording of the most intense match as of now (Japan-Fidji), I'd be delighted. Rugbystiquement v tre,

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