Longer timeouts

The August CACM contains an article “Understanding email interaction increase organizational productivity” (not online) which finds that it takes about a minute to resume work after being interrupted by an email notification. Which is kind of problematic if you set your email to check for new mail every five minutes! So I’ve set my email checking to once every 45 minutes and, even more importantly, I’ve slowed down my news aggregator to… once every six hours. I don’t know if I can handle the information isolation, but I’m going to give it a shot.

J# Skepticism

I’m skeptical about J#. via [Eric.Weblog()]

I’m not. As I say in the current SD Times, the thing about J# is that it serves two very real niches: the bet-hedgers and the Java “pragmatic believers.” Bet-hedgers are those people who have decided not to jump to .NET, but who wish to keep their options open in case the market suddenly shift or if a particular opportunity arises. For those people, the key is maximizing their understanding of the .NET Framework per minute spent and even though it’s only a matter of days for a Java programmer to learn C#, it’s a better option for those people not to learn anything about languages, and just maintain a “bet hedging” knowledge of .NET.

When I say “pragmatic believers” I’m referring to those who fall short of reflexive loathing of all things Redmondian, but who believe that particular Java language features (say, checked exceptions) are important. Those people might eventually move towards a non-Java language, but if it’s not a great burden on MS to support them, why force them to make a decision?

The big challenge is that as the Java language evolves, how much effort will Redmond expend to keep J# in synchrony? Many of the features in the upcoming “Tiger” release of Java are already in C#, so those will be easy. The big question is generics — both C# “Whidbey” and Java “Tiger” will have a C++-derived syntax for generics (Collection<Type>), but early indications are that the underlying implementations will be hugely different. Given how ubiquitous generics will become the instant they become available, this may very well be the spot where J# and Java become eternally incompatible.


Programming on a Tablet PC


I’ve made a concerted effort to try programming in my “off hours” on the Tablet PC…in slate mode…without a keyboard…or external monitor. (Yeah, sounds crazy, but I really wanted to understand what it’s like.) How’s it going? It’s passable. via
[Incremental Blogger]
Wow, not for me. I’ve worked with both a convertible and a slate Tablet PC and I vastly prefer the convertible, precisely because I found programming with pen impossible. One of the two thousand projects I have on the stack of “things to do in my copious spare time” is a customizable pen keyboard / input editor, precisely so I could dedicate virtual keys to, say, { and } characters. With such a thing, I could imagine programming with pen.

Someone’s spoofing me

F’ing A — I’ve begun receiving bounced email messages indicating that someone’s using my email address in the “From:” line of I-Worm.Sobig.f spams; you know, the one that says “re: Your application” and stuff like that. Is there any protocol for me sending out “No, no, that’s not me” emails or is it just something that I ignore?

PDC Gimmes

As I’d been hoping, Brad Abrams confirms that the gimmes at this year’s PDC will include:

– Longhorn (Windows v.Next)
– Whidbey (Visual Studio v.Next)
– Yukon (SQL Server v.Next)

I would’ve been pretty angry if we’d spent $1700 to go learn about these things, and then not been able to use it afterward. :) Clearly, this is the must-attend event for Windows developers interested in the future (uh oh, what happens when you start to sound like Scoble? :-p). via

See y’all there!

Well Thats One Way To Lose 6 Pounds In 3 Days I Went Diving On The 1st And By Wednesday I Realized I Ha

Well, that’s one way to lose 6 pounds in 3 days… I went diving on the 1st and by Wednesday I realized I had an ear infection. Went to the Doctor and got drops. No biggy. And then Thursday, it was like my head exploded: both ears swelled entirely shut, stabbing pains throughout my head (lots of nerves in the ear… oh yeah!), and my temperature went over 102! For the next 48 hours I would sleep for an hour and then be awake for a half an hour of pain and then fade into sleep again. It was wild; I didn’t know ear infections could be like that. I still can barely hear, but the fever’s broken and I can eat again. Oh, and yes, of course, this was on the eve of the end of a project for a first-time client: “Uh, I have to call in sick today…”

The good news is that when I was lying in a stupor the FedEx guy dropped off my copy of Borland’s C# Builder. That I haven’t installed it yet is proof enough that I was really, really sick. Stay tuned for reactions in the coming days…

The Ivory Tower of Software Development


Bad software.  It’s everywhere.  I know a guy who stinks as a programmer.  He makes about 60k a year, and at least ¼ of his time is spent maintaining a particular pile of crap program that he birthed into this world 5 years ago.  He’s constantly welding more junk on to get it to do the latest thing that his company “needs”.  The thing is a complete monstrosity.  How it hasn’t collapsed under its own weight is a miracle. And if the guy ever leaves, it will probably take a new developer a good 3 months of doing nothing else, just to figure out the basics of this (shudder) application.  There’s no documentation, no source control, hell, where there are comments they’re really just disinformation at this point.