Archive for October 2007

Congratulations to Charles Petzold

#include <windows.h>

int PASCAL WinMain(HINSTANCE hInstance, HINSTANCE hPrevInstance, LPSTR args, int show)

{

  MessageBox(GetActiveWindow(), “Congratulations Charles & Deirdre!”, “Many happy returns!”, MB_OK);

   return 0;

}

Apple Says Cash Not Legal Tender For iPhone Debt

Apple is apparently refusing to accept cash for iPhones. I have a feeling this policy will last less than 24 hours, as there’s significant intersection among the set of people who would purchase iPhones and the set of people who will get into quite a snit about “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.”

Update: Neil Bartlett points to this Wikipedia article that says companies can refuse cash if the debt doesn’t already exist at the time of payment (as would be the case when purchasing an iPhone). That’s what I get for getting my legal advice from 30 Rock.

Red Sox

image

I hate to be an American League fan-boy, but now that The Curse has been broken, the truth is that the World Series was pretty anti-climactic. (Not that anything could be as dramatic as the 2004 Sox-Yankees series.)

I love that The Dropkick Murphy’s have become The Sound of Boston : they use I’m Shipping Up To Boston and Tessie at Red Sox games and a song of their’s was featured in The Departed. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of drunken Micks.

Writing a Technical Article: Pt. 4, Client Delays

Pt. 1, Pt. 2, and Pt. 3

One reason why it’s very difficult to make a living writing about software development is that while traditional publications were deadline-driven, online outlets are marketing-driven. When there’s a mistake about when a product will become available, an article in the pipeline can be delayed for an indeterminate period or even canceled entirely.

Such is the case with my article in which I was going to discuss context-sensitive / seam-based image resizing. I thought I was going to have an article finished by mid-October, but here it is on the verge of November and I still don’t have the product. And, of course, that means that I haven’t received a penny for the work I’ve done. And on the other hand, if I get a call tomorrow saying the product’s ready, I guarantee the next line will be “… so we need that article in 10 days.”

Naturally, this makes planning difficult. On the one hand, I need to plan my November and December and I can just say “yes” to some other clients. But I’ve already done a good chunk of the work for this article and I’d like my image-resizing code to see the light of day.

So… Such is the life of a freelance technical writer.

Stop Me Before I Parse Again

lolinterp

Must … Resist …  

Can’t … Stop …

My Nephew, The Paparazzo

My nephew Jake went to a friend’s bar mitzvah at the Radisson in Scranton, PA. Apparently, the cast of The Office is in town doing a little goodwill and presumably shooting some exteriors (although I don’t know why they need to — the scenes they’ve been using look totally like Northeastern Pennsylvania. (Sarcastic smiley tk) ). Jake spots Craig Robinson (Daryl the Warehouse Guy) tickling the ivories on the Radisson piano and snaps this EXCLUSIVE photo:

LOLCode: U R Obsoleted Ruby, Erlang, F#

image

When Repeatability Isn’t A Customer Priority

This might be better as a series of Twitter “thinking about…” posts, but since I don’t really “get” Twitter, I’ll jot down this nagging concern here…

I was reading this excellent post on Seven Essential Practices of Software Development [via Steve Pietrek] as I pondered how to convince my client to schedule the time to develop a “heartbeat monitor” and archive that will show the system’s behavior over the past few days. I think that’s necessary because the system is dependent on external service providers and there are assumptions about correctness and scheduling that, if violated, might lead to very expensive mistakes and lots of finger pointing.

Nor do the external service providers whole-heartedly embrace test-driven QA: there’s no set of mocks of my team’s system and mocks of their systems that can serve as a reference for developing new functionality.

While I’m convinced that investment in automation will pay off, the customer priorities are focused on new features. Why should we worry about all this Defense Against the Black Arts stuff when we’re all friends?

In a sense I’m being defeated by the successes of my team, which, having moved to Scrum, have been rolling out new value regularly; now that we’ve established that rhythm, not delivering customer-facing features in the coming sprint is highly visible.

More on Bash Ups…

My ever-fitful comment system is apparently acting up, so from my email come these comments in reference to this post :

I wonder if “cron” would also be a relevant addition to mashup. One of the things I tried to achieve with a Yahoo Pipe and a Google Mashup was to consume several feeds on a regular basis, XSL-T them in another form and send the result to another URL.
Maybe this is too much for free mashup platforms as it would be process intensive.

–David Dossot

Update: John Montgomery tells me that there is a timer component in Popfly that might satisfy David’s scenario.

and

Great thoughts on command-line “equivalents” for mashup operations.

Check out Orchestr8’s AlchemyPoint for a mashup platform that provides both mouse-based and “command-line” modes of creating mashups. In command-line mode you can string together multiple ‘actions’ and ‘conditions’ to create quite varied mashups. (e.g., ” email xx@xx.com all links in ‘top stories’ table if they mention ‘Google’ “). It’s very Unix shell-ish and can provide some pretty unique results.

–Elliot Turner

John Lam Concedes Fight With Ola Bini

IronRuby Program Manager John Lam regarding JRuby’s Ola Bini:

LOB: If you and Ola Bini were bungie-chorded into a steel cage supplied with mauls, chainsaws, and a copy of Bentley’s “Programming Pearls,” which of you would survive?

JL: Well, Ola is quite a bit bigger than me, so he’d likely kick my ass in a steel cage match

The amazing thing is I couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate that quote into the article I’m writing.

Update: Ola refuses to take the bait, too:

OB: He would probably win. Now, if you gave me Hofstadters “G

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