"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Friday, October 24, 2003

The outsiders win again. Ha Ha.

From Harry Shearer's Le Show's Le Blast email list (subscribe)...

Arnold S's first appointee, his chief of staff, is currently a lobbyist for the HMO industry, and was deputy chief of staff to former Republican gov. Pete Wilson. The same PW who finally came out of hiding and gave media interviews after the election. The outsiders win again.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

How Magnetic RAM Will Work

I love the site How Stuff Works. And I saw they have a section on MRAM, which will change everything about computing, hardware and software, over the next few years.

Should Elementary Schools Teach Keyboarding? (was: Computers in Schools)

James writes about computers in schools.

My sense is computers should begin to show up in schools in middle school (grades 6-7, ages 12-14). The applications should be highly interactive, multi-media, and constructive (i.e. use computers to build "things", even ideas).

What should younger kids be doing? Why, keyboarding of course!

No, not computer keyboarding. Piano keyboarding. This would be far better for connecting their brains for future study of math and science than any software I know of.

Java becoming more static, er, dynamic, um, both!

I did not realize this EventHandler capability is in Java 1.4.

This is kind of ugly, since the API is essentially interpreting strings for names. (Think Class.forName only funner.)

This is kind of confusing, since on the one hand Java is heading toward more static notations with generics. Yet on the other, this EventHandler feature is capitulating to the need for dynamic reflection without a bunch of new syntax.

Mobilized Software

Speaking of moblized software (aka Occasionally Connected Computing), I will be attending Intel's "Mobilized Software Occasion" on Nov. 4th in San Francisco. I'm not sure yet if I get the shirt (employee) or the PDA (attendee), though I know what I'd like.

Rob Pike's Things to Build

From Rob Pike (Bell Labs/Plan9, now at Google)... Things to Build (in Systems Software Research is Irrelevant (PDF), or in Postscript format):

  • Only one GUI has ever been seriously tried, and its best ideas date from the 1970s...
  • There has been much talk about component architectures, but only one true success: Unix pipes...
  • The future is distributed computation, but the language community has done very little...
  • The Web model... is forced interaction; the user must go get it. Let's go back to having the data come to the user instead.
  • System administration remains a deeply difficult problem...
Obvious connections to recent conversations about rich GUIs, and mobilized software, etc. I think he hits several nails square on the head.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

It Always Comes Down To This

Erik Meijer writes on his blog:

In principle there is nothing that prevents special list transformers and comprehensions from being introduced into imperative languages as well. We know how to do it. In fact, as is the case for many other features, Python has already taken the lead in this.

Python has limited syntax for iteration and unlimited classes that behave as iterators.

The less obvious, more expressive example is Smalltalk, which eschews special iteration syntax. This so called "pure" object-oriented language does not have any syntax for iteration. Everything is a message send, even conditionals and iterations.

A simple notation for a "block of code" object and a simple notation for keyword-based parameters/messages give you what you need without hidden machinery or a fixed syntax. Any of Smalltalk's flow of control mechanisms can be defined in Smalltalk itself. And more, to your heart's content.

BTW, Ruby is closer to Smalltalk than Python is to either in this regard.

Joe Morgan: Best Color Commentator... Ever?

Is Joe Morgan the best color commentator (ESPN Radio) in baseball? In any sport? Ever?

I'm leaning in that direction. He's that good, and I am not saying that because my youth was spent in southern Ohio with the Big Red Machine.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Give Aways

The federal government is essentially giving the resources of Alaska away for free...

On Sept. 24, amid the hubbub of Mike Leavitt's confirmation hearings, few journalists and policy makers stopped to notice that the DOI's Minerals Management Service put 9.4 million acres in Alaska's Beaufort Sea on the chopping block at unusually low royalty rates. The area in question is not far from the Arctic Refuge, off the northern shore of Alaska—land of polar bears, bowhead whales and Inupiat Eskimos who still practice maritime hunts...

There are, of course, likely environmental side effects: Last spring, a report by the National Academy of Sciences warned that seismic exploration and offshore drilling in the area would threaten endangered bowhead whales as well as the livelihoods of traditional Inupiat hunters. Needless to say, that report was overlooked.

Although the Beaufort sale troubles many Alaskan wildlife experts, they say it's merely one of many concerns in the region, some of them potentially far more serious. "This is just a small piece of a larger picture in which the federal government is essentially giving the resources of Alaska away for free," said Eleanor Huffines, Alaska regional director for the Wilderness Society.

Huffines says she is realistic about the need to expand drilling, and the Wilderness Society has identified areas in Prudhoe Bay and western Alaska where it is not opposing increased development. "What concerns me is that no matter how reasonable we try to be in balancing commercial and environmental concerns, [the Bush administration's] plans show no balance at all...

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.